Let’s Dance


By: Jeff Yoder

At Last…

It’s here. The Big Dance. College basketball’s red-carpet event is now exclusive to 64 teams, and we’re playing sweet music for 48 of the next 96 hours. Cinderella will be there, but we’ve yet to identify her. Got your bracket ready? It’s the last call…

Letter Rip!


Let’s Dance

Photo: Icon Sportswire / Getty Images

Schedules, Players & Games to Watch as 2023 NCAA Tournament Tips Off Today

Today is the day! While Tuesday’s First Four games brought a pair of nail-biters, Wednesday’s First Four action featured back-to-back blowouts. Fairleigh Dickinson blasted Texas Southern to earn their spot in the next round, and Arizona State made quick work of Nevada with a 63-percent shooting night. We also got our first action in the women’s NCAA Tournament, but now it’s time for The Big Dance.

First Four Highlights (Men’s)

#16 Fairleigh Dickinson def #16 Texas Southern (84-61)

#11 Arizona State def. #11 Nevada (98-73)

First Four Highlights (Women’s)

#11 Mississippi State def. #11 Illinois (70-56)

#16 Sacred Heart def. #16 Southern U. (57-47)

The Big Dance

Top 5 Opening-Round Games to Watch

Virtually every 8-9 game could go on this list, as well as most matchups between seeds 5-12, but we’ll stick with five games we’re thrilled to see starting with the first game of the day. #8 Maryland vs. #9 West Virginia could be a bloodbath of physicality. Expect bruises in the East Coast showdown. #5 Duke vs. #12 Oral Roberts has plenty of intrigue with the Blue Devils rising to the top of the ACC Tournament and ORU is always a March spoiler. At the end of Day 1, it’s #7 Texas A&M and #10 Penn State in a matchup of two passionate, under-seeded teams who finished runner-up in their conference championships. On Day 2, the showdown between #4 UConn and #13 Iona gives Rick Pitino a shot at the Big East in New York. And to top it off, my favorite game of the first round belongs to #8 Memphis vs. #9 Florida Atlantic. The Owls are 31-3 and making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2002 (second ever).

Top 5 Players to Watch

March Madness is where guards shine, but three of our top-five players to watch in this year’s tournament are big men. Zach Edey (Purdue) is the 7-foot-4 automatic double-double who makes everyone in college basketball look small. Brandon Miller (Alabama) is likely the most athletic forward in the tourney, and Jalen Wilson (Kansas) is a back-to-back first-team All-American. There are two guards who stand out and have the capacity to pop off for deep tourney runs — Marcus Sasser (Houston) and Keyontae Johnson (Kansas State). There are plenty of names who could grace this list, but these are my top five. Notable Mention: Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana), Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky), Drew Timme (Gonzaga), Azuolas Tubelis (Arizona), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA).

Teams With the Best Odds

Houston (+550), Alabama (+750), Kansas (+1200), Purdue (+1200), UCLA (+1200), Gonzaga (+1500), Arizona (+1500), Texas (+1500), Marquette (+1800), UConn (+2000)

Men’s NCAA Tournament Schedule

Round of 64 Schedule (Today)

#8 Maryland vs. #9 West Virginia (12:15 pm)

#4 Virginia vs. #13 Furman (12:40 pm)

#7 Missouri vs. #10 Utah State (1:40 pm)

#1 Kansas vs. #16 Howard (2:00 pm)

#1 Alabama vs. #16 Texas A&M-CC (2:45 pm)

#5 San Diego State vs. #12 Charleston (3:10 pm)

#2 Arizona vs. #15 Princeton (4:10 pm)

#8 Arkansas vs. #9 Illinois (4:30 pm)

#8 Iowa vs. #9 Auburn (6:50 pm)

#5 Duke vs. #12 Oral Roberts (7:10 pm)

#2 Texas vs. #15 Colgate (7:25 pm)

#7 Northwestern vs. #10 Boise State (7:35 pm)

#1 Houston vs. #16 Northern Kentucky (9:20 pm)

#4 Tennessee vs. #13 Louisiana (9:40 pm)

#7 Texas A&M vs. #10 Penn State (9:55 pm)

#2 UCLA vs. #15 UNC Asheville (10:05 pm)

*All Times ET

Round of 64 Schedule (Tomorrow)

#7 Michigan State vs. #10 USC (12:15 pm)

#3 Xavier vs. #14 Kennesaw State (12:40 pm)

#3 Baylor vs. #14 UC Santa Barbara (1:30 pm)

#5 Saint Mary’s vs. #12 VCU (2:00 pm)

#2 Marquette vs. #15 Vermont (2:45 pm)

#6 Iowa State vs. #11 Pittsburgh (3:10 pm)

#6 Creighton vs. #11 NC State (4:00 pm)

#4 UConn vs. #13 Iona (4:30 pm)

#1 Purdue vs. #16 Fairleigh Dickinson (6:50 pm)

#6 Kentucky vs. #11 Providence (7:10 pm)

#5 Miami vs. #12 Drake (7:25 pm)

#3 Gonzaga vs. #14 Grand Canyon (7:35 pm)

#8 Memphis vs. #9 Florida Atlantic (9:20 pm)

#3 Kansas State vs. #14 Montana State (9:40 pm)

#4 Indiana vs. #13 Kent State (9:55 pm)

#6 TCU vs. #11 Arizona State (10:05 pm)

*All Times ET

Round of 32: Saturday & Sunday

After two weeks of March to set the stage, the lights and music are on. The NCAA Tournament needs no further introduction. The doors are open. Let’s dance.

Additional Storylines

CBS Sports: Ranking Every NCAA Tournament 1st-Round Game From 1-32

Yahoo! Sports: The NCAA Tournament’s Top-5 Players to Watch

The Ringer: The 2023 March Madness Cinderella Guide



Rodgers Sounds Off

Photo: Quinn Harris / Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers Confirms Jets Rumors While Running Back News Headlines Day 3 of Free Agency Week

What everybody thought all along turned out to be true. Aaron Rodgers took to the Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday and opened up about his football future, admitting that he wants to play in 2023, and he wants to play in New York. Rodgers said he was 90 percent sure he wanted to retire prior to his isolation retreat a few weeks ago, but once he decided to return, he no longer felt wanted in Green Bay. There’s so much depth to the Rodgers saga that I feel a headache coming on. In short, he’s going to be a Jet. It’s just a matter of the fine print for the Jets and Packers to make the deal work.

The rest of NFL free agency didn’t stop just because Rodgers finally spoke up. Outside of the A-Rod semantics, running backs were the big story yesterday along with Baker Mayfield to the Bucs and Orlando Brown to the Bengals. Here’s a recap of the biggest moves from Wednesday as ten ballcarriers made headlines, including the Cowboys releasing RB Ezekiel Elliot. The new league year is officially open.

NFL Free Agent Tracker

OT Orlando Brown (Chiefs)  Bengals

Contract: 4 Years, $64 Million

RB Miles Sanders (Eagles)  Panthers

Contract: 4 Years, $26 Million

RB Jamaal Williams (Lions)  Saints

Contract: 3 Years, $12 Million

RB David Montgomery (Bears)   Lions

Contract: 3 Years, $18 Million

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (Chiefs)  Patriots

Contract: 3 Years, $33 Million

TE Hayden Hurst (Bengals)  Panthers

Contract: 3 Years, $21 Million

Backup QBs on the Move

QB Baker Mayfield (Bucs)

QB Jacoby Brissett (Commanders)

QB PJ Walker (Bears)

Players Who Re-Signed With Former Team

S Jordan Poyer (Bills), CB Darius Slay (Eagles), DL Fletcher Fox (Eagles), LB Lavonte David (Bucs)

Top Remaining Free Agents: S C.J. Gardner-Johnson (Eagles), OG Isaac Seumalo (Eagles), TE Dalton Schultz (Cowboys), LB Bobby Wagner (Seahawks), DE Jadeveon Clowney (Browns), DE Yannick Ngakoue (Colts), CB Rock Ya-Sin (Raiders), WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Additional Storylines

The Ringer: What Version of Aaron Rodgers Will the Jets Get?

CBS Sports: Winners & Losers of Early NFL Offseason

ESPN: Cowboys Release RB Ezekiel Elliot After 7 Seasons

NFL: Top 101 Free Agents: Bobby Wagner, Odell Beckham Jr. Still Available



The Quarterfinals Are Set

Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

Napoli & Real Madrid Round Out Final 8 in Champions League Quarterfinals

Not even close. The final set of Leg 2 action in the Champions League Round of 16 was a no-contest on Wednesday. Both Napoli and Real Madrid knew they were moving on by halftime. The Italian side rolled Eintracht Frankfurt with a 3-0 shutout behind a brace from Victor Osimhen. Real Madrid were already up big on Liverpool, but Los Blancos decided to shut out the Reds (1-0). The last eight teams in the UCL quarterfinals will go into another draw (Friday, 7:00 am ET) to determine the next-round matchups. The last eight consists of two Premier League clubs, German and Spanish juggernauts, and a trio of Italian sides. There’s no PSG, Barcelona or Liverpool left.

Champions League Highlights (Round of 16, Leg 2)

Napoli def. Ein. Frankfurt (3-0) | Napoli Win Agg. (5-0)

Real Madrid def. Liverpool (1-0) | Madrid Win Agg. (6-2)

Champions League QFs

Manchester City (GD: +19)

Bayern Munich (GD: +19)

Napoli (GD: +19)

Benfica (GD: +15)

Real Madrid (GD: +13)

Chelsea (GD: +7)

Milan (GD: +6)

Inter (GD: +4)

Additional Storylines

FOX Sports: Napoli & Benfica Look Ready to Slay Giants in Champions League QFs

ESPN: Real Madrid Ensure No Miracle Rally for Liverpool to Prove They’re Champions League Favorites



 NBA: Curry Goes for 50 in Warriors’ Loss

Steph Curry was lightning in a bottle for the Warriors on Wednesday, but the Dubs still couldn’t get the win against the Clippers (134-126). Regardless, Curry popped off for 50 points on eight 3s and a 20-for-28 shooting night. It’s his second 50-ball this season.

 NHL: Wild Extend Point Streak to Record 14

The Wild have quietly rung up a franchise record 14-game point streak, but there was nothing quiet about their eight-goal outing on Wednesday. Minnesota scored five in the second period to beat the Blues (8-5, and they’re just one point back of the Central Division lead.

 WBC: Trout Leads Team USA to Quarterfinals

The World Baseball Classic continued on Wednesday with Mike Trout driving in all three runs for Team USA in a 3-2 win over Colombia. They’ll face Venezuela in the quarterfinals on Saturday (7:00 pm ET). Every game moving forward is single elimination.



 NBA Power Rankings

It’s crunch time in the NBA regular season, as players on contenders fight through late-season fatigue to put their teams in the best position possible for the playoffs. (ESPN)

 Lamar Jackson, Please Hire An Agent

Lamar Jackson is a transcendent NFL talent, but the Ravens MVP quarterback acts as his own agent, and it’s killing his future. (USA Today)

 MLB Standouts of the WBC

The 2023 World Baseball Classic is far from over, but it’s not too soon to read into some of the tournament’s more eye-catching individual performances. (Bleacher Report)