đź’Ş Full Nelson

Bama-UNC thriller + Sweet 16 recap, MLB Opening Day, NBA, NHL, and more...

Happy Friday! And what a night! Upsets, thrillers, heroes, heartbreak... This is March. Are you not entertained?! The men’s Sweet 16 got underway Thursday and produced some late-night nail-biters. The Tigers are tearing up brackets. The Heels are headed home. The Illini have the guy. And UConn is inevitable. Four teams have already punched their ticket to the Elite Eight, and we'll recap each matchup before the madness resumes tonight. We also had an epic Opening Day in the MLB, highlighted by a walk-off win for the reigning champs and an unforgettable debut by the Yankees’ new star. Finally, we’ll cover the top games in the NBA (game-winner alert!) and NHL (awesome alert!). It’s March. Blitz like a champion today.

WTF Stat: UConn men’s basketball has now won nine straight NCAA Tournament games by 13-plus points, the longest streak in tournament history - the Huskies’ 82-52 win over San Diego State last night was the largest margin of victory in a Sweet 16 game since 2017.

Written By: Ian Dardani

Our Blitz Prime Sweet 16 picks went 5-0 yesterday!

Clemson (+7.5), UConn (-10.5), Alabama (+4.5), Illinois (+1.5), Biggest Blowout (UConn-SDSU)

Join Blitz Prime to see today’s picks!

🏀 Sweet or Sour?

Photo: Full Nelson | Source: USA Today

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Sweet 16, Day 1 Recap

  • West | #4 Alabama 89, #1 North Carolina 87: In a thrilling back-and-forth shootout, Armando Bacot (19 PTS, 12 REB) and North Carolina held a 54-46 lead at recess, but All-American RJ Davis (16 PTS, 4-20 FG, 0-9 3PT, 7 AST) couldn’t find his shot, and the Tide came roaring back behind a dominant showing from Grant Nelson (24 PTS, 12 REB, 5 BLK), who converted a go-ahead and-1 with 39 seconds to play and then had a huge block on the other end before knocking down the game-sealing free throws to send home the top-seeded Tar Heels - Alabama had four starters score 18 or more points, and UNC is the first one-seed to be eliminated

  • West | #6 Clemson 77, #2 Arizona 72: In the first tournament exit among the two-seeds, Caleb Love (13 PTS, 5-18 FG, 0-9 3PT) and the Wildcats shot an abysmal 5-for-28 from beyond the arc, and although Jaden Bradley’s (18 PTS, 3 AST) triple cut their deficit to one with 52 ticks remaining, brothers Chase Hunter (18 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST) and Dillon Hunter (2 PTS, 2 REB) each finished and-1s in the final 30 seconds to knock off Arizona, sending Clemson to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1980 - the Tigers only trailed for 29 seconds and PJ Hall (17 PTS, 8 REB) also had a big night

  • East | #3 Illinois 72, #2 Iowa State 69: Another two-seed gone! We warned you about Terrence Shannon Jr. yesterday, and he put on a show. Shannon (29 PTS, 10-19 FG, 5 REB, 3 STL) had 16 at the half, and the Illini led the entire way, but Keshon Gilbert (14 PTS) and the Cyclones refused to die and only trailed by three with under a minute remaining; however, Shannon said goodnight with a late steal and slam, clinching Illinois’ first Elite Eight appearance in 19 years

  • East | #1 UConn 82, #5 San Diego State 52: It was a one-point game with 14:37 left in the first half — and then it wasn’t. In a rematch of last year’s national championship game, Jaedon LeDee (18 PTS, 8 REB) and the Aztecs hung around for the first 20 minutes, but Cam Spencer (18 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 3 STL), Stephon Castle (16 PTS, 11 REB), and Connecticut quickly ballooned a 40-31 halftime lead into a 30-point beatdown, as the Huskies waltzed to another emphatic win - in three tournament games, UConn has trailed for just 27 seconds; that deficit came last night when they were down 2-0

See the full box scores here and the entire men’s bracket here.

Men’s & Women’s Sweet 16 Preview - Friday’s Top Games

Women’s, Region 1 | #1 South Carolina vs. #4 Indiana 5:00pm ET, ESPN

  • The Gamecocks are 34-0, folks! They were 36-0 last year when they lost to Caitlin Clark and Iowa in the Final Four, but are now back on the cusp of the first perfect season since 2016 UConn. Led by first-team All-American center Kelly Cardoso, South Carolina has demolished just about everything in their path. They’re coming off a 56-19 beatdown of No. 8 North Carolina and show no signs of slowing down.

  • The Hoosiers are heavy underdogs but Teri Moren’s squad is battle-tested and has been here before. All-American forward Mackenzie Holmes is a two-way force and one of four seniors in their starting lineup. This is a group that earned a No. 1 seed in the 2023 tournament and beat Iowa a month ago. Now in their last dance, they’re hungry to bring Indiana to the Final Four for the first time in program history.

Men’s, South | #2 Marquette vs. #11 NC State 7:10pm ET, CBS

  • NC State is on a run for the ages. They finished the regular season with a 17-14 record, then won five games in five days at the ACC tournament just to get a bid to the Big Dance. Now, they’re two wins away from the program’s first Final Four in 41 years. With the feet of a ballerina and the frame of an NFL tackle, 6-foot-9, 275-pound center DJ Burns Jr. has become a star on the national stage. His emergence has turned the Wolfpack into the most efficient post-heavy team in the country, and they’ll need another big showing from the big man to keep their season alive.

  • After a disappointing second-round exit in 2023, Marquette is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013. First-team All-Big East point guard Tyler Kolek is their nucleus and has two straight double-doubles since returning from an oblique strain. Kolek runs the pick-and-roll to perfection and operates an elite backcourt with leading scorer Kam Jones. Six-foot-11, 235-pound forward Oso Ighodaro, a second-team All-Big East selection, will have his hands full with Burns, but the Golden Eagles have the edge on paper. With that said, it’s March and it may not be midnight for Cinderella just yet.

Men’s, South | #1 Houston vs. #4 Duke 9:40pm ET, CBS

  • Finesse versus physicality. The Blue Devils’ toughness has been questioned all season, and it’s going to be tested tonight. Houston defines toughness. They hound you defensively and attack every loose ball like their life depends on it. They have the second-best adjusted defense in the country and a dynamic duo of guards in first-team All-American Jamal Shead and All-Big 12 selection LJ Cryer. However, they’re thin due to a string of injuries, which nearly bit them in Sunday’s overtime win against No. 9 Texas A&M. You never want to play Houston, but if you had to, now’s the time.

  • Duke is uber-talented and hitting their stride. Freshman guard and future NBA draft pick Jared McCain just poured in eight triples against No. 12 JMU in a 93-55 blasting and should be able to handle Houston’s pressure with help from Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor. But how will the Blue Devils respond when the bullies of the Big 12 punch them in the mouth? All-American forward Kyle Filipowski has struggled against physical opponents and they don’t have a big-time defensive presence inside. However, if their shots are falling, or if the Cougars get into foul trouble, Duke could get the best of Kelvin Sampson’s banged-up roster.

Friday’s Full Slate - Sweet 16


  • South | #2 Marquette vs. #11 NC State 7:10pm ET, CBS

    • Venue: American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)

    • Spread: MARQ -6.5

  • Midwest | #1 Purdue vs. #5 Gonzaga 7:40pm ET, TBS

    • Venue: Little Caesars Arena (Detroit, MI)

    • Spread: PUR -5.5

  • South | #1 Houston vs. #4 Duke 9:40pm ET, CBS

    • Venue: American Airlines Center (Dallas, TX)

    • Spread: HOU -4.5

  • Midwest | #2 Tennessee vs. #3 Creighton 10:10pm ET, TBS

    • Venue: Little Caesars Arena, (Detroit, MI)

    • Spread: TENN -2.5


  • Region 1 | #2 Notre Dame vs. #3 Oregon State 2:30pm ET, ESPN

    • Venue: MVP Arena (Albany, NY)

    • Spread: ND -3.5

  • Region 1 | #1 South Carolina vs. #4 Indiana 5:00pm ET, ESPN

    • Venue: MVP Arena (Albany, NY)

    • Spread: SC -15.5

  • Region 4 | #2 Stanford vs. #3 NC State 7:30pm ET, ESPN

    • Venue: Moda Center (Portland, OR)

    • Spread: STAN -4.5

  • Region 4 | #1 Texas vs. #4 Gonzaga 10:00pm ET, ESPN

    • Venue: Moda Center (Portland, OR)

    • Spread: TEX -5.5

Saturday’s Slate

Men’s - Elite Eight

  • East | #1 UConn vs. #3 Illinois 6:10pm ET, TBS

    • Venue: TD Garden (Boston, MA)

    • Spread: TBD

  • West | #4 Alabama vs. #6 Clemson 8:50pm ET, TBS

    • Venue: Crypto.com Arena (Los Angeles, CA)

    • Spread: TBD

Women’s - Sweet 16

  • Region 2 | #2 UCLA vs. #3 LSU 1:00pm ET, ABC

    • Venue: MVP Arena (Albany, NY)

    • Spread: LSU -3.5

  • Region 2 | #1 Iowa vs. #5 Colorado 3:30pm ET, ABC

    • Venue: MVP Arena (Albany, NY)

    • Spread: IOWA -7.5

  • Region 3 | #1 USC vs. #5 Baylor 5:30pm ET, ESPN

    • Venue: Moda Center (Portland, OR)

    • Spread: USC -3.5

  • Region 3 | #3 UConn vs. #7 Duke 8:00pm ET, ESPN

    • Venue: Moda Center (Portland, OR)

    • Spread: CONN -8.5

See the entire men’s bracket here and the entire women’s bracket here.

Blitz Prime - Sweet 16 Friday Picks

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  • #2 Marquette vs. #11 NC State: MARQ -6.5

  • #1 Purdue vs. #5 Gonzaga: GONZ +5.5

  • #1 Houston vs. #4 Duke: DUKE +4.5

  • #2 Tennessee vs. #3 Creighton: CREI +2.5

Photo: New Kid on the Bronx | Source: USA Today

MLB Opening Day - Top Games

  • New York Yankees 5, Houston Astros 4: It only took one game for Juan Soto to earn his pinstripes. After going down 4-0, Soto (1-3, 1 RBI) sparked a three-run, 5th-inning for the Yanks with an RBI single, and New York scored two more to take the lead into the 9th, where Soto saved the game by gunning down the tying run at the plate, as the Bronx Bombers picked up an epic Opening Day win against Chas McCormick (1-4, 2 RBIs) and the Astros

  • Texas Rangers 4, Chicago Cubs 3 (F/10): The reigning World Series champs celebrated their banner night in style, as Travis Jankowski (1-1, 1 HR, 1 RBI) hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 9th to force extras, where Jonah Heim (1-5, 1 RBI) ripped a walk-off RBI single with the bases loaded and two outs to give the Lone Stars a thrilling win over Cody Bellinger (1-4, 1 RBI) and the Cubbies

  • Los Angeles Dodgers 7, St. Louis Cardinals 1: The Blue Crew’s trio of former MVPs was as good as advertised on Opening Day. Shohei Ohtani (2-3, 1 R) reached base three times in his Dodgers debut, Mookie Betts (1-2, 1 HR, 1 RBI) and Freddie Freeman (2-3, 1 HR, 3 RBIs) both homered in the 3rd inning, and LA cruised to the first of what could be many victories this season

  • Baltimore Orioles 11, Los Angeles Angels 3: Corbin Burnes (6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 11 Ks) was lights out in his Baltimore debut, and Adley Rutschman (2-4, 2 RBIs) picked up right where he left off in 2023, as the O’s overpowered Mike Trout (1-3, 1 HR, 1 RBI) and the Halos at Camden Yards - Trout hit a go-ahead solo shot in the 1st and the Angels didn’t score again until the 8th inning

The Rest of Yesterday’s Results

  • Arizona Diamondbacks 16, Colorado Rockies 1 - jeez

  • Boston Red Sox 6, Seattle Mariners 4

  • Cincinnati Reds 8, Washington Nationals 2

  • Cleveland Guardians 8, Oakland Athletics 0

  • Detroit Tigers 1, Chicago White Sox 0

  • Minnesota Twins 4, Kansas City Royals 1

  • Pittsburgh Pirates 6, Miami Marlins 5 (F/12)

  • San Diego Padres 6, San Francisco Giants 4

  • Toronto Blue Jays 8, Tampa Bay Rays 2

  • Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies - postponed to today

  • Milwaukee Brewers @ New York Mets - postponed to today

See the full MLB scoreboard here and the current standings here.

NBA - All Games

  • Atlanta Hawks 123, Boston Celtics 122 (OT): Deja vu! The Hawks notched their second OT victory over the Celtics in four days as Dejounte Murray (44 PTS, 18-44 FG, 7 REB, 5 AST) dropped a career-high and splashed a beautiful game-winning jumper with just 0.1 seconds left to stun Jayson Tatum (31 PTS, 13 REB, 6 AST) and the league-leading C’s yet again - Atlanta (34-39) has a comfortable six-game lead over Brooklyn (28-45) for the final play-in spot in the East

  • New Orleans Pelicans 107, Milwaukee Bucks 100: Giannis Antetokounmpo (35 PTS, 14 REB, 4 AST) was a monster, but the Bucks couldn’t slow down Zion Williamson (28 PTS, 5 REB) and CJ McCollum (25 PTS, 7 REB, 7 AST), who led the Pels to an impressive dub down in New Orleans - Milwaukee (46-27) is 5-5 in their past 10 outings and only holds a 1.5-game lead over the Knicks (44-28) for the No. 2 seed in the East

See the full box scores here and the current NBA standings here.

NHL - Top Games

  • Montreal Canadiens 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1: Cayden Primeau (29 SV) stood tall, and Habs captain Nick Suzuki (1 G, 1 A) reached 30 goals for the first time in his NHL career to help beat Owen Tippett (1 G) and the Flyers, which secured a playoff berth for the Atlantic-leading Bruins - the Panthers also earned a playoff berth yesterday with the Red Wings’ 4-0 loss the Hurricanes

  • Toronto Maple Leafs 5, Washington Capitals 1: The Caps had won six of their last seven games entering Thursday, but the Leafs got the best of them in Toronto as Tyler Bertuzzi (2 G) and company rolled to bounce back from two straight losses - Toronto (41-22-9, 91 PTS) leads Tampa Bay (40-25-7, 87 PTS) by four points for the No. 3 seed in the East

See the full NHL scoreboard here and the current standings here.

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When was the last time Alabama men's basketball made the Final Four?

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Photo: Jerry Jones & Jimmy Johnson | Source: Cowboys Wire

On March 29, 1994, Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson quit. Johnson became a household name in the mid-’80s when he turned the Miami Hurricanes into a college football powerhouse, leading them to a 52-9 record over five seasons and a national title in 1987. But in 1989, Jerry Jones, the new owner of the Cowboys who was a longtime friend and former Arkansas teammate of Johnson's, persuaded him to come to Dallas. Johnson replaced Tom Landry, who had coached the team since the 1960s, and quickly turned the Cowboys into an NFL juggernaut. After 1-15 campaign in 1989, Johnson led Dallas to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993, making him one of only six head coaches in NFL history (Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, Chuck Noll, Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick) to win consecutive Super Bowls. But, Johnson and Jones' relationship began to deteriorate during the '93 season, when Jerry, who had the title of general manager but largely delegated control over on-field matters to Johnson, wanted more authority over the roster. Johnson, known for identifying talent and his famous "draft chart," was unwilling to give it up, and tensions escalated after the '93 Super Bowl when Jones told reporters that any coach could have led the Cowboys to a title. By the spring, Johnson had had enough and walked away from the team for good. Dallas won Super Bowl 30 two years later under HC Barry Switzer but has failed to reach the NFC Championship Game since - Johnson was inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor on Dec. 30, 2023, two years after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


  • Men’s NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16, Day 2 Full Schedule

  • Women’s NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16, Day 1 Full Schedule

  • MLB: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 8:10pm ET, Apple TV+

  • NBA: Los Angeles Lakers @ Indiana Pacers 7:00pm ET, NBA TV

  • NHL: New Jersey Devils @ Buffalo Sabres 7:00pm ET, NHL Net

  • PGA Tour: Houston Open, Round 2 4:00pm ET, Golf Channel


  • Men’s NCAA Tournament: Elite 8, Day 1 Full Schedule

  • Women’s NCAA Tournament: Sweet 16, Day 2 Full Schedule

  • MLB: Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies 4:05pm ET, FS1

  • NBA: Boston Celtics @ New Orleans Pelicans 5:00pm ET, NBA TV

  • NHL: Detroit Red Wings @ Florida Panthers 12:30pm ET, NHL Net

  • PGA Tour: Houston Open, Round 3 3:30pm ET, NBC


  • Men’s NCAA Tournament: Elite 8, Day 2 Full Schedule

  • Women’s NCAA Tournament: Elite 8, Day 1 Full Schedule

  • EPL: Arsenal @ Manchester City 11:30am ET, NBC

  • MLB: St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers 7:00pm ET, ESPN

  • NASCAR: Cup Series at Richmond 3:00pm ET, FOX

  • NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers @ Denver Nuggets 3:30pm ET, NBA TV

  • NHL: Anaheim Ducks @ Vancouver Canucks 3:30pm ET, TNT

  • PGA Tour: Houston Open, Round 4 2:30pm ET, NBC

Trivia Time Answer

D. Never. Alabama men’s basketball has never reached the Final Four. The Tide’s single Elite Eight appearance came in 2004, when they lost to No. 2 UConn, 87-71, as a No. 8 seed. Clemson has also never made it to the Final Four, meaning the winner of Saturday’s game will make program history.

Prime Locks of the Day

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Women’s NCAA Tournament - Sweet 16

  • #1 Iowa vs. #5 Colorado: Caitlin Clark Over 31.5 Points (-115)

What an amazing time of year. Enjoy an action-packed weekend and see ya Monday!