NCAA Tournament 2019: Winners and Losers of Tuesday’s First Four Games

aed5d09e6120ff87373498cdecfc4f0d_crop_exact

The 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament is officially underway as the opening pair of First Four games kicked things off Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio.

The Fairleigh Dickinson Knights defeated the Prairie authentic nfl jerseys cheap Panthers 82-76 in the early game, coming back from a 13-point second-half deficit. They earned the right to play No. 1 Gonzaga on Thursday.

No. 11 seeds Temple and Belmont faced off in the second, and Belmont prevailed 81-70. They move on to face No. 6 Maryland in the East region during the round of 64.

Here are the winners and losers from the first day of March Madness action.

FDU senior guard Darnell Edge was electric Tuesday night, nfl jerseys for cheap leading all scorers with 33 points on 9-of-13 shooting and knocking down seven three-pointers in nine attempts.

The Knights literally got nothing from their bench. cheap nfl jerseys The five starters scored all 82 of their points, with Jahlil Jenkins adding 22 alongside Edge’s scoring outburst. Without the same depth as Prairie View A&M, they needed Edge and the rest of the starters to step up in a big way.

They did.

This would’ve been the first NCAA tournament win for either school in the early play-in game.nfl jersey cheap

The Panthers have only qualified for the Big Dance one other time in program history, losing as a No. 16 seed to Paul Pierce and the top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in 1998.

Twenty-one years later, they’re still searching for cheap nfl jersey their first March Madness win. They had their chance to secure it, leading by as many as 13 points in the second half before a late collapse left them as a one-and-done for the tournament.

Meanwhile, FDU picked up its first win after five prior losses, even if its tournament run will likely come to an end Thursday when the No. 16 seed faces No. 1 Gonzaga.

Indiana Pacers

Coming out of the Eastern Conference will be a whole lot easier without LeBron James lording over the rest of its peasants, and the Indiana Pacers have positioned themselves to be the conference’s foremost dark horse.customized nfl jerseys

Only two other teams have added more wins above replacement over the offseason, according to an analysis run by Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey: the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers. And they’ve each reached the pinnacle of summertime improvement through one massive move.

Golden State ruined the already ruined NBA (it isn’t actually ruined) by lucking into DeMarcus Cousins. Los Angeles happened upon a greatest-of-all-time candidate whose life is no longer dictated by trying to win championships. nfl custom jerseys cheap Indiana’s activity has been more subtle and comprehensive.

Tyreke Evans gives the Pacers another primary ball-handler who has the spot-up chops to coexist with Victor Oladipo. He shot 40.8 percent on pull-up threes last season—third-best mark among 96 players to make at least 10 appearances and average more than one attempt per game. He also canned 38.9 percent of his catch-and-fire treys.

Doug McDermott is a quality plug-and-play sniper. He drilled nearly 46 percent of his standstill threes while splitting time with the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks. Along with Evans, he buoys the spacing of an offense that led the league in long-two frequency, according to Cleaning The Glass.

Kyle O’Quinn has a similar effect up front. He has three-point range the Knicks chose to ignore and is more nimble-footed, and thus playable, compared to the departed Al Jefferson. He offers a nice alternative if the Pacers cheap custom nfl jerseys are committed to dabbling in dual-big lineups. cheap customized nfl jerseys TJ Leaf is TJ Leaf, and the Myles Turner-Domantas Sabonis partnership was mostly a disaster.

Indiana is not without its red flags. Head coach Nate McMillan is making sure of that. As he said when asked about what James’ departure from the conference means, per 8 Points, 9 Seconds’ Tony East: “I think you’ll see less spread lineups and more grinding and more post players.”cheap nfl custom jerseys

Um, yeah. This can’t happen. Having O’Quinn is nice, but McDermott and Thaddeus Young should be soaking up time at the 4. The Pacers have enough concerns on defense looking at their wing rotation without hamstringing an offense that finished 23rd in efficiency after the All-Star break.

In a nutshell, though, Indiana’s 48-win upstart is deeper and more talented. That’ll give way to unique nike nfl jerseys cheap  opportunities in the East’s impending LeBron-less free-for-all.

Jimmy Butler Rejects Timberwolves’ 4-Year, $110M Contract Extension Offer

hi-res-ffcd21cdb6846cef8685ec3586a4600a_crop_north

Amid reports of his frustration with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jimmy Butler has rejected a long-term deal with the team.

According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said Butler turned down a four-year extension in the $110 million range.cheap youth nfl jerseys

Wolfson added that Butler appreciated the offer but knew it made more sense financially to wait until next summer when he can cash in even more—barring serious injury.

This comes less than two weeks after Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported Butler has no intentions of signing an extension with the organization because he “has been frustrated with the nonchalant attitudes of younger teammates—specifically Karl-Anthony Towns.”

On Thursday, Cycle’s Thomas Duffy pointed out that the Minnesota guard liked an Instagram comment that suggested he and Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving team up with the New York Knicks next summer.youth nfl jerseys cheap

Butler is under contract for $18.7 million next season and holds a $19.8 million player option for the 2019-20 season, per Spotrac. When asked about his star’s reported unhappiness, Minnesota head coach Tom Thibodeau sidestepped the question.youth nfl jerseys

“We know how important Jimmy is to the team,” Thibodeau said Monday, per Nick Friedell. “But we don’t talk about contract negotiations or anything like that, so just get ready for the season.”

Butler had another solid performance in his first year in Minnesota, averaging 22.2 points on career-high 47.4 percent shooting while adding 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. His strong play earned him a fourth consecutive All-Star nod.nfl youth jerseys

Teaming Butler with former No. 1 overall picks Towns and Andrew Wiggins figured to make the Timberwolves a force in the Western Conference. However, the T-Wolves had to fight to the wire to make the playoffs as the No. 8 seed, and the Houston Rockets eliminated them in the first round.nfl youth jerseys cheap

Now, Minnesota will have to determine how it will handle Butler as he enters his walk year. The team can hope that he turned down this offer strictly for financial purposes and try to re-sign him next summer, or it can explore his trade market over the next few months so it doesn’t risk losing him for nothing in free agency.

Lakers News: Lonzo Ball Will Have Surgery to Repair Knee Injury

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, the team announced Friday.

A timetable for recovery will be provided once the operation is complete. cheap nfl jerseys nike china

Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported June 29 that Ball had been diagnosed with a torn meniscus in his left knee and was expected to be healthy for the start of training camp.

The 2017 No. 2 overall pick was hampered by left knee pain throughout his rookie season and missed 15 games between Jan. 15 and Feb. 15 because of a sprained MCL.

The Lakers will have the luxury of leaning nike jersey nfl cheap on veteran Rajon Rondo to shoulder the load at point guard in the event Ball—who averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game as a rookie—isn’t 100 percent when the 2018-19 season opens.

NBA Free-Agency Roundup: Isaiah Thomas Signing Comes with No Risk, High Reward

Feel free to stop and take a breath, especially now that another domino has fallen.

As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski, Isaiah Thomas has agreed to a one-year minimum contract with the Denver Nuggets, for whom he’ll attempt to rebound from his disappointing 2017-18 campaign before hitting 2019’s free-agency period in better standing. The diminutive point guard couldn’t get anything going with either the Cleveland Cavaliers or Los Angeles Lakers after the surprise trade centered around Kyrie Irving moved him outside his established comfort zone with the Boston Celtics, but he’s now landing in a situation that represents the perfect balance of risk and reward.

Though the early portion of the 2018 NBA offseason featured fast-and-furious action as LeBron James donned a Los Angeles Lakers uniform, DeMarcus Cousins joined the Golden State Warriors and so many other big-name players decided on their immediate futures, the rumor mill had slowed down considerably prior to the Thomas news. But that’s largely due to a lack of money, not a talent void on what remains of the open market. nfl cheap jerseys

So journey with us as we first break down the Thomas signing, then, based on some combination of informed speculation, external reports and that good-old gut feeling, help tell you where the top five remaining free agents will end up when the dust firmly settles.

Every quality signing blends together risk and reward in sterling fashion, and this one is no different.

If Thomas is unable to rekindle the magic that made him one of the league’s most devastating offensive threats in 2016-17, the Nuggets can cut ties with him for only a minimal cost, instead turning to up-and-comers such as nfl jerseys cheap china Monte Morris while attempting to plug the gap behind Jamal Murray on the projected depth chart. Thomas, meanwhile, would just be back where he started—searching for a long-term home and attempting to prove his hip injury isn’t going to wreck what was once such a promising career. nfl jersey

But what if it does work? nfl jerseys

The Nuggets have prided themselves on their offensive prowess for a few years running, to the point that head coach Mike Malone has entirely switched philosophies. Though he entered Colorado as a signal-caller who focused first and foremost on defense, he’s now embraced the high-scoring habits and attempted to maximize the team’s production around the promising young core comprised of Murray, Will Barton, Gary Harris and Nikola Jokic. cheap nfl jerseys china

Thomas only adds to that identity.

In peak form, he can settle in as a high-scoring sixth man functioning as a change of pace whenever he enters the proceedings. That he has chemistry with Malone from their mutual time with the Sacramento Kings only adds to the upside, since it should presumably authentic nfl jerseys  take him less time to build a synergistic relationship with both the coaching staff and his new teammates. His potential in the Mile High City may still be capped by his role—he’s not displacing the Murray/Harris backcourt anytime soon—but small-ball lineups do allow for even more opportunities.

The Rockets’ Backup Plans Are Good

The Rockets got themselves one of the best three-and-D options left on the market in James Ennis, who agreed to a two-year deal with the team Wednesday.

This doesn’t force a re-evaluation of how much they’ll miss Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute. Their departures are still borderline catastrophic for a Rockets team that built its defensive identity on switchable wings. But perhaps we can ease off Houston for its decision not to overpay role-fillers, even when those roles seemed so important.wholesale nfl jerseys

There’s a parallel here to the Rockets’ unwillingness to match the poison-pill offer sheet Chandler Parsons signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. Parsons wasn’t a star, and Houston refused to pay him like one, even if it meant losing him for nothing.

The Rockets replaced Parsons with Ariza then,nfl jerseys wholesale  and it seems as though they’re doing something similar now by slotting Ennis into a key role.

Ennis projects as a starter, and he’s a decent facsimile of the guys Houston let go. A career 35.9 percent shooter from deep, Ennis can guard several positions and gets most of his offense on the catch. B/R’s Dan Favale noted that his standstill game will play well in Houston’s attack, as Ennis took over 63 percent of his shots without a dribble last season.nfl jerseys china

“Obviously, losing Trevor and losing Luc, it’s going to hurt,” head coach Mike D’Antoni told ESPN.com’s Tim McMahon. “You don’t replace that, but we’ll figure it out. … There’s different ways to go. We’re going to be good. Like Chris is saying, we’re going to run it back at Golden State. We’ll see. We’ll be ready.”nfl wholesale jerseys

It’s likely wrong to say this is how the Rockets wanted free agency to play out all along, but it’s still fair to trust general manager Daryl Morey and his contingency plans. They’ve worked out well in the past.

Mike Freeman’s 10-Point Stance: Is Flag Football the Future of the Game?

hi-res-1b354f0f54148764112b3529d1831464_crop_north

1. Is the future of football already here?

While many of you spent July Fourth week at cookouts, or swimming, or stuck in traffic, I was watching flag football.

Call it my duty to keep you, our esteemed readers, up to date on all that’s happening in pro football. Or maybe it was just what was on the NFL Network as I flipped channels. Either way, it was on, and, to me, it was wholly unwatchable. I mean, it was Battlefield Earth bad.

There was no defense. No strategy. Despite the high caliber of the athletes, it still resembled the football I played in Central Park when I was a flag football all-star.

It was awful.

But it could also be what we’re all watching years from now.where to get nfl jerseys

Despite my feelings, two people who know a lot of something about the game of football believe flag football could take a major hold.

One was Bucky Brooks, a former NFL player and scout and current analyst, who tweeted how much he enjoyed watching the game:

People like me look at flag football and see it’s missing several elements that make us love football—namely, the violence. Americans love violence, and we especially love it in our football. This is unfortunate, but it’s true.nfl jerseys china nike

There’s a younger generation of football lovers, however, that wants less violence in the sport, and in some cases, none at all. They are more educated about head trauma and CTE and, unlike a lot of football fans, don’t see players as drones. They actually care about their health.nike nfl jerseys on sale

This is how flag football can gain a foothold. nfl jersey for sale And while us old-school NFL diehards may not see it now, there might be a hidden market for flag football that could emerge—soon.

Still, it’s unclear how long this run will last, and at what point Americans, despite our craving for barbarism in some of our sports, might say, I no longer want to watch a sport that destroys brains.

Flag football could fill that void. where to buy nfl jersey There are people throughout the league who believe this, and they say in the coming years the NFL will push more flag football.

The NFL wants to be prepared for the day when there’s a CTE test, I’m told by numerous team and league sources. If, in a few years, scientists develop a way to test for the disease, and parents begin testing their 10-year-old Pop Warner players, and some start testing positive for a deadly brain disease, parents could start pulling their kids by the millions from tackle football. That would crush the NFL.

That’s where flag football could swoop in. It would give those parents an outlet for their football-loving kids.women nfl jersey

NBA Players Who Will Never Live Up to Their New Free-Agency Contracts

eec59ccd0d7bf36cc464aad8db0dad82_crop_exact

Sometimes, the best way to avoid spending too much money is to not have any money to spend. With a number of NBA teams falling into that category during free agency, 2018 hasn’t been the worst for bad contracts.

Still, even in a year when most franchises have shown thrift by necessity, there are certain deals teams will be eager to watch expire…eventually. Not all of these deals will look rough right away, but as players fail to live up to expectations—whether because of age, health, one-dimensional play or overall production—fans will ogle their newfound cap space when these contracts are no longer on the books.

Though there are a number of eyebrow-raising contracts around official nfl jersey the league, we won’t focus on deals that aren’t for much money or are only for one year.

Here are six players who will struggle to be worth their dollar amount at some point in their contracts. They’re listed in ascending order of how likely their respective teams are to be in states of regret by the end of the deals.

In a “never thought I’d see the day” highlight of the summer, Los Angeles Lakers fans around the world celebrated as Kobe Bryant’s biggest rival agreed to save the franchise from its state of demise.

The idea LeBron James’ contract is something the Lakers will eventually regret sounds preposterous right now. Even at age 33, the King just had one of the best years of his career, finishing second in the MVP voting. And sure, he may cover the cost cheap womens nfl jerseys of the Lakers’ investment in off-court value alone, but we’re here to judge its basketball merits.

There’s a decent chance he won’t live up to his four-year, $154 million deal.

With each subsequent season, that contract will look more precipitous. To put things in perspective, James has already played 54,347 combined playoff and regular-season minutes—the most of anyone through their age-35 season, according to Basketball Reference.

What’s remarkable is James has two more seasons to go.nfl jerseys cheap collection

In fact, he’s ninth in total minutes played, and he’s just 2,931 behind Kobe Bryant for third all-time. Bryant trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (66,297) and Karl Malone (62,759). If James averaged the same number of minutes over the next three years as he played this year (3,948), he’d pass Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time lead with nearly a year to go on his contract.

Sure, he’s been superhuman his whole career and avoided injuries, but that’s part of why he’s also played so many minutes. And while he might seem more machine than man at times, he’s made of flesh and blood, and there will be a time when he’s not the same anymore.nfl jerseys authentic

It’s probably going to happen within the next four years, and the Lakers will pay $41 million on the last year of that contract.nfl womens jerseys

You can argue that if he brings a title to L.A., it won’t matter. But there’s a chance he never will. If he doesn’t and only adds dead weight the final year or two of the contract, Lakers fans’ joy could get exhausted.

LeBron Trusting the Process?

hi-res-ad2436459a1b24d787b294caefe6bacf_crop_exact

No, this doesn’t mean LeBron James is backtracking on his four-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and instead deciding to join the Philadelphia 76ers. Sorry!

But the four-time MVP still seems content to sit back and accept everything that’s nfl youth jerseys  happening around him as Magic Johnson endeavors to build a competitive, albeit unorthodox, roster for the Los Angeles Lakers. The signings of Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee remain questionable (even if you look at the silver linings and focus on the defensive upside and maintained cap flexibility for 2019), but they apparently represent the actual plan in Tinseltown.

As Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst reported for ESPN.com, these moves were planned from the onset of free agency: cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“Here is the answer: exactly what James and Lakers president Magic Johnson planned when they met for more than three hours on the first night of free agency. According to multiple sources within the Lakers and close to James, this is the rollout of a plan Johnson outlined for James the night of June 30 at James’ home. The subsequent deals, which sources say James has consulted on but have been executed at Johnson and Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka’s direction, follow this vision.

“It may seem like an unconventional plan, considering current trends. It may be a plan that takes time to come together, especially early in the season, when new habits will be tested. It may, in fact, be a plan that ultimately fails.

“But the Lakers are indeed attempting to chart a new course for James’ Lakers future, one that is vastly different from the style of basketball he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers.”

That’s…interesting. And it’s important to note that successful execution of a plan does not mean the plan was logical in and of itself. But here we are, and there’s no going back as the Lakers attempt to maximize the next year of James’ extended prime.  nike jersey nfl cheap

Also worth noting? The league’s best player doesn’t seem intent on forcing the title window open with the acquisition of a celestial sidekick. Cue cheap youth nfl jerseys  Zach Lowe:

“LeBron is a Laker, and he is not pressuring L.A. to acquire a second star now, per sources familiar with his thinking. His decision to come alone for three guaranteed seasons speaks for itself. He knows Ingram has at least borderline All-Star potential, and that the 2019 free-agency class is loaded beyond Leonard. He has faith in the combined powers of his supernova talent and the Lakers brand.youth nfl jerseys cheap

“His patience will have limits. But reading between the lines, the Lakers probably have the next calendar year before LeBron applies urgent pressure.”

If you’ve been hoping against hope that the current Los Angeles depth chart was only a placeholder before the Lakers acquire more established talents and avoid wasting a year of peak James, it’s time to start accepting reality.youth nfl jerseys

Yes, it’s probably a painful process.

Sacramento Summer League 2018: Monday Scores, Stats, Highlights and Reaction

hi-res-8dbce0f9fab2d8af99fe6583718ff2d0_crop_north

The inaugural Sacramento Summer League tipped off Monday night with two games at Golden 1 Center.

The Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat opposed one another in the opening game, with the Sacramento Kings displaying their young squad—headlined by No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III—against the Los Angeles Lakers.
cheap nfl authentic jerseys
Below is a brief recap for how the night unfolded.

Derrick Jones Jr.’s Big Night Encouraging Sign for Heat

Derrick Jones Jr. appeared in 14 games for the Heat in 2017-18, so summer league is an opportunity for the 21-year-old to play himself into a bigger role with Miami next season.ones looked good in a losing effort, scoring 24 points and collecting 11 rebounds as the Heat lost 79-68 to the Warriors. Jones is 6-of-29 on three-pointers over two years in the NBA, so Miami will be particularly happy to see him go 4-of-5 cheap authentic nfl jerseys from beyond the arc Monday.

The way in which he threw down this two-handed jam in the fourth quarter showed how Monday’s game was more than a preseason exhibition for Jones:

Heat center Bam Adebayo also posted a double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds) but shot 3-of-13 and picked up seven fouls.

On the other side, Kendrick Nunn and Damian Jones combined to score 33 points for the Warriors. Nunn added 11 rebounds and two assists, while Jones grabbed six boards.

Jordan Bell might still be basking in the glow of the Warriors’ championship, as he didn’t have as much of an impact on the game as one would’ve expected based on his role in Golden State’s squad.

Bell had four points, five rebounds and three assists, but the only thing anybody will remember will be his missed alley-oop late in the fourth quarter. He appeared to put too much power behind his toss off the backboard, as he couldn’t complete the left-handed jam.

Both the fans in Sacramento cheap nfl jerseys from china and Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma were ruthless with their reactions to the mistake:
The Kings have gone 12 straight seasons without the playoffs, and they’re bound to go another two or three years before they’re seriously contending for the postseason.

But the trio of Bagley, Fox and Giles give the fanbase something to get excited about. That might not seem like much, but it’s more than could be said about many of the recent Sacramento squads.

Wagner and Josh Hart each chipped in 23 points for Los Angeles, cheap nfl jerseys china and Svi Mykhailiuk was 3-of-6 from beyond the arc en route to a 15-point night.