Sports Today: College basketball, NFL battle for headlines while Reds inexplicably win 4 in a row

Published: Monday, March 06, 2017 @ 11:34 AM

WATCH: Dayton's Kyle Davis talks about all the adversity his team overcame to win A-10 title

Welcome back from a weekend jam-packed with sports. Here is what you’ll want to know about a busy weekend of basketball also full of NFL news and, of course, those pesky Cincinnati Reds. 

While the NFL Scouting Combine provided all kinds of nuggets, we have to defer to basketball season around here. 

It was a great weekend for Dayton, so-so for Wright State and pretty bad for Ohio State. 

Archie Miller’s Flyer men lost their regular season finale at George Washington. The game had no impact on UD’s status as Atlantic 10 champs, but it could hurt their seed in the NCAA tournament. 

WATCH: Dayton's top plays from an 87-81 loss to George Washington.

Our David Jablonski rated it the third-worst performance of the season by the Flyers

Far more consequential: The Dayton women’s basketball team won the Atlantic 10 tournament, removing any doubt they will be part of the field of 64 when it is announced a week from tonight. 

Back from a knee injury that sidelined her late in the regular season, point guard Jenna Burdette was named tournament MVP. 

Flyers headed back to NCAA Tournament

As for WSU, the regular season champion Raider women play Detroit (in Detroit) this afternoon in the Horizon League tournament semifinals. They’ll get regular season co-champion Green Bay or Milwaukee in the final if they win. 

The men are done after losing to Northern Kentucky yesterday in the quarterfinals. The 82-77 defeat is particularly stinging because the bracket had opened wide with the first five games of the tourney ending in upsets before the Raiders took the floor… 

Turnovers doom Raiders vs Valpo

The Ohio State women’s basketball team had a shorter-than-anticipated stay in Indianapolis over the weekend. Kevin McGuff’s top-seeded Buckeyes had a bad shooting afternoon and were knocked out of the Big Ten tournament in the semifinals by Purdue, robbing them of the chance to beat Maryland again and pad their NCAA tournament resume. 

It’s easy to forget Ohio State still has a men’s basketball team, too, but they managed to make history while losing their regular season finale to Indiana Saturday. The Hoosiers, who have actually had an even more disappointing season than the Buckeyes, won 96-92, setting a record for points at the poor excuse for a basketball arena the Buckeyes currently call home… 

The NFL Scouting Combine continues today in Indianapolis with defensive backs working out. 

Malik Hooker isn’t able to work out as he continues his recovery from a postseason surgery, but the All-American safety reportedly impressed teams already during the interview process over the weekend. 

Others who have already strutted their stuff include Curtis Samuel, Raekwon McMillan. 

Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore are working out today…  

As for the Bengals, Yahoo Sports confirmed something they probably expected: Retaining guard Kevin Zeitler won’t be cheap. 

Marvin Lewis told reporters Friday the team is optimistic it will be able to re-sign veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth, but Zeitler still seems like a crucial piece of the puzzle as well considering the offensive line was already shaky last year. 

Lewis also had good news about Gio Bernard’s recovery from a torn ACL while the team’s coordinators talked about adding speed on offense and an impact player somewhere on defense

Marvin Lewis at Combine

 

While former Buckeyes continue the biggest job interview of their lives, the players still in Columbus are set to get back to work tomorrow

There will be time to jump deep into that later, but needless to say this should be another interesting spring for the Buckeyes, who haven’t scored a point since November but have a new offensive braintrust and lost their long-time defensive coordinator, too…

 

Leave it to the Reds to wait until all that stuff was going on to start doing good things this spring, right? 

After losing their first six spring training games, the Reds have won four in a row. 

Again, wins and losses don’t matter at all at this point, but outscoring opponents 34-16 over four days is nice. 

Rotation candidates Robert Stephenson and Tim Adleman both had strong appearances Friday after Amir Garrett tossed three shutout innings Thursday to get the first win of the spring for Cincinnati. Cody Reed gave up two runs on four hits but struck out four in 2 1/3 innings Sunday. 

Jumbo Diaz, who has been rocked in all three of his appearances so far this season, is among four Reds playing in the World Baseball Classic, which starts today. He will pitch for the Dominican Republic while RHP Scott Feldman is on Isreal’s team, Shawn Zarraga is catching for Spain and outfielder Sebastian Elizalde is on Team Mexico… 

And in case you missed it, Ohio State won the Big Ten wrestling championship over the weekend. 

Graham High School’s Bo Jordan was among four Buckeyes to win an individual title. 

Michigan football vs. Penn State: 3 keys, predictions

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:20 AM

Michigan plays Penn State at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa. The No. 19 Wolverines  (5-1, 2-1) need a win to strengthen its spot in the Associated Press Top 25 poll and even to vault it back into the top 10. The Wolverines defeated Indiana 27-20 in overtime last weekend, and look for a signature win this season, against the No. 2 Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0).

Here are three keys to the game and predictions from Land of 10 Michigan writers Rachel Lenzi and Kevin Goheen.

1. No turnovers

The Wolverines fulfilled this goal in its win last weekend at Indiana, and needs to continue that goal of having zero turnovers in each game. Easier said than done, right? The Wolverines average two turnovers a game; at the halfway point of the year, Michigan has lost six fumbles and its quarterbacks have been intercepted six times. Michigan has a turnover margin of minus-3, 11th in the Big Ten. Penn State is the exact opposite. The Nittany Lions have a turnover margin of plus-12 and are tied with Wisconsin with a league-leading nine interceptions.

2. Score red-zone touchdowns

Michigan has scored a conference-low six red-zone touchdowns this season, including only one against Indiana: Karan Higdon’s 12-yard run in the second quarter. The Wolverines held the ball for more than six minutes on each of its opening drives against Michigan State and Indiana, but both drives ended with field goals on plays from the 11-yard-line against Michigan State and the 22-yard line against Indiana. The Wolverines cannot afford to leave points on the table, especially against Big Ten East Division opponents.

3. Win on third down

That means capitalizing on third down, on both sides of the ball. The Wolverines finished 2 for 13 on third-down offensive plays at Indiana, and is 29 for 92 (31.5 percent) on third down this season, which is second-to-last in the Big Ten. Michigan’s opponents, meanwhile, are a scant 18 for 88 (20.5 percent) on third-down; the Wolverines lead the Big Ten in that statistical category.

Predictions

Rachel Lenzi: Penn State 23, Michigan 17

Kevin Goheen: Penn State 26, Michigan 20

QB Matt Corral talks 81-0 win, visit from Florida OC Doug Nussmeier

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:08 AM

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Quarterback Matt Corral put on a show Friday for Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

With his future position coach looking on, Corral led Long Beach Poly to an 81-0 win over Jordan. He threw for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns on 10-of-13 passing in one half of play.

In the video interview below, Corral discusses his performance, Nussmeier’s visit and Richard Gouraige’s commitment.

The best College GameDay signs from Week 8 at Penn State

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:08 AM

Happy Valley is the site of ESPN College GameDay for the huge matchup between No. 19 Michigan and No. 2 Penn State.

As you’d expect, fans of the defending Big Ten champion Nittany Lions are going after Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh.

Here are the best signs on display from University Park, Pa.:

ESPN: Marcell Ateman’s emergence ‘really cranked this Oklahoma State passing offense up’

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 8:59 AM

The Texas Longhorns secondary will have its hands full on Saturday, to say the least.

With an FBS-leading Oklahoma State offense (610.7 YPG) coming to Austin, much of the defensive focus will be centered around the Pokes dynamic quarterback-receiver duo of Mason Rudolph and James Washington, and rightfully so. Rudolph leads the nation in passing yards per game (394.7), while his star wide out ranks No. 2 nationally with 882 receiving yards.

But as ESPN’s Jake Trotter noted during a Saturday morning segment on SportsCenter, it’s the added dimension that is Marcell Ateman who’s helped lift this Oklahoma State offense to mind-boggling heights.

“Everybody knew about James Washington, the All-American, coming into the season, but the emergence and Marcell Ateman on the other side has really cranked this Oklahoma State passing offense up to another level,” Trotter said.

With opposing defenses now tasked with slowing not just Washington, but Ateman, as well, the success in doing so has been minimal.

After combining for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns in Oklahoma State’s record-setting display in a 59-16 win over Baylor, in which the Pokes poured on 747 yards of total offense, Washington and Ateman became the first duo in Big 12 history to each record four-straight 100-yard games. They’re also the first to accomplish that feat among the entire FBS ranks since 1996.

As far as Atman’s personal prowess is concerned, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior ranks second on the team with 29 receptions for 568 yards. He’s on pace to concluded the regular season with career-high efforts of 58 receptions for 1,136 yards, which would be nearly 400 more yards than his 2016 production (766).

Ateman and the Cowboys will be tested today, though.

On the road in Austin, The Cowboys potent passing attack will square off with a Texas defense that ranks No. 19 in efficiency and a secondary headlined by rising stars in Holton Hill and DeShon Elliott.

Which of these two strengths gets the upper hand inside Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium should have a substantial say in which shade of orange finds itself going back to the drawing board by Sunday morning.

Oklahoma State and Texas will kick off at 11:00 a.m. CT on ABC.