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Monday’s Morning Mashup: UConn coach Geno Auriemma dismisses criticism for dominance from Dan Shaughnessy

03.28.16 at 8:15 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV)
NBA: Hawks at Bulls, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: CBI finals, Nevada at Morehead State, 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Vegas 16, Tennessee Tech vs. Old Dominion, 3 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Vegas 16, UC Santa Barbara vs. Northern Illinois, 5:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Vegas 16, Oakland vs. Towson, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Vegas 16, Louisiana Tech vs. East Tennessee State, 11:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
NHL: Sabres at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Kings at Sharks, 10 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: White Sox at Rockies, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Rangers at Dodgers, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma found himself defending his team’s success Sunday as the Huskies close in on a fourth straight NCAA championship while riding a 72-game winning streak.

As UConn prepares for Monday’s Elite Eight game against Texas, Auriemma commented on Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy’s assertion that the Huskies “are killing [the] women’s game” due to their dominance, and that he would not watch because of it.

“Don’t watch,” Auriemma responded. “Don’t watch. Nobody’s putting a gun to your head to watch. So don’t watch, and don’t write about it. Spend your time on things that you think are important. If you don’t think this is important, don’t pay any attention to it. The fact that you have to comment on it? Says something about you, doesn’t it?

“We are what we are. We are what we are. You know? We do what we do. We do what we do. When Tiger [Woods] was winning every major, nobody said he was bad for golf. Actually, he did a lot for golf. He made everybody have to be a better golfer. And they did. And now there’s a lot more great golfers because of Tiger.

“There’s a lot better writers than Dan Shaughnessy. But that doesn’t mean he’s bad for the game.”

Auriemma said he’s become used to such criticism.

“We don’t appreciate people for how good they are and what a good job they do — we always have to compare it to something,” he said. “It’s only in women’s basketball. It’s the only sport where that happens. The only sport. Day in, day out, year in, year out, we’re faced with those questions and those comparisons.”

— Rajon Rondo has fond memories of his time in Boston. His stint in Dallas, however, did not go so well. And he hasn’t forgotten it.

After the Kings cruised to a 133-111 victory over the fading Mavericks on Sunday, Rondo said he wouldn’t mind if Dallas joined Sacramento in missing out on a playoff berth.

“Yeah, I want them to get their plane ticket as soon as we get ours,” said Rondo, who had 11 points and 11 assists Sunday. “So any time we can help, that’s what I try to get these guys [on the Kings] to focus on.”

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Read More: Dan Shaughnessy, Geno Auriemma, Jason Heyward, rajon rondo

Thinking Out Loud: Defending national champion Providence hockey set to begin another run in NCAAs

03.25.16 at 6:19 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering how we became mesmerized by “bracketology.”

— The Providence hockey team’s No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament isn’t the surprise, even though the Friars lost in the Hockey East semis to UMass-Lowell. Boston College getting the 2 seed and potentially facing PC in Worcester is the surprise. The Eagles have been high in the national rankings all season and were deserving of their own top spot.

— How about this nugget? Six Friars are among the top-10 active leaders in NCAA Tournament scoring. That means you’re experienced, deep and talented. Three must-haves if you are to win it all.

— It’s always a compliment when your coach is mentioned for other jobs. Nate Leaman’s name has been mentioned with the opening at Wisconsin, a one-time hockey power looking to regain some lost luster. Just wondering here, but would he be more likely to make a move if the Friars repeat as national champs? Would he need another mountain to climb? Just sayin’.

— So, Notre Dame? Moving to the weaker Big Ten in hockey for travel and expense purposes, or because Hockey East kicks your a**? How about both? Let’s be truthful.

— It’s hard to put a bow around Providence’s basketball season. Twenty-four wins is a sign of success, absolutely. Being ranked as high as eighth nationally was great PR for the program, even though this team may never have been quite that good in reality. Three straight NCAA appearances, however, is the true sign of success these days. Finally winning a game in the tourney is another. The bar has just been set a bit higher.

— No doubt in my mind that Kris Dunn is one of the best athletes to ever wear the black and white on the court. Maybe he’s the best athlete. The Friars have been blessed with extraordinary basketball players through the years, but athletes? Based on what these eyes have seen over three decades, not one of those players — maybe except Eric Murdock, possibly God Shammgod or John Linehan — could keep Dunn in front of them.

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Read More: Ben Bentil, Jamie Dixon, Kris Dunn, Nate Leaman

Friday’s Morning Mashup: New York Times exposes NFL concussion study’s faulty data, rebuts league’s criticism with facts

03.25.16 at 8:43 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Hornets at Pistons, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Iowa State vs. Virginia, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame, 7:27 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga vs. Syracuse, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Indiana vs. North Carolina, 9:57 p.m. (TBS)
MLB preseason: Pirates at Red Sox, 6:05 p.m. (NESN)
MLB preseason: Cardinals at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Angels at Athletics, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— After The New York Times reported that the NFL used faulty data in its study of concussions between 1996 and 2001, the NFL fired back, calling it a “sensationalized story” that was “contradicted by clear facts.” The only problem is, The New York Times showed that the NFL’s own evidence proved that the paper had the facts correct.

The Times story reported that the NFL’s study neglected more than 100 diagnosed concussions that were reported by teams. For example, the study indicated the Cowboys had no concussions during that span, even though quarterback Troy Aikman was listed on the injury report with a concussion four times between 1997 and 2000. This obviously skewed the data — which the NFL long held up in its defense.

The NFL countered Thursday by noting, “The studies never claimed to be based on every concussion that was reported of that occurred.” Responded the Times: “The studies and peer-review statements did, in fact, claim that.”

The league insisted that “reporting [concussions] was strongly encourage by the league but not mandated, as documents provided to the Times showed.” Responded the Times: “At least one of the papers said it was, in fact, mandated.”

A member of the NFL’s concussion committee, Dr. Joseph Wackerle, insisted he was not aware of the omitted data, telling the Times: “If somebody made a human error or somebody assumed the data was absolutely correct and didn’t question it, well, we screwed up. If we found it wasn’t accurate and still used it, that’s not a screw-up; that’s a lie.”

The Times story also notes that the league used some of the same lobbyists, lawyers and consultants who defended Big Tobacco, including lawyer Dorothy C. Mitchell.

The NFL responded by running a smokescreen, accusing the Times of claiming that the league worked directly with Big Tobacco. Responded the Times: “Our article did not claim that.”

As if it wasn’t bad enough that the league was exposed for what has to be at least considered incredible incompetence — if not a blatant disregard for the truth — this back-and-forth took place on the same day former Patriots fullback Kevin Turner died at the age of 46 from ALS.

Turner was one of the most vocal advocates for former players who sued the league, claiming the NFL hid the dangers of head injuries from them. He supported the settlement the players reached with the league in 2013. The settlement remains tied up in the courts, as some ex-players objected to some of the restrictions and appealed.

— In another case of bad timing, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians jumped headfirst into the controversy regarding football and long-term health effects, expressing his frustration with parents who prevent their kids from playing youth football.

“Our game is great. People that say, ‘I won’t let my son play it’ are fools,” he told Sports Illustrated’s MMQB website from the NFL owners’ meetings.

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Read More: Bruce Arians, Kevin Turner, Yoenis Cespedes,

Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Curt Schilling will return to ESPN despite controversial comments

03.24.16 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Panthers at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Pelicans at Pacers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Miami vs. Villanova, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma, 7:37 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Maryland vs. Kansas, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Duke vs. Oregon, 9:55 p.m. (TBS)
MLB preseason: Astros at Mets, 1:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Mariners at Rockies, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Cubs at Giants, 7:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Indians, 10:05 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

Curt Schilling

Curt Schilling

— Outspoken former Red Sox star Curt Schilling has acknowledged he’s on shaky ground with ESPN. When he made a donation to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson last fall, Schilling wrote in the employer section of the donation form: “ESPN (not sure how much longer).”

However, despite being pulled off the network’s Sunday night baseball broadcasts for the final month of last season for making controversial comments — and then continuing to speak his mind about the presidential race and other political issues — Schilling will return to ESPN this year. The network confirmed Schilling’s status to the website Vocativ.

Schilling’s return seemed in doubt following his comments earlier this month, when he appeared on a Kansas City sports radio show and blasted Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Said Schilling on March 1: “If I’m going to believe — and I’m not sure I would have any reason not to believe — that she gave classified information on hundreds if not thousands of emails on a public server, and after what happened to General [David] Petraeus [the former Director of the CIA who resigned and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor after reportedly sharing classified information with his biographer], she should be buried under a jail somewhere.”

The day after that interview, ESPN said it was addressing the matter, which appeared to be a violation of an edict it made in January, when it warned employees to avoid “political editorializing, personal attacks or ‘drive-by’ comments regarding the candidates and their campaigns.”

The network told Vocativ, “We’ve addressed it with Curt.”

— Alex Rodriguez on Wednesday said in no uncertain terms that 2017 would be his final season. However, hours later he already started hedging.

“I won’t play after next year,” the three-time AL MVP first told ESPN. “I’ve really enjoyed my time. For me, it is time for me to go home and be Dad.”

By Wednesday evening, when asked by New York reporters, Rodriguez seemed less sure.

“I’m thinking in terms of my contract which ends in 2017,” he said. “After that, we’ll see what happens. I’ve got two years and more than 300 games to play.”

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Read More: alex rodriguez, Christian Laettner, Curt Schilling, ESPN

Saints extend coach Sean Payton through 2020 season

03.23.16 at 10:24 am ET
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Sean Payton

Sean Payton

The Saints and coach Sean Payton have agreed to a five-year contract extension. Payton announced the news himself Wednesday morning at the NFL owners meetings in Boca Raton, Florida.

The new deal will keep Payton at the helm through the 2020 season. With the Saints’ struggles the past few seasons, there was some speculation that he and the team would be parting ways this offseason. The Saints have gone 7-9 each of the last two seasons. According to Payton, however, the deal had been in the works for quite some time.

“There’s so much of you in there, that I don’t see myself working anywhere else,” Payton said. “There’s been really good stability and consistency at ownership. We just had dinner with Mr. [Benson] last night, Mickey [Loomis], and I think that doesn’t guarantee anything, but it gives you a chance. It’s been very functional. That stability, obviously, I don’t take for granted.”

Payton is one of the longest-tenured coaches with one team, as he has coached the Saints for nine seasons (he missed all of the 2012 season as punishment for the Bountygate scandal). Over that span, he has a regular-season record of 87-57 and has appeared in the playoffs five times with a record of 6-4. He coached a Super Bowl champion in 2009.

The team reportedly also has been in talks to extend quarterback Drew Brees, who has one year remaining on his contract.

“I know Mickey and [Brees’ agent, Tom Condon] have had quite a bit of discussion in the last week and a half,” Payton said. “I would say ongoing now. It always takes a little longer than you want it to, and they’re never the same. This was a different type of negotiation than the last one. But I know there’s been quite a bit of dialogue.”

Read More: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints, sean payton,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: President Barack Obama calls David Ortiz post-Marathon bombing speech ‘one of my proudest moments’

03.23.16 at 8:11 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Raptors at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Knicks at Bulls, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Florida at George Washington, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Georgia Tech at San Diego State, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

— While attending the Rays-Cuban national team exhibition baseball game Tuesday in Cuba, President Barack Obama gave David Ortiz a shout-out, saying the Red Sox outfielder’s speech to fans after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings ranks high on his list of memories from his time in office.

In his team’s first game back at Fenway Park after the bombings, Ortiz famously proclaimed, “This is our [expletive] city.”

“One of my proudest moments as president was watching Boston respond after the marathon [attack] and when Ortiz went out and said — probably the only time that America didn’t have a problem with cursing on live TV — when he talked about how strong Boston was and was not going to be intimidated,” Obama said during an in-game interview with ESPN. “And that is the kind of resilience and the kind of strength that we have to continually show in the face of these terrorists.”

Asked if there was any concern about going through with Tuesday’s game after the terrorist attacks in Belgium, Obama said: “It’s always a challenge when you’ve got a terrorist attack anywhere in the world, particularly in this age of 24-7 news coverage, you want to be respectful and understand the gravity of the situation. But the whole premise of terrorism is to try to disrupt people’s ordinary lives and one of my most powerful memories.”

The Rays beat the Cubans, 4-1, on a day when Obama was warmly received by fans in Havana. He sat in the front row, next to Cuban president Raul Castro, before leaving in the third inning.

Red Sox legend Lus Tiant, a native of Cuba, threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches.

— The NFL finally acknowledged a link between football and the brain disease known as CTE, but that’s not enough to convince Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

“We don’t have that knowledge and background, and scientifically, so there’s no way in the world to say you have a relationship relative to anything here,” Jones said Tuesday (via The Washington Post) from the NFL owners’ meetings. “There’s no research. There’s no data. … We’re not disagreeing. We’re just basically saying the same thing. We’re doing a lot more. It’s the kind of thing that you want to work … to prevent injury.”

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Read More: Barack Obama, David Ortiz, Jerry Jones, Jordan Clarkson

Woody Johnson pleads for Ryan Fitzpatrick to ‘come back to the Jets’

03.22.16 at 8:52 am ET
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Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Jets apparently are not ready to move on from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Although contract talks have appeared to reach a stalemate, Jets owner Woody Johnson made a public pitch for Fitzpatrick to return to the team at the NFL owners meetings on Monday morning.

“Come back to the Jets,” Johnson said.

While his words may hold some weight with the quarterback, Johnson likely will need to put his money where his mouth is in order to retain Fitzpatrick. Reports have said the two sides are off by around $7 million per year. The 33-year-old Harvard product had the best season of his career last year with the Jets, finishing with 3,905 yards and 31 touchdowns.

“I kind of hope [he returns],” Johnson said. “He did have such a good year. I like him a lot as a person; he’s very engaging. He’s the Harvard guy, and then he’s the normal guy.

Although neither side has seemed willing to give up any ground in contract discussions, Fitzpatrick has yet to find another suitor in free agency, which has given the Jets some leverage.

“The two sides have got to come up with an agreement that obviously both sides are happy with,” Johnson said. “That is what we’re working toward.”

Added Johnson: “He’s a priority. You have to fill out about 25 positions, 25 percent change. We’re focused on this and we’re also looking at the draft. There is time to pick up players, not only this period but pre-draft free agents.”

Read More: New York Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Woody Johnson,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Donald Trump threatens to take out ads saying Cubs owners are doing ‘rotten job’

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

TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Rockets at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Grizzlies at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NIT, Saint Mary’s at Valparaiso, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NIT, Creighton at BYU, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Kings at Wild, 8:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Braves at Astros, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network, NESN)
MLB preseason: Rays at Cuba, 2 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Rangers at Padres, 4:10 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Dodgers at Royals, 9:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: FA Cup, Manchester United at West Ham, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Donald Trump is not happy with the owners of the Cubs. (Craig Rubadoux/USA Today Network)

Donald Trump is holding a grudge against the owners of the Cubs. (Craig Rubadoux/USA Today Network)

— Taking a break from feuding with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump threatened to take out ads against the owners of the Cubs saying they’re doing a “rotten job” running the team.

Trump first made comments about the Ricketts family in February, tweeting after a report that a super political action committee opposing his campaign received a $3 million donation from family matriarch Marlene Ricketts.

Wrote Trump: I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!

During an interview with The Washington Post on Monday, Trump elaborated on his view.

“I actually said they ought to focus on the Chicago Cubs and, you know, stop playing around. They spent millions of dollars fighting me in Florida,” Trump said of the conservative family.

“I’ll start spending on them. I’ll start taking ads telling them all what a rotten job they’re doing with the Chicago Cubs. I mean, they are spending on me. I mean, so am I allowed to say that?”

Trump apparently is not aware that the Cubs reached the National League Championship Series last season and are one of the favorites to win the World Series this year.

The team responded to Trump’s latest remarks by referring to chairman Tom Ricketts’ statement last month.

“We stand up for what we believe in,” Ricketts said then. “We support the causes we think are important. That is what America should be.”

— Fantasy sports websites DraftKings and FanDuel reached an agreement with the state of New York in which they will stop taking bets while lawmakers debate if they should regulate the industry.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been aggressively pushing for the companies to stop doing business in his state, accusing them of running an illegal gambling operation while participating in false advertising and consumer fraud.

“As I’ve said from the start, my job is to enforce the law, and starting today, DraftKings and FanDuel will abide by it,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

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Read More: Donald Trump, DraftKings, Dwight Howard, FanDuel

Monday’s Morning Mashup: Texas A&M’s record comeback highlights another day of Madness

03.21.16 at 8:25 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Magic at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Spurs at Hornets, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Grizzlies at Suns, 10 p.m. (NBA TV)
NIT: George Washington at Monmouth, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NIT: Georgia Tech at South Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NIT: Washington at San Diego State, 11:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
NHL: Flyers at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Cardinals, 1:05 p.m. (ESPN)
MLB preseason: White Sox at Indians, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Reds at Padres, 10:10 p.m. (MLB Network)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Northern Iowa was poised to produce yet another upset in an NCAA Tournament filled with them, but the Panthers ended up making history for a different reason — the biggest last-minute collapse ever in Division 1.

The 11th-seeded Panthers led third-seeded Texas A&M by 12 points with 44 seconds remaining — and 10 with less than 30 seconds left — before they suddenly could not stop turning over the ball under their own basket.

Texas A&M took advantage and came up with some big baskets to force overtime, then went on to win in double OT.

“We knew it was kind of impossible, man, but we just said that we were going to fight until the end,” said A&M’s Danuel House, who was scoreless with 5:14 remaining in regulation but finished with 22 points.

Said Aggies coach Billy Kennedy: “I’ve never been a part of a game like that, never saw one. [I] still really don’t know what happened.”

Northern Iowa had won its first-round game against Texas on a halfcourt buzzer-beater by Paul Jespersen, but this time the Panthers had no magic, committing four turnovers in the final 44 seconds — the last allowing A&M’s Admon Gilder to score a layup with 1.9 seconds left for the tie. It didn’t help that primary inbounder Matt Bohannon was sitting at the end of the bench after hurting his knee.

“It’s just tough,” Bohannon said. “It’s the NCAA Tournament, though, that’s what happens.”

Meanwhile, as the UNI-A&M game was wrapping up, Wisconsin guard Bronson Koenig delivered a fallaway 3-pointer at the buzzer for a win over Xavier (much to the dismay of actor Bill Murray, whose son is a Xavier assistant coach).

— The director of the women’s tennis tournament at Indian Wells, California, found himself in some hot water after criticizing the WTA Tour and commenting on the looks of the players.

“In my next life when I come back I want to be someone in the WTA because they ride on the coattails of the men, They don’t make any decisions and they are lucky. They are very, very lucky,” BNP Paribas Open director Raymond Moore told reporters after Sunday’s final. “If I was a lady player, I’d go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport.”

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Read More: NCAA tournament, Serena Williams,

Thinking Out Loud: As college basketball grabs spotlight, concerns linger behind the scenes

03.18.16 at 5:51 pm ET
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Rooke_JohnThinking out loud … while wondering if the refs we bagged on all year went dancing, too.

— One up, one down for college basketball. Up would be ratings on FS1, even though national college basketball ratings are down overall. FS1 had a 10 percent increase in total viewers per game for coverage that featured the Big East, but the Fox network was slightly down (as were the ESPNs) for the season compared to last year.

— Down? How about “out,” altogether? Burger King’s sponsorship of the NCAA, after only two years, is ending. The original deal was for three years, but neither side is saying why the relationship is over after only two. Not exactly a “whopper” of a story, but significant enough to note with media rights deals coming up again in a few years.

— Let’s be honest, shall we? The “NCAA Selection Show” on CBS this year was a disaster. Lengthened to two hours, undoubtedly to boost ratings, the show’s length caused the program to drag on and on — with the audience at the mercy of wannabe stand-up comic Charles Barkley, who knows zero about the college game. It’s painfully obvious he doesn’t follow it.

— Just in case the TV types are reading/listening, the better move to make here is to release the bracket in the first hour and spend the second hour breaking it down or interviewing coaches and players. You’ll still keep an audience, Barkley still can screw up on the digi-board, and fans of teams selected at the end won’t suffer nervous breakdowns. As much.

— Oh, and the job done by the selection committee? As bad or worse than the TV show. My two cents: This year was nothing more than the power schools peeing on the fire hydrant, marking their territory and telling mid-to-low majors that this is “our event.”

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