A. Aaron Gordon
. When second best is good enough.... Gordon may have "lost" the dunk contest to Zach LaVine, but he came out nothing short of winner. All of a sudden,
Gordon--who did things that had not been seen before--has become a household name.
B. Bryce Harper . Contrary to popular reports, Harper isn't thinking about a measly $400 million when he hits free agency after the 2018 season. He's thinking beyond that. When asked in a recent interview about possibly being "the first $400 million player," the Nationals' star outfield said he doesn't "really think about the stuff" before adding, "don't sell me short. That's what you're doing right now to me, so don't do that." Harper is +1200 at BetOnline Sportsbook to lead the majors in home runs this season.
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C. Calipari, John . Did Calipari want to get ejected last Saturday at South Carolina? It's a fair question, given that Kentucky's head coach was arguing after a call went in his team's favor. Calipari got tossed two minutes and 26 seconds into the game, which the Wildcats ended up dominating 89-62.
D. Dwight Howard . If Howard gets dealt from Houston to Charlotte, he would be going from a team outside the playoff picture (albeit by a half-game) to a team inside the playoff picture (albeit by a half-game). Who had that when the season started?
E.Eriksen, Christian . Eriksen scored the game-winning goal in Tottenham Hotspur's 2-1 victory over Manchester City this past Sunday.Coupled with Leicester City's 2-1 loss to Arsenal in a huge showdown between two of the English Premier League's top teams, Tottenham's win leaves it just one point back of first place on the table. A slumping Man City, on the other hand, is in fourth place and five points south of Leicester. Arsenal is a +137 favorite at BookMaker to win the EPL title.
F. First round . The NCAA Tournament has come to its senses. No longer is the round of 64 being called the "second round." It's back to being the "first round," which is exactly what it is. And the two play-in games are the "first four." Thank goodness.
G. Graham, Devonte' . Kansas pulled off a regular-season sweep of Oklahoma by prevailing 76-72 on the road last weekend. Graham poured in a game-high 27 points, including a go-ahead three with little more than two minutes remaining followed by a pair of late free-throws. OU star Buddy Hield missed a free-throw with 26 seconds left that would have tied the game. The Sooners have Jay Bilas to thank (or not to thank), as the commentator jinxed Hield by saying there was no way he would miss.The Sooners are -6 favorites at Texas Tech on Wednesday, per GT Bets.
H. Hassan Whiteside . Whiteside was ejected from Miami's loss to the Spurs last Tuesday and later suspended one game. He may not even be a member of the Heat by the time he serves said suspension.
I. Inactive . Chris Bosh was unable to participate in the three-point contest or play in the All-Star Game because of a lingering calf issue.There are concerns that he is dealing with more blood-clot issues. Adding insult to injury, the Heat lost two in a row heading into the break and would not have home-court advantage in round one if the playoffs began today.
J. Jenrry Mejia . For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ball game! That is certainly the case for Mejia, who has become the first player to banned for life from Major League Baseball for steroid use. The former Mets' reliever tested positive for a third time last week and promptly got the boot.
K. Karl-Anthony Towns . Well, there is some good news for the skills challenge: it wasn't the absolute worst part of all-star weekend. That distinction, of course, would go to the actual All-Star Game. And although the skills challenge paled in comparison to the dunk and three-point contests on Saturday night, it at least featured a dramatic ending. Towns nailed a three-pointer in a frantic shooting scramble with Isaiah Thomas to capture the title.
L.Leon Rice .Rice wants his win back and he wants it now. The Boise State head coach saw his team "lose" to Colorado State in double-overtime last Wednesday night after a successful James Webb III buzzer-beater was called off at the end of the first OT. It should have given BSU an 87-85 win, but the officials-after initially ruling it good-looked at the replay and inexplicably determined that Webb did not get it off in time. The Rams eventually prevailed 97-93. Two days later, the Mountain West Conference announced that the officials erred and Boise State should have won the game.
. Channeling their inner Washington Nationals, the Phoenix Suns got into a fight on their own bench last Wednesday.MarkieffMorris and Archie Goodwin waged
a shouting and shoving match during a loss to the Warriors. And that begs the question: if you're that mad about losing to the Warriors, what happens when
you lose to a team that isn't one of the best of all time? Golden State is -185 at MyBookie.ag to
win a record-breaking 73 games.
N. Nadal, Rafael .Nadal losing on a hard court is one thing. Nadal losing on clay-especially to someone not named Novak Djokovic-is an entirely different ballgame. The former world No. 1's inauspicious start to 2016 reached a new low when he fell to Dominic Thiem in the Buenos Aires semifinals last weekend. Nadal had a match point in the third set, but Thiem saved it, ended up pulling off the upset, and won the tournament the next day.
O. Olympics . The 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics are less than six months away. Now might be a good time for some genius to figure out how to eliminate the mosquito-borne Zika virus.
P. Pebble Beach . Seeking his first win since the 2013 British Open, Phil Mickelson could not seal the deal at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last weekend. Mickelson had a two-shot lead going into the final-round but Vaughn Taylorof all people fired a Sunday 65 to put Lefty in a precarious position. Mickelson needed to sink a five-foot putt on the 72nd hole to force a playoff. Five feet-the range that has plagued him throughout his career. Lo and behold, Mickelson missed to give Taylor a one-stroke victory. Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are +650 co-favorites at Bovada Sportsbook to win this week's Northern Trust Open.
Q. Quenneville, Joel .The Blackhawks' head coach stormed out of a press conference last Tuesday after being asked just one question about a disallowed goal. Chicago, which appeared to have taken a 1-0 lead over San Jose, ended up losing 2-0. That ignited a rare three-game losing streak, but Quenneville's club finally got back on track with a 7-2 blowout of Toronto on Monday.The Blackhawks are +107 underdogs at the Rangers on Wednesday, as indicated by BetOnline Sportsbook.
R. Recruiting . It's not exactly on the level of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, but Jim Harbaugh sure shelled out a lot of cash for recruiting purposes at Michigan--$136,000 in12-day period, to be exact. No, not illegal. It was for legal operations (private-jet flights).
S. Shoes . It's gotta be the shoes. And it will be for Kobe Bryant in retirement. He has a full set of Air Jordans after Michael Jordan gave him all 30-from I to XXX-at a party last Friday night to kick off all-star weekend.
T. Thompson, Klay . Thompson took down Stephen Curry in an entertaining three-point contest that appeared to be on its way to going down as the highlight of the night (that was until LaVine and Gordon pumped up their kicks). With Curry in the lead and only Thompson remaining, the less-heralded Splash Brother drained all six money-balls in the final rack to clinch victory.GT Bets has Golden State as a -110 favorite to win the NBA title.
U. University of Tennessee . A lawsuit against UT alleges that Peyton Manning is among the athletes who created a "hostile sexual environment" during his time at the university. Manning's month that started out so well is going downhill about as fast as his pants in the training room.
V. Vontaze Burfict . Speaking of headaches that the NFL may or may not have, the league has upheld Burfict's three-game suspension stemming from his helmet-to-helmet hit in Cincinnati's outrageous wild-card playoff loss to Pittsburgh. It's legitimately possible that this dude is unstable; although he looks like a straight shooter compared to Johnny Manziel.
W. Williams, Monty . Williams' wife, Ingrid, died in a car accident last Tuesday in Oklahoma City. Williams is a former head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans and current assistant with the Thunder. Ingrid was 44. R.I.P.
X. Xfinity Series . Chase Elliott, who won the Xfinity Series championship in 2014 (then called the Nationwide Series), is on the pole for Sunday's Daytona 500. At 20 years old, Elliott is the youngest driver ever to take the pole for the Great American Race. And yes, he is Bill's son. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a +450 favorite at BetDSI Sportsbook to win it.
Y. Yeo, Mike . Yeo said after the Minnesota Wild's eight consecutive loss last Saturday that he would not be quitting on the group. One day later he was quit on, himself. Yeo got fired and was replaced with John Torchetti, the head coach of Minnesota's AHL affiliate. The Wild promptly won their first game under Torchetti 5-2 at Vancouver on Monday.5Dimes Sportsbook has them as -105 underdogs at Calgary on Wednesday.
Z. Zach LaVine .From A: Aaron Gordon to Z: Zach LaVine--everything in between is simply not as good. In the best dunk contest since Jordan vs. Nique, LaVine edged Gordon in multiple extra frames to win back-to-back titles. But there were no losers in this one.
Read more articles by Ricky Dimon
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