College Blog Blog Network

President Barack Obama picks undefeated Kentucky to win NCAAs

03.18.15 at 10:18 am ET
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President Barack Obama is predicting Kentucky to run the table, going with the Wildcats to win the NCAA Tournament in his bracket that he revealed to ESPN’s Andy Katz.

Obama has an all-Wildcats final, with Villanova reaching the title game. His other Final Four teams are Duke and Arizona (another Wildcats).

In the regional finals, Obama has Kentucky over Notre Dame, Arizona over Wisconsin, Villanova over Virginia, and Duke over Iowa State.

While Kentucky is the safe pick, Obama did predict a few upsets, most notably 10 seed Davidson reaching the Sweet 16. He also has 12th-seeded Buffalo beating fifth-seeded West Virginia, 11th-seeded Texas upending sixth-seeded Butler and 12th-seeded Wyoming bouncing fifth-seeded Northern Iowa.

Last year, Obama had Michigan State beating Louisville in the title game (UConn beat Kentucky). He has not correctly predicted the winner since 2009 (North Carolina).

Read More: 2015 NCAA Tournament, Barack Obama,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Bengals DL Devon Still’s inspirational daughter gets cancer-free test result

03.18.15 at 8:08 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.

NBA: Celtics at Thunder, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Magic at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Hawks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Robert Morris vs. North Florida, 6:40 p.m. (truTV; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Dayton vs. Boise State, 9:10 p.m. (truTV; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: NIT, Arizona State at UConn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Green Bay at Illinois State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Vanderbilt at Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, South Dakota State at Colorado State, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Blackhawks at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Kings at Mighty Ducks, 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Athletics at Mariners, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Barcelona, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Leah Still, the 4-year-old daughter of Bengals defensive lineman Devon Still, got some good news in her battle with neuroblastoma. According to her father, the latest round of tests showed no signs of cancer in her body.

Still posted a photo on Instagram of him flexing alongside his daughter and wrote:

That moment you get the best news you’ve ever received and don’t know what to do so you just flex!! We got Leah’s MIBG Scans back tonight and the doctors told us they didn’t see any active disease in her body!!! We still have to wait for her MRI and bone biopsy results later this week. But the doctors feel very optimistic about them because of the results from today. So for now we celebrate!!

Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 abdominal cancer in June and doctors were not sure if she would survive. Her battle became the inspirational story of the fall in the NFL, as the Bengals sold Devon Still’s No. 75 jersey and donated the proceeds to pediatric cancer research.

Devon Still, who was cut in training camp, was added to the team’s practice squad in part so he could keep his health insurance. He eventually was activated and made 19 tackles in 12 games.

The team have offered Still a deal for 2015, but the player has not yet decided — although Tuesday’s news might push him to play.

“Obviously if the news hadn’t been this good, I would have wanted to spend more time with my daughter,” he said in a story on the team’s website. “But now that it looks like things are headed on the right path, I’m ready to go back and play football.”

— Colorado senior guard Askia Booker apparently doesn’t think much of the College Basketball Invitational, as the Buffaloes star is choosing to skip the third-tier tournament rather than join his teammates. And Colorado coach Tad Boyle is OK with it.

“I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but I did mention to Ski, ‘You realize you’re going to take some heat with this decision,’ and he shook his head like he understood,” Boyle told the Denver Post. “It goes with the territory. Ski’s a big boy, he’s an adult now; he’s going to be a college graduate in May.”

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Read More: Askia Booker, Devon Still, Gregg Popovich, Leah Still

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Tim Tebow reportedly will not be offered contract by Eagles after tryout

03.17.15 at 8:02 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.

NHL: Sabres at Bruins, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Bucks at Pelicans, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Hampton vs. Manhattan, 6:40 p.m. (TruTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, BYU vs. Mississippi, 9:10 p.m. (TruTV)
College basketball: NIT, Iona at Rhode Island, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, George Washington at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, NC Central at Miami, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Illinois at Alabama, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, UTEP at Murray State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Montana at Texas A&M, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, UC Davis at Stanford, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB exhibition: Angels at Rockies, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Athletics at Mariners, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Monaco, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)


— Tim Tebow, who has not been part of an NFL team since his training camp appearance with the Patriots in 2013, had a workout with the Eagles on Monday but left the team’s facility without discussing a contract, according to reports out of Philadelphia.

Tebow has been working as an analyst for the SEC Network and ESPN since his brief stint in New England, but he’s made it clear he wants another shot at the NFL. He last appeared in a regular-season game in 2012 with the Jets, who acquired him from the Broncos after Denver landed Peyton Manning prior to that season.

“I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback,” Tebow tweeted after his release from the Patriots toward the end of 2013 training camp.

The Eagles present an interesting possibility for the former University of Florida standout. Coach Chip Kelly runs an offense that would be more suitable to Tebow’s style — an ability to run and improvise. The Eagles traded starter Nick Foles to the Rams this month for oft-injured Sam Bradford. Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne also are on the roster.

There has been speculation that Tebow’s best chance of returning to the NFL would be as a tight end or fullback, but he is said to have no interest in switching positions, and he reportedly tried out at QB on Monday.

According to an ESPN report, the Eagles do not plan to sign Tebow at this time.

— The 49ers, already stung by Patrick Willis’ decision to retire last week, received another blow Monday when fellow linebacker Chris Borland announced that he is retiring after one NFL season.

Borland told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” that he is quitting due to concerns about head trauma.

“From what I’ve researched and what I’ve experienced, I don’t think it’s worth the risk,” Borland told the show. “I feel largely the same, as sharp as I’ve every been. For me, it’s wanting to be proactive. I’m concerned that if you wait ’til you have symptoms, it’s too late.”

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Read More: Chris Borland, Patrick Willis, Pete Rose, Tim Tebow

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Harvard, Northeastern draw legendary opponents in NCAA Tournament

03.16.15 at 8:02 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.

NBA: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Cavaliers at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Capitals at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Tigers at Cardinals, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Cubs at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Swansea City, 3:55 p.m. (NBCSN)


— As a former Duke player, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker knows well the challenge of playing North Carolina. That’s the team his Crimson drew for its opening opponent in the NCAA Tournament.

“What a program they have had through the years with great teams and great players and great coaches that have been as good as any,” Amaker said Sunday, adding: “We’€™re excited to keep going, and I think these guys are going to be excited to get ready for an incredible program and team that has done amazing things through the years.”

The teams play Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida, in a West Regional matchup of 4 vs. 13 seeds.

Northeastern, making its first tournament appearance since 1991, is a 14 seed in the Midwest and will meet another legendary program in Notre Dame on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The third-seeded Irish are coming off a victory over UNC in the ACC championship game.

“You don’t really believe it until you see it, but I’m very excited for our guys to see our name pop up and get to compete against such a great program as Notre Dame,” NU coach Bill Coen said. “We couldn’t be more excited.”

Providence is the only other New England team in the field of 68. The Friars, seeded sixth in the East, will play the winner of Wednesday’s Boise State-Dayton play-in game on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio.

Undefeated Kentucky is the overall top seed and the overwhelming favorite in the tourney field.

“I think I have the best team and the best players,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Does that mean we’ll win? No, it doesn’t.”

— Georgia State punched its NCAA ticket with a 38-36 victory over Georgia Southern in Sunday’s Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game, but coach Ron Hunter paid the price for leaping into his son’s arms in the postgame celebration.

“I tore my achilles on the right side years ago playing basketball,” Hunter said. “This was the exact same feeling and I knew when I jumped up. … I knew when I came down that I had done it [again], but instead of stopping right there, I wanted to go celebrate with my team. More importantly I wanted to go celebrate with my son. You don’t get many opportunities like that.”

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Read More: Bill Coen, DeMaurice Smith, Ron Hunter, Tommy Amaker

Thinking Out Loud: Providence must put aside bad call, loss to Villanova

03.14.15 at 7:37 am ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering whatever happened to Keno Davis.

— An absolute heartbreaker of a game for the Friars on Friday night at Madison Square Garden. If you saw what happened at the end, you know PC got hosed by the officials. It’s not an excuse, but the entire arena of 20K strong booed the call from referee Brian O’Connell so vigorously that they took the replay down off of the big screen. It’s just a shame players can’t decide games at the end — especially when the officials themselves have very little clue as to what constitutes an actual foul.

— Not for nuthin’, but Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono made a great play to drive to the basket at the end, yes. There was contact with PC’s Ben Bentil, and Arcidiacono then hit two free throws to win it, 63-61. But the inconsistency with foul calls was grotesque. The game wasn’t lost here, however. The Wildcats hit two big shots with the Friars breathing down their necks in the clutch moments late in the game (Darrun Hilliard, Josh Hart) that really won it for them.

— It’s important now, for the Friars, to put the disappointment aside. They’ve still got games to play this season — somewhere next week.

— Had a very uneasy feeling going into Providence’s Thursday Big East quarterfinal with St. John’s. That comes, of course, when a team physically pounds on you not once, but twice during the regular season. The Friars pounded back, however, holding the Red Storm to a season-low 31 percent shooting and getting an unprecedented three double-doubles (LaDontae Henton, Ben Bentil and Kris Dunn).  Five or six 3’s and a defensive effort like that? Yes, please — a couple more like that next week, too, while you’re at it.

— If you watched the games — I mean, really watched them — then you have no problem with the Friars’ Kris Dunn being named as the co-Player of the Year in the Big East along with Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono. I’m a little surprised that Arcidiacono got the nod from the coaches rather than his teammate Darrun Hilliard, but perhaps Hilliard’s unspectacular play late in the year cost him a bit? Austin Croshere called Arcidiacono the best pure shooter in the league, and while there are some good ones (Butler’s Kellen Dunham comes to mind) out there, to have a team dominate the conference when the Big East is strong this year? Gotta have a Wildcat share the honor.

— Dunn’s ability to create his shot, to penetrate a defense, to rebound the ball and then take it away from an opponent is what won him a piece of the POY pie. Henton’s year is still special, as he, Dunn and Hilliard were unanimous choices to the all-Big East first team. More than 2K points, 1K rebounds? Ridiculous. But so is Dunn’s ability to dominate. The scary part is, he’s not all the way there yet.

— I know, the elephant in the locker room. Is Dunn going to come back for another year at Providence, or will he head for the NBA? He is a junior academically, a sophomore in eligibility, and so many seem to believe he’s outta here just because his name pops up on NBA mock draft lists. Kris likes PC, he likes his teammates. He knows he’s got more to do in order to be the player (and the man) he wants to be. Maybe he’ll kick the tires on the pros after the season is done, maybe he won’t. But I’m enjoying his ride, and I hope it lasts a little longer. I think it will.

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Will Ferrell plays 9 positions for 10 teams in spring training adventure

03.13.15 at 7:59 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: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Michigan vs. Wisconsin, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: East Carolina vs. SMU, noon (ESPN2)
College basketball: La Salle vs. Davidson, noon (NBCSN)
College basketball: Penn State vs. Purdue, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Memphis vs. Temple, 2 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: VCU vs. Richmond, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Middle Tennessee vs. UTEP, 4 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Indiana vs. Maryland, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: St. Bonaventure vs. Dayton, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Alabama-Birmingham vs. Louisiana Tech, 6:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Providence vs. Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: North Carolina vs. Virginia, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Baylor vs. Kansas, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Houston vs. Tulsa, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Ohio State vs. Michigan State, 8:55 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: George Washington vs. Rhode Island, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: UConn vs. Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Notre Dame vs. Duke, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma vs. Iowa State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Wyoming vs. Boise State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Xavier vs. Georgetown, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Colorado State vs. San Diego State, 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Utah vs. Oregon, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: UC Irvine vs. UC Santa Barbara, 11:59 p.m. (ESPNU)
MLB exhibition: Orioles at Blue Jays, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Brewers at Mariners, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Yankees at Red Sox, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)


— Comedic actor Will Ferrell was successful in his quest to suit up for 10 teams and play all nine positions at spring training in Arizona, striking out twice, misplaying a couple of balls and raising money for charity in the process.

Ferrell, 47, started the day by playing shortstop for the A’s — after meeting with former A’s shortstop Bert Campaneris, who was the first big leaguer to play all nine positions in one game, 50 years ago this season. He then made appearances for the Mariners, Angels, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Reds, White Sox, Giants, Dodgers and Padres.

Ferrell made two appearances at the plate, striking out both times. In the field, he generally avoided embarrassing himself, even when he pitched for the Dodgers in the nightcap against the Padres.

Said Ferrell in a morning interview before his journey: “I’m actually hoping the acting career is over after today. It’s pretty much the feeling out here that I’m going to land with one of these clubs.”

Ferrell also chimed in on some baseball trivia, noting: “I know for a fact that Curt Schilling, the infamous bloody sock — that was from a shaving accident.”

When it was over, Ferrell spoke to the crowd at the Dodgers-Padres game and said, “There’s no doubt I turned some heads today, even if it was just for a moment. I brought passion to the field, dedication, ability and a lot of ignorance.

“The ball moves fast out there. A lot faster than it looks on television. It’s like a speeding bullet. It’s horrible. Terrifying. . . .

“They say nothing’s more American than grabbing a hot dog, heading to the ballpark and watching nine guys from the Dominican Republic make magic on the field. But you know what? Today I learned they are wrong. Make that eight Dominicans and one guy from Irvine, California.

“Ruth, Musial. Mantle. Will Ferrell. Who would have thought that those names one day would be synonymous with each another? Show of hands. Scratch that. Never mind.”

Phil Jackson already called his first full season running the Knicks “a failed experiment,” and on Thursday he didn’t lighten up a bit, calling the lost campaign “a project gone awry.”

During an interview session in Los Angeles before his team ended a five-game losing streak with a 101-94 victory over the Lakers, Jackson recalled a conversation with his fiancee, Lakers executive Jeanie Buss.

“My partner said, ‘You’re sitting on all this information. Come on out and destroy a basketball team that you love,’ So that’s what I’ve done,” he joked.

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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Fan recovers after being stabbed at Celtics game

03.12.15 at 6:55 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.

NHL: Lightning at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Grizzlies at Wizards, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Cavaliers at Spurs, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: UMass vs. La Salle, noon (NBCSN)
College basketball: Florida State vs. Virginia, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: Michigan vs. Illinois, noon (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Marquette vs. Villanova, noon (FS1)
College basketball: West Virginia vs. Baylor, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: North Carolina vs. Louisville, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Penn State vs. Iowa, 2:25 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Providence vs. St. John’s, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Fordham vs. VCU, 2:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: TCU vs. Kansas, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Air Force vs. Boise State, 3 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Central Florida vs. East Carolina, 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Utah State vs. Wyoming, 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Houston vs. Tulane, 6 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Saint Joseph’s vs. St. Bonaventure, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Northwestern vs. Indiana, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NC State vs. Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Texas vs. Iowa State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton vs. Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: UConn vs. South Florida, 8 p.m. (ESPNews)
College basketball: Minnesota vs. Ohio State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Miami vs. Notre Dame, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: UNLV vs. San Diego State, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Duquesne vs. George Washington, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Xavier vs. Butler, 9:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Stanford vs. Utah, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Fresno State vs. Colorado State, 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
MLB exhibition: Marlins at Twins, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Dodgers at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)


— A fan was recovering from non-life-threatening injuries after being stabbed at Wednesday night’s Celtics game, Boston police told media outlets.

Officers responded to the incident shortly before 10 p.m., in the closing moments of the Celtics‘ victory over the Grizzlies.

A video on Deadspin purports to show the incident. It shows two men in Rajon Rondo jerseys arguing in one of the upper sections, and it appears to show one of the men flicking open a switchblade before the fighting begins. That man then can be seen running away from the incident.

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, who was suspended last month for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend — a charge he continues to deny — was cleared Wednesday to return to racing. The move comes after the Delaware attorney general last week declined to charge Busch in the incident despite a family court commissioner granting a no-contact order to the ex-girlfriend.

“It’s been torture sitting out of the car,” Busch said, adding: “I never did anything of the things I was accused of. I never wavered in this whole process because of the confidence in the truth.”

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Antonio Cromartie reportedly close to rejoining Darrelle Revis with Jets

03.11.15 at 8:08 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.

NBA: Grizzlies at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Clippers at Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Boston College vs. North Carolina, 2 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Florida State vs. Clemson, noon (ESPN)
College basketball: Penn State vs. Nebraska, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh vs. NC State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: TCU vs. Kansas State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Marquette vs. Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Rutgers vs. Minnesota, 7 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: American at Lafayette, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Virginia Tech vs. Miami, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Texas Tech vs. Texas, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Creighton vs. DePaul, 9 p.m. (FS1)
NHL: Rangers at Capitals, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB exhibition: Red Sox at Yankees, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Dodgers at Cubs, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: Women’s Algarve Cup, United States vs. France, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Paris at Chelsea, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)


NYDN cover 3-11-15Darrelle Revis is leaving the Patriots and returning to the Meadowlands, and fellow cornerback Antonio Cromartie might be joining him in the Jets defensive backfield.

Cromartie had a solid year with the Cardinals in 2014 after being released by New York after a disappointing 2013 season. The soon-to-be 31-year-old was involved in serious discussions with Jets brass late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, according to reports in the New York media.

Cromartie, who played for New York from 2010-13 and still owns a house in the area, has shown an interest in playing for new Jets coach Todd Bowles, who worked with Cromartie as defensive coordinator for the Cardinals last season.

“I know their coaching staff, I know everybody, my house is there, so would it be easy? Yeah, it would be an easy choice, if the opportunity presented itself,” he said last month. “But at the same time, I’ve got to look forward to trying to win a Super Bowl, also.”

The Jets also reportedly agreed to a deal with former Browns cornerback Buster Skrine on Tuesday, as they go about rebuilding a defensive backfield that was a huge problem last year.

— Amar’e Stoudemire took a buyout from the Knicks and signed with the Mavericks so he could get another shot at the postseason. It hasn’t been working out well, as Dallas is 5-6 since Stoudemire’s arrival and losing ground in the Western Conference playoff race.

After the latest loss, Tuesday’s 127-94 embarrassment at home vs. the Cavaliers, Stoudemire voiced his frustration.

“I came here to win, and we’re [4 1/2] games out of being out of the playoffs, which is unacceptable,” Stoudemire told reporters. “This is something we can’t accept. We’ve got to find a way to refocus. We’ve got to key into the details of the game of basketball.

“We can’t cheat the game. We can’t screw around in games and practices and joke around all the time and figure we’re going to win games. This is the pros. It’s the highest level of basketball. We’ve got to act that way.”

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Read More: Amar'e Stoudemire, Antonio Cromartie, Craig James, Darrelle Revis

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Alex Rodriguez continues hot start at spring training

03.10.15 at 8:04 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.

NHL: Bruins at Senators, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Kings at Avalanche, 9 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Boston College vs. Georgia Tech, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Robert Morris at Saint Francis (N.Y.), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Green Bay at Valparaiso, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Princeton at Pennsylvania, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: North Dakota State vs. South Dakota State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB exhibition: Tigers at Phillies, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB exhibition: Rangers at Angels, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Schalke at Real Madrid, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)


— There were some expectations that Alex Rodriguez would need some time to shake off the rust after being suspended for the entire 2014 season. However, Rodriguez has been hot in his first week of spring training, going 2-for-3 Monday against the Rays to improve to 4-for-9 with two walks in four games.

“It doesn’t really mean anything,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve played for a long time. It’s better than 0-for-9, I guess. … Nothing’s really significant this time of year.”

Manager Joe Girardi acknowledged he didn’t expect Rodriguez to be this comfortable this quickly, and he said he’s impressed by the start.

“I think it’s impossible not to [be impressed],” Girardi said. “If you’re struggling in the beginning, like a lot of our hitters are, you say it’s timing. That was my concern for Alex coming into camp; how long would it take for him to get his timing? I think he’s done a pretty good job adjusting, and I want to continue to see it.”

Added Rays manager Kevin Cash: “He looked good, he was aggressive, obviously hunting fastballs. He looked just the same as he did two years ago, so good for him.”

Rodriguez also passed another checkpoint, as Monday’s game was his first back-to-back outing of the spring. He’s expected to take Tuesday off.

“The first week is always the toughest,” Rodriguez said. “So far, so good.”

— Oft-injured Bulls star Derrick Rose, who had surgery on his knee Feb. 27, said Monday that he thinks he will return this season, but only “whenever I feel right, that’s when I’m going to step back.”

The team indicated Rose would miss between four and six weeks after his surgery to repair the torn medial meniscus in his right knee. He shot around on the United Center floor before Monday’s game.

“I feel good. I’m in a positive place right now,” Rose said in his first public comments since the surgery. “Just trying to keep it positive and get the most out of these days.”

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Phillies LHP Cliff Lee’s elbow injury may put career in jeopardy

03.09.15 at 1:07 pm ET
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Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee

Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee may face surgery on his throwing elbow that could jeopardize his career, he revealed Monday.

“Basically, if I have the surgery, this season will be done, possibly my career, I guess,” the 36-year-old said. “I don’t know. We’ll have to see.”

Late last week the team decided to shut down Lee temporarily in order to be cautious with the elbow, which was strained last season, limiting Lee to just 13 starts.

Lee felt renewed discomfort in the elbow after throwing two innings on Thursday in a spring training game against the Astros. The ensuing MRI did not reveal any major damage, but Lee is expecting a second opinion from surgeon Dr. James Andrews before deciding how to approach the injury.

“Any time it’s the elbow, you have to be concerned,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters. “We have to be concerned because it’s the area he felt something before.”

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