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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Stories by Grey Papke:

Report: Jay Gruden not being consulted on Redskins’ roster moves

Jay Gruden

If the latest report out of Washington is true, the Redskins organization is in quite the messy spot.

According to Eric Bickel of 106.7 The Fan, Washington head coach Jay Gruden has not been consulted on any of the team’s offseason moves. He even went as far as to say that Gruden learned of the Landon Collins signing through media reports, not from anyone associated with the organization.

Gruden is said to be very frustrated by the fact that Bruce Allen has essentially frozen him out of the decision-making process.

True or not, the last time we heard about this sort of disconnect between the coach and the front office, John Fox lasted one more season before ultimately being fired by the Chicago Bears. If there’s anything to this, it seems like Gruden may also be living on borrowed time in Washington.

Giants GM explains his infamous quote about not trading Odell Beckham

Dave Gettleman

In the hours after Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns, an old tweet from the New York Giants’ Twitter account quickly achieved a sort of viral status. It was a quote from Giants general manager Dave Gettleman given after the team signed Beckham to a new contract last year, and at the time, it was meant to quiet the trade rumors around the star wide receiver.

Obviously, those words rung hollow with many Giants fans after the deal was completed. Speaking for the first time since the trade on Monday, Gettleman asserted that the quote had been true — but someone had blown the Giants away with an offer too good to turn down.

That offer was a first-round pick, a third-round pick, and safety Jabrill Peppers. Do with that information what you will.

Ultimately, there’s no chance this is going to calm down angry Giants fans. If anything, it might stoke their anger even more.

NC State AD brought the evidence in complaint about tourney snub

There’s general agreement among most experts that the NCAA’s selection committee more or less got the 68-team field right this year, but don’t tell that to the NC State Wolfpack.

The Wolfpack were one of the last teams out of the field, and athletic director Debbie Yow brought the numbers in issuing her complaint about the school’s exclusion.

The selection committee was likely unimpressed by NC State’s non-conference schedule, where they beat Auburn, lost to Wisconsin, and otherwise beat up on cupcakes. They went 9-9 in ACC play, and their only conference win over a tournament team came against Syracuse. Yow’s numbers are valid, and perhaps there’s a case to be made for the Wolfpack, but the non-conference scheduling likely did the school in.

Eight potential March Madness first round upsets

Dana Altman

Everybody loves to be the one to call that big first round upset in March Madness. It may not win you the bracket pool, but it can certainly give you bragging rights and make you look very smart for spotting a lesser-known team that shocked the world.

So which teams might provide the shocks this year? Here are eight games that could very much produce a first-round upset in the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

(12) Liberty over (5) Mississippi State

The Flames have talent. They boast an above-average offense, led by a balanced attack from Scottie James and Caleb Homesley. They went 14-2 in the Atlantic Sun, beating a very talented Lipscomb team twice — a team that some felt deserved at-large consideration. Their biggest challenge will be to hold off the Mississippi State offense, but the Bulldogs were a .500 team in the SEC and haven’t been consistent winners since conference play started. This one is worth watching.


Tom Izzo not happy with Michigan State’s road to Final Four

Tom Izzo

The Michigan State Spartans were the sixth overall seed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, but they weren’t exactly rewarded with a favorable draw.

The Spartans were placed in the same region as Duke, the top overall seed in the entire field, despite winning the Big Ten Tournament and a share of the regular season title. That did not sit well with coach Tom Izzo, who felt that the selection committee had disrespected his team.

There were a number of reasons that many people even outside of East Lansing thought the Spartans got a raw deal from the committee. It appears that they felt Michigan State would be better rewarded with the East region, which is seen as closer to home, as opposed to putting them out west in Gonzaga’s regional. That, however, would have afforded them a more forgiving draw in terms of the teams they’d have had to face.

LeBron James shares early free agent pitch to potential signings

LeBron James dunk

The Los Angeles Lakers have a big offseason ahead of them, and it will likely involve some high-profile free agent pursuits.

LeBron James figures to be a big part of whatever the Lakers are selling. He was asked after Sunday’s loss to the New York Knicks what the message would be to potential signings, and he offered up something of a preview.

James may already have some players in mind to make this pitch to. Whether the message actually sticks remains to be seen.

Kansas State hopes Dean Wade will be able to appear in NCAA Tournament

Dean Wade

Dean Wade has been a bit cursed with injury luck over the past few years, and the Kansas State Wildcats are hoping that he can feature in the NCAA Tournament.

Wade has dealt with a lingering foot problem for much of the season, and it was serious enough that he sat out the entirety of the Big 12 Tournament. His status for the NCAA Tournament is uncertain, but coach Bruce Weber is hopeful that he can play.

Wade struggled with a foot injury last season, too, which heavily impacted his availability in last year’s tournament. He’s a first-team All-Big 12 player, so if he’s not playing, the Wildcats are much weaker in his absence.

Bruce Bochy follows through with amusing lineup choice vs. Royals

Perhaps the most famous of the San Francisco Giants’ three titles of the last decade was sealed in 2014, when Madison Bumgarner’s amazing performance in Game 7 saw off the Kansas City Royals for a third championship in five seasons.

On Sunday, manager Bruce Bochy decided to recreate a little of the magic. He started the same battery and infield that played the final five innings of that seventh game.

And no, it was not coincidental. Bochy had openly admitted that he was considering pulling the stunt earlier this week.

The Giants aren’t expected to contend for a championship as Bochy embarks on his final season as their manager, so this is really just a bit of spring training fun. If you get the chance, why not do it?