The United States played a thrilling WBC game, and won

It was win or go home for the USA in the World Baseball Classic on Saturday night. And the U.S. decided to win. And considering the game was against the Dominican Republic, a team the U.S. hasn’t had a lot of success against, last night’s win was both important and symbolic. And you could tell! The DR players weren’t the only ones showing emotion. The U.S. team was fired up, too, showing more passion and emotion than it’s showed in any matchup thus far.

This game was legitimately thrilling; hard fought from start to finish. But there were two great moments. There’s the incredible, massive, extraordinary home run that was hit by — who else? — Giancarlo Stanton. It was glorious. It scored two runs, put the U.S. on top, and sent people in the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building running for cover.

The Wolverines conquered the threat. The Cards had a 36-28 lead at halftime and stayed in front well into the second half, but John Beilein’s team didn’t fold.

The Wolverines tied the game just inside the 10-minute mark, and they closed strong. Louisville almost mounted a counter-comeback after UM built a six-point lead with 1:18 left, but Michigan held on in the nick of time.

Michigan center Moritz Wagner had a career-high 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting. D.J. Wilson added 17 for the Wolverines.

The Wolverines have an air of magic around them right now, and the combination of them being hot and having an elite offense makes them terrifying. The Wolverines were a bubble team for much of this season. That feels so long ago now.

24

NFL free agency rumors 2017: Every important update in one place

It¡¯s that time of year again, when NFL players are hitting free agency and being linked to various teams. As fans, you want to know if the big name you¡¯ve got your eye on who could really turn your team around this season has a shot of signing with your favorite team, and we¡¯re here to help.

The Steelers are 2.5-point favorites over Oakland, with an over/under of 40.5, according to OddsShark.com.
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Pittsburgh looked dead and buried at 0-4, but has rebounded with two conference wins over the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens. At 2-4, the Steelers have a chance to climb further toward the .500 mark on the road. Pittsburgh finally was able to run the ball effectively last Sunday, gaining 141 yards on the ground with 4.9 yards per carry.

Oakland is coming off a bye week, helping it get healthy after having all sorts of issues along the offensive line. Center Stefen Wisniewski should be ready to play, a huge boost to the group.

Jack Butler Authentic Jersey The Raiders are last in the league in passing yardage per game, averaging 191.7 yards through the air.

The Jazz are comfortable for the moment, but could see their standing at No.4 challenged during a tough stretch at the end of the season. The Clippers, Thunder and Grizzlies, though, are all just within a game of one another.

Current tiebreaker: Clippers and Thunder have split the season series, 2-2, though OKC has a better divisional record by two wins. The Thunder lead the Grizzlies in the season series, 2-1, and the Clippers hold the tiebreaker against Memphis, 3-1.

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What happens to the free agent market for quarterbacks?

Any official moves on the Tony Romo front will slow to a crawl now that Thursday’s trade has cleared a runway for the veteran to land in Houston. With his status up in the air and Mike Glennon snapped up by the Bears, that leaves Jay Cutler as the league’s top free agent passer.

This is great news for Dallas and Romo, whose list of suitors grew without any real competition emerging on the market. The odds of a Romo trade, which would keep him as the league’s highest-paid quarterback for 2017, have gone up now.

It also leaves a few interesting scenarios to play out on the open market. If the Browns cut their newly acquired quarterback, Osweiler and Cutler would be the two top consolation prizes from a Romo deal.

But Denver is likely uninterested in Cutler given his history with the club. Either team signing Romo would set a few different moving pieces in motion, and the deals would likely domino all the way down to the least desirable free agent destination this spring — the New York Jets.

Right now, the quarterback market all depends on what happens with the Cowboys’ 36-year-old soon-to-be ex-QB.

The good news is, they’re in great shape for a rebuild. The Browns have been amassing draft picks like Sam Hinkie’s 76ers and currently hold 12 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, including the No. 1 and No. 12 overall selections. They can use that capital to address the needs they can’t fix in free agency while shipping other draft assets away for either future picks or players who can (like, once again, Garoppolo).

Two of the top three linebackers are gone, but the returnee, Sherrod Ruff, is a keeper. He recorded 11 TFLs, three sacks, and three forced fumbles from the strong side. Reserves Jeremy Sangster and Paxton Schrimsher were active in limited chances, and mid-three-star redshirt freshmen JaCorey Morris and Racheem Boothe could make a quick impact.
7

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The NBA will invest even more in its referees

The NBA announced some major new investments in its referee program on Thursday. The league will create an advisory council on officiating starring Gen. Martin Dempsey and former U.S. Education Secretary/Celebrity Game scoring record holder Arne Duncan. The league will go on a hiring spree and work to keep crews more rested and use virtual reality to train refs.

Perhaps most importantly, the league will invest in a “data-driven game review system to create objective referee measurement standards and track progress regarding call accuracy and errors per game over multiple seasons.” That reads to me like “robot judge who will decide if refs are good or bad and keep score forever.” The National Basketball Referees Association hasn’t commented on this or any other aspect just yet, but Synergy for Referees seems like something they might oppose. We’ll see.

It’s pretty fascinating to me that the league is now investing lots of resources (time, money and headspace) to officiating issues but didn’t do much back in the wake of the Donaghy scandal. Technological advances have made all of this much more accessible. But Adam Silver has made improving the way the game is officiated a much bigger priority than David Stern, despite Stern presiding over the biggest ref scandal in any American sport in decades. It’s interesting.

Nerlens Noel, who is new to Dallas, went to the wrong airport to catch the Mavericks’ charter to Atlanta. He ended up being 10 minutes late. So coach Rick Carlisle didn’t give him the start and ripped him in the media. Maybe Carlisle is joking — his wit is rather dry in general — but SHEESH.

JaVale McGee doing improv.

The Warriors promised to sign Jose Calderon before Kevin Durant got hurt. The injury meant Golden State needed a wing more than a point guard. But the Warriors followed through with their promise, signing Calderon and waiving him 80 minutes later. He made a half million dollars for his troubles. What a world.

11

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