Happy Friday, everyone! We have an incredible weekend of sports coming up, and that's no April Fool's joke.
Let's get right to it.
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...
COLLEGE BASKETBALL FANS EVERYWHERE
After a March full of madness, we've reached April, and, more specifically, Final Four weekend. On the men's side Saturday night, Kansas-Villanova precedes arguably the biggest Final Four game ever: Duke-North Carolina.
If there's one thing you need to read before tomorrow night, it's our college basketball reporter Matt Norlander taking you inside Mike Krzyzewski's legendary work ethic.
- Norlander: "He takes out an 8x11 piece of paper that is specifically formatted. There is the practice plan number on it, the date and then a column for the time allotted for each drill. Longer lines are printed for descriptions for the drills. Assistant coaches receive a photocopy; Krzyzewski and Krzyzewski alone creates these practice plans. And everything is done by hand. It's meticulous, with personal notes. A one-page scouting report for offense and defense. ... The amount of discipline, energy and focus it takes to do it borders on sociopathy."
I know there's been a ton of Coach K content the last few weeks, but this story -- with anecdotes from Jay Bilas, Mike Brey and others -- is well worth your time.
As for the rest of our men's preview content:
- Betting advice and picks from SportsLine
- Duke-North Carolina best moments
- Kansas and Villanova have plenty of history, too
- How Final Four players ranked as recruits
- Big men have fueled their teams' Final Four runs
Meanwhile, the women's Final Four is tonight, with Louisville-South Carolina and UConn-Stanford.
South Carolina is the favorite here. The Gamecocks have been the AP No. 1 team all season, and they have the nation's best player in Aliyah Boston, writes our women's basketball reporter Isabel Gonzalez.
- Gonzalez: "Boston was named the 2022 Naismith Women's Player of the Year, as well as Defensive Player of the Year, on Wednesday. ... The 6'5" forward leads her team with 16.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. She registered 27 straight double-doubles this season, and was just three rebounds away from getting another one against Creighton."
For everything you need to get ready, check out:
- Manu Ginobili, Tim Hardaway, Swin Cash, George Karl and Bob Huggins are headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Bobby Wagner is headed to the Rams after signing a five-year, $65 million deal.
- Dawn Staley and Aliyah Boston earned Naismith Trophies while Kim Mulkey won AP Coach of the Year.
- Xavier won the men's NIT.
And not such a good morning for...
The New York Yankees haven't won a World Series since 2009. Don't bring that up to Brian Cashman. The Bronx Bombers' GM thinks his team's drought is due to one factor: the Houston Astros. In an interview, Cashman called the Astros' cheating "so illegal and horrific" and added, "The only thing that derailed us was a cheating circumstance..."
Listen, I agree that the Astros' cheating was truly awful and probably deserved harsher punishment. I also agree the Yankees were one of the teams most negatively impacted in 2017. But saying that's the "only thing" that's derailed them in the playoffs since 2009?
- The Yankees missed the playoffs in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
- Last year, the Yankees, with ace Gerrit Cole pitching, got destroyed by the Red Sox in the Wild Card Game.
- In 2020, the Yankees lost to the Rays, who have dominated them recently.
- In 2019, the Yankees had a shot against the non-cheating Astros. They lost, 4-2.
Oh, and the Yankees don't exactly have the cleanest history either, writes our MLB guru R.J. Anderson.
- Anderson: "It should be noted that the Yankees have had their own run-ins with technological misconduct over the years, albeit not to the extremity of the Astros. A judge recently ruled that a letter from commissioner Rob Manfred to Cashman should be unsealed."
It's time to focus on 2022. The Yankees' 12-year drought without a World Series appearance is their second-longest in the last century.
Bucks top Nets in overtime thriller as Giannis comes up clutch 🏀
The Milwaukee Bucks aren't afraid of anyone, and with the way Giannis Antetokounmpo is playing, they have no reason to be. Antetokounmpo continued an incredible week with 44 points -- including the game-winning free throws -- as the Bucks topped the Nets, 120-119, in overtime in Brooklyn.
- Milwaukee finished the fourth quarter on an 11-2 run to force overtime.
- They did all that without Khris Middleton, who was ejected for a flagrant two foul.
- The win comes two nights after the Bucks beat the 76ers in Philadelphia.
I enjoyed our NBA columnist Bill Reiter's piece on how the Bucks' team culture gives them an advantage, and it was on display last night. Much has been made about teams in the Eastern Conference not wanting to earn a top-two seed because it could mean a first-round matchup with the Nets. The Bucks, though, don't seem too concerned. Performances like last night's show why.
CBS Sports picks Player of the Year, All-America teams, other honors 🏀
It's awards season here at CBS Sports, and our expert panel has selected its men's Player of the Year, All-America teams and more.
As for player of the year, the choice was easy, writes our college basketball reporter Gary Parrish.
- Parrish: "There really isn't anything to write about Oscar Tshiebwe that hasn't already been written. Simply put, he was a statistical monster all season and the sport's most consistently great player. Obviously, things didn't end well because of Kentucky's loss to Saint Peter's in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. But there's really no intelligent argument that runs counter to the idea of Tshiebwe being the Player of the Year, which is why he was a unanimous pick by our panel."
Tshiebwe's season is truly incredible when you consider that he left West Virginia for personal reasons halfway through the 2020-21 season and transferred to Kentucky shortly thereafter. After averaging 10.6 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game in one and a half seasons with the Mountaineers, Tshiebwe this year...
- Averaged 17.4 points per game
- Averaged 15.1 rebounds per game, the most in over 40 years
Tshiebwe also landed on our first-team All-America selections and was joined by...
Who will the United States draw in the World Cup? ⚽
The World Cup draw is today at noon, and for the first time in eight years, the United States is a part of it.
The Stars and Stripes are in Pot 2, meaning they'll be grouped with...
- One team from Pot 1 (the seven top-ranked teams in the field and host Qatar)
- One team from Pot 3 (the next eight top-ranked teams after Pot 1 and Pot 2)
- One team from Pot 4 (the five lowest-ranked teams, the inter-confederation playoff winners and the team from UEFA Path A)
- Gonzalez: "Qatar: Take on the hosts, by far the worst team in Pot 1, and potentially play in the opener? Heck yes. ... Tunisia: A decent African team but probably the one you want to face if you had to pick one. ... Wales/Scotland/Ukraine: Ideally, it would be nice to avoid a team from Europe, and getting a team like New Zealand would be stellar, but there's a decent chance they aren't making it through the playoff. So getting a European side that has still yet to qualify would be a solid draw."
Regardless of how it all shakes out, we'll have you covered with analysis right here.
What we're watching this weekend 📺
⚽ World Cup Draw, Noon on FS1 and Telemundo
🏀 Women's Final Four: Louisville vs South Carolina, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Women's Final Four: UConn vs Stanford, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Pelicans at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 Mavericks at Bucks, 1 p.m. on ABC
🏀 Nuggets at Lakers, 3:30 p.m. on ABC
🏀 Women's National Championship, 8 p.m. on ESPN