Monday Recap, Tuesday Big Dance Preview

Teams wheeling and dealing as NBA trade deadline approaches, Randy Moss signs one-year deal with the 49ers, Peyton interviewing Dolphins and Titans. NFL free agncy starts at 4:00 PM EST. Tigers achilles is slight sprain. The Big Dance starts tonight, NIT gets in full swing.

Dwight Howard is still holding the Magic hostage as Orlando struggles to improve their roster so Howard will stay. A complicated three-team deal involving Orlando, Golden State, and Milwaukee has fallen through. Monta Ellis would have gone to Orlando, Bogut to Golden State or Houston. I told you it was complicated. Reports say that the Lakers nixed a Gasol for Rondo trade. Josh Smith wants out of Atlanta. Jamal Crawford has been in Portland a full season but could be on the move. You can reportedly have any of the Celtics big four for a price. Michael Beasley is a hot commodity that can be had for a first-round pick. Chris Kaman, David Lee, and Rashard Lewis are bad contract players that are almost impossible to move. Steve Nash will reportedly stay put in Phoenix.

On the court, the Bulls sent the Knicks to their sixth straight loss 104-99. Derrick Rose had his usual 32/6/7 for Chicago. Carmelo had 21 for the Knicks but went 1-5 from the field in the final 50 seconds. Milwaukee won the second half 58-45 in a 105-99 win over the Nets. New Jersey played their second straight game without Deron Williams who’s been out with a calf strain. Boston beat the Clippers 94-85 as LA lost their third straight home game. In other action around the league, the T-Wolves won a 127-124 shootout at Phoenix. The Spurs and Jazz both rolled. In a game that set basketball back 50 years, the Bobcats beat the Hornets 73-71 for their 6th win.

Monday, Peyton Manning reportedly met with the Dolphin’s coaching staff for 5-6 hours. Manning will reportedly also meet with the Titans. Kansas City and the Seahwks are reportedly off #18’s job search. Denver and Arizona continue to be front runners. Randy Moss signed a one-year deal with the 49ers after working out with Jim Harbough. The 35-year-old Moss sat out all of last year. Saints owner Tom Benson and HC Sean Payton met with Commisioner Roger Goodell as BountyGate continues. The Skins and Cowboys will both take serious cap hits this year as punishment for infraction revolving around front-loading contracts in the 2010 uncapped year.

Sunday, Tiger Woods was forced to retire after just eleven holes of the WGC event at Doral with a tight achilles. Woods got good news from his medical staff on Monday indicating that the injury is just a strain. Woods is expected to resume hitting later in the week and should by good to go in his final warmup before the Masters, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, an event that he’s won six times.

Last call !!!

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Here we go !!! The Big Dance starts tonight with the NIT, CBI, and CIT in full swing

Tuesday’s NCAA First Round Games from Dayton

#16 Western Kentucky vs #16 Mississippi Valley State (6:40 PM EST, Dayton Ohio. Western Kentucky -4.5, 137)

The winner faces No.1 seed Kentucky in the South Region at Louisville on Thursday. Western Kentucky is just 15-18 but thats really not the whole story. The team had a tumultuous non-conference run that resulted in a rare coaching change around the first of the year. It worked. The Hilltoppers won four games in four nights to win the Sunbelt, the last three games as a dog. WKU has played nine straight games decided by seven points or less. The ‘Toppers are 13-2 ATS in their L15 games. Their best non-conference win was against Tennessee State. WKY was swept in a home and home with VCU.

The Mississippi State Delta Devils have won 20 of 21 with the loss at Arkansas Pine Bluff in game that saw the Golden Lions shoot the lights out. MSV returned four starters from last year’s 13-19 squad and didn’t duck anyone in their non-conference schedule. The Devils started 1-11, the win also over Tennessee State (who beat Murray), with losses to Notre Dame, DePaul, North Carolina, South Carolina, Cal Poly-Slo, Arkansas, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Florida, Iowa State, and Wisconsin. Pretty heady stuff. Coach Woods played for Petino. SWAC teams are 1-4 in these Tuesday play-in games with all the losses by 8+ points.

#14 Iona vs #14 BYU (9:10 PM EST, Dayton, Ohio. BYU -2, 162)

The winner face No.3 Marquette in the West Region on Thursday. Iona may have been the surprise team in but the Gaels don’t need to hang their heads to anyone. Iona played a tough non-conference schedule that included nine straight roadies over a 30 period in December and early January. The Gael’s crushed Maryland, St Joes and LIU and won at Richmond and Vermont. They handled Nevada easily on Bracketbuster weekend. Small, fast, experienced, and can score. Road experience will come in handy here.

In SP3s opinion, we could have done without BYU who are an average mid-major in hoops at best. The Coogs went 2-6 against teams in the Top 70 but to their credit did go 7-2 down the stretch with both losses to Gonzaga. WCC teams (Gonzaga, St Marys) are just 2-7 as a favorite L9 in this round. Prior to Jimmer, BYU had lost five straight first round Big Dance games. BYU’s quality wins came against St Marys and Oregon. They were beaten at rebuilding Utah State and when up against it, lost to Wisconsin and Baylor.

Good luck this week