What a night of basketball. The Stack is here ready to recap what we saw last night in both the college and the pros not to mention a few other storylines from Tuesday so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Wednesday, February 27:
#1 goes down again
Stop me if you've heard this before...the number one team in college basketball lost. Yeah, you've heard that a time or two. It happened again last night as #1 Indiana lost at Minnesota 77-73. It is the fourth time in Minnesota's history that they have knocked off the number team in college basketball, first since 1989. The Golden Gophers were slumping coming into this game. They had lost eight of eleven. What happened to that 14-1 start, the #8 ranking in the country? Well last night, they played like the team we saw earlier in the season. Trevor Mbakwe was sensational, recording a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The Gophers also got some energy from bench player Elliot Eliason who scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds. He was all over the place, hustling and being in the right spot when he needed to be. Huge win for the Gophers, but they have to follow this win with another one Saturday against Penn State. That shouldn't be too hard. For the Hoosiers, this is their third loss as a #1 team this year. That is a bit of a head scratcher and it makes me question whether they are the best bet to win it all this year. Still it's just one loss at a hostile environment. Indiana will be fine. Kind of funny though that they lost for a third time when ranked number one.
Indiana wasn't the only ranked team to lose Tuesday night however. #8 Florida lost on the road to Tennessee 64-58. Florida was a number one seed in the eyes of many prior to last night's game. Now, doesn't look like they have a realistic shot at it even if some of the others lose, not with Georgetown and Michigan State and Kansas all in similar position. Florida just could not knock down their three's and that is a huge problem and one reason why they scare me come tournament time. They rely so heavily on outside shooting that if they don't fall, the Gators are in a lot of trouble. Florida was just 4-17 from three. That's not good enough to win, especially on the road where the Gators have lost three of four. Mad ups to Jordan McRae of Tennessee who dropped in 27 points for the Vols. Tennessee may be an outside contender for a spot on the bubble.
Heat outlast Kings in double overtime
It wasn't just the college kids who were crazy last night. LeBron James and the Heat played a wild one too, more wild than they probably expected. It took two overtimes to beat the Sacramento Kings, but the Miami Heat were able to outlast the Kings 141-129. James had a ho-hum 40 points, 16 assists and eight rebounds. What the heck is his problem? Only 16 assists in a game that had two overtimes? And eight boards? Come on LeBron. Pick up the slack would you. Obviously, I'm being sarcastic, because James was playing out of his mind, just like the Heat have been playing recently. They've won twelve in a row now and are the hottest team in the NBA. No one in the east can stop them except for maybe Indiana and even the Pacers can only probably slow the Heat down. This is a determined bunch playing some terrific ball right now.
NHL proposing realignment plan
When the Atlanta Thrashers, members of the NHL's Southeast Division, moved to Winnipeg, you knew the inevitable was coming. The NHL would have to realign the divisions. They tried to do it last year before the CBA expired. That didn' happen. Now that the new deal has been reached and the season is underway, Commissioner Gary Bettman and the other heads at the NHL office have come up with a realignment plan that makes a great deal of sense geographically, but also will have a twist on the playoffs. To heck with six divisions. The NHL is proposing four: Pacific, Mid-west, Central and Atlantic. Here's a breakdown of who is in which division:
- Pacific: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks
- Mid-west: Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
- Central: Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs
- Atlantic: Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals
Can't fault with how the divisions are chalked up. It's finally nice that Detroit and Columbus are in the eastern divisions, because having them in the west makes zero sense given that they are in the eastern time zone.
The playoffs will feature the top three teams from each division plus four wild card spots. That part is a tad confusing, but the NHL will get it all straightened out and of course the plan has to be voted on, but having Winnipeg in the southeast division and Detroit and Columbus in the western conference makes zero sense so unless the NHL heads are geographically challenged, this deal should and will be approved.
Tom Brady's deal fooling people
By the way, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who was such a great guy for signing a three-year extension through 2017 worth $27 million dollars to help give the team financial flexibility, is actually making more. Way more. Brady is making an addtional $30 million in signing bonuses. Why wasn't that mentioned before? Makes everyone who thought he was doing this for the good of the team, myself included, look foolish. Then again, it's the Patriots. They have a way of being sneaky about these things. So Brady gets $30 million in guarantees off of the signing bonus. That's pretty gosh darn good. Makes the $27 million extension seem pretty insignificant now doesn't it?
Coming up Thursday: Reaction from top sports stories from Wednesday