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Good morning. The NCAA pulled a bit of a fast one. Today, the men’s First 4 tips off, but the full Round of 64 gets underway tomorrow. One more day to agonize over which 12 seeds to pick to pull the upset.
- Nathan
In today's Sprint:
🏈   Free agent frenzy
🏒   Unstoppable force
🏁   NASCAR meme race
Trivia: Yesterday, the New York Rangers scored 7 goals in one period. Which team holds the NHL record for the most goals scored in one period?
  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Montreal Canadiens
  3. Philadelphia Flyers
  4. Buffalo Sabres

NFL
Winning the Offseason
At 4:00 PM ET yesterday, the NFL year officially began, signaling a rush of free agent signings after two days of speculation (thank you, league tampering period).
Who made the biggest moves?
The bottom of the AFC East is not messing around. Between the Patriots’ record $250 million spending spree and the Jets inking lucrative deals with DE Carl Lawson and WR Corey Davis, the division looks surprisingly competitive.
Other big moves:
  • Cornerback Patrick Peterson to the Minnesota Vikings
  • Offensive tackle Trent Williams back to the San Francisco 49ers
  • Edge rusher Bud Dupree to the Tennessee Titans
Wait a minute. It's not the teams that spend the most or make the splashiest signings that usually win (unless you're Tampa Bay). It's the teams that spend the smartest:
  • Safety John Johnson to the Cleveland Browns, suring up a weak secondary with one of the league's best safeties
  • Offensive linemen Joe Thuney and Kyle Long to the Chiefs, giving Pat Mahomes much needed protection
A bit confusing: The Las Vegas Raiders focused on their defensive line, signing Yannick Ngakoue and Solomon Thomas. The confusing part? Due to the shrunk cap, they had to release or trade most of their starting offensive line, the team’s biggest strength.
So, who’s left? A trio of quality wide receivers.
  • WR Kenny Galloway
  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
  • WR Will Fuller

AROUND THE LEAGUES
Flyers Grounded
Turns out coaches might not be necessary in hockey. With their entire coaching staff out due to Covid-19, the New York Rangers put on an offensive clinic on the likes of which we won’t see again for a very long time.
(12-12-4) New York Rangers 9 vs. (14-10-3) Philadelphia Flyers 0
  • New York scored an astonishing seven goals in the 2nd period, highlighted by Mike Zibanejad’s hat trick and three assists. That’s only the second six point period for a single player in NHL history.
NBA
(15-25) Cleveland Cavaliers 117 vs. (20-20) Boston Celtics 110
  • To the horror of Boston fans everywhere, their team now owns a worse record than the Charlotte Hornets (20-19) who feature former Celtics Gordon Hayward and Scary Terry Rozier.
(26-14) Milwaukee Bucks 109 vs. (28-13) Philadelphia 76ers 105 - OT
  • After the game, 76ers Dwight Howard had an interesting take. He “wanted to go Stone Cold Stunner” Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was at mid court after hitting a big shot in overtime.
(16-24) Sacramento Kings 121 vs. (14-25) Washington Wizards 119
  • Russell Westbrook bricked a dunk and De’Aaron Fox nailed a buzzer-beater over Bradley Beal for the Kings’ win. Just another night for the Wizards.
Champions League - Round of 16
Chelsea 3 vs. Atlético Madrid 0 on aggregate
  • With a 2-0 win in their 2nd leg, Chelsea advances to the Champions League quarters for the first time since 2014. The Blues haven’t lost since early January.
Bayern Munich 6 vs. Lazio 2 on aggregate
  • Robert Lewandowski and Bayern cruised to an easy victory, setting themselves up nicely to defend last year’s Champions League title.

THURSDAY WATCHLIST
College Basketball - Men's First Four
#16 Texas Southern (16-8) vs. #16 Mt. St. Mary’s (12-10) - 5:10 ET on truTV
#11 Drake (25-4) vs. #11 Wichita St. (16-5) - 6:27 ET on TBS
#16 Appalachian St. (17-11) vs. #16 Norfolk St. (16-7) - 8:40 ET on truTV
#11 UCLA (17-9) vs. #11 Michigan St. (15-12) - 9:57 ET on TBS
NBA
Utah Jazz (29-10) vs. Washington Wizards (14-25) - 7:00 ET on NBATV
Charlotte Hornets (20-18) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (27-13) - 10:30 ET on NBATV
NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins (18-10-1) vs. New Jersey Devils (9-13-4) - 7:00 ET on NBCSN
Golf
Honda Classic - 2:00 ET on NBC

WATER COOLER TALK
🏁   The Kansas Speedway will welcome the NASCAR Cup Series race called the Buschy McBusch Race 400 on May 2, a name voted on by fans online. Never underestimate the power of the internet.
🏀   Former 12-year NBA veteran Shawn Bradley has been left paralyzed after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle a block from his home in St. George, Utah.
🏀   LeBron James ditched Coca-Cola for Pepsi, becoming the face of the new Mountain Dew Rise energy drink.
🏀   The NBA and NBPA agreed to new protocols for Covid-19 vaccinated players, including not wearing a mask at practice facilities, no PCR tests on days off, and no quarantine time for exposure.
🏈   Drafted in 2004, Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is a free agent for the first time in his career. If he stays in Arizona, he’ll play alongside Deandre Hopkins and newly signed A.J. Green.
🏈   In about the time it takes me to do my daily walk, Patrick Mahomes sold $3.4M worth of NFTs (digital trading cards) with his likeness.

TRIVIA ANSWER
D. The Buffalo Sabres scored 9 goals in the 2nd period of a 1981 game against Toronto, winning the game 14-4.