There's a new 1 in college basketball

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There's a new 1 in college basketball

From Comcast SportsNetTom Crean's whirlwind week got even crazier Monday.Upon returning home from the Super Bowl, the Indiana coach found out he's leading America's No. 1 college basketball team. Again.It was another crowning moment in a week full of big wins for the Crean clan. Indiana beat No. 13 Michigan State, archrival Purdue and No. 1 Michigan in a seven-day span, before Crean headed to New Orleans. There, he watched one brother-in-law beat his other brother-in-law for the Super Bowl title. Finally, he saw the Hoosiers reclaim the top spot in The Associated Press poll after seven weeks."Our guys appreciate winning. They appreciate the task that it is and I think because our older guys have been through so many hard times, they appreciate it that much more," a weary-sounding Crean said during Monday's weekly Big Ten conference call. "And I think our younger guys were raised on winning. Guys like Yogi (Ferrell), Cody (Zeller), Remy Abell, those guys were really raised on winning, and that helps."It's the fifth straight week there is a new No. 1 team.Duke started the current streak and was followed by Louisville, Duke again, Michigan and now Indiana. The last time there were five No. 1s in as many weeks was the last five polls of 2008-09, when it was Connecticut, Pittsburgh, Connecticut again, North Carolina and Louisville.The Hoosiers, the preseason No. 1, held the top spot for the first five weeks of the regular season. They moved up two spots Monday after their win over the Wolverines and then-No. 2 Kansas' loss to Oklahoma State. They received 58 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel, while Florida, which jumped two spots to second, got the other seven.Michigan, which made its first appearance atop the Top 25 in more than two decades last week, dropped two spots to No. 3 and was followed by Duke, Kansas, Gonzaga, Arizona, Miami, Syracuse and Ohio State.The change at the top of the poll came as no surprise in Bloomington.Even before Saturday's game ended, fans were chanting "No. 1, No. 1.""We've been playing with a chip on our shoulder since the day I got here," junior swingman Victor Oladipo said Saturday. "We've got to continue to play with that chip because it can be taken away at any time."Indiana found that out the hard way with an overtime loss to then-unranked Butler on Dec. 15.For the next seven weeks, the Hoosiers were trying to get back to No. 1.The only stumble was a home loss to Wisconsin. But last week, they played their best basketball all season, leading almost from start to finish in all three games and handing Purdue its worst home loss ever.For Crean, that was just the start of the whirlwind weekend.He flew on a private plane Sunday morning to New Orleans, where he watched the Super Bowl with his wife, Joani, the sister of John and Jim Harbaugh."It's really hard certainly for Joani and her parents because you've got such great joy for one and such pride," Crean said.He received a text message Sunday from Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who has had three children play college sports, that Crean showed to his father-in-law late that night."He said as a parent, you're only as happy as your unhappiest child, and I think it's an amazing statement and one of the most profound things that I've ever heard, and it probably fits what Joani's parents are going through," Crean said. "But in a sense, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so there's incredible joy in being able to be a part of it and see it."Crean was scheduled to return home Monday afternoon, in time for practice after a mostly sleepless night.There were four newcomers to the poll this week: Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, all of whom were ranked at some point this season. They replaced Wichita State and Mississippi, which both lost two games last week and fell from 15th and 16th; North Carolina State, which was No. 6 in the preseason poll and also lost twice last week; and San Diego State.

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Farrell launches 'Farrell's Fighters' ticket program for cancer patients

Red Sox manager John Farrell, who was diagnosed with and successfully treated for lymphoma in 2015, today announced a new ticket program, “Farrell’s Fighters,” that invites patients being treated for the disease and their family to a game each month throughout the season.
 
“It was a challenging battle going through the treatment a few years ago, and beyond the support of family and friends, one of the things that helped me get through it was the escape I found in the game of baseball,” Farrell said in a team statement. “I hope this program can provide a positive, momentary break for the patients and their families from the daily rigors of treatment, and for baseball to be a tonic for them, as it was for me.”
 
In addition to VIP seats at the game, the program will include a meeting with the Red Sox manager, a tour of the ballpark, the chance to watch batting practice, and lunch or dinner in the EMC Club restaurant.
 
“Farrell’s Fighters” will launch with patients from Massachusetts General Hospital, where Farrell was treated in 2015, but will expand to include other area hospitals. The first patient to take part in the program is Nate Bouley, 42, of Sudbury, Mass., who was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2015, and is in remission for the third time. Bouley, his wife, and two children will attend the Red Sox-Mariners game Sunday.

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

Does Butler want to be with Patriots beyond 2017? 'Whatever happens, happens'

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Butler came off of the Gillette Stadium practice field to a gaggle of reporters who had been interested in speaking to him all offseason. There had been speculation not too long ago that he'd be traded. There was speculation he might sign elsewhere as a restrcited free agent.

What he would say on those topics might prove to be informative. People were eager to hear from him. But it was what he didn't say that may have been the most interesting part of his first back-and-forth with reporters since Super Bowl LI.

In the rain, in front of a dozen or more microphones, following his team's third organized team activity practice, Butler was asked if he would like to be in New England beyond the 2017 season, the final year of his contract. 

"Can't predict the future," he said. "Whatever happens, happens."

Butler was given several opportunities to say that he'd like to stick with the Patriots for the long term, but he was non-committal. Though his presence on the roster for this season gives the Patriots a supremely talented cornerback duo, the fact that the team gave Stephon Gilmore a lucrative long-term contract this offseason makes Butler's long-term future in New England a bit hazy.

Playing for a restricted free agent tender worth $3.91 million, Butler was asked if it was difficult to separate the business side of things from his on-field performance.

"Not really," he insisted. "Just gotta come here and just play football. You gotta earn everything you want. Gotta come here, work hard each and every day. Nobody's gonna give you nothing."

He added: "Just gotta keep working. Ignore the noise, and just keep working. No matter what. You got a job to do no matter where you're at. Glad to be here to do this job."

Butler received significant interest from the Saints during the offseason, and he made a trip to New Orleans to visit the organization's facilities there. Unwilling to provide Butler with a big-money contract offer and turn over their first-round pick to the Patriots, the Saints decided to cease in their pursuit of the 27-year-old Super Bowl XLIX hero. 

Butler said he didn't wasn't always sure he was going to be in New England for 2017.

"You never know what's gonna happen, I was just sitting back patiently waiting," he explained. "Just doing what I can do, control only what I can control. I'm here now and that's what it is."

That Butler has been at Patriots workouts and OTA practices since signing his tender is an indication that he's ready to throw himself into the upcoming season with his sights set on performing as well as possible in order to put himself in the best position possible when he's scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency at the end of the year. 

"Wasn't gonna hurt nobody but myself if I missed this," he admitted. "This is extra time to get better, and that's what I'm out here to do. To get better and have another great year. Anything to help the team. Present a positive image."