From Comcast SportsNetIndiana coach Tom Crean used an analogy to the state's second favorite sport after the Hoosiers remained No. 1 in The Associated Press' Top 25 for a second straight week.It had been over a month since a team managed to stay on top, and Indiana broke that trend despite losing a game last week, leading Crean to bring up auto racing."I had a good friend tell me that in-season rankings are the barometer of representing what lane you're in and the direction and how far you are moving towards your goals," Crean said Monday. "We want to stay in the left lane and keep working on our team and pace because we know there are quite a few others in the left lane as well."The Hoosiers (21-3) lost to Illinois on a last-second basket Thursday but rebounded with a win at then-No.10 Ohio State on Sunday. In a week when four of the top five teams and six of the top 10 lost, it was enough to keep the No. 1 ranking."They were really disappointed on Thursday night. And instead of carrying that disappointment into a woe is me' mentality, they really did trigger how to get better. And I think it was in the sense of closing games," Crean said."I think there was a different level, a sense of urgency because of the way we didn't finish it off, combined with the fact that we knew we were playing a team that it is outstanding."This ends a stretch of five consecutive weeks with a new No. 1, two weeks short of the longest such stretch in 1993-94. Duke started the run followed by Louisville, Duke again, Michigan and Indiana.The Hoosiers received 26 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel Monday, while Duke, the only member of the top five not to lose last week, moved up two spots to second after getting 20 first-place votes.The last time a No. 1 team lost and kept the ranking the next week was the final poll of last season. Kentucky fell to Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game, but Nos. 2-4 also went down that week, so the Wildcats were No. 1 heading into the NCAA tournament.Miami, which received 17 No. 1 votes, jumped from eighth to No. 3, the Hurricanes' highest ranking ever."I've never really thought that Miami could be a top 10 program," center Reggie Johnson said. "I didn't think we'd be here in February. It's surreal. The votes are cool, but we've still got work to do."The Hurricanes are the last team from a major conference to still be unbeaten in league play."It's what every program strives for," coach Jim Larranaga said. "Carolina and Duke have this every year. It's a little different for us. These guys are hungry. They remain very, very humble."Michigan dropped one spot to fourth, while Gonzaga, which got the other two first-place votes, moved up one spot to fifth.Syracuse was sixth, followed by Florida, Michigan State, Arizona and Kansas State.Along with Indiana and Ohio State, the other top 10 teams to lose last week were No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Michigan, No. 5 Kansas and No. 7 Arizona.There were four newcomers to the rankings: No. 20 Wisconsin, No. 22 Memphis, No. 24 Colorado State and No. 25 Kentucky.Wisconsin, Memphis and Kentucky, the defending national champion, were all ranked early in the season, while Colorado State makes it first appearance in the poll since March 9, 1954.They replace Creighton, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Missouri, the only one of the four not to lose two games last week.In all, 14 ranked teams lost at least once, with five losing twice.
GOLD STAR: Solid night’s work from Ryan Spooner, who finished with the OT game-winning strike and was solid throughout the game as the de facto No. 1 center. He had four shots on net, six generated shot attempts and won 12-of-19 face offs as he continues to improve in that area while training camp rolls along. Spooner is trying to hold onto the No. 3 center spot in the lineup despite the addition of David Backes via free agency, and Friday night’s big boy performance with speed, playmaking and skill showed exactly what his potential can be when he puts it all together. It was also a nice little bounce-back from an up-and-down game on Wednesday night against the same Detroit team when he struggled in the face off circle and was part of a team-wide malaise.
BLACK EYE: It wasn’t necessarily a bad night for Brian Ferlin, but it was more of the invisible variety with just a registered hit and one face-off taken in 13 minutes of ice time. The forward earned some NHL time with the Bruins a couple of years, has battled concussion woes over the last year plus and is trying to push his way back into the crowded forward picture during this training camp. While he certainly showed some toughness and skill around the net a couple of years and didn’t seem shy about going there on Friday night, the results just weren’t there and Ferlin didn’t have much of a presence in the game. In general it was a pretty decent performance for the Bruins, so Ferlin’s game was quiet more than problematic.
TURNING POINT: Credit the Bruins coaching staff for switching up the lines in the third period, and that sparked the offense a bit after zero goals through the first 40 minutes against Detroit. Zach Senyshyn was moved with Danton Heinen and Riley Nash, and they became a threat in the third period before Heinen broke through for the game-tying goal from his knees. That score allowed the B’s to push things into overtime, and then Spooner made it a quick extra session by snapping home a shot from the slot after a good effort from Joe Morrow down low. It all was made possible by the adjustment to the lines that took place between the second and the third periods.
HONORABLE MENTION: Joe Morrow is battling to hold onto his NHL roster spot with the Bruins, and that is absolutely underscored by the news that Christian Ehrhoff is being brought to Boston on a PTO. So it was expected that the young D-man would come out with something a little extra after a mediocre performance in his preseason debut, and the left shot D-man was an impact player in the win for the Black and Gold. Morrow dropped the gloves with young tough guy Givani Smith in the second period as part of a B’s group that played with a little bit of an edge on Friday night, and then he won a battle down low in overtime to set up the Ryan Spooner game-winner. Morrow had two hits, two shot attempts, the assist and the fight in 19:48 of ice time, and showed that he’s ready to battle in camp to hold onto his spot.
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 – the number of goals in two preseason games thus far for Danton Heinen, who scored important game-tying goals in both instances in the shootout loss to the Blue Jackets and Friday night’s overtime win against the Wings.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “The compete level, especially when he got down 4-0 [on Wednesday night], I don’t think it was high enough. So we talked about it, and we expect a better effort for sure.” –Ryan Spooner on Friday morning prior to going out and snatching the win away from the Red Wings in Detroit with an OT game-winner.
BOSTON -- First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-3 win over Toronto:
* What's left to say about David Ortiz?
Ortiz acknowledged before Friday's game that the pre-game ceremonies and the attendant fuss over his pending retirement have created a challenge for him. Sometimes, it's hard to go from being feted to trying to win a game.
Not that you would know it by Friday night.
In his first at-bat, he singled home the first run of the game. Two at-bats later, he lined a bullet that was right at Jose Bautista.
But he saved his best for the seventh when, after the Red Sox tied the game at 3-3, Ortiz promptly untied it with a laser down the line, landing in the right field seats.
One more clutch hit from Ortiz in a career full of them.
* Brock Holt's defense at third has stood out.
John Farrell is looking for someone to step up with the third base job, given that Travis Shaw is hitting under .200 since the All-Star break and Aaron Hill has had difficulty hitting righties.
Holt, meanwhile, has seized the job somewhat by default, with a .319 average in the last 24 games.
But since starting the last four games at third, Holt has also contributed with his glove.
On Friday night, Holt made a fine stop with his backhand, on the third base line, and fired to nail Devon Travis on a close play at first.
Later, he came on a slow roller to gun down Josh Donaldson out at first.
* The Red Sox have done a better job of late capitalizing on opponents' mistakes.
Last week in Baltimore, the Red Sox were handed a gift by the Orioles when a throwing error by Chris Davis resulted in five runs being scored -- all of them unearned. It took exactly two pitches for the Red Sox to pounce on the opportunity.
On Friday night, it happened again.
Trailing 3-1, the Red Sox used a throwing error by Russell Martin to score one run and put another runner in scoring position. A groundout and single by Mookie Betts tied things, and Ortiz's homer broke the tie and gave the Red Sox a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Good teams take advantage of mistakes. Two of the last six Red Sox wins are prime examples of that maxim.