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Ross Barkley justified his own hype in Everton’s 3-0 win at Newcastle, netting a goal of the season contender to open the scoring against Alan Pardew’s men. Showing off the pace, skill and confidence which has won him a regular starting berth under Roberto Martinez this season, Barkley picked up the ball inside his own half and didn’t stop running.The England man, who on this evidence looks certain of a plane ticket to Brazil this summer, proceded to travel almost the entire length of the pitch, powering his way beyond Paul Dummett and Cheick Tiote. [Continue Reading]

The kid is an absolute future star. I would keep him on the World Cup roster just in case you need an injection of energy and creativity. He’s also a clinical finisher. The future is bright for this kid.



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A4

Mark Cuban thinks the NFL’s greed will quickly lead to its downfall. The Dallas Mavericks owner discussed the league in a pregame conversation with reporters on Sunday.

“I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion. When pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they’re getting hoggy. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns against you.”

Cuban was talking about the league’s new Thursday night television deal that will put games on CBS.

It’s hard to disagree with Cuban on this one. It’s also hard to fathom the money-machine known as the NFL would ever hit a point where it would reach trouble. It’s the most popular sport in the NFL and there are no signs of that ever changing.



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A2

John Calipari stood frozen on the Kentucky sideline. Every player on the Wichita State bench held his breath. Everything seemed to stop inside the Scottrade Center as Fred VanVleet let loose with a 3-pointer that could have kept the Shockers perfect. When it bounced harmlessly off the rim, everything was set in motion once again.

Calipari spontaneously leaped into the air, bad hip and all, as the eighth-seeded Wildcats poured off their bench to celebrate their 78-76 victory over the Midwest Region’s top seed. The boys from Wichita State slumped to their seats, their faces buried in their jerseys. [Continue Reading]

A lot of times the good guys don’t always win. Wichita State’s loss to Kentucky wasn’t just the end of a great season it was a loss for college basketball as a whole. There was no doubt that Kentucky had more athleticism and talent on the floor and as long as that can win it’s going to stay like that. Kudos to the guys at Wichita State. There are so many reasons to commend that team. Regardless, it was a great season and we, just like each one of you, wish it ended differently.



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A6

It took about two hours for most of America’s billion-dollar dream to end. After the first game in the billion-dollar perfect bracket challenge insured by billionaire Warren Buffett, four out of five would-be winners were already finished, thanks to Dayton’s upset of No. 6 seed Ohio State. On Yahoo’s Tourney Pick ‘Em game, 83.7% of users took the Buckeyes. (Those poolers aren’t necessarily entered in the Quicken Loans Challenge, but any fluctuation would likely be minor.) Last year, none of the 11 million entrants on ESPN.com were perfect after the first day of games and only four went 15-for-16, so it was a matter of when, not if, most of America busted out. The ending for most just happened to come earlier than anyone expected. [Continue Reading]

I would be one of those 80%. I didn’t even really LOOK at that game. And not to toot my own horn, but I did go 15 for 16 on the first day. Warren Buffet isn’t a gazillionaire for nothing. I must say, it really does irritate me that completing a successful NCAA bracket is so damn hard and some chick in your office who doesn’t even know the first thing about basketball wins. It’s irritating and awesome at the same time.



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A2

Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman suffered fractures to bones in his nose and left eye while taking a line drive to the face Wednesday night. Chapman was carted off the field and transported by ambulance to a hospital and would be kept overnight for observation, the Reds said on their Twitter account. The Reds said Chapman was originally taken to Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City, Ariz., where tests indicated the facial fractures. He was then transferred to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he was to undergo further testing. Reds manager Bryan Price said Chapman was conscious and talking as he was taken off the field during the game against the Kansas City Royals. [Continue Reading]

We’re glad to here that Chapman is doing OK despite the facial fractures. The situation could be a lot worse so hopefully the breaks is all that results of this terrible incident. The crappy irony of the situation is last night I had my fantasy baseball draft. Once of my closers – Aroldis Chapman. My starting catcher – Salvador Perez. Already tension in the clubhouse.



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A33

In the NCAA tournament, upsets are bound to happen. You never know when a shocking result will occur, but don’t be surprised if these games end up going to the underdogs.

(5) VCU vs. (12) Stephen F. Austin, South Region

Shaka Smart’s VCU Rams have played the part of Cinderella before. This year, they’ll find out what it’s like to be on the other end — in more ways than one. While the Rams’ “Havoc” defense leads the nation in defensive turnover rate, the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin aren’t far behind, ranking third. They also hold on to it, too. With a talented guard rotation of Trey Pinkney, Deshaunt Walker and Desmond Haymon, who all do a good job of taking care of the ball, VCU will find it hard to force turnovers with their press.

In the Atlantic 10 title game, the Rams struggled to force turnovers on St. Joseph’s and get fast break points, which crippled their offense. VCU struggles to shoot at times, and if they can’t get easy offense off turnovers, their offense can be anemic. Stephen F. Austin hasn’t lost a game since November — if Brad Underwood’s team can avoid turnovers and knock down some shots, that streak might continue for a couple more games.

[Click this link to Continue Reading]

Just remember – you can win $1 billion if you pick the perfect bracket. Knowing that – you have to have the upsets. Hope this helps! We’ll be back tomorrow with more!



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A4

The NCAA Tournament bracket has been released, and the University of Florida headlines the South Region as its No. 1 seed. The Gators were awarded the top seed after an impressive run to close out the season.

Florida finished 18-0 in SEC play, including two wins against Kentucky during the regular season, and won the 2014 SEC Tournament. The Gators finished 4-2 against ranked teams in the regular season, holding wins over Kansas and Memphis in non-conference play. The only losses for Billy Donovan’s team this season were to Wisconsin and UConn, and the Gators have won 26 straight games. Florida point guard Scottie Wilbekin was named the SEC Player of the Year, averaging 12.9 points and 3.9 assists per game. [Continue Reading]

Did you see that SMU, who was ranked, didn’t get into the tournament? Has that ever happened before? Crazy stuff last night when the tournament was released. I’m wondering if Louisville’s 4-seed is a sign of an early departure or puts them in a unique position to run table. We’ll be back all week discussing our picks leading up to Thursday.



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A2

Michelle Beadle is going back to prom — with a kid who really deserves a great date. So don’t mess it up, Beadle. The ESPN broadcaster was asked to prom by Jack Jablonski, a high school hockey player who was paralyzed from the chest down after being checked into the boards head-first back in 2011. Jablonski was doing a weekly radio segment on 105 The Ticket’s “Hockey Night in Minnesota” and Beadle came on the show as his guest. When she hopped on, he popped the question.

[Click this link to see the interview]

I’m always fascinated when celebrities do this stuff. Yeah it’s a good PR move so I can see why they would be compelled to say yes, but don’t you wonder what they’re like at the actual event. Are they miserable? Do they have fun and party? It’d be interesting to see. Either way, classy move by Michelle Beadle. You just won points in our book. She was absolutely great about the situation. Really won points.



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