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Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: Motivation is a late-season monster

In yesterday’s “analytics advantage” section of Daily Notes, I highlighted the Thursday night game featuring the Milwaukee Bucks at the Golden State Warriors as one to watch for fantasy results. I mentioned how it was one of two games on the night featuring two teams in the playoff hunt, cheap nfl jerseys from china and that the other one (the San Antonio Spurs hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder) was likely to have a stronger defensive component and, thus, not as much fantasy production to go around.

The prediction turned out to be accurate, as the Bucks (116 points) and Warriors (107 points) combined for 223 points. Not only was that the highest combined point total of the night, but both teams individually scored more points than any of the other eight NBA teams that played on Thursday.

The Bucks are currently in the eighth slot in the East, but they still haven’t mathematically clinched the playoffs. They are only a game out of the sixth slot and still not mathematically eliminated from home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. They are motivated to play, and their best player exemplifies that.

But he wasn’t the only one. Khris Middleton (23 points, 3 steals, 3 3-pointers, 3 rebounds, 2 assists), Eric Bledsoe (20 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) and Jabari Parker (14 points,nfl jerseys cheap china 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 3-pointers in 25 minutes off the bench) were all strong on Thursday as well.

The moral to the story, yet again, is that motivation is a monster at this time of year, and you can find examples to support this on a nightly basis.

Female assistant coaches have big presence in Final Four

The moment that coaching went from job to career for Niele Ivey came when Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw handed her youngest assistant an assignment to produce the lead scouting report for Tennessee in a 2011 regional cheap jerseys Notre Dame hadn’t been to a Final Four since Ivey’s playing days a decade earlier. And no team, even UConn, was a bigger bugaboo for the Fighting Irish than Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols.

The adrenaline rush when she saw hours of work pay off on the court in Dayton, Ohio, a win that propelled Notre Dame to the first of six Final Fours in eight years, lingers even to this day.

“I can really do this,” recalled Ivey, now Notre Dame associate head coach. “I was already invested, but that took me to the next phase of my career.”

Dionnah Jackson-Durrett arrived at that moment sooner, roughly the time she first put on an Oklahoma Sooners uniform. Now in her second season as an assistant coach at Mississippi State, she helped the Sooners to their first Final Four in 2002. Even back then she wanted to give others what Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale offered her from the moment the coach promised the recruit nothing in the way of minutes and plenty in the way of work.

“She just communicated so well with me and talked to me about everything,” Jackson-Durrett said. “She prepared me every day, and it was hard some jerseys cheap china I didn’t want to do it some days — not practicing, but being a point guard. The mental part of it, I didn’t think I had it. She instilled some confidence in me. That’s the kind of impact I wanted to have.

A technical foul and opportunity lost for Louisville

Two minutes, 42 seconds remained in regulation Friday night, in a Women’s Final Four semifinal that was going down to the final possession. Fuehring, cheap nfl jerseys from china Louisville’s 6-foot-2 junior forward, spent most of Friday night struggling to contain Mississippi State’s 6-foot-7 junior center Teaira McCowan, and Fuehring wasn’t happy about it. McCowan finished with 25 rebounds, 13 on the offensive glass, plus 21 points, carrying the Bulldogs to a 73-63 overtime victory while playing the full 45 minutes.

“I tried my hardest to keep her off the boards,” Fuehring said. “The refs were not calling anything in my favor so that did not help.”

McCowan is probably headed for a productive career in the WNBA, and nothing Fuehring tried worked. With Louisville trailing 54-53 and less than three minutes to play in regulation, Cardinals coach Jeff Walz told Fuehring to front McCowan. Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians missed a jumper, and while Fuehring and McCowan tangled for rebounding position, Fuehring said McCowan shoved a forearm into her neck, snapping her head back and driving her to the floor. Whistle. Foul on Fuehring, her fourth.

“When I heard that call, I was confused,” Fuehring said. “I was frustrated. That’s when I slapped the floor.”

The technical foul call brought Walz scampering down the sideline from his bench, screaming at the officials. Morgan William, the best foul shooter in the Southeastern Conference, hit both for a 56-53 Bulldogs lead. Louisville, however, responded with the next six points before Mississippi State’s Roshunda Johnson, cutting open when the Cardinals were slow to foul, hit a tying 3-pointer with seven seconds to play.

The technical irked Walz as much as anything, on a maddening night that saw the Cardinals twice miss potential winning shots at the end of regulation, then shoot 1-for-10 from the field in overtime.

“I struggled with that call right there and then,” Walz said in the hallway outside the Louisville locker room at Nationwide Arena. “If she said something derogatory to the official, nfl cheap jerseys fine. But slapping the floor? How many technical fouls would the Duke men’s basketball team have had back about 15 years ago when they slapped the floor to be on defense? God forbid. So I struggled with that one.”

With an eye toward the future, Katelynn Flaherty running the show for Michigan

Not long after Michigan won the Women’s NIT championship last April, shooting guard Katelynn Flaherty strolled into coach Kim Barnes Arico’s office for the standard player/coach postseason meeting, looking ahead to next season.

The Wolverines were losing team captain and four-year starting point guard Siera Thompson to graduation, and Arico debated whether to entrust the job to incoming freshman Deja Church or someone jerseys cheap nike In that meeting, Flaherty, a 2,000-point scorer heading into her senior year, surprised Arico by volunteering to replace Thompson.


Arico was skeptical. Flaherty had been a point guard in high school in New Jersey, but this was the Big Ten — faster, more physical, with more on the line. Michigan needed Flaherty to score big to complement junior Hallie Thome inside, and asking Flaherty to do that while running the offense seemed too much. Arico knew this from personal experience as a guard at Montclair (New Jersey) State University in the early 1990s.

“Usually every time Katelynn sets her mind to something and has a plan,” Arico said, “she’s been able to reach that goal.”

It hasn’t been easy. Five times this season Flaherty committed eight or more turnovers in a game, with a season-high 10 in a Feb. 4 loss at Rutgers. Her assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.07 isn’t the greatest. But for the most part, cheap nike nfl jersey Flaherty found ways to score, distribute the ball and help the Wolverines win.

Shuttling between the point and the wing, she averaged 23.2 points per game, fifth-best nationally, while shooting 41.8 percent on 3-pointers. Earlier this season Flaherty surpassed Glen Rice as Michigan’s career scoring leader for men and women; she since pushed her total to 2,673 points. A three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, Flaherty needs seven 3-pointers to join Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell as the only Division I women with 400 treys in a career.

UConn is favored in NCAA tournament, but BPI likes field

The world knows UConn is the favorite. But the Huskies’ edge is less than most might think.

ESPN’s brand-new Basketball Power Index (BPI) for women’s college basketball gives Geno Auriemma’s team a 37 percent chance to win this year’s NCAA tournament,nfl jerseys cheap authentic one year after the Huskies came up short in the Final Four. (You can read a little bit about the methodology behind our model here).

That would be overwhelmingly favorable odds for virtually any other team in any sport but for UConn? In women’s basketball? It’s … just 37 percent?

That’s more than double the next team’s chance to win — Notre Dame at 16 percent — but it probably doesn’t dull the shock value for the many who figure the Huskies hanging another banner this year is essentially a foregone conclusion.

So why is our model, relatively, down on the Huskies?71

Mainly: their draw. Though the top overall seed in this year’s field after a thus-far undefeated season earned the Huskies the top rank in Strength of Record, Auriemma’s team somehow managed to land reigning national champion and BPI’s sixth-ranked team South Carolina in its region. While UConn has virtually no chance of losing its first couple of games, its road gets considerably tougher at the Elite Eight stage. The Huskies have “only” a 78 percent chance of beating the Gamecocks, and waiting for them in the Final Four is likely Notre Dame,nike nfl jerseys cheap the second-best team in Division I, per BPI.

Though there’s a solid chance that the Irish and Huskies would have squared off no matter where they were located in the bracket, being on the same side of the Final Four puts the likelihood of them meeting at 42 percent. It would be the fifth time they have met in the national semifinals, with Notre Dame winning three of the previous four meetings.

Steven Adams’ Hip Injury Diagnosed as Contusion; Won’t Return vs. Kings

Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams suffered a left hip contusion in Monday’s game against the Sacramento Kings at Chesapeake Energy Arena and, according to Royce Young of ESPN, is unable to return.

He had six points,cheap nfl nike jerseys china six rebounds and two blocks in 23 minutes before coming out with the injury.24

Adams missed a handful of games last season because of a concussion and calf contusion, but neither injury proved significant.

That’s good news for the Thunder, who have watched him develop into one of the league’s premier two-way bigs.

So far this season, Adams is averaging a career-high 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.1 blocks while shooting 63.5 percent from the field with the paint more open following the arrivals of swingmen Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.

“It should be one point for Steven and one point for Carmelo. One point for Steve,nfl nike jersey cheap one point for Paul,” head coach Billy Donovan said, according to Young in December. “It’s a team. I think you all benefit from each other when you’re out there on the floor and playing the right way.”

Now that Adams is banged up again, Donovan will be forced to consider alternate plans.

In the meantime, Patrick Patterson should do some heavy lifting as a small-ball 5 when the Thunder want to space the floor without a traditional big man in the middle. Dakari Johnson could also pick up extra minutes at center.