Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE NFL COMBINE WINNERS
Aaron Donald is regarded as one of the greatest athletes to ever play on the defensive line, and with good reason. His 4.68-second 40-yard dash was the gold standard for players his size.
I say "was" because that all has changed.
Northwestern defensive end Adetomiwa Adebawore and Pitt defensive tackle Calijah Kancey posted 4.49- and 4.67-second 40-yard dashes, respectively, the two fastest times by any player weighing at least 280 pounds at the combine since 2000. Kancey set a defensive tackle record in the process, and, Adebawore, who came in at 282 pounds, was the fastest of any player over 270 since 2000, too.
Adebawore was one of the biggest winners of the day, also posting a 37.5-inch vertical jump and a 10-foot, 5-inch broad jump.
As for other things that stood out...
- Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith ran a faster 40 than Saquon Barkley and out-jumped DK Metcalf. Seems good!
- EDGE/DL winners, losers and measurements
- Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson impressed in interviews.
- Here's the latest on Jalen Carter.
- Stephen Curry could return Sunday against the Lakers.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo and Filip Forsberg joined the Nashville SC ownership group.
- Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic starred in a Mavericks win.
- The Bucks are leading candidates to sign Goran Dragic.
- The Jaguars plan to franchise tag Evan Engram.
- Mike Brey won his final home game at Notre Dame and celebrated accordingly.
And not such a good morning for...
THE ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
The ACC has a problem. Currently, it's a Florida State and Clemson-sized problem, buy it could grow.
The Seminoles and the Tigers are not happy with the league, specifically with the growing financial gap between the ACC and other conferences. Florida State athletic director Michael Alford even said "something has to change moving forward" for his program to compete for titles.
Unfortunately for now, the only thing changing is the SEC and Big Ten getting even further ahead, writes our Barrett Sallee. But what, exactly, can Florida State and Clemson -- and potentially other ACC powers -- do?
Our Dennis Dodd talked to Alford and examined the question.
- Dodd: "On the surface, FSU has no leverage. Below the surface, FSU has no leverage. You don't just tear up and redo a 10-figure contract with 13 years remaining ... Since Alford's comments last Friday, the reaction inside the ACC -- as well the college sports world at-large -- can be summed up by a comment from one veteran conference administrator: 'You don't air your laundry.'"
This was a fascinating look at things, and, ultimately, the answer to the question in bold above is "not much" -- for now.
Not so honorable mentions
- The Jaguars have a rat problem.
- Mike McCarthy's offensive ideology is bad.
- Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman and GM Eric DeCosta don't see eye-to-eye.
CBB recap: Michigan, Wisconsin miss chances to move off bubble; Davis falls short of breaking scoring record 🏀
Coming up just short seemed to be the theme of college basketball around the country on Thursday night.
- Michigan -- squarely on the bubble -- lost to Illinois, 91-87 in double overtime. The Wolverines rallied late to force overtime but then gave away a seven-point lead in overtime and couldn't pull it out in the second extra frame.
- Fellow bubble team Wisconsin gave No. 5 Purdue all it could handle before falling, 63-61.
- You can keep up with Jerry Palm's Bracketology here and our conference tournament tracker here.
Staying on the "oh so close" trend, Detroit Mercy star Antoine Davis scored 22 points in a 71-66 loss to Youngstown State in the Horizon League quarterfinals and now has 3,664 points for his career -- four short of breaking Pete Maravich's all-time Division I record. He missed a three pointer at the final buzzer that would have moved him in to a tie for the record. Davis' chase of the mark may not be over yet, though.
- At 14-19 this season, the Titans won't make the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.
- Their options, then, are likely the CBI or The Basketball Classic, two lower-level tournaments. If they choose to go that route/get selected, any points Davis score will go towards his overall career mark.
Lastly, and certainly not least, the great night of action was marred in part by a massive brawl between SIU Edwardsville and UT Martin.
NHL trade deadline latest: Bruins load up even more 🏒
The Bruins are on a historic pace, easily atop our NHL Power Rankings and... only getting better. Boston acquired winger Tyler Bertuzzi from the Red Wings for a 2024 protected first-round pick and a 2025 fourth-round pick.
After a career-high 62 points last season, Bertuzzi has struggled with injuries this year and played in just 29 games. But "when healthy, he's a tenacious forechecker with the ability to find the back of the net," writes our Austin Nivison. The Bruins also signed David Pastrnak to an eight-year, $90-million extension. Yeah, he's really good, and they're really good.
You can keep track of all of the major moves -- including the second Jonathan Quick trade in as many days -- with our tracker here. The trade deadline is 3 p.m. today.
Jon Jones set for long-awaited return to UFC, this time as a heavyweight 🥊
Jon Jones is back in the UFC, but he's also making a debut. The controversial star will fight in the heavyweight division for the first time in his career when he takes on Cyril Gane at UFC 285 on Saturday with the heavyweight title on the line.
It will be Jones' first fight in 37 months. He's 26-1-0 with one no contest in his UFC career, and he holds a plethora of records. He also has been stripped of his light heavyweight title three times for substance abuse, failed PED tests and had run-ins with the law -- most recently a 2021 domestic incident between Jones and the mother of his children.
Our Brian Campbell examined the convoluted feelings around Jones' return.
- Campbell: "Jones has long been 'Teflon Jon' from the standpoint of avoiding full derailment from the extended consequences of his actions. Whether that be in the form of getting the nod in close fights, avoiding career-ending sanctioning or surviving the court of public opinion, it has long felt like MMA fans have been willing to absolve Jones of scorn or refusal to financially support his fights in exchange for a shot at witnessing greatness. ... The presence of so much gray area surrounding his return and what critics should do with his legacy should he turn back time and return to the top of the pound-for-pound and G.O.A.T. rankings with a resounding win only complicates the process."
Here's more on what will be a fascinating Saturday night:
- Predictions and best bets
- Best fights to watch
- Reasons for concern for Jones' heavyweight debut
- Gane downplayed Jones' wrestling ability
- Jones-Gane isn't the only title fight; Valentina Shevchenko vs. Alexa Grasso has plenty of fire, too.
Alvin Kamara pleads not guilty to battery charges 🏈
Saints star running back Alvin Karama pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit battery and substantial bodily harm charges stemming from a 2022 incident at a Las Vegas nightclub.
Kamara was one of four defendants indicted in mid-February. Bengals cornerback Chris Lammons, another defendant, also pleaded not guilty.
- Kamara was arrested on February 6, 2022, shortly after playing in the Pro Bowl, for an incident the previous day. Darnell Greene told police he tried to enter an elevator with Kamara and others but Kamara stopped him. Moments later, Greene claims he was punched and kicked by multiple members of the group and lost consciousness.
- Greene also suffered an orbital fracture on his right eye. He is suing Kamara for $10 million in damages.
- A trial for the battery chargers is set for July 31.
What we're watching this weekend 📺
🏀 Here are the men's and women's conference tournament schedules.
⚽ Here's the Serie A schedule, with the action streaming on Paramount+.
🏀 Nets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Grizzlies at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 2 Alabama at No. 24 Texas A&M, Noon on CBS
🏒 Rangers at Bruins, 1 p.m. on ABC
🏀 No. 3 Kansas at No. 9 Texas, 4 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 25 Pittsburgh at No. 16 Miami, 6 p.m. on ACC Network
🏀 Duke at North Carolina, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 76ers at Bucks, 8:30 p.m. on ABC
🏀 No. 8 Arizona at No. 4 UCLA, 10 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 1 Houston at Memphis, Noon on CBS
🏀 Suns at Mavericks, 1 p.m. on ABC
🏒 Lightning at Hurricanes, 3 p.m. on TNT
🏀 Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on ABC
🏀 Grizzlies at Clippers, 10 p.m. on ABC