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⚽ Good morning to everyone but especially …
THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
Have an American football-sized hole in your heart (and your sports-viewing schedule)? Let me suggest European football: The UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 begins today, and it includes stars, drama and a super team looking to repeat — just like the Chiefs. Best of all, it’s all available on CBS and/or Paramount+!
Tiger Woods has a new clothing brand through TaylorMade: Sun Day Red. I have mixed thoughts, but whatever gets him back on the course is good with me!
Texas Tech blew the doors off No. 6 Kansas, 79-50. Darrion Williams had 30 points on (12-of-12 shooting!) and 11 rebounds, the first 30/10 game with no misses since Amida Brimah in 2014. Bill Self got ejected. The Jayhawks just don’t have close to enough offensively, especially with Kevin McCullar hurt. They’ve lost four straight road games.
Charlottepromoted Aaron Fearne to full-time head coach.
😳 And not such a good morning for …
THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
As if the loss wasn’t bad enough, the 49ers‘ woes were compounded by not knowing the rules … and admitting to it. Several players said they did not know the postseason overtime rules, with fullback Kyle Juszczyk saying the team had not even talked about it.
This was the first playoff game to go to overtime under the new rules, but that’s no excuse, and it’s certainly an awful look. Under the new rules, both teams are guaranteed at least one possession. If the game is still tied after one offensive possession for each team, the game goes into sudden death.
Kyle Shanahan opted to take the ball first. His reasoning was simple: If the score was tied after one possession by each team, the 49ers would get the third possession with a chance to win with any score.
The 49ers got a field goal on their first possession. The Chiefs answered with a touchdown on their first possession. Game over.
For what it’s worth, Patrick Mahomes said there never would have been a third drive: If the 49ers had opened with a touchdown and extra point and the Chiefs had answered with a touchdown, they would have gone for two and the win.
I still don’t think it’s a bad decision by Shanahan. Let’s say he had won the toss and deferred, and both teams scored touchdowns and extra points. Then what? You have to stop Mahomes and Co. from scoring anything. Not exactly ideal, either. Basically Shanahan had to choose between the value of potentially getting the first crack at scoring in sudden death (what he chose) vs. the value of knowing exactly what he’d have to do on his first offensive drive of overtime (what the Chiefs had). It’s not like the 49ers getting the ball first inherently prevented them from scoring a touchdown.
People who know much more math than I do say this new system is essentially 50/50. Unfortunately for Shanahan and the 49ers, they ran into the buzzsaw that is Patrick Mahomes, who seemingly makes the decision of every opposing coach look like the wrong one.
We’ve known Victor Wembanyama was special for years. Monday night was another example of just how special he is: The French phenom became the fourth rookie to record a triple-double with blocks as the Spurs blew out the Raptors, 122-99. The final stat line is so absurd it looks made up: 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks, five assists and two steals.
The other rookies to do so were Mark Eaton, Ralph Sampson and David Robinson.
At 20 years old, Wembanyama is also the youngest player to have a triple-double with blocks.
Only four players — regardless of age/experience — have had 27 points, 14 rebounds, 10 blocks and five assists in a game: Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Quinn:“What we’re seeing now is a historical anomaly. This isn’t just a future star in San Antonio. Victor Wembanyama is already becoming one of the most terrifying rookies in NBA history. With his unmatched combination of physical tools and skill, he has a chance to put up stat lines that will never be matched. If Monday was any indication, we might not even need to wait that long to see it.”
🏈 NFL offseason storylines, teams to watch
Well, we’re into the second day of the NFL offseason, and I already miss the season so much. Maybe we should start calling it the “other season,” because “offseason” just makes me sad. Plus, it truly is the other season: coaching changes, free agency, the draft. It’s an exciting, crucial time, even without games.
Sullivan:“1. What do the Bears do with the No. 1 overall pick? Arguably the most interesting storyline to follow this offseason will be what the Chicago Bears do with the top pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. They found themselves in this situation a year ago and ended up trading the pick to Carolina for a treasure trove of assets. Do they follow the same course of action this time around or do they make the pick with a generational talent like USC quarterback Caleb Williams sitting atop most draft boards? If they do, how does that impact Justin Fields?”
In my eyes, unless Chicago is really, really out on Williams or really, really, REALLY in on Fields, keeping the pick and taking Williams is the right move. It resets the quarterback salary clock (Fields is potentially one year away from free agency; a good rookie would be five) and brings in a player with superstar potential — something Fields hasn’t shown consistently. Plus, Chicago can add another premier talent with the No. 9 pick and add even more draft capital if they find a suitor for Fields. One team could be interested, per reports.
📺 What we’re watching Tuesday
⚽ Copenhagen vs. Manchester City, 3 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+ ⚽ RB Leipzig vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m. on Paramount+ 🏀 No. 4 Marquette at Butler (M), 6:30 p.m. on FS1 🏀 No. 7 North Carolina at Syracuse (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN 🏀 No. 10 Iowa State at Cincinnati (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN2 🏀 Thunder at Magic, 7:30 p.m. on TNT 🏀 Ole Miss at No. 22 Kentucky (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN 🏀 No. 25 Oklahoma at No. 12 Baylor (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN2 🏀 Kings at Suns, 10 p.m. on TNT