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Sports Today: Cincinnati Bengals key to victory against the Bills

Published: Friday, October 06, 2017 @ 9:42 AM

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Dylan Buell/Getty Images
GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 24: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals celebrates after catching a touchdown pass during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 24, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals are back home this weekend after breaking into the win column against the Browns. 

Will the rejuvenating effects of a weekend vacation on Lake Erie carry over against the 3-1 Buffalo Bills? 

There’s no doubt the vibe around the team was different this week, but this is a sneakily big game. 

For all the positives of the past two games following a disastrous start, the Bengals could be just 60 minutes of football away from 1-4 with the Pittsburgh Steelers up next. 

This is a fascinating matchup because I’m not sure anyone knows how good either of these teams are. 

The consensus would probably be the Bills have outperformed expectations while the Bengals have underperformed. 

Cincinnati let one get away against Buffalo last year, and I see the Bengals getting payback this time around. 

A handful of explosive plays from a superior group of offensive skill players figures to be key for Cincinnati because both of these defenses have looked great so far this season, neither team has an offensive line to brag about and both quarterbacks are average. 

Prediction: Bengals 17, Bills 10 

How about Ohio State? 

The Buckeyes play host to a Maryland team that seems to be getting lumped in with dregs Ohio State faced the past three weeks. 

That is a mistake. The Terrapins are no world-beaters, but they are better — probably a lot better — than Army, UNLV and Rutgers. 

The raw stats say Maryland has a good offense and a bad defense. 

The advanced stats (courtesy Football Outsiders) say they are right in the middle of the pack in both areas. 

One thing to keep in mind about Maryland is they have some dudes. 

There are generally two ways teams are built: A handful of future pros surrounded by holes or average across the board with few difference-makers. 

The Terrapins are the former while Wisconsin and Iowa are usually examples of the latter. 

PREVIEW: Ohio State hosts Maryland

The jury is still out on new quarterback Max Bortenschlager, a sophomore who was a three-star recruit forced into duty after not one but two season-ending injuries at that position, but running backs Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison are dangerous and the receiving corps is pretty deep. 

This should be a nice challenge for the Ohio State defense after two weeks off, but the Buckeyes have too much firepower on offense. 

I’ll be interested to see if they work on the running game more after focusing on the pass since the loss to Oklahoma. 

Prediction: Ohio State 38, Maryland 21. 

How’s this for a start to the Reds Hot Stove season: They could be in contention for Japanese star Shohei Ohtani. 

We called him the Japanese Babe Ruth yesterday, but he could also qualify as the overseas equivalent to Hunter Greene as a prospect who could make it in the majors as a hitter or a pitcher. 

(I doubt either of them are going to hit 700 home runs, to be honest.) 

Who knows how this works out, but it’s encouraging to see the Reds continue to try to turn over every stone to acquire talent. 

Their willingness to at least consider this type of financial investment is a good sign, too. 

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Reds reveal interesting winter plans

I know the economics of baseball can be discouraging to small-market teams, but I think it’s more a matter of smart investing than not having the capital to keep a winning team together. 

They were proactive (though not soon enough) in selling off assets once the downturn started in 2014, but I still believe they would have tried to spend the money to keep Johnny Cueto if they were still as close to contending as they were in 2012... 

The high school football season got off to a great start Thursday night with Sidney topping Tippecanoe 49-42 in a barn-burner

The Yellow Jackets have a Big Ten running back and buzz building throughout Shelby County. 

“It takes a little bit longer now to go to the grocery story,” Sidney coach Adam Doenges said. “People used to turn and go the other way down the aisle to avoid me. Now, everywhere you go, people want to talk about (Sidney football). There is an excitement, no matter where you go in town. It’s neat. That’s what high school football should be like.”

Gotta love it.  

RELATED: Franklin standout commits to Cincinnati

Here’s a look at the rest of the high school football schedule this weekend, including Wayne at Beavercreek, Northmont at Springfield and Catholic Central at Greenon. 

The Fighting Irish are 3-3 but on the cusp of the playoffs. Plus they have an influx of new players since the start of the season

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WATCH: Miami defeats Boston College on Lonnie Walker step-back

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 11:19 AM

The Miami Hurricanes basketball program finds itself on the bubble after losing three games in an eight-day span earlier this month, but freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV gave them a major boost against Boston College on Saturday.

On the game’s penultimate possession with Miami trailing Boston college 78-76, Walker isolated an Eagles defender and created separation with a step-back to knock down a long three-pointer with just 2.3 seconds remaining to give Miami the lead and eventual victory.

It was as clutch a shot as you’ll see and it gives Miami two consecutive victories after their win over Notre Dame on Monday. And it puts the Hurricanes at 20-8 on the season and 9-7 in the ACC, which gives Miami two critical benchmarks for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee after hitting 20 wins and guaranteeing at least a .500 record in regular-season conference play.

Walker finished with 14 points on the night and that’s certainly the biggest shot of his young career. However, it’s looking again as if Miami will be tournament bound and he’ll definitely have opportunities to best that effort with a big shot once he gets there.

Miami finishes the regular season with a road matchup against North Carolina on Tuesday and then a home game against Virginia Tech next Saturday.

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North Carolina guard Joel Berry II gets engaged to girlfriend Kelsey Porter

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 11:02 AM

Joel Berry-North Carolina-engaged

Joel Berry II has been enjoying a career season on the basketball court. Off the court, the North Carolina guard’s life just became a great deal better.

The senior, who is averaging 17.7 points a game with the Tar Heels this season, proposed to his girlfriend, Kelsey Porter, over the weekend. Fortunately, Porter said yes.

Porter is a member of the cheerleading squad and dance team at North Carolina. Porter posted the announcement on her own Instagram page on Saturday:

Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you! I love you with all my heart!! 😍😍😍

A post shared by Kelsey Porter (@kelseyporter) on

There’s no word yet on when the wedding will take place, but needless to say, things might be put on hold until after the basketball season ends. Hopefully for Joel, that’s on April 2 with his team hoisting the trophy for the second straight year.

Congratulations, Joel and Kelsey!

The post North Carolina guard Joel Berry II gets engaged to girlfriend Kelsey Porter appeared first on Diehards.

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South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster demands apology from Missouri and the SEC, defends Dawn Staley

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 11:02 AM

Henry McMaster-south carolina govenor-missouri-sec-south carolina women's

Another prominent names has gotten involved in the ever growing beef between the South Carolina and Missouri women’s basketball programs. And this time, it is the Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster.

The South Carolina Governor took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon demanding an apology.

“Anything short of a full retraction & apology from @SEC and @Mizzou is an insult to every South Carolinian,” McMAster tweeted. “@Dawnstaley is GOLD MEDAL role model for our daughters and sons. We stand with Dawn. #TeamSC.”

Earlier this week, South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley filed a defamation lawsuit against Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk, after Sterk claimed that Staley “promoted” an atmosphere that reportedly led to Tigers players being spit on by fans during a game between Missouri and South Carolina on Jan. 28 in Columbia, S.C.

After the lawsuit had been reported, Missouri chancellor Alexander Cartwright and University of Missouri System President Mun Y. Cho rerleased a joint statement defending Sterk, who was hired in 2016.

“We remain confident in University of Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk. Since he came here in August 2016, Jim has exhibited a passion for our student athletes and their success and safety both on and off the court. He has proven himself to be an excellent administrator,” the statement said.

Sterk was also fined $25,000 by the SEC for his comments. Per a report from Aaron Reiss of the Kansas City Star, Staley is seeking $75,000 in damages from the lawsuit. South Carolina and Missouri split the regular season meetings, but the two teams could meet a third time in the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks are in second in the SEC and Missouri is tied for third. Both teams have one regular season game remaining.

The post South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster demands apology from Missouri and the SEC, defends Dawn Staley appeared first on SEC Country.

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Shaq’s son Shareef O’Neal to re-open recruitment after FBI investigation hits Arizona

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 11:02 AM

Elite forward prospect Shareef O’Neal has de-committed from Arizona in the wake of reports that Arizona’s Sean Miller was caught on tape discussing a $100,000 payment with an agent.

Miller hasn’t yet been fired, but it may only be a matter of time before the school takes action. He will not coach Saturday’s game against Oregon.

O’Neal, son of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, signed financial aid papers with the Wildcats back in November, but that agreement is non-binding.

Kentucky was recruiting O’Neal hard before he opted to go with Miller. It would make sense for John Calipari to get back in the race for the talented big man, as the Wildcats do not currently have a big in the 2018 class.

Back in 2016, Shaq said publicly that he wanted his son to play for Kentucky, Michigan State or LSU. The Spartans are in middle of their own troubles right now, and LSU is still in a rebuilding stage under Will Wade.

“My dad actually wants me to lean towards Kentucky,” Shareef said told 247Sports in 2016.”He has a good friendship with the coach there. I know a lot about that school because a lot of kids dream about going there. I like their style of play.”

According to 247Sports composite, O’Neal is the No. 9 power forward and the No. 33 overall player in the class of 2018. He’s currently a 4-star prospect and is listed at 6-foot-9, 204 pounds.

Expect Kentucky to stay in this battle until the very end.

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