Plenty of Cinderellas are still alive in March Madness, plus grading the latest NFL blockbusters

Hello again everyone. Hope your Monday is off to a great start. It’s me, Shanna McCarriston, coming to your email inbox one more time before Pete takes back over.

As some of you may know, I am from Boston and our sports teams have let us down a little bit lately. I know it’s annoying when Bostonians complain about a lack of championships for a few years, because we have so many, but hey, being annoying is kind of our brand. 

I was excited this weekend to watch NWHL’s Boston Pride end the championship drought and bring another trophy to the city of champs. We all agree it had been too long, right? Well, if you’ve made it this far in the newsletter and didn’t close it out in anger over a Bostonian being obnoxious, congratulations, I promise to keep the Boston talk to a minimum after this as your reward.

We have a lot of sports news to get to, so let’s get started.


📰 What you need to know

1. Winners and losers from Sweet 16 games 🏀

It’s the most wonderful (and stressful) time of the year: March Madness. We had a full weekend of games, which means it’s time take a look at winners and losers beyond just the final scores and really break down the highs and lows of these teams during play.

Winner: Oregon State’s underdog story — Who doesn’t love a good underdog story? No. 12 seed Oregon State beat No. 8 seed Loyola Chicago 65-58 to continue their historic season. This makes six consecutive wins — all in elimination games. Not bad

Loser: Baylor’s brilliant 3-point shooting attack — Yes, Baylor won, but that doesn’t negate Saturday’s struggles from long range. The Bears boast the best 3-point shooting attack in men’s college basketball, but shot just 3-of-19 against Villanova. They’ll have to get back to their old ways as they begin to face more dominant teams

Winner: UCLA’s run continues — It took overtime, but No. 11 seed UCLA defeated No. 2 seed Alabama 88-78. The team was already writing an impressive story this tournament and this win is just another chapter to the now legendary tale

Loser: Creighton goes cold — No. 5 Creighton was facing the dominant No. 1 seed Gonzaga, but they were not once able to hold a lead. Can’t win if you can’t lead! The Bluejays got as close as three, but Gonzaga knows how to turn up the heat, and did so by going on a 16-8 run to make Creighton’s chance of winning slim.

2. Grading Friday’s NFL blockbuster deals 🏈


USATSI

NFL Draft trades always bring some surprises, and this year was no different. The Dolphins were aggressive and in return got themselves a huge haul of premium future draft picks.

Miami traded the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 Draft to San Francisco for the No. 12 overall pick, a 2022 first-round pick, a 2022 third-round pick, and a 2023 first-round pick. Miami then traded the No. 12 overall pick, a 2021 fourth rounder and a 2022 first-rounder to the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming draft and a fifth-round pick.

Catch all that?

All those numbers can get a bit overwhelming, so let’s dive in further and look at what grades these three teams earned with the deals and why.

  • Why the Dolphins get an A+: The Dolphins were smart. They took advantage of the needs of other teams, while accurately evaluating what they had. The first part was realizing these quarterback needy teams would give more for the No. 3 pick and with the Fins already having the pieces to their team they’d take with that early pick, it meant they could afford to give it away. It was a comprehensive, smart move by general manager Chris Grier

  • Why the 49ers get an A-: This also worked out for the San Francisco 49ers, who seem like they will soon move on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. They say he’s their guy right now, but with two years left on his contract and the possibility to save a lot of cap space if they part ways, it wouldn’t be surprising if he was gone soon, especially given what the team has seen from him. The 49ers now have a chance to take Zach Wilson, Justin Fields or Trey Lance and have their next guy at QB.

  • Why the Eagles get an B+: The Philadelphia Eagles are a bit more of a wild card, with their plan less obvious than the two others. The Eagles struggled last season, to say the least, but the draft capital gives the team the opportunity to build up around Jalen Hurts, giving him the weapons and protection to succeed.

Looking at all three teams, it’s hard to ignore the splash the Dolphins made (pun intended) and how smart it was in so many ways. They took advantage of when the market was just perfect for them, made the deal to the right teams and thought ahead. It’s hard not to choose them as the team I think got the best part of the deal.

3. Indiana hires Knicks assistant Mike Woodson to replace Archie Miller 🏀


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Mike Woodson is set to replace Archie Miller as Indiana’s men’s basketball head coach. Miller was fired after failing to reach the NCAA Tournament in his four years with the team. Woodson was hired off the New York Knicks bench, where he was an assistant to Tom Thibodeau.

Woodson has never coached college basketball, but his connection to this program run deep.

  • He didn’t just play for Indiana, he also scored over 2,000 points playing for legendary coach Bob Knight and is from the state
  • While the 63-year-old doesn’t have college coaching experience, he does have plenty of coaching on his resume. Woodson was the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2004 to 2010 and the Knicks from 2012 to 2014
  • Woodson’s NBA experience goes back to his playing days, spending over 10 years in the league

According to reports, the Hoosiers were also looking at Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann for the job.

4. What milestones could be hit in 2021 MLB season? ⚾


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After a 60-game season, we are getting a normal 162-game MLB season once again — and it’s only three days away. A shortened season meant a change in statistics and milestones couldn’t be reached as frequently as they normally are.

This season, many star players are inching towards major milestones. We could see historic moments from Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera, Max Scherzer and more. Let’s take a look at what they could do in 2021:

  • Albert Pujols: Pujols could be taking a swing this year (OK, sorry for all the puns today, but I can’t help it) at passing Alex Rodriguez to take over fifth place on the all-time home run list. In his 21st season, Pujols sits at 662 homers and needs 35 to pass A-Rod, who retired with 696 home runs. He also has the chance to move up on the all-time list in runs scored, RBI and is nearing 700 doubles. This could be a huge year for Pujols

  • Miguel Cabrera: The 500-homer club is exclusive, and this season, the 37-year-old Tigers veteran could earn a place in that group. He currently has 487 home runs, which is 30th all-time. If he gets 17 home runs this season, he would tie Eddy Murray for 27th all-time in that category

  • Max Scherzer: The Nationals pitcher needs 216 strikeouts to hit the 3,000-strikeout club. He currently has 2,784. This milestone is more than possible for the ace to hit, as he’s had at least 231 strikeouts in each of the last eight full MLB seasons (excluding 2020), and made at least 31 starts in all but one of them. He’s second in strikeouts among active players, but with top spot holder Justin Verlander likely to miss the 2021 season, Scherzer could move up to first.

I’m always looking for a local angle, so I’m personally rooting for former Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester to get his 200th win, which he needs just seven wins to achieve. He’s had 10-win seasons in every full season since 2013, so my money is on this being attainable.


📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch tonight


USATSI

NCAAM: No. 1 Baylor vs. No. 3 Arkansas, 9:57 p.m. | BU -7 | TV: CBS

NCAAM: No. 2 Houston vs. No. 12 Oregon State, 7:15 p.m. | UH -7.5 | TV: CBS

NCAAW: No. 1 UConn vs. No. 2 Baylor, 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN


🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday

Sixers guard Danny Green sent a jersey and a note to the 94-year-old woman who spent the pandemic studying the NBA and chose Green as her favorite Sixer.