Hello again everyone, it's Shanna McCarriston wishing you all a glorious Friday.
I've been a bit sad these last few days because my Boston Bruins did not exactly have the game they needed on Wednesday night and were eliminated from the playoffs. It's most definitely not how I saw it going, but alas, here we are. I had a few Boston friends at the game and they said it was LOUD. Like next level noise.
I haven't been in a loud stadium since before quarantine and even if it's fans cheering for the team I'm not a fan of, I miss that feeling. Let me know on Twitter which team you're most excited to see back in person.
📰 What you need to know
1. CFP group formally recommends 12 team playoff model🏈
During Wednesday's newsletter we discussed the possibility of the College Football Playoff expansion occurring and since then we have some serious new developments. On Thursday, a College Football Playoff working group formally recommended expanding the four-team field to 12 teams.
Here's how the 12 team model would work:
- Invite the top six conference champions
- Invite six at-large teams
- No limit on number of selections from a conference
- No conference would receive an automatic bid
- Top four conference champions would get byes in the first round
- Playoff bracket wouldn't take regular-season rematches into account when teams are ranked
- No reseeding in quarterfinal or semifinal round
This recommendation will be discussed at the CFP Management Committee meeting on June 17-18. If expansion happens, it likely won't start until at least 2023.
The four-person CFP working group said in a statement: " ... it's important that we consider the opportunity for more teams and more student-athletes to participate in the playoff. After reviewing numerous options, we believe this proposal is the best option to increase participation, enhance the regular season and grow the national excitement of college football ..."
Dennis Dodd says the SEC and Pac-12 would benefit from this change, while Notre Dame would not. Take a look at the full list of winners and losers from the proposed expansion.
David Cobb also went back and took a look at how the 12-team field would have looked in the last seven seasons. Here is how the playoff would have looked if this expansion went into play sooner.
2. Bucks defeat Nets 🏀
The Milwaukee Bucks did it, they beat the Brooklyn Nets, who are favorites to win it all. Let's not get too ahead of ourselves, it's only one game and the Nets still have a 2-1 lead in the series, but this game was crucial for any hope in Milwaukee.
The 86-83 win put the Nets in a more vulnerable position, though they are still showing they are the super team they have been hyped up to be.
For Brooklyn, Kevin Durant lead the way with 30 points, with Kyrie Irving recording 22. On the other side of the ball, Khris Middleton had a 25-point game and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33.
Let's take a look at the takeaways from Milwaukee's win:
- The Bucks avoid historically insurmountable deficit: The Bucks came into the game down 2-0 in the series, and while history shows when the series sits at 2-0 the leading team has a 97% chance of advancing, there still leaves that chance. No team, however, has come back from a 3-0 deficit.
- Milwaukee's stars outproduced Brooklyn stars: If we know anything, we know the Nets have a few stars, but Thursday night the Bucks top players were the ones driving their team to victory. Middleton and Antetokounmpo combined for 79% percent of the team's point production.
- A forgettable game for Joe Harris: Harris is a top shooter, but he clearly was off last night, shooing just 1-for-11 from the field and making just one of his seven 3-point attempts. The team was still able to come this close to a win despite his challenges. Once he is back to shooting as he normally does, the Nets will have another weapon to use on offense.
3. Jazz go up 2-0 in the series vs. Clippers 🏀
The Utah Jazz kept things rolling with a 117-111 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to give them a 2-0 series lead. The Jazz lead by as many as 21 points in the contest, but a Clippers comeback threatened the lead.
On the Clippers side, you guessed it, Reggie Jackson lead the team in points with 29. OK, that's probably not what any of us would've guessed.
Donovan Mitchell proved to be too explosive on offense for Los Angeles.
Here are takeaways from the game, thanks to our very own Sam Quinn:
- Mitchell's mastery: No matter the coverage, Mitchell was still able to perform as the star he is. The Clippers don't have an answer for him, even switching up their approach and Mitchell was able to adjust to everything they tried.
- Did the Clippers waste their best move: Trailing by 21, the Clippers broke out their zone defense and it almost worked. But the key word here is almost. While they got themselves back in the game, they still lost and now they showed their opponents a major card they could've saved.
- Not doing himself any Favors: When Derrick Favors replaced Rudy Gobert, the difference was clear. With Gobert on the court, the Jazz won the minutes he played, but the story changed with Favors. The Clippers also became more aggressive against Favors, knowing does not have the game of Gobert.
Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be crucial for the Clippers. With a 3-0 deficit being historically impossible to overcome in the playoffs, Los Angeles will need a check in the win column to give themselves a better shot at this series.
4. NHL Stanley Cup Playoff semifinals are set 🏒
Is anyone else having a difficult time believing we are this close to the Stanley Cup Final? As of last night the Stanley Cup Playoff semifinals are officially set.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights beat the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 to win the series in six games. With that victory the Golden Nights are now set to face the Montreal Canadiens in the one semifinals, while New York Islanders will take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in the other.
Now, as a Boston fan it's difficult for me to pick who I'd like to win the series between the Islanders and Lightning. I do have to point out though, that ever since Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady headed to Tampa their teams have been quite successful. I know, people from New England still can't go an hour without mentioning TB12.
The Lightning have the experience and the team with slightly more to them, but don't count out the Islanders, looking to make their first Finals appearance since 1984.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Russell Wilson says he did not request a trade from the Seattle Seahawks, says "I'm here and I'm here to win"
- How the College Football Playoff expansion puts an emphasis on access, not excellence
- MUST SEE: Padres fan makes bare-handed catch while holding a child
📺 What to watch this weekend
🏀 76ers vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m. | ATL +1 | TV: ESPN
🏀 Suns vs. Nuggets, 10 p.m. | DEN -1.5 | TV: ESPN
🏀 Jazz vs. Clippers, 8:30 p.m. | LAC -3.5 | TV: ABC
🏀 Nets vs. Bucks, 3 p.m. | MIL +2 | TV: ABC
🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet
Former Carolina Panthers' Greg Olsen has been updating everyone on his son TJ, who was in need of a heart transplant. Last week, Olsen shared that his eight-year-old got the call he needed and would be going into surgery. Yesterday, Olsen shared a heartwarming video of TJ telling his siblings the good news. This is the best video you'll see all week, maybe all month.