OK, first the results of the March Madness: Last In/First Out Contest. Here are all the entries still in contention, If you think you submitted one with Virginia and either of the 11 seeds please let me know.
5-at-10 — Loyola-Chicago, Virginia
James B — Loyola-Chicago, Virginia
Scott C. — Loyola-Chicago, Virginia
Stacey C. — Loyola-Chicago, Virginia
Tripp G — Syracuse, Virginia
Dean F — Syracuse, Virginia
Mitch M — Syracuse, Virginia
Congrats, and good luck. We will have a tie-breaker as needed for the Final Four, and heck, who knows, we'll likely open that up to everyone too.
Anyhoo, the common theme for the first four days of the NCAA tournament was "upset" and that fits the description of the outcomes and the mood of most everyone who entered a bracket.
And that mood was magnified and personified by UMBC, which will forever be known as the 16 that toppled a 1.
Which got us thinking: What's the biggest sports upset in the modern era, and where would UMBC rank among that group?
We think Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson is No. 1 on this list and the USA Hockey team over the USSR is a close 2. After that, the conversation would have to include UMBC, right?
App State over Michigan makes it too. That Stanford team that was a 40-point underdog against USC needs to be mentioned as well.
What else you got?
Yes, the big trade — so far — heading into the draft happened over the weekend.
The Jets gave pick No. 6 and three second-rounders (two this year, one in 2019) to the Indianapolis Colts for pick No. 3.
Yes, it's a lot of draft capital to jump three spots. But the biggest move there was the Jets believed they had to move in front of Denver to have a better chance at one of the elite quarterbacks.
What does this tell us about the first six picks? Glad you asked.
1. Cleveland. If the Browns are going to take a quarterback, they now have to do it with the top overall pick rather than pick 4. After hearing the backlash for passing on Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson over the last couple of years, you have to believe Cleveland will pick one of the top-tier QBs this year, even with the acquisition of Tyrod Taylor.
2. New York Giants. If we are the Giants, we change the narrative and let everyone believe we are looking hard at a quarterback here to see what we can get for this pick. Because if Denver is willing to part with a similar package that the Jets gave up to move three spots (you have to expect that three high second-rounders will be three starters and one of them to be a star), then let's deal. If not, we think the Giants are smitten with Saquon Barkley.
3. Jets. Have to go QB. You do not move that much draft equity for anything short of the signal caller you believe is the difference-maker for your franchise.
4. Cleveland again. This is another pick that could be in play to be dealt. Because if Buffalo wants to package a collection of picks — remember the Bills have picks 12 and 22 in this draft — to draft a quarterback, then that is doable. That or the Browns could add Bradley Chubb and put him opposite Myles Garret and give them two dynamite young edge rushers.
5. Denver. We think the prudent play for the Broncos here is to draft Quenton Nelson, the Notre Dame guard who ranks no worse than third on every big board in terms of talent and value. Plus, the Broncos line is dreadfully in need of help, and remember, they added Case Keenum, who is only 30 and signed a two-year deal earlier this month.
6. Indianapolis. Not only did the Colts get multiple picks, there's a real chance that either Barkley, Chubb, or Nelson — three superstar talents at major positions of need for the Colts — will be on the board here because someone else likely will either deal with the Giants or Cleveland to try and be in better position to take a quarterback.
Acuna My Gone-A
Yes, that's a bad spin of the Disney phrase "Hakuna Matata" and it won't be the last when it comes to Braves super prospect Ronald Acuna.
Acuna was sent to the Braves minor league camp. It was completely a financial decision, and one that is entirely not expected. But to look that 20-year-old superstar-to-be in the face and inform him that he has to ride the Triple-A bus has to land somewhere between comical and horrifying.
Acuna is hitting .432 with four homers, 11 RBIs, a .727 slugging percentage and a .519 on-base percentage. Egad. (Here's betting that in a rare turn of events, the exhibition a week from today between the Braves vs. the Braves Future Stars, the best and most popular player on the field will be on the Future Stars roster.)
Two weeks at Gwinnett to start the season will give the Braves a full extra year of control of Acuna's contract before he can reach free agency. It's called major-league service time, and it has happened before, most recently with Kris Bryant in Chicago a couple of seasons ago.
The Braves open with six consecutive home games — including a strange Sunday open day on April 1 — before playing nine on the road. Here's betting that Acuna will meet back up with the big-league Braves when they return from Chicago on April 16.
That said, here's wondering how long this loophole lasts in either a practical manner (here's beaten the players' association will look hard at this the next time the CBA is discussed) or in a working manner. In that regard all it will take is one agent to tell a team that if they send down a player like Acuna — who not only has been the Braves bet player this spring, he has been the best player in the entire Grapefruit League — that extra year of control will be for sure the last year he spends in your town.
So it goes. At least for now.
This and that
— Speaking of the Braves, while Acuna will fill a monster void in the outfield and in the middle of the order, the shaky-at-best rotation is starting to sort itself out. Julio Teheran will be the 1 (and yes, that's more of a testament to his back-up singers as it is Teheran's abilities as an ace) followed by Mike Foltynewicz, Brandon MacCarthy and Sean Newcomb. The fifth spot is still up in the air.
— More baseball: For Dodgers fans still longing for that elusive World Series title, this is not how you hoped the season would start. Slugging third baseman Justin Turner will be out several weeks after breaking his wrist when he was hit by a pitch. No es bueno.
— Ty Lue, the Cavs coach — aka the No. 1 assistant to LeBron — is taking a leave of absence to tend to medical issues. Here's hoping for Lue to get better. Dude is only 40 and to be coughing up blood is no good at all.
— Speaking of the Cavs, in the first game without Lue, James went 40-12-10 to become the third-oldest player with a 40-point triple-double. Larry Bird and Elgin Baylor are the only ones to have such a stat line and be older than James' 33 years and 79 days.
— Because Phil Steele is Phil Steele, here's his list of last year's top 50 freshmen running backs and their stats of interest. (Three of those dudes topped 1,000 yards last year. Can you name them?) And his list of the top 50 incoming freshmen running backs for this season.
— Here's TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer on the Holly Warlick situation in Knoxville. It's a sticky wicket for certain.
— A decision on legalized sports gambling could come as soon as today. Some states already have bills to pass it when the Supreme Court offers its opinion. Here's another one, as Louisiana is looking at moving quickly on the issue, too, if it passes.
Let's roll a little True or False, shall we? We say True.
True or false, UT needs to fire Holly Warlick.
True or false, the Braves made the right decision to scene Acuna to the minors.
True or false, the UMBC win over UVa is the biggest upset ever in college basketball.
As for today, March 20, well, let's see what we have.
On this day in 2016, Barack Obama visited Cuba.
Carl Reiner is 96. Fred Rogers would have been 90. Bobby Orr is 70.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono got married 49 years ago today.
As for a Rushmore, let's go here: Penny Hardaway was hired by his alma mater to be the next basketball coach at Memphis. Who makes the Rushmore of the best basketball coaches at their alma maters ever. (Here's betting Holly Warlick is not going to make it.)
Go, and enjoy the day.