It’s Champ Week (For Some)

March 11, 2020

Good Morning,

I know many of us treat sports as a welcomed escape from reality. Unfortunately, the sports news cycle and spring sports schedule will be interrupted for the near future. After today’s edition, I’ll attempt to include coronavirus-related storylines in a short bulleted section (like the one below) while keeping other sections free from interruption. Thanks for your patience as my team and I navigate the scheduling conflicts and challenges ahead.

Wash your hands, be safe, and use that down time at home to watch plenty of sports. 👍

Letter Rip!

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CORONAVIRUS

Impacted Sports Schedules

⚫️ English Premier League: Arsenal and Manchester City’s Premier League match was postponed. Arsenal recently played against the Greek club Olympiacos whose owner tested positive for the virus. (BBC)

⚫️ College Basketball: The Ivy League conference cancelled both men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments while the MAC and Big West tournaments will go on with restricted access for the general public. (USA Today)

⚫️ MLS, XFL & MLB: The Washington state governor banned public gatherings of more than 250 people on Tuesday. The ban could impact the Seattle Dragons’ XFL game this weekend, the Seattle Sounders’ MLS game next Saturday, as well as the Seattle Mariners’ MLB home-opener on March 26. (ESPN)

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NCAAB

It’s Champ Week… For Some

Photo: Ethan Miller / Getty Images

5 Conference Champions Crowned While Ivy League Tourney Cancelled

The NCAA’s conference tournament week, known as “Champ Week,” began with mixed feelings. Five mid-major tournament finals took place last night, but COVID-19 concerns caused a cancellation of the Ivy League tournament. Meanwhile, the MAC and Big West tournaments will go on without fans. Each of the Power-6 college basketball conferences have started as usual.

What About The Automatic Bids?
Without a conference tournament, the Ivy League awarded their NCAA Tournament automatic qualifiers to each of the men’s and women’s regular-season champions; Yale (men’s) and Princeton (women’s). The Harvard and Princeton men’s teams were just one and two games, respectively, behind Yale in the regular-season standings. Many seniors across the league were devastated as they learned that their collegiate careers were already over.

In more celebratory news, five more the 32 automatic bids to the men’s NCAA Tournament were claimed on Tuesday.

Champ Week Winners (Automatic Bids)

Other NCAA Storylines
ESPN: Champ Week is Here, and Questions Abound
USA Today: Ivy League Cancels Conference Tournaments
CBS Sports: MAC & Big West Close Basketball Tournaments

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Empty Stadiums and Upsets in Europe

Photo: Martin Rose / Getty Images

RB Leipzig Shutout Spurs | Atalanta Advances in Empty Stadium

Not one but two underdogs were the first to advance to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals on Tuesday, and they did it with convincing two-leg victories in very different conditions.

RB Leipzig def. Tottenham (3-0 | 4-0 agg.)
The German club embarrassed Tottenham 3-0 after a 1-0 shutout in the first leg (4-0, aggregate). Marcel Sabitzer played the hero with two first-half goals to send Leipzig sailing through. It’s the first UCL quarterfinal appearance in club history, and Spurs have now lost six straight across all competitions.

Atalanta def. Valencia (4-3 | 8-4 agg.)
The Italian side delivered a much-needed moral victory for the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, securing a massive 4-3 win against Valencia in an empty Italian stadium. Josip Illicic scored all four goals to book Atalanta’s spot in the UCL quarterfinals in their Champions League debut. They’re just the seventh club in Champions League history to reach the final eight in their first tournament appearance.

Today’s Schedule
PSG vs. Borussia Dortmund (4:00 pm ET)
Liverpool vs. Atletico Madrid (4:00 pm ET)

*Dortmund & Atletico Madrid lead aggregate scoring by one goal each.

Additional UCL News
ABC News: Barcelona to Host Napoli in Empty Stadium
Yahoo! Sports: PSG’s Kylian Mbappe Tested for Coronavirus

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NFL

Waiting Week, Continued…

 

7 Headlines From a Busy Day in the NFL

Who knew the NFL offseason would produce news like this? An influx of headlines hit hard on Tuesday with the countdown at five days to CBA voting results and seven days to free agency. Too much to cover, so here’s a quick list of the top stories:

⚫️ Franchise Tag: The league moved the deadline to franchise tag players until next Monday after the NFLPA granted players a two-day extension on the CBA vote. (ESPN)

⚫️ New NFLPA President: Browns center J.C. Tretter was named the new president of the NFL Players’ Association. (NFL)

⚫️ 4 Teams Propose Rule Changes: The Eagles, Ravens, Dolphins, and Chargers submitted seven total proposals for rule changes to onside kicks and skybox officials. (NBC Sports)

⚫️ The Al Michaels Trade: NBC has declined ESPN’s bizarre offer to discuss a trade for Sunday Night Football’s Al Michaels. (B/R)

⚫️ The Hall of Fame Game: The Cowboys and Steelers will participate in next year’s Hall of Fame Game to open the preseason. (SI)

⚫️ Tom Brady’s L.A. Launch: The free-agent QB opened a Hollywood production company ahead of his 2020 decision. (CBS Sports)

⚫️ Yanda Retires: Ravens guard Marshal Yanda retired after 13 seasons. He’s one of just three guards in NFL history to make eight or more pro bowls. (NBC Sports)

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THE HIGHLIGHTS

🏀 NBA: Celtics Clinch Playoffs
Boston’s Jayson Tatum registered the 14th 30-point game of his breakout season, and the Celtics got a 114-111 win over the Pacers to clinch a playoff berth in the East. (NBA)

🏀 NBA: Lakers Lose at the Horn
LeBron James missed a layup and Anthony Davis missed a 3 in the final 10 seconds as the Lakers lost to the Nets in a heartbreaker (104-102). (HoH)

🏒 NHL: Bruins Hit 100 Points
A nine-game win streak for Philadelphia came to an end on Tuesday night at the hands of the Bruins (2-0). Boston became the first team in the NHL to reach 100 points. (NHL)

⚾️ MLB: Cubs Hang 16 on San Fran
Two five-run innings bookended a batters’ paradise for the Cubs Tuesday against the Giants in Spring Training. Chicago recorded 21 hits and hung 16 runs on San Fran. (MLB)

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 📰 THE HEADLINES 

Cleveland Cavaliers Give Interim Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff 4-Year Extension
(Bleacher Report)

U.S. Soccer Claims Men and Women Have ‘Different Jobs’ in Equal Pay Report
(Sports Illustrated)

Ex-Michigan State Football Coach Says Team Filmed Opponents, Files Lawsuit
(CBS Sports)

Nebraska Football Loans Players to Short-Handed Basketball Team for Big Ten Tournament
(NBC Sports)

Rob Gronkowski Reportedly Finalizing Contract With WWE
(ESPN)

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