March Madness has arrived early, plus a big deadline looms for MLB, MLBPA

Happy Monday morning, folks. Hope you had a wonderful weekend.

Let’s get right to it.

This is the article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM morning newsletter. To sign up and get this in your inbox, fill out the information below.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

Getty Images


There’s good, there’s really good, and then there’s what James Harden is doing for his new team — which is historically good.

Here are Harden’s numbers from his first two games as a 76er:

  • Friday at Timberwolves: 27 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists
  • Yesterday at Knicks: 29 points, 10 rebounds, 16 assists

In the process, Harden became the…

  • First player in NBA history with 25+ points and 10+ assists in each of his first two games with a team
  • First 76er with 25+ points, 10+ rebounds, 15+ assists and five-plus steals in a game

More importantly, Philadelphia was absolutely dominant, beating Minnesota and New York by a combined 47 points.
Even though Harden and Joel Embiid haven’t had much time to gel, they are showing impressive results already, writes our NBA expert Jack Maloney

  • Maloney: “Both players are more than capable of carrying an offense by themselves, so you can stagger them and always have an MVP-level talent on the floor. And when you play them together they only make things easier for each other. … Plus, the two are already showing some nice chemistry on the pick-and-roll, and good luck once they really figure that out.”

The 76ers get one more shot against the Knicks on Wednesday before a challenging stretch: vs. Cleveland, at Miami, vs. Chicago and vs. Brooklyn. We’ll see how they fare, but for now, the early returns are overwhelmingly positive.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…


Today’s the last day of February, but over the weekend, the madness of March showed up a few days early. On Saturday, each of the top six teams — and seven of the top 10 — lost.

A day like Saturday shows the number of teams that can make a title run is quite large, writes our college basketball reporter Matt Norlander:

  • Norlander: “Look beyond the losses and you’ll see how deep the sport is with teams that can win the title, then there’s another tier that is Final Four-capable. That group is probably almost 20-deep. And while Nos. 1-6 losing within hours of each other makes for a big headline, most of the teams that lost in the top of the polls were felled by legitimate foes. Gonzaga, Auburn, Kansas and Kentucky all were taken out by ranked teams. Even Purdue’s loss to Michigan State came against a Sparty club that’s comfortably in the NCAA Tournament and was atop the Big Ten standings a month ago.”

While the sheer number of top-ranked teams losing is an eye opener, there were plenty of big winners this weekend, too. (We’re looking at you, TCU!)

Saturday’s craziness will certainly jumble today’s AP Poll and has already wreaked havoc on Jerry Palm’s Bracketology, where the top seeds and the bubble alike got major shakeups.

Not so honorable mentions

MLB, MLBPA enter last day of negotiations before deadline ⚾

Weeks ago, MLB set Feb. 28 as the deadline for a new collective bargaining agreement before regular-season games are canceled. Today is *checks corner of computer screen* Feb. 28.

The two sides have been meeting every day for the past week. According to reports, owners said Sunday’s talks were “productive” while the players say the sides are far from an agreement. Overall, neither side brought “significant momentum” or a “breakthrough,” which… seems less than ideal.

There are several major sticking points, but a big one is the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT). So, what exactly is the CBT? And why is it such a big deal? Let our MLB expert R.J. Anderson explain:

  • Anderson: “The CBT is a mechanism that was first introduced as a luxury tax. In recent years, the owners have fashioned the CBT into the league’s unofficial salary cap. … The gist is that teams are penalized if the combined average annual value of their player contracts exceed the tax line. The further over the threshold a team is, the steeper the fine.”

Players want the CBT threshold to grow significantly; owners not so much. Why? The higher the de facto “salary cap,” the more money available to spend on players. Owners want a lower artificial “salary cap” so they can spend less on rosters — even though revenue around the sport has grown exponentially recently. We’ll see if the two sides can hash out differences today. If not, a shortened 2022 season looms. 

Sepp Straka earns first career PGA Tour win at rainy Honda Classic ⛳

The PGA Tour welcomed a new player (and a new country) into the winner’s circle on Sunday. Sepp Straka took home his first career PGA Tour win, beating Shane Lowry by a stroke to win the Honda Classic. Straka is the first Austrian to win on the circuit.

Straka entered the day five strokes back of Daniel Berger, but Berger’s disastrous start (he triple-bogeyed the third hole and was five-over through five holes) brought everyone back into it, and ultimately Straka was the one to take advantage.

Tied with Lowry at -9 through 71 holes, Straka made birdie amid a downpour on 18, and, one group later, Lowry only managed par. It was an impressive performance worthy of a win, writes our golf reporter Kyle Porter:

  • Porter:He hit the shots that mattered and closed when it was winning time. It’s easy to try and project way out into the future or talk broadly about what victories mean, but like Straka displayed on No. 18 on Sunday, often it’s far more meaningful to simply live in the moment. Grade: A+

Phil Mickelson continues to lose sponsors 🏌

Getty Images

For most of his career, Phil Mickelson had no trouble finding sponsors. Now, he’s having trouble keeping any around.

After longtime partner KPMG parted ways with Mickelson last week over his comments on the Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League, Workday, Amstel and Callaway followed suit.

Here’s what Callaway had to say:

  • “Callaway does not condone Phil Mickelson’s comments and we were very disappointed in his choice of words — they in no way reflect our values or what we stand for as a company. Phil has since apologized and we know he regrets how he handled recent events. We recognize his desire to take some time away from the game and respect that decision. At this time, we have agreed to pause our partnership and will re-evaluate our ongoing relationship at a later date.”

Mickelson is also out as the host of American Express, a PGA Tour event in Palm Springs, Calif.

What we’re watching Monday 📺

🏀 No. 5 Baylor at No. 9 Iowa State, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Hornets at Bucks (-10), 8 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 No. 10 Baylor (-1.5) at No. 20 Texas, 9 p.m. on ESPN

Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News

Source link

Back to top button