Almost Madness Time: Sunday is Selection Sunday. The Ohio State Buckeyes are currently slotted to be a No. 5 or 6 seed. Who will they likely play? Land-Grant Holy Land’s Matt Brown looks at a number of the possibilities, including potentially Xavier and Dayton. Obviously, regardless of who OSU plays in the second (née first) round of the tournament, it will certainly be nerve-wracking. But an All-Ohio game would be even more chaotic.
Speaking of the Buckeyes, there was a lengthy article by Grantland’s Matt Borcas about appreciating Aaron Craft. This line in particular puts Craft’s game into familiar context for fans: “You probably don’t know Aaron Craft personally, but you definitely know his type. At least, you did in sixth grade. If you doubt this, try to remember your youth basketball coach’s absolute favorite player.”
NFL Free Agency: If you didn’t see it yet, Draft Browns’ Mikey Tricharichi has a good post breaking down how NFL contracts work and the deals for Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner.
I also enjoyed this Dawgs By Nature roundtable about who they want next in free agency. The three top names: Alex Mack, Julian Edelman and Arthur Moats. Given those moves, what are other draft priorities for the Browns besides quarterback? An offensive guard? Another cornerback? Still plenty of roster moves to make – and lots of money to play with.
Closer Control: ESPN Insider’s Paul Swydan has positive words to say about the Indians new closer John Axford. He’s listed as one of the 10 best “changes of scenery” moves for the 2014 season: “Since the Indians didn’t make a large financial commitment to him (just $4.5 million guaranteed) and they have a closer-in-waiting in Cody Allen, Axford probably won’t have the longest leash in the world, but Terry Francona is generally a pretty patient manager. Axford probably couldn’t have landed in a better spot.”
If you recall, Axford believes that he solved a tipping-pitches issue that he had in Milwaukee. I’d expect him to have plenty of save opportunities early on for the Tribe, so he should be a somewhat interesting fantasy player to watch as well.
The Grand Experiment: We all know by now about Carlos Santana’s transition to hopeful occasional play at third base for the Indians. Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal fills in the other details, sharing Santana’s work schedule from his long winter days in the Dominican and positive words from his teammates.
Mike Aviles said “it surprised me how far along he was when he got here this spring.” Nick Swisher said “his effort has been through the roof.” Yet, the experiment remains a work in progress. The transition remains one of the more intriguing storylines in all of Spring Training. I’d expect Santana to play a couple games at third each week, unless Lonnie Chisenhall can change around his fortunes ASAP.
Missing Livingston: The Cavs are now again only 3.5 games back of a playoff spot in the horrendous Eastern Conference. They’re not too far away now from Charlotte and Atlanta. But you know who we haven’t heard about in a while? Brooklyn. A major reason for their recent surge? Former Cavs backup Shaun Livingston. NBA.com’s John Schuhmann looks at the point guard’s tremendous on-court impact for the Nets of late. He would’ve been a much cheaper option than Jarrett Jack, undoubtedly.