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…
Every Major Deal of the NBA Trade Deadline
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
George Hill | Thunder → 76ers
Austin Rivers | Knicks → Thunder
Terrance Ferguson | Thunder → Knicks
The Path to the Final Four
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
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.
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!
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.
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)
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)
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)
️ WEEKEND SCHEDULE
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)
Golden Knights at Avalanche (Sat. 3:00 pm)
Lightning at Hurricanes (Sat. 7:00 pm)
Predators at Blackhawks (Sun. 8:00 pm ET)
Dell Technologies Match Play (All Weekend)
USMNT vs. Northern Ireland (Sun. 12:05 pm)
FIFA World Cup Qualifiers Schedule (Europe)
Miocic vs. Ngannou 2 (Sat. 10:00 pm)
Bristol Motor Speedway (Sun. 3:30 pm)
*All Times Eastern