Pro Bowl bids are a team honor for Patriots

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Pro Bowl bids are a team honor for Patriots

FOXBORO -- Vince Wilfork was voted into his fifth Pro Bowl, the NFL announced last night, and it's an honor that never gets old.

"Just appreciate everybody who voted," Wilfork said. "It's always an honor to get acknowledged for being in the Pro Bowl. That's always ver exciting for the wife and the kids. A lot of hard work so I'm very appreciative for everything, being a Pro Bowler and everything."

The defensive lineman was voted to the Pro Bowl in part because of his impressive numbers this season. He already has a career-high in passes defensed with six. He also has a career-high three forced fumbles and a career-high four fumble recoveries to go with 27 tackles and two sacks.

He insisted that the honor said more about the team than his own play, and he hinted at the fact that there were even more Patriots who deserved the honor than the seven named on Wednesday.

"All these guys, these guys work very, very hard," Wilfork explained. "There's probably some guys who got snubbed around the league. I know there's a couple guys out here who feel like they were snubbed. But you know what, just keep working hard, it'll pay off. We got a lot of guys in this locker room that was well deserving of being an All Pro and Pro Bowler so I was just lucky to get picked by my peers and everything, people I play against. It just shows a lot of guys respect what we do so I'm very happy with it."

Wes Welker, who set a record last week by recording the fifth 100-catch season of his career and was named to his fifth straight Pro Bowl, felt similarly. It's a nod that is a testament to the team, not just the honored player.

"It's definitely an honor," Welker said. "I think it's a reflection of how well the team has done this year. Hopefully we can just keep it going.

"I think it's a good reflection of our whole team and everybody coming out and trying to execute their job to the best of their ability. It's more of a team thing really than an individual thing I think around here."

And as nice as it is to be named to the Pro Bowl, none of the Patriots are really hoping to see Hawaii for the game. It would mean they didn't reach the Super Bowl, which will be played in New Orleans the following week.

"Team success is more important than any of this," said special teamer Matthew Slater, who was named to the Pro Bowl for the second consecutive year. "I'd rather be eating gumbo in New Orleans than pineapple in Hawaii. I think that the team has had a good year, and that shows by us getting individual awards. But really they're not individual awards. They're team awards and team honors and I feel like my honor goes to the rest of the core guys are out there with me."

Tom Brady (eight Pro Bowls), Logan Mankins (five), Rob Gronkowski (two) and Jerod Mayo (two) were also named to the Pro Bowl for their play this season.

Buckets' List: Friars move up, Catamounts hold steady in latest bracket

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Buckets' List: Friars move up, Catamounts hold steady in latest bracket

Each Monday through the Final Four, our own Robbie Buckets -- known in some circles as Rob Snyder, associate producer at Comcast SportsNet -- will take a look at the world of college basketball. From now until Selection Sunday, he'll be picking brackets heading into the tournament:

EAST
1. Villanova
16. Mount St. Mary’s/NC Central

8. Maryland
9. Virginia Tech

5. Notre Dame
12. UNC Wilmington

4. Florida
13. Vermont

6. Iowa State
11. Seton Hall/Illinois State

3. Florida State
14. Princeton

7. Michigan State
10. VCU

2. Kentucky
15. East Tennessee State

SOUTH
1. North Carolina
16. New Orleans

8. Dayton
9. Arkansas

5. Creighton
12. Middle Tennessee

4. West Virginia
13. Valpo

6. Saint Mary’s
11. USC

3. Oregon
14. Belmont

7. Miami
10. Marquette

2. Baylor
15. South Dakota

MIDWEST
1. Kansas
16. Texas Southern/North Dakota

8. Wichita State
9. Virginia Tech

5. Virginia
12. UT-Arlington

4. Purdue
13. Bucknell

6. Minnesota
11. California/Vanderbilt

3. Butler
14. Winthrop

7. South Carolina
10. Providence

2. Louisville
15. Florida Gulf Coast

WEST
1. Gonzaga
16. UC-Davis

8. Oklahoma State
9. Michigan

5. SMU
12. Nevada

4. Arizona
13. Monmouth

6. Wisconsin
11. Xavier

3. Duke
14. Akron

7. Cincinnati
10. Syracuse

2. UCLA
15. Cal-Bakersfield

LAST 4 IN:
Seton Hall
California
Illinois State
Vanderbilt

FIRST 4 OUT:
Rhode Island
Georgia Tech
Indiana
Kansas State

Follow me on Twitter @RobbieBuckets for college hoops musings and off-the-cuff sports takes.

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder doubles down on claims Isaiah Thomas took family trash talk too far

Dennis Schroder isn't backing down.

The Atlanta Hawks point guard again was asked about Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, and the budding rivalry between the two players that's turned into a rivalry between the two teams. Thomas, of course, was accused by Schroder of taking his trash talking a bit too far during the teams' last meeting, a 103-101 Celtics victory last month in which Thomas hit the game-winning shot with just seconds remaining.

Thomas' comments allegedly were about Schroder's family, per Schroder himself. Thomas has since repeatedly denied the claims. So does Schroder still deny Thomas' side of the story?

“I mean, yeah. Everybody heard it, too," Schroder said. "My family sat courtside too. And (Hawks teammate) Thabo (Sefolosha) heard some things, you know, and he was involved in it. But it is what it is. Like I said, we just try to compete. And you know, it’s getting heated in the game. It is what it is."

Schroder didn't dive much deeper than denying Thomas' claims of innocence. But is there something about Thomas inparticular that gets under Schroder's skin or runs him the wrong way?

Nah, I mean he’s a great player, he’s showing it this year," Schroder said. "I mean, what he did in the playoffs last year was just not, you know, professional. And I think nobody wants to see that but it’s fine. We just try to compete and try to help our team win the basketball game."

Schroder was referring to the back-and-forth physical play between himself and Thomas that resulted in flagrant fouls for both during the first-round playoff matchup betweein the clubs, a series Atlanta eventually won four games to two. Thomas' status was in doubt for Game 4 of the series after a hit to Schroder's head in Game 3, but the now two-time All-Star ultimately was allowed to play.

"Everybody’s competitive. Everybody tries to get out, get after it," Schroder explained when asked if his feud with Thomas fuels his team any extra. "I think it’s a big game tonight and the team knows it. I’m pretty sure the Celtics know it too. It’s getting close to the playoffs and every game counts."

Boston and Atlanta tip off from TD Garden at 7:30 p.m.