Sunday, May 19, 2024
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Warriors collapse as Nikola Jokic hits miracle game-winner; New QB1 at Ohio State?

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🏈 Good morning to everyone but especially …

WILL HOWARD AND OHIO STATE

Ohio State has its next quarterback. Will Howard has his next home. The former Kansas State signal-caller is headed to Columbus as the Buckeyes reload — and perhaps improve — under center after Kyle McCord transferred to Syracuse.

Howard threw for 24 touchdowns and ran for nine more with the Wildcats last year and had interest in the portal from USC and Miami in addition to Ohio State. With the Buckeyes, he’ll likely compete with Devin Brown for the starting job, though Howard will have one key advantage, notes Dean Straka.

  • Straka: “Howard may not be a showstopper when it comes to quarterbacks, but his presence does give coach Ryan Day a QB1 option with Power Five starting experience in 2024 — a luxury the team didn’t have last year when the choices were McCord and Brown. With a full offseason at his disposal, Howard should be well versed in Ryan Day‘s system by the time Week 1 rolls around.”

👍 Honorable mentions

😲 And not such a good morning for …

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THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS

The Warriors were cruising to their best win of the year. They ended up with one of their most soul-crushing regular-season losses not just of the year, but of the Stephen Curry era.

Nikola Jokic banked in a half-court buzzer-beater (watch it here) to lift Denver to a 130-127 win over host Golden State in a matchup of the last two NBA champions. The Nuggets finished the game on a 25-4 run over the final 6:34.

We don’t need to review every aimless offensive possession, every miss and every defensive implosion. The Warriors, now 16-18 this season and 11th in the West, just suffered an absolute backbreaker and have no one to blame but themselves, writes Colin Ward-Henninger.

  • Ward-Henninger: “What was poised to be a celebratory, potentially transformative night for the Warriors devolved into yet another jagged lump of evidence suggesting that the unparalleled mojo of the Steph Curry-Klay Thompson-Draymond Green dynasty is rapidly nearing — and perhaps past — its expiration date.”

Oh yeah, that Jokic fella isn’t half bad, either.

👎 Not-so-honorable mentions

🏈 NFL Week 18 picks

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It’s here. Week 18, in all of its glory. Sixteen games — 13 with playoff implications, three with draft implications. It starts tomorrow, first with the Steelers facing the Lamar Jackson-less Ravens, followed by a win-and-in Texans-Colts showdown. Tyler Sullivan says …

  • Sullivan: C.J. Stroud is the X-factor. He gives Houston the clear advantage at quarterback over Gardner Minshew and was solid in his return from his concussion last week against Tennessee. With the rust dusted off of him for this matchup against the Colts, he should find success against a defense that he threw for 384 yards against back in Week 2. The Texans are also 7-0 SU and ATS in their last seven divisional road games. Projected score: Texans 28, Colts 24. The pick: Texans +1

Sunday, the Packers have their own win-and-in game against the Bears. John Breech says …

  • Breech: “The Bears are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and they’ll be going into Green Bay with a rushing attack that averages 145.3 yards per game, which is the second-best in the NFL. And they’ll be going up against a Packers defense that has been horrible at stopping the run this season. The pick: Bears 30-27 over Packers

Justin Fields has made his case to be “the guy” long-term, but how about this defense?! Since Week 10, the Bears lead the league in defensive success rate. So I’m with John here.

Last week I went three for three on my picks, so we’ll try it again. In addition to Bears over Packers, I’m going …

  • Saints over Falcons
  • Jaguars over Titans

As for our experts’ picks …

Pete Prisco | Will BrinsonJohn Breech | Jordan DajaniTyler Sullivan

💰 NIL changes coming this year?

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Remember one month ago when NCAA president Charlie Baker proposed a pay-for-play plan that would revolutionize college sports and create a new subdivision of D-I schools? It may be coming sooner than you think.

According to CBS Sports insider Dennis Dodd, the NCAA will consider adopting at least part of Baker’s proposal as soon as August.

If you don’t quite remember the details, here’s a great summary from Shehan Jeyarajah.

  • Jeyarajah: “Membership in the new subdivision would be voluntary, but would require an investment of at least $30,000 per year into an educational trust fund for at least half of its total number athletes. … The football-based subdivision would be independent of the FBS and FCS dichotomy. Teams at either level are eligible to opt into the football subdivision. However, teams that opt in will ultimately be able to exist at a different level than the rest of college football. The group could decide different roster sizes, recruitment practices, transfer or NIL rules, even while competing against other members of FBS or FCS working under the existing rules.”

More details:

  • Baker’s plan would add many benefits powerhouse programs might have sought by breaking away from the NCAA, while remaining under the NCAA umbrella.
  • Athletes would be directly compensated without them being designated (or protected) as employees.
  • The educational trust fund would be in addition to scholarships.
  • The remaining FBS schools would still have access to the College Football Playoff.
  • Several top athletic directors have voiced support for the proposal.

Per Dennis’ reporting, the NCAA Council will meet in April to discuss, in June to finalize recommendations and in August to act on the recommendations — and potentially institute them by next football season. The creation of a new subdivision could come by January 2025.

There are still lots of hurdles from many sides: schools, athletic departments, student-athletes and even legal representation. But for now, it looks like Baker’s proposal could be taking steps forward, and soon.

🏀 What it’s like to play alongside Tyrese Haliburton

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“Diabolical.”

That’s how one of Tyrese Haliburton’s teammates described Haliburton’s passing to Jack Maloney. And it’s a fair way to put it. Haliburton is the NBA’s assists leader at 12.7 per game. Only six players have ever averaged a dozen assists. And it’s not just that Haliburton racks up the assist numbers. It’s the lack of turnovers, too. No one has ever averaged 12 assists with a 5.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, as Haliburton is doing currently.

Diabolical indeed.

Jack has a wonderful story on what it’s like to play alongside Haliburton, as told by his Pacers teammates. Some of my favorite descriptions?

  • “Shit, he’s artistic, man.”
  • “He makes it flashy, but it’s the right play every time.”
  • “It’s just Tyrese.”

If you didn’t catch Haliburton’s star rise during the In-Season Tournament, I’m sorry. The good news is it’s not too late. He and the Pacers host the Hawks tonight and the NBA-best Celtics tomorrow and Monday.

📺 What we’re watching this weekend

Friday

🏀 Knicks at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 9 Illinois at No. 1 Purdue (M), 9:30 p.m. on FS1
🏀 Grizzlies at Lakers, 10 p.m. on ESPN

Saturday

🏀 No. 7 Marquette at Seton Hall (M), noon on CBS Sports Network
🏀 No. 8 North Carolina at No. 16 Clemson (M), noon on ESPN2
🏀 TCU at No. 2 Kansas (M), 2 p.m. on CBS
🏈 Steelers at Ravens, 4:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN
🏀 No. 22 Ole Miss at No. 5 Tennessee (M), 6 p.m. on SEC Network
🏈 Texans at Colts, 8:15 p.m. on ABC/ESPN

Sunday

🏀 No. 3 NC State at No. 13 Virginia Tech (W), noon on ACC Network
🏀 Mississippi State at No. 1 South Carolina (W), 1 p.m. on ESPN 
🏈 Jaguars at Titans, 1 p.m. on CBS
🏈 Falcons at Saints, 1 p.m. on CBS
🏈 Buccaneers at Panthers, 1 p.m. on Fox
🏀 No. 7 LSU at Ole Miss, 3 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Cowboys at Commanders, 4:25 p.m. on Fox
🏈 Eagles at Giants, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
🏈 Bears at Packers, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
🏈 Seahawks at Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. on Fox
🏈 Bills at Dolphins, 8:20 p.m. on NBC

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