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The Bracket Yard Daily 2-23-21

College Basketball

The Bracket Yard Daily, Feb. 23, 2021: Duke Wins, Zags Tops, Former Texans

Bubbles bursting and, er, not bursting.

It’s a college basketball kind of time, and today’s Bracket Yard Daily has plenty of it. If March Madness and college hoops are not your thing, I mean, why do you think we started The Bracket Yard? Have you gotten lost?

Top Sports Stories

Duke upends Syracuse, 85-71: You forgot about Duke this year, didn’t you? So did we, if it makes you feel any better, but the Blue Devils are playing much better basketball as of late and find themselves on the bubble. An 85-71 thumping of Syracuse, another bubble team, will help them in that regard. DJ Steward led Duke and all scorers with 21. For what it’s worth, we still do not think Duke is in the tournament, but their forward momentum is undeniable. There has not been an NCAA Tournament sans Duke in about 25 years, so count them out at your peril.

Gonzaga remains atop college basketball rankings: They are not a unanimous number one, but the Associated Press Top 25 still has the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the top of the pile. Baylor and Michigan remain two and three, respectively. The only place where there is some divergence is at number four, where the AP still has Ohio State in that spot, and the Coaches Poll gave it to Illinois. We’re not sure how you can drop Ohio State after playing a very competitive game with another top five team, but you do you, Coaches Poll. There were no newcomers to either poll this week.

What happens to JJ Watt & Deshaun Watson?: Two former Houston Texans (or soon to be former Texans), no suitors at the moment. In Watt’s case, he’s a free agent, but Watson is looking for a trade. Where will these players land? Well, who could use a top defensive player and a serviceable NFL quarterback? That’s a long list for both. Reportedly, the Texans are rebuffing trade offers for Watson, at least for the time being, but expect the hapless Jets to be one of the teams in the mix. As for Watt, he is in no rush to find a new squad.

Pokes win in overtime: Oklahoma State upset #18 Texas Tech in an overtime game in Stillwater on Monday night. We have not paid a lot of attention to Oklahoma State, despite having them in our bracket all along, but if you needed evidence that they are a tournament-worthy team, they gave it to you.

Games of the Day

Illinois at Michigan State (CBB): Is the Michigan State comeback real? You’ll find out when they host #5 Illinois. Sparty has no margin for error with their record and resume, so it’s either win or plan on blasting your way through the Big Ten Tournament. It is generally not advisable to count out a Tom Izzo team, however.

Kansas at Texas (CBB): We think both of these teams are something like 4-seeds in the NCAA Tournament right now, and they happen to be playing tonight. This is a good pre-March test for both.

Penguins at Capitals (NHL): These are not the top two teams in their division, the new-fangled East, but it’s the best game on the board in hockey tonight. They don’t much like each other, either.

5 Good Sports Links

  1. Mariners CEO Mather resigns after derogatory remarks surface,” Associated Press via Yahoo Sports
  2. NBA coaching hot seat: Luke Walton, Scott Brooks among head coaches who could be next out the door,” Jasmyn Wimbish, CBS Sports
  3. Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. says he won’t give up No. 11 to Carson Wentz,” Mike Wells, ESPN
  4. Elliotte Friedman Explains The Artemi Panarin Situation,” SportsNet via YouTube
  5. Fernando Tatis Jr. cites legacy as reason for 14-year deal with San Diego Padres,” Associated Press via ESPN

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