Early Madness

February 28, 2022

By: Carlos Alvarez

Welcome Back,

On the eve of March, the chaos has already begun. Saturday’s college hoops action saw not one, not two, not three, but seven top-10 teams fall. The historic day of basketball featured one upset for every letter in the word we’ve come to love… M-A-D-N-E-S-S

Letter Rip!


The Madness Came Early


Record-Breaking Seven Top-10 Teams Fall on Biggest Upset Day in College Basketball History


Bring on the madness! Even though tomorrow marks the officially start of March, college basketball chaos has struck early. Teams ranked 1-6, as well as No. 9 Texas Tech, all fell on Saturday to mark the biggest Top-10 upset day ever in college hoops. There have been five times in NCAA history where six of the Top-10 teams took a tumble on the same day, with the last occurrence in February of 2017. All seven upsets came on the road, so court-storming Saturday was happening everywhere.


No. 7 Duke, No. 8 Villanova (DNP), and No. 10 Baylor were the only Top-10 teams to come out of the weekend unscathed. They — along with No. 11 Providence, No. 12 UCLA and No. 13 Wisconsin — should see a surge up the rankings today.


Recapping all seven upsets won’t come easy, so I’ve packed the bullet points into a concise rundown… You know, in case you don’t have time to watch seven upset highlight reels.


#23 Saint Mary’s def. #1 Gonzaga (67-57)

Known as that other team from the West Coast Conference, Saint Mary’s recently jumped into the top-25, and they’re not done climbing. The Gaels jumped on Gonzaga by double digits in the first half to hand Mark Few’s bunch their first loss since Dec. 4.


Colorado def. #2 Arizona (79-63)

No. 2 Arizona was riding a nine-game winning streak, and they hadn’t lost to an unranked opponent all season until Colorado’s 16-point win — the largest deficit over a No. 2 team by an unranked opponent since UMBC beat Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tourney. The Buffaloes outscored the Wildcats by 21 in the second half to pull the upset.


#17 Tennessee def. #3 Auburn (67-62)

Auburn suffered their third loss in six games after blowing a lead in the second half against Tennessee. The Tigers shot just 5-for-24 (20 percent) from the 3-point line. The Volunteers dominated on the glass, out-rebounding Auburn 54-31.


Michigan State def. #4 Purdue (68-65)

Purdue saw their Big Ten regular season title hopes likely vanish in an instant after MSU’s Tyson Walker’s game-winning 3 with 1.4 seconds left. The Boilers went just 1-for-9 from deep leading to their second loss against teams from the state of Michigan in the month of February.


#10 Baylor def. #5 Kansas (80-70)

The only questionable “upset” on Saturday came in the Big 12 with Baylor hosting Kansas. Both teams shot an abysmal 25-percent or worse from distance, and the Bears outscored KU by 10 in the final five minutes to pull away.


#18 Arkansas def. #6 Kentucky (75-73)

Kentucky and Arkansas had a 12-round knockout fight that went down to the wire before the Razorbacks scored six unanswered in the last two minutes. Oscar Tshiebwe had a 30-point, 18-rebound night for the Wildcats, but Arkansas’ J.D. Notae had 30 of his own to lead the upset.


TCU def. #9 Texas Tech (69-66)

The Red Raiders thought things were smooth sailing in Fort Worth until the Horned Frogs came roaring back in the second half, closing the game on a 19-10 run in the final eight minutes. TCU’s Mike Miles led the way with 26 points.


Other Notable Highlights

#7 Duke def. Syracuse (97-72)

#11 Providence def. Creighton (72-51)

#12 UCLA def. Oregon State (94-55)

#13 Wisconsin def. Rutgers (66-61)


NCAA Women’s Basketball Highlights

#1 South Carolina def. Ole Miss (71-57)

#2 Stanford def. Washington (63-56)

#3 NC State def. #23 Virginia Tech (68-66)

#4 Louisville def. #14 Notre Dame (86-64)

#5 Baylor def. Kansas (85-77)

#21 Iowa def. #6 Michigan (104-80)

#8 LSU def. #16 Tennessee (57-54)

#13 Maryland def. #10 Indiana (67-64)


Additional Storylines

Yahoo! Sports: Chaos Reigns in College Basketball as Record 7 Top-10 Teams Fall

ESPN: How Saturday’s Top-10 Chaos Impacts the 2022 NCAA Tournament Bracket



Hostility Before the Deadline


MLB & MLBPA Get Heated as Negotiations Turn Ugly Over the Weekend


No end in sight. The lockout meetings between the MLB and Players’ Union grew hostile on Saturday — the sixth straight day of negotiations between the two sides. The MLBPA countered with another CBA proposal to the league on Saturday, and the league wasn’t happy. The latest proposal including backing off the luxury tax demands, cuts to revenue sharing and service time concerns. Expanded playoffs were also a hot-button issue. After the league balked at a “generous” proposal, the players were reported infuriated.


Back to Square 1

ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA is “emboldened” and won’t concede because of the league’s threats to cancel games and shorten the season. The two sides met again on Sunday with little traction. Today (Monday) marks the deadline to come to a deal before pushing back Opening Day is inevitable.


Additional Storylines

NY Times: Owners & Players Still Far Apart on Eve of Deadline

NBC Sports: Baseball on the Brink of a Disastrous Outcome



The Fallout for Russian Soccer


FIFA, UEFA & Other Competitions / Teams Put Stop to Russian Soccer Privileges


The intersection of sports and politics is a place I like to stay away from in The Sportsletter, but recent events involving Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have led to multiple changes in the soccer world, among other sports. Teams and players across Europe are taking a stand with warm-up shirts and statements on social media. From FIFA to UEFA and other governing bodies across Europe, Russia’s soccer privileges are getting axed. Here’s what’s happening:


UEFA: The upcoming UEFA Champions League final (May 28) has been moved from St. Petersburg to Paris. Read More


FIFA: Russia can no longer compete in international events using the country’s name, flag or anthem. They’ll now compete under the name “Football Union of Russia” (RFU), and any “home” matches will be played on neutral territory without fans. Read More


World Cup: FIFA has not yet banned Russia from World Cup qualifiers, even after Sweden, Czech Republic and Poland have announced they will refuse to play against the RFU. Read More


Premier League: Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who owns Premier League club, Chelsea, announced that he is stepping away and giving stewardship of the franchise to the team’s charitable foundation. Read More


Additional Storylines

NY Times: Soccer, Russia & A Line Drawn Too Late

FOX: Russian Soccer Player Fedor Smolov 1st to Speak Out Against Invasion

CBS Sports: How the World of Soccer is Standing in Solidarity With Ukraine in Response to Russia Invasion



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\"🏀\"  NBA: Morant Drops 46 for New Grizz Record

The ascension of Ja Morant continues in Memphis! The Grizzlies’ star dropped a career-high 46 points in Saturday’s win over the Bulls (116-110), and he set a new franchise record for most points in a regular-season game.


\"🏒\"  NHL: Lightning Win Stadium Series in Nashville

The first outdoor NHL game of 2022 hit the ice on Saturday in Nashville with the Lightning visiting the Predators at nearby Nissan Stadium. The visitors won the game (3-2) behind a goal and two assists from Steven Stamkos, but it was a win for Nashville’s hockey experience.


\"⚽️\"  SOCCER: Liverpool Wins 11-Round Shootout

The finale of the Carabao Cup produced an exhilirating finish on Sunday with Liverpool outlasting Chelsea (0-0, PKs) in an 11-round shootout. After 21 penalties, Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga skied his PK attempt to give the Reds the victory.


\"⛳️\"  PGA: Sepp Straka Secures Honda Classic

Sepp Straka made history on Sunday at the Honda Classic with a 4-under final round to win the event (-10) and become the first Austrian golfer to win on the PGA Tour. The 28-year-old Straka birdied the 18th to defeat Shane Lowry (-9) by one stroke.


\"🏁\"  NASCAR: Larson Wins Auto Club in Fontana

California native Kyle Larson captured the checkered flag inthe Wise Power 400 at Fontana’s iconic Auto Club racetrack on Sunday. Larson took the lead on Lap 167 and held it for most of the final stretch, fending off Austin Dillon and Erik Jones for his first win of the season.


\"🏁\"  INDY: McLaughlin Wins IndyCar Open at St. Pete

New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin went wire-to-wire to win the first IndyCar Series race of the season at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. McLaughlin won from pole position, holding off Alex Palou and Will Power down the stretch.



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