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5 biggest takeaways from Saturday’s Elite Eight action

Saturday’s games marked the first which featured a truly brighter spotlight for the teams playing. The Elite Eight, unlike the three rounds prior, only has one game played and televised at each interval. The entire college basketball world first focused its attention on San Jose, and then to Kansas City to see two teams advance…Read More

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Kobe Bryant offers his help to the Lakers

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant is making clear that if the Los Angeles Lakers want his input, he’s always happy to help.

Bryant told Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times that he’s just one call away if Jeanie Buss or anyone else wants him.

Bryant isn’t angling for a formal role of anything like that, but he’s still fond of the Lakers and wants to help lift them out of the cellar. In fact, their general manager — who also happens to be Bryant’s former agent — has already been in touch with him.

H/T CBS Sports

Josh Gordon reportedly ‘doubtful’ to get another chance with Browns

Josh Gordon has once again applied for NFL reinstatement, but the star wide receiver is likely going to have to find a new team if his ban is lifted this offseason.

Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain dealer was told by a source that the Browns will likely try to trade Gordon and could even release him if he is granted reinstatement. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to make a decision within the next month or so.

Gordon has already had several chances to straighten his act out in Cleveland, and he continues to show the team he cannot remain on the right path. The 25-year old has been suspended for 43 of the Browns’ last 48 games, and he most recently checked himself into rehab back in September after continuing to struggle with alcohol addiction. Gordon was in line to have his four-game suspension lifted prior to what was described as a “slip-up” at the time.

Gordon failed multiple drug tests for marijuana while in college at Baylor prior to being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2012. The issue continued in the NFL, where he has violated the league’s substance abuse policy on multiple occasions. Gordon was arrested in 2014 for driving while impaired and has been suspended more than once.

Interestingly enough, Gordon checked himself into a rehab facility the same day he received the results of a paternity test he was nearly arrested over.

5 biggest takeaways from Saturday’s Elite Eight action

Jordan Bell Oregon

Saturday’s games marked the first which featured a truly brighter spotlight for the teams playing.

The Elite Eight, unlike the three rounds prior, only has one game played and televised at each interval. The entire college basketball world first focused its attention on San Jose, and then to Kansas City to see two teams advance to the Final Four.

Under a brighter light, flaws and successes stand out even brighter and show what can be expected as the tournament turns up the intensity. Here are five big things we saw.

1.) Gonzaga shouldn’t be satisfied with reaching the Final Four

For the first time in program history, Gonzaga is headed to the Final Four after beating 11 seed Xavier in the West Region final. For a school of Gonzaga’s size, with no football program and situated in the West Coast Conference, it is a huge achievement. No WCC team has played in the Final Four since Bill Russell was at San Francisco in 1957. Without a doubt, this is a milestone for the Gonzaga program.

But for this team, in this tournament, Gonzaga’s journey has no reason to stop now.

The Zags have been atop Ken Pomeroy’s rankings for the last two months, as they finished the regular season 29-1. Gonzaga features a top-15 offense in the country and the top-ranked defense in all the land.

With stars like Nigel Williams, Johnathan Williams, and Jordan Mathews, among a host of other scoring options, the Zags have so many ways to attack and win. Both of Mark Few’s centers, Zach Collins and Przemek Karnowski, battled foul trouble Saturday, but Gonzaga went smaller and found success in transition.

These Bulldogs are a cut above the Gonzaga teams of the past and capable of winning it all.

2.) Mid-majors crash the party again

(more…)

Lawrence Police trolls Kansas after upset loss to Oregon

Lawrence Police trolled Kansas after the Jayhawks were upset by Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.

The Jayhawks were a No. 1 seed in the tourney and had been destroying opponents, yet they went cold against the Ducks’ tough interior defense and lost 74-60.

Lawrence Police, which is the city where KU is located, sent this tweet:

Lawrence Police

That is harsh and unnecessary.

Despite being an elite program under Bill Self, the Jayhawks consistently have lost earlier than expected in the NCAA Tournament.

They’ve had two first-round exits; three second-round exits; two Sweet 16 exits; and five Elite Eight exits under Self. That’s despite having eight 30-plus win seasons under him. At least they’ve made two trips to the title game and won one, because otherwise Self would have the biggest monkey on his back in the sport.

We’re guessing that the Lawrence PD learned its Twitter behavior from their friends in Denver.

Tyronn Lue implies Cavs have better defensive sets but aren’t using them

The Cleveland Cavaliers have looked like a bunch of traffic cones on the defensive end as of late, but head coach Tyronn Lue appears to have an explanation for their struggles on that side of the ball.

After the Cavs’ 127-115 loss at home to Washington on Saturday, Lue implied they had better defensive sets under their sleeves but were simply choosing not to reveal them before the playoffs, per the team’s official Twitter account.

Lue can rationalize all he wants, but things aren’t looking pretty for the Cavs right now. Saturday’s game marked the 12th time in 14 March contests that they’ve given up 100 points or more, a stretch that has seen them slip to 23rd in the NBA in defensive rating on the season as a whole (which would easily be their worst mark since LeBron James returned in 2014, per NBA.com).

Some of Lue’s players have been brushing off the team’s recent woes as well, so the pressure will be on for the Cavs’ defense to deliver come the postseason.

Phil Knight cuts down nets after Oregon reaches Final Four

Phil Knight

Oregon’s basketball program had one of its finest moments in their history on Saturday, and Phil Knight was on hand to celebrate. And he didn’t just celebrate from the stands like some fan; he got to participate.

The Nike founder, who is a huge booster for Oregon’s athletic programs, got to cut down the net in Kansas City along with his team:

The Ducks were among the best teams in college basketball all season, as they entered the Big Dance 29-5. They took a hit in their seeding after Chris Boucher suffered a torn ACL in the Pac-12 Tournament, but they’ve proven they can win without him.

Oregon doesn’t have much of a tradition in college hoops. Their only previous trip to the Final Four was in 1939, when they won it all. Under Dana Altman, they’ve made the tournament five times and have back-to-back strong showings. They sure are making Knight proud.

Mark Cuban has funny response to JJ Barea’s ejection for pushing Blake Griffin

Mark Cuban

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is on a roll with his humor lately.

Mavs guard J.J. Barea was assessed a flagrant 2 foul and ejected in the third quarter of the team’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday after pushing Clippers big man Blake Griffin on a screen.

While there was some shoving action on the part of the 6-foot-0 Barea, it was also a fairly egregious flop by the 6-foot-10 Griffin. So when asked about the play on Saturday, Cuban replied with this funny tongue-in-cheek response, according to Isaac Harris of FanSided.

Cuban also joked that Griffin might duck Barea the next time the Clippers and the Mavs meet on April 5, per Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The 58-year-old billionaire has been the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to entertaining quotes these last few days, so perhaps there’s some incentive for the rest of us to root for the Mavs, who are currently 3.5 games behind the eighth-seeded Denver Nuggets, to make the playoffs this year.

Video via NBA Reddit

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