Standing Ovation

Standing Ovation

Eric Joiner, Nathan Baugh
Daily Newsletters
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Happy hump day. With Gameday and NFL Sundays on pause until the fall, opportunities to show off your sports knowledge are few these days.
But remember, you can always share the fun tidbits you learn from the Sprint to remind your friends just how sporty you are. Here's how to share:
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  • Slide in their DMs
You may just make their day (and ours).
In today's Sprint:
  • 🏀 The Nets' hope
  • ⚾️ Stars on the move
  • ⚽️ Taking action
Trivia: Of the top five largest (by total money) MLB free-agent contracts, two were given to the same player. Who is the lucky guy?
  1. Mike Trout
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Alex Rodriguez
  4. Justin Verlander

AROUND THE LEAGUES
Brooklyn, Brooklyn
While even Kyrie Irving admits the Nets have looked average of late, we’re not convinced there’s anything to worry about in Brooklyn. Let's take a look.
What’s wrong: Defense. The Nets have allowed more 30+ point scorers than any other team in the NBA.
What’s right: The Nets are 7-1 against teams with winning records, meaning they come to play against the league’s best. This is not a talent issue.
Neither is it a chemistry issue. Yes, James Harden and Deandre Jordan got into a heated argument about defensive effort and scheme. But that’s a good thing. These guys care.
Looking ahead: Kevin Durant returns on Friday, giving the Nets a healthy big 3 for the first time in weeks. This squad has all the talent in the world but hasn’t yet had enough game time to gel.
This situation reminds us of another team that recently took home a title. Remember this headline?
Bottom line: Brooklyn will be fine. Don’t buy the dysfunction hype, despite yesterday’s tough loss...
(6-18) Detroit Pistons 122 vs. (14-12) Brooklyn Nets 111
  • With Kevin Durant out due to the league’s COVID-19 protocols, the Nets fell to the bottom place Pistons for their fourth loss in five games.
(20-5) Utah Jazz 128 vs. (12-11) Boston Celtics 108
  • Donovan Mitchell (36 pts, 4 reb, 9 ast) outlasted Jaylen Brown (33 pts, 8 reb) in the battle of budding superstars, and the Jazz keeps the NBA’s best record.
Stat of the day: Stephen Curry has scored 741 points this season, the second-most for any player over the age of 32 through his team’s first 25 games. The only player to score more? Michael Jordan.
NCAAM
(13-5) #14 West Virginia 82 vs. (14-5) #7 Texas Tech 71
  • In the night’s most entertaining game, there were 47 fouls called.
  • Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard wasn’t a fan of the referees and was ejected from the game after arguing two questionable calls on star Mac McClung (17 pts, 4 reb).
Watch Beard’s glorious outburst here. Of course, he received a standing ovation from the fans in Lubbock.
NHL
(9-1-1) Tampa Bay Lightning 6 vs. (5-8-0) Nashville Predators 1
  • Can anyone beat the Lightning? At this point, we’re not sure. Steven Stamkos (2 goals, 1 assist) and company look near unstoppable and have to be favored to repeat as Stanley Cup champions.
Tonight's watchlist
NBA:
Hawks (11-12) vs. Mavericks (11-14) - 7:30 ET on ESPN
Milwaukee Bucks (16-8) vs. Phoenix Suns (14-9) - 10:00 ET on ESPN
NCAAM:
#15 Iowa (13-6) vs. #25 Rutgers (11-6) - 7:30 ET on Big Ten Network
#16 Tennessee (13-4) vs. Georgia (12-6) - 8:00 ET on ESPN2
#5 Villanova (12-2) vs. Marquette (9-10) - 9:00 ET on FS1

BASEBALL
Free Agency Tracker
While we were gearing up for the Super Bowl, baseball had a sneakily active weekend.
  • Trevor Bauer: The reigning NL Cy Young winner finally found a new home. Bauer joined the Los Angeles Dodgers on a 3-year, $105 million deal, solidifying the Dodgers fantastic pitching rotation.
  • Marcell Ozuna: The NL home run champ stayed home and received the contract security he wanted while the Braves get one of the league’s top sluggers on a 4-year $65 million bargain.
  • Nelson Cruz: He returned to the Twins on a 1-year, $13 million deal. Cruz has hit at least 37 home runs in the past 7 years.
  • Rangers swapped Elvis Andrus for Khris Davis in a trade with the A’s.
Who's left: Most of the league's top free agents have found a home, leaving these guys out in the cold.
  • Pitchers: James Paxton, Jake Ordorizzi, Trevor Roesenthal
  • Infielders: Justin Turner, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Schoop
  • Outfielders: Jackie Bradley Jr, Brett Gardner, Yasiel Puig

WATER COOLER TALK
  • 🎾 #17 Stanislas Wawrinka fell in five sets to Marton Fuscovics in the Australian Open’s first major upset.
  • ⚽ The Premier League rolled out a new plan to help combat racism within the English soccer league. This comes on the back of increased online abuse of some of the league’s minority players.
  • 🏈 Legendary coach Marty Schottenheimer passed away at the age of 77. He finished his 21-year career with 200 wins, the seventh-most in NFL history.
  • 🏈 Super Bowl LV attracted 96.4 million viewers, becoming the lowest-rated Super Bowl since 2007. For context, the Patriots and Seahawks in 2015 boasted 114 million viewers.
  • 🏈 Patrick Mahomes will have surgery to repair an injured toe while fellow QB Russell Wilson expressed frustration with the Seahawks' inability to protect him.

TRIVIA ANSWER
C. A-Rod signed a 10-year, $275 million deal with the Yankees in 2008, and also signed a 10-year, $252 million deal with the Rangers in 2001. Even so many years later, these deals are the 4th and 5th largest free-agent deals ever.
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