There is not a better time of year to be a hoops fan. Die-hards could be winning or losing a lot of money in the next few weeks with the tournament (I am already in trouble there) and fantasy playoffs going on.
Tomorrow is Selection Sunday, and while as usual my Maryland Terrapins are on the bubble (with a crucial game today against North Carolina), there are a number of teams already in the Big Dance. Check out our index of NCAA tournament teams if you need a March Madness primer. And if you really want to win big with your bracket this year, enter our $100,000 Challenge.
In NBA news, we’ve got a column up from Frank Madden on the Heat’s 21-game winning streak, and of course all the NBA news you can handle is right here:
- Pretty much a fixture in these Saturday news roundup blogs is Marc Stein’s Weekend Dime at ESPN.com. There’s a new one up today, so click through for the full piece. Here’s one interesting excerpt: “One trusted insider and faithful Weekend Dime reader, upon seeing the mention in this box last week about how some teams out there expect Monta Ellis to consider opting into the final year on his contract at $11 million next season, took strong issue with that notion and urged me to follow up with a projection that Ellis remains far more likely to opt for free agency come July. The whispers in Milwaukee have been in circulation for some time that Ellis would opt out of his contract to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, largely because of the number of teams projected to have salary-cap space this summer and the resultant ability to more than recoup that $11 million in a longer-term deal.”
- Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register has some news that may be scary to the Lakers: “After a scoreless first quarter, Bryant didn’t come back to the Lakers’ game in Indiana on Friday night because of his sprained left ankle. Bryant missed all four of his shots and has lost his man, Lance Stephenson, time after time at the other end early in the game as he struggled to move on defense. During the second quarter while on the bench, Bryant was asked something by assistant coach Chuck Person, and Bryant responded: “I can’t go.” “I just couldn’t move,” Bryant said after the game. “It’s really as simple as that. It just continued to swell and continue to get tight, and more pain, and I couldn’t put any pressure on it.” “
The Los Angeles Lakers center raised plenty of eyebrows last week after bringing up how he led a group of guys no one wanted in Orlando. Howard, of course, backtracked from the comments, stating he was misunderstood and that it was blown out of proportion. Truth be told, there really wasn’t a whole lot to misunderstand. “Guys no one else wanted” does not translate to “underdogs”. It’s that simple. Nevertheless, here is a clarification of what he meant to say, from Sam Amick of USA Today:
Happy Trade Deadline Day! There will be more deals to come before this afternoon’s deadline, and we will have all the fantasy fallout for you tomorrow morning. On Wednesday, Houston acquired rookie Thomas Robinson from the Kings, and with Patrick Patterson going the other way, T-Rob has a chance at increased minutes in a more professional organization.
Not so many years ago, I was in a few redraft fantasy leagues that banned Michael Jordan for being too dominant. First pick in the draft was such an advantage, it could decide the entire season and ruin the competitive balance. Now there are two players that good.