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🏀 Good morning to everyone but especially ...


Two days ago, I told you No. 1 UConn was "far and away the nation's best team."

Well, that supposedly far and away best team just got thumped, proving once again that college basketball will humble anyone quickly, me and UConn especially. No. 15 Creighton crushed the Huskies, 85-66, to earn its first win over a No. 1 team in program history.

  • Steven Ashworth led the way with 20 points and five 3-pointers. Overall, the hosts shot 54.7% from the field and 50% (14 of 28) from 3. UConn, meanwhile shot just 19% (3 of 16) from deep.
  • Fellow starters Trey Alexander (16 points) and Ryan Kalkbrenner (15) were also terrific, which is no surprise: The Bluejays' starting five is about as good as it gets.
  • What made a huge difference was 14 combined points from Francisco Farabello and Jasen Green off the bench. Entering last night, the Bluejays had only received 6.5 points per game off the bench in 2024, second-fewest in Division I.
  • The 19-point win was the largest against a No. 1 team since UMBC vs. Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.
  • Get this: UConn lost its 21st consecutive road game against a ranked team -- a remarkable stat considering how good the Huskies have been recently. Furthermore, UConn's 14-game winning streak had been the nation's longest.
  • Bracketologist Jerry Palm says Purdue moves back into the No. 1 overall seed with UConn's loss.

When Creighton gets basically anything from its bench, it can be really dangerous. Remember, the Bluejays made the Elite Eight last year -- where they lost to eventual runner-up San Diego State -- returned three starters and added Ashworth from Utah State. They haven't always lived up to expectations, but on Tuesday they showed just how good they can be.

😃 Honorable mentions

😲 Not so honorable mentions

🏈 College Football Playoff adopts 5+7 model

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Amid an increasingly hectic era in college sports in which things seem to be heading in 100 different directions at 100 miles per hour, the College Football Playoff Board of Managers got one thing clearly correct, unanimously approving a 5+7 playoff model for the next two seasons.

Let's answer two quick questions:

  • What is the 5+7 model? This new model gives the five highest-ranked conference champions automatic bids -- almost assuredly the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten and SEC champions and then the next highest-ranked conference champion. The other seven teams will be at-large bids. The top four seeds get byes.
  • Why does this matter? The previous model was 6+6. That was before the Pac-12 disintegrated. With that conference down to just two teams and the power conferences down from the aforementioned four, keeping the 6+6 model would have given two non-power conference champions automatic bids. Basically, changing to the 5+7 model still allows for one Cinderella, smaller-conference automatic bid, as the initial 6+6 model intended.

This was the right move, plain and simple, Chip Patterson writes. There are several reasons why, including ...

  • Patterson: "Adding importance to the regular season -- A 5+7 model probably only puts one Group of Five team in the field (likely a No. 12 seed based on rankings from past seasons). In that scenario, the only way to avoid a first-round matchup against one of the top at-large teams is to win your conference or be the highest-ranking non-champion. That feels like a more exclusive club and an honor that's worth fighting for in the final weeks of the season."

The road for the "Pac-2" -- Washington State and Oregon State -- will be really hard, but not all is lost, as Will Backus details. Will also has winners and losers from the change, including ...

  • Backus: "Winner: The ACC -- No matter what happens, an undefeated power conference champion won't miss out on the playoff ever again. Sorry, Florida State, you peaked a year too early. ... What's more, even runners-up will have at least a shot of getting an at-large bid, so long as they had a good enough regular season to justify their inclusion."

Finally, today is another key day with the CFP Management Committee meeting. Expect the Big Ten and SEC to hold a lot of sway, Dennis Dodd reports.

⚽ UEFA Champions League: Inter wins, PSV-Dortmund draw, preview of today's matches

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It took over 78 minutes and plenty of missed chances, but Inter finally broke through via Marko Arnautovic to top Atletico Madrid, 1-0, in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie.

It was fitting that Arnautovic was the one who got the winning tally after he failed to convert multiple golden opportunities. Inter surely wanted more, but their ability to pull out a win on a frustrating night shows why they're among the favorites, Francesco Porzio writes.

Elsewhere in UEFA Champions League action Tuesday, PSV and Dortmund drew, 1-1, with Luuk de Jong's controversial penalty kick canceling out Donyell Malen's opener. Despite the draw, PSV were the better side and proved they very much belong, Jonathan Johnson writes.

  • Johnson: "The home side are not Eredivisie leaders for nothing, though, and showed their pedigree with a vibrant and determined showing in Eindhoven which illustrated why they are unbeaten in the league and such a force to be reckoned with domestically this season. Hirving Lozano, Johan Bakayoko, Ismail Saibari, Malik Tillman and De Jong all combined to create a greater number of opportunities for PSV and dominate possession with the help of Joey Veerman in the midfield."

Now we turn our attention to today's matches:

Here's more:

🏈 NFL Draft big board 1.0: Offense dominates early, surprise at wide receiver


The NFL Combine starts next week, when 321 prospects will hope to impress their potential future employers. Yeah, that's a lot of prospects -- and there are several who won't be in Indianapolis who will hear their names called during the draft.

Plenty will change over the next two months, starting next week, but for now, Chris Trapasso has released his first 2024 NFL Draft big board to help us get to know some of the top talent.

Before we go any further, Chris makes it very clear: "I assign extra points based on how valuable I view the position they play." So in at No. 1 is ...

  • Trapasso: "1. Caleb Williams, QB, USC -- Williams' 2023 wasn't as good as 2022. He'd even tell you that. But his natural spatial awareness is on another level, there's pop to the football when it leaves his hands, and he's mostly darn accurate."

Williams has generally been the No. 1 quarterback, and Marvin Harrison Jr. has generally been the No. 1 wide receiver. Not in Chris' rankings:

  • Trapasso: "3. Malik Nabers, WR, LSU -- Nabers has everything you'd want in a modern-day receiver ... except LSU didn't ask him to run many routes. He didn't need to. He emanates explosiveness, he's as scary as a receiver prospect gets after the catch, and he seemingly always finds the football in traffic."

I've said it before: There is no offseason. Chris' big board is excellent to help you wade through the "other season."

📺 What we're watching Wednesday

Napoli vs. Barcelona, 3 p.m. on CBS, Paramount+
Porto vs. Arsenal, 3 p.m. on Paramount+
🏀 No. 8 Duke at Miami (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 24 Florida at No. 13 Alabama (M), 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏒 Flyers at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Providence at Xavier (M), 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 No. 17 Kentucky at LSU (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Ole Miss at Mississippi State (M), 9 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 No. 22 Colorado State at New Mexico (M), 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏒 Bruins at Oilers, 10 p.m. on TNT