Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE PRINCETON TIGERS...
Many Cinderellas made their presence known at this Big Dance.
Only one is staying for a Sweet 16 song: The 15-seed Princeton Tigers followed up their shocking 59-55 win over 2-seed Arizona with a 78-63 thumping of 7-seed Missouri.
- It's Princeton's first Sweet 16 ever (the Sweet 16 started in 1975) and first Regional Semifinal since 1967.
- Princeton is the fourth Ivy League team to make the Sweet 16.
- Princeton is the fourth 15 seed to make the Sweet 16... but the third in the last three Tournaments (2021 Oral Roberts, 2022 Saint Peter's).
Princeton's win over Missouri was just the second NCAA Tournament win by an Ivy League team against an SEC team. The other one was all the way back in 1942, when Dartmouth beat Kentucky.
... AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO THE NEW FRONTRUNNERS
If your bracket is busted, that's understandable. With 1 seed Purdue losing to 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson -- the new biggest upset in NCAA Tournament history -- and 1 seed Kansas falling to 8 seed Arkansas, this is just the fifth time only two 1 seeds are in the Sweet 16.
Naturally, that makes the 1 seeds remaining -- Alabama and Houston -- the favorites. Check out the rest of the top five favorites to win it all from Caesars Sportsbook:
That last team, though, was one of Sunday's biggest winners, writes our Kyle Boone. Furthermore, our Matt Norlander was in Albany to watch UConn dominate, and he says the Huskies are back among college basketball's elite.
- Norlander: "Connecticut has a little bit of everything. Watching the Huskies up close this season, there's a lot on this roster that flashes visions of some of Jim Calhoun's more intimidating Connecticut teams from yesteryear. ... UConn's just better, the whole way up and down. In the past three days, it's reminded a tournament-obsessed nation why, at their best, these Huskies can play with — and beat — anyone in this bracket."
- In the women's NCAA Tournament, 8 seed Ole Miss shocked 1 seed Stanford, 54-49.
- The Lakers expect LeBron James to return this season.
- Joel Embiid joined James in some select scoring company.
- In former-Eagles-signing-elsewhere news, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson signed with the Lions and Isaac Seumalo signed with the Steelers.
- The Texans made Laremy Tunsil the highest-paid tackle in the NFL... again.
- Taylor Moore won the Valspar Championship for his first PGA Tour victory.
- Joey Logano won the Ambetter Health 400.
And not such a good morning for...
JOSE ALTUVE AND THE HOUSTON ASTROS
Add another name to the list of All-Stars injured in the World Baseball Classic. Jose Altuve fractured his right thumb and needs surgery that will sideline him indefinitely.
- The injury happened when Altuve got hit by a pitch from Daniel Bard in Venezuela's eventual loss to the United States.
- Altuve, 32, slashed .300/.387/.533 with 28 home runs last season. He was named an All-Star, won the Silver Slugger, and finished fifth in AL MVP voting, his highest finish since he won the award in 2017. Altuve also hit .308 in the World Series as the Astros beat the Phillies in six games.
- Altuve's injury came just days after Mets star reliever Edwin Díaz suffered a likely season-ending knee injury while celebrating Puerto Rico's win over the Dominican Republic.
Our R.J. Anderson has three paths the Astros can take to help alleviate the effects of Altuve's absence, including...
- Anderson: "The likeliest, and most straightforward route for Brown and the Astros is to hand the keystone over to a player or two already in the organization. The top candidates are David Hensley and Mauricio Dubón. Hensley, listed at an unusually tall 6-foot-6 for a middle infielder, made his big-league debut last season. In 16 games, he batted .345/.441/.586. He's shown a strong eye at the plate, as well as a capable line-drive stroke. ... Dubón would seem more wisely deployed in a super-utility role, though in this instance he makes for an OK insurance policy on Hensley."
Not so honorable mentions
- You must watch this hilarious bad beat from Gonzaga-TCU.
- Anthony Edwards (ankle) is day-to-day.
- The Titans and Kevin Byard are at a crossroads.
Previewing the Sweet 16: Early look at all eight matchups 🏀
The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament has come and gone, and we have eight outstanding matchups in the Round of 16. We'll have plenty more preview content coming for you throughout the week, but let's start with David Cobb's lookaheads for every game.
One of my favorites will be Houston against Miami, a team I've been high on all season (and even picked to win this exact game). Here's what David has to say about the Hurricanes:
- Cobb: "Miami is undersized but doesn't mind a bit. The Hurricanes have elite guards and a dynamic small-ball big man in Norchad Omier... he's among a group of four Miami players averaging 13 or more points per game. Isaiah Wong is the leading scorer ... Jordan Miller and Nijel Pack are also dangerous offensive weapons who make it difficult for opposing defenses to shut everyone down at once.
Here's the entire Sweet 16 schedule.
Cowboys add another former Pro-Bowl vet, plus who's left on the market? 🏈
The Cowboys' offseason so far has been measured much more by quality than by quantity. In its latest move, Dallas acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks from Houston in exchange for a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick (the move likely takes Dallas out of the Odell Beckham Jr. market).
- Cooks, 29, had just 57 catches for 699 yards last season, but he had registered at least 1,000 receiving yards in six of the seven seasons prior to that.
- The Texans will pay $6 million of the $18 million Cooks is due in 2023.
- The Cowboys reportedly nearly pulled off a deal for Cooks at the trade deadline, but the two teams never reached an agreement. Cooks expressed his frustration that the Texans did not deal him and later missed time for "personal reasons."
- This is the fourth time in his career Cooks has been traded, which ties him for most by any player since 1980.
The Cowboys desperately needed another outside option alongside CeeDee Lamb, and that's why they earned an "A" trade grade from our Josh Edwards.
- Edwards: "Cooks is an ideal speed threat who will complement CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in Dallas' offense. The 29-year-old receiver has been able to put up numbers over the course of his career even when he was given inconsistent play at the quarterback position, so pairing him in a Cowboys offense with Dak Prescott could bring with it a very high ceiling."
This is only the third major move Dallas has made this offseason. The Cowboys also traded for Stephon Gilmore and released Ezekiel Elliott. But with two big names coming in and one big name (but, more importantly, big contract) leaving, Dallas has earned an "A" in our team grades, too.
Cooks wasn't the only notable veteran wide receiver switching teams this weekend: Adam Thielen is headed to the Panthers. So, who's left on the market? Jeff Kerr looked at the top free agent at every position as well as the top 10 free agents overall, and if your favorite team is looking for an All-Pro linebacker, there's still one out there.
World Baseball Classic: Trea Turner carries Team USA into championship game ⚾
In five World Baseball Classic games, Trea Turner has...
- Seven hits.
- Four home runs.
- 10 RBI.
- A .368 batting average.
Turner hits ninth in the United States' batting order. I mean, this is a guy who signed an 11-year, $300-million deal this offseason! Sorry, opposing pitching staffs. The US is riding an overpowering, clutch offense to the WBC championship game.
- Turner's eighth-inning grand slam propelled the US over Venezuela, 9-7 in the quarterfinals.
- In the semifinal, the US had a much easier time, cruising past Cuba, 14-2. Turner hit two more home runs.
- The US will face the winner of tonight's other semifinal -- Mexico vs. Japan -- in the final tomorrow.
What we're watching Monday 📺
🏀 We're watching the women's NCAA Tournament. Here's how.
⚾ World Baseball Classic: Mexico vs. Japan, 7 p.m. on FS1
🏀 Mavericks at Grizzlies, 8 p.m. on NBA TV