Texans Announce Preseason Opponents, Re-Sign Offensive Lineman White

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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The NFL will unveil its regular season schedule sometime in the next few weeks. It's then that we can begin to formulate opinions and handicap how we think the 2015 season is going to go for the Houston Texans.

Much the same way that the preseason is sort of a subdued dress rehearsal for the regular season, so too is the unveiling of the preseason schedule a subdued rehearsal for the release of the regular-season schedule. There's a fraction of the intrigue, a fraction of the pomp and circumstance, but still enough for us to at least have a few talking points.

With that in mind, let it be known that the Texans released their preseason list of opponents and weeks in which they'll play them yesterday, and here's the skinny:

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Donatas Motiejunas Is Done for the Season With Back Injury

Categories: Game Time, Sports

thepanamerican via flickr
Through the first three weeks of the NBA season, Donatas Motiejunas was floundering. Through 12 games, he was shooting below 37 percent and knocking down three pointers at a frigid 17.6 percent clip. It was being openly debated if he was the least effective rotation player in the league.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Motiejunas found himself. He found his shooting stroke, became suddenly comfortable making low post moves, and even found a go-to move, a hook shot that was one of the most, if not the most, converted hook shots in the league.

And by the time he was being put on the shelf two weeks ago with a back injury, you could say that D-Mo belonged to an exclusive marksman club:

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What Do the Rockets Need to Do to Lock Up the Two Seed?

Categories: Game Time, Sports

So I'm in the middle of a project right now that involves the Rockets' 1995 NBA champions, and along the way, I've been conversing with several members of the team who played, coached and covered the team. It's been fun, in large part because that team did something historical.

They won the NBA title from the six seed!

When you're an underdog like that, every series win feels like a combination of euphoria and house money. It's awesome. That said, I'd prefer that I never have to root for a Rockets team in the six seed again, and especially not this season. Of course, naturally, the Rockets currently sit in the two seed with only two games separating them from the dreaded (yet morbidly fun) six seed.

So what's in store the rest of the season and what do they need to do in order to lock up the two seed in the Western Conference? Let's take a look...

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Duke 68, Wisconsin 63: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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Three weeks and 67 games in the books, and we have our 2015 men's basketball champion, as the Duke Blue Devils knocked off the Wisconsin Badgers 68-63 Monday night to capture head coach Mike Krzyzewski's fifth title as head coach in Durham.

It was a strange game in this way -- if you listed bullet points necessary for a Wisconsin win, the Badgers probably got several important ones. They got Jahlil Okafor, Duke's freshman beast of a center, into foul trouble, they got a big game out of their Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky (21 points, 12 rebounds), and they protected the basketball (five turnovers).

However, Wisconsin shot the ball poorly, especially down the stretch, getting outscored 29-15 in the final 11 minutes, and Duke got to cut down the nets. As always, there were winners and losers, so let's get to it....

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2015 Final Four: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

Categories: Game Time, Sports

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arbyreed via flickr creative commons
Heading into Saturday night, I thought there were two immutable truths about this year's Final Four in Indianapolis, and they were as follows:

1. This is the most decorated foursome of coaches I can ever remember at one Final Four. Izzo, Coach K, Calipari, Bo Ryan. Even the four that made it in the year of all one seeds in 2008 (Roy Williams, Memphis Calipari, Self with no titles, Howland) hadn't come close collectively to achieving what this group had going into Saturday night.

2. The only matchup that could emerge from the four teams that would even be argued as "undesirable" would be a Big ten title game rematch between Michigan State and Wisconsin, but even that would've been a rematch of one of the more entertaining games of the last month.

As it stands, we didn't get the matchup that the TV people wanted (Kentucky and Duke might've broken records), but we got a damn good final between an experienced Wisconsin team and a bunch of precocious young bucks from Duke. As always, the weekend had winners and losers. Let's examine....

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March Madness 2015: Final Four Best Bets

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Ah, futures bets. That old wagering proposition that for the house looks like easy money, easy bait for drunks rolling through the sports book at two in the morning and says to himself "Hey, I went to UC-Irvine! You mean if I put $100 on them to win the tournament, I would get back $50,000?!? GO ANTEATERS!!"

Most of the time futures bets prey on the propensity of amateur bettors to throw something against the wall and see what sticks. But occasionally, you get the sophisticated bettor, who knows value when he sees it, and then decides to take fat cash and throw down.

And that's when it gets interesting. And potentially magical. And with one particular wagerer this Final Four weekend, that's where we sit.

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Texans Sign Another Wide Receiver, Adding Nate Washington

Categories: Game Time, Sports

vermillion via wikimedia commons
When the Texans made the minor administrative change to J.J. Watt's upcoming $10 million roster bonus, it opened up $8 million in salary cap space, and many out there speculated that this was the precursor to another significant move in free agency.

Truth be told, there probably isn't anything that splashy available in free agency anymore. However, the Texans needed to give themselves some breathing room to sign their rookie class and the ability to stay humble in case they found something in the bargain bin that tickled their fancy.

On Wednesday, they sifted through the wide receiver bin and pulled out Nate Washington!

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Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Testifies at Aaron Hernandez Murder Trial

Categories: Game Time, Sports

We are a couple months into the Aaron Hernandez trial now, and after a slow several weeks of nondescript law enforcement characters and forensics experts, business picked up this week.

It started with the continuation of the testimony of Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez's fiancé and the mother of their two year old daughter. To say that Jenkins's testimony was difficult to believe would be like saying the smell of the ship channel chemical plants is difficult to detect.

Jenkins' selective memory and implausible deniability when it comes to things like the large box she urgently removed that likely contained the murder weapon the day after the murder of Odin Lloyd were laughable. The question now comes did she say enough to keep herself and her fiancé out of jail.

Then on Tuesday, we got our first huge name witness, as Patriots owner Robert Kraft took the stand.

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Ousted Texas Hoops Coach Rick Barnes Quickly Lands In Tennessee

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Aaron Vasquez via Wikimedia Commons
Despite a school record 402 wins and a virtually perennial trip to the NCAA tournament each season (16 trips in all, as many as the school had in its history before Rick Barnes arrived), in the end, Rick Barnes career resume was not enough to save him from his last few annual performance evaluations.

Thus, over the weekend, the University of Texas chose to part ways with Barnes after a seventeen season run that was highlighted by one Final Four (2003) and four Big XII Coach of the Year awards.

However, one school's trash is another school's treasure, and what wasn't good enough to stay employed at one UT was most certainly good enough to get hired -- and get hired QUICKLY -- at the other UT.

So it was that Rick Barnes was hired on Tuesday as the next head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee.

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Patrick Beverley Declared out for the Season

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Houston Rockets
Patrick Beverly
On Monday night, the Rockets were in Toronto, trying to win a basketball game, which it just so happens is something they haven't done in that city since sometime during the Yao Ming era. They still haven't. They lost the game 99-96, and while every game is crucial right now in the Western Conference playoff race, Monday's news will be remembered more for what (or whom) they lost in the bigger picture.

While the Rockets were in Toronto losing that game to the Raptors, Patrick Beverley was on a Southwest flight from Chicago (his hometown) back to Houston. I know this because my 15-year-old son happened to be on his flight. My son (a HUGE Pat Bev fan) texted me to tell me Beverley was on the flight. His assessment of Bev's mood?

"He looks kind of sad," my son said.

That would stand to reason, since presumably Beverley was a mere few hours removed from the news that we all found out after he did -- Patrick Beverley's 2014-2015 season is over, the frustrating result of a torn ligament in his left wrist.

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