BOYS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

MONDAY’ S GAMES
Horizon Christian47Traders Point Christian32 
Indianapolis Chatard64Indianapolis Shortridge48 
Leo75Fort Wayne Concordia57 
North Newton45Attica37 
Oregon-Davis59LaCrosse27 
South Adams72Northfield51 
Taylor (Ohio)75Lawrenceburg67 
Victory Christian65Bowman Academy48 
Central Christian Tournament
Central Christian73Laurel HomeSchool46 
Indianapolis Herron90Purdue Poly North58 
Indianapolis HomeSchool67Purdue Poly Englewood42 
Northwest HomeSchool80Christel House Academy56 

GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

MONDAY’ S GAMES
Calumet49East Chicago Central38 
Central Noble47DeKalb27 
Crown Point81Hammond Noll47 
Evansville Mater Dei43Vincennes Lincoln40 
Evansville North67Evansville Harrison29 
Fishers71Frankton62 
Goshen55Westview15 
Jennings County56Madison50 
Loogootee61Orleans34 
Morgan Twp.61West Central22 
North Vermillion46Traders Point Christian13 
Northeast Dubois69Washington Catholic29 
Owen Valley53Eastern Greene39 
Plymouth40Triton33 
Taylor61North Miami54 
Tecumseh61South Knox37 
Terre Haute South43West Vigo39 
Twin Lakes60Tri-Central42 
Union County44Franklin County42 
Wapahani46Muncie Central32 
Western42Lebanon40 
Zionsville61Indianapolis Cathedral41 
Edinburgh Tournament
Edinburgh46Knightstown18 
Whiteland66Indianapolis Lutheran25 
Hauser42South Decatur34 
Jac-Cen-Del53Hagerstown29 
Indianapolis Lutheran42Knightstown34 
Hagerstown50South Decatur31 
Whiteland72Edinburgh52 
Jac-Cen-Del58Hauser16 
Putnam County Tournament
Greencastle40Cloverdale28 

NFL

Cincinnati 27 Pittsburgh 17

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Appalachian State 56 N. Texas 28

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#1 Gonzaga 95 Northwestern State 57

#2 Baylor 99 Arkansas Pine Bluff 42

#8 Tennessee 102 St. Joseph’s 66

#21 Florida State 72 Gardner Webb 59

#24 Virginia Tech 84 Longwood 58

Southern Illinois 76 Butler 73

Clemson 66 Morehead State 51

George Mason 68 VMI 66

North Carolina Wilmington 78 Campbell 59

Kansas State 70 Jacksonville 46

Texas A&M 70 Wofford 52

Southern Utah 96 Bethesda 57

Texas State 70 Northern Arizona 65

Rice 73 New Orleans 62

Furman 118 South Carolina State 51

Bryant 93 Massachusetts 88

UMass Lowell 73 Vermont 65

Hampton 67 Charleston Southern 55

Belmont 72 Evansville 63

Morgan State 65 Delaware 59

Florida International 111 Carver College 34

Georgia State 72 Charleston 55

North Florida 98 Edward Waters 71

Sam Houston 69 Texas Rio Grande 66

Wagner 74 Sacred Heart 46

Washington State 90 Prairie View A&M 62

Tulsa 56 Memphis 49

Missouri State 85 Little Rock 77

Austin Peay 74 Murray State 70

BYU 87 Texas Southern 71

Stanford 63 Bakersfield 50

Boise State 77 New Mexico 53

Utah state 107 San Jose State 62

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#11 Arkansas 86 Arkansas Pine Bluff 52

#8 Oregon 69 Washington State 65

#23 Gonzaga 87 N. Alabama 57

#1 Stanford 61 #10 UCLA 49

#20 Texas 62 Kansas State 52

Davidson 79 Fordham 64

Florida Gulf Coast 84 Florida International 66

Kennesaw State 97 Life University 67

Kent State 73 Duquesne 66

Central Michigan 73 Loyola Chicago 64

Toledo 64 North Dakota 49

Georgia Southern 89 Western Carolina 61

Florida 89 N. Florida 64

North Dakota State 72 Kansas 69

Texas Tech 79 Southern 60

South Dakota State 82 Montana State 67

West Virginia 88 Ohio 79

Eastern Michigan 65 Tarleton State 59

Southern Illinois Edwardsville 62 Chicago State 36

Stephen F Austin 100 Texas Southern 61

Chattanooga 73 Georgia State 70 OT

UNLV 94 Loyola Marymount 59

St. Mary’s 83 Nevada 68

Charleston Southern 49 Hampton 47

Idaho 105 Seattle 96

Cal Poly 73 San Diego State 63

USC 77 California 54

George Mason 69 Delaware State 46

San Jose State 78 Utah State 73

Southern Utah 80 Dixie State 44

BOYS IBCA COACHES POLL

1. Carmel (6-0)

2. Lawrence North (4-0)

3. Fort Wayne Blackhawk (5-0)

4. Homestead (7-0)

5. Indianapolis Attucks (8-1)

6. Indianapolis Cathedral (5-1)

7. Westfield (5-0)

8. Silver Creek (4-2)

9. Lafayette Jeff (6-0)

10. South Bend Adams (5-0)

11. Barr-Reeve (6-0)

12. Carroll (Fort Wayne) (5-0)

13. Hammond (3-1)

14. Warren Central (2-2)

15. New Albany (4-2)

15. Zionsville (5-2)

17. Fishers (2-1)

18. Lawrence Central (3-3)

19. Brownsburg (3-3)

20. Gary West (5-1)

GIRLS IBCA COACHES POLL

1. Crown Point (7-0)

2. Penn (11-2)

3. North Central (Indianapolis) (11-1)

4. Bedford North Lawrence (9-1)

5. Fishers (10-1)

6. East Central (6-0)

7. Carmel (7-3)

8. Silver Creek (10-0)

9. Hamilton Southeastern (6-2)

10. Evansville Memorial (7-0)

11. Franklin (10-0)

12. Linton-Stockton (11-0)

13. Noblesville (7-3)

14. Lawrence North (10-5)

15. Homestead (7-3)

16. Mishawaka Marian (9-2)

17. Salem (11-1)

18. Norwell (8-0)

19. Ben Davis (5-2)

20. Carroll (Fort Wayne) (7-2)

AP MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL POLL

RankSchoolVotesPrev
1Gonzaga 4-01597 (61)1
2Baylor 5-01538 (3)2
3Kansas 7-114265
4Iowa 6-113653
5Villanova 7-113047
6Houston 5-012726
7West Virginia 7-112258
8Tennessee 4-0110910
9Wisconsin 6-1105112
10Texas 7-1103511
11Rutgers 6-087819
12Michigan State 6-18394
13Creighton 6-27739
14Missouri 5-076816
15Texas Tech 6-266114
16Virginia 3-151017
17North Carolina 5-249222
18Illinois 5-346813
19Michigan 6-036725
20Duke 3-235221
21Florida State 4-133515
22Xavier 8-0249NR
23Ohio State 6-124520
24Virginia Tech 6-1181NR
25Oregon 6-1167NR

AP WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POLL

RankSchoolVotesPrev
1Stanford 6-0742 (26)1
2Louisville 5-0693 (1)2
3UConn 4-0676 (1)3
4North Carolina State 8-0674 (2)4
5South Carolina 5-16415
6Arizona 6-06006
7Baylor 7-15587
8Oregon 6-05577
9Texas A&M 8-049110
10UCLA 5-146111
11Arkansas 8-143512
12Mississippi State 5-141713
13Kentucky 7-13919
14Maryland 5-138114
15Northwestern 3-032516
16Ohio State 4-025517
17Michigan 5-024819
18DePaul 4-220324
19Indiana 3-217515
20Texas 5-116822
20South Florida 4-116823
22Syracuse 5-110718
23Gonzaga 4-28225
24Missouri State 4-27620
25Michigan State 6-055NR

NBA SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Tuesday, Dec. 22: Opening Night
Road TeamHome TeamTime (ET)Network
Golden State WarriorsBrooklyn Nets7:00 p.m.TNT
LA ClippersLos Angeles Lakers10:00 p.m.TNT
Wednesday, Dec. 23
Road TeamHome TeamTime (ET)Network
Milwaukee BucksBoston Celtics7:30 p.m.TNT
Dallas MavericksPhoenix Suns10:30 p.m.ESPN
Friday, Dec. 25: Christmas Day
Road TeamHome TeamTime (ET)Network
New Orleans PelicansMiami Heat12:00 p.m.ESPN
Golden State WarriorsMilwaukee Bucks2:30 p.m.ABC
Brooklyn NetsBoston Celtics5:00 p.m.ABC
Dallas MavericksLos Angeles Lakers8:00 p.m.ABC/ESPN
LA ClippersDenver Nuggets10:30 p.m.ESPN
Saturday, Dec. 26
Road TeamHome TeamTime (ET)Network
Atlanta HawksMemphis Grizzlies5:00 p.m.NBA TV
Philadelphia 76ersNew York Knicks7:30 p.m.NBA TV
Houston RocketsPortland Trail Blazers10:00 p.m.NBA TV
Sunday, Dec. 27
Road TeamHome TeamTime (ET)Network
Dallas MavericksLA Clippers3:30 p.m.NBA TV
Brooklyn NetsCharlotte Hornets7:00 p.m.NBA TV
Minnesota TimberwolvesLos Angeles Lakers10:00 p.m.NBA TV

NINE FINALISTS NAMED FOR 2020 EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD

DALLAS (FWAA) – The Football Writers Association of America, in conjunction with the Allstate Sugar Bowl, announced nine finalists for the 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award on Monday. Among the finalists is a two-time winner and three former finalists representing a combined total of 14 nominations. Two head coaches whose teams are playing in the College Football Playoff headline the list that also includes coaches of three other conference champions and the country’s top independent team.

In alphabetical order the finalists are: Tom Allen, Indiana; Brent Brennan, San José State; Matt Campbell, Iowa State; Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina; Karl Dorrell, Colorado; Luke Fickell, Cincinnati; Nick Saban, Alabama; Kalani Sitake, BYU; and Dabo Swinney, Clemson.

Saban is the dean of the nine finalists as a two-time winner and seven-time finalist. Swinney, a six-time finalist, is among the finalists for a fourth consecutive season and is the only returning finalist from 2019. Both coaches will compete in the CFP next month, Swinney in the Allstate Sugar Bowl against Ohio State.

Brennan, Chadwell, Fickell, Saban and Swinney each claimed conference championships this season. Campbell and Iowa State won the Big 12 regular-season title, Allen has Indiana among the top 10 going into the Outback Bowl, and Sitake led BYU into the top 10 and Dorrell had Colorado each unbeaten into December.

“The Allstate Sugar Bowl is proud to sponsor the Eddie Robinson Award and to once again have the opportunity to recognize the top college football coaches in the nation as finalists for this honor,” said Ralph Capitelli, the President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “While each of the finalists is fully deserving of the award, we look forward to presenting the trophy to the winner as selected by the football writers.”

The 2020 recipient will be announced the week of Jan. 4-8, 2021. The official presentation will be on the campus of the winning coach at a later date.

The nine finalists have been placed on a ballot which has been sent to the entire FWAA membership.

“The FWAA believes it has an extremely good group of coaches representing different conferences and independents,” said Executive Director Steve Richardson. “We will have a fine recipient for the 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award. The FWAA’s congratulations go out to all coaches for weathering what has been a very trying and unpredictable year.”

“This time of the year with the winding down of the college football season, I’m especially excited to receive the announcement of the Eddie Robinson Coach of Year Award finalists,” said Eddie Robinson III, the grandson of the award’s namesake. “With all of the world dealing with Covid-19, and the fact that we even had a season and that every program had to adapt to deal with the virus protocols etc, all the coaches that made list of finalists are even more than deserving of the award. We wish the best for all that were selected as finalists.”

The FWAA has presented a coaching award since the 1957 season when Ohio State’s Woody Hayes was named the first recipient. The FWAA coaching award is named after the late Robinson, a coaching legend at Grambling State University for 55 seasons.

The 2020 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year finalists:

Tom Allen, Indiana: The Hoosiers (6-1) are one of three teams with three top-25 wins and have been ranked in the top 10 five times in 2020, cresting the top-10 threshold for the first time since 1969. The eight weeks in the poll is Indiana’s longest streak since 1945. In his fifth season in Bloomington, the Big Ten Coach of the Year by media and fellow coaches has led Indiana to six conference wins, tied for the most in program history with the 1967 and ’87 teams. This is Allen’s first finalist honor and the Hoosiers’ first Eddie Robinson Award finalist since 1967 when John Pont was the winner.

Brent Brennan, San José State: The Spartans (7-0) are one of five unbeaten teams heading into the bowl season under their fourth-year head coach. They have been one of the great success stories this season. Having been forced by the pandemic to play three home games outside of California, Brennan, the Mountain West Coach of the Year, and San José State responded by winning their division and playing in the school’s first conference championship game, beating Boise State, 34-20. This is the Spartans’ first winning season since 2012, and a win in the Arizona Bowl would give them their first undefeated season since 1939. This is Brennan’s first Eddie Robinson Award finalist honor and the first for the Spartans.

Matt Campbell, Iowa State: The Cyclones (8-3) were the Big 12 regular-season champions, earning a league title for the first time since 1912, and played in their first Big 12 Championship game. Of the Cyclones’ 22 starters, nine of them were All-Big 12 First Team selections. Campbell, the Big 12 Coach of the Year in his fifth season in Ames, led Iowa State to a school-record eight conference wins and its highest ranking (No. 6 in the CFP) in any poll in its history. A win in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl over Oregon would give the Cyclones their first nine-win season since 2000. This is Campbell’s first Eddie Robinson Award finalist honor and the first for the Cyclones.

Jamey Chadwell, Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers (11-0), picked to finish last in the Sun Belt Conference’s East Division, captured the nation’s attention in the first week with a 38-23 win at Kansas, swept their eight conference games plus two more for the first unbeaten season in school history and the first in Sun Belt history. In only its fourth year as a full-time FBS member, Coastal Carolina won its first conference championship, earned its first national ranking (No. 9/11 this week with 10 straight weeks in both polls), its first College Football Playoff ranking (No. 12 in final poll) and defeated two Top-25 teams, including then-No. 8 BYU, 22-17 on Dec. 5. CCU’s current 12-game win streak dating back to last season is tied with No. 1 Alabama for the longest in the nation. The Sun Belt Conference’s Coach of the Year in his third season at the Coastal Carolina helm is the school’s first Eddie Robinson Award finalist. He and defensive end Tarron Jackson, a Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist, are Coastal’s first finalists for any FWAA postseason award.

Karl Dorrell, Colorado: The Buffaloes (4-1) were one of nine undefeated teams heading into the final two weeks of the regular season and were ranked in the Dec. 7 polls for the first time since October of 2018. Dorrell, in his first season at CU, is the fifth head coach in school history to open 4-0 in his first season and just the second since 1905. Colorado jumped out 3-0 in league play for the first time as a Pac-12 member, making Dorrell the first CU coach to win his first three conference games since 1941. The Buffs will play in the Valero Alamo Bowl, their first bowl game since 2016. This is Dorrell’s second finalist nomination, having also achieved it in 2005 while at UCLA. Colorado has had two previous Eddie Robinson Award winners, most recently Mike MacIntyre in 2016 and Bill McCartney in 1989.

Luke Fickell, Cincinnati: The Bearcats (9-0) won their first outright league title since 2009 and their first American Athletic Conference Championship. Cincinnati is No. 8 in the final CFP rankings and will play in its first New Year’s Six bowl and its first New Year’s Day bowl since the 2009 season when the Bearcats battle Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. The Bearcats have one of the nation’s top defenses that ranks in the top 15 in five categories, including second in team interceptions (15) and seventh in scoring defense, giving up only 16 points per game. Fickell, the American’s Coach of the Year in his fourth season at UC, has earned Cincinnati’s first finaliist nod since 2009 when Brian Kelly, now at Notre Dame, earned the designation. Cincinnati has never had an Eddie Robinson Award winner.

Nick Saban, Alabama: The Crimson Tide (11-0) completed their fifth undefeated regular season under Saban and earned the top seed in the College Football Playoff with impressive scoring margins through an all-SEC schedule. Alabama is the only team in SEC history to win 10 conference games in a season while averaging 49.5 points per game in the 10-game regular season and became the first SEC team to post five 50-point games in SEC play. Saban, in his 14th season in Tuscaloosa, has coached more games (84) as the AP’s No. 1 team than any other active head coach and will face Notre Dame in a national semifinal in Arlington, Texas. A two-time Eddie Robinson Award winner (at Alabama in 2008, at LSU in 2003), he is one of Alabama’s two previous winners along with Gene Stallings in 1992. He is now a seven-time finalist, earning the designation in four of the last seven seasons.

Kalani Sitake, BYU: The Cougars (10-1) earned their first 10-win season since 2011 navigating through an oft-altered and harried schedule. BYU is the only FBS team in the top 10 in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense and total defense. The Cougars are in the top 10 in 14 statistical categories overall and have qualified for a 38th bowl game in program history. Sitake, in his fifth season at BYU, is the school’s second finalist and first since Bronco Mendenhall in 2006. LaVell Edwards is BYU’s only previous winner in 1984.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson: The Tigers (10-1) qualified for the College Football Playoff for a sixth consecutive season, heading into their national semifinal game against Ohio State in New Orleans. Swinney and Clemson became the first team in any active conference to win six consecutive outright titles (tied with Oklahoma). Clemson, heading to its 16th consecutive bowl game, has won 10 games for a school-record 10th consecutive season after avenging its only loss to Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game. The Tigers are 18-8 under Swinney in rematches of losses during his career. Swinney, in his 13th season at Clemson, is now a six-time finalist and the only repeat finalist from a year ago; he is among the finalists for a fourth consecutive season and the fifth time in six seasons (also 2015 and ’11). Danny Ford is Clemson’s only previous winner from the 1981 national championship season.

STEELERS SKID HITS THREE

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ December swoon is looking more like a collapse.

The Steelers lost their third straight – getting thumped 27-17 by the last-place Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night – after ripping off 11 straight wins to start the season. They couldn’t generate any offense early, and the opportunistic Bengals took advantage of their mistakes.

Assured of a playoff berth, the Steelers (11-3) could have wrapped up the AFC North with a win but instead turned the ball over three times and allowed Cincinnati to build a 17-0 halftime lead.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “We’re not a good football team right now.”

Three weeks ago, the Steelers were on track for the top overall seed in the AFC, but now they could end up a wild card. Pittsburgh has tough matchups remaining against Indianapolis (10-4) and division rival Cleveland (10-4).

Pittsburgh averaged 29.8 points during its first 10 games and Ben Roethlisberger, back from an elbow injury that cost him most of 2019, looked like an MVP candidate. But the Steelers struggled to an uninspired 19-14 win over a COVID-19-decimated Baltimore Ravens team on Dec. 2 and haven’t topped 20 points in a game since.

“High frustration,” said Roethlisberger, who had 19 passing yards in the first half and was picked off by Mackensie Alexander, setting up a touchdown. He finished 20 for 38 for 170 yards.

Cincinnati (3-10-1) snapped a streak of 11 straight losses to Pittsburgh in most unlikely fashion, with Ryan Finley at quarterback. The second-year player, starting in place of injured No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow, completed seven passes for 89 yards, but his touchdown run early in the fourth quarter all but sealed it for the Bengals.

The injury-plagued Bengals had lost five straight, averaging 10 points per game and rarely looking competitive, since Burrow led them to a 31-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 1.

CHIEFS AND PACKERS LEAD PRO BOWL SELECTIONS

 Led by their star quarterbacks, the Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers each had seven players selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Baltimore Ravens also had seven players chosen.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes joins Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Houston’s Deshaun Watson as the AFC quarterbacks. For the NFC, it’s Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, Seattle’s Russell Wilson and Arizona’s Kyler Murray.

Mahomes and Rodgers are the starters, though there will be no actual game this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Jan. 31, the players will be celebrated during two Pro Bowl-themed shows airing on an ESPN/ABC simulcast, with a virtual Pro Bowl experience within the Madden NFL 21 video game.

Roster selections were determined by votes of players, coaches and fans.

The other Chiefs are DE Frank Clark, OT Eric Fisher, WR Tyreek Hill, DT Chris Jones, TE Travis Kelce and SS Tyrann Mathieu.

Baltimore has OT Orlando Brown, DT Calais Campbell, LS Morgan Cox, CB Marlon Humphrey, LB Matthew Judon, FB Patrick Ricard and K Justin Tucker.

“After everything that this year has been like, it’s a real blessing to be back in this position again. To still be playing football – and at a high level – and to be voted in by my peers and coaches, it really means a lot. This is an honor I really appreciate as a player,” Brown said.

For Green Bay, the other six representatives are WR Davante Adams, CB Jaire Alexander, OT David Bakhtiari, G Elgton Jenkins, RB Aaron Jones and LB Za’Darius Smith.

Seattle has SS Jamal Adams, special teamer Nick Bellore, FS Quandre Diggs, WR DK Metcalf, LS Tyler Ott and LB Bobby Wagner.

Other notable selections include Titans running back Derrick Henry, the NFL’s leading rusher, and highly productive receivers Keenan Allen of the Chargers and Stefon Diggs of the Bills for the AFC’s offense. On defense, linebackers T.J. Watt of Pittsburgh and Darius Leonard of Indianapolis, Miami ball-hawking cornerback Xavien Howard and Cleveland end Myles Garrett made the squad.

Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb cried during a Zoom call after being selected as a Pro Bowl starter as he reflected on his journey back from a torn ACL that sidelined him for most of 2019.

“Just to get the accolade is huge,” Chubb said. “I’m sorry for getting emotional, I just went through a lot this year. But this sure feels good.”

Chubb ranks fourth in the NFL with 7+ sacks and has 19 QB hits, nine tackles for loss and a forced fumble after missing 12 games last year and tweaking his surgically repaired knee during a stadium scrimmage last summer.

For the NFC, such standouts as Arizona wideout DeAndre Hopkins, Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook, New Orleans RB Alvin Kamara and Philadelphia center Jason Kelce made it. So did New Orleans DE Cameron Jordan, Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald, San Francisco LB Fred Warner, Rams CB Jalen Ramsey and Arizona SS Budda Baker.

Washington rookie DE Chase Young made the NFC squad, as did another 2020 first-round draft pick, Minnesota WR Justin Jefferson.

In all, there were 26 first-time Pro Bowlers.

Five teams have no Pro Bowl players: the Jaguars, Jets, Bengals, Cowboys and Panthers.

HOFer GREEN PASSES AWAY

Kevin Greene will be remembered for his long blond hair, his charisma, and the havoc he created for opposing quarterbacks.

The Hall of Fame linebacker, considered one of the fiercest pass rushers in NFL history, died Monday, it was confirmed by the family and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was 58.

No cause of death was given.

“I regarded him as a personal friend and a true Hall of Famer in every sense,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement Monday. “He possessed the most incredible can-do attitude of anyone I ever met. He was a great player, but more than that, he was a great man.”

A two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, Greene finished his 15-year NFL career with 160 sacks, which ranks third in league history behind only Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198). He also had 23 forced fumbles and five interceptions.

He played for Los Angeles Rams (1985-1992), Pittsburgh Steelers (1993-1995), Carolina Panthers (1996, 1998-99) and San Francisco 49ers (1997). He was All-Pro in 1994 and 1996.

Former Panthers general manager Bill Polian said Greene was a person exceptionally devoted to his family, his craft as a football player and the military, where he earned the rank of captain and completed airborne training at Fort Benning to become a paratrooper.

Polian said Greene had an exceptional ability to escape blockers.

“He was a self-made technician and as good as anyone who has ever played the game in terms of technique,” said Polian, like Greene a Hall of Fame inductee. “And because he was undersized, grit played a tremendous role in his success.”

Greene would have agreed with that assessment.

“I wasn’t the biggest (and) I wasn’t fastest,” Greene once said. “But as long as you have a motor, you have heart … that will overcome any physical limitations.”

Greene regularly studied film to search for opponents’ weaknesses.

“I figured out how to pass rush,” Greene said. “I figured out how to put a guy, an offensive tackle three to four inches taller, 80 pounds heavier, put him in a position of failure, and I did that.”

Dom Capers, who coached Greene in Pittsburgh and Carolina, said Greene “had such a great passion for the game.”

“He had an infectious personality,” Capers said. “He influenced everybody that he was around. Everyone had a tremendous amount of respect for him because he not only produced as a player, but because as good of a player as he was he was an even better person.”

Steelers President Art Rooney II noted the effect Greene had on the team.

“We lost an amazing player and person this morning with the passing of Kevin Greene,” Rooney said. “His sudden death is a shock to us all as he was a close friend and teammate to so many people in the Steelers family.

“When Kevin came to the Steelers in 1993 he had an immediate impact. Paired with Greg Lloyd, Kevin and Greg led a defense that became known as Blitzburgh and went on to play in Super Bowl 30. Kevin’s energy and enthusiasm were inspiring for our team as well as our fans.”

Greene was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

“So sad to hear the news of Kevin Greene passing away,” Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward said. “I only had a couple of interactions with him but when we did talk he always spoke with great energy and passion.”

Added Heyward’s teammate, Stephon Tuitt, on Twitter:

“It’s a Honor to Represent this legendary Number today for you and your family. I will make y’all proud. Prayers to Kevin Greene a legend.”

BUCKS LOSE 2ND ROUND PICK

The NBA has determined the Milwaukee Bucks violated tampering rules when speaking with Bogdan Bogdanovic, the league announced Monday.

As a result, the Bucks will forfeit their second-round pick in 2022.

“The league conducted an investigation into whether the Bucks had discussions with Bogdan Bogdanovic and/or his agent regarding a free-agent contract prior to the date when such discussions were permitted,” the NBA said in its statement. “The investigation concluded that early discussions did in fact occur, constituting conduct detrimental to the NBA.”

Bogdanovic was set to hit restricted free agency on Nov. 20 as a member of the Sacramento Kings, but reports first surfaced on Nov. 17 that the Bucks and Kings reached an agreement on a sign-and-trade, suggesting Milwaukee spoke to the Serbian too early.

The 28-year-old eventually signed a four-year, $72-million deal with the Atlanta Hawks. The NBA said it took into account the Bucks’ failure to sign Bogdanovic when determining their penalty.

Milwaukee’s 2022 selection is the next available second-rounder still owned by the team, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps notes. The Bucks traded their 2021 second-round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers to acquire George Hill.

CLIPPERS SIGN KENNARD

The Los Angeles Clippers have signed guard Luke Kennard to a multiyear contract extension.

Kennard was acquired as part of a three-team trade on Nov. 19. He averaged a career-high 15.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 28 games for Detroit last season. The 6-foot-5 guard was selected by the Pistons as the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NBA draft out of Duke.

Kennard averaged 7.3 points, 1.7 assists and 3.0 rebounds while playing 19 minutes in the Clippers’ three preseason losses. They open the season Tuesday against the NBA champion Lakers as the visiting team.

Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ president of basketball operations, called Kennard “a fantastic fit” for the organization and said the 24-year-old’s versatility and maturity is impressive.

SEVERAL NBA PLAYERS GET EXTENSION

For some young NBA players, a free-agency payday came early Monday.

Orlando signed Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz to extensions, while San Antonio did the same with Derrick White, Toronto with OG Anunoby and the Los Angeles Clippers with Luke Kennard.

All five could have been restricted free agents next summer, and their teams had until Monday to get new deals done with those players. The deals all begin with the 2021-22 season.

Isaac ($80 million), White and Anunoby ($72 million) each received four-year extensions. Fultz got a three-year extension worth $50 million. The terms of the deals for Issac, Anunoby and Fultz, each of them first reported by ESPN, were confirmed to The Associated Press by people with knowledge of the negotiations. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because terms of the deals were not publicly announced.

ESPN reported White’s deal to be worth $73 million.

“We are thrilled to keep both Markelle and Jonathan in a Magic uniform,” Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said. “They both have a very bright future and they mean a lot to our organization, both on and off the court.”

Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, averaged 12.1 points and 5.1 assists for the Magic last season. Isaac averaged 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds for the Magic a year ago, having his season interrupted by a left knee bone bruise – and then seeing his season ended when he tore the ACL in that same knee during a game in the bubble in August.

Isaac is not expected to play this season.

Anunoby averaged career-bests of 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while becoming a full-time starter for the Raptors last season.

“OG is the epitome of the skilled, powerful, determined player we want in our organization long-term. Remember, he doesn’t shoot to miss,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said. “We’re really pleased that OG will be with us for seasons to come.”

White averaged 11.3 points for the Spurs last season. He was one of the guards selected to USA Basketball’s 12-player roster for the Basketball World Cup in China in 2019.

Kennard also got a four-year extension. “Today is a great day,” Kennard said.

Many top-tier free agents who could have hit the market next summer have also signed new deals in recent days, including two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo with Milwaukee, LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, Rudy Gobert with Utah and Paul George with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Other signees of big extensions that start next season included Bam Adebayo with Miami, Jayson Tatum with Boston, Donovan Mitchell with Utah and De’Aaron Fox with Sacramento.

HARDAWAY SIGNS EXTENSION

Penny Hardaway has agreed to a five-year extension worth $12.2 million with Memphis, keeping the third-year coach under contract through April 2026.

Memphis announced the extension Monday.

Hardaway said in a statement that coaching at Memphis is his dream job and he is thankful for the continued support.

“Memphis basketball is in the national spotlight, and we are continuing to get better and better every day,” Hardaway said. “The future is bright for the Tigers.”

Hardaway is 48-27 (.640) overall with Tigers. He had the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation in 2019.

The extension updates the binding memorandum of understanding Hardaway agreed to on March 20, 2018. The deal starts April 16, 2021, and will pay the man who played 14 NBA seasons $2.32 million each of the first two years, $2.5 million the next two seasons and $2.6 million in the fifth year.

Memphis athletic director Todd Veatch said Hardaway has rejuvenated Tigers’ basketball. The university led the nation in increased attendance during Hardaway’s first season, averaging 7,840 more a game and ranked 17th nationally with 14,065 fans per game. That jumped to ninth last season with 16,312.

“He has had top-ranked recruiting classes and is establishing the foundation of a nationally competitive program,” Veatch said in a statement. “I have really enjoyed working with him, and we are excited to have Coach lead our program in the many years to come.”

Hardaway’s base pay will be $200,000, with the remainder coming from radio and television appearances and public relations, public service and public speaking appearances.

Hardaway already has three players in the NBA with James Wiseman, who played only three games at Memphis, then was drafted by Golden State with the No. 2 overall pick, followed by Precious Achuiwa at No. 20 to Miami. Another former Tiger, Jeremiah Martin, spent last season with Brooklyn.

Memphis led the nation last season in field-goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 36.1% shooting.

NBA SEASON OPENS TUESDAY

NEW YORK – The 2020-21 NBA season begins Tuesday, Dec. 22, tipping off with nine nationally televised games across the first three days of play.  Packed with drama, thrilling rivalries and unique personalities, the NBA will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 50 languages during the First Half of the season.

Coinciding with Kia NBA Tip-Off 2020, the NBA is encouraging fans around the world to join the action by sporting their favorite NBA jersey on Dec. 22 as part of the first “NBA Jersey Day” – a global fan celebration of the new season.

Here are some numbers highlighting Kia NBA Tip-Off 2020: TUESDAY

  • – Opening night features four players who were selected No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft: the Lakers’ LeBron James (2003) and Anthony Davis (2012), the Nets’ Kyrie Irving (2011) and the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins (2014).
  • – Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, set for his first regular-season game since the 2018-19 season, won two NBA championships and two Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP awards with Golden State.
  • – 2019-20 Kia NBA Sixth Man Award winner Montrezl Harrell makes his Lakers debut against the Clippers, the team with whom he spent the previous three seasons.
  • – Steve Nash, who led the NBA in assists five times as a Hall of Fame player, makes his debut as an NBA head coach when he leads Brooklyn against Golden State.
  • 17 – The Lakers will celebrate last season’s record-tying 17th NBA championship before facing the Clippers.
  • 18 – James begins his 18th NBA season on opening night.
  • 20 – During the First Half of the season, 20 games will air in primetime in Europe, the Middle East and Africa as part of the league’s “NBA Saturdays and NBA Sundays presented by NBA 2K21” primetime initiative.
  • 25 – TNT will present an opening-night doubleheader for the 25th consecutive season, marking Turner Sports’ 37th straight year of NBA coverage.
  • 50 – Davis and Irving are the last two players to score 50 points in the first game of a season for their team: Davis with the New Orleans Pelicans in 2016 and Irving with Brooklyn in 2019.
  • 2016 – In 2016, new Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue was in his first season as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers when he led James and the Cavaliers to the NBA championship.
  • 2,495 – Golden State’s Stephen Curry has made 2,495 career three-pointers, five away from becoming the third player in NBA history with 2,500.

WEDNESDAY

  • – Boston has qualified for the NBA Playoffs in each of the last six seasons, including Eastern Conference Finals appearances in three of the last four seasons.
  • – Chris Paul, who will make his Suns debut Dec. 23, ranks seventh in NBA history in both career assists and career steals.
  • 8 – The Suns won all eight “seeding games” during the 2019-20 season restart, the only one of the 22 participating teams to go undefeated.
  • 17 – Dallas’ Luka Dončić led the NBA with 17 triple-doubles last season.
  • 25 – Two-time reigning Kia NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee is one of three players to win multiple MVP awards by the age of 25, joining James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

CHRISTMAS DAY

  • 4 – The four Conference Finalists from last season will be in action on Christmas Day: the Lakers and Nuggets from the Western Conference and the Heat and Celtics from the Eastern Conference.
  • 5 – Five Kia NBA MVPs will compete on Christmas Day: the Bucks’ Antetokounmpo, the Warriors’ Curry, the Nets’ Durant, the Lakers’ James and Nets head coach Nash.
  •  Six players have recorded a triple-double in a game on Christmas Day: Draymond Green (2017), Russell Westbrook (2013), James (2010), Billy Cunningham (1970), John Havlicek (1967) and Oscar Robertson (1960, 1961, 1963, 1967).
  • – Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra has won all seven of his Christmas Day games as an NBA head coach, tied with Les Harrison for the most wins without a loss.
  • 10 – Dwyane Wade has the most Christmas Day victories for a player with 10 – one more than James and Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who are tied for second place with nine each.
  • 13 – The NBA will feature five games on Christmas Day for the 13th year in a row.
  • 15 – James will play his 15th Christmas Day game, second most in NBA history behind Kobe Bryant (16).
  • 19 – This marks ESPN’s 19th season of Christmas Day game coverage. 
  • 23 – The Lakers have the most wins on Christmas Day with 23.
  • 25– As part of NBA Cares Season of Giving, the league is highlighting across its digital platforms the efforts of 25 community organizations supporting health and wellness, food security, education, volunteerism and social justice work in communities around the world.
  • 35 – This year marks the 35th anniversary of the classic 1985 Christmas Day game when rookie Patrick Ewing (32 points, 11 rebounds) and the New York Knicks rallied from a 25-point deficit to defeat the Boston Celtics 113-104 in double overtime.
  • 43.3 – Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady averaged an NBA-record 43.3 points on Christmas Day, scoring at least 40 points in all three of his games.
  • 60 – Bernard King scored a Christmas Day-record 60 points for the Knicks against the New Jersey Nets in 1984.
  • 98 – Of the players on the current rosters of the 10 teams playing on Christmas Day, 27 have been named to an NBA All-Star team and they have combined for 98 All-Star selections.
  • 215 – Christmas Day games will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 56 languages.
  • 361 – James ranks third on the career Christmas Day scoring list with 361 points, behind No. 1 Bryant (395) and No. 2 Robertson (377).
  • 1947 – The NBA began playing games on Christmas Day in 1947 during the league’s second season.

NBA PREVIEW: INDIANA PACERS

(NBA RELEASE)

When last seen, the Pacers were … getting bumped off in the first round, a headline you could have read any of the past five offseasons. It got old, and it demanded new – something, anything new. If not roster, then coaching staff, and that’s exactly what Indiana general manager Kevin Pritchard did, hiring Toronto assistant Nate Bjorkgren, who in turn rounded up a new staff. Whatever improvement the Pacers achieve this season will be credited mostly to their input in philosophy, style and points of emphasis. Whether that means a taste of the East semifinals remains to be seen.

What’s New? Bjorkgren will be hoping to replicate his former boss Nick Nurse’s success in sliding one seat over, albeit without Kawhi Leonard coming aboard. The Pacers almost stubbornly resisted the NBA tilt toward 3-point mania and ever-switching defenses under his predecessor Nate McMillan. McMillan got a lot of mileage and commitment out of his old-school ways, but finishing last in 3-point attempts, last in free throws and down the rankings in pace wasn’t working in springtime. T.J. Warren, after his bubble breakout, might enjoy working again with his development guy when they were in Phoenix. The starting lineup looks solid, despite the surprising stat they only played 86 minutes together in 2019-20.

What’s Missing: Wanting to play faster and actually doing it are two different things, though most of the Pacers seem capable – if Victor Oladipo doesn’t ball-stop too often. As much as his sustained health, Oladipo’s frame of mind (does he want to commit or leave?) could move Indiana’s mood meter almost by the day. The Myles Turner-Domantas Sabonis big tandem ought to work, but “ought” still isn’t “will” – we need more evidence that Turner can play offense out to the arc and give Sabonis more high-post flexibility.


Potential Starting Five

Malcolm Brogdon | 16.5 PTS, 4.9 REB, 7.1 AST
The underrated playmaker will need to develop rhythm with Oladipo.

Victor Oladipo | 14.5 PTS, 3.9 REB, 2.9 AST
Seeking return to All-Star form after long injury layoffs.

Myles Turner | 12.1 PTS, 6.6 REB, 2.1 BLK
Prototype 3-and-D “stretch 5” needs to boost results on both ends.

T.J. Warren | 19.8 PTS, 4.2 REB, 1.5 AST
Confidence from his “star is born” bubble work could persist.

Domantas Sabonis | 18.5 PTS, 12.4 REB, 5.0 AST
Indiana missed newly minted All-Star (foot) in Orland restart.


Key Reserves

Justin Holiday | 8.3 PTS, 3.3 REB, 1.3 AST
Valuable deep threat and locker room guy.

Aaron Holiday | 9.5 PTS, 2.4 REB, 3.4 AST
His minutes might jump again in balancing backcourt workloads.

Doug McDermott | 10.3 PTS, 2.5 REB, 1.1 AST
A 43.5% shooter on 3s penciled in for more chances.


Indiana Pacers, last 5 seasons

SeasonWLPCTOffRtgRankDefRtgRankNetRtgRank
2019-2045280.616109.519107.56+1.913
2018-1948340.585109.418106.03+3.49
2017-1848340.585108.511107.312+1.312
2016-1742400.512107.916108.115-0.217
2015-1645370.549103.825102.23+1.612

OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions
NetRtg = Point differential per 100 possessions


Season Prediction

The Pacers weren’t shy about pointing out McMillan’s 3-16 playoff record when they fired him, so we’ll work with the assumption that’s where they seek real progress. That won’t be easy from a middle-to-low seed in an improved Eastern Conference, but continuous improvement through the first 72 can get them there for the next seven.

Predicted finish: 41-31.

SWEENEY RANKS OHIO STATE 11TH

Dabo Swinney apparently doesn’t think too highly of his College Football Playoff semifinal opponent.

The Clemson boss ranked Ohio State 11th in his final coaches poll ballot behind several programs that didn’t capture a conference title, including Florida, Georgia, and Iowa State, according to Big Ten Network’s Dave Revsine.

Swinney wasn’t the only head coach to place the Buckeyes outside of the top four but did give the Big Ten champions their lowest rank, Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reports.

The two-time national champion has been critical of Ohio State’s resume leading up to the CFP, noting the program’s six games compared to the Tigers’ 11. However, the 51-year-old did admit prepping for an opponent who’s played fewer contests is an easier task than studying one with a full schedule.

“You can still get a feel, plus obviously you’re going to study their games this year,” Swinney said. “That’ll be a quick study for us. There were only six, so that’ll be a little easier. Typically you’re going into these games, you’ve got 13 games to study, so it won’t be as daunting of a task there.

“They’re going to have to study 11 games,” he continued. “You’ve gotta study every play – offense, defense, special teams … plus you’re going back to last year. So it does make it a little easier (for us) because there’s not much tape to pore through.”

The committee ranked Clemson No. 2 in the final CFP standings after the team defeated Notre Dame for the ACC title on Saturday. Swinney’s squad beat the Buckeyes in last year’s semifinal but lost to LSU in the National Championship Game.

ARMY REPLACES TENNESSEE IN BOWL GAME

Army went from left out of the bowls to replacing Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl on Monday night, hours after the Volunteers withdrew because of COVID-19 test results.

The Black Knights, who had been committed to the Independence Bowl since October before the game was called off, will now play West Virginia in Memphis, Tennessee, on Dec. 31.

“We went from being in tears this evening to just being elated,” Army coach Jeff Monken said. “Our guys, when I announced it to them, they were thrilled and excited. It just couldn’t have worked out better. Sometimes, things don’t work out like you want them to, but somehow, some way, they work out a different way. It almost seems like it’s just even better. We’re just humbled that so many people have latched onto this and felt so strongly about our team having an opportunity.”

The Black Knights (9-2) were left without a bowl Sunday night when the Independence Bowl, scheduled for Dec. 26 in Louisiana, was called off without an available opponent.

A spot in the Liberty Bowl became available Monday when Tennessee became the first team to back out since bowl berths were announced. The Volunteers ended their season after receiving the results of Sunday’s COVID-19 testing.

“The test results revealed an increase in positive cases among student-athletes and staff and subsequent contact tracing,” Tennessee said in a statement. “The decision was made in consultation with health officials, the Southeastern Conference and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.”

In other bowl news Monday, No. 17 Iowa said it was pausing football activities for at least five days because of an increase in positive COVID-19 cases but still hopes to play in the Music City Bowl in Nashville on Dec. 30. The Hawkeyes (6-2) are scheduled to face Missouri (5-5).

The change to its Liberty Bowl opponent was no problem for West Virginia (5-4). The game will be the first between the teams since 1961.

PANTHERS PART WITH GM

The Carolina Panthers have parted ways with general manager Marty Hurney after four seasons, they announced Monday.

Hurney’s contract initially ran through June 2021. The longtime executive was on his second stint as Panthers GM, having previously filled the role from 2002-2012.

As Carolina prepares for a second straight offseason with significant roster changes, owner David Tepper and Hurney met to discuss the future structure of the team’s football operations. The two had different ideas.

“I think sometimes you just need a restart, a refresh,” Tepper said in a statement. “We did it last year on the coaching side. Maybe you could say it should have been done before on the GM side. Maybe it should have been. I’m sure people may say that, or otherwise, on both sides.

“I think it’s just time, on both sides, to do that. It just seems like the right time to move forward.”

Hurney re-joined the Panthers in 2017 following Dave Gettleman’s firing. However, the team has struggled to the tune of a 16-30 record over the last three years.

Despite the subpar record, his recent draft standouts include D.J. Moore, Brian Burns, and Jeremy Chinn.

Hurney will be a candidate to join the Washington Football Team if the franchise opens up its general manager position alongside former Panthers coach Ron Rivera, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

Carolina will begin the search for his replacement immediately and involve head coach Matt Rhule in the hiring process.

The Panthers are the fifth NFL team to create a GM vacancy this season, joining the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans, Atlanta Falcons, and Detroit Lions.

CHIEFS LOSE RB

The Kansas City Chiefs expect running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to miss the remainder of the regular season after suffering a hip and ankle injury Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, a source told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Edwards-Helaire could return in time for the playoffs, Rapoport adds.

X-rays came back negative following Kansas City’s win, and the team will know more once the rookie undergoes an MRI.

Edwards-Helaire suffered the injury when he was tangled up with several players during a run. He looked to be in significant pain and was immediately taken to the locker room.

The 2020 first-round pick is averaging 4.4 yards per carry with 36 receptions and five total touchdowns this season. Le’Veon Bell will presumably take over the lead-back role if Edwards-Helaire misses time.

Andy Reid’s squad currently sits at 13-1 and will receive a first-round bye if it finishes atop the AFC standings.

NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL

Hayes Named Semifinalist for Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — University of Notre Dame defensive lineman Daelin Hayes has been named a semifinalist for the 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award. The award recognizes college football student-athletes each season from all divisions of college football for overcoming injury or illness. Hayes is one of 14 semifinalists. 

The graduate student returned to the college football field after a season-ending injury suffered as a senior. He dislocated his shoulder, on which he had endured two previous surgeries in high school. With significant damage to the labrum, joint capsule and bone, Hayes required surgery and began the rehab process. 

Even with a significantly-altered spring semester due to COVID-19, Hayes persevered through rehabilitation and followed through on a home exercise and training program to return healthy in the fall. With a now changed view of his 2020 plans, he took advantage of a medical redshirt opportunity to return to the field. 

Upon his return, Hayes was named a team captain, and is a key leader on the Irish defense. After clinching an undefeated regular season, the Irish earned a spot in the College Football Playoff. One of the top units in the country, Notre Dame’s defense ranks sixth in the FBS in third-down defense (29.4 percent), seventh in fumbles recovered (10), 15th in rushing defense (110.5 yards allowed per game), 14th in scoring defense (18.6 points allowed per game) and 14th in team TFL (7.8 per game). 

On the day he was named a team captain, Hayes spoke to the media and was asked about his injury and recovery. 

“I was playing my best ball that I had up to [that point in] my career. Two weeks later, I ended up being hurt, but I was fine. … I knew I had another opportunity to come back to be with my brothers. I felt one thing that I had stuck in my head last year, and I was kind of disappointed about, was that I felt that I had more to give to this University and to this team. I felt like I had a lot more in the tank from a leadership aspect, from a player aspect, from a student aspect, just being involved in our community of Notre Dame. 

“In the community itself, I just felt like there was so much more left on the table for me to give, and sure enough, God gave me another opportunity, another year to come back, to be involved in the community, to stand up for what is right. Our team stood for social justice, and we continue to stand for that, being involved in our community, being involved with countless organizations throughout campus.”

Through his recovery and return process, Hayes also emerged as a staunch advocate for racial and social justice, in addition to his long-tenured emphasis on serving his local community. He organized and spoke at Notre Dame Football’s Juneteenth Rally, also serving as a national voice on the subject to media and fans. In addition, he has served in South Bend for a host of organizations, including helping often at the Robinson Community Learning Center. For his efforts, he received the Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award and is a finalist for the Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year award. 

NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL

Irish Offensive Line Tabbed as Finalist for Joe Moore Award

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame offensive line unit has been selected as a finalist for the Joe Moore Award, a distinction that annually honors the “toughest, most physical offensive line in the country.” Notre Dame won the award in 2017, and the Irish were semifinalists in 2018. The Notre Dame unit joins a group of three finalists. 

The Fighting Irish lead the ACC and rank eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time. Behind its powerful offensive line, Notre Dame won the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.

On the game’s biggest downs, the Notre Dame offensive line shines its brightest, helping move the chains at a high level on third down. The Irish lead the ACC and rank ninth in the FBS in third down conversion percentage with a remarkable 49.3 success rate.

Four different Notre Dame offensive lineman have been rewarded for their stellar play by picking up ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors (RT Robert Hainsey, LT Liam Eichenberg, RG Aaron Banks, LG Tommy Kraemer), while left tackle Liam Eichenberg has been honored twice. Out of 10 regular season games, the Irish offensive line has been honored following five games. In addition to his two ACC weekly honors, Eichenberg has been named a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy, while right tackle Robert Hainsey is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award.

The Notre Dame offensive line has paved the way for a 1,000 yard rusher in redshirt freshman Kyren Williams, who has collected 1,061 rushing yards through 11 games. Additionally, Notre Dame had two other players rush for 400+ yards in freshman running back Chris Tyree with 480 yards and graduate student quarterback Ian Book with 430 yards. As a unit, the Irish rank third in the ACC and 21st nationally in rushing offense (217.6 ypg).

The Irish offensive line has managed to stay a cohesive unit despite losing Preseason All-ACC First Team, Outland Watch List and Rimington Award Watch List honoree center Jarrett Patterson for the final three games of the season. 

NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL

Kelly, Owusu-Koramoah Claim AP Conference Honors, Irish Selected to AP Conference Teams

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — In its first year as part of a conference, Notre Dame racked up two conference honors and nine All-ACC team selections from the Associated Press, released Monday. Dick Corbett Head Football Coach Brian Kelly was voted AP ACC Coach of the Year, while linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah was named AP ACC Defensive Player of the Year. 

On the first team, tackle Liam Eichenberg and guards Aaron Banks and Tommy Kraemer earned nods on the offense, while Owusu-Koramoah and safety Kyle Hamilton earned slots on defense. On the second team, running back Kyren Williams claimed a spot, along with tackle Robert Hainsey and center Jarrett Patterson on offense, joined by cornerback Nick McCloud on defense. 

Coach of the Year – Brian Kelly

The winningest active coach in FBS (273ˆ wins), Kelly is the first Notre Dame coach to notch six seasons of at least 10 wins in Irish history. In his 11th season at Notre Dame, Kelly has guided the Irish to the College Football Playoff in two of the last three seasons. With 102ˆ wins at Notre Dame, he ranks second all-time among Irish head coaches, trailing only Knute Rockne’s 105. In addition, he joins Knute Rockne (13), Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian and Lou Holtz (11) as the only Notre Dame coaches to spend 10 or more seasons on the Irish sidelines. Kelly is the only three-time winner of the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award (’09, ’12, ’18).

Defensive Player of the Year / First Team LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

The 2020 Butkus Award winner, Owusu-Koramoah is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the nation. Also a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy and semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy, the senior has totaled 56 tackles (38 solo), 11.0 TFL, 1.5 sacks, one interception, three PBU, two FR and three FF on the season.

First Team

Liam Eichenberg

Totaling 38-consecutive starts on his career, Eichenberg has been tabbed as one of the best linemen in the country, being named a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy and twice named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week. He is a member of an offensive line unit that has been named a finalist for the 2020 Joe Moore Award. 

Aaron Banks

Banks has racked up 30-career starts and was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance vs. Clemson (11/7). Selected to the preseason All-ACC Team, Banks is part of an offensive line that leads the ACC and ranks eighth in the FBS in time of possession, controlling the ball for 33:57 minutes of game time and winning the time of possession battle in 10-of-11 games this season. The 33:57 time of possession average leads the ACC by more than two minutes per game.

Tommy Kraemer

Returning to the field in 2020 after a season-ending injury in 2019, Kraemer has totaled 38-career starts and has produced at a high level, even after missing a game due to injury. Named ACC Offensive LIneman of the Week at Boston College, Kraemer is a member of a unit that helps move the chains at a high level on third down. The Irish lead the ACC and rank ninth in the FBS in third down conversion percentage with a remarkable 49.3 success rate.

Kyle Hamilton

A Bednarik Award semifinalist, sophomore Kyle Hamilton ties for the lead on the Irish defense with 56 tackles (45 solo) in 2020. Along with a 14-yard interception vs. Clemson in the ACC Championship, he has posted five PBUs, 3.5 TFL and two QB hits.

Second Team

Kyren Williams

A semifinalist for the Doak Walker Award, redshirt freshman Kyren Williams has taken college football by storm, reaching the 1,000 rushing yard mark in the regular season finale vs. Syracuse. He has received an ACC weekly honor five times out of ten possible games this season. He currently totals 1,061 yards and 12 touchdowns, adding 27 receptions for 282 yards, in 2020. 

Robert Hainsey

Robert Hainsey, a mainstay on the Irish O-Line, is a team captain and finalist for the Senior CLASS Award. He was named ACC co-Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance vs. South Florida, and has totaled 33-career starts. Also returning from a season-ending injury in 2019, Hainsey is a member of a line that has paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in Williams, and two additional players who have totaled more than 400 rushing yards on the season (RB Chris Tyree  – 480, QB Ian Book – 430). 

Jarrett Patterson

Center Jarrett Patterson, a member of both the Outland and Rimington Trophy Watch Lists, earned a second-team nod after only being able to play in eight games this season. Sidelined due to injury, Patterson’s performance in those eight games was impressive, and he finishes 2020 with 21-career starts under his belt. 

Nick McCloud 

A graduate transfer, Nick McCloud quickly became a consistent presence for Notre Dame’s starting defense. Named to the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for his performance at Pitt, McCloud has totaled a team-leading eight PBUs, as well as 29 tackles (22 solo), 2.0 TFL, one interception and a fumble recovery. 

NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL

Owusu-Koramoah Wins Butkus Award for Nation’s Top Linebacker

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — Capping a senior season as one of the best defensive players in the nation, Notre Dame senior linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has won the 2020 Butkus Award, which honors the top linebacker in college football. He joins a rich tradition of high-level linebacker play at Notre Dame over the last decade, with Manti Te’o (2012) and Jaylon Smith (2015) also being named Butkus Award winners in their time under the Dome. 

A preseason All-ACC selection, Owusu-Koramoah has totaled 56 tackles in 2020, which leads the Irish, also leading the team with 11.0 tackles-for-loss. He has been responsible for forcing multiple turnovers, including an interception, two fumble recoveries (one returned for a touchdown) and three forced fumbles this season. He has added three PBU.

Against Syracuse, Owusu-Koramoah noted five tackles, 0.5 TFL, one FF, one FR and two pass breakups. He forced a fumble on the opening drive of the first half for his third forced fumble of the season (fifth of his career). He recovered another fumble, forced by the Irish, for his second FR of the season and fourth of his career, which led to a Notre Dame touchdown drive.

His first-career interception came at Pitt, setting up a Notre Dame touchdown drive. In the win over then-No. 1 Clemson, Owusu-Koramoah posted nine tackles (seven solo), 0.5 sack, 2.0 TFL, one forced fumble and the fumble recovery touchdown, which was the first score of his career. Three plays later, he forced a Clemson fumble, which was also recovered by the Irish. For his performance, he was named player of the week for the Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award, and ACC Linebacker of the Week. 

Owusu-Koramoah ranks ninth among all FBS players with two fumble recoveries this season. He ranks tied for fifth among all ACC players in forced fumbles (0.3 per game).

To add to his resume, Owusu-Koramoah is also finalist for the Nagurski Trophy and semifinalist for the Bednarik Award and Lott IMPACT Trophy. 

PURDUE RETURNS TO ACTION AGAINST IOWA

Purdue Returns to Big Ten Play at No. 4 Iowa

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue men’s basketball enters Big Ten play on a high note and looks to keep momentum going as it travels to No. 4-ranked Iowa to kick off a grueling stretch for the Boilermakers. Tip is scheduled Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET, on the Big Ten Network from Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

Purdue enters one of the most-difficult stretches for any team in college basketball on Tuesday night. Five of Purdue’s next seven games are on the road against teams ranked Nos. 4, 11, 18 and No. 12 and a team that is receiving votes that is considered a fierce rival. The matchup with Iowa on Tuesday marks the highest-ranked opponent for Purdue in a road game since Feb. 10, 2018, at No. 4-ranked Michigan State.

THE MAIN TALKING POINTS

1) A win over Iowa would give Purdue its longest winning streak (4) since Feb. 16 to March 2, 2019 (5 games).

2) Head coach Matt Painter won his 50th game against a nationally-ranked team last Wednesday against Ohio State. He is 50-83 against ranked teams, including a 20-19 record since the start of the 2016-17 season. Of his 50 wins against ranked teams, 20 have come in the last 4+ seasons.

3) According to KenPom.com, Purdue ranks 306th in experience (1.09 years). Indiana is the next least-experienced team in the Big Ten (1.29).

4) In its six wins, Purdue is shooting 50.1 percent from the field and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.51 (118 / 78). In its two losses, Purdue is shooting just 39.8 percent from the field, has attempted 21 free throws and has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.61 (22 / 36).

5) Purdue’s junior class is averaging 54.3 points per game over the last three contests, accounting for 69.4 percent of Purdue’s scoring.

6) Trevion Williams is averaging 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game over the last three games, shooting 26-of-42 (.619) from the field.

7) Mason Gillis was named the Big Ten’s freshman of the week (9.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 7-7 FGs, 2-2 3Ps, 2-2 FTs).

8) In the first four weeks of the season, Purdue has had two different players earn Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors (Nov. 30 – Zach Edey). It marks just the second time ever that Purdue has had two different players earn FOW honors (2012-13; Rapheal Davis, A.J. Hammons).

9) Purdue is 33-7 (.825) in the month of December since the 2015-16 season.

10) Purdue is 44-1 since the start of the 2017-18 season when shooting at least 48 percent from the field (Virginia; 2019 Elite Eight).

11) Purdue has won 102 straight games when scoring at least 90 points, spanning over 33 years (last loss: Nov. 24, 1987, to Iowa State).

12) Sasha Stefanovic has made at least four 3-pointers 10 times during his career. Purdue is 8-2 when he reaches that mark.

13) When Eric Hunter Jr. leads the team in assists during his career, Purdue is 12-3; when Aaron Wheeler scores 10+ points, Purdue is 9-1.

THIS WEEK IN MEN’S BIG 10 BASKETBALL

• The 22nd annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge concluded on Saturday, Dec. 19, with a rescheduled matchup between then-No. 12/No. 12 Wisconsin and then-No. 23/No. 22 Louisville. The Badgers defeated the Cardinals 85-48 to clinch the Challenge for the Big Ten, which finished with a 7-5 advantage over the ACC. The Big Ten has now won the Challenge for the second year in a row, marking the first time since 2014-15 that the Big Ten has defeated the ACC in back-to-back years. Last year, the Big Ten registered an overall record of 8-6 against the ACC.

• Indiana and Purdue participated in the 10th annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 19. The Classic brings together four Indiana basketball programs — Butler, Indiana, Notre Dame and Purdue — in an annual battle for Hoosier State basketball supremacy. Indiana defeated Butler 68-60 and Purdue finished the day with an 88-78 victory over Notre Dame. Indiana won its fourth straight Classic contest and now boasts the best all-time Crossroads Classic record at 7-3. In addition to defeating Notre Dame, Purdue opened Big Ten Conference play last week with a 67-60 win vs. then-No.20/No. 19 Ohio State.

• No. 23/No.20 Ohio State wrapped up its non-conference slate on Saturday, Dec. 19, with a 77-70 win over UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic played at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland.

• Northwestern finished last week 2-0 and defeated then-No. 4/No. 4 Michigan State 79-65, marking the Wildcats’ first win over an Associated Press Top-5 team since Jan. 27, 1979 and its first win over an AP Top-10 team since Feb. 12, 2017. Northwestern is currently averaging 90.4 points per game, which is the second-highest scoring average in program history and ranks 14th in the NCAA. Sophomore G Boo Buie, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week, led the Wildcats with a career-high 30 points, including a career-high-tying five 3-point field goals. Buie’s 30 points are the most scored by a Wildcat in a single game since Scottie Lindsey scored 32 on Feb. 25, 2018 against Iowa.

• No. 11/No. 12 Rutgers  improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the conference with wins at Maryland and vs. then-ranked No. 13/No. 13 Illinois. The Scarlet Knights’ 91-88 win over Illinois marked the first time that a ranked Rutgers team defeated a ranked opponent since March 6, 1976 (70-67 win over St. John’s). Rutgers’ 91 points set a new Scarlet Knights’ record for points scored in a non-overtime Big Ten contest.

• Christmas Day (Friday, Dec. 25) features a full slate of Big Ten men’s basketball contests with four matchups being aired throughout the day on FOX, FS1 and BTN. No. 9/No. 9 Wisconsin and No. 19/No. 19 Michigan State will face off in a marquee matchup that will be televised to a national audience on FOX at 12:30 p.m. ET. A full schedule of games can be found above.

• The Big Ten currently boasts a 68-14 record (.829 pct.) in non-conference play, marking the highest non-conference winning percentage by any conference in the NCAA. The Big Ten leads the following conferences in non-conference winning percentage: Big 12 (47-12, .797), Big East (38-13, .745), AAC (37-13, .740), SEC (55-20, .733), SoCon (52-20, .722), ACC (53-21, .716), WCC (48-20, .706) and Pac-12 (45-19, .703).

• Rutgers improved to 6-0 on the season and made the largest jump of all Big Ten teams moving from No. 19 to No. 11 in the AP poll and No. 17 to No. 12 in the USA TODAY coaches poll. Michigan, the conference’s second unbeaten team (6-0), jumped from No. 25 to No. 19 (AP) and No. 24 to No. 19 (USA TODAY). The Big Ten boasts seven teams in both polls, while an additional four teams received votes in either one or both of the polls. The Big Ten’s seven ranked teams are the most in both polls and are ahead of the ACC (five/four) and Big 12 (five/five).

BUTLER LOSES TO SOUTHERN ILLINOIS

Hot-Shooting Southern Illinois Knocks Off @ButlerMBB, 76-73 

Butler was able to climb back within a single possession after being down by 18 points in the second half, but the Bulldogs’ three-point attempt at the final horn was off the mark as Southern Illinois came away with a 76-73 win over Butler Monday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse. 

Southern Illinois improves to 6-0 and ends Butler’s streak of 59 consecutive home wins against non-conference opponents, which was the nation’s longest current streak entering tonight. 

“We had better poise in the second half and I’m really proud of the fight to get it back to a one-possession game there at the end,” said Butler coach LaVall Jordan. “It was an uphill battle in the second half against a good opponent that is well-coached. Our young guys are learning in the game, and we’ll be better for it. But tonight it wasn’t enough. Give SIU a ton of credit; they were the better team tonight.” 

Freshman Chuck Harris led the Bulldogs with a career-best 22 points and six assists. Nineteen of those points came in the second half as Butler chipped away at that 18-point deficit.

However, the hole was too deep as SIU’s Marcus Domask (26) and Trent Brown (21) combined for 47 points on 18-of-29 shooting. 

Butler jumped out to an early 19-11 run by making seven of their first 10 attempts from the field. As the Bulldogs’ shooting cooled, SIU heated up as they went on a 26-2 run to take a 37-21 lead with 1:55 remaining in the first half. Brown’s three-pointer with 15:48 remaining in the contest gave SIU its largest lead at 51-33. Harris was still at three points at that time, but he keyed the comeback. 

Harris’s 20th point cut SIU’s lead to 60-55 with 6:51 to play, but the Salukis followed that with five straight points. Bryce Nze’s putback off his own missed free throw pulled Butler within 67-63 with 3:04 remaining, but SIU responded with a four-point play. SIU was able to push back on every Butler run throughout the night. 

Despite all that, a driving lay-up by Bryce Golden cut the lead to 76-73 with only six seconds remaining. SIU was called for a travel on the ensuing in-bounds pass. Without a timeout, Butler in-bounded the ball to the top of the key, but JaKobe Coles was unable to get a clean look and his double-pump three-point attempt bounced off the rim and took away the opportunity at overtime. 

SIU shot 55 percent for the game, including 9-of-19 from three-point range. 

Butler shot 59 percent in the second half, scoring 49 points after intermission, and shot 46 percent for the game. Harris led four Bulldogs in double figures. Golden had 17 points and tied a career-high with nine rebounds. Nze posted his first double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds. He added five assists. Myles Tate had 12 points. 

Monday’s match-up was solidified on Thursday night, replacing a hole in the schedule that originally was slated for DePaul, which had lingering COVID-19 issues. This is the third game among a stretch of four games in eight days for the Bulldogs. 

Butler finishes off pre-holidays action Wednesday night, hosting Providence.

BIG 10 MEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Northwestern and Purdue Earn Weekly Men’s Basketball Honors

Northwestern’s Boo Buie named Player of the Week;

Purdue’s Mason Gillis named Freshman of the Week

Player of the Week

Boo Buie, Northwestern
G – So. – 6-2 – Albany, N.Y. – Gould Academy (Maine) – Major: Undecided

  • Averaged 22.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in Northwestern’s wins over Quincy and then-No. 4/No. 4 Michigan State.
  • Scored a career-high 30 points while shooting 9-for-15 from the field (.600 pct.), including 5-for-6 (.833 pct.) from three-point range. Also sank 7-of-8 free throws (.875 pct.), while adding four assists and three rebounds. Buie’s five three-pointers in the contest tied his single-game career high.
  • Buie’s performance against Michigan State helped Northwestern capture its first win over an Associated Press Top-5 team since Jan. 27, 1979, and its first win over an AP Top-10 team since Feb. 12, 2017.
  • Earns the first Player of the Week accolade of his career
  • Last Northwestern Player of the Week: Scottie Lindsey (Jan. 16, 2017)

Freshman of the Week

Mason Gillis, Purdue

F – 6-6 – New Castle, Ind. – New Castle (Ind.) – Major: Organizational Leadership

  • Averaged 9.0 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in wins over then-ranked No. 20/No. 19 Ohio State and Notre Dame. Was perfect on the week, shooting 7-for-7 (1.000 pct.) from the field, including two three-pointers (1.000 pct.), and 2-for-2 from the free throw line (1.000 pct.).
  • Recorded career highs in points (12) and rebounds (nine) during Purdue’s 88-78 win over Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic played at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Finished the contest 4-for-4 from the field (1.000 pct.), including two three-pointers, and 2-for-2 from the foul line (1.000 pct.).
  • Has connected on 10-straight field goal attempts spanning the last four games. The Boilermaker record for most consecutive field goals made is currently 15.
  • Earns the first Freshman of the Week accolade of his career
  • Last Purdue Freshman of the Week: Zach Edey (Nov. 11, 2020)

BALL STATE RETURNS TO ACTION TUESDAY AFTERNOON

(BALL STATE RELEASE)

It may seem early for an important conference game, but the Ball State men’s basketball team has a golden opportunity at Western Michigan Tuesday afternoon. A win would make the Cardinals 2-0 in the league with two road wins before the first of the new year. Western Michigan could also get out to a 2-0 league start. Tuesday’s contest is the last of the calendar year for both teams. 

Head coach James Whitford said he expects a tough, physical game and that the Cardinals need to go back to doing what they do well after a loss at Indiana State over the weekend. 

“We have to match their physicality and contain Titus Wright and Greg Lee. Their frontcourt has real size and real physicality,” the head coach said.

Whitford also talked about how each team has talented scorers in the backcourt. Ishmael El-Amin and K.J. Walton are combining for 36.2 points per game and their veteran presence have steadied the Cards early in the young season.

“Ish is very skilled. He’s also being asked to play point guard, where he’s having to be more of a playmaker and facilitator. That’s really helping our team. And K.J. is an unbelievable athlete, literally one of the best athletes in all of college basketball. No matter how hard you try, it’s hard to keep him away from the rim.”

Western Michigan has B. Artis White at guard, who leads the team with 14.5 points per game. “B. Artis White is a really good player who has made a big jump this year in his efficiency,” Whitford said.

Ball State fans need to remember Tuesday’s game is a 2 p.m. tip and can be seen on ESPN3 and heard on the 96.7 and 104.9 FM. 

The Starting 5  –  The Top 5 Storylines For This Game

 
1. A KEY CONFERENCE GAME … IN DECEMBER
It’s not often teams have a conference game in December with the added importance that Tuesday’s game will carry. Ball State can put itself in prime standings position and would be the only team in the league with a 2-0 record and two road wins. After the holidays, Ball State plays its next two games at home against Ohio and Western Michigan.  WMU is also shooting for a 2-0 start, but with two home wins.

2. AMONG THE TOP SCORING DUOS IN THE LEAGUE
It was clear coming into the season Ball State’s strength would lie in its experienced backcourt – and that has been true. K.J. Walton and Ishmael El-Amin form the third-highest scoring duo in the conference with a combined 36.2 points per game. Akron’s Loren Jackson and Enrique Freeman combine for 37.3 points per game but Akron has only played three games. Walton has scored double figures in every game this season and 18+ points four times. El-Amin scored 20 points a week ago vs. Illinois State and had 22 in the overtime win at Northern Illinois. Walton and El-Amin together account for 51.2% of BSU’s scoring. 
3. CARDS AND BRONCOS – THE SERIES
Ball State and Western Michigan have played each other in basketball since 1932, when Branch McCracken coached the Cardinals to a 35-31 win over Western Michigan. The all-time series is exactly even with 67 wins on each side. The Cardinals have won three of the last four and six of the last 10 against WMU. Ball State is 7-4 against Western Michigan dating back to 2016, including a MAC tourney win in 2017. 
4. HIT THE HOLIDAYS ON A HIGH NOTE
Teams around the country always strive to win the last game before the holiday, assuming the team will have some sort of a break between games. The Cardinals won the last game before Christmas in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Last year, the Cardinals won a neutral-site game over Portland on Christmas Day as part of a four-game swing that saw the Cards go 2-2 and beat Georgia Tech. Following Tuesday’s game, Ball State won’t play again until January 2, a span of 11 days between games. 
5. NOT PLAYING WITH A FULL DECK OF CARDS
Ball State has been bitten by the injury bug in the preseason. Notably, 2020 MAC Freshman of the Year Jarron Coleman is out after having foot surgery in October. Transfer Reggie Jones, who scored 723 career points at Western Michigan and Tulsa, is also out with a lower body injury. Additionally, many players have missed practice time for various reasons in a very disjointed offseason.

IRISH HEAD TO SYRACUSE FOR FIRST ACC ROAD TRIP

NOTRE DAMEGAME DAY INFORMATION
DateTuesday, December 22, 2020
Time7:00 p.m. ET
Site:Carrier Dome
• Syracuse, NY
TV:ACC Network
• Jay Alter (play-by-play)
• Dan Bonner (analyst)


Radio:Notre Dame Basketball Radio Network
• Jack Nolan (play-by-play)
Available worldwide on und.com.

BY THE NUMBERS: IRISH at ORANGE

3Notre Dame has earned a victory in each of its last two visits to the Carrier Dome. The Irish will be going for three consecutive wins at Syracuse for the second time in school history (1986-1990-1992) and the first time in the Mike Brey era. 
10The Irish are 10th in the country in free throw percentage at .818. Trim the national list to teams that have played at least five games and Notre Dame is fifth in the country. The Irish are just head of Virginia (.813) for the ACC lead in free throw percentage.
11Points scored off the bench by junior Nikola Djogo vs. Purdue last Saturday. Still fighting the effects of a sprained ankle suffered in the season opener at Michigan State, Djogo hit three three-point field goals to hit double figures in a game for the first time since his career-high 21 points at Boston College on Feb. 2, 2019.
12Notre Dame is 12th in country in three-point field goal percentage at .411 – just ahead of Florida State at .410 for the ACC lead.
20Combined seconds remaining when the winning points were scored by Notre Dame in its last two visits to the Carrier Dome. Jan. 6, 2018, Rex Pflueger tipped in the game winning basket with two seconds remaining when an undermanned Irish team gutted out a 51-49 victory. The most recent visit by the Irish saw junior Prentiss Hubb hit two free throws to earn an 88-87 victory last January (see the ‘30’ note below).
21In his 21st season at Notre Dame (the longest tenure of any ND men’s basketball coach), Mike Brey also has the ninth-longest tenure of any Division I head coach. Brey will face three of the coaches with longer tenures than himself this season (Jim Boeheim, Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo). Greg Kampe, Bob McKillop, Fran O’Hanlon, Mark Few, Mike McConathy and James Jones make up the other coaches who have been at their current school longer than Mike Brey.
23A recent project by CBSSports.com ranked the ‘Greatest College Basketball Programs Ever’ with Notre Dame placing 23rd on the list and sixth in the ACC. Notre Dame will face eight of the teams ranked above them this year a total of nine times: No. 19 NC State, No. 14 Michigan State (0-1), No. 12 Ohio State (0-1), No. 11 Syracuse, No. 6 Louisville, No. 3 Duke (0-1, twice), No. 2 North Carolina, No. 1 Kentucky (1-0).
27Junior Trey Wertz, who transferred from Santa Clara during the offseason and was activated by a blanket waiver for all 2020 first-time Division I transfers on December 16, scoring 27 points in his first start for the Irish against Purdue last weekend.
30A throwback to the instant classic last season by the Irish and Orange in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 4, 2020. The teams combined for 30 3FGM (15 by each team), shot over 45% from the field, committed just 20 turnovers combined and saw the lead change hands 12 times. Notre Dame prevailed 88-87, the winning points provided by two free throws from junior Prentiss Hubb with 18 seconds remaining.
53Notre Dame and Syracuse will be meeting for the 53rd time on Tuesday evening. Syracuse leads the all-time series 30-22 and 14-11 in the Carrier Dome. The Irish are 9-18 against Syracuse in the Mike Brey era, which includes a 6-13 record against the Orange as BIG EAST Conference members. 
55Shooting percentage from the field (11-20, .550) and three-point range (6-11, .545) for guard Trey Wertz in his first two games in an Irish uniform.
1906Total victories in the history of Notre Dame men’s basketball, as the Irish became the eighth program to reach 1,900 victories in 2019-20 (Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Duke, Temple, Syracuse and UCLA have all reached that plateau). The Irish were 12th all-time in college basketball victories when Mike Brey took over the program in 2000-01 –  they have since passed Oregon State, Pennsylvania, St. John’s and Indiana on the all-time wins list into eighth place.

BIG 10 WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Player of the Week

Arella Guirantes, Rutgers

Sr. – G – Bellport, N.Y. – Bellport – Major: Global Sports Business (Master’s)

• Named the espnW National Player of the Week on Monday, the second consecutive week a Big Ten student-athlete has been selected for that award (following Iowa’s Caitlin Clark on Dec. 14)

• Averaged 27.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 2.3 blocks and 2.3 steals per game with two double-doubles last week as the Scarlet Knights won two of three games

• Scored a season-high 33 points (her third career 30-point game) while adding 10 rebounds and six assists in a Dec. 14 four-point loss to No. 14 Maryland

• Registered 25 points each in wins over Hampton (Dec. 18) and Sacred Heart (Sunday), along with 10 rebounds and a career-high four blocks in the SHU win, plus eight assists and a career-best five three-pointers in the victory against HU

• Earns the third Big Ten Player of the Week award of her career, and the first this season

• Last Rutgers Player of the Week: Arella Guirantes (Dec. 2, 2019)

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll

Mimi Collins, So., F, MD: Averaged 18.0 ppg. and 9.0 rpg. last week, scoring a career-high 22 points in a Dec. 14 win at Rutgers and adding her first career double-double (14 points/11 rebounds) in a victory over James Madison on Dec. 19

Veronica Burton, Jr., G, NU: Paced NU to a pair of conference wins, averaging 23.5 ppg., 6.5 apg. and 4.5 spg. with a .600 field-goal percentage, including a career-high 27 points and five steals in a Dec. 17 win at Purdue and a double-double (20 points/10 assists) in a Dec. 14 home victory against Minnesota

Sydney Hilliard, So., G, WIS: Had 25 points (10-17 FG), including four in overtime, along with a career-high nine assists and four rebounds on Sunday in the Badgers’ win over Valparaiso

Freshman of the Week

Diamond Johnson, Rutgers

Fr. – G – Philadelphia, Pa. – Neumann Goretti – Major: Undeclared

• Averaged 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game last week to help Rutgers earn wins in two of three outings

• Posted career highs of 21 points, eight rebounds and three steals in Sunday’s win over Sacred Heart

• Added 18 points and a career-best three steals in a Dec. 14 four-point loss to No. 14 Maryland

• Collects the first Freshman of the Week award of her career

• Last Rutgers Freshman of the Week: N/A (Johnson is the first Rutgers student-athlete named Big Ten Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week)

LARUSSA SENTENCED

An Arizona judge handed Tony La Russa a punishment of one day of jail time to be served at home, a fine of $1,383, and 20 hours community service after the Chicago White Sox manager pleaded guilty Monday to reckless driving, according to Jon Seidel and Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

The Hall of Famer was originally charged with driving under the influence in mid-November after an incident in February. He pleaded not guilty but reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in early December on misdemeanor reckless driving charges.

La Russa ran his vehicle into a curb on Feb. 24 in the Phoenix area, per court records. He was arrested following a sobriety test.

The 76-year-old’s lawyer, Lawrence Kazan, said his client has already completed alcohol counseling, according to Seidel.

“Mr. La Russa knows he made a mistake last February and deeply regrets it,” Kazan said, according to Schouwen. “He is embarrassed and concerned. He knows what he did was wrong. … He has always been a straightforward, sincere man who knows he alone brought this on himself.”

The White Sox hired La Russa as their new skipper in late October.

La Russa previously pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI charge in Florida in 2007.

WHERE IS SPRINGER HEADED?

The Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets appear to be engaged in a two-team race for free-agent outfielder George Springer, executives told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Other clubs are vying for Springer’s services, but none of them appear as interested as Toronto and New York, Passan adds.

The Mets are reportedly focused on acquiring the former Houston Astros outfielder, with the organization moving closer to deciding between him or pitcher Trevor Bauer about two weeks ago. Springer is also a preference of new Mets owner Steve Cohen.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, are hoping to add a “really good player” this offseason, according to general manager Ross Atkins. Springer is reportedly giving “serious thought” to playing for the young club full of budding stars like Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Springer, 31, is a three-time All-Star, who produced a .270/.361/.491 slash line with 174 home runs and 458 RBIs over seven campaigns in Houston.

The 2017 World Series MVP has also been a dynamic postseason performer throughout his career, hitting 19 homers and recording 38 RBIs in 63 playoff games.

NFL STANDINGS

American Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Buffalo Bills1030.7690.03593216-1-04-2-07-2-04-0-03 W
Miami Dolphins850.6152.03302454-3-04-2-05-4-02-2-01 L
New England Patriots670.4624.02772794-2-02-5-05-4-02-1-01 L
New York Jets0130.00010.01833930-7-00-6-00-10-00-5-013 L
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Kansas City Chiefs1210.9230.04032815-1-07-0-010-1-04-1-08 W
Las Vegas Raiders760.5385.03503912-4-05-2-05-4-03-1-01 L
Denver Broncos580.3857.02573472-4-03-4-04-5-01-3-01 W
Los Angeles Chargers490.3088.02973623-4-01-5-03-6-00-3-01 W
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
x-Pittsburgh Steelers1120.8460.03492376-1-05-1-08-1-04-0-02 L
Cleveland Browns940.6922.03483685-2-04-2-06-4-02-3-01 L
Baltimore Ravens850.6153.03632733-3-05-2-05-5-03-2-02 W
Cincinnati Bengals2101.1928.52443382-4-00-6-12-7-00-4-05 L
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Tennessee Titans940.6920.03903364-3-05-1-07-4-04-1-01 W
Indianapolis Colts940.6920.03723004-2-05-2-05-4-02-2-02 W
Houston Texans490.3085.02953592-4-02-5-03-6-02-2-02 L
Jacksonville Jaguars1120.0778.02613831-6-00-6-01-9-01-4-012 L
 
National Football Conference
East Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Washington Football Team670.4620.02872753-3-03-4-04-5-03-2-04 W
New York Giants580.3851.02382912-4-03-4-04-7-03-2-01 L
Philadelphia Eagles481.3461.52773283-3-11-5-04-5-02-2-01 W
Dallas Cowboys490.3082.02984002-4-02-5-03-6-01-3-01 W
 
West Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
Los Angeles Rams940.6920.03252465-1-04-3-08-2-02-2-02 W
Seattle Seahawks940.6920.03933246-1-03-3-06-3-02-2-01 W
Arizona Cardinals760.5382.03583033-3-04-3-05-4-02-2-01 W
San Francisco 49ers580.3854.03003111-6-04-2-03-6-02-2-02 L
 
North Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
xy-Green Bay Packers1030.7690.04103235-1-05-2-08-2-04-1-03 W
Minnesota Vikings670.4624.03333553-4-03-3-04-5-03-1-01 L
Chicago Bears670.4624.02822913-4-03-3-05-5-01-3-01 W
Detroit Lions580.3855.03103891-5-04-3-04-6-01-4-01 L
 
South Division
 WLTPctGBPFPAHomeRoadvs. Confvs. DivStreak
x-New Orleans Saints1030.7690.03682655-1-05-2-08-2-05-0-01 L
Tampa Bay Buccaneers850.6152.03702944-3-04-2-05-4-02-2-01 W
Atlanta Falcons490.3086.03283222-5-02-4-02-8-01-3-02 L
Carolina Panthers490.3086.03073322-5-02-4-03-6-01-4-02 L
 

X – Clinched Playoff Spot,  Y – Clinched Division,  Z – Clinched Home Field Advantage