🏀 Onions at the Buzzer!

Frantic finishes in college hoops, NBA midseason review, Messi, Auston Matthews, and more...

It’s Thursday! The NBA resumes play today after a not-so-exhilarating All-Star break, and with the playoffs on the horizon, all dads can rejoice as we may actually see some defense. We'll break down the top storylines around the Association and check out the playoff picture before the sneaks squeak the hardwood this evening. But first, we had a belligerent night of college hoops, highlighted by some wild finishes at the buzzer and a storm of purple rain. In other news, Messi is back, Auston Matthews is feeling 50, aaaaand that didn’t take long: The greedy suits in college football have the regular season on its deathbed — it’ll be January Madness in no time. ~Sigh~ let’s go.

WTF Stat: In the past 10 years, UConn men’s basketball is 0-21 on the road against ranked opponents - the Huskies have won 13 NCAA Tournament games and two national titles in that span (2014, 2023).

Written By: Ian Dardani

Nuggets C Nikola Jokic averages a league-high 74.4 passes per game. He is currently favored to win MVP.

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🏈 College Football Playoff officials are discussing the possibility of expanding the playoff field to 14 or 16 teams when the organization’s next contract goes into effect in 2026 - the first 12-team playoff will take place this upcoming season, marking the end of the four-team era

🏈 Bears QB Justin Fields made news by recently unfollowing the Bears’ Instagram account, but says he’s just trying to avoid football on social media amid speculation that the team will trade him - Fields said he was “tired of hearing the trade talk” and wants to stay in Chicago

🏀 Southland Conference suspended four players from Texas A&M-Commerce and four players from Incarnate World after the two teams got into a prolonged brawl during the postgame handshake line on Monday - three players from each team received three-game suspensions while the others were suspended one game

🏀 Warriors signed G Pat Spencer, the 2019 NCAA men’s lacrosse Tewaaraton Award winner, to a two-way contract amid his third season in the G League - Spencer played college lacrosse at Loyola and is averaging 15.1 points per game with the Santa Cruz Warriors this season

Photo: Purple Rain | Source: USA Today

College Basketball - Top Games

  • NCAAM | LSU 75, #17 Kentucky 74: Let the band play Neck! In a thriller from Baton Rouge, Kentucky nearly avoided blowing a 15-point lead in the second half, as freshman phenom Rob Dillingham (23 PTS, 8-16 FG) splashed a nasty step-back jumper to put the Wildcats up one with 12 ticks to play, but LSU’s Tyrell Ward (17 PTS) tipped in the game-winner at the buzzer to knock off Big Blue, marking their fourth loss in nine games - LSU was 4-15 against John Calipari-led Kentucky teams entering the night… court storming warranted!

  • NCAAM | #13 Alabama 98, #24 Florida 93 (OT): In another SEC barn burner, Grant Nelson (22 PTS, 8 REB) and the Tide overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half and jumped out to an early lead in a frantic overtime period to steal one from Walter Clayton Jr. (27 PTS, 8 REB) and the Gators in Tuscaloosa - Alabama’s Mohamed Wague (1 REB) is under fire for striking Florida’s Alex Condon (10 PTS) in the head during a loose ball, which went uncalled

  • NCAAM | Penn State 90, #12 Illinois 89: The sub-.500 Nittany Lions entered the night on a three-game skid and trailed by seven with just 40 seconds left, but Zach Hicks (13 PTS, 8 REB) hit three clutch free throws to give them the lead with 4.2 seconds remaining, and Illinois’ Justin Harmon (2 PTS, 4 AST) couldn’t get a contested layup to fall at the buzzer, as Penn State stunned Terrence Shannon Jr. (35 PTS, 11 REB) and the Illini in Happy Valley - Illinois (19-7) is 5-3 in their past eight games… court storming still warranted!

  • NCAAM | George Mason 71, #16 Dayton 67: After winning 13 straight, Dayton is now just 5-3 in their last eight games, all of which have come against unranked opponents, as Baraka Okojie (19 PTS, 4 REB) and George Mason edged out Daron Holmes II (26 PTS, 7 REB) and the Flyers at home - it’s George Mason’s first ranked home win in program history… court storming warranted!

  • NCAAW | #10 Kansas State 73, #22 West Virginia 64: Ayoka Lee (34 PTS, 12 REB) was a problem in the paint, and K-State dug themselves out of an eight-point hole in the 3rd quarter to notch a must-needed victory after three losses in five games

  • NCAAW | #5 Texas 77, Texas Tech 72: Bailey Maupin (22 PTS, 4 AST) helped the Lady Raiders take a brief lead in the 3rd quarter, but Amina Muhammad (16 PTS, 15 REB) and the Longhorns were too much, as Texas flexed their muscle to hold on in Austin

See the full NCAAM scoreboard here and the current rankings here. See the full NCAAW scoreboard here and the current rankings here.

NHL - Top Games

  • Toronto Maple Leafs 6, Arizona Coyotes 3: Auston Matthews (2 G) is on a heater; The Coyotes are not. The Leafs superstar found the back of the net twice to extend his league-leading goal count to 51, and Toronto handed Arizona their 10th straight loss in a rout out West

  • Buffalo Sabres 3, Montreal Canadiens 2: Buffalo’s Jeff Skinner (1 G) tied the game with a power-play goal in the 2nd period, and Alex Tuch (1 G) scored shorthanded minutes later to give the Sabres a timely win in Montreal over Joshua Roy (2 A) and the struggling Habs, who have now lost three straight - Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (29 SV) earned first star of the game for his efforts in goal

  • Philadelphia Flyers 3, Chicago Blackhawks 1: Just like their parents, Travis Konecny (1 G) and Travis Sanheim (1 G) copied each other and each lit the lamp, as the Flyers took care of business against the NHL-worst Blackhawks for their 30th win of the season - Chicago (15-39-3) has a league-low 33 points

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

UEFA Champions League - Round of 16 (First Leg)

  • FC Porto 1, Arsenal 0: A scoreless match seemed destined for a draw after 90 minutes of limited action until FC Porto’s Galeno (90’+4’) delivered a magnificent curling strike in the waning moments of stoppage time to send the Estadio Do Dragao crowd into a frenzy, giving the Portuguese side a one-goal lead heading into London - the second leg will be played on March 12

  • Barcelona 1, Napoli 1: Last year's Spanish and Italian champions, who are both struggling this season, played a slow first half before Robert Lewandowski (60’) gave Barcelona a one-nil lead after the break, but Victor Osimhen (75’) retaliated with the equalizer to hold a controlling LaLiga side to a disappointing draw - the second leg will be played in Barcelona on March 12

MLS - Top Match

See the full international scoreboard here and the UCL bracket here.

🏀 NBA Midseason Review

Photo: The Joker & SGA | Source:

Another woeful All-Star break is behind us as the NBA returns to action today. It’s officially crunch time for playoff (and lottery) contenders, and there’s still plenty to work out before the postseason begins in April. With over half of the schedule in the books, let’s catch up on the top midseason storylines around the Association and the current standings. Plus, we’ll take a look at who’s favored to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy come June…

Top Midseason Storylines

  • The Wild West: Things are shaping up for a hectic playoff race in the West, with the top four teams (No. 1 Minnesota through No. 4 Denver) separated by just three games, and seeds No. 5 (Phoneix) through No. 9 (Lakers) separated by just five games. The young, up-and-coming Timberwolves and Thunder sit atop the standings, but both have flaws; Minnesota has struggled to close late games, and Oklahoma City lacks interior size. They’re followed by the red-hot Clippers, who have gone an NBA-best 36-17 since Dec. 1, and the defending champion Nuggets, whose 19 losses are just one fewer than they had at this time last season. The star-studded Suns, Mavericks, Lakers, and Warriors all lurk as dangerous lower seeds, while last year’s No. 3 seed, the Kings, and a talented Pelicans club also remain in the fold.

  • Milwaukee Meltdown? The Bucks’ 35-21 record is the third-best in the East, which would suggest that all is well in Milwaukee. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Citing a lack of consistency and poor team defense, the Bucks dismissed HC Adrian Griffin on Jan. 23 and then hired Doc Rivers to replace him. Rivers has gone 3-6 since taking over, and after holding the No. 2 seed for all of December and January, Milwaukee now sits 2.5 games back of the Cavaliers, and 8.5 games of top-seeded Boston. The good news is they still have Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, and have more than enough time to right the ship.

  • Knicks and Cavs Climbing: The Celtics (+115) and Bucks (+310) are still the favorites to win the East, but two surprising teams, the Knicks (+650) and Cavaliers (+750), have thickened the plot. Cleveland has posted a league-best 18-3 record since the New Year, while New York surged up the standings with a 14-2 record in January. Injuries to F Julius Randle (shoulder), F OG Anunoby (elbow), and a slew of rotation players have cooled the Knicks down, but they should be healthy come playoff time, and will join the Cavs as serious Eastern Conference contenders

  • MVP Race: One month ago, 76ers C Joel Embiid was the overwhelming favorite to win his second straight MVP Award, only to suffer a meniscus tear on Feb. 2 that has sidelined him for six to eight weeks. Once Embiid misses the Sixers’ next three games, he will be ineligible for the award, which requires a minimum of 65 games played. His absence opens the door for an intriguing MVP race between Nuggets C Nikola Jokic (-120), Thunder G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+210), Maverick G Luka Doncinc (+700), and Bucks F Giannis Antetokounmpo (+900). Their current averages are listed as such:

    • Jokic (26.1 PTS, 12.0 REB*, 8.9 AST*)

    • Gilgeous-Alexander (31.1 PTS*, 5.5 REB, 6.5 AST)

    • Doncic (34.2 PTS*, 8.8 REB, 9.5 AST*)

    • Antetokounmpo (30.8 PTS*, 11.2 REB, 6.4 AST)

    *top-five in NBA

NBA Standings

Reminder: The top six teams from each conference automatically qualify for the playoffs, while seeds No. 7-10 compete for the remaining two spots in each conference through the play-in tournament.

Teams in bold currently hold a playoff or play-in spot.

Eastern Conference

  1. Boston Celtics (43-12)

  2. Cleveland Cavaliers (36-17)

  3. Milwaukee Bucks (35-21)

  4. New York Knicks (33-22)

  5. Philadelphia 76ers (32-22)

  6. Indiana Pacers (32-25)

  7. Miami Heat (30-25)

  8. Orlando Magic (30-25)

  9. Chicago Bulls (26-29)

  10. Atlanta Hawks (24-31)

  11. Brooklyn Nets (21-33)

  12. Toronto Raptors (19-36)

  13. Charlotte Hornets (13-41)

  14. Washington Wizards (9-45)

  15. Detroit Pistons (8-46)

Western Conference

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (39-16)

  2. Oklahoma City Thunder (37-17)

  3. Los Angeles Clippers (36-17)

  4. Denver Nuggets (36-19)

  5. Phoenix Suns (33-22)

  6. New Orleans Pelicans (33-22)

  7. Dallas Mavericks (32-23)

  8. Sacramento Kings (31-23)

  9. Los Angeles Lakers (30-26)

  10. Golden State Warriors (27-26)

  11. Utah Jazz (26-30)

  12. Houston Rockets (24-30)

  13. Memphis Grizzlies (20-36)

  14. Portland Trail Blazers (15-39)

  15. San Antonio Spurs (11-44)

NBA Finals Winner - Vegas Odds

  • Boston Celtics +230

  • Denver Nuggets +440

  • Los Angeles Clippers +500

  • Milwaukee Bucks +650

  • Phoenix Suns +1400

  • New York Knicks +2100

  • Minnesota Timberwolves +2300

  • Cleveland Cavaliers +2500

  • Oklahoma City Thunder +3000

  • Philadelphia 76ers +3000

  • Dallas Mavericks +3600

  • Miami Heat +4200

  • Golden State Warriors +5000

  • Los Angeles Lakers +5000

  • New Orleans Pelicans +5500

  • Sacramento Kings +6000

Take another look at the NBA standings here and the statistical leaders here.

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The off-the-field news in college sports is endless these days, understand it better:

Extra PointsCoverage of the off-the-field forces that shape college sports

Which NFL team has gone the longest without starting a rookie quarterback?

A. Buccaneers

B. Saints

C. Chiefs

D. Packers

Photo: 99’s 77th | Source: NHL

On February 22, 1982, Oilers F Wayne Gretzky set the single-season NHL scoring record. When Phil Esposito set the single-season mark by scoring 76 goals in 1970-71, it was considered to be a record for the ages. However, it lasted barely a decade before Gretzky blew it to pieces. The 21-year-old Oiler entered the night tied with Esposito's record of 76 goals before he netted a hat trick in the last 2:27 of the 3rd period, giving Edmonton a 6-3 win over the Sabres while bumping his goal count to an unprecedented 79. The Great One wound up roaring past Espo's mark, ending the season with a ridiculous 92 goals in 80 games. The record still stands today, and the closest anyone has come to breaking it is No. 99 himself, who buried 87 goals in the 1983-84 season. Gretzky also has the record for most assists in a season, with 163 apples in 1985-86. The next closest person? Wayne Gretzky, who holds the top seven spots for most assists in one season. He ultimately finished his career with 2,857 points (894 goals and 1,963 assists). If you took away all of Gretzky's career goals, he would still be the NHL's all-time leading scorer!


  • Phoenix Suns @ Dallas Mavericks 7:30pm ET, TNT

  • Los Angeles Clippers @ Oklahoma City Thunder 8:00pm ET, Local

  • Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors 10:00pm ET, TNT

  • Full Schedule


  • Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning 7:00pm ET, ESPN

  • New York Rangers @ New Jersey Devils 7:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Toronto Maple Leafs @ Vegas Golden Knights 10:00pm ET, NHLPP / ESPN+

  • Full Schedule

College Basketball

  • NCAAM: Rutgers @ #3 Purdue 7:00pm ET, FS1

  • NCAAM: Michigan @ Northwestern 9:00pm ET, FS1

  • NCAAM: #21 Washington State @ #4 Arizona 11:00pm ET, FS1

  • NCAAM: Full Schedule

  • NCAAW: Alabama @ #1 South Carolina 7:00pm ET, SECN

  • NCAAW: #4 Iowa @ #14 Indiana 8:00pm ET, Peacock

  • NCAAW: #18 Utah @ #12 UCLA 9:30pm ET, ESPN

  • NCAAW: Full Schedule

Trivia Time Answer

D. Packers. Green Bay hasn’t started a rookie quarterback since 1987, when 10th-round draft pick Don Majkowski started five games in place of injured QB Randy Wright. That was 37 years ago. The team that’s gone the second longest without starting a rookie QB is the Seahawks, who last gave Russell Wilson the nod in 2012. Ten teams started rookie quarterbacks this season, and 26 teams have rolled out a rookie signal-caller since 2019.

Prime Lock of the Day

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  • Magic @ Cavaliers: ORL +7 (-110)

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