Sports today: NBA trades, Reds bullpen, OSU offers Dunbar star and the biggest game in college basketball

Feb 20, 2017
  • By Marcus Hartman
Jimmy Butler, and Kevin Durant, react on the podium following the Men's Gold medal game on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Welcome back from the weekend – unless you’re still having the weekend, in which case, more power to you! 

The NBA All-Star Game was last night, but it was overshadowed by the reported trade of DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans, where he can team with fellow Kentucky alum Anthony Davis as the Pelicans miss the playoffs or earn the right to get knocked out by the Warriors in the first round. 

In all seriousness, this could be a fascinating pairing as Cousins is that rarest of birds in the NBA these days – a legitimate, double-team-demanding post man – and Davis is an amazing talent who is toiling mostly in anonymity in the Big Easy. 

Or it might not work out at all and Cousins will find another new team after next season. 

However, Yahoo! Sports reports this might not be the biggest deal out there to be made. 

If you are an NBA free agent fan like me and mostly just want to see entertaining playoffs, the Celtics are a team to watch because they seem to have the best chance of actually challenging Cleveland’s march through a usually weak East… 

On the college basketball front, Dayton won, Wright State won, Miami won, Cincinnati won and Ohio State lost. 

Meanwhile, Kostas Antetokounmpo, a freshman on the Dayton basketball team who is sitting out this season as an NCAA partial qualifier, saw the NBA All-Star Game festivities up close and personal as he was in New Orleans with his brother, Giannis, an All-Star for the Milwaukee Bucks…  

The biggest game in college basketball tonight will be played in Columbus as the 12th-ranked Ohio State women play host to No. 2 Maryland. 

The season began with high hopes in Columbus, but coach Kevin McGuff’s team hasn’t quite looked like a Final Four squad yet. 

The Buckeyes still have high-scoring point guard Kelsey Mitchell, but they’ve spent most of the season searching for consistency on the defensive end while figuring out how to keep a mostly new cast around Mitchell all involved on offense against elite teams. 

Tonight they’ll still be without Stephanie Mavunga, the Big Ten’s leading rebounder, but freshman Tori McCoy has the look of a future star playing the pivot in her absence. 

Two-time defending Big Ten champ Maryland comes in having only lost to unbeaten Connecticut this season. The Terrapins have back stars Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and have added a very talented freshman class including point guard Destiny Slocum. 

Ohio State is the only Big Ten team to beat Maryland since the Terps joined the league two years ago, and a win tonight would put McGuff’s team in position to clinch a share of the Big Ten title by closing out the regular season with a win at Rutgers (6-21) on Sunday… 

Speaking of Ohio State, Urban Meyer became the latest major coach to tell Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas he wants him to play for him in two years. 

The junior’s whirlwind recruiting journey continued over the weekend as Meyer extended an Ohio State offer to Thomas, who was also offered by Alabama and Georgia last week... 

Although spring training started last week, nothing has really happened yet. 

The closest thing would probably be Bryan Price confirming he wants to see four of his guys – holdovers Tony Cingrani, Raisel Igleasias and Michael Lorenzen and free agent-signee Drew Storen – get some saves this season. 

am on the record supporting the idea of what’s being call a “hybrid bullpen approach.” Surely not every team can handle it, but there is a lot to like about the idea of sticking with a hot hand from the seventh to the eighth or the eighth to the ninth on a given day rather than insisting on sitting down that pitcher in favor of the predetermined closer. This is especially true if you don’t have Aroldis Chapman or Mariano Rivera in your bullpen. 

But there is conventional wisdom (that is pretty young in the grand scheme of baseball’s 14-plus decades) that says relievers thrive in more defined roles, so we’ll see how it works out. 

digital pkg reds

As for the offense, Adam Duvall says he felt good learning to track down balls in the outfield last year, and he thinks he had adjusted to pitchers’ adjustments to him by the end of his first All-Star season…  

Wright State baseball is under new management, but the Raiders are still winning

The Jeff Mercer era got off to a great start over the weekend as his team took two of three games over the weekend at No. 10 Clemson. 

The Raiders used a three-run seventh inning Friday to take game one 6-4 then lost game two Saturday 6-2. 

They dominated from the second inning on Sunday, taking the lead on Adrian Marquez’s double and a two-run homer by Seth Gray. 

Wright State never looked back en route to a 9-2 win in the rubber match. 

Mercer, who was hired in July, is the first former Raider to lead the program, which won a school-record 46 games last year. The high mark they passed (43 wins) was only a year old. 

Now he has accomplished something none of his predecessors could: Getting WSU into a national top 25