The First 4


By: Jeff Yoder

Good Morning,

The madness has begun. Tuesday was full of free-agent news (still crickets from Aaron Rodgers) before the First Four tipped off the NCAA Tournament. If last night was any indication, we’re in for some exciting finishes early on. There’s still time to fill out your bracket for a shot at prizes and bragging rights. Bet you can’t top me… 

Letter Rip!


First Four Thrillers

Photo: Tyler Schank / Getty Images

#16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi & #11 Pittsburgh Advance From First Four

Don’t call it the play-in… The NCAA Tournament officially tipped off last night with two of the First Four games in Dayton, and both matchups went down to the wire. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi topped Southeast Missouri State in a 16-seed matchup that featured 21 lead changes. In the nightcap, Pittsburgh outlasted Mississippi State by one after the Bulldogs missed two shots in the final seconds. The NIT is also underway, but we’ll keep our focus on the First Four. More action tonight before Thursday opens the floodgates.

First Four Highlights

#16 Texas A&M-CC def. #16 SE Missouri State (75-71)

#11 Pittsburgh def. #11 Mississippi State (60-59)

Tonight’s Schedule (Men’s First Four)

#16 Fairleigh Dickinson vs. #16 Texas Southern (6:40 pm ET)

#11 Nevada vs. #11 Arizona State (9:10 pm ET)

Tonight’s Schedule (Women’s First Four)

#11 Illinois vs. #11 Mississippi State (7:00 pm ET)

#16 Southern U. vs. #16 Sacred Heart (9:00 pm ET)

 Join The Sportsletter’s Bracket Pool for your shot at $1,000 in prizes, including cash, gear, and more (divided between top-3 brackets), as well as the ultimate bragging rights in The Sportsletter community. *Brackets lock Thursday at 11:59 am ET.

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FA Tracker: The Waiting Game…

Photo: Patrick McDermott / Getty Images

Eagles Exodus, Major Trades, Kicker History & Still No Word on Aaron Rodgers

Day 2 of the NFL’s free agent tampering window didn’t slow down. The official free agency window opens today, but the deals are already in the works. Another dozen-or-so players joined new clubs yesterday. And again… No, Aaron Rodgers wasn’t one of them. The Jets still look poised to land the four-time MVP after adding former Rodgers target and Packers WR Allen Lazard. Could today be the day Rodgers finally speaks up? Meanwhile, the Eagles’ exodus continued with two more departures (that’s four defensive starters now gone). The Raiders won’t stop signing guys. The Giants keep making moves, including a splashy trade with the Raiders for TE Darren Waller. And the Colts gave Matt Gay the biggest free agency deal for a kicker in NFL history. Here are the biggest names on the move from Tuesday.

NFL Free Agent Tracker

WR Allen Lazard (Packers)  Jets

Contract: 4 Years, $44 Million

LB Bobby Okereke (Colts)  Giants

Contract: 4 Years, $40 Million

WR Jakobi Meyers (Patriots)  Raiders

Contract: 3 Years, $33 Million

EDGE Samson Ebukam (49ers)  Colts

Contract: 3 Years, $27 Million

S Marcus Epps (Eagles)  Raiders

Contract: 2 Years, $12 Million

K Matt Gay (Rams)  Colts

Contract: 4 Years, $22.5 Million

Players Who Re-Signed With Former Team

CB James Bradberry (Eagles)

LB Matt Milano (Bills)

RB Raheem Mostert (Dolphins)

WR Michael Thomas (Saints)

OT Kaleb McGary (Falcons)

Latest Trades

Giants Acquire TE Darren Waller From Raiders

Cowboys Acquire CB Stephon Gilmore From Colts

Texans Acquire OG Shaq Mason From Bucs

Backup QBs on the Move

QB Case Keenum → Texans

QB Taylor Heinicke → Falcons

QB Andy Dalton → Panthers

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

Additional Storylines

NFL: Free Agency Tracker: Every Signing, Trade & Contract Info For All 32 Teams

SI: The NFL World at His Whim, Aaron Rodgers Remains in His Holding Pattern

B/R: Predicting Contract Extensions for Players Not Hitting Free Agency



Haaland’s 5-Goal History 

Photo: Alex Livesey / Getty Images

Erling Haaland (5 Goals) Leads Manchester City Into Quarterfinals With Champions League History

Have a night, Erling Haaland! Champions League action resumed with two matches on Tuesday, but only one team found the net — and they found it seven times. Manchester City steamrolled RB Leipzig (7-0) to launch themselves into the UCL quarterfinals, but five of those goals belonged to Erling Haaland. City’s superstar striker had a first-half hat trick before a pair of rebound put-backs in a second-half runaway. City put together as dominant of a Champions League showcase as a club could. They’re joining Inter — who held off Porto by one goal with a scoreless draw — in the quarterfinals. The last two slots in the final eight will be claimed today.

Fun Fact: Haaland is the youngest player (22 years, 236 days) to score 30 goals in the Champions League, surpassing Lionel Messi (23 years) and Kylian Mbappe (22 years, 352 days). He has 33 after Tuesday.

Champions League Highlights (Round of 16, Leg 2)

Man. City def. RB Leipzig (7-0) | Man. City Win Agg. (8-1)

Inter draw FC Porto (0-0) | Inter Win Agg. (1-0)

Today’s Schedule (Round of 16, Leg 2)

Napoli vs. Ein. Frankfurt (4:00 pm ET) | Napoli Lead Agg. (2-0)

Real Madrid vs. Liverpool (4:00 pm ET) | Madrid Lead Agg. (5-2)

Teams in Quarterfinals: Bayern, Milan, Chelsea, Benfica, Inter, Man. City

Additional Storylines

SI: Erling Haaland Ties Champions League Record With 5 Goals in Blowout

ESPN: Erling Haaland Looked Unstoppable in 5-Goal Outing as City Go Through



 NBA: AD Sparks Lakers Hot Streak

Don’t look now, but the Lakers are hot despite being without LeBron James. Anthony Davis (35 pts, 17 rebs) led L.A. past the Pelicans (123-108) in a battle for Western Conference seeding. The Lakers are now 8-3 in their last 11, and AD is returning to superstar status. Teams 4-12 in the West are separated by just four games.

 NHL: Oilers Duo Makes History

Leon Draisaitl eclipsed the 100-point mark and Connor McDavid added another goal to make history for the Oilers in Tuesday’s win against the Senators (6-3). McDavid and Draisaitl are the second pair of teammates to be the first two NHL players to 100 points in consecutive seasons, joining Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr (Bruins, 1970s).



 The 2026 FIFA World Cup Format

The biggest-ever World Cup in 2026 will be an even longer one. FIFA revealed its format for the tournament, featuring four-team groups and 104 games over 40 days in North America. Brace yourself for extra soccer. (CBS Sports)

 WBC Tiebreakers, Scenarios & More

The races for the final spots in the 2023 World Baseball Classic quarterfinals are coming down to the last days of pool play and, thanks to the tournament’s unique five-team groups, several WBC tiebreaker scenarios could come into play. (ESPN)

 UFC 286: The Usman-Edwards Trilogy

Leon Edwards shocked the world when he beat Kamaru Usman at UFC 278 for the UFC welterweight title. The Birmingham native defied the odds to win the belt. Now, he looks to prove he can hold onto it in the trilogy fight. (Sporting News)