Pick Perfection

January 18, 2022

By: Carlos Alvarez

Good Morning,


The Rams are moving on and a new team reclaims the top spot in college basketball. Tennis action heats up down under, and we’re cooking up another NFL pick ‘em tiebreaker for the Divisional Round. All that and more in today’s edition.


Letter Rip!



Super Wild Card Pick \’Em ️


A whopping 44 Sportsletter readers correctly picked all six Super Wild Card matchups over the weekend. We\’ll give a shoutout to all 44 superstars in tomorrow\’s edition, but we\’ll be going to the Divisional Round to find a tiebreaker. Thanks to the hundreds who played along. Stay tuned for more details.



Rams Round Out Divisional Round


Rams Rock Cardinals (34-11) to Advance Through Super Wild Card Weekend


The Los Angeles Rams are through to the Divisional Round after Monday night’s blowout over the Cardinals (34-11). Arizona had minus-3 yards of offense in the first quarter before a 21-0 halftime deficit. Rams QB Matthew Stafford got his first career playoff win with little effort as the Rams didn’t need to throw much of the game. His two touchdown passes went to Cooper Kupp and Odell Beckham Jr. Meanwhile, Kyler Murray and the Cards were a first-half catastrophe that had little life after the early collapse. Los Angeles travels to face Tom Brady and the Bucs next weekend.


QB Comparison

M. Stafford (LAR): 13/17, 202 yards, 3 Total TDs

K. Murray (ARI): 19/34, 137 yards, 2 INTs


Watch: Rams def. Cardinals (34-11)


NFL Divisional Weekend Schedule

AFC: Bengals at Titans (Sat. 4:30 pm ET)

NFC: 49ers at Packers (Sat. 8:15 pm ET)

NFC: Rams at Buccaneers (Sun. 3:00 pm ET)

AFC: Bills at Chiefs (Sun. 6:30 pm ET)


Additional Storylines

B/R: Stafford & OBJ Lead Rams to Blowout Over Cardinals

FTW: Kliff Kingsbury’s Finishes Could Mean Kliff Kingsbury is Finished in Arizona



Gonzaga Back on Top


Men’s Top-10 Gets Complete Shake-Up; Women’s Top-6 Remains Unchanged


The Baylor Bears went down not once, but twice in the last week to mark another change atop the men’s AP Poll. It’s Gonzaga — the preseason No. 1 — who is back on top. The Zags narrowly edged Auburn for the top spot, meaning the Tigers could steal the top ranking with a stronger conference lineup. Meanwhile in the women’s game, the top six teams stayed pat while nine of the top-10 remain the same.


Men’s AP Top-10

1. Gonzaga (14-2) | ↑1

2. Auburn (16-1) | ↑2

3. Arizona (14-1) | ↑3

4. Purdue (14-2) | ↑3

5. Baylor (15-2) | ↓4

6. Duke (14-2) | ↑2

7. Kansas (14-2) | ↑2

8. Wisconsin (14-2) | ↑5

9. UCLA (11-2) | ↓6

10. Houston (15-2) | ↑1


Full Men’s AP Top-25


Women’s AP Top-10

South Carolina (17-1) | —

2. Stanford (13-3) | —

3. Louisville (15-1) | —

4. N.C. State (16-2) | —

5. Tennessee (17-1) | —

6. Indiana (14-2) | —

7. Iowa State (16-1) | ↑2

8. Michigan (15-2) | ↑3

9. Connecticut (9-3) | ↑1

10. Arizona (12-2) | ↓3


Full Women’s AP Top-25


Additional Storylines

SI: How Auburn Finished Behind Gonzaga Despite 11 More 1st-Place Votes

ESPN: Power Rankings: What’s Wrong With Baylor, And Who Benefits From Bears’ Slide?



AUS Open: Early Exits


#18 Coco Gauff & #11 Sofia Kenin Suffer 1st-Round Losses at Australian Open


Day 2 at the Australian Open came to a close this morning in Melbourne, and most of the top players cruised into the second round. Two marquee names in the women’s draw suffered early exits, including #18 Coco Gauff and #11 Sofia Kenin. Remember: Novak Djokovic is out, which means #2 Daniil Medvedev holds the keys to the men’s draw. He’s in action overnight. Plenty more to come in the days ahead. We’re just getting started down under.


Women’s Singles Highlights

#1 A. Barty def. L. Tsurenko (6-0, 6-1)

#3 G. Muguruza def. C. Burel (6-3, 6-4)

M. Keys def. #11 S. Kenin (7-6, 7-5)

#13 N. Osaka def. M. O-Serrano (6-3, 6-3)

Q. Wang def. #18 C. Gauff (6-4, 6-2)


Men’s Singles Highlights

#3 A. Zverev def. D. Altmaier (7-6, 6-1, 7-6)

#5 A. Rublev def. G. Mager (6-3, 6-2, 6-2)

#6 R. Nadal def. M. Giron (6-1, 6-4, 6-2)


In Action Overnight: #2 D. Medvedev, #4 S. Tsitsipas, #2 A. Sabalenka


Additional Storylines

WTA: Muguruza, Swiatek Ease Through Openers at Australian Open

Yahoo! Sports: Naomi Osaka & Rafael Nadal Speed Into 2nd Round




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\"🏀\" NBA: D-Book Drops 48 in Suns’ Win

On a busy night in the NBA, Devin Booker was the high man with a 48-point outing the Suns’ win over the Spurs (121-107). Booker was a scorching 18-for-33 to come within reach of a 50-burger. He also added six assists, five boards and three steals. Phoenix (34-9) has now won eight of their last nine.


\"🏒\" NHL: Timo Meier Nets 5 Goals

Take a bow, Timo Meier. The San Jose Sharks rolled the L.A. Kings on Monday night (6-2) thanks to Meier’s historic five-goal night. The Sharks’ winger became the first player in franchise history to light the lamp five times. Tomas Hertl added four assists.


\"🏀\" NCAAM: #4 Purdue Wins Wild 2OT Thriller

A Big Ten clash between #4 Purdue and #17 Illinois headlined the afternoon of MLK Day with the Boilermakers and Illini going into double overtime before Purdue pulled away (96-88, 2OT). Purdue’s Sasha Stefanovic (22 points) led the way with five 3s.



\"🏀\"  Bracketology: Top Line Upheaval

In what is threatening to become a tradition, multiple No. 1 seeds from the last bracket lost on Saturday. This time, it was Baylor and LSU. Now, Auburn and Gonzaga have moved to the front in the latest 1-line turnover. (CBS Sports)


\"🏅\"  No Fans at Winter Olympics

China will not permit ticket sales to any individuals at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, a move Olympic officials say is designed to prevent COVID-19 spread within the country. (Yahoo! Sports)


\"🏈\"  The Cowboys’ Offseason Questions

We came in hopes of being reminded of the glorious rivalry these teams created in the ‘80s and ’90s. Instead, Cowboys fans had to endure the usual sideshow at Jerry World. So what happens next? (FOX Sports)



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