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FILE - In this Nov. 26, 2019, file photo, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski directs his team as associate head coach Jon Scheyer shouts from behind him during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Stephen F. Austin in Durham, N.C. Duke Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski will coach his final season with the Blue Devils in 2021-22, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday, June 2, 2021. The person said former Duke player and associate head coach Jon Scheyer would then take over as Krzyzewski's successor for the 2022-23 season. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)

Fab 4 picks

OK, we broke even on the published picks and fared a little better later in the day as the scenarios changed and more intel became available.

Sadly, in our race not to pay Matt $100, those do not count on the scoreboard.

So it goes.

With that, we're keeping a head on a swivel for spot games. Not games we can spot an advantage, well not entirely that anyway.

The spot game, as in what's next and what's down the road, and is this a bad spot for a particular side. We believe there are a couple. Live Chris Mullin coming off a Walter Berry baseline screen on Big Monday with Bill Raftery screaming, "Onions" and whispering "With the kisssssssssssssss" let's run off these picks.

Send it Jerome.

Purdue plus-20.5 over THE Ohio State. THE Buckeyes are mediocre defensively, and susceptible to the big play. THE Buckeyes have Michigan State next week. THE Buckeyes know they are in a win and advance spot, which makes fourth-quarter play calling as conservative as a Falwell family reunion. Plus — research alert with a visor tip to my buddy Brian Edwards — against the spread, Purdue is 9-2 as a road underdog and 7-1 as a double-digit underdog in Jeff Brohm's five years with the Boilermakers. Hmmmmmmmmm.

Michigan minus-1 over Penn State. Michigan is better. Period. The Wolverines — WOLVERINES! — know what's at stake, and their still control all of their dreams. Just winning a nooner at Happy Valley is assuredly doable.

UNLV plus-3.5 over Hawaii. Hawaii is 1-4 against the spread and overall — the lone win and cover was against the hapless New Mexico State Aggies (more on them in a moment) — on trips to the mainland. Yes, UNLV is less than good, but this is another pre-noon kick on Hawaii time, and I like the Rebels offense to score points.

Alabama minus-13.5 first quarter and minus-32 first half over New Mexico State. Yes, the Tide first half props have been erratic compared to previous seasons. So it goes, and that's why it's called gambling not saving. Still, this is more one-sided than Don Lemon interviewing Stacey Abrams. NMSU is 1-8 — "How'd we ever win one? It's a miracle" — and that one was a one-score affair against South Carolina State. NMSU is allowing 7.1 yards a play, has surrendered 44 TDs in those nine games and the defense ranks 120th of the 130 FBS programs. And that's with the best opponent it has played to date is San Diego State. And that's with Alabama having gone through a week of hearing about how it slept-walked through a 20-14 win over LSU.

Oklahoma minus-5.5 over Baylor. Hey, Oklahoma has been an enigma, wrapped in a riddle placed deep inside a Rubik's cube. But a) Baylor's hearts were broken last week, b) Oklahoma is simply better than the Bears, c) the Sooners still have the world to play for, and d) OU had a bye last week to get healthy.

Last week: 3-3 against the spread (50%).

This season: 33-37 against the spread (47.1%).



Duke after Coach K

We have discussed Coach K's farewell season a bit this week as college basketball tipped off.  

But what is in store for Duke A.K. — After Krzyzewski — in the coming years?

Without question, Duke basketball is among the top five recognizable college programs across all of sports.

Alabama football and UK basketball are there. Notre Dame football too.

From there, everyone else is squabbling for the scraps from Longshanks' (and Nike's) table.

Former Duke star and long-time NBA marksman JJ Redick said on the Pat McAfee Show that Coach K has built a brand that will last forever.

But has he?

Is this Alabama football or UK hoops? Or is this more UT women's basketball or UCLA basketball even?

Could this even be very similar to the aftermath after Coach K's mentor, Bobby Knight, left Indiana.

It's a mammoth shadow for sure, and I'm not even a Coach K fan to be honest.

It's easily the most intriguing storyline from Coach K's exit, because if they win, the Crazies will still be crazy and the prime TV spots will still come calling.

But in a million years did you think the palace Pat built would crumble and Lady Vols would ever fall to being a mid-tier program in their own conference?

Because that's a very real possibility if the path gets rocky early in the A.K. years.      
 

Girls hoops need a girl coach?

If there's a high school sports story in the Volunteer State, those of us around these parts know where to turn.

Here's TFP sports editor Stephen Hargis' report on Van Buren County girls' basketball coach Tyler Sapp being fired.

Was it because of performance? Nope. His team went 24-3 in 2020-21 and he was district coach of the year.

Was it because of scandal or controversy? Again, not according to reports.

According to Sapp, he was relieved of his coaching duties because the school system director believed the girls' basketball team should have a female coach.

Oh, where to start. Of course — sadly — in stories like this our minds wander to the unseemly. Call it a conditioned response or sadly, a pessimistic view on events that tragically are far too common.

But, the director of the school system, Cheryl Cole, who used to be the girls' basketball coach at VBCHS, offered him the chance Monday to stay on staff and be an assistant, according to Sapp.

So, that rules out a lot of the dark recesses where our minds may go on a story like this because if this was a coach-student relationship or controversy or what have you, this termination would be immediate and certainly a chance to remain as an assistant would not be proper or offered, right?

So, it certainly appears, as Sapp called it, a sexist decision.

Thoughts? (And I can't help but wonder what the female coaches making moves in the NBA and the NFL would say about these details as we know them.)

 

This and that

— Speaking of picks, last week we hit on Viktor Hovland to win the PGA event at +1600. It was a small taste, but $160 is better than a poke in the eye with sharp stick as my dad would say. (Side note: Pop had a way gang. He could blend Andy Taylor with a malapropism that was all Barney and wink and make the world seem small. He was fond of saying, "I'd rather be rich and healthy than poor and sick" or if something was even more obvious, "Well, it doesn't take a Phi Kappa Beta to figure that one out." Miss you old man.) Anywell, we took Matthew Wolff at +2700 this week. And if he can pull it off, he'll join Wolfman Jack, "Teen Wolf" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" on the Wolf Rushmore.

— OK we had some super fun Wednesday in a social media back-and-forth about this week's Bracket Challenge question. It also made it clear that the answer to the question — who is the most popular Atlanta Braves player of all time — is not going to be a Chipper runaway. First, age matters — and with that knowledge is Dale Murphy the 2 seed? — and second the overlap of so many stars in Chipper's day could split his voting block. You have till the end of the week to make your nominations here.  



— So, we have hemorrhaged some strong-willed folks in the Eliminator Pool the last couple of weeks. Here, according to my records, are who is still floating: HGL3 (who had the Ravens last week and had to be sweating that one out), Mike B, Ted P, Paul J and Brian E. Please let me know if you have something different.

— This type of stuff is so in our wheelhouse. Bill Simmons, who had as much an influence on this little morning conversation as anyone, had Tom Hanks on a recent podcast and asked the megastar his three favorite Tom Hanks movies. Hanks' answers, on their face, are surprising, but when you hear the explanation that his three favorites were about the enjoyment of making the movies, it shines a whole lot of light on it. And yes, there's no crying in baseball because that one made the list.

— You know the rules. Here's Paschall's picks for the week.

— Also, Happy Veterans Day to all those who served and to all the family members who made the sacrifices as their loved ones served to protect all of us and our way of life. God bless, and the TFP annually has a series of stories on local veterans. Here's one I wrote that was in today's fish wrapper on a former Central Purple Pounder who rose to the rank of Rear Admiral. Thanks for your service, Adm. Fry.


Today's questions

Lots to get to.

Including an NFL game tonight with Lamar Jackson in action.  

Feel free to offer your thoughts on any of the above.

Watched the CMAs last night. Did anyone else? Thoughts? Got a couple of mailbag questions on it too.

We've done a slew of 'Veterans' related Rushmores through the years.

Pretty sure we have not done this one though: Military video games. Go. And remember the mailbag.

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