Happy Thursday and happy December, everyone! What a month of sports we have coming up: the World Cup continuing, the NFL in the regular season stretch run, college football conference championships, bowl games and playoff semifinals, the NBA and college basketball picking up and much more.
Let's get right to it.
Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE INDIANA HOOSIERS
No. 10 Indiana is legit. Just ask the reigning national runner up. The Hoosiers took it to No. 18 North Carolina with a balanced and impressive offensive attack en route to a 77-65 win.
- Trayce Jackson-Davis was outstanding with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, dominating a showdown with Armando Bacot (12 points, 10 rebounds).
- Xavier Johnson added 20 points and eight rebounds, and freshman star Jalen Hood-Schifino had 14 points.
- Indiana outscored North Carolina 50-24 in the paint and 17-4 off turnovers.
This was really, really impressive stuff from the Hoosiers, who got into the lane at will on offense and locked up on defense; Tar Heels starting guards Caleb Love and R.J. Davis combined for just 24 points on 27 shots. Indiana also showed off its depth, with nine different players getting double-digit minutes.
- Devin Booker scored in a win over the Bulls.
- Jayson Tatum in a win over the Heat.
- Joey Porter Jr. has . And yes, I officially feel old. Will Levis also .
- Don Mattingly is back in MLB as the Blue Jays' .
- are CBS Sports' NASCAR awards.
- The WNBA has released its .
And not such a good morning for...
The comment came after Murray seemingly took a veiled shot at Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury, saying "Schematically, we were kind of f---ed" after throwing an interception on a crucial fourth down in a loss to the Chargers.
- Murray responded to Peterson on Twitter, writing "This isn't true…you on some weird s--- ... you got my number, if you really felt like this as a 'big bro' or 'mentor' you supposed to call me and tell me, not drag me so your podcast can grow…"
- Peterson and Murray were teammates in 2019 and 2020 before Peterson left for Minnesota.
- The Cardinals are 4-8 this season and have less than a 1% chance to make the playoffs, per SportsLine. It's Murray's first season since signing .
Not so honorable mentions
- The USMNT is dealing with .
Rose Bowl agreement means CFP expansion coming by 2024 🏈
The Rose Bowlon Wednesday night that paves the way for the playoff to expand to 12 teams in 2024.
The CFP had given the Rose Bowl until the end of this week to agree to the terms. The ultimatum worked.
- Until finally acquiescing, the Rose Bowl had demanded to keep its traditional Jan. 1, 5 p.m. ET kickoff time -- one of the most valuable time slots in sports television.
- In past years, the BCS/CFP had worked around the Rose Bowl's time demands, but with an expanded playoff, the Rose Bowl needed to be more flexible.
- Had the Rose Bowl not agreed, expansion wouldn't have been possible until 2026, after the CFP's current contract with ESPN ends. And the Rose Bowl would have risked not being a part of that expansion.
college football expert Dennis Dodd., notes
- Dodd: "The primary reasons to expand early are to provide more playoff access to teams and score an extra $450 million per year from rightsholder ESPN so it could air the additional CFP games in 2024 and 2025. A new media rights contract will need to be signed for 2026 and beyond. It was not clear what leverage the Rose Bowl believed it held in the negotiations. That broadcast window is valuable, and CFP stakeholders were fed up with accommodating the Rose Bowl in an arrangement that goes back almost a quarter century."
Thursday Night Football preview: A crucial AFC East battle 🏈
All four of those teams have, according to SportsLine's latest calculations, but this one is especially big for New England, which risks falling to ninth in the AFC with a loss. So, can the Patriots defend home turf?
- Sullivan: "The pick: Bills -3.5. The movement in this line suggests that this is an unpopular pick as money has started to come in on New England. On its face, that makes sense. The Patriots are playing for their playoff lives and the Bills have stumbled a bit over the last few weeks, going 1-4 ATS over their last five games. Home underdogs are also covering at a historic rate this season... With all that said, it's tough for me to get against Buffalo here. The Bills are wildly more talented and Josh Allen has particularly dominated against Bill Belichick's team."
World Cup recap: Poland advances despite loss to Argentina; France, Australia also through ⚽
There's simply nothing like the final day of group stage action, when games kick off simultaneously and teams have one eye on their own pitch and one eye on what's happening elsewhere. On Wednesday, that situation played out in dramatic fashion as Poland lost to Argentina 2-0 but still moved on thanks to .
Ultimately, Argentina topped Group C with six points. Then came Poland and Mexico, both with four points.
Here's how it all went down.
- Poland advanced thanks to the first tiebreaker: goal differential. Poland had a zero goal differential (two scored, two conceded), while Mexico was at negative-one (two scored, three conceded). Saudi Arabia's Salem Al-Dawsari scored in the 95th minute to provide that difference. For much of the match, though, it looked like we would need a fifth tiebreaker: the fair play system.
- Before Al-Dawsari's goal, Poland and Mexico were tied on points, goal differential, goals scored and head-to-head result (0-0 draw). Poland still would have gone through via the fair play system, as it had accumulated fewer yellow cards than Mexico.
- That led to two thrilling finishes: Poland desperately trying to minimize the damage and Mexico launching attack after attack in search of a third goal that would swing the tiebreaker in El Tri's direction.This is the first time Mexico has been eliminated in the group stage since 1978 and the first time Poland has advanced past the group stage since 1986.
- As a result,
And let's not lose track of things here: After sufferingto open its World Cup, Argentina eased to the top of the group with two straight impressive wins.
The Argentinians will face Australia in the round of 16 afterto finish second in Group D. Poland will take on France, which won Group C despite . for the reigning champs.
Former Nebraska interim coach Mickey Joseph arrested, faces domestic assault charges
Mickey Joseph, who took over as interim head coach for Nebraska football following Scott Frost's firing,. He faces counts of strangulation and third-degree domestic assault, a misdemeanor in the state of Nebraska.
- The arrest comes just days after the school Matt Rhule as head coach.
- Joseph -- a former Cornhusker quarterback -- went 3-6 after replacing Frost following a 1-2 start to the season.
- Joseph's contract allows him to stay on as associate head coach and receivers coach, though the arrest could impact that.
What we're watching Thursday 📺
🏀 No. 6 UNC at No. 5 Indiana, 6 p.m. on BTN
🏀 No. 20 Maryland at No. 7 Notre Dame, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 No. 7 Creighton at No. 2 Texas, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Mavericks at Pistons, 7 p.m. on NBA TV
🏈 Bills at Patriots, 8:15 p.m. on Prime Video
🏀 No. 12 NC State at No. 10 Iowa, 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2