The Madness Continues

March 26, 2021

By: Carlos Alvarez

Happy Friday!

It’s a busy sports weekend ahead. The calendar still says March, so basketball will continue to dominate the headlines. If you’re not a hoops fan, hang in there for a few more days. Or maybe just take a hard look in the mirror. The madness continues…

Letter Rip!



Every Major Deal of the NBA Trade Deadline

Photo: Jason Miller / Getty Images

Orlando Magic Trade 3 Starters to Kick Off Trade Deadline Before a Flurry of Moves


Well, that escalated quickly. The Orlando Magic pushed the launch button on an exciting trade deadline day yesterday in the NBA, sending off three starters for a haul of picks and players in return. It’s officially rebuild season in Orlando. Elsewhere across the Association, marquee names like Victor Oladipo, J.J. Redick and Lou Williams found new homes. Other players like LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs) and Andre Drummond (Cavs) hit the free-agent market after buyouts.


The NBA powers just tilted, and the Nuggets look like the immediate big winners. Here’s every major trade from deadline day.


Notable NBA Trades


Nikola Vucevic | Magic → Bulls

Exchange: Bulls also receive Al-Farouq Aminu; Magic receive Wendell Carter Jr., Otto Porter Jr. and two 1st-round picks (2021 and 2023)


Aaron Gordon | Magic → Nuggets

Exchange: Magic receive Gary Harris, R.J. Hampton and a 2025 1st-round pick


Evan Fournier | Magic → Celtics

Exchange: Magic receive two 2nd-round picks


Victor Oladipo | Rockets → Heat

Exchange: Rockets receive Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk and pick swap


Lou Williams | Clippers → Hawks

Exchange: Clippers receive Rajon Rondo


J.J. Redick | Pelicans → Mavericks

Exchange: Mavericks also receive Nicolo Melli; Pelicans receive James Johnson, Wesley Iwundu and a 2nd-round pick


Norman Powell | Raptors → Blazers

Exchange: Raptors receive Gary Trent Jr. and Rodney Hood


JaVale McGee | Cavs → Nuggets

Exchange: Cavs receive two future 2nd-round picks


3-Team Deal

George Hill | Thunder → 76ers

Austin Rivers | Knicks → Thunder

Terrance Ferguson | Thunder → Knicks


Additional Storylines

NBA: Every Reported Deal From Deadline Day

SI: Raptors Opt Not to Trade Kyle Lowry at Trade Deadline

NBC Sports: Spurs Complete Buyout Agreement with LaMarcus Aldridge



The Path to the Final Four

Photo: Jamie Squire / Getty Images

Despite Upset-Filled Opening Weekend, Top Seeds Can Get Redemption in Sweet 16


The field of 16 re-tips the men’s NCAA Tournament on Saturday, and three double-digit seeds remain. There were upsets aplenty in opening weekend, but two more rounds of action could still leave us with a chalky bracket in the Final Four. Three 1-seeds and two 2-seeds have fortunate paths to the finish line with many of the low-seeded surprises standing in their way.


Gonzaga and Houston have particularly favorable paths with all the high seeds ousted from their regions. The East still has three viable Final Four contenders and an experienced 11-seed.


Here’s a look at the remaining paths to the Final Four for each region in Week 2:


Paths to the Final Four



(1) Gonzaga vs. (5) Creighton

(6) USC vs. (7) Oregon


Odds to Reach Final Four: Gonzaga (-295), USC (+300), Oregon (+600), Creighton (+1500)



(1) Michigan vs. (4) Florida State

(2) Alabama vs. (11) UCLA


Odds to Reach Final Four: Michigan (+175), Alabama (+175), Florida State (+250), UCLA (+700)



(1) Baylor vs. (5) Villanova

(3) Arkansas vs. (15) Oral Roberts


Odds to Reach Final Four: Baylor (+150), Arkansas (+175), Villanova (+600), Oral Roberts (+3500)



(8) Loyola Chicago vs. (12) Oregon State

(2) Houston vs. (11) Syracuse


Odds to Reach Final Four: Houston (+105), Loyola Chicago (+170), Syracuse (+600), Oregon State (+1100)


*Full Sweet 16 Schedule in Today’s Must-Watch List


Additional Storylines

NCAA: 1 Fun-to-Watch Player From Every Sweet 16 Team, Ranked

B/R: NCAA Men’s Tournament Upset Meter for Every Sweet 16 Game

CBS Sports: Sweet 16: Round-by-Round Picks From Advanced March Madness Model



The Leaderboard

The Sportsletter’s Bracket Challenge is 1/3 complete, but it’s a tight race into the Sweet 16. Todd M. holds a three-point advantage. Sadly for Todd, the Illini won’t be carrying him to the $500 prize.


The rest of the field looks like believers in an undefeated season for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. If that happens, tiebreakers could become a factor. We’ll have a new leaderboard on Monday.



🏀 NBA: King Fox is on Fire

The Sacramento Kings have won three games in the last four days, and point guard De’Aaron Fox has turned into a bucket-getting machine. Fox scored a career-high 44 points in last night’s win over the Warriors (141-119) after tallying 37 and 30 in the previous two games.


🏒 NHL: Deja Vu for Zibanejad

Feels like we just wrote this, because we did. The Rangers’ Mika Zibanejad had another 6-point outing in Thursday’s 8-3 win over the Flyers. He became the first player in NHL history to tally back-to-back 6-point games against one opponent.


⚽️ SOCCER: Dest Shines in USMNT Win

A star in the making? The U.S. Men’s National Team claimed a 4-1 win over Jamaica in Thursday’s friendly, and Sergino Dest scored his first goal for the stars and stripes — a stunner from 30 yards!


🏀 NCAA: Crazy Finish in Division II Final Four

Madness in Division II! West Texas A&M knocked off Lincoln Memorial Thursday night (87-86) on Zach Toussaint’s buzzer-beater 3. They’re going to the DII National Championship.



🏀 Sports Coverage Disparity

A recent study details the behind-the-scenes issues between men’s and women’s sports coverage, concluding that 95% of total television coverage is focused on men’s sports. (Sports Illustrated)


🏈 NFL Mock Draft 3.0

After a flurry of moves last week, this is when we can finally see what teams really need — and which teams filled holes with multiyear free-agent deals. The NFL Draft is just over a month away, and Mel Kiper has a new big board. (ESPN)


⚾️ MLB Cracks Down on Doctoring Baseballs

Major League Baseball announced new guidelines in a memo to teams ahead of the 2021 season regarding the use of foreign substances on baseballs by pitchers. Less strikeouts and more batter-friendly baseball could be the result. (CBS Sports)



The Must-Watch List

It’s a loaded weekend in sports! We’ll trim the NCAA Tournament fields to eight by Monday morning, but there’s plenty more on the docket for sports fans, from PGA match play fun to international soccer and NASCAR’s stop in Bristol. We’ll update the bracket leaders on Monday. Enjoy!


Men’s NCAA Tournament (Sweet 16)

#8 Loyola-Chicago vs. #12 Oregon State (Sat. 2:40 pm)

#1 Baylor vs. #5 Villanova (Sat. 5:15 pm)

#3 Arkansas vs. #15 Oral Roberts (Sat. 7:25 pm)

#2 Houston vs. #11 Syracuse (Sat. 9:55 pm)

#1 Gonzaga vs. #5 Creighton (Sun. 2:10 pm)

#1 Michigan vs. #4 Florida State (Sun. 5:00 pm)

#2 Alabama vs. #11 UCLA (Sun. 7:15 pm)

#6 USC vs. #7 Oregon (Sun. 9:45 pm)


Women’s NCAA Tournament (Sweet 16)

#1 UConn vs. #5 Iowa (Sat. 1:00 pm)

#2 Baylor vs. #6 Michigan (Sat. 3:00 pm)

#1 NC State vs. #4 Indiana (Sat. 6:00 pm)

#2 Texas A&M vs. #3 Arizona (Sat. 8:00 pm)

#1 S. Carolina vs. #5 Georgia Tech (Sun. 1:00 pm)

#1 Stanford vs. #5 Missouri State (Sun. 3:00 pm)

#2 Louisville vs. #6 Oregon (Sun. 7:00 pm)

#2 Maryland vs. #6 Texas (Sun. 9:00 pm)



Celtics at Bucks (Fri. 7:30 pm)

76ers at Clippers (Sat. 10:00 pm)

Full NBA Schedule



Golden Knights at Avalanche (Sat. 3:00 pm)

Lightning at Hurricanes (Sat. 7:00 pm)

Predators at Blackhawks (Sun. 8:00 pm ET)

Full NHL Schedule


PGA Tour

Dell Technologies Match Play (All Weekend)



USMNT vs. Northern Ireland (Sun. 12:05 pm)

FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Schedule (Europe)


UFC 260

Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 (Sat. 10:00 pm)



Bristol Motor Speedway (Sun. 3:30 pm)


*All Times Eastern