These teams capitalized on nonconference opportunities

Giles just made his season debut Monday against Tennessee State after missing the Blue Devils’ first 11 games this season, while Smith has been soaring for the Wolfpack from the start.Wholesale NFL Jerseys


Allen had an opportunity to leave Duke after last season. Multiple NBA executives told ESPN that Allen would have been a first-round pick in the draft, but he decided to return to school for a variety of reasons. He said education was important, he wanted another opportunity to win a national title and he wanted a chance to play some point guard.

Graduate of BYUFollow on TwitterFacebookTwitterFacebook MessengerPinterestEmailcommentThe college basketball season is now 6 weeks old. Conference play starts next week for many, and the chance to pick up some key nonconference wins has come and gone. Several teams seem like a lock to make the NCAA tournament, while others have dug a hole so big that it may be impossible to make it up if they don't win their conference tournaments. The Sports Analytics Team at ESPN has two key rankings for Division I basketball teams. The Basketball Power Index (BPI) measures team strength and is used to project future performance. The other, Strength of Record (SOR) is essentially an all-encompassing résumé rating. Strength of Record describes how difficult it is for a team to achieve its current Win-Loss record given its schedule.Wholesale Miami Dolphins Jerseys

And Smith believes he has the knee injury to thank for it.

Allen spoke to ESPN at length before the season and expressed remorse about the two tripping incidents a year ago: one on Louisville's Ray Spalding on Feb. 8 and another on Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes on Feb. 25.

"I worry about him because, obviously, the impact it has had on him at a very, very deep level. A very, very deep level. And so that's very concerning to me. ... I've been in constant touch with Grayson in making sure he's OK, that we are taking steps."

But before Sitake moves on to planning for 2017, he'll likely give himself and his first-year staff a chance to enjoy this win. Maybe they'll do a bit of laundry too. Gatorade and mud stains are tough to get out of clothes.Miami Dolphins Jerseys

Offensively, the Cougars lose long-time quarterback Hill, Williams, wide receivers Nick Kurtz and Colby Pearson and left tackle Andrew Eide. It both opens up opportunities for young players and also leaves question marks as to what this offense will look like next season under Detmer, who will be in his second season as BYU's offensive coordinator.

"It's very big, especially when you're from the city, as a kid growing up watching that rivalry game," Snider said. "So it's big."

The jurisdictional hearing is uncommon, if not entirely unprecedented. North Carolina asked for the hearing to argue that the NCAA, which has long stayed out of the business of determining the worth of academic classwork, did not have the authority to punish a school based on the academic merits of its coursework.

The rivalry. The incessant trash talk coming from all sides. His desired revenge for last season's performance at Rupp Arena. How "big" it all NFL Jerseys

No one was more crucial in that respect than Snider. Pitino's team entered Wednesday night's game with the nation's stingiest per-possession defense relative to the opposition, per, yet another trademark Pitino batch of length and strength and tactical flexibility. But 11 games into the season, the Cardinals had struggled to shoot the ball, relying instead -- thanks to turnover-related caution and copious offensive rebounding -- on sheer shot volume.

"It's a learning experience," Krzyzewski told The Dan Patrick Show. "I'm going to use it as that, as a teaching moment. And a teaching moment does not stop by giving one game. Or maybe that's what it is. I don't know that right now.

The dance worked. Adebayo went flying in the wrong direction, Snider jutted past another defender, and by the time he was at the rim there were no Wildcats left to guard him.

Dec 22, 2016Dana O'NeilESPN Senior Writer Close College basketball reporter.

"I said, 'Look, guys, I don't know how many more Kentucky vs. Louisville games I have left.' I hope I coach five, seven, eight more of them. But you have to really enjoy it, because you are not going to experience this too much," Pitino said. "When you look at college basketball on the screen sometimes, you don't see this type of atmosphere. You have to really, really enjoy it. And they did tonight."

In the first 11 games, no Louisville player had managed to score 20 points.

Cardinals RB David Johnson nearing 100-yard record

Despite Arizona's playoff odds dipping to a microscopic one percent according to Football Outsiders' latest projections, there's something else for Cardinals fans to root for when the team takes on New Orleans on Sunday. Wholesale Miami Dolphins Jerseys

Running back David Johnson, the team's offensive bright spot amid a down year, needs one more game with 100 or more yards from scrimmage to break a record set by former Colts running back Edgerrin James for most consecutive games with triple-digit total yards. He also needs 255 receiving yards over three weeks to join the 1,000-1,000 club, which has only been done twice (Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig) in NFL history.

"That's elite company -- nobody," Bruce Arians said of the 100-yard-from-scrimmage record, via the team's official site. "That speaks for itself, really."

While this season has been difficult to swallow for Arians and the Cardinals, Johnson's incredible skill set signifies a bright future on the horizon. A running back with that type of skill set is a huge draw for potential free agents and, should Arizona need to go in this direction, an invaluable asset for a rookie quarterback. wholesale football jerseys

Johnson currently has 1,085 rushing yards and 11 rushing scores. He also has 69 catches for 745 yards and four touchdowns. He's third in the NFL in rushing yards and 35th in receiving yards. For perspective: He's essentially put up the same receiving statistics as DeSean Jackson and, in addition, is the third most productive running back in football.

Combined with Le'Veon Bell's resurgence and Ezekiel Elliott's emergence, we may very well be in the next Golden Age of running backs. That is something in itself worth rooting for.


Former NFL QB Erik Kramer recounts attempted suicide, inspirational recovery


Erik Kramer's life is nearly cheap jerseys back to normal nine months after surviving a suicide attempt.


The former NFL quarterback, who played for the Lions, Bears and Chargers from 1990-99, told his inspirational story of recovery in a Detroit Free Press feature that ran Sunday. In it, he detailed the lows that prompted the August 18 attempt on his own life and the support from family and former teammates who have since helped him reclaim it.


“It was going through my mind (before the attempt) how much I was going to miss Dillon (his son) and my sister and her kids, how much I was going to miss my friends,” Kramer said. “But at the same time, I was in a state of sort of — I don’t know what you call it. Maybe depression or some sort of pain where I was also looking forward to, um, to not having to deal with some of the pain.


"I also had reasoned and realized that there was going to be quite a bit of pain just over the suicide, and mourning because of that. So all that was sort of weighing on me a little bit.”


That night, Kramer was discovered in a Calabasas, Calif., hotel room with a gunshot wound that entered underneath his chin and exited the top of his skull. He was in a medically-induced coma for six weeks with a traumatic brain injury and doctors removed what Kramer estimated as “the front quarter” of the left side of his skull.


Kramer also underwent surgery, repairing his tongue and replacing a portion of his skull, and has spent time in two brain-rehabilitation clinics in the nine months since. He returned home for the first time last month where he has been playing golf and driving a vehicle, resumed dating his former girlfriend and no longer experiences suicidal thoughts, he said.


Kramer, 51, is best known as a former quarterback for the Lions. He was thrust into the lineup in 1991 after Rodney Peete injured his Achilles, and started the remaining eight games. He led the Lions to a 12-4 record and their first playoff victory since the 1950s en route to cheap NFL jerseys the NFC championship game.


He ended up losing the starting job years later and played with the Bears from 1994-98. His best season was in 1995 when he threw for 3,838 yards, 29 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He finished his career in San Diego in 1999.


After retiring from football, Kramer ended up working with FSN Detroit where he covered the Lions for a period of time.


Kramer said he had been suffering from depression since 1995, when he played for the Bears, and it intensified last summer following a series of personal wholesale NFL jerseys tragedies.


In October 2011, Kramer's eldest son, Griffen, died of a heroin overdose at 18. He lost his mother to uterine cancer in July 2012 and his father became terminally ill with esophageal cancer at the time of Kramer's suicide attempt. He died several weeks later while Kramer was still in the hospital.


Kramer said he sought help in June and confided in friends and former wholesale jerseys teammates, including ex-Lions quarterback Eric Hipple.


At the time of the suicide attempt, Kramer's ex-wife, Marshawn, told reporters she believed Kramer's "severe depression" could be traced to head trauma from his football career. But Kramer told the Free Press cheap NFL jerseys he was never diagnosed with a concussion in his career and, though he's not sure, does not attribute the wholesale NFL jerseys suicide attempt to football.


“I’ve thought about that often, but nothing really stands out as connecting football to the sort of feeling I’ve had with depression,” Kramer said. “It very well may be linked. It doesn’t feel like it to me.”


Bills GM Doug Whaley says he 'used a poor choice of words'


Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley issued a statement Wednesday, stating that he "used a poor choice of words" during a Tuesday morning radio interview in Carolina Panthers Jerseys which he questioned whether humans' bodies were designed to withstand playing the game of football.


"Clearly I used a poor choice of words in my comment yesterday morning," the statement read. "As a former player who has the utmost respect and love for the game, the point that I was trying to make is that football is a physical game and injuries Wholesale Buffalo Bills Jerseys are a part of it."


As part of a longer response to a question about whether Bills receiver Sammy Watkins is injury-prone, Whaley said during an interview on Buffalo radio station WGR 550, "This is the game of football. Injuries are Buffalo Bills Jerseys part of it. It's a violent game that I personally don't think humans are supposed to play."


Whaley backed off that comment Wednesday, lauding the benefits of playing football and the league's safety advances.


"Playing football no doubt is very physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging, and that is all part of what makes the game so compelling to play and watch," he said in the statement. "The game has more protection for players now than ever, thanks largely to the safety advancements and numerous rule changes made by our league and promoted to all levels of football.


"I believe our game continues to have a bright future and I hope that this statement provides clarity as to the intent of my earlier comment."


During his response on the radio interview Tuesday, Whaley disputed the idea that Watkins is injury-prone.


"If you look at his game log, he's only missed three games. So is he injury-prone? I Wholesale Chicago Bears Jerseys wouldn't say that. Are things going to come up with a guy like this? We hope that gets limited in the future," Whaley said, before stating his broader thoughts on football.


Watkins, who underwent surgery this offseason to repair a broken foot, was on crutches and his left foot was in a walking boot during practice Tuesday as the Bills continued their organized team activities.


"These are going Chicago Bears Jerseys to come up," Whaley said in reference to Watkins after stating his thoughts on the game. "We trust in our medical staff and we trust in each individual athlete to do what they have to do to get back on Wholesale Carolina Panthers Jerseys the field."


Watkins is expected to miss training camp and the preseason, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported, but Whaley said Tuesday that the team currently does not expect Watkins to miss regular-season action.


Haiti native Claudell Louis makes leap from rest-home staffer to NFL


Visions of future NFL grandeur aren't dancing in Claudell Louis' head as the 6-foot-5, 294-pound undrafted defensive lineman stands on the Wholesale Arizona Cardinals Jerseys edge of the Buffalo Bills' practice field Tuesday after his team's second organized team activity of the spring.


On a cloudless, 70-degree afternoon near Buffalo, his thoughts go back to a much darker day, perhaps the darkest in the history of his native Haiti: Jan. 12, 2010.


Just before 5 o'clock that evening, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the island nation to its core. Hospitals crumbled, homes were destroyed and by the time the more than 50 aftershocks ended, an estimated 100,000 people had died. The poorest country in the Americas, and one of the poorest in the world, was largely reduced to rubble.


After spending the first 12 years of his life with his father in Haiti and visiting his mother in the Miami area each summer, Louis and the rest of his immediate family moved to the United States in 2001. He graduated from Boynton Beach (Florida) Community High School, and by Jan. 12, 2010, Louis was working a wage job for a retirement home in the area when he first heard news of the devastation about 700 miles away in the Caribbean.


As Louis watched the initial reports emerge on television, he and his family tried to reach relatives in Haiti. No luck. The already-shoddy communications infrastructure of the country had been wrecked by the quake. When Louis was able to connect on the phone, all he heard was screaming from family members as he and his parents tried to ask what they could do to help.


Louis soon learned that an older cousin named Ralph was lucky to be alive. His cousin was in a school when the tremors began, and about "10 or 20 seconds" after Ralph escaped, the building completely collapsed. Family members of Louis' old friends from school and church lost their lives in the chaos of the quake, he recalled Tuesday.


And now, Louis wants to return to Haiti for the first time since he left the country 15 years ago.


"Hopefully soon," Louis, who speaks with a slight Creole accent, said Tuesday. "Because I want to. Because with the advantage from the NFL, you could start and help a lot of people back at home. Because that's the plan for me, to help back at home.


"I would probably start with an orphanage. Help all the little kids. Use myself as an example because I was born and raised in Haiti. Telling them that anything is possible. Because a lot of them, just a lot of kids in general just grow up and feel like they don't have hope. But I mean, Baltimore Ravens Jerseys hope is a powerful thing. You got to keep believing and keep pushing yourself to get better."


Louis knows what is possible with hope. His football career to this point has been nothing short of remarkable, if not accidental. In Haiti, the game was foreign to him. The NFL might be gaining popularity in that country these days, but in the 1990s, soccer and basketball dominated the sports landscape in Haiti.


Soccer was Louis' first love, and when he moved to Florida, he played the sport in middle school. But he soon grew too big for soccer, and so one of his older brothers suggested trying football. As a freshman in high school, Louis practiced with the junior varsity football team, but the learning curve was steep.


Forget Cover 2 defenses or zone-blocking schemes. Louis had to learn the game from the ground up, and that meant embarrassing moments around his teammates when he wasn't sure how many points a touchdown was worth or how to put on his Atlanta Falcons Jerseys shoulder pads.


Louis gave up football after one season in high school.


"I said, maybe I would try football later on," he recalled Tuesday. "Or maybe not."


He didn't try football again during high school, and after a year of soccer, he quit that, too. He wanted to focus on his grades, and that meant not participating in sports at all. With no prospects in athletics, Louis began working at the rest home after graduation while continuing to keep himself in shape.


Eventually, the idea of playing football again crossed Louis' mind. He found a training facility in Wellington, Florida, to learn the sport. After getting an up-close look at Louis, one of the trainers called his friend Alvin Amilcar, a Florida native who played at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, and later at UNLV. Amilcar referred Louis to Robert Dougherty, the head coach at COS.


By the fall of 2011, Louis Wholesale Baltimore Ravens Jerseys was in football pads again. Learning the game in the desert-like climate untouched by the urban sprawl of San Francisco or Los Angeles, Louis was a 41-hour drive away from his family in Florida and more than 3,000 miles from his original home in Haiti.


Louis' two years playing football at the junior college level caught the attention Wholesale Atlanta Falcons Jerseys of coaches at Fresno State, a Division I program about 50 miles north. Louis enrolled at the school in 2013, redshirted his first season and began to break through by Arizona Cardinals Jerseys the end of the 2014 season, making his first start for Fresno State in its Hawaii Bowl loss to Rice on Christmas Eve.


Last fall, Louis blossomed. He finished second on the team with 6.5 tackles for loss, got his first forced fumble and tallied five sacks. He was an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection, and NFL scouts took notice. Louis' coaches relayed the scouts' interest to him, but he couldn't believe it.


"They told me maybe I'd have a chance to play at the next level," Louis said Tuesday. "To be honest, with me not having a lot of background playing football, I didn't think that was possible."


Despite Louis' expectations, an opportunity to join an NFL roster was possible. The kid from Haiti who grew up playing soccer, stopped playing football after his freshman year of high school and worked in a retirement home to make ends meet made the improbable trip across the country to play junior college football. He climbed his way up the ladder at Fresno State, beat the odds and, on May 2, agreed to a professional contract with the Bills.


Louis faces yet another challenge in trying to crack the Bills' regular-season roster this summer. He conceded Tuesday he's still nervous sharing practice fields and meeting rooms with coach Rex Ryan and assistant defensive backs coach Ed Reed, two of the NFL's most well-known figures of the past decade.


But if there is anything to put the daunting task now facing Louis into perspective, it is his unlikely journey to simply reach this point.


"Everything I do, I try to stay in the moment," he said. "You never know what life is going to turn out to be or what life is going to give you. So just stay in the moment and make sure I seize each moment and each practice and get better. And then if it comes to fruition, then it comes to fruition. And if not, then go and do something else."


How does Eddie Lacy look? Ask Packers kicker Mason Crosby, like everyone else does


It is easily the question Mason Crosby has heard the most -- from friends, family, fans -- since the Green Bay Packers returned to work last month for their offseason program.


How does Eddie Lacy look?


The veteran Packers kicker certainly understands why so many people are curious about Lacy, especially after head coach Cheap Jerseys Wholesale, Save 60% Over 5 Items Mike McCarthy -- speaking in his end-of-season wrap-up news conference following the team’s overtime playoff loss to Arizona -- publicly chastised the running back for being overweight last season.


Lacy made a good first impression on teammates when he arrived for the offseason program on April 18, showing up 15-18 pounds lighter after altering his diet wholesale NFL jerseys and working out with P90X fitness guru Tony Horton. His first face-to-face with teammates confirmed what many had seen from wholesale jerseys photos on social media earlier in the spring.


According to Crosby, Lacy continues to impress the other players with his fitness and attitude.


“A lot of people ask about Eddie because he had the pictures [showing his weight loss], and Coach McCarthy, he never really says anything like he said about Eddie and his conditioning,” Crosby said Wednesday during cheap jerseys an appearance at North Hills Country Club to promote the 46th annual Vince Lombardi Golf cheap jerseys from China Classic, which raises money for the Lombardi Cancer Foundation.


“I think Eddie took it seriously and went to work. He’s going to be a vital part of our success this year, so we need him to be fit and be ready to play all downs and go hard out there.”


After back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons to start his career, Lacy finished last year with only 758 yards, although he still had his share of productive moments. He had three 100-yard performances over a four-game stretch, interrupted only by a benching for missing the team curfew before a game at Detroit.


The Packers are finishing up the second phase of their offseason program this week (individual player workouts) and will hit the practice field on Monday for the first of their organized team activity practices. That’ll be the first time Lacy’s teammates see him in an 11-on-11 setting, albeit only in helmets and shorts.


“Eddie looks great. He’s killing all the runs, working out hard,” Crosby said. “Obviously it’s going to be exciting to get back on the field. I know everyone’s looking forward to seeing [him]. That’s the big talk, ‘What’s Eddie going to look like? What’s Eddie he going to be like this next year?’ Just his presence, how he’s been around [the team], it feels like he’s where he needs to be and what he probably wants to be playing at coming into this year.”


Meanwhile, the other player inquiring minds want to know about –-- wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who has impressed teammates following surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered last August -- looks fabulous, Crosby said.


“It’s amazing how Jordy’s recovery has gone,” said Crosby, one of Nelson’s closest friends. “He leads the group running. It’s like he’s probably going to be better cheap NFL jerseys and stronger than ever. Just from appearances, just from our lifts and runs.”


Robert Griffin III tale is cautionary, but not for Eagles


Jason Reid's Undefeated piece about the decline ofRobert Griffin III is an excellent read in its own right. Reid's reporting is exhaustive and his analysis feels awfully close to being spot on.


But the piece is of special interest to Philadelphia Eagles fans for two reasons. First, it really does explain how the Eagles and the rest of the NFC East dodged what could have been a lethal bullet. While Griffin's decline is a source of frustration in Washington, elsewhere in the division it created a sense of relief.


If the guy who had dominated the NFC East in 2012 had been able to improve on his rookie performance each year, the Eagles, Giants and Cowboys would have been competing for wild-card berths for a decade.


But there's a second aspect of the story that is even more compelling to Eagles fans. Griffin's story has odd connections to the Eagles' own quarterback history.


Griffin was the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, just as Donovan McNabb had been in 1999. And like McNabb's tenure in Philadelphia, race played a significant role in the story, from the fans' perceptions of McNabb to the epic feud that erupted with Terrell Owens in 2005.


More recently, Griffin is seen as a cautionary tale for teams sacrificing multiple assets in order to draft one player. In this case, the Eagles duplicated Washington's 2012 maneuver, trading a total of five draft picks in order to move up to the No. 2 pick in the draft.


They used that pick on Carson Wentz, of course. Four years earlier, Washington gave up three first-round picks as part of a package to move up to No. 2 to select Griffin.


But Eagles fans can actually take solace in wholesale jerseys Reid's account of Griffin's tenure in Washington. Back in 2012, Reid writes, Washington owner Daniel Snyder was the driving force behind the trade for Griffin. Head coach Mike Shanahan had no choice but to make the best of wholesale NFL jerseys free shipping a situation he never would have created himself.


That's a huge difference in the wholesale NFL jerseys from China two stories. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie was clearly involved in the team's plan to trade up for Wentz. But it is just as clear that new coach Doug Pederson has been completely on board with that plan from the beginning. So was Howie Roseman, the executive vice president of football operations who executed the plan.


Shanahan's primary concern about Griffin was that the Heisman Trophy winner had run a spread offense at Baylor University. Griffin was wholesale jerseys from China used to taking the snap from the shotgun and operating a read-option offense. Shanahan tried to add Griffin-friendly elements to his offense, but it seems clear the coach saw the quarterback's inexperience as a major hurdle.


Things are completely different with Wentz. For one thing, the word on Wentz -- from Pederson and Roseman to ESPN analyst and QB aficionado Jon Gruden -- is that he ran an offense at North Dakota State that was very similar to an NFL scheme.


The level of competition Wentz faced at the FCS level is a legitimate concern, but Wentz is comfortable calling plays in the huddle, reading the defense and making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. He can also move with the ball. Wentz may not have Griffin's remarkable speed, but he is not human statue like some other successful NFL QBs.


Wentz has very little chance of wholesale NFL jerseys duplicating Griffin's rookie success, because the plan is for Wentz to remain on the sideline for at least this season. Pederson is following a very structured plan with Wentz, whereas it looked as if Shanahan was constantly improvising with Griffin in Washington.


Pederson's plan, of course, is based on Andy Reid's 1999 plan with McNabb. Like Pederson, Reid was very much on board with the team's decision to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the draft. The Eagles earned that spot by virtue of their 3-13 record in 1998. They didn't have to trade anything for it.


But Reid's investment in McNabb was complete. The coach would succeed or fail based on the quarterback's development, and he did everything he could to support McNabb.


At first glance, the situations all seem pretty similar -- quarterbacks selected No. 2 overall. But Reid's story takes a much deeper look at what happened with RG III in Washington. It may be a cautionary tale for someone, but it shouldn't be for the Eagles. They are doing things as differently as possible from the way things were done in Washington.