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Good morning. We're grateful you're spending a bit of your day having fun and catching up on the sports world with us.

In today's Sprint:

  • 🏈   National Signing Day
  • 🏀   Upset central
  • ⛳️   The Open returns

TRIVIA

Before this year, which college football team claimed the highest-rated recruiting class ever?

  1. Ohio State
  2. Alabama
  3. USC as in California
  4. Florida

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Rankings to Rings

After yesterday’s National Signing Day, here are the five highest-ranked recruiting classes according to 247 Sports, headlined by Alabama’s top-ranked class of all-time:

  1. Alabama (327.9)
  2. Ohio State (309.5)
  3. Georgia (294.6)
  4. LSU (291.4)
  5. Clemson (291.2)

While recruiting class grades don’t guarantee success, there is a strong link between the top classes and championship wins.

Recipe for success: Nine of the last ten champions averaged at least a top-10 recruiting class in the five years leading up to their title. It’s more about the Jimmies and Joes than the X’s and O’s.

The exception? The 2016 Clemson team, which averaged a measly 13th over the prior five years.

The other ingredients: Coaching and culture have a heck of a lot to do with success, as well. From 2014 to 2019, Wisconsin averaged 10.5 wins despite averaging the 37th ranked class over that time. Meanwhile, schools like FSU and Southern Cal consistently underdelivered despite top-10 classes.

Based on this year’s top classes, we’ve got a hunch we’ll continue to see the same teams dominating college football.


BASKETBALL

Winter is Coming

Especially if you’re a ranked college basketball team and you happened to play last night. Here are the five teams that stumbled:

(12-7) St. John’s 70 vs. (11-2) #3 Villanova 59

  • St. John’s played stellar defense, holding Nova to season lows in both points and field goal percentage.

(8-6) East Carolina 82 vs. (15-2) #5 Houston 73

  • The Pirates came in as 16.5 point underdogs before stealing the victory to claim their first win in over a month. The loss is a major setback for a Houston team that had a chance at a one seed come March.

(5-8) Georgetown 86 vs. (13-4) #15 Creighton 79

  • Georgetown took the lead six minutes in and never gave it up. Jahvon Blair (22 pts, 7 ast) had the hot hand.

(9-5) Pitt 83 vs. (13-4) #16 Virginia Tech 72

  • This was a trap game for VT after the huge rivalry win against Virginia this weekend. Xavier Johnson (32 pts, 5 rebs, 7 ast) provided a massive spark off the bench for Pitt.

(5-6) South Carolina 72 vs. (10-5) #22 Florida 66

  • Ranked for the first time in over a year, the Gators fell flat against a sub-.500 Gamecocks squad.

Tonight:

#7 Ohio State (14-4) vs. #8 Iowa (13-4) - 7:00 ET on ESPN

NBA

In advance of the Tokyo Olympics, USA Basketball is creating a bubble for the US, Australian, and Spanish national teams to limit potential exposure before traveling to Japan.

Where will the bubble be hosted? Las Vegas. No better city to encourage social distancing.

Anyway, let’s get to last night’s games:

(13-8) Milwaukee Bucks 130 vs. (12-10) Indiana Pacers 110

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (21 pts, 14 reb, 10 ast) put up a triple-double in just over a half of play. This beatdown of a solid Pacers squad is a reminder of how good Milwaukee can be.

(9-13) Dallas Mavericks 122 vs. (10-11) Atlanta Hawks 116

  • Luka Doncic (27 pts, 8 reb, 14 ast) and Trae Young (21 pts, 4 rebs, 9 ast) will be linked their entire careers after their draft-night trade. Doncic now leads the series 2-1.

Tonight:

(11-10) Golden State Warriors vs. (9-13) Dallas Mavericks - 7:30 ET on TNT

(11-9) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (16-6) Philadelphia 76ers - 8:00 ET on NBA League Pass

(12-8) Denver Nuggets vs. (16-6) Los Angeles Lakers - 10:00 ET on TNT


WATER COOLER TALK
  • ⛳   After being canceled in 2020, The British Open will be played in July of this year. It is unclear if fans will be allowed.
  • 🎾   Top-30 women’s tennis player Dayana Yastremska’s appeal of her doping case was dismissed, meaning the young star is ineligible to return to competition.
  • 🏈   A Kansas City Chiefs’ barber tested positive for COVID-19 while in the middle of giving a haircut to a player. Despite over 20 personnel, including Patrick Mahomes, waiting in line at the time, only two players were deemed close contacts (Daniel Kilgore and Demarcus Robinson). Some may say the Chiefs came within a hair of disaster.

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TRIVIA ANSWER

D. Florida's 2010 class rated a 324.6. The crazy part? They never won a New Year's Six bowl, much less a national title.