🏀 Upsets Everywhere!

College hoops chaos, Joel Embiid 50-piece, CFB bowl weekend preview, NHL, and more...

Happy First Day of Winter! ‘Tis the season to be freezin’, and right on cue, we had some cold-hearted upsets last night in college basketball. Not one, not two, but three top-10 teams were knocked off Wednesday in a mouth-watering slate of men’s hoops. But the frost has yet to bite in the big leagues, as Joel Embiid refuses to cool off and dropped yet another 50-piece while the Clippers remain scorching hot. On the ice, the Kraken finally found an edge, and the Jets triple Axel’d to the top of the division. Last but not least, we’re going bowl dancing with a preview of this weekend’s top bowl games in college football. Let’s go!

WTF Stat: Only four teams in the NFC have a winning record: The 49ers (11-3), the Cowboys (10-4), the Eagles (10-4), and the Lions (10-4) - the rest of the conference has a combined record of 66-102.

Written By: Ian Dardani

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🏈 Georgia finished the first day of college football’s early signing period with the top-ranked 2024 recruiting class, followed by Alabama, Miami, Ohio State, and Texas - the early signing window will remain open through Friday, and then unsigned prospects must wait to ink their NLI’s until national signing day on Feb. 7

🏈 Michigan has received a notice of allegations from the NCAA regarding alleged violations by the football staff during the COVID-19 recruiting dead period - Wolverines HC Jim Harbaugh faces a Level I violation for allegedly not cooperating with or misleading NCAA investigators about the violations

🏀 Ex-G League player Chance Comanche, a former University of Arizona big man, confessed to fatally strangling a woman whose remains were found earlier this month in Las Vegas - Comanche, 27, played for the Stockton Kings and was cut by the team after being arrested last Friday

Photo: Huskies Hushed | Source: USA Today

Men’s College Basketball - Top Games

  • Seton Hall 75, #5 UConn 60: In a stunner at the Prudential Center, UConn led by 10 midway through the first half, but Seton Hall closed the opening frame on a 24-9 run and didn’t look back thanks to a sensational showing from Kadary Richmond (23 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 8 STL), who led the Pirates to an emphatic upset victory over Tristen Newton (16 PTS, 6 REB) and the Huskies in both teams’ Big East openers - it’s UConn’s second loss of the season after dropping a four-point game at No. 2 Kansas on Dec. 2

  • #11 North Carolina 81, #7 Oklahoma 69: RJ Davis (23 PTS, 5-9 3PT, 5 AST, 3 STL) and the Tar Heels made Jordan proud in the Jumpman Invitational and shrugged off Otega Oweh (23 PTS, 5 REB) and the unbeaten Sooners like Mike in the ‘92 Finals to bounce back from consecutive losses at the hands of No. 5 UConn and No. 9 Kentucky - it was the seventh straight game Davis has led UNC in scoring

  • #21 Duke 78, #10 Baylor 70: After two losses in their past four games, the Blue Devils went into Madison Square Garden and made a statement on the national stage. With the score tied at 61 apiece with six minutes remaining, Jared McCain (21 PTS, 3 AST) and Jeremy Roach (18 PTS, 3 AST) fueled a late Duke run to pull away from Rayj Dennis (17 PTS, 7 REB) and Baylor, giving Jon Scheyer’s squad a massive resume-boosting win over the No. 10 ranked team in the land

  • Villanova 68, #12 Creighton 66 (OT): It’s been a rocky start to the year for the 8-4 Cats, but Eric Dixon (32 PTS, 6 REB) willed his team back from 13 points down in the second half to force overtime, where he splashed a clutch go-ahead triple with 28 seconds left to edge out Trey Alexander (16 PTS, 15 REB) and the Blue Jays in Omaha, giving Nova a potential season-altering win - after losing to UNLV last week, Creighton (8-2) has now dropped two of their last three games

See the full men’s scoreboard here and the full women’s scoreboard here.

NBA - Top Games

  • Philadelphia 76ers 127, Minnesota Timberwolves 113: Joel Embiid is on an absolute tear. Embiid (51 PTS, 17-25 FG, 12 REB, 3 AST) eclipsed 40 points for the fourth time in the past five games and dropped his second 50-piece this month, while Tyrese Maxey (35 PTS, 5 AST) also had himself a night to outduel Anthony Edwards (27 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST) and the NBA-best Timberwolves in Philly - Embiid is averaging 38.3 points in the last 12 games while shooting 56.1% from the floor

  • Los Angeles Clippers 120, Dallas Mavericks 111: The Clippers are rolling! Kawhi Leonard (30 PTS, 10 REB, 5 AST) was doing work and got a big boost from Norman Powell (21 PTS, 7-10 FG) off the bench to help Los Angeles outlast the Mavs in Dallas for their ninth straight win, despite Luka Doncic’s (28 PTS, 10 REB, 10 AST) triple-double - the Clippers (17-10) jumped the Mavs (16-11) for fifth-place in the West with the win

  • New York Knicks 121, Brooklyn Nets 102: In the battle for the Big Apple, Julius Randle (26 PTS, 7 REB, 4 AST) and Dante DiVincenzo (23 PTS, 8 REB) turned out to be Brooklyn’s Finest, and the Knicks got their first win at the Barclays Center in four years by cruising past Cam Thomas (20 PTS, 5 AST) and the Nets like they were conducting the 7 Train

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

NHL - All Games

  • Winnipeg Jets 5, Detroit Red Wings 2: Patrick Kane (1 G, 1 A) had a hand in both of Detroit’s goals, but Gabe Vilardi (1 G, 2 A) and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (1 G, 1 A) were just as busy for Winnipeg, and Laurent Brossoit (26 SV) made some huge saves to get the win, giving the Jets sole possession of first place in the Central Division - triple Axel’d… get it?

  • Seattle Kraken 2, Los Angeles Kings 1: Is the Krak Attack back?! No. But they did pick up a much-needed win last night against a top contender as Brandon Tanev (1 G) and Jordan Eberle (1 G) each lit the lamp to stave off Blake Lizotte (1 G) and the Kings in Los Angeles - Seattle is now 3-4-3 in their last 10 games and hanging on for dear life

  • Washington Capitals 3, New York Islanders 2 (OT): Both teams traded goals throughout, but after Anders Lee (1 G) tied the game for the Isles in the 3rd period, Washington’s Dylan Strome (1 G) put away a power-play goal for the OT-winner, which was upheld after a lengthy review over a potential high stick, and the Caps took a hard-fought bout in the nation’s capital - Alex Ovechkin’s (1 A) career-worst goal drought reached 14 games, but he set up Strome for the winner

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

🏈 Bowl Dancing!

Photo: Bowl Season. | Source: USA Today

College Football - Bowl Weekend Preview

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! For those who think 43 bowl games is too many, I truly feel bad for you. Do six-loss teams deserve an extra game? Maybe not. Do we deserve extra college football? Absolutely. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t enjoy three hours of ball capped by the winning team eating an edible mascot?! With one week of bowl games already in the books, the marquee matchups are on the horizon, so we’ll warm up with a short preview of this weekend’s top tangos. Let the players play, and let the Blitz bet!

Top Games

All games take place this Saturday unless noted otherwise

  • Boca Raton Bowl | South Florida (6-6) vs. Syracuse (6-6) Thursday 8:00pm ET, ESPN: After a 4-0 start, the Orange went 2-6 in their final eight games but beat Wake Forest 35-31 in the last week of the regular season to earn a bowl bid. USF also ended the season poorly, losing four of their last six, and their best performance of the year came in a 17-3 loss to Alabama in September when the Tide was teetering. Both teams have struggled defensively, so expect to see some points. But the Bulls will have the edge if it becomes a shootout, as their pass-happy offense is more suited to score in bunches than Cuse, who relies on the ground game. Pick: USF +3

  • Armed Forces Bowl | James Madison (11-1) vs. Air Force (8-4) 3:30pm ET, ABC: Appalachian State spoiled JMU’s perfect record in Week 12, but the Dukes have done more than enough to prove they belong with the big boys in their first FBS season. Now, they’ll get a favorable matchup against an (ironically) run-dependent Air Force team. The Falcons are averaging 275.8 yards per game on the ground, second only to Liberty, but their starting RB John Lee Eldridge has entered the transfer portal, and JMU leads the land in rushing defense, allowing just 61.5 yards per game. Pick: JMU -2

  • Las Vegas Bowl | Utah (8-4) vs. Northwestern (7-5) 10:30pm ET, ESPN: A gritty Power Five battle. Despite a slew of injuries leading to a late stumble, the Utes had an impressive season, beating USC and UCLA and narrowly falling to Pac-12 champion Washington, 35-28, in November. Northwestern has also fought through adversity following the preseason firing of HC Pat Fitzgerald, and his replacement, David Braun, has exceeded expectations, guiding the program to its first bowl appearance since 2020. But the Wildcats have struggled to move the football against more talented teams. Utah has the size to neutralize them up front and the outside speed to own the second level on both sides of the ball. Pick: UTAH -6.5

The Rest of this Weekend’s Slate

  • Gasparilla Bowl | Georgia Tech (6-6) vs. UCF (6-6) Friday, 6:30pm ET, ESPN

  • Birmingham Bowl | Troy (11-2) vs. Duke (7-5) 12:00pm ET, ABC

  • Camellia Bowl | Arkansas State (6-6) vs. Northern Illinois (6-6) 12:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Famous Idaho Potato Bowl | Georgia State (6-6) vs. Utah State (6-6) 3:30pm ET, ESPN

  • 68 Ventures Bowl | Eastern Michigan (6-6) vs. South Alabama (6-6) 7:00pm ET, ESPN

  • Hawaii Bowl | San Jose State (7-5) vs. Coastal Carolina (6-6) 10:30pm ET, ESPN

See the full bowl schedule here. 2023 Pick Record: 26-26-1

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In honor of the first day of winter, which team hosted the coldest game in NFL history? (Including wind chill).

A. Bears

B. Bengals

C. Packers

D. Vikings

Photo: Barry Sanders 2k Club | Source: Getty Images

On December 21, 1997, Lions RB Barry Sanders became the third player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season, joining Eric Dickerson (1984) and OJ Simpson (1973). Sanders would finish the season with 2,053 yards and 11 rushing touchdowns on just 335 carries, earning himself league MVP. However, the legendary tailback would shockingly retire one year later at the age of 31, finishing with 15,269 career rushing yards, just 1,457 shy of Payton's all-time record (16,726), which Emmitt Smith would later break in 2002. Payton played 15 years in the league, and Smith broke his mark in his 13th season; Sanders only played 10. He was elected to the Pro Bowl all 10 seasons and named a first-team All-Pro six times. Despite being at the peak of his powers, Barry cited the Lions' front office inadequacies and declining team production as reasons for his retirement (wow, that sounds so unlike them!) - here's a quick reminder of how electric Sanders was with the ball

NFL - Thursday Night Football

  • New Orleans Saints @ Los Angeles Rams 8:15pm ET, Prime Video

College Football - Boca Raton Bowl

  • South Florida @ Syracuse 8:00pm ET, ESPN


  • Indiana Pacers @ Memphis Grizzlies 8:00pm ET, Local

  • Orlando Magic @ Milwaukee Bucks 8:00pm ET, Local

  • Los Angeles Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves 9:00pm ET, NBA TV

  • Full Schedule


  • Vegas Golden Knights @ Tampa Bay Lightning 7:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Edmonton Oilers @ New Jersey Devils 7:30pm ET, ESPN+ / Hulu

  • Vancouver Canucks @ Dallas Stars 8:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Full Schedule

College Basketball

  • NCAAM: #9 Kentucky @ Louisville 6:00pm ET, ESPN

  • NCAAM: Jacksonville @ #1 Purdue 6:30pm ET, BTN

  • NCAAW: Loyola Chicago @ #4 Iowa 6:00pm ET, ESPN+

  • Men’s: Full Schedule

  • Women’s: Full Schedule

Trivia Time Answer

B. Bengals. In the 1982 AFC Championship game, the Bengals hosted the Chargers in the coldest game in NFL history, which would later be nicknamed the Freezer Bowl. During the game, the field temperature at Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium reached a base level of -9 degrees. However, the wind chill brought the feel down to -59 degrees - making it 11 degrees colder than the famous 1967 Ice Bowl in Lambeau!

Prime Lock of the Day

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NFL - Thursday Night Football

  • Saints @ Rams: Alvin Kamara Over 85.5 Rush + Rec Yards (-115)

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