- I'll lead with National Signing Day so we can get it over with. Recruiting rankings are overly fluid from outlet to outlet AND there are still some significant guys unsigned, but if you're a fan of Alabama, be excited. It's not surprise that teams like the Tide, Florida State, Texas, Florida, and Georgia line the top of these rankings, and that'll continue. On a personal note, Brady Hoke landed a consensus top-10 class, and that warms my heart.
- Muhammed Ali's legendary trainer Angelo Dundee has passed away at 90 years old. He's considered by most to be the best trainer of all-time, and he also trained Sugar Ray Leonard, so this is a big-time figure in Boxing. RIP.
- Clippers 107, Jazz 105 - Chris Paul is better than everyone. 34 points, 11 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals as the Clippers scored 35 points in the 4th to beat Utah. It's honestly a pleasure to watch him play the point guard position. Anyway, Blake Griffin had an explosive 31 points and 14 boards, while Mo Williams (despite 6 of 18 shooting) generated 19 points. Mr. Bad Shot had a now-typical 1 of 8 game, and I really, really wish they'd bury him on occasion. For Utah? I liked what I saw from Al Jefferson, who dominated Deandre Jordan physically to the tune of 27 and 12, and the Jazz got big-time bench infusion from CJ Miles (16 points), and Derrick Favors (14 points in 18 minutes and should've played more). I think Utah is for real to the point where they'll be challenging for a playoff spot until the very end.
- NBA Round-up - Before we start, I'm going to have to skip some games today because a) there were so many, and b) we're short on time. Don't fear. Orlando won a game! Dwight Howard put up a 23-point/18-rebound game to lead the Magic to a 109-103 win over Washington. This game featured a wild 75-point 4th quarter that saw Orlando put up 40 to seal the win. How good are the Sixers? Philly beat up on Chicago at home last night 98-82 behind a do-everything game from Andre Iguodala and a breakout game from Lavoy Allen off the bench (15 points, 6 boards). Derrick Rose was decent, going 8 of 17, but never got off in a way that he's used to, and Chicago couldn't generate enough offense. Toronto and Charlotte combined to score 132 points and lose by a total of 80 points. EIGHTY! That's not even worth breaking down any further. The Zombies bounce back with an impressive road win in Dallas 95-86. Russ Westbrook led the way with 33 on 11-24 FG, and Durant notched 23 points and 13 boards for OKC. On the Dallas side, Dirk just couldn't get going (2 of 15) and they'll have trouble beating a good team when he's out there doing that. Brandon Jennings had his most prolific game of the young season last night with 31 points and 8 assists (despite 9 of 25 shooting, yikes) in Milwaukee's 105-97 upset over Miami. Lebron had 40/8/5 and Wade added 23 but Miami got absolutely nothing from the bench and a paltry 9 point effort from Chris Bosh. It happens. And finally, it's nice to see Danny Granger get going for Indiana. The star swingman went off for 36 points (9 of 19 FG, 13 of 15 FT) in Indy's 109-99 win in Minnesota. All five starters notched double figures for the Pacers, and Darren Collison abused the T-wolves' backcourt to the tune of 20/6/9. For Minny, Love went for 21 and 17 but shot just 6 of 16, and the black hole that is Mike Beasley shot 3 of 11. Typical.
- A quick look at college hoops - Baylor escaped College Station with a 3-point win at the gun over A&M last night. I can't emphasize enough how virtually any road win in conference is an accomplishment in today's college hoops, so they'll take this one. My national POY pick (besides Mike Scott) is Kansas' Thomas Robinson who had 20 points and 17 boards in their 20-point blowout over Oklahoma. Standard operating procedure at this point. Georgetown held UConn to a season-low (and horrifying) 44 points in a 14-point home win last night. One of the stories of this season is how underachieving this UConn squad is after top-5 expectations, and they were flat-out awful here shooting 30% FG, 2 of 20 from 3 and even 6-13 FT last night. Yikes. And finally, Hail to the Victors as Michigan gets a nice resume win at home over Indiana 68-56. Freshman of the year candidate Trey Burke scored 18 on 5 of 9 shooting for the Wolverines, and he was helped by 13 apiece from Hardaway and Novak. Love it.
What to watch for on Thursday...
- NCAAB - #5 Duke @ Virginia Tech - ESPN 7:00 - The best college hoops game of the night simply because it's always a scene when Duke goes on the road in conference. The opposing crowd is at it's best, and VT is capable of an upset here at home even if they're the inferior team.
- NBA - Grizzlies @ Hawks - SportSouth 7:30 - I'll be in the building tonight with the boys, and this is a nice matchup. The Hawks don't really have an answer for Marc Gasol, but this is (gasp) a night where playing Jason Collins a few minutes may prove useful. Keep an eye out.
- NBA - Bulls @ Knicks - TNT 8:00 - The Knicks are a disaster right now, but coming off a nice win, and with visions of Baron Davis. On the bright side, Iman Shumpert can physically match-up with Derrick Rose a bit.... oh, who am I kidding?
- NBA - Nuggets @ Clippers - TNT 10:30 - The Clippers have achieved "Laker" status in that I'm asking myself every single night if they ever don't play on national TV. But that doesn't mean I won't be watching. Ty Lawson vs. Chris Paul is kind of awesome.
Enjoy! And stay tuned sometime in the next day or two for an extensive Super Bowl breakdown...