Happy Hump Day everyone! I hope you’re waking up to a bunch of successful fantasy football waiver claims who will fuel your playoff push.
Let’s get right to it.
Good morning to everyone but especially to…
STEPHEN CURRY AND THE GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Let me give you a quick list to start things off this fine morning:
MOST GAMES WITH NINE OR MORE THREE-POINTERS MADE in NBA HISTORY
37. Stephen Curry36. No one35. No one34. No one33. No one32. No one31. No one30. No one29. No one(ok, this is gonna take a while, so let’s speed things up)28-13. Still no one12. No one11. No one10. No one9. James Harden, Damian Lillard
Nights like Tuesday explain that list. Curry knocked down nine threes on his way to a 37-point effort as the Warriors routed the Nets, 117-99, in Brooklyn. Here’s our Brad Botkin to put into perspective how great of a game Curry had:
Botkin: “Curry — whose shooting, relatively speaking, has actually been somewhat erratic to start the year — was just too much. When he hit his first four 3s of the night, all of them from at least 25 feet and the final two from 30 and 35 feet, you knew it was going to be a long night for Brooklyn.”
The Warriors are now an NBA-best 12-2 this season. They’re third in offensive rating and first in defensive rating. That is really, really good.
Next time Curry is on TV, please, please make him appointment viewing.
Honorable mentions: I told you yesterday Seton Hall at No. 4 Michigan was worth watching, and I hope you listened. The Pirates won 67-65. It tied the program’s highest-ranked road win ever. Remember this ultra-tough squad come March.BYU also gave us a huge upset in college basketball last night when they demolished No. 12 Oregon, 81-49.Gabe Kapler and Kevin Cash won NL and AL Manager of the Year, respectively. Kapler led the Giants to a franchise-record 107 wins while Cash, who won his second straight such award, led the Rays to a franchise-record 100 wins.While it may not have been the prettiest or best performance the US men’s national team has ever put together, it picked up a point in a 1-1 draw at Jamaica. Tim Weah — who earned the highest mark in soccer reporter Roger Gonzalez’s ratings — opened the scoring before Jamaica’s Michail Antonio leveled things.
New College Football Playoff Rankings have arrived! 🏈
Graphic by Mike Meredith
If you watched Tuesday night’s reveal and thought “these look a lot like last week’s rankings,” you’re exactly right. There was no movement among the top seven teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings:
1. Georgia (10-0)
2. Alabama (9-1)
3. Oregon (9-1)
4. Ohio State (9-1)
5. Cincinnati (10-0)
6. Michigan (9-1)
7. Michigan State (9-1)
Meanwhile, Notre Dame is up to No. 8, but our Jerry Palm isn’t making much of that — yet:
Palm: “Speaking of Cincinnati, there has been some speculation in various places that Notre Dame at 11-1 could jump the undefeated Bearcats for a spot in the playoff. That belief is based on the Fighting Irish having a much stronger schedule and the committee already ignoring head-to-head once this season by putting Michigan ahead of Michigan State. Let me make this as clear as possible: Even though Notre Dame crept one spot closer in the rankings this week, there is no chance that the Irish will finish ahead of an unbeaten Bearcats team.“
Big contracts for big-name pitchers 💰
A pair of starting pitchers inked notable deals on Tuessday, led by José Berríos, who signed a seven-year, $131-million extension with the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s the largest contract the Blue Jays have ever handed out.
Berríos posted a career-best 3.52 ERA last season, which he started with the Twins before being traded to Toronto, and he could lead a strong Blue Jays rotation for years to come, writes MLB expert Dayn Perry:
Perry: “Right now, Berríos would slot in at the front of a Toronto rotation that also includes Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah, Ross Stripling, and Nate Pearson. If the Jays are able to re-up with 2021 ace and Cy Young finalist Robbie Ray, then Berríos would become a particularly strong No. 2 man.”
Meanwhile, the Angels agreed to a one-year, $21-million deal with Noah Syndergaard. Though Syndergaard is indeed a big name, he threw just two innings in 2021 following Tommy John surgery. Still, it could be a high-upside signing, writes Dayn Perry:
Perry: “Syndergaard, when fully healthy, owns one of the biggest fastballs in the majors, and he also complements it with a changeup and hard slider. Thanks to the quality of his stuff, Syndergaard’s upside remains substantial. Health, though, remains a question. In addition to his torn UCL that required Tommy John, Syndergaard has also dealt with lat, biceps, and finger issues.”
Loyola Chicago is headed to the Atlantic 10 🏆
Sister Jean is going to make some new friends. In a big shakeup on the college basketball mid-major scene, Loyola Chicago announced Tuesday that they are leaving the Missouri Valley Conference and joining the Atlantic 10 starting with the 2022-23 academic year.
The Ramblers joined the Missouri Valley in 2013 and did the conference proud — especially on the hardwood. They are an attractive addition to the Atlantic 10, writes our college basketball analyst Gary Parrish:
Parrish: “The development is a boost to the A-10, especially in basketball, considering the Ramblers were in the 2018 Final Four and Sweet 16 of last season’s NCAA Tournament. They’re currently 2-0 under first-year coach Drew Valentine and ranked 32nd at KenPom, which is higher than any current A-10 member.”
But the conference shuffling doesn’t stop there. Later Tuesday, our college basketball writer Matt Norlander reported that the MVC is pursuing Murray State, UT Arlington and Kansas City.
Norlander: “(T)he appeal for Murray State is clear and most obvious. It’s one of the most accomplished mid-major programs in men’s basketball, with 17 NCAA Tournament appearances to its name. … UT Arlington and Kansas City are candidates for one huge reason: their proximity to major media markets. Arlington is in the greater Dallas area, which is by far its greatest selling point and the thing that entices the MVC’s presidents as they look to expand the conference’s appeal geographically.”
Packers return to top of Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings, Pats enter top 10 🏈
The Packers reclaimed their spot atop Pete Prisco’s Power Rankings, and it’s not just because Aaron Rodgers is back. Let’s hear it for the defense, too.
Prisco: “The Packers can win slugfests now, even if that’s not what it’s been for most of Rodgers’ time with the team. That’s a good sign for the postseason because you know he can still sling it when he has to do so. That’s why this Green Bay team is so different. It can throw it, run it and play a physical brand of defense. That sure seems like a combination that can win it all — a style that has the Packers back on top of these rankings.”
While the NFC leaders have been near the top of Prisco’s rankings all season, over in Foxborough, the Patriots are making their presence known. Winners of four straight games, New England cracked the top 10 for the first time this season, and Prisco believes, “This might be Bill Belichick’s best coaching job.”
That certainly extends to Mac Jones, whose three touchdowns in Week 10 earned him the No. 2 spot on NFL expert Josh Edwards’ Rookie Power Rankings:
Edwards: “Jones was phenomenal against Cleveland. His ability to layer throws and make quick reads has been fun to watch so early in his career. The Alabama product was throwing with great touch (19 for 23) and putting the ball where the Browns defense simply could not make a play…”
What we’re watching Wednesday 📺
🏀Lakers at Bucks (-7.5), 7:30 p.m. on ESPN | While LeBron James isn’t quite back, this one still has plenty of star power.
🏀Mavericks at Suns (7.5), 10 p.m. on ESPN | No Luka Doncic in this one as the Mavericks go for their third win in a row.