The Bids for the Bracket

March 10, 2021

Good Morning,

Want to have your mind blown? Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones paid QB Dak Prescott ($160 million) more than he paid for the team in 1989 ($140 million). The Cowboys are worth $5.5 billion today.

Letter Rip!

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NCAA

Champ Week: Gonzaga Runs the Table

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Gonzaga Stays Perfect; Automatic Bids to the NCAA Tournament So Far

 

Champ Week is in full effect, and we’ve got tickets being punched to the NCAA Tournament. We’ll start with No. 1 overall where Gonzaga just became the first team in six years to enter the tournament with an undefeated season (Kentucky, 2015). The Zags rallied back from a first-half deficit against BYU to win the West Coast Conference championship on Tuesday night (88-78). They outscored the Cougars by 22 in the second half to claim their 19th conference crown. They’re just the 16th team to enter the NCAA Tournament with an undefeated record. No team has run the table and won the National Championship since Indiana (1975-76) 45 years ago.

 

Watch: Gonzaga Wins WCC Championship

 

Want More Ticket-Punching Celebrations?

We’ve got ‘em. A total of 11 automatic bids have been given out already, including five on Tuesday. And another 10 women’s teams have punched their tickets. Here’s the fast-growing list of conference champions as of Tuesday (Mar. 9).

 

Conference Champions (So Far)

 

Men’s Basketball

Gonzaga (West Coast)

Oral Roberts (Summit)

Appalachian State (Sun Belt)

Liberty (Atlantic Sun)

Winthrop (Big South)

Cleveland State (Horizon)

Loyola-Chicago (Missouri Valley)

Mount St. Mary’s (Northeast)

Morehead State (Ohio Valley)

Drexel (Colonial)

UNC-Greensboro (Southern)

 

Women’s Basketball

NC State (ACC)

South Carolina (SEC)

Stanford (Pac-12)

UConn (Big East)

Belmont (Ohio Valley)

Wright State (Horizon)

South Dakota (Summit)

Gonzaga (West Coast)

Mercer (Southern)

Troy (Sun Belt)

 

That’s 21 early tickets. Only 115 more to fill out the bracket.

 

Additional Storylines

ESPN: Bubble Watch: Teams Fighting for Bids in Championship Week

B/R: Gonzaga Becomes 16th Team to Enter NCAA Tournament With Undefeated Record

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NFL

Let‘s Play Tag…

Photo: Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

All 9 of the NFL’s Franchise-Tagged Players From Deadline Day

 

The biggest square in franchise-tag bingo was called early on Monday when Dak Prescott got his money. But what about the rest of the league? Nine total players received the franchise tag before Tuesday’s deadline, meaning their potential long-term contracts are reduced to a mere one-year holding cell.

 

The 4:00 pm ET deadline snuck up on the NFL with only two teams using the tag prior to Tuesday. Here are all the stars playing on one-year rentals.

 

Franchise Tagged Players

S Justin Simmons (Broncos)

G Brandon Scherff (Washington)

WR Allen Robinson (Bears)

RT Taylor Moton (Panthers)

DT Leonard Williams (Giants)

S Marcus Maye (Jets)

WR Chris Godwin (Bucs)

OT Cam Robinson (Jaguars)

S Marcus Williams (Saints)

 

Who Didn’t Get Tagged?

Great question. Among the surprising untagged players were LB Shaquil Barrett (Bucs), WR Will Fuller V (Texans), WR Kenny Golladay (Lions), TE Hunter Henry (Chargers) and RB Aaron Jones (Packers). Those five players will be walking into the free-agent market for a bidding war.

 

Additional Storylines

NFL: Updated Top 101 Free Agents of 2021

B/R: Winners & Losers of the 2021 NFL Franchise-Tag Deadline

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SOCCER

Leg 2: Champions League Stunners

Photo: Jonathan Moscrop / Getty Images

FC Porto Shocks Ronaldo & Juventus; Haaland Strikes Twice as Dortmund Survive

 

The Champions League returned on Tuesday with no shortage of drama. Leg 2 of the Round of 16 came down to the wire in both matches. Cristiano Ronaldo was held scoreless as Juve won Leg 2 but suffered a stunning upset by away goals to FC Porto (4-4, aggregate). Up in Germany, it was Dortmund’s emerging superstar Erling Haaland who paved the way to the quarterfinals.

 

Scores & Highlights

 

Juventus def. Porto (3-2) | Lose 4-4

FC Porto’s stunning takedown of Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus came with excess drama in the waning minutes Tuesday in Italy. Juve needed a two-goal victory to overcome their aggregate deficit, but Sergio Oliveira notched the dagger in the 117th minute. Juve, eliminated. Against all odds, FC Porto is heading to the UCL quarters.

 

Dortmund draw Sevilla (2-2) | Win 5-4

Erling Haaland sent Borussia Dortmund through with two goals early in Leg 2 that gave the German club a 2-0 lead (5-2 aggregate) over Sevilla, but the Spanish side came roaring back with two goals late in the contest. It wasn’t enough in the aggregate scoreline as Haaland and Dortmund advance to the quarter-finals.

 

Today’s Schedule

PSG vs. Barcelona (PSG Leads 4-1)

Liverpool vs. RB Leipzig (Liverpool Leads 2-0)

 

*Both matches at 3:00 pm ET

 

Additional Storylines

CBS SportsRonaldo & Juve Crash Out of Champions League Once Again

Goal.com: Haaland Sets Champions League Record for Fastest to Reach 20 UCL Goals

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THE STORYLINES 

⚽️ Weston McKennie is Right Where He Belongs

What is most surprising about the American’s path to Juventus is not how far he has come, but how effortless he has made the journey look. (NY Times)

 

🏈 The Cowboys Overpaid for Dak Prescott

The 27-year-old two-time Pro Bowler was playing relatively well last season, but Dallas was not. That’s because the Cowboys weren’t—and still aren’t—a particularly good football team. (Bleacher Report)

 

🏒 Do the Penguins Have One More Title Run?

Since Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin officially joined forces at the start of the 2006-07 season no team in the NHL has had more success than the Penguins. (NBC Sports)

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TRIVIA ANSWER

NCAA Tournament Trivia

Yesterday, we asked: Which college basketball conference holds the record for the most bids in a single NCAA Tournament?

 

Answer: Big East (11 Teams)

 

In 2011, the Big East Conference sent 11 of its 16 teams to the big dance. It was 3-seed UConn who won it all that year, but nine of the 11 teams failed to reach the sweet sixteen. Only three times has a conference sent nine teams to the NCAA Tournament; 2012 (Big East), 2017 (ACC) and 2018 (ACC). The Big Ten is likely to get nine bids on Sunday.

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