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Big Night in College Hoops

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Garett Fisbeck/Associated Press

If you’re like me, your favorite time of the year is March. The snow is starting to melt, flowers are starting to bloom and, most importantly, March Madness begins. I may be biased because I have been an avid college basketball fan my entire life but I truly believe the NCAA Tournament is the best event in all of sports. Continuous great college basketball games between some of the best teams in the country; what more could you want? Thankfully, we have midseason hoops to hold us over until March and that is exactly what last night was all about. 12 of the Top 25 teams in the country were in action and although only two of them lost, it still made for an exciting night of college basketball.

Leading the headlines was a top 10 matchup between #8 Texas Tech and #9 Oklahoma. The main storyline coming into this game was Oklahoma freshman phenom Trae Young. Could he maintain his rapid pace in a season where he is averaging 29.2 points and 10.1 assists per game? In short, yes he could. Texas Tech was able to shut down Young in the first half, holding him to just 5 points on 1-12 shooting. However, the game is 40 minutes long for a reason and Young took advantage of all 40, finishing the game with 27 points, 9 assists and leading his team to a 75-65 victory over a tough Texas Tech team. Keenan Evans led the Red Raiders with 19 points.

Last night was a night that finally saw North Carolina come back into form after losing 3 out of their last 5 games. This was due in large part to Luke Maye, who finished the game with 32 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Tar Heels to a 96-66 victory over Boston College. This is the same Luke Maye that averaged a lowly 5.5 points last year in his sophomore season. “The basket was pretty big tonight,” Maye said after the win. “It was really fun.” It just goes to show what work in the offseason and trust from your coach will get you.

Last night was almost a very exciting night with three missed buzzer beaters that if made, would have resulted in three top 25 upsets, two of which would have been top 5 upsets. Texas A&M, Baylor and Michigan all had last second possessions that could have resulted in three huge upsets. However, it was not to be and #21 Kentucky, #2 West Virginia and #5 Purdue could breathe a sigh of relief as they escaped with victories against their respective opponents. Despite the lack of upsets, Tuesday night was a great night for college basketball and we can only hope that it is a sign of things to come.

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Carmelo Anthony Will Sign With The Houston Rockets

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Carmelo Anthony will be an official free agent once he is waived by the Atlanta Hawks.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to trade Anthony and a lottery-protected 2022 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a three-team deal that netted them point guard Dennis Schroder, per ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Hawks intend to pay Anthony his entire $27.9 million salary for next season as part of the buyout.

According to Turner Sports’ David Aldridge, Anthony “has been telling people for more than a week that he’ll ultimately wind up with the Rockets.”

Anthony will join Chris Paul and James Harden with the Houston Rockets. The Miami Heat and Los Angles Lakers were among the teams that were also interested in Melo.

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NFL Halts Policy To Penalize Players For Kneeling During The Anthem

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The NFL and NFLPA have come to an agreement to not to enforce the rule change to penalize players for taking a knee.

In May, the NFL unilaterally instituted a new policy surrounding the national anthem that would punish players and teams for kneeling as away to protest police brutality against people of color.  Which was a complete change in direction from their stance in October 2017.

The league and the NFL Players Association issued a joint statement Thursday that said “no new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks” while both sides continue to hold discussions to figure out how to move forward.

“The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue,” the joint statement said. “In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy.

“The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice. Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”

Players around the league were not happy with the leagues’ policy change. At least this move allows more discussions and won’t allow teams to suspend players.

 

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Kawhi Leonard Traded To The Raptors

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The Kawhi Leonard era in San Antonio is officially over.

The San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors agreed to a deal in principle that would involve a swap of All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

Wojnarowski reported Leonard and Danny Green will head to Toronto in exchange for DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first-round draft pick. Toronto’s first-round pick to San Antonio is a protected 1-20 selection. After one year, it becomes two second-round picks.

Per Wojnarowski, the first-round pick is protected for the 20th overall selection and above, and after a year, it will turn into two second-round draft choices.

Toronto would be able to offer Leonard a five-year, $190 million contract next summer. If Leonard left the Raptors, he could sign a four-year, $141 million deal with a team with the available salary-cap space.

Kawhi has already made his intentions known to head back to Cali when he hits free agency. So this move is likely only stop gap.

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