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Cincinnati Reds 2018 projection: On the upswing, but barely

Published: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 11:23 AM

Cincinnati Reds GM Dick Williams discusses how the Reds will determine when to call up top prospect Nick Senzel, who finished last season in Double-A

Baseball Prospectus has good news and bad for the Cincinnati Reds. 

The site’s annual PECOTA projections have the Reds improving over last season but failing to get out of the basement in the National League Central. 

The Reds will win 74 games in 2018, which would be six more than last year, but still finish three games behind the Pirates. 

RELATED: Reds reps talk Nick Senzel, young pitchers, 1990 World Series memories and more

The projections have the Cubs winning the division with the Cardinals and Brewers also finishing above .500 after both teams were aggressive in adding talent in the offseason. 

For what it’s worth, projecting the season for the Reds might be harder than some clubs considering the uncertainty regarding the pitching staff. 

While manager Bryan Price has said he expects his rotation to include Luis Castillo, Homer Bailey, Anthony DeSclafani and Brandon Finnegan with a fifth starter to be determined, DeSclafani and Finnegan are both coming off of years mostly lost to injury. 

PECOTA expects DeSclafani to make 16 starts with Robert Stephenson and Sal Romano getting 23 apiece. 

RELATED: One on one with Reds GM Dick Williams

The projection also includes Jesse Winker getting 60 percent of the playing time in right field and 10 percent in left field with Scott Schebler getting 40 percent of the time in right and 20 percent in left. 

How those things actually shake out remains to be seen. 

The other projected division winners are the Dodgers, Nationals, Astros, Indians and Yankees. 

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Kentucky-Arkansas basketball: Live updates, score, stats (February 20, 2018)

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 2:57 PM

Kentucky basketball plays at Arkansas at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Follow along below for the score, live updates and stats from the game.

Kentucky-Arkansas score, live updates, stats

HALFTIME: Kentucky 43, Arkansas 43

PJ Washington’s steal, drive, layup and free throw gave the Cats a 3-point lead in the final 30 seconds of the half, but the Hogs swished their  eighth 3-pointer just before the buzzer. So it’s a dead heat here in Fayetteville. Fun game. Kevin Knox is up to 11 points this half and 24 the last two halves. The Cats were getting clobbered on the glass early but now lead the rebounding battle 23-17. Full halftime box score:

Kentucky 40, Arkansas 40, 32.1 seconds 1H: John Calipari will take this all day after being down 11-0 and 15-5. Kevin Knox with a big offensive rebound on a missed UK free throw that led to a layup, then an awkward-but-it-dropped take to tie the game. Knox has 11 this half and 24 points in his last two halves.

Kentucky 33, Arkansas 32, 3:37 1H: Wait, what? How? The Hogs briefly stretched their lead back to six — should’ve been more by star freshman Daniel Gafford missed 4 of 5 fee throws in a brutal stretch — before a Sacha Killeya-Jones putback, Knox 3-pointer and a pair of Knox free throws for the Cats’ first lead of the game with 4:36 to go in the half. The box score:

Arkansas 29, Kentucky 24, 7:34 1H: After a miserable start, down 11-0 and then 15-5, the Cats roared back. A Kevin Knox 3-pointer (after airmailing his previous attempt), PJ Washington swat at the rim and Quade Green layup on the break tied the game at 20-all with 10:21 to go in the half. Green has 8 points and an assist in 10 minutes off the bench and needs to be on the floor all the time.

Kentucky started 0 for 6 shooting and then made 9 of 13 to get back in it. Arkansas shot 7 of 14 to start and then made just 1 of 7 to let the Cats back in it. So we have a ball game at Bud Walton Arena. UK to the line after this timeout.

Arkansas 17, Kentucky 13, 11:58 1H: Jarred Vanderbilt and Quade Green subbed in for the Cats and made an instant impact — Vanderbilt two dunks, Green a pair of 3-pointers — to steady UK. Green’s 3-pointer, Vanderbilt’s skying defensive board and then putback jam on the other end have led to the current margin. Vando already has 4 points and 3 rebounds in 5 minutes.

The Hogs were crushing the Cats on the glass (5 offensive rebounds, 7 second-chance points in the first 6 minutes) and Hamidou Diallo has already committed two quick, silly offensive fouls. But Kentucky is finding its footing maybe. Full box score so far:

 

Arkansas 11, Kentucky 2, 15:58 1H: Arkansas opened the game with a pair of 3-pointers, then got three straight tries at another one — rebounding its misses every time — and nailed finally nailed a third from deep. A fourth rimmed out, but  another offensive rebound led to a layup and 11-0 Hogs start. Calipari took a timeout just 70 seconds into the game, but it apparently did no good. Kentucky missed its first six shots and Arkansas turned Bud Walton into a thunder dome with those three 3-pointers and an early 7-1 lead on the glass (4 offensive boards).

STARTING FIVE: Calipari is sticking with SGA, Diallo, Knox, Gabriel and Richards for the third straight game. It’s Gabriel over Washington again.

Kentucky-Arkansas game time, details

  • Time: 9 p.m. ET
  • Date: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
  • Location: Bud Walton Arena (19,200)
  • Records: Kentucky 18-9, 7-7 SEC; Arkansas 19-8, 8-6 SEC
  • Favorite: Arkansas by 5 1/2

What TV channel is Kentucky-Arkansas on? 

You can watch Kentucky vs. Arkansas on ESPN. Joe Tessitore, Sean Farnham and Laura Rutledge will be on the call.

How can I watch Kentucky-Arkansas  online?

Stream Kentucky vs. Arkansas online on  ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.

How can I listen to Kentucky-Arkansas  on the radio? 

Kentucky and Arkansas will be broadcast on the UK Sports Network. That’s 630-AM on Lexington radio and  can be streamed at iHeart Radio. You can also listen on XM channel 190 and Sirius channel 137.

Kentucky-Arkansas preview

  • It seems overly simple, but the Wildcats say it’s working: Kentucky basketball players have — gasp! —  started hanging out with each other more off the court. They say it is improving chemistry. Ending a four-game losing streak wasn’t bad for morale either.
  • The Cats usually have the longest player on the court, but Gafford might take that honor Tuesday for Arkansas. He averaged more than 7 blocks per game as a senior in high school with a massive wingspan and because, as Justus said, “He’s extremely active. Similar to some of the ones we’ve had here, he can fly up and down the court on both sides, can impact the game when he doesn’t have the ball. But then when he does have it, I think he’s got a tremendous package of offensive moves. But I think before we go into any of that, he just plays really, really hard.”
  • There was a lot to like about UK’s win over Alabama, but  nothing more important than a clean, poised final five minutes. The Cats had no turnovers, forced four turnovers, grabbed eight rebounds, four offensive, and turned a 2-point lead into a 10-point win. Of note: Hamidou Diallo wasn’t on the floor for those final five minutes.
  • John Calipari explained Saturday  why he hasn’t yanked Diallo from the starting lineup and buried him on the bench, but UK’s coach  has significantly trimmed the 5-star freshman guard’s minutes. He’s in a horrible shooting slump and has become a “turnover machine” of late. So starter or night, Diallo is often not a finisher for the Cats.

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Big Ten basketball tournament tiebreaker rules, scenarios for 2018

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 12:53 PM

big ten tournament-2018-scenarios-tiebreaker-rules-seeds-standings

The Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament starts next Wednesday and continues through Sunday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Seeding for the tournament can get complicated, so here’s a breakdown of where each team stands with less than a week remaining in the regular season.

How the Big Ten basketball tournament seeds look as of Tuesday night

Here’s where each team could go (h/t BTNStatsGuys):

    1. Michigan State (15-2) will clinch the top seed simply by winning out against Wisconsin.
    2. Ohio State (14-3) is currently tied with Purdue but owns the head-to-head tiebreaker; simply keeping pace with Boilermakers this week gives the Buckeyes the No. 2 seed.
    3. Purdue (13-3) can grab the No. 2 seed if it wins out and Ohio State slips up.
    4. Nebraska (11-5) has the head-to-head tiebreaker over Michigan, but could fall as far as the No. 7 seed if it loses twice and Ohio State loses to Indiana. The Huskers clinch the double-bye with two wins or a split and a Michigan loss.
    5. Michigan (11-5) needs Nebraska to lose at least once to get the double-bye. Can fall to No. 6 seed with two losses if Nebraska loses to Penn State.
    6. Indiana (9-7) can move to No. 5 if it sweeps Ohio State and Nebraska and the Huskers also lose to Penn State. Can fall to No. 7.
    7. Penn State (9-7) could move all the way up to the No. 4 spot if it beats Nebraska, Michigan loses to Maryland, and the Huskers lose to Indiana. That would be something.
    8. Maryland (8-9) is locked at the No. 8 spot.
    9. Northwestern (6-10) has the head-to-head advantage against Wisconsin, but the two teams play Thursday, so the Wildcats will need to win to hold on to the No. 9 spot.
    10. Wisconsin (6-10) needs that win against Northwestern to leapfrog the Cats.
    11. Illinois (3-12) can move up if it improbably beats Michigan State, Purdue and Rutgers.
    12. Minnesota (3-13) is locked in at No. 12.
    13. Iowa (3-13) is locked in at No. 13.
    14. Rutgers (3-13) is locked in last place 🙁

Big Ten basketball tournament tiebreakers apply to seeding — not to regular-season championships

This is important to note. If Michigan State ties with Ohio State or Purdue, the teams split the regular-season title.

If you want to read the full rules for some reason, here they are:

Big Ten basketball tournament seeding procedures for two-team ties

1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular season.

2. Each team’s record vs. the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings (or in the case of a tie for the championship, the next-highest position in the regular-season standings) continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

a. When arriving at another pair of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to their own tiebreaking procedures), rather than the performance against the individual tied teams.
b. When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1); in the case of tied percentages vs. the team or group of 1.000 or .000 the following shall apply: 2-0 is better than 1-0; 0-1 is better than 0-2.3.

3. Won-loss percentage of all Division I opponents.

4. Coin toss conducted by the commissioner or designee.

Big Ten basketball tournament seeding procedures for multi-team ties

1. Results of head-to-head competition during the regular season.

a. When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1); in the case of tied percentages vs. the team or group of 1.000 or .000 the following shall apply: 2-0 is better than 1-0; 0-1 is better than 0-2.

b. After the top team among the tied teams is determined, the second team is ranked by its record among the original tied teams, not the head-to-head record vs. the remaining team(s).

2. If the remaining teams are still tied, then each tied team’s record shall be compared to the team occupying the highest position in the final regular-season standings, continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.

a. When arriving at another pair of tied teams while comparing records, use each team’s record against the collective tied teams as a group (prior to their own tie-breaking procedures), rather than the performance against the individual tied teams.
b. When comparing records against a single team or a group of teams, the higher winning percentage shall prevail, even if the number of games played against the team or group are unequal (i.e., 2-0 is better than 3-1); in the case of tied percentages vs. the team or group of 1.000 or .000 the following shall apply: 2-0 is better than 1-0; 0-1 is better than 0-2.

3. Won-loss percentage of all Division I opponents.

4. Coin toss conducted by the Commissioner or designee.

The post Big Ten basketball tournament tiebreaker rules, scenarios for 2018 appeared first on Land of 10.

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Oklahoma adds preferred walk-on tight end Dane Saltarelli

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 4:05 PM

National Signing Day may be in the rearview, but Lincoln Riley’s 2018 class added another piece this week.

After reportedly committing to the Sooners on Sunday, Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy tight end Dane Saltarelli took to Twitter on Tuesday night to make his commitment to Oklahoma public.

“I am humbled that God’s plan and his journey for me has led to Oklahoma Sooner Football,” Saltarelli said in his Twitter announcement. “I am honored and blessed to announce that Sunday and I committed and signed my letter of intent to play football for and be a student at Oklahoma University.”

Rated as a 2-star prospect, per the 247Sports Composite, Saltarelli’s only reporter full-ride offer was from Alabama State. Rather than pursue that opportunity, Saltarelli will join the Sooners as a preferred walk-on.

The Sooners 2018 class finished with 22 members and ranked No. 9 nationally and No. 2 in the Big 12.

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Former Florida State QB Jameis Winston hits Devonta Freeman with Super Bowl LIII zinger

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 @ 3:44 PM

Jameis Winston and Devonta Freeman were teammates at Florida State in 2012 and 2013. Now, they’re division rivals – Winston plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Freeman plays for the Atlanta Falcons.

Freeman has been to the Super Bowl and thinks the Falcons can return in 2019 based on this tweet:

Winston, who hasn’t come close to reaching the Super Bowl, clapped back with this:

It’s an interesting reply, considering the Falcons went 10-6 in 2017 and the Buccaneers limped to 5-11.

We’ll see if Winston’s (likely) light-hearted trash talk comes to fruition.

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