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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Troubled QB Johnny Manziel reportedly living with suspended Browns WR Josh Gordon

04.12.16 at 8:20 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Royals at Astros, 8:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
NBA: Thunder at Spurs, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Grizzlies at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Paris Saint-Germain at Manchester City, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— The Johnny Manziel saga took another twist Monday, as Broncos star Von Miller denied Manziel’s claim that they have been living together while Manziel hopes to land a job in Denver. Instead, reports emerged that Manziel actually has been staying in a Hollywood apartment with suspended Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon — who apparently failed another drug test last month.

Manziel was interviewed by a TMZ reporter outside a Hollywood nightclub over the weekend, and the former Browns quarterback said, “Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller. My brother. I’m living with him right now. We’re getting our lives together.”

Responded Miller on an Instagram post: Johnny’s not staying with me but he is my BROTHER! Like I’ve said a thousand times, I got his back no matter what!

Gordon, who was suspended for the entire 2015 season after repeated violations of the league’s substance-abuse policy, reportedly had traces of marijuana and a diluting substance in his system when he took a league-administered test in March.

Gordon applied for reinstatement in January. Per league policy, he must prove sustained abstinence during his suspension.

— Montee Ball, the former Broncos running back who briefly joined the Patriots last season, is in trouble again. The former Wisconsin star was arrested in Whitewater, Wisconsin, over the weekend for violating his bail conditions.

Ball had been ordered not to be in a bar or drink alcohol, but he was spotted at the 841 Brewhouse tavern Saturday night. When police caught up with him he was no longer in the bar and he denied drinking, but police detected an odor of alcohol on his breath. Ball refused a breathalyzer or blood test and was taken to jail. He is due back in court Tuesday afternoon.

Ball is facing two domestic violence charges made by two women.

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Read More: Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon, Montee Ball, Von Miller

Monday’s Morning Mashup: NFL mourns former Saints DE Will Smith after shooting

04.11.16 at 8:23 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Orioles at Red Sox, 2:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Pirates at Tigers, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Brewers at Cardinals, 4:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Marlins at Mets, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hornets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Hawks at Cavaliers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Kings at Suns, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)


— Shocked NFL players and executives sent out condolences Sunday after former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot to death during a confrontation after a minor car crash in New Orleans on Saturday night.

According to police and media reports, the 34-year-old Smith was driving his Mercedes when he was hit from behind by a Hummer H2. Smith exchanged words with the driver and then was shot multiple times in the back. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Smith’s wife, Racquel, was shot in the right leg and was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Hummer, 28-year-old Cardell Hayes, stayed at the scene and was arrested on a charge of second-degree murder. He did not enter a plea during a court appearance Sunday.

Hayes’ attorney said his client would plead not guilty, adding that he was “not the aggressor in terms of the behavior that happened after the accident.”

“The senseless acts of violence have to stop,” New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “Traffic accidents should not lead to someone losing their life.”

A first-round pick of the Saints out of Ohio State in 2004, Smith played nine seasons in New Orleans and ranks fourth in team history with 67.5 sacks. He was a Pro Bowler in 2006.

Tweeted Saints coach Sean Payton: Heavy Hearts w the senseless passing of our Team Capt. Will Smith. Pray for his wife’s recovery and their children.

Wrote quarterback Drew Brees: Mourning the loss of a great friend and teammate, Will Smith. Such a senseless tragedy. Please pray for Racquel and their children.

Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, a New Orleans native, indicated that he knew Hayes, who was a star high school football player a decade ago.

Tweeted Mathieu: I know that dude, he been a hating ass coward…. Never knew he’d grow up to be a killer tho…. May you get what you deserve coward.

Mathieu went on to question the influence of rap music, writing: All they have is music to influence them, and if you listen closely to music now a days, it’s brainwashing them to believe drugs and killing.

— Unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel spent last week in Southern California, and he told a reporter from the gossip website TMZ that he would like to land a job with the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos.

“Great organization,” Manziel said Saturday night during one of his many visits to a West Hollywood nightclub. “Anywhere I get picked up, bro, is a blessing. … Whatever happens, I love [football]. I want to play. That’s the team I want to go to.”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Johnny Manziel, Von Miller, Will Smith

Thinking Out Loud: Villanova’s thrilling win in NCAA championship game should be boost for basketball

04.08.16 at 5:47 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering how novelist and golf writer Dan Jenkins’ sarcastic wit can be preserved for generations to come.

— Villanova’s national title game finish wasn’t just fun for the fans, terrific for the TV audience or historic for the school. It was good for the game of basketball, and specifically for college basketball. If you missed it, you missed an event — and a finish — for the ages.

— The irony here, however, is that it might have been the best game ever missed, too. Because of Villanova’s blowout win over Oklahoma (and UNC’s pounding of Syracuse) in the semis, overall viewership dropped from a year ago. Still, they were the third- and fourth-most-watched games of this past season on cable TV.

— There was plenty of interest in the stands. More than 75,000 showed up for the semis, which is the second-highest attendance number for a Final Four.

— But was it the best championship game ever? I’m old enough to recall some pretty good ones in my 40-plus years of closely following college hoops, but certainly the Wildcats’ win over North Carolina is every bit as good as N.C. State’s Lorenzo Charles dunking Dereck Whittenburg’s missed jump shot at the buzzer to beat Houston’s famed Phi Slamma Jamma in 1983, or Nova’s shocking 66-64 win over Georgetown two years later.

— What does the win mean for the Big East? It’s hard to quantify, exactly. Respect already should have been there, having been earned over the previous 36 years of on-court play. But relevance in today’s football-crazed world? Now you’re onto something. Eight national crowns in 37 seasons means you’re doing something right for the sport, and the schools involved are also doing things the right way — for them. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

— Villanova coach Jay Wright also pointed out this past week: “I just hope the Power Five sees a value in us as a part of all of this in basketball. We want to keep up with the Power Five. We want to do everything they’re doing, just do it in basketball. I hope this gives us a place at the table because basketball is really important to all these schools.” Amen. And just sayin’.

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Report: Jets LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson will retire

04.08.16 at 10:41 am ET
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D'Brickashaw Ferguson

D’Brickashaw Ferguson

According to reports out of New York, longtime Jets left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson will retire Friday.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Ferguson is known for his durability. He did not miss a game — or even a practice — in his 10 seasons with the team, and he never appeared on the injury report. He only missed one offensive snap in his 10 years, which came on a trick play in the final game of the 2008 season when the entire offensive line was subbed out.

Ferguson’s play dropped off last season, and a Jets executive reportedly approached him last week to talk about a potential pay cut as the team attempts to clear up space to sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ferguson has a $14.1 million cap charge for 2016, and his retirement would free up $9 million for a team that had less than $1 million available.

Ferguson’s decision reportedly was not affected by the Jets’ request, as he apparently did not want to play if he could not live up to his high standards. The 32-year-old also has expressed concern about his long-term health.

“He just felt it was time,” a source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Read More: D'Brickashaw Ferguson,

Friday’s Morning Mashup: Broncos coach Gary Kubiak reportedly spoke with Johnny Manziel, preparing to draft QB

04.08.16 at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Bucks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Grizzlies at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLB: Red Sox at Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. (NESN, MLB Network; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Phillies at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
Golf: The Masters, 3 p.m. (ESPN)


Gary Kubiak

Gary Kubiak

— The Broncos’ quarterback situation remains muddled, and coach Gary Kubiak added a new wrinkle Thursday when he said Denver is preparing to select a quarterback in the upcoming draft, while rumors spread that Kubiak recently spoke to troubled former Browns QB Johnny Manziel about joining the team.

The Broncos have the 31st pick in the draft later this month, moving up one spot due to the Patriots losing their pick as part of their Deflategate punishment. Kubiak said the draft “is extremely important” as far as the quarterback position is concerned.

“It’s a good group [of QBs] and we’ll do our work on all of them,” Kubiak said, “but hopefully when we come out of the draft we’ll be a better football team at a lot of positions, not just there.”

The Broncos acquired veteran Mark Sanchez after Brock Osweiler defected to Houston last month, and 2015 seventh-round pick Trevor Siemian also is on the Denver roster. The Broncos reportedly were working on a deal to land disgruntled 49ers veteran Colin Kaepernick, but San Francisco apparently is not willing to pay a chunk of his $11.9 million salary to unload him, and Kapernick refused to accept a pay cut next year, leaving the situation on hold.

Kubiak said he does not feel a pressing need to add a veteran.

“I feel good about the two guys that we have,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. You know, you continue to move forward and try to get better, but I’m going to stay focused on Mark and Trevor right now and doing everything I can to get ready for this draft right now, which is extremely important.”

As for the Manziel rumor, The Associated Press reports that it was more of a courtesy call from Kubiak to check up on his fellow former Texas A&M quarterback rather than an attempt to lure him to Denver. However, ESPN credits two sources as saying Kubiak did discuss the possibility of Manziel eventually joining the Broncos, although his legal issues might be a problem. Manziel, who spent 10 weeks in a rehab facility last offseason, is dealing with a domestic abuse allegation that was referred by police to a grand jury in late February.

— Princeton fired lacrosse coach Chris Bates on Wednesday after he elbowed a Brown player during a game Saturday.

Early in the second half, as Brown midfielder John Yozzo-Scaperrotta was running by the Princeton sideline heading for the substitution box, Bates stepped up and pushed the player with his right elbow. Yozzo-Scaperrotta continued to run out of bounds but looked back at the coach in apparent disbelief as Bates walked away.

“Following a University review of an incident in the men’s lacrosse game at Brown on April 2, Chris Bates is no longer employed by Princeton University,” the school said in a statement.

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Read More: Gary Kubiak, Johnny Manziel,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Female ESPN hosts criticize network, Greg Hardy after Adam Schefter interview

04.07.16 at 8:20 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 6:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Twins at Orioles, 7:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Rangers at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Red Wings at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: Frozen Four, Boston College vs. Quinnipiac, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
College hockey: Frozen Four, Denver vs. North Dakota, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Bulls at Heat, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Spurs at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Liverpool at Borussia Dortmund, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Golf: The Masters, 3 p.m. (ESPN)


— ESPN’s Adam Schefter defended his interview with controversial defensive end Greg Hardy during an appearance with Dennis & Callahan with Minihane on Wednesday, but he’s not getting much support from some of his female co-workers.

Michelle Beadle, co-host of “SportsNation,” criticized her company for allowing Hardy — convicted of domestic abuse in 2014 — a platform to profess his innocence. Hardy refused to explain how his ex-girlfriend ended up with bruises all over her body, insisting only that he’s “an innocent man.”

“I feel dirty in that this guy has no job right now, and for some reason we’ve decided as a network that we’re going to give him the stage for his redemption tour as he basically goes out and tries to find some employment,” Beadle said Tuesday. “I don’t understand why we’re doing that. If he wants to figure out a way to get his message out there — which by the way, he hasn’t said he did anything wrong, so how a man is supposed to convince anybody he’s changed and yet not admit to actually doing anything? I have no idea. But why we’re giving him the forum to go out there and tell anybody that is where I’m a little bit confused.”

Added Beadle on Twitter: For the love of f&$@. Dude doesn’t admit to wrongdoing. Dude has changed? I give the hell up.

Meanwhile, Jemele Hill, co-host of ESPN’s “His & Hers,” focused her criticism on Hardy, who apparently is trying to repair his image as he seeks a new employer.

“Greg Hardy is despicable. And I hope he never wears another NFL uniform again,” she said Tuesday.”And if you choose to sign him I hope you get exactly what the Cowboys got, which is absolutely nothing and little to no return for somebody who honestly has no redeeming value.”

Hill was not swayed by Hardy’s insistence that he’s never laid his hands on a woman.

“For me, to have shown remorse and contrition and at least accountability is an important part of the forgiveness process or, for that matter, showing people that maybe you’re not what we think that you are,” she said. “Greg Hardy time and time again shows us exactly who we all think him to be.”

— Comedian John Oliver’s campaign to embarrass the Yankees continued Wednesday night, when women dressed in shark and unicorn costumes occupied four expensive seats behind home plate during New York’s game against the Astros.

Oliver hatched his plan in response to Yankees COO Lonn Trost saying the team discouraged secondary ticket purchases from StubHub because fans who pay full price for premium seats wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting next to someone “who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”

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Read More: Adam Schefter, Greg Hardy, Jemele Hill, Michelle Beadle

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Blue Jays manager John Gibbons irate after new double-play slide rule costs his team, says, ‘Maybe we’ll come out wearing dresses tomorrow’

04.06.16 at 8:02 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 6:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mariners at Rangers, 2:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: White Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (ESPN2)
NBA: Pelicans at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Cavaliers at Pacers, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Flyers at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: Women’s exhibition, Colombia at United States, 7:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Paris Saint-Germain, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Baseball’s new double-play slide rule played a key role in Tuesday’s Blue Jays-Rays game, and Toronto manager John Gibbons is not happy about it.

“It turned the game into a joke,” Gibbons said. “That’s flat-out embarrassing. That cost us a chance to win a major league game.”

Added Gibbons: “Maybe we’ll come out wearing dresses tomorrow. Maybe that’s what everybody’s looking for.”

In the ninth inning of the Jays’ 3-2 loss, Jose Bautista was called for hindering Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe after a short video review. Instead of the Rays scoring the tying and go-ahead runs, the game ended on the call.

As evident on the video, Bautista slid over the bag, but he stuck out his left hand and made contact with Forsythe’s right foot.

“I felt something on the slide,” Forsythe said. “When I first saw him coming in, I thought he was going over the bag, but then I didn’t know if he kicked his foot out to try and catch a back foot. He kind of swung me around a little bit, the throw went a little left.”

Bautista, however, had a different viewpoint.

“I feel like I respect the rule, that it was an absolutely clean slide,” Bautista said. “And it’s just disappointing to lose a major league baseball game, with so much at stake every day here. We put a lot into the game since we were little kids and then to all of a sudden have everything taken away like that is just strange.”

— To no one’s surprise, UConn captured its fourth straight national championship Tuesday night, routing Syracuse 82-51 for its 75th consecutive victory — all of which have been by double figures.

The title is the 11th for UConn coach Geno Auriemma, giving him one more than legendary UCLA men’s coach John Wooden.

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Read More: Brianna Stewart, Geno Auriemma, John Gibbons, Jose Bautista

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Free agent DE Greg Hardy insists he’s ‘innocent’ of domestic abuse despite 2014 conviction

04.05.16 at 7:54 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 1:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Mets at Royals, 4:15 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Tigers at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: White Sox at Athletics, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
NHL: Hurricanes at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Lightning at Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Bulls at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Lakers at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Women’s NCAA championship, Syracuse vs. UConn, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)


— Greg Hardy, who remains a free agent after a rocky season with the Cowboys, insisted that he is innocent of domestic violence despite being convicted by a judge in 2014.

“I’ve never put my hand on any women,” the defensive end told ESPN’s Adam Schefter in a sit-down interview Monday. “In my whole entire life, no sir.”

Hardy said his conviction in the bench trial was “a flimsy situation,” despite the fact that girlfriend Nicole Holder accused him of a violent attack and had visible bruises on her body afterward.

“Pictures are pictures, and they can be made to look like whatever they want to,” he said, adding: “I didn’t say I didn’t do anything wrong. That situation occurred and that situation was handled, but as a man you can’t avoid situations that aren’t your fault or are your fault. … Saying I did nothing wrong is a stretch, but saying I’m innocent is correct, sir.”

Hardy, who played his first five seasons with the Panthers, was suspended 10 games by the league for his transgression, although it was reduced to four games by an arbitrator.

He appealed his guilty verdict and the case was thrown out in February 2015 when Holder refused to cooperate with authorities.

Steve Smith Sr., Hardy’s former Panthers teammate, questioned Hardy’s claims, posting an excerpt from the interview and writing above it: So I guess she Tripped on the carpet or something… my mom is a Survivor #DV and I am advocate against #DV.

— Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe, whom you might remember as the player who allegedly threatened to eat Tom Brady’s children (according to teammate T.J. Ward), might be in some trouble (again).

Wolfe, who was suspended for the first four games of last season due to a violation of the league’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs, reportedly got into a fight at a Denver nightclub over the weekend.

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Read More: Derek Wolfe, Greg Hardy, LeSean McCoy,

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Royals have ‘strange’ World Series celebration as Mets look on

04.04.16 at 8:14 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

College basketball: NCAA championship, Villanova vs. North Carolina, 9 p.m. (TBS)
MLB: Red Sox at Indians, 4:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Astros at Yankees, 1:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Mariners at Rangers, 4:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Dodgers at Padres, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB: Cubs at Angels, 10:05 p.m. (ESPN2)


— The Royals raised their 2015 World Series banner prior to Sunday night’s opener, and for the first time in Major League Baseball history, the game pitted the defending champion against the team that it beat for the title. That did not go unnoticed in the Kansas City dugout.

“It was just strange, the pregame ceremony,” Royals manager Ned Yost said, adding: “I think I would have enjoyed it more if we played another team.”

The schedule was released last September, so schedule-makers at the time did not know Sunday’s interleague game would be a rematch of last season’s finale.

As it turned out, the Mets ended up watching highlights of the World Series they lost in five games, then started this season with matchup of the same pitchers who started the deciding Game 5: Edinson Volquez and Matt Harvey.

Said Yost: “For them to relive that, it’s a little awkward.”

As for Sunday’s game, Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes dropped a first-inning line drive that led to the Royals’ first run, and Kansas City went on to grab a 4-3 victory. Cespedes, the onetime Red Sox outfielder who is known for making stellar plays in the outfield (especially with his arm) but also for an occasional miscue (including in Game 1 of the World Series), told reporters afterward, “I just dropped it. I am human.”

Said Mets manager Terry Collins: “That was about as shocking as anything. You’ve got a Gold Glove out there. It surprised everybody.”

— Recently retired U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach apologized via Facebook on Sunday after being arrested a night earlier for investigation of driving under the influence.

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Read More: Abby Wambach, Ned Yost, Troy Smith, Yoenis Cespedes

Thinking Out Loud: Why can’t other women’s basketball teams keep up with UConn?

04.01.16 at 5:52 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering how many April Fools must we endure this year.

— Is he an April Fool? The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessey is simply a fire-starter. I happen to enjoy his work, however, because of his ability to tweak the sports public consciousness around here almost at will. That’s impressive. Especially when he can do it on a national level, like this week.

— But his innocuous tweet on the UConn women’s basketball team being “bad” for the rest of the sport? Frankly, it was funny. I understand the thought process, however. But here’s what few are talking about as the “real story”: Exactly why is it that no other program seems to be able to keep up with the Huskies juggernaut? It’s not that UConn is knocking everyone else down, it’s that no one is capable of rising to its present level.

— That, above almost anything else, is why Geno Auriemma’s work as coach is nearly incomparable, except for legendary UCLA coach John Wooden. Auriemma’s prowess may have more to do with selling his program to the women’s game’s best players than it is with X’s and O’s on the floor. And he’s not bad there, either.

— I would argue that few looked at those 1960s-’70s UCLA teams like they look at UConn’s dominance today for one major reason: media proliferation. No one covered the men’s game back then like it is covered today. We didn’t have 24-hour sports channels. There was no Internet. We were lucky to get the final on network TV! Had we had the kind of scrutiny then as we do today, I’ll wager the Wizard of Westwood and his program would have had its detractors, too.

— UConn’s inexorable march to and through the madness was watchable, only in that the curiosity factor crept in for me. Could anyone mount a challenge? Could anyone give Goliath a game? Those are storylines beyond whether or not you actually “like” watching women’s basketball, or not. And I do love a good storyline.

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Read More: Ben Bentil, Ed Cooley, Geno Auriemma, Kris Dunn