Ex- Patriots Star TE Aaron Hernandez Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder

NFL: Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel on the troubling signs that led to the downfall and conviction of Patriots star Aaron Hernandez: 

NFL: Aaron Hernandez-Arraignment

FALL RIVER, Mass. – Lesa Strachan stands a little over 5-feet tall, wears her hair short and works as an area operations manager here in the small towns of southeastern Massachusetts. She is everyone. She is no one.

She is not, for sure, rich or famous or celebrated, like Aaron Hernandez, the NFL star turned murder defendant who was standing across a Bristol County courtroom from her Wednesday morning.

Lesa Strachan was the forewoman in Hernandez’s murder case, personally selected by the judge because her intelligence and seriousness and leadership were easy to identify. As part of her job, Strachan had to rise up, look at Hernandez and read the verdict. She had to do something for perhaps the first time ever.

She had to hold Aaron Hernandez accountable for his actions.

“Guilty of murder in the first degree,” Strachan said to the court.

Moments later, Hernandez was forced by a court officer to sit down, no longer afforded the right to stand like the presumed innocent. He was just another convict now, just another prisoner, just another punk … life without parole at age 25. Read the rest of this entry

Final 4: Duke Defeats Wisconsin To Win Their 5th NCAA Men’s National Title

Duke freshman guards Tyus Jones & Grayson Allen deliver in the 2nd half as the Blue Devils come back to beat Wisconsin in Final:

APTOPIX NCAA Duke Wisconsin Final Four Basketball

Via The Associated Press:

INDIANAPOLIS — Call them freshmen. Please, do not call them kids.

Led by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s talented group of youngsters outscored Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes Monday night to grit out a 68-63 victory for the program’s fifth national title.

Okafor, the likely first pick in the NBA draft if he decides to leave, got outplayed by Badgers center Frank Kaminsky but came through like a veteran when the pressure was highest. He made two straight buckets over Kaminsky, sandwiched between a pair of 3-pointers from Jones, to help the Blue Devils (35-4) turn a one-time nine-point deficit into an eight-point lead with 1:22 left.

A furious Wisconsin rally ensued, but it came up short. Then, it was Okafor on the bottom of a rowdy, raucous dog pile — a scene very reminiscent of the last time the Final Four was Indianapolis, back in 2010 when Duke edged out Butler in another scintillating final. Read the rest of this entry

Undefeated Kentucky The Favorite As NCAA Tournament Gets Underway

Kentucky, Duke, and Wisconsin are the remaining No.1 seeds in a NCAA Tournament headlined by dominant undefeated Kentucky:

Via ESPN:

The Kentucky Wildcats ended up where everyone expected them on Selection Sunday: seeded No. 1 on their quest to become the first undefeated team since 1976.

“Everyone is 0-0 right now,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said in an appearance on ESPN. “This is a one-game shot.

“All I want for my team right now is individually to be the best version of yourself.”

Wisconsin secured the first top seed in program history after overcoming an 11-point deficit Sunday against Michigan State to win 80-69 in overtime in the Big Ten championship.

“It felt like everything aligned perfectly,” Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky said. “Just how we played at the end of the game, how we pulled out a come-from-behind victory down 11. … It was just crazy, like it was written in the stars.”

But the Badgers (31-3) must play in the West Region, where second-seeded Arizona is certain to draw more fans.

The other No. 1 seeds were Villanova in the East and Duke in the South. Read the rest of this entry

Boxing: Floyd Money Mayweather Finally Set To Fight Manny Pacquiao May 2nd At MGM Vegas In Mega Fight

After years of hype, anticipation & differing agendas, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pac-Man close deal to fight on May 2nd:

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Via Yahoo Sports:

LAS VEGAS – After years of frustration and disappointment, following many starts and stops, perhaps the most talked about boxing match in history is finally a reality.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced Friday that he’s agreed to fight Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight bout May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas. It’s a bout the public has been calling for since late 2009 and pits the two finest boxers of their generation in a historic event.

“I am glad my decision to meet with Manny and discuss making this fight happen helped get the deal done,” said Mayweather. “Giving the fans what they want to see is always my main focus. This will be the biggest event in the history of the sport. Read the rest of this entry

NBA All-Star Game Rosters Announced For All-Star Weekend In New York

NBA All-Star rosters set as Bulls Jimmy Butler, Kings DeMarcus Cousins, Warriors Klay Thompson notable 1st time All-Stars:

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Official NBA Release:

NEW YORK — Three members of the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks — Al Horford, Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague — headline the list of 14 players selected by the coaches as reserves for the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, the NBA announced Thursday. Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors earned his first All-Star selection, joining teammate and starter Stephen Curry to give the Western Conference-leading Warriors two All-Stars for the first time since Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway in 1993.

The 64th NBA All-Star Game will tip off Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The game will be seen by fans in 215 countries and territories and will be heard in 47 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 13th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 30th year of NBA All-Star coverage.

The Hawks’ trio is joined in the East by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving. Read the rest of this entry

Super Bowl Preview: Seahawks Set To Face The Patriots In Super Bowl 49

MMQB previews the key Super Bowl matchups and storylines between the defending champion Seahawks and NE Patriots:  

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SEAHAWKS’ OFFENSE VS. PATRIOTS’ DEFENSE

1) Seattle’s passing game

The Patriots have the best man coverage in football. The Seahawks’ passing attack is heavy on isolation routes, and we just saw their receivers get stifled for 55 minutes by the Packers’ man-centric defense. Expect Darrelle Revis to shadow Doug Baldwin, eliminating Russell Wilson’s top target. The Seahawks might be able to occasionally work Baldwin open from the slot with short-area pick routes, stack releases, and their staple wheel routes, but Revis is phenomenal at working through traffic to defend those (see his interception in the AFC Championship Game). Most likely, Wilson will have to look elsewhere. But with two safeties in help coverage—a tactic the Patriots use often and will certainly employ against the mobile Wilson—do we really foresee Jermaine Kearse consistently separating from Brandon Browner? Or Ricardo Lockette shaking free from Kyle Arrington and a safety?

Read the rest of this entry

Ohio State Defeats Oregon For First Ever College Football Playoff Title

Ohio State’s run game the big difference as Buckeyes defeat the Oregon Ducks for 2015 College Football Playoff’s National Title:

Via ESPN:

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ohio State was done when Braxton Miller got hurt in August.

Ohio State was done when it lost at home to Virginia Tech in September.

A funny thing happened: Every time the Buckeyes looked done, they kept getting better. And in the new era of college football, that was enough to earn a chance to win a championship.

They took advantage of an opportunity they never would have had in the BCS, shrugging off questions about whether they belonged among college football’s final four. Cardale Jones, Ezekiel Elliott and the Buckeyes won the first College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T, upsetting Marcus Mariota and Oregon 42-20 on Monday night.

Behind their bullish backup quarterback Jones and the relentless running of Elliott, the Buckeyes (14-1) completed a remarkable in-season turnaround with a dominating performance against the Ducks (13-2). Read the rest of this entry

Dallas Mavs Land PG Rajon Rondo From Celtics To Keep Pace In Loaded West

NBA: The Boston Celtics finally trade Rajon Rondo who goes to Dallas to join an already loaded Mavs team as Boston rebuilds:

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Via ESPN Dallas:

DALLAS — The opportunity to play for a contender again has Rajon Rondo feeling revitalized after leaving a rebuilding franchise in the Boston Celtics.

“There’s one goal that you have in mind, and I’m dying to get another ring again,” Rondo said in his introductory news conference after joining the Dallas Mavericks in a blockbuster trade. “I want another parade.”

The Mavs acquired Rondo along with rookie power forward Dwight Powell from the Celtics in exchange for center Brandan Wright, point guard Jameer Nelson, small forward Jae Crowder, a protected first-round pick, a second-round pick and a $12.9 million trade exception in a deal finalized Thursday night.

Read the rest of this entry

College Football: Alabama vs Ohio State, Oregon Ducks vs Florida State Advance To College Football Playoff

1st Annual College Football Playoff is set; Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State set for championship showdown:

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Game Previews via ESPN:

Rose Bowl:

NO. 2 OREGON DUCKS (12-1) vs. NO. 3 FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES (13-0)
JAN. 1, 5 P.M. ET, ROSE BOWL, PASADENA, CALIFORNIA (ESPN)

OREGON BREAKDOWN

Season highlight: Winning the Pac-12 championship. The Ducks’ 38-point win against Arizona made up for the fact the Wildcats gave the Ducks their only blemish of the season. But when you come back and absolutely dominate that opponent in the most important game of the season, those wounds seem to heal pretty quickly. Quarterback Marcus Mariota had more than one Heisman moment and finished the day with three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns. Read the rest of this entry

NBA: Bulls Jimmy Butler In The Midst Of An All-Star, Career Season In Chicago

Sports Illustrated and Sports Media World sit down with Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler in Portland for extensive SI NBA feature:

Jimmy Butler’s smile says it all: It’s been a good month for the Bulls’ budding star.

Back in Butler’s hometown of Tomball, Texas, they might even use a phrase like “boom times” to describe his strong start this season. Chicago’s defensive-minded shooting guard is averaging 20.8 points and posting career-high numbers across the board. Not only is Butler looking like a leading candidate to become a first-time All-Star, he is also emerging as one of the most-coveted free agents of the 2015 class.

The smile crept across Butler’s face again as he thought back to the Tomball teenager who, even though he wasn’t recruited by a single Division-I school, was convinced that he was the best player in the country.

“Derrick [Rose] and I were both in the Class of 2007,” Butler told SI.com during an extended interview in Portland, where the Bulls were playing, on Saturday. “At that time, I never paid attention to the game. I didn’t know this guy was No. 1 in the nation or this guy was No. 10. Some of my teammates did and obviously Derrick was No. 1 in the nation. They’d come to the games and say, ‘Did you see what Derrick Rose did last night? Simeon High School! Chicago, Illinois!’ Everyone in the nation knew who Derrick Rose was.

“Me being myself, I was like, ‘Let him come down here, I’ll give him 40.’”

Read the rest of this entry