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.
The Celtics didn’t know when they traded a late first-round pick and Marcus Thornton for Isaiah Thomas that they were getting their next star player, but that 2015 trade deadline move has proven to be a pleasant surprise.
Appearing on Felger and Mazz Friday, Celtics CEO and co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said that he sees Thomas, who will be a free agent after next season, in the team’s longterm plans.
“Every one of these seasons is different. It’s like a movie and you have a cast of characters and the cast changes a little bit every season,” Grousbeck said. “We’d love to have Isaiah here for a long, long time. He’s a phenomenal player and he loves being here.”
The Celtics stand a strong chance of picking first overall in June’s draft since they own Brooklyn’s first-round pick. Asked whether Thomas’ status would prevent the team from taking a point guard (which the draft’s two prospects play), Grousbeck said the team doesn’t need to decide that now, but suggested it wouldn’t.
“Especially if it’s a very high pick in the draft, you’ve got to draft the best player,” Grousbeck said. “You probably wouldn’t draft for fit as much as just you see if there’s a transformational player that you can have for 10 or 15 years there. If you see a guy like that, you’ve got to make everything else work, I would think.”
The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire.
The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead.
On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.
Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.
Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season.
The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.
The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.
The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are.
* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.