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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.

Timeline set for an Aaron Donald extension with Rams

The Los Angeles Rams had what general manager Les Snead described as “productive talks” with Aaron Donald’s CAA-based representatives at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, specifically because they were able to agree on a timeline for a potential extension.

“Obviously, they represent other players, and coming into this weekend, they’re juggling a lot of things too,” Snead said from Rams headquarters on Wednesday,nfl jerseys cheap nike the first day of the new league year, shortly after introducing Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters as the team’s new starting cornerbacks. “We came up with a nice timeline that we’re going to work with, and we’ll get to work and try to hammer this thing out. The theme will always be that we want Aaron to be a Ram a long time.”

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Donald, who held out so long last summer that he missed the regular-season opener, is heading into the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, set to pay him $6.89 million. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year instead seeks an extension that would make him the game’s highest-paid defensive player and potentially put him among the top earners at any position, including quarterbacks.

But the Rams have other business to take care of first. They previously made four significant trades — adding Talib and Peters, parting with Alec Ogletree and Robert Quinn — but didn’t add anybody on the first day of free agency. The Rams are still in desperate need of players who can rush the quarterback and stop the run, and Snead said he is “definitely” confident that he can find fits on the free-agent market, even though most of the best available assets are off the board.

Soon, the Rams will begin their offseason program, and Donald might not show up if his contract is still up in the air. The hope is that his absence doesn’t extend into another training camp.

“Until the issue is fully resolved, you never know exactly how it’s going to play out,” McVay said.cheap nike nfl jerseys china “What I do feel better about is the personal relationship that Aaron and I have now established, having been together over a year. I think one of the things that was unique to that is when he holds out [last year], when he’s not taking part in the offseason programs or in training camp, there’s no personal rapport that prior to that even existed. So, it was a lot easier for him to ignore my texts. Now, I think it’ll be a little bit more difficult. I can be more persistent.”

Report: Brent Grimes, Buccaneers Agree to New 1-Year, $10M Contract

Brent Grimes will remain in Central Florida after agreeing to a one-year deal worth $10 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Times’ Rick Stroud reported Monday.

Grimes turns 35 in July and was somewhat noncommittal when asked in November if he intended to return to the NFL for a 12th season.

“I tend not to really think about it until after the season,” he said, per Stroud. “I’m having fun. I’ve just got to wait until after the season and see what’s going on.”

A Pro Bowler for three straight years between 2013 and 2015,buy nike nfl jerseys cheap he remained a productive defender in his first year with the Buccaneers in 2016. His performance dropped off slightly in 2017, but Grimes still finished with three interceptions and 11 passes defended in 13 games.23

Of course, he was culpable for his part in Tampa Bay finishing 32nd in pass defense (260.6 yards per game). The team was also dead last in defensive efficiency and 31st in pass defense DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), per Football Outsiders.

Because of their issues against the pass, it’s natural to expect the Buccaneers to make a major move—outside of re-signing Grimes—to improve in that regard. And while Grimes has started 29 games for the Bucs, he may not be guaranteed a starting spot in Tampa Bay’s secondary in 2018.

According to Spotrac, Tampa Bay has nearly $65 million in salary-cap space available this offseason. The team should have enough money to pursue Jonathan Joseph or Trumaine Johnson—two of the best free-agent cornerbacks available, should general manager Jason Licht want to go that route.

Though such a big commitment to Grimes for 2018 may preclude Licht from spending even more money on the position in free agency.

With the seventh overall pick,nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal Tampa Bay will have the opportunity to select one of the top cornerbacks in the 2018 draft class as well. Josh Jackson, Denzel Ward or Minkah Fitzpatrick would all be sensible selections that early in the first round.

Grimes will provide experience and continuity to the Buccaneers secondary, so re-signing him isn’t a bad move. However, fans will have reason to be upset if that represents the biggest thing Licht does to remedy one of the NFL’s worst defenses.

Marcus Rashford downs Liverpool as Man United thrive without Paul Pogba

1. Rashford exposes Liverpool’s flaws

Marcus Rashford marked his first Premier League start of 2018 with both goals as Manchester United punished the defensive mistakes of rivals Liverpool to seal a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.

The victory, which lifts United five points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s team in second place, was sealed in the first half by Rashford’s two strikes.

But while the 20-year-old, impressing in front of England coach Gareth Southgate, took his goals in clinical fashion, the failure of Liverpool to defend both properly was a return to their early season failings.

And Dejan Lovren, who had a spectacularly bad performance during the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham, was at fault again for both of United’s goals.6

On both occasions, Lovren was beaten in the air by Romelu Lukaku in aerial challenges, with the United forward winning the flick-ons to tee up Rashford.

For the first goal, Rashford easily turned Trent Alexander-Arnold in the penalty area before beating goalkeeper Loris Karius with a powerful shot into the far corner.

And the second was another fine finish by Rashford, who scored after Juan Mata had latched on to Lukaku’s second flick.

Although Liverpool pulled one back with an Eric Bailly own goal in the second half, the visitors struggled to display their attacking flair at Old Trafford.

And United held on to claim the win that takes them one step closer to securing Champions League qualification and runners-up spot behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

2. Cut off supply line as you neutralise Liverpool

Before this game, Liverpool’s front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane had scored 45 Premier League goals between them this season, so their threat to United was obvious.

To have any hope of winning this fixture, United simply had to find a way to keep them quiet — a task few clubs have managed this term.

But United found a way, and it was by cutting off the supply line to Salah, Firmino and Mane, with the Liverpool midfielders dominated by the hosts.

Liverpool’s much-vaunted forwards made it easy for United, though, because none of them was prepared to drop deep and go in search of the ball.

If it didn’t come to them, they were not willing to put the work in to bolster their midfield numbers, and that will be a concern to Klopp, especially if Liverpool have ambitions of making progress in the Champions League.

Top teams will have noted how United snuffed out the threat of Salah,nike nfl jersey differences Mane and Firmino, and they will copy the blueprint.

United also dropped deep, often defending their 18-yard line, to nullify the threat of Mane and Salah’s pace.

With so many teams focused only on attacking nowadays, Jose Mourinho’s approach was a reminder of the importance of a sound defensive plan, and the fact that Liverpool’s goal came from an Eric Bailly own goal underlines the success of United’s approach.

3. Pogba absence helps United

Paul Pogba’s absence from the Manchester United team due to an injury sustained in training on Friday could have been perceived as a negative by Mourinho, but the Frenchman’s absence ultimately worked in the home side’s favour.

Pogba has been out of form in recent weeks, and his performance at Crystal Palace on Monday was bad enough to warrant him being dropped for this game. But the £89M man is still a key man in Mourinho’s team, and it is difficult to envisage him being left out against Liverpool.nike nfl womens jerseys

But without him, United were a much better team — they were more organised and disciplined.

Scott McTominay’s emergence as a holding midfielder has given United balance and helped lift Nemanja Matic’s game, perhaps because the former Chelsea man knows that McTominay will not wander forward and abandon his defensive responsibilities as Pogba does when selected in that role.

Without Pogba, Mourinho is also able to accommodate Rashford and Juan Mata in the team, and both were crucial to this result.66

Rashford’s two goals from his left-sided attacking position — Pogba’s favoured role — justified his selection, while Mata was able to provide a link between midfield and attack in the absence of the roaming Pogba.

The debate over Pogba’s best position and his value to this United team will rage on, but when Mourinho’s team can play so well without him, it does not bode well for his future as a cornerstone of the side.

Law: Rookies who can make a major MLB impact in 2018

When I published my rankings of the top 100 prospects in baseball, I was considering the long-term value of the players on the list and off of it. I was also considering how far away they were and the risk that they might not reach their ceilings and might fail to reach the majors at all.5

Potential impact in 2018 was just a small consideration. Although there’s clear value in being confident that Player X is going to produce for you this year, few teams will give up big, long-term upside for the certainty of a player in the short term.nike nfl jersey differences This list looks at only potential production in 2018, in light of what I think each player’s likely playing time might be with two weeks left before teams set their Opening Day rosters. Many players I’ve written about here will probably start the year in the minors or on a bench, but they seem likely enough to get significant major league time in 2018 that I’ve ranked them accordingly.

I have written about the top 15 prospects for this year, and I have listed in a separate section at the end anyone else I think has a good shot to produce this year, in roughly descending order.

49ers wanted to trade for Talib, he said he wouldn’t go to San Francisco

The Broncos agreed to trade cornerback Aqib Talib nfl authentic jerseys to the Rams last week, but not before trying to trade him to the 49ers.

Denver had agreed to ship Talib to San Francisco but it was called off when he rejected the trade, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Talib really couldn’t have rejected the trade —nfl jersey for cheap  he doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract — but he could have made it difficult for the 49ers by threatening to refuse to show up to work, 879748244-e1511901085423

perhaps holding out all the way through the preseason only to show up to start collecting paychecks when the nfl jerseys cheap authentic  regular season began. The 49ers may have sought an assurance from Talib that he would be a happy camper in San Francisco, and when he wasn’t inclined to give that assurance, the 49ers decided to move on.

For the 49ers, moving on meant signing cornerback Richard Sherman instead. Sherman’s contract with the 49ers is actually a more team-friendly deal than Talib’s because much of Sherman’s pay is wrapped up in playing and playing well, with per-game roster bonuses and a Pro Bowl incentive bonus. Talib gets an $11 million base salary this year even if he plays poorly custom nfl jerseys cheap  or gets hurt and doesn’t play at all. So the 49ers are probably happy in hindsight to have Sherman for a better price,custom nfl jerseys  and not have to give up any draft picks to acquire him.

The Rams ended up agreeing with the Broncos on the Talib trade, and he apparently said he’s willing to go to Los Angeles.