Monday, June 17, 2024
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We played College Football 25; Mr. Met, he’s not; NBA Draft withdrawal deadline winners, losers

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🏈 Good morning to everyone, but especially to …

EVERYONE PLANNING ON PLAYING EA SPORTS’ COLLEGE FOOTBALL 25

It’s almost here, and it’s going to be glorious. After an 11-year hiatus, EA Sports’ college football video game is returning July 19. If the trailer wasn’t enough …

  1. Maybe watch it again, because it’s amazing, and if that’s still not enough …
  2. WE GOT TO PLAY THE GAME!

By “we,” I mean Bud Elliott, and he told Cameron Salerno the game does not disappoint. Here are his overall thoughts:

  • Elliott: “The No. 1 thing that you get from this is that these guys who make the game, it’s not just another sports game they work on. They’re absolute college football nerds. They geek on every little detail. … The mantra they tried to express is that every team is somebody’s favorite team, so we want all the Division I teams that people are playing to be represented and feel special when they’re playing.”

Obviously the biggest development since the last game is NIL. And while “money” isn’t moving hands in the popular Dynasty or Road to Glory game modes, NIL will play a role.

  • Elliott: “The level of school you play as will dictate how much you can actually promise things like going to the NFL, exposure and brand — which obviously is the kind of code word for NIL. It’s a little bit more realistic. I used to take the Ohio Bobcats and run it to a national title real quick, but that’s not as easy to do because of all the different promises that recruits care about. It’s kinda cool because if you take one of those teams to a natty, and you do it in six or seven years, that’s pretty neat. It makes the game playable for longer.”

You can read the full interview here.

😊 Honorable mentions

⚾ And not such a good morning for …

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Getty Images

THE NEW YORK METS

When a player describes his own team as “the worst team in probably the whole f—ing MLB,” it’s probably safe to assume that things aren’t going well. In fact, for the Mets things are going very, very badly.

After giving up a home run to Shohei Ohtani, getting ejected and throwing his glove over the netting into the crowd, reliever Jorge López ripped his own team. When asked to clarify his comments, López didn’t exactly back down, saying he looked like the worst teammate on the league’s worst team. So … still not great!

At least his time as the worst teammate on the worst team will reportedly (and understandably) end soon. He’s expected to be designated for assignment.

The blowup came during/after a 10-3 loss to the Dodgers, a game that was tied 3-3 entering the eighth inning. With the loss, the Mets …

  • were swept by the Dodgers
  • have lost eight of their last nine
  • are an MLB-worst 7-19 in May
  • are 22-33 on the season, only better than the Rockies and Marlins in the NL.

So that’s the embarrassing side of things. Now for the plain-old bad/unlucky side.

Let’s just say there have been better days in Mets history.

😕 Not so honorable mentions

🏒 Oilers score five straight, win Game 4 to tie series

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Getty Images

The Oilers‘ offense, behind stars and unlikely heroes, finally got back on track. As a result, they’re heading back to Dallas with the series knotted at two games apiece. After falling behind 2-0 early, host Edmonton scored five straight goals, rallying for a 5-2 win over the Stars.

  • Wyatt Johnston scored 58 second into the game, and Esa Lindell tallied another under five minutes later thanks to a wild bounce off Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse.
  • Then the hosts came roaring back. Ryan McLeod — who didn’t even play in Game 3 — scored his first goal of these playoffs, roofing home a loose puck in front of the net. Evan Bouchard then rifled home a rebound to tie it at two.
  • In the second period, Mattias Janmark scored a shorthanded goal on an odd-man rush, sending the crowd into a frenzy. Fifty-one seconds later, Leon Draisaitl rocketed another past Jake Oettinger. It was a huge goal for not just Edmonton, but for Draisaitl, who had a point in each of the first 13 games this postseason but none in each of the last two contests.
  • Mattias Ekholm scored an empty-netter late to put things away.
  • After a suspect start, Stuart Skinner came up big over the final two periods.

Making matters worse for Dallas, Chris Tanev left after blocking a shot and didn’t return.

🏀 Winners, losers, new Top 25 And 1 after entry deadline

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One of the busiest days on the increasingly busy college basketball offseason calendar has come and gone: The NCAA deadline to withdraw from the NBA Draft is in the rearview. Here are the biggest comings and goings:

  • Bronny James, as expected, is staying in the NBA Draft.
  • Alex Karaban is returning to UConn, looking for a third straight national championship.
  • Pac-12 Player of the Year Caleb Love is returning to Arizona (which is now in the Big 12). His return, though, led to two Wildcat decommitments, and one of them joined arch rival Arizona State.
  • Mark Sears — one of my personal favorites in the sport — is returning to Alabama, fresh off leading the Crimson Tide to their first Final Four. Jarin Stevenson is also returning.

Three big takeaways:

First, we have winners and losers from a hugely consequential day. Alabama is undoubtedly one of the biggest winners, but we’ll get to them in a bit. Also a winner is …

  • Salerno: Wake Forest — In one of the surprising decisions of the day, Wake Forest star Hunter Sallis elected to bypass the NBA Draft to return to school for another season. The former Gonzaga forward found a home with the Demon Deacons this past season and averaged 18 points and 4.1 rebounds. Sallis immediately becomes one of the top contenders to win ACC Player of the Year. Sallis ranked No. 50 in CBS Sports’ NBA Draft Prospect Rankings.”

The Demon Deacons should be really good.

Second, back to the Crimson Tide, who climb all the way to No. 2 in Gary Parrish’s latest Top 25 And 1.

  1. Kansas (previous: 1)
  2. Alabama (9)
  3. Houston (2)
  4. North Carolina (3)
  5. UConn (4)

And finally, with the draft pool just about finalized, Travis Branham has his latest mock draft

🏀 Are rule changes behind NBA stars missing playoff games with injuries?

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USATSI

Thursday was just the second time in May we had no NBA action, and while I was missing it, I was reading up on why so many stars have missed actual games. Among the stars who missed time this postseason were Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Zion Williamson, Donovan Mitchell and Tyrese Haliburton.

That coincided with … 

  • the NBA implementing the 65-game minimum for individual honors
  • the introduction of the In-Season Tournament and NBA Cup, which led to a compressed second half of the season
  • refs allowing more physicality down the stretch

Did those changes play a role? Sam Presti is a smart man, and he wondered about the possibility. James Herbert is also a smart man, and he wrote about it.

  • Herbert: “If stars had continued to play in more games than they have in recent years, then the rule changes would look like unequivocal success stories. But that’s not what happened. … Presti repeatedly stressed that he just wanted to ‘flag’ these issues. He did not rip Adam Silver or the NBA, but he made it clear that he didn’t want the league to go from one end of the spectrum to the other when it comes to player health and wellness.”

This was a terrific look — in-depth and balanced — at what happened and what may be next.

📺 What we’re watching Thursday

🏒 Game 5: Panthers at Rangers, 8 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Game 5: Mavericks at Timberwolves, 8:30 p.m. on TNT

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