Mar 16th, 2012 by dmack
Around the horn for a busy Thursday in all sports
College basketball’s Big Dance tipped off with 16 games on Thursday with seeding pretty much holding form. All the 1-4 seeds made it to Saturday and only fifth-seed Wichita State and six-seed UNLV not moving on. Top seeded Kentucky trounced Western Kentucky 81-66 and that was with the Hilltoppers on a 16-1 run to end the game. Syracuse sleep-walked through their game with NC-Ashville before finally winning by seven. Murray State, Wisconsin, Marquette, Iowa State, and Ohio State were impreeive double-digit winners. In a battle of the tournament’s top mid-majors, VCU was a 62-59 winner over Wichita State. The Rams made a run to the Final Four last year and already have 29 wins this year. Colorado got out to a 20-point lead over UNLV and then held off a late charge by the Rebels 68-64.
The second 16 games of the second round will be played today starting at 12:15 PM EST when Texas meets Cincinnati. The Bearcats have been installed as slight two point favorites. In Day Two’s other more intriguing matchups, St Bonny is catching six from enigmatic Florida State. The Seminoles have the rare distinction of being one of four teams to ever beat Duke and North Carolina twice in the same year but FSU also has losses to Princeton, Harvard, and Boston College. The Bonnies tore through the very tough A-10 tournament with easy and might just be flying under-the-radar. That game tips at 2:45 PM EST. Georgetown in a four point favorite over Belmont at 3:10 PM EST. Many of the talking heads have the Hoyas on upset alert. South Florida is 14-4 in their L18 and completely dismantled California in Wednesday’s play in game. The Bulls are a three point dog vs Temple at on the 9:50 PM EST late show and bear watching.
Dwight Howard to remain with Orlando this year and next
Dwight Howard will remain with the Orlando Magic this year and next by voiding the opt-out of his current deal and thus avoiding a trade. Howard had been vacillating between demanding a trade and testeing fre agancy at the end of this year. When the Magic made it clear they would not be stuck with nothing and that they would trade him if he did not extend his contract or make a committment by voiding the opt-out, Howard chose to finish the remainder of his current deal which will pay him $19 million and change.
The NBA trade deadline ended at 3:00 PM Thursday with no blockbuster deals but a flurry of minor one. The Lakers picked up some much needed backcourt help by picking Ramon Sessions from the Cavs for basically Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. The Lake Show also picked up big man project Jordan Hill from the Rockets for essentially Derek Fisher and a 2012 first-round draft pick. Portland started housecleaning and a roster overhaul by firing HC Nate McMillan. The Blazers were fading fast and the 42-point loss to the Knicks was the final straw. Portland then went on to send Gerald Henderson to the Nets and Marcus Camby to the Rockets. The Blazers also officially cut ties with oft-injured Greg Oden who played 82 total games in this his fifth season.
In a surprise three way trade, the Nuggets sent Nene to the Wizards for JaVale McGee and Ronnie Turiaf. The Wiz also sent shooting guard Nick Young to the Clippers who will in turn send a second-round pick to Washington. The Pacers sure up their backcourt by picking up Leandro Barbosa from Toronto for a second-round pick. The 76ers acquired forward Sam Young from the Grizzlies for a pick.
Mario Williams get biggest defensive contract ever, $100 million with $50 million guaranteed from the Bills
At the beginning of free agency, the Buffalo Bills set their sites on one player, Texan pass rushing LC/DT Mario Williams. They got their man yesterday inking Williams to the biggest contract ever for a defensive player. Williams will give the Bills defense immediate much needed help. Last year, the Buffalo “stop” unit was 26th in yards allowed, 30th in points allowed and recorded just 29 total sacks, ten of which came in one game.
The Saints, who have been hit pretty hard by free agency including guard Carl Nicks have struck back by signing Ravens guard Ben Grubbs to a $36 million dollar contract of which $16 million is guaranteed. Seven-time Pro Bowler OL Steve Hutchinson inked a three-year deal with the Titans who continue their pitch for Peyton Manning. The Broncos are reportedly working out Manning today in North Carolina. Manning has reportedly told the Dolphins that he will not be taking his talents to South Beach.
Creighton +1.5 over Alabama, 1:40 PM EST
North Carolina -15 over Vermont, 4:10 PM EST
Ohio +6 over Michigan, 7:20 PM EST
South Florida vs Temple Under 121.5, 9:40 PM EST