College football’s final four is Dec. 31. While it would be entertaining to expand the playoffs, the teams that almost get in will still complain. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament invites almost everybody. The top 68 teams get in, and Nos. 69-75 loudly insist that they should be in.
Alabama plays Washington in one NCAA playoff game and Clemson plays Ohio State in the other. The Buckeyes are more talented than the Tigers. But the Tigers have quarterback Deshaun Watson, and because they do they can compete with anybody.
The Tigers are the lone team with even a chance to beat Alabama.
▪ The most interesting team in the NFL is the Oakland Raiders. You know the highly inaccurate stereotype some people have of the NBA, where they insist that only the last five minutes of the game matter?
With the Raiders, that’s often true. There they are playing around for quarters one through three. There they are excelling in the fourth.
And even if you plan to catch only the last five minutes, you’ll usually get at least 10. The Raiders commit so many penalties that their games rarely end when they are scheduled to.
▪ The Charlotte Hornets are 12-9 and in first place in the Eastern Conference’s Southeast Division. You see what Nic Batum did Monday in their road victory against the Dallas Mavericks? He scored 14 points and contributed a team-high seven assists and a game-high 15 rebounds.
The man’s game is understated. He does many things well. But you can’t find one thing he does great, except maybe dress.