Sports Today: Marvin Lewis’ predictably uninspiring prescription for a Bengals turnaround

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 10:20 AM

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 24-23. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)
Staff Writer
Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017, in Cincinnati. The Bengals won 24-23. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)(Staff Writer)

Marvin Lewis met with the media in Cincinnati yesterday and confirmed there’s not much reason to be excited about the rest of the Bengals season. 

“We’ve got enough ability to get it done, but we got to go do it,” he said when asked why he believes this team has what it needs to make a run in the second half of the season. 

Well, glad that’s settled! 

But there’s more: 

“They’re going to work. We just need to continue to work smarter, play smarter, and eliminate the errors and the things that occur that we (have to overcome) in the scope of the game. We just need to get on the right track. We have to make things happen.”

That all sounds great — which is why he said it — but what reason is there to believe it really comes true? 

Unfortunately, there’s no more benefit of the doubt with this team or this coach. 

The Bengals have issues, but they also have enough talent to win more games than they lose. 

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I don’t blame Lewis for all of the Bengals’ problems, but I don’t get the impression he knows how to fix many, if any of them

He’s a leader of men, not boys, and it would be nice if they would just go out and do their jobs. Maybe eventually they will, though only if they decide to on their own. 

Seems like they need more than being told, “Be better.”… 

I guess there was a similar tone to Urban Meyer’s Ohio State press conference Monday, too. 

The questions in Columbus really ran the gamut, as they tend to do more after a loss than a win. 

He brushed aside a question about the direction of his program, but he acknowledged a variety of issues added up to being embarrassed at Iowa. 

“I think Iowa played well and we didn’t play very well. Turnovers. Not being able to get off the field on defense caused that game to turn out the way it did.” 

That’s not a bad summation if you’re trying to keep it simple. 

The defense couldn’t get off the field because it didn’t seem to know what it was doing. 

The offense was inconsistent because the coaches still don’t seem to know what their players should be doing. 

How long will that continue? 

RELATED: 5 things Urban Meyer said about the Iowa game

At least with college guys, there’s more mystery and thus more reason to think something might change in the locker room or position group as they gain experience. 

Just look at Iowa — or this week’s opponent, Michigan State. 

The Hawkeyes just played their best game of the season, and so, too, did the Spartans, who knocked off Penn State to give themselves a shot to make another surprising run to the Big Ten East title…. 

In related news, Wayne receiver L’Christian “Blue” Smith made it official Monday: He is going to play basketball for the Warriors this season instead of enroll early at Ohio State... 

In case you missed it, Joey Votto is among the finalists for the National League MVP Award

Now I guess we’ll find out just how dominant the nerds have become in the BBWAA, but they’ve already scored a major victory considering two of the three finalists — Votto and Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins — play for teams that did not make the playoffs. 

Maybe that makes Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt the compromise candidate? He was a step below both Votto and Stanton (not to mention a half-dozen or so other guys) statistically, but his team got a wild card. 

We shall see. 

My vote would go to Stanton, who had eye-popping traditional numbers (59 homers, 132 RBIs) but also had a higher WAR (wins above replacement) than Votto and Goldschmidt whether you go by Fangraphs or Baseball Reference

I still say if we’re calling it “most valuable,” team success matters

“Most outstanding player” of 2017? That’s Votto. 

But, hey, if he wins there’s no reason for any Reds fan to apologize. 

Maybe it would help make up for his getting robbed for Rookie of the Year… 

The drumbeat for some kind of in-state college basketball showcase for Ohio is getting louder. 

Some things just make too much sense not to do, right? 

In this day and age with so much sports on TV and so many games going on at once, you need to give networks something to promote and something for casual fans to be able to grab onto. 

Hardcore fans are in anyway, but this also serves as a reward to them for enduring so many crappy matchups over the years... 

Unqualified Cleveland Browns general manager Sashi Brown held a press conference Monday to talk about all of that team’s issues. 

I didn’t get the impression anyone was too satisfied with the results.

You’ve got to feel good about a situation in which real reporters found the idea someone sabotaged the A.J. McCarron trade credible enough to ask about it in a press conference. 

›› Browns GM says it’s “wholly untrue” he sabotaged AJ McCarron trade

Definitely a sign things are going well. 

But, hey, there’s this: 

Brown also accepted responsibility for not doing a better job in acquiring talent for Jackson.

“It’s my responsibility to deliver a roster here that is talented enough to win week in, week out,” he said. “And we haven’t done that, yet. We have a very aggressive plan as we move forward to bolster this roster in a huge offseason, probably the most important we have coming up.

“We’ll plan to execute on it.”

It’s nice to see the Browns will finally be treating an offseason seriously, although they did sign away one of the Bengals’ best players last winter, so maybe that says something about Cincinnati, too… 

Michigan State-Indiana: Live updates, score, analysis (January 19, 2018)

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 1:19 PM

No. 9  Michigan State (16-3 overall, 4-2 Big Ten) and Indiana (11-7, 4-2) men’s basketball tip off at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in a conference matchup. Stay here for live updates, scores and analysis.

Michigan State-Indiana live updates, score

Michigan State 39, Indiana 17 (H1, 2:42): Michigan State continued to run and gun in a free-flowing game, wearing out the shorthanded Hoosiers. And Indiana’s bench might have gotten even shorter with just a few minutes left until halftime. Leading scorer Juwan Morgan went down clutching his ankle after a missed ankle and limped slowly off the floor.

Michigan State 29, Indiana 15 (H1, 8:00): After his 8 quick points, Michigan State didn’t even allow Robert Johnson to take a single shot in the next six minutes. The Spartans finally got fast break points courtesy of a Miles Bridges drive and layup, a welcome sign.

Michigan State 23, Indiana 10 (H1, 11:26): Michigan State continued its charmed start, narrowly missing several foul calls and seeing potential turnovers slip through Indiana’s hands. But to the Spartans’ credit, they looked to create in transition and attacked the rack with aggression, things they didn’t do particularly well against Michigan.

Michigan State 13, Indiana 10 (H1, 14:14): Michigan State got the start it needed offensively, pounding the ball down low to Nick Ward early to open up opportunities on the perimeter. The Spartans ran when they could and got Indiana on its heels. The Hoosiers, though, came out hot, getting a pair of 3-pointers and 8 points total from Robert Johnson in the opening minutes.

Michigan State 0, Indiana 0 (H1, 20:00): When the starters were announced, Michigan State put out the same five as usual: Cassius Winston, Josh Langford, Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Nick Ward. Indiana went with Josh Newkirk, Justin Smith, Robert Johnson, Juwan Morgan and Zach McRoberts.

Michigan State-Indiana basketball: Game time, information

Michigan State and Indiana play at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 19.

Time: 7 p.m. ET

Date: Friday, Jan. 19

Location: Breslin Center, East Lansing, Mich.

How can I watch the Michigan State-Indiana basketball game on TV and online?

Michigan State and Indiana will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1. You can stream the game on  FOX Sports GO and from your  Android or  iOS device.

Gus Johnson and Jim Jackson will call the game.

How can I listen to the Michigan State-Indiana basketball game on the radio?

Michigan State and Indiana can be heard over the 38-affiliate  Spartan Sports Network, including flagship stations WMMQ-FM (94.9)/WJIM-AM (1240) in Lansing and WJR-AM (760) in Detroit.

Will Tieman and Matt Steigenga will have the call.

Michigan State-Indiana basketball preview

Two weeks ago, Michigan State was the No. 1 in the country and Indiana had just lost to Wisconsin, one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. When these two teams face off on Friday, Indiana will be the one on the hot streak.

Michigan State has dropped two of its last three games and barely survived in the lone win, a 76-72 overtime result at home against Rutgers. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers have won three straight and catapulted up the conference standings to get themselves tied with the Spartans.

“As far as Indiana goes, they’ve won three in a row and they’re playing good ball,” Michigna State coach Tom Izzo said. “They’ve got a great, great forward in Juwan Morgan. He’s averaging [15.6 points] and [7.4 rebounds]. And maybe more importantly, they’ve got two or three senior guards, one fifth-year, that are all playing pretty well right now. So it’s probably more about us than it is about them. We’ve got to take care of our own issues.”

And there are issues aplenty for a team still ranked in the top 10 nationally. Michigan State has struggled with its half court offense in the last three games, averaging 14.3 turnovers while only getting sophomore big man Nick Ward 15 total shots.

Pleas from Izzo for a more aggressive offense have led to a lot of dribble driving over ball movement, with one or two players moving while the rest stand still on the perimeter. To combat that, the Spartans want to get their offense going by scoring before the defense is set.

“We’ve got to get back to rebounding and running,” sophomore Miles Bridges said. “If we get back to doing that, that’s when we’re at our best.”

It wouldn’t hurt to get back to hitting 3-pointers either, and this is the team against which to do it. Indiana ranks last in the league in 3-point percentage defense, giving up 8.6 threes per game on 37.9 percent shooting.

These are the games Michigan State has to win to keep itself in the Big Ten regular season race. Already two games back, the Spartans will play a road-heavy schedule in February, so they must take care of business on their home court.

“As you can see, the league is crazy,” Izzo said. “Things around the whole country are that way. I’ll be honest with you. I thought we’d drop to maybe 20th after two losses. And when I looked at it, why we didn’t, it’s because everybody’s got the same issues we got, which is what I said before. Right now, I’m not sure that anybody’s able to handle any success.”

SEC Memes: Georgia still Smarting after blowing 13-point lead to Alabama

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

The memes makers took some time this week away from excoriating New Orleans Saints defensive back Marcus Williams to get back to doing what they do best … taking shots at Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

The 13-point lead the Bulldogs surrendered to the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff national title game continues to be fodder for the smack-talkers. And it will likely to continue for a long time, ranking right up there with the all-too-painful “1980” chant.

We take a look at the best memes from around the SEC this week.

Special thanks goes out to the members of the Facebook group page SEC Throwdown for their contributions, including Alex Armuelles, Greg Baird-Kelly, Tim Cantrell, Chris Grace, Scott Gorley, Roderick Henderson, Adrian Matthew, Derek Pauly, John Renfro, Jordan Todd and Jimmy Welch.

AUBURN

TENNESSEE

SEC

ALABAMA

GEORGIA

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round projections, top players, 2018 NFL Draft order (01/19/2018)

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:30 AM

NFL Draft 2018 predictions are coming in as NFL Playoffs hold conference championship games this Sunday. Find 2018 NFL mock drafts below.

Much of the narrative around the 2018 NFL Draft is focused at quarterback. Mock drafts from Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports both have quarterbacks littering the top 10.

Here is a collection of 2018 NFL mock drafts from around the internet, plus Land of 10’s own projection.

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round projections, top players

Land of 10 predictions

1 Cleveland Browns Sam Darnold USC QB
2 New York Giants Connor Williams Texas OT
3 Indianapolis Colts Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
4 Cleveland Browns Mike McGlinchey Notre Dame G
5 Denver Broncos Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
6 New York Jets Josh Rosen UCLA QB
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bradley Chubb NC State DL
8 Chicago Bears Courtland Sutton SMU WR
9 San Francisco 49ers Derwin James Florida State DB
10 Oakland Raiders Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama DB
11 Miami Dolphins Roquan Smith Georgia LB
12 Cincinnati Bengals Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
13 Washington Redskins Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
14 Green Bay Packers Joshua Jackson Iowa DB
15 Arizona Cardinals Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State QB
16 Baltimore Ravens Denzel Ward Ohio State DB
17 Los Angeles Chargers Orlando Brown Oklahoma OL
18 Seattle Seahawks James Washington Oklahoma State WR
19 Dallas Cowboys Christian Kirk Texas A&M WR
20 Detroit Lions Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma LB
21 Buffalo Bills Josh Allen Wyoming QB
22 Buffalo Bills Arden Key LSU DL
23 Los Angeles Rams Rashaan Evans Alabama LB
24 Carolina Panthers Maurice Hurst Michigan DL
25 Tennessee Titans Sam Hubbard Ohio State DL
26 Atlanta Falcons Vita Vea Washington DL
27 New Orleans Saints Marcus Davenport UTSA DL
28 Pittsburgh Steelers Malik Jefferson Texas LB
29 Jacksonville Jaguars Harold Landry Boston College LB
30 Philadelphia Eagles Tremaine Edwards Virginia Tech LB
31 Minnesota Vikings Billy Price Ohio State OL
32 New England Patriots Derrius Guice LSU RB

NFL mock draft 2018: ESPN projections by Mel Kiper

1 Cleveland Browns Josh Allen Wyoming QB
2 New York Giants Josh Rosen UCLA QB
3 Indianapolis Colts Bradley Chubb NC State DE
4 Cleveland Browns Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
5 Denver Broncos Sam Darnold USC QB
6 New York Jets Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama CB
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
8 Chicago Bears Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
9 San Francisco 49ers Denzel Ward Ohio State CB
10 Oakland Raiders Roquan Smith Georgia LB
11 Miami Dolphins Mike McGlinchey Notre Dame OT
12 Cincinnati Bengals Tremaine Edmunds Virginia Tech LB
13 Washington Redskins Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
14 Green Bay Packers Marcus Davenport USA DE
15 Arizona Cardinals Josh Jackson Iowa CB
16 Baltimore Ravens Brian O’Neill Pittsburgh OT
17 Los Angeles Chargers Da’Ron Payne Alabama DT
18 Seattle Seahawks Derwin James Florida State S
19 Dallas Cowboys Vita Vea Washington DT
20 Detroit Lions Sam Hubbard Ohio State DE
21 Buffalo Bills Mike Hughes UCF CB
22 Buffalo Bills Maurice Hurst Michigan DT
23 Los Angeles Rams Carlton Davis Auburn CB
24 Carolina Panthers Billy Price Ohio State C/G
25 Tennessee Titans Harold Landry Boston College OLB
26 Atlanta Falcons Christian Kirk Texas A&M WR
27 New Orleans Saints Courtland Suttin SMU WR DL
28 Pittsburgh Steelers Rashaan Evans Alabama ILB
29 Jacksonville Jaguars Mark Andrews Oklahoma TE
30 Philadelphia Eagles Kolton Miller UCLA OT
31 Minnesota Vikings Connor Williams Texas OT
32 New England Patriots Rasheem Green USC DE

NFL mock draft 2018: Top players, projection for first round

CBS Sports projection

1 Cleveland Browns Sam Darnold USC QB
2 New York Giants Josh Rosen UCLA QB
3 Indianapolis Colts Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama DB
4 Cleveland Browns (from Texans) Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
5 Denver Broncos Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
6 New York Jets Connor Williams Texas OT
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bradley Chubb NC State DE
8 Chicago Bears Courtland Sutton SMU WR
9 San Francisco 49ers Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
10 Oakland Raiders Roquan Smith Georgia LB
11 Miami Dolphins Derwin James Florida State S
12 Cincinnati Bengals Orlando Brown Oklahoma OT
13 Washington Redskins Josh Allen Wyoming QB
14 Green Bay Packers Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
15 Arizona Cardinals Lamar Jackson Louisville QB
16 Baltimore Ravens Derrius Guice LSU RB
17 Los Angeles Chargers Vita Vea Washington DT
18 Seattle Seahawks Marcus Davenport UTSA DL
19 Dallas Cowboys James Washington Oklahoma State WR
20 Detroit Lions Maurice Hurst Michigan DT
21 Buffalo Bills Mason Rudolph Oklahoma State QB
22 Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs) Harrison Phillips Stanford DL
23 Los Angeles Rams Joshua Jackson Iowa CB
24 Carolina Panthers Anthony Miller Memphis WR
25 Tennessee Titans Taven Bryan Florida DT
26 Atlanta Falcons Da’Ron Payne Alabama DT
27 New Orleans Saints Tremaine Edwards Virginia Tech LB
28 Pittsburgh Steelers Malik Jefferson Texas LB
29 Jacksonville Jaguars Mark Andrews Oklahoma TE
30 Philadelphia Eagles Denzel Ward Ohio State CB
31 New England Patriots Ogbonnia Okoronkwo Oklahoma LB
32 Minnesota Vikings Chukwuma Okorafor Western Michigan OT

NFL mock draft 2018: First-round projections for 2018 NFL Draft

Sports Illustrated’s NFL executive-vetted projection

1 Sam Darnold USC QB
2 Saquon Barkley Penn State RB
3 Josh Rosen UCLA QB
4 Bradley Chubb NC State DE
5 Minkah Fitzpatrick Alabama CB
6 Quenton Nelson Notre Dame G
7 Mike McGlinchey Notre Dame OT
8 Connor Williams Texas OT
9 Denzel Ward Ohio State CB
10 Josh Allen Wyoming QB
11 Derwin James Florida State S
12 Da’Ron Payne Alabama DT
13 Courtland Sutton SMU WR
14 Harold Landry Boston College DE
15 Roquan Smith Georgia LB
16 Calvin Ridley Alabama WR
17 Christian Wilkins Clemson DT
18 Tarvarus McFadden Florida State CB
19 Orlando Brown Oklahoma OT
20 Clelin Ferrell Clemson DE/LB
21 Austin Bryant Clemson DE/LB
22 Christian Kirk Texas A&M WR
23 Sam Hubbard Ohio State DE/LB
24 Arden Key LSU DE
25 Chukwuma Okorafor Western Michigan OT
26 Dre’Mont Jones Ohio State DT
27 Baker Mayfield Oklahoma QB
28 Derrius Guice LSU RB
29 Isaiah Oliver Colorado CB
30 Rashaan Evans Alabama LB
31 Damien Harris Alabama RB
32 James Washington Oklahoma State WR

2018 NFL Draft: First round order

Pick Nos. 1 through 20 are set now that the regular season is finished.

1. Cleveland Browns

2. New York Giants

3. Indianapolis Colts

4. Cleveland Browns

5. Denver Broncos

6. New York Jets

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

8. Chicago Bears

9. San Francisco 49ers OR Oakland Raiders (coin flip)

11. Miami Dolphins

12. Cincinnati Bengals

13. Washington Redskins

14. Green Bay Packers

15. Arizona Cardinals

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Los Angeles Chargers

18. Seattle Seahawks

19. Dallas Cowboys

20. Detroit Lions

21. Buffalo Bills

22. Buffalo Bills (from Chiefs)

23. Los Angeles Rams

24. Carolina Panthers

25. Tennessee Titans

26. Atlanta Falcons

27. New Orleans Saints

28. Pittsburgh Steelers

29.

30.

31.

32.

Oregon hoping to regain home court advantage vs. UCLA

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 2:00 PM

Oregon entered the 2017-18 with a massively overhauled roster but also a distinct edge when playing at Matthew Knight Arena, where it had won 42 consecutive games. One of these things is still true.

Since losing to Boise State on Dec. 1 on a half-court shot, ending a 46-game home court win streak, the Ducks have lost two more times. Thursday’s 75-70 loss to USC followed a 66-56 setback to Utah on Dec. 29 in the Pac-12 opener.

Matthew Knight Arena opened in January 2011, with Oregon never losing more than three times there in one season. The Ducks (12-7, 2-4 Pac-12) are 9-3 there so far this year with six more home games, the next being Saturday against UCLA (13-6, 4-3).

“It’s frustrating and we have to fight through it,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said after Thursday’s loss, per Steve Mims of the Eugene Register-Guard. “We are all judged on how we handle adversity and we have to do a better job.”