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Senor Ballistico

Daily Armadillo Report

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Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:40 am

Monday’s 6-pack
— Browns are going to hire Vikings OC Kevin Stefanski as their head coach.
— Minnesota 75, Michigan 67— Wolverines are 0-4 in true road games.
— Wichita St 89, UConn 86 2OT— Huskies were only 29-42 on foul line.
— Purdue 71, Michigan State 42— Dismal performance by the Spartans.
— Manhattan 81, Siena 69— Saints are 7-0 in Albany, 0-7 on the road.
— Chiefs opened -9.5 over Tennessee; within an hour, it was bet down to 7.5

Quote of the Day:
“I think you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and I think this team’s identity right now is to get in the playoffs and choke. It is what it is. This is just the hard truth.”
Ravens’ CB Marlon Humphrey, talking about his own team.

Monday’s quiz
Who did the Steelers beat the one time Bill Cowher won a Super Bowl as a coach?

Sunday’s quiz
Last time a #6 conference seed won the Super Bowl was nine years ago, when the Packers won the Lombardi Trophy.

Saturday’s quiz
NCIS star Mark Harmon played QB for UCLA.

Posted onJanuary 13, 2020
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Monday’s List of 13: Looking at Hall of Fame NFL coaches……
13) Pro Football Hall of Fame and CBS made a big production Saturday night out of surprising Bill Cowher on air, announcing that he’s been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was emotional and it made for good TV.

Then the same thing happened on FOX Sunday with Jimmy Johnson getting the good news.

Cowher coached the Steelers for 15 years, going 149-90-1 in regular season, 12-9 in playoffs, winning two AFC titles, and also Super Bowl 40 (I’m not great with Roman numerals).

Johnson went 80-64 in only nine years in the NFL, winning Super Bowl in consecutive years (1992-93). His win %age in Miami (.563) was actually better than it was in Dallas (.550), but he won his titles and made his name with the Cowboys.

Johnson was 81-34-3 as a college coach at Oklahoma State, Miami, which is irrelevant to what we’re talking about today.

12) But the underlying question is this; are Cowher/Johnson deserving of this honor? I’m not saying they are or they aren’t, but we’re going to look into it a little right now.

Here are four other NFL coaches, none of whom are in the Hall of Fame, who all won two Super Bowls (Johnson won two, Cowher won one):

11) Tom Coughlin: 170-150 in 20 years, won two Super Bowls with the Giants, but his best coaching was done in Jacksonville, where he led the expansion Jaguars to a 45-19 record in a stretch from 1996-99, Jacksonville’s 2nd thru 5th years in the NFL.

Coughlin was 12-7 in playoff games.

10) Tom Flores: 97-87 in 12 years, nine years with the Raiders; 8-3 in playoff games. Flores won Super Bowls 15 and 18.

He was in Seattle for three years after the Raiders- that didn’t go well (14-34).

9) George Seifert: Took over the powerhouse 49ers after Bill Walsh left, went 98-30 in eight years there, winning Super Bowls 24, 29. He was 10-5 in playoff games.

Seifert coached Carolina for three years after that, going 16-32; no bueno. He also coached Cornell in the Ivy League for a couple years in the 70’s.

8) Mike Shanahan: 170-138 in 20 years, 8-6 in playoff games, winning Super Bowls 32-33 in John Elway’s last two years as a player. Also worked as a head coach for Al Davis, Daniel Snyder; neither of those tenures went well, but he was 138-86 in his 14 years in Denver.

I’m thinking that Coughlin and Shanahan will both eventually get in the Hall of Fame.

7) Chiefs 51, Texans 31— Houston led this game 24-0 with 10:58 left in 2nd quarter, then KC scored three TD’s in a span of 3:18; by halftime, the Chiefs led, 28-24. Chiefs went on to score TD’s on seven consecutive drives- they scored so much, the team ran out of fireworks that they shoot off after touchdowns.

First six playoff games this year went under the total; this one didn’t.

6) Packers 28, Seahawks 23— Green Bay led 21-3 at half; Adams caught eight passes for 140 yards and two TD’s. Packers visit the 49ers in Santa Clara next Sunday.

5) Thursday night, Nashville Predators’ goalie Pekka Rinne scored a goal, the 15th time that has happened in he NHL, by 12 different goalies. It was the first time in six years an NHL goalie scored.

Retired goalies Martin Brodeur scored three goals, Ron Hextall twice.

4) A guy in Hillsboro, OR bought a Boeing 727 passenger jetliner for $100,000, propped it up on two massive concrete pillars in the woods, and made it his home. Hillsboro is a suburb of Portland, and apparently, this guy is pretty rich.

The pictures I saw online looked pretty nice.

3) According to one tax professional, a New York couple filing their tax return jointly with $5M in taxable income would save $394,931 in taxes by moving to Florida.

2) New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry says he wants his team to take 40 3’s a game; Pelicans’ last eight games went over the total- they’re lot of fun to watch.

1) Since 2010, nine NFL teams started a season 8-0; none of them won the Super Bowl that year; last 8-0 team to go on to win a Super Bowl? The ’09 Saints.

This year’s 49ers are the ninth of those
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Tuesday’s 6-pack
Teams playing some of the fastest tempos in country:
3) Alabama
4) Eastern Kentucky
6) Buffalo
7) James Madison
8) Eastern Washington
11) Central Michigan

Tweet of the Day:
“Both of these QBs are better than any QB the Chicago Bears have ever had”
Greg Couch, while watching the LSU-Clemson game

Tuesday’s quiz
How many Super Bowls have been played in the Superdome?

Monday’s quiz
Steelers beat Seattle 21-10 the one time Bill Cowher won a Super Bowl as a coach.

Sunday’s quiz
Last time a #6 conference seed won the Super Bowl was nine years ago, when the Packers won the Lombardi Trophy.

Posted onJanuary 14, 2020
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Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….
13) LSU 42, Clemson 25:
— Joe Burrow was the 3rd-string QB at Ohio State, then transferred.
— I was 100% wrong when I criticized LSU for hiring Ed Orgeron as head coach.
— Clemson QB Lawrence is 70-2 in his last 72 football games, going back to high school.

12) LSU gained 269 yards…….in the second quarter. One of the greatest offenses in college football history.

11) In a classic news dump that is designed to have this news buried in the headlines by the football game, MLB suspended the Astros’ GM and manager for a full year because of the sign-stealing scandal. Big news, at least for a little while.

Shortly after that announcement, Astros owner Jim Crane held a news conference and went one better, firing the two guys and clearing the way for his organization to be rebuilt.

10) This whole thing would’ve been a whole lot more awkward had the Astros won the World Series last year, which would’ve given them two World Series titles in three years.

9) Astros also lost 1st/2nd round draft picks in both 2020 and 2021, and were fined $5M.

8) For me, there are two good aspects of the Astros’ problems here:
a) Astros figure to regress some, which helps the A’s.

b) Bronx baseball fans have been whining about this for weeks now; here is a team that has had every economic advantage in the sport for the last 45 years, crying like babies because another team skirted the rules to beat them. Too bleeping bad.

7) I saw this on Twitter and it is weird:

79 minus (your age) plus 40 equals the year you were born.

Worked for me.

6) NC-Wilmington fired basketball coach CB McGrath Monday; Seahawks have lost their last 11 games, were 26-58 under McGrath, after they went 72-28 under Kevin Keatts, who is now the coach at NC State.

5) New Mexico Lobos threw their best big man off the team Monday; Carlton Bragg was averaging 12.6 ppg and 10.3 rpg, but off-court issues became too much. Bragg had gone to both Kansas, Arizona State before landing in Albuquerque.

4) Patrick Mahomes is the first player ever to have a playoff game with 300+ passing yards, 5+ TDs, and 50+ rushing yards.

3) Good news; the great Showtime series Billions returns for season #5 on May 3rd.

2) #6-seeds in NFL conference championship games (all on road):
— 2005: Steelers (+3) W34-17 @ Denver
— 2008: Eagles (+3.5) L25-32 @ Arizona
— 2008: Ravens (+6) L14-23 @ Pittsburgh
— 2010: Packers (-3.5) W21-14 @ Chicago
— 2010: Jets (+4) L19-24 at Pittsburgh
— 2019: Titans (+7.5) @ Kansas City

1) I don’t give a rat’s ass about the royal family, unless they’re talking about some relative of Whit Merrifield.

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Tuesday’s 6-pack
Odds to win the 2020 college football title:
+200: Clemson
+255: Ohio State
+700: Alabama
+750: Georgia
+800: Georgia
+2000: Notre Dame

Tweet of the Day:
“I bet on my own team to win. That’s what I did in a nutshell. I was wrong, but I didn’t taint the game. I didn’t try to steal any games. I never voted against my team. I bet on my team every night because that’s the confidence that I had in my players. And I was wrong. But this (Astros’ situation) is a little different. It’s a lot different, actually, and I think that’s why the commissioner came down so hard.”
Pete Rose

Wednesday’s quiz
When Pete Rose first came up to the major leagues, what position did he play?

Tuesday’s quiz
Seven Super Bowls have been played in the Superdome.

Monday’s quiz
Steelers beat Seattle 21-10 the one time Bill Cowher won a Super Bowl as a coach.

Posted onJanuary 15, 2020
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Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……
13) It is mid-January; usually MLB Network has to stretch to find interesting things to talk about. This week? Not so much.

Tuesday night, Red Sox told manager Alex Cora to take a hike, as a result of sign-stealing that has gone on the last few years. Apparently Cora was involved, both in Houston and Boston.

12) So right now, the Astros/Red Sox managing jobs are open, less than a month before spring training starts. Houston also needs a general manager.

11) Minnesota Twins signed 3B Josh Donaldson to a 4-year, $92M deal, which surprised the hell out of me. Donaldson turned 34 last month, had major injury issues two of last three years.

Where do the Braves go for a 3B now? Riley? Camargo? Trade for Kris Bryant? Arenado?

10) Cleveland Browns introduced their new coach Kevin Stefnaski Tuesday; he mentioned that he already talked to Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham.

Stark contrast to Dallas, where Mike McCarthy said at this press conference that he hadn’t talked to Dak Prescott yet. Why? Isn’t that kind of important?

9) Best college football teams against the spread this season (all 10-3 ATS):
Kentucky, Navy, Oklahoma State

8) More baseball stuff:
— Phillies claimed outfielder Nick Martini off waivers from Reds, DFA’d OF Odubel Herrera.

7) SEC football teams went 9-2 in postseason; LSU led the country in scoring, first SEC team to do that since Florida in 1996.

6) This didn’t take long: LSU’s passing game coordinator, 30-year old Joe Brady, is off to the NFL- he’ll be the new offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.

5) Joe Burrow’s dad Jimmy was a 2-time CFL All-Star as a DB, playing mostly for the Montreal Alouettes; he was also c0-defensive coordinator at Iowa State, in 1994.

4) This showed up on my Twitter feed Tuesday night; pro wrestler George (the Animal) Steele was also a Math teacher in Detroit. Just thought you’d like to know

3) Clemson 79, Duke 72:
— Clemson beat UNC over weekend, now this.
— Why do the BLUE Devils were black uniforms?
— Duke played on ESPN but Jay Bilas did the Kansas game? Wow.

2) Decent amount of people worked overtime Tuesday:
— Louisville 73, Pitt 68 OT— Cardinals scored last 7 points in regulation.
— Villanova 79, DePaul 75 OT— DePaul ended regulation on a 12-1 run.
— LSU 89, Texas A&M 85 OT— Been a happy week so far in Baton Rouge.

1) Only one player was mentioned by name in the commissioner’s report on the Astros’ sign stealing: Carlos Beltran.

Beltran spent the last year of his career with the ’17 Astros and won a World Series ring; he was named manager of the Mets this winter, but now may never get to manage a game. Hard to believe he gets to keep his job, with Hinch/Cora already hitting the road.

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Thursday’s 6-pack
Six of the best 3-point shooting teams in country:
— Saint Mary’s 40.7%
— South Dakota 40.5%
— Northeastern 40.3%
— Marquette 39.9%
— Georgia State 39.8%
— Air Force 39.6%

Tweet of the Day:
“He said you are a first-round pick… you’re what NFL teams are looking for. … It blindsided me, because basketball was my life.”
Antonio Gates, on what then-Michigan State coach Nick Saban told him during the recruiting process. Gates played basketball, not football at Kent State, but played 16 years in the NFL

Thursday’s quiz
Vince Lombardi left the Green Bay Packers after the 1967 season; he coached another NFL team after that, for only one (1969) season. Which team?

Wednesday’s quiz
When Pete Rose first came up to the major leagues, he played second base.

Tuesday’s quiz
Seven Super Bowls have been played in the Superdome.

Posted onJanuary 16, 2020
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Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……
13) The Mike Miller who coaches the Knicks these days isn’t the Mike Miller who played in the NBA; he’s taken a much more circular route to being an NBA head coach:
1989-90— ass’t coach, Western Illinois
1990-91— ass’t coach, Sam Houston State
1991-94— ass’t coach, Texas State
1994-2000— head coach, Texas State
2000-05— ass’t coach, Kansas State
2005-12— head coach, Eastern Illinois
2012-13— ass’t coach, Cal-Riverside
2013-15— ass’t coach, Austin Spurs (G-League)
2015-19— head coach, Westchester Knicks
2019-20— ass’t coach/interim HC, New York Knicks

Miller’s 1997 Texas State team made the NCAA tournament.

12) Alabama 83, Auburn 64— Crimson Tide hands its rival their first loss of the season, which leaves San Diego State as the last unbeaten team in the country. Auburn shot 31.7% from the floor; Alabama went 29-37 on the foul line.

11) Whoever manages the Red Sox this coming season will be their fifth manager in ten years; for a team thats who two World Series with only two losing years during that time, why do they change managers so much?

10) Rutgers 59, Indiana 50— Scarlet Knights haven’t been to the NCAA tournament since 1991; they’re 13-4 right now, are ranked in top 30 and appear headed to being a great story a couple months from now. Rutgers has the #6 eFG% defense in country.

9) Colorado State 105, New Mexico 72— Rams made 18 of their first 27 3-pointers.

New Mexico is down two players, one of whom got tossed for a DUI, another who has been suspended but not charged with anything— he is suing the school. No bueno.

8) Stanford 74, UCLA 59— Bruins lost six of their last seven games; they got ripped on the radio postgame show, by their coach, Mick Cronin. Stanford is one of the quietest 15-2 teams in the history of the world- they were picked to finish 10th in the Pac-12 last fall.

7) UCLA also has 12 football players in the transfer portal; that seems like a lot.

6) College basketball upsets:
— Northwestern State (+12.5) 73, Nicholls State 72
— Hartford (+7.5) 68, Stony Brook 65
— South Carolina (+6.5) 81, Kentucky 78
— Seton Hall (+5) 78, Butler 70
— Temple (+4.5) 65, Wichita State 53
5) Seton Hall 78, Butler 70— Pirates were down 10 at the half, outscored Butler 48-30 in second half, as they won their 7th game in a row, handing Butler their 2nd loss of season.

4) NFL stuff:
— Chicago Bears hired Bill Lazor to serve as their next offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo as their new QB coach.
— Washington Redskins named Ken Zampese their new QB coach.
— Las Vegas Raiders fired DL coach Brenston Buckner, replaced him with 70-year old Rod Marinelli, who had been the DC in Dallas.

3) Air Force 85, Boise State 78— Boise coach Leon Rice got tossed in the first half; that doesn’t happen a lot in college ball. Boise lost three of its last four games, allowing 83+ points in all three losses.

2) Florida State 54, Virginia 50— Seminoles won their last eight games, are 5-1 in ACC, while slumping Virginia lost its third game in row, scoring 52.7 ppg. Cavaliers are 11-5, dropping like a rock, and look like a bubble team, at best.

1) Orlando 119, Lakers 118— Markelle Fultz had a triple-double as the Magic ended the Lakers’ 9-game win streak. Orlando stays in LA and faces the Clippers tonight.
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» Fri Jan 17, 2020 

Friday’s 6-pack
Teams that rely the least on 3-point shots:
353) Cleveland State 16% of their points on 3’s
T349) Kentucky 20%
348) Indiana 20.1%
346) Illinois 20.2%
345) Sacramento State 20.8%
344) Southern Miss 20.9%

Tweet of the Day:
“The number one question I’ve gotten is how’s the weather. What attracted me here is not the weather it’s the climate. The Cougar climate. The passion that I’ve seen since I’ve stepped in to this city and this campus.”
Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich

Friday’s quiz
Which Division I college basketball program plays its home games in Stockton, CA?

Thursday’s quiz
Vince Lombardi left the Green Bay Packers after the 1967 season; he coached another NFL team after that, for only one season, the Washington Redskins in 1969.

Wednesday’s quiz
When Pete Rose first came up to the major leagues, he played second base.

Posted onJanuary 17, 2020
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Friday’s List of 13: Random stuff with weekend here……
13) Pelicans 138, Jazz 132 OT— Utah’s 10-game win streak ends in New Orleans, where the Jazz franchise started out a long time ago. Brandon Ingram scored 49 points for the Pelicans.

12) Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is first cousins with the great David Thompson, who led NC State to the national basketball title in 1974.

11) Mets gave manager Carlos Beltran the boot, before he ever managed a game in New York. Never knew that banging on garbage cans could be such an expensive activity.

10) Tim Hudson pitched in the major leagues for 17 years, winning 222 games; now he is going back to his alma mater Auburn to be the Tigers’ pitching coach.

Guys like Hudson made a fortune playing ball (Hudson made $121M+), but now they need something that gets them out of bed every day. Coaching college kids should be fun.

9) Western Kentucky 71, Old Dominion 69— Hilltoppers trailed by 12 with 3:30 left but rallied for the unlikely win; WKU outscored the Monarchs 24-11 on foul line.

8) Colorado 68, Arizona State 61— Solid road win for the 14-3 Buffaloes; this was Colorado’s first win in last seven visits to Tempe.

7) Washington State replaced Mike Leach as football coach with Hawai’i coach Nick Rolovich, who went 28-27 in four years coaching the Rainbow Warriors.

6) College basketball upsets:
— High Point (+13.5) 68, NC-Asheville 66
— Washington State (+9.5) 72, Oregon 61
— Northern Arizona (+8.5) 75, Southern Utah 72
— Charleston Southern (+7.5) 77, Campbell 62
— Charlotte (+6) 77, Marshall 75
— Stetson (+6) 54, North Alabama 49
— Detroit (+6) 90, Milwaukee 84

5) Laurent Hurtubise, who was born with one arm, got a hole-in-one on the 151-yard par-3 4th hole at the pro-am event at the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, CA. Pretty cool.

4) Win a bar bet: Comedian Bob Hope hosted the Academy Awards 16 times, more than anyone else has. Hope also owned a small part of the Cleveland Indians.

3) If Kellen Moore is still going to call plays for the Cowboys, why did they fire Jason Garrett?

2) Baylor Bears hired former LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as their new head coach, so in three days, LSU has already lost its DC and QB coach, not to mention Joe Burrow and seven undergraduates to the NFL.

In other words, LSU’s coaches aren’t getting to enjoy the national title yet; they’re working their butts off recruiting for the next three weeks.

1) I-AA Missouri State hired Bobby Petrino as its football coach this week; Petrino is a very good coach, but some off-field decisions have sabotaged his career.

He is 160-65 as a college coach, but while at Arkansas he wrecked his motorcycle while his girlfriend was riding it with him, which didn’t sit well in the conservative south, or with his wife.

He was 3-10 coaching the Atlanta Falcons, and quit before this first year there was over, so he can’t go back to the NFL, but he was also Lamar Jackson’s college coach, which carries some weight.
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4 hours ago, Senor Ballistico said:

The number one question I’ve gotten is how’s the weather. What attracted me here is not the weather it’s the climate. The Cougar climate. The passion that I’ve seen since I’ve stepped in to this city and this campus.”
Washington State football coach Nick Rolovich

Yeah, just wait till he spends an entire winter out there on the Palouse. He'll be singing a different tune.

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 Armadillo  NFL

2019 NFL playoffs
Last four seasons, underdogs are 9-6-1 ATS in this round of playoffs.

49ers are in playoffs for first time in seven years; they went 3-2 in last five regular season games, with the three wins by total of 10 points- SF is 3-4-1 ATS as a home favorite TY. Over is 7-2-1 in their last ten games. Cousins got his first playoff win LW; this is Garoppolo’s first playoff game. Minnesota is 5-4 SU on road TY- they’re 2-2 ATS as a road underdog. Vikings are 8-1 TY when they allow 20 or fewer points, 3-5 when they allow more. Over is 8-4 in their last 12 games. Minnesota played in NFC title game two years ago, when Keenum was their QB. Home side won last four Viking-49er games; Minnesota lost nine of last ten road games in this series, with last win here in ’07. Vikings beat SF 24-16 at home LY. Last six years, #1 seeds are 11-1 SU in this round, 7-5 ATS.

Tennessee is 8-3 TY with Tannehill at QB; they won their last four road games, scoring 32 ppg. Titans are 6-3 SU on road TY; they’re 3-2 ATS as a road underdog. Eight of their last ten games went over. Tennessee is in playoffs for only 2nd time in last 11 years. Last week was Tannehill’s first playoff game; he went 8-15/72 passing, but the Titans won in Foxboro, running for 200+ yards. Baltimore won its last ten games after a 2-2 start; they’re in playoffs for 8th time in 12 years- last time they got by this round was 2012. Baltimore is 2-4 ATS as a home favorite TY. LW was Jackson’s first playoff game; Ravens have run for 200+ nine times TY, including last three games in row. Ravens-Titans split last ten meetings; Titans haven’t been to Baltimore in five years. Last six years, #1 seeds are 11-1 SU in this round, 7-5 ATS.

Houston has never been past this round, going 0-3 in their history. Texans rallied back from a 17-3 deficit, upset the Chiefs 31-24 (+3.5) at Arrowhead in Week 6; Houston had 35 first downs, outgained KC 472-309 and didn’t punt- they had three turnovers, missed a FG. Texans allowed 30+ points in five of its six losses; they’re 5-2 ATS as a road underdog TY. Three of their last four games stayed under total. Chiefs won their last six games (under 5-1), four by 10+ points; they’re 3-2-1 ATS this year as a home favorite. You’re reading armadillosports.com. KC held three of its last four opponents under 280 yards. Chiefs are in playoffs of fifth year in row, losing AFC title game at home LY; over last five years, #2 seeds are 3-6-1 ATS in this round.
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Saturday’s 6-pack
NBA teams that sold the most team merchandise last year:
6) Golden State
5) Milwaukee
4) Toronto
3) Philadelphia
2) Boston
1) Lakers

Quote of the Day:
“I don’t understand why in sports they try to marginalize it. They try to make you pick one and I get it, but we’ll see. I think it would be fun. Right now, though, I’m just focused on football.”
Cardinals’ QB Kyler Murray; I’m sure Arizona was thrilled to see this

Saturday’s quiz
76ers’ Ben Simmons played one year of college basketball; where dd he play?

Friday’s quiz
Pacific Tigers of the WCC play their home games in Stockton, CA.

Thursday’s quiz
Vince Lombardi left the Green Bay Packers after the 1967 season; he coached another NFL team after that, for only one season, the Washington Redskins in 1969.

Posted onJanuary 17, 2020
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Saturday’s Den: Doing some studying for the NCAA tournament……
Did some research today, which means:
a) It was really cold out.
b) There weren’t any good movies on TV.

I looked at the 40 teams who made the Elite 8 over the last five years, trying to find any common threads to teams who got to a regional final.

I’ll pull this list out the day after the brackets come out and see if we can identify a team or two that could surprise and make the Final Four. Here is what I found:

13) 2017 South Carolina is one of the weirdest Final Four teams ever; they started season 8-0, but went 12-6 in the SEC, lost their first SEC tourney game. On Selection Sunday, Gamecocks had lost six of their last nine games, but they got a 7-seed, so they were comfortably in the field of 68, but no one was picking them to advance very far.

Carolina’s eFG% was #304, which is bad (there are 353 teams); their experience was #233, but they played great defense (#15 eFG%) and were #5 in forcing turnovers.

It is South Carolina’s only NCAA appearance since 2004, and they made the Final Four.

12) Over the last five years, 16 of 40 teams (40%) who made the Elite 8 won their conference tournament; 8 of the 40 teams (20%) lost their first conference tourney game.

11) 32 of the 40 teams (80%) were in the KenPom top 20 on Selection Sunday; last year, all eight of the Elite Eight were in the top 15.

10) Strong defense is important; 24 of 40 teams (60%) were in top 50 in top 50 of eFG% rankings (FG% where a 3-pointer counts as 1.5 hoops).

9) Forcing turnovers? Not as important. Only 8 of 40 Elite 8 teams (20%) were teams that ranked in top 50 in forcing turnovers. Teams that do well in that category are generally bully teams who beat up on stiffs, but in March, there aren’t too many stiffs still playing.

8) Three of last four years, a team that went 9-9 in conference play but made the Elite 8:
— 2016 Syracuse, a 10-seed
— 2017 Xavier, an 11-seed
— 2018 Florida State, a 9-seed

7) Getting easy baskets is important; 22 of 40 Elite 8 teams (55%) ranked in top 50 in eFG% on offense; 53 of 60 teams (88.3%) were in the top 100.

6) How important is experience? Not so much. Talent means more.

Only 6 of 40 Elite 8 teams (15%) were in the top 100 in experience; the most talented teams have kids who bolt school early.
5) You can make the case that continuity is more important than actual experience; maybe a team has a nucleus of sophomores who played together for two years.

12 of 40 Elite 8 teams (30%) were in top 100 in minutes continuity.

4) Does playing a hard non-conference schedule help you in March, Unless your name is Mark Few, not really.

Only 5 of 40 Elite 8 teams (12.5%) had a non-conference schedule that ranked in the top 50 nationally. Teams from the bigger leagues pad their power ratings with conference games; they pad their W-L record with pre-conference wins.

8 of 40 Elite 8 teams (20%) had a non-conference schedule outside the top 200.

3) As for overall strength of schedule, 33 of 40 teams (82.5%) ranked in the top 40- teams like 2019 Auburn, 2018 Kansas State, 2017 Oklahoma made the Elite 8 from Power 5 leagues, with Big East being the 6th Power 5 league.

2017 Xavier had a 5-game losing skid in February; 2018 Texas Tech had a 4-game skid.

2) How about teams who get a lot of their points outside the arc?

Only 10 of 60 Elite 8 teams (16.7%) ranked in the top 100, as far as getting their points on 3-point shots. 21 of 40 teams (52.5%) ranked outside the top 200 in that category.

1) Depth seems to be incredibly overrated; TV timeouts are longer in March and while I can’t prove it, I’m pretty sure refs call fewer fouls in March.

Only 6 of 40 Elite 8 teams ranked in the top 100 in bench minutes; 10 of 60 teams (16.7%) ranked outside the top 200.

Like I said, we’ll put this article out on March 16 as we examine the brackets.

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Sunday’s 6-pack
ACC basketball standings:
6-1— Florida State, Louisville
5-2— Duke
4-3— NC State, Syracuse, Virginia, Va Tech
3-3— Boston College
3-4— Clemson, Pitt
3-5— Georgia Tech
2-4— Notre Dame
2-5— Miami
1-5— North Carolina, Wake Forest

Quote of the Day:
“It’s just a first-class organization. You think about the history and tradition of the New York Giants franchise and what the Mara’s have built and what the Tisches have built, and all the great teams, all the great coaches, all the great players who have been a part of this organization throughout this history. When you’re a player in this organization like I was for four years, you feel that.”
Jason Garrett

Sunday’s quiz
Sean Payton, Tony Romo, Mike Shanahan and Tony Garoppolo all went to the same college; which one?

Saturday’s quiz
76ers’ Ben Simmons played one year of college basketball, at LSU.

Friday’s quiz
Pacific Tigers of the WCC play their home games in Stockton, CA.

Posted onJanuary 19, 2020
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Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports Saturday
13) Oregon 64, Washington 61 OT— Ducks stole this game in Seattle; Payton Pritchard hit a long 3-pointer with 0:03.4 left in OT to win a game that they trailed xx-xx with x:xx left.

Any time Bill Raftery yells “ONIONS!!!” you know it was a hell of a shot.

12) Louisville 79, Duke 73— Six losses this week by the top 5 teams in the country, first time that has happened in 22 years. Louisville was much the best in this game, but David Johnson hurt his shoulder late in the game.

11) USC 82, Stanford 78 OT— Cardinal was up 20 at the half, led by 5 and had the ball with 0:15 left, but they turned ball over on consecutive inbound plays, and game went to OT. Trojans outscored Stanford 27-8 on foul line.

10) Florida State 83, Miami 79 OT— Seminoles were down 9 with 4:46 left, rallied for the win, their ninth in a row. Miami lost for 4th time in its last five games.

9) Kentucky 73, Arkansas 66— John Calipari got tossed with 8:18 left and score tied; Wildcats

8) Arizona 75, Colorado 54— Arizona freshman big man Zeke Nnaji is also a 6-11 concert pianist, an interesting combination of skills.

7) Upsets:
— Northern Arizona (+10.5) 64, Northern Colorado 58
— Eastern Kentucky (+9.6) 92, Tennessee State 88
— Hampton (+9) 88, NC-Asheville 86
— NC-Wilmington (+8) 76, Northeastern 74 OT
— Arkansas State (+8) 80, Coastal Carolina 75
— Stetson (+8) 64, Jacksonville 59
— Troy (+7.5) 75, Georgia State 65
— Louisville (+7) 79, Duke 73

6) Houston 65, Wichita State 54— Cougars won eight of their last nine games, with experience team #285. Kelvin Sampson is one of the best coaches in the country.

5) Florida 69, Auburn 47— Rough week for the Tigers, who lost at Alabama/Florida after coming into the week as one of two unbeaten squads in the country.

4) Alabama 88, Missouri 74— Crimson Tide wins for 8th time in last 11 games; Mizzou shot 31.1% from floor, but went 31-31 on foul line, which deserves a mention.
3) Maryland 57, Purdue 50— Terps ran out to a 25-8 lead, then hung on for dear life, as they break a 2-game skid. Purdue loses for third time in last four games. Teams combined to make only 10-41 on the arc in this brickfest.

2) One of the weird aspects of modern basketball is when a kid gets the ball around the foul line and he isn’t guarded, the kid almost never looks to take that jumper. He might drive, but most times he looks really uneasy, like “…..we haven’t practiced this.”

Because of analytics, 12-15 foot jumpers are frowned upon, lot of teams preach taking only 3’s and layups. and more and more, the 12-15 foot shot is readily available in today’s game.

1) Remember the Mattress Guy from Houston who bet so much money on the Astros to win the World Series last year? He s betting $1M on the Titans’ money line in the AFC Championship game at Kansas City today. Must be nice to be rich.

Earlier this week, another rich guy gave Vanderbilt’s basketball program $5M; wow.

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Monday’s 6-pack
Pac-12 basketball standings:
4-1— USC, Stanford
4-2— Oregon
3-2— Arizona, Colorado
3-3— Washington State
2-3— Arizona State, California, UCLA
2-4— Oregon State, Washington
1-4— Utah

Tweet of the Day:
“Idk y men go to bars to meet women? Go to Target. The female to male ratio is 10 to 1 and they’re already looking for things they don’t need.”
Mike Leach, Mississippi State’s new football coach

Monday’s quiz
Who did the Chiefs play, the last time they were in a Super Bowl?

Sunday’s quiz
Sean Payton, Tony Romo, Mike Shanahan, Brad Childress and Tony Garoppolo all went to the same college, Eastern Illinois.

Saturday’s quiz
76ers’ Ben Simmons played one year of college basketball, at LSU.

Posted onJanuary 20, 2020
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Monday’s Den: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….
13) Chiefs 35, Titans 24:
— Mahomes’ 27-yard TD run with 0:11 left in first half is one of the great runs in playoff history.
— Tennessee’s first three drives: 32 plays, 191 yards, 14 first downs, 17 points.
— Tennessee for rest of game: 27 plays, 111 yards, 6 first downs, 7 points.

12) 49ers 37, Packers 20— Ugly, one-sided game; 49ers ran ball for 285 yards, led 27-0 at the half. Garoppolo threw only eight passes the whole game (6-8/77 yards).

11) They said on ESPN2 Friday night that last year, 29.1% of returning college basketball players wound up transferring- thats a staggering number, one that goes a long way to explain why the quality of play in college hoop is way down. Total lack of continuity, lot of kids sitting out.

10) Three of the four NFL teams who played Sunday didn’t make the playoffs last year.

9) Clemson’s star RB Travis Etienne surprisingly passed on entering the 2020 NFL Draft to return for senior year with the Tigers- he must like college. Lot of pundits had him listed as the best running back in this year’s draft.

8) Before Sunday, last time the Chiefs beat Tennessee was six years ago; Alex Smith was Kansas City’s QB, while Ryan Fitzpatrick.started for the Titans.

7) Dayton 78, Saint Louis 76 OT— Had great fun watching this game Friday night, an excellent game with two good teams. Kid on Dayton drained a 3 with less than a second left- the Flyers will be a very, very popular (too popular??) sleeper team in March.

Dayton led for only 5:18 of this 45:00 game.

6) Jason Garrett signed on to become the Giants’ OC, which adds intrigue to next year’s Dallas-Giant games.

5) There is language in Kyler Murray’s rookie contract with the Arizona Cardinals that forbids him from taking part in any baseball-related activities, but he is talking like he still wants to try it someday. Oy.

4) Omar Vizquel played in the major leagues for 24 years, for six different teams; he was a good fielder, made it to three All-Star Games, but had a career .688 OPS. Not once in all the times I saw Vizquel play did I think, “Hey, this guy could be in the Hall of Fame someday.”

But now Vizquel is on some writers’ ballots for the Hall of Fame. Amazing.

3) Davidson doesn’t have a graduate school, so they can’t poach grad transfers the way a lot of other D-I basketball programs do.

2) Philip Rivers and his family are moving to Florida; Tom Brady is moving away from Boston, will listen to other teams in the free agent market. NFL could look an awful lot different when next season starts.

1) Opening line on the Super Bowl: Chiefs, -1 (53)

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Tuesday’s 6-pack
Big 14 basketball standings:
6-1— Michigan State
5-2— Illinois, Rutgers
4-3— Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Wisconsin
4-4— Minnesota
3-4— Penn State, Purdue
2-4— Michigan
2-5— Nebraska, Ohio State
1-6— Northwestern

Quote of the Day:
“…..I really believe this. I think there’s more guys concerned with getting a pregame fit on Instagram than they are worrying about the win and loss of a basketball game. I stand by that statement.”
JJ Redick

Tuesday’s quiz
Where did Trailblazers’ star Damian Lillard play his college ball?

Monday’s quiz
Chiefs beat Minnesota 23-7 the last time they were in a Super Bowl, 50 yeas ago

Sunday’s quiz
Sean Payton, Tony Romo, Mike Shanahan, Brad Childress and Tony Garoppolo all went to the same college, Eastern Illinois.

Posted onJanuary 21, 2020
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Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….
13) This from VISN, the terrific Las Vegas-based radio station, with regards to betting on over/under win totals in baseball:

If you add up all the season win totals for MLB teams at William Hill books, it comes to 2,457 wins.

One small problem; there are only 2,430 baseball games in a season, so they’ve basically inflated each team’s total by one win.

Sharp bettors turn this in their favor by emphasizing under plays. Just a thought.

12) Rutgers is ranked 24th in the AP basketball poll this week, first time the Scarlet Knights have been in the top 25 since 1979, when ESPN didn’t exist yet and I had a full head of hair.

11) CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein said something over the weekend that was probably true, and also a little disappointing; “The day of mid-majors building programs is over”

Someone in the game he was covering was a transfer from North Texas, usually an also-ran in Conference USA; when a team like North Texas gets its players poached by the bigger $$ teams, all they can hope for is to catch lightning in a bottle now and then to make the NCAA’s, and that is too bad.

10) You know the NFC title game sucked when Las Vegas oddsmakers posted Super Bowl odds at halftime of Sunday’s game in Santa Clara. Not many conference title games are 27-0 at the half.

9) Golfer Andrew Landry won the PGA event in LaQuinta this weekend, after blowing a six-stroke lead on the back nine Sunday; it was his second PGA Tour win.

In Landry’s five outings prior to this weekend, he won $0, as in five missed cuts in a row; now he is exempt thru 2022, and will be in the tournament of Champion at Kapalua next January, plus The Masters in April.

91 golfers have already qualified for The Masters; 87 players were in LY’s field.

8) Interesting bit of strategy for Villanova Saturday; coming out of a TV timeout with 7:42 left in a 43-43 game with UConn, Villanova came out with five guards on the floor, in order to defend better. Wildcats eventually won a sluggish game 61-55 against a UConn team they’ll be Big East rivals with once again next season.

7) There will be scapegoats; Houston Texans lost 51-31 in the playoffs at Kansas City, and now word comes that DC Romeo Crennel is done with the Texans.

72-year old Crennel has been a football coach for 50 years, the last 39 in the NFL; he’s been head coach in Cleveland, Kansas City. Now his career may be over after one cruddy game. Go figure.

6) Miami Hurricanes landed transfer QB D’Eriq King from Houston.

Former Florida Gators QB Feleipe Franks transfers to another SEC team, Arkansas.

5) Home teams won 41 of the first 48 Big 14 conference games this season, but ACC home teams are only 22-29 SU. Go figure.

4) When UNLV beat New Mexico 99-78 Saturday night, Marvin Coleman became the first Rebel player in 21 years to post a triple-double. Mark Dickel got the last one one against Mississippi Valley State on November 19, 1999. Coleman came to UNLV as a walk-on, but has a scholarship now. UNLV started Mountain West play 6-1, but their schedule has been soft do far.

3) Pelicans 126, Grizzlies 116— Last 11 New Orleans game went over the total; Wednesday is their next game, with Zion Williamson making his NBA debut. Is Williamson going to slow the Pelicans down? He is going to take 20:00 or so away from someone; will they run as much?

2) Baylor 61, Oklahoma 57— Bears improve to 16-1, 6-0 in Big X play.

1) Celtics 139, Lakers 107— This was the 29th time Kemba Walker played against Lebron James, but the first time his team won. Longest-such streak in NBA history? Sherman Douglas went 0-30 against Michael Jordan.

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Wednesday’s 6-pack
Some early Super Bowl prop bets at SouthPoint:
— Kansas City’s team total: 27
— San Francisco’s team total: 26.5
— Will game go to OT? No -$800, Yes +$550
— Will there be a successful 2-point conversion? No -$240, yes +$200
— First half line: Chiefs, -0.5 (-$115), 26.5
— Second half line: pick ‘em, 26.5

Quote of the Day:
“I had a cheeseburger and went to bed.”
Andy Reid, on how he celebrated the Chiefs’ AFC title

Wednesday’s quiz
Which Hall of Fame baseball player was a guard for San Diego State’s basketball team in the late 70’s/early 80’s?

Tuesday’s quiz
Damian Lillard played his college ball at Weber State

Monday’s quiz
Chiefs beat Minnesota 23-7 the last time they were in a Super Bowl, 50 yeas ago

Posted onJanuary 22, 2020
Leave a commenton Wednesday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day
Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings……
13) LSU 84, Florida 82— Almost an epic collapse by the Bayou Bengals, who led 79-69 with 1:15 left in the game. Florida ran an out-of-bounds under play with 0:00.5 left and got an easy layup that would’ve tied the score, but it was ruled to come a split-second too late.

12) 2017 draft:
— Chicago Bears traded up to the #2 spot, giving up two 3rd-round picks an a 4th-round pick to move up one place to take QB Mitch Trubisky with the #2 pick. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes was picked #10, Deshaun Watson was picked #12.


11) Most people seem eager to bet the over in the Super Bowl. So if you like the under, wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait a while, hoping the total goes up and you get a better number?

10) LF Marcell Ozuna signs a one-year, $18M deal with the Braves, who also signed Felix Hernandez to a minor league deal. Ozuna went 9-for-21 against Atlanta in the playoffs LY, while he was playing for the Cardinals.
9) Sounds like the Jaguars are going to hire Jay Gruden as their next offensive coordinator; lot of former Redskin coaches all over the NFL.

8) There is a woman named Red Panda who performs at halftime of basketball games; she balances plates on her head while riding a unicycle. Her act is very popular nationwide.

How do you start doing that? How long do you have to practice before you’re good at it? Have other people tried and given up because they broke too many dishes?

7) Basketball upsets:
— Texas A&M (+9) 66, Missouri 64
— Illinois (+5.5) 79, Purdue 62
— Northern Illinois (+4) 76, Kent State 69
— TCU (+2.5) 65, Texas Tech 54

6) Evansville fired basketball coach Walter McCarty after a sexual misconduct investigation; this comes two months after the Purple Aces won at Kentucky.

Evansville announced Todd Lickliter as its new head coach; he signed a multi-year deal and will coach the Purple Aces against Drake tonight. Good move to hire a new coach quickly, or else the current players might jump ship to other programs.

5) ESPN’s obsession with Zion Williamson is baffling; he seems like a good kid, but he played at Duke last year, they didn’t make the Final Four. He gets treated like he is this generation’s version of Kareem, Jordan or Lebron. Not really sure why.

4) Random fact: former NFL QB Elvis Grbac is the football coach at Villa Angela-St. Joseph HS in the Cleveland area. It is interesting to see what retired players in their post-playing lives.

3) Quote of the Day part 2, from Texas alum TJ Ford:
“It’s very disappointing and disheartening to watch the direction Texas Longhorn has now taken. I’ve never witnessed a blowout of this magnitude in BIG12 play like tonight.”

He was talking about the Longhorns getting drubbed at West Virginia Saturday.

2) Was considering going to Las Vegas for the NFL Draft, but decided against it; draft is better on TV, where you can see everything. Draft will be far flung all over the Strip and downtown; will be ton of extra people in town. Hotels are jacking prices up; and since I’m not a great people person to begin with, I’ll take a pass.

Having the red carpet on a stage on the lake in front of Bellagio should be quite a sight.

1) My only comment on the baseball Hall of Fame voting is that I am amazed more than half the voters (52.6%) picked Omar Vizquel as a Hall of Famer. Very good player, not a great player. To get in the Hall of Fame, think you had to be a great player.

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Thursday’s 6-pack
— Virginia Tech 78, North Carolina 77 2OT— Tar Heels lost 9 of last 11 games.
— Tulsa 80, Memphis 40— Ugly road loss for the 14-4 Tigers.
— Southern Illinois 68, Northern Iowa 66— Upset win for the Salukis.
— Binghamton 83, Stony Brook 79— Bearcats were a 17-point underdog.
— Penn State 72, Michigan 63— Wolverines are 4-7 in their last 11 games.
— Sierra Canyon HS’s basketball team has flown over 38,000 miles this year; sons of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade are on that team.

Quote of the Day:
“That’s something that I’m still trying to figure out right now as we speak. I mean, I don’t understand that because you’re there. You have an opportunity to go to play in a Super Bowl. And for that to happen, it’s extremely … it’s bothersome. We have to look at ourselves, everybody. I’m going to look inside of myself and see why weren’t our players playing with their hair on fire. I think everybody in our organization has to do that.”
Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur

Thursday’s quiz
Where did Shaquille O’Neal play his college basketball?

Wednesday’s quiz
Tony Gwynn was a guard for San Diego State’s basketball team in the late 70’s/early 80’s.

Tuesday’s quiz
Damian Lillard played his college ball at Weber State

Posted onJanuary 22, 2020
Leave a commenton Thursday’s 6-pack, Quote, Quiz of the Day
Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……
13) Dallas Cowboys hiring a new coach could help fast track Dak Prescott’s contract situation, because Prescott can’t participate in an off-season workout program unless he is under contract, which he isn’t right now.

When you have a new coach, the off-season program is more important than usual. Helps to have the quarterback there, ya think?

12) Suspensions after the Kansas/K-State fracas Tuesday:
Kansas: Silvio De Sousa 12 games, David McCormack 2 games
Kansas State: James Love 8 games, Antonio Gordon 3 games

11) New York Mets are expected to name Luis Rojas their next manager; Rojas was originally set to be the Mets quality control coach, same job he had last year. 38-year old Rojas is Felipe Alou’s son, so he has excellent bloodlines to be a major league skipper.

10) Disappointed that Showtime hasn’t committed to another season of the terrific show Ray Donovan; its very well done, good entertainment. If they’re smart, they’ll sign up for Season 8.

9) Phillies added four veterans to bolster their roster:
— P’s Francisco Liriano, Bud Norris, Drew Storen
— IF Neil Walker

8) Philadelphia police are investigating Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot Gritty for allegedly punching a 13-year-old kid at an event for season ticket holders. Seriously, they are.

7) Baseball stuff:
— Kansas City Royals re-signed LF Alex Gordon to a one-year, $4M deal. Gordon apparently waived his no-trade clause, which could become interesting in July.

6) Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald bought a small piece of the Phoenix Suns, joining Aaron Rodgers as NFL players who own part of an NBA franchise.

5) Hawai’i hired former Arizona State coach Todd Graham as its new football coach.

4) Eli Manning retired from the NFL Wednesday, with a career record of 117-117, 8-4 in playoff games, with two Super Bowl titles.
3) When LSU won the national title in college football, coach Ed Orgeron banked $1.775M in bonuses……..Oregon coach Mario Cristobal earned $1.175M in bonuses, and his Ducks didn’t even make it to the national playoff.

2) There have been 10 kickoff returns for TDs in the Super Bowl, no punt return TD’s.

1) Is it me, or does 397 people voting on the Hall of Fame seem excessive? If its not excessive, then I’d like a vote too— guaranteed I watch more baseball than most of the voters.

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