Good morning to everyone but especially to...


When Patrick Mahomes suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Jaguars, it didn't look good. Not for the rest of that game, and not for any potential games going forward.

Yet, as he so often does while playing, Mahomes avoided disaster. He is practicing fully and not in a walking boot, and it sounds like he'll be relatively close to 100% against the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.

Mahomes also got more good news -- this one much less of a surprise -- on Wednesday. He's officially an MVP finalist. Here's the full list:

You can see the finalists for all of the awards and our predictions for winners (which will be announced Feb. 9) here.


You've heard of door-to-door service, but what about door-to-stadium-seat service? That's exactly what the world's (unofficial) greatest food delivery person provided Wednesday, even walking on the court mid-play during the Loyola Chicago at Duquesne men's basketball game.

Somehow, no one was hurt, no food or drink was spilled, and, after a brief stoppage, play resumed. The delivery person even found the customer thanks to some assistance from the video board. I will expect nothing less the next time I order food.

Honorable mentions

  • Damian Lillard recorded his fourth career 60-point game in a Trail Blazers win. It ties Michael Jordan and James Harden for third-most 60-point games ever.

And not such a good morning for...


Hear me out. The Colts won one game under Jeff Saturday after he took over in the middle of the season. But now there's potential drama, because Colts owner Jim Irsay wants to retain Saturday and make him the full-time head coach even though not everyone in the organization is on board.

  • Saturday, a six-time Pro-Bowl center, spent 13 of his 14 NFL seasons in Indianapolis.
  • However, prior to his controversial hiring as interim head coach, Saturday had never coached above the high-school level.
  • After winning in his coaching debut, Saturday and the Colts lost each of their final seven games. That included a 54-19 blowout defeat to the Cowboys and, in the final week of a season, a 32-31 loss to the lowly Texans.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it's important to note Saturday is one of seven candidates receiving a second interview. There's a long way to go.

But the Colts keeping him would be -- to put it kindly -- an underwhelming hire to conclude a poor hiring process.

Not so honorable mentions

The separate paths the Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs and Bengals took to conference championship weekend 🏈

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Thirty-two entered. Four remain. The path was long and winding. The 49ers had to turn to Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy. The Bengals started 0-2. The Chiefs and Eagles... OK, fine, they didn't have too many major issues.

It's easy to forget everything that's happened for the teams in the conference championship games this weekend, so we're here with a reminder.

For the Eagles, it started months before the season even kicked off, thanks to a massive offseason, writes our Cody Benjamin. Here were the big moves:

The first two are Pro Bowlers. The other two easily could have been. That's how you get to within two games of a championship.

As for the team Philadelphia will face Sunday, the 49ers' most notable move came in-season, notes our Tyler Sullivan. Christian McCaffrey's versatility and explosiveness have been a huge boost for an already-awesome offense.

  • With McCaffrey on the field this season, the 49ers are averaging 6.6 yards per play. That would be by far the best number in the NFL.
  • With him off the field this season, the 49ers are averaging 5.5 yards per play. That would be tied for 11th in the NFL.

Here's how all four remaining teams got to where they are today:

Eagles | 49ers | Chiefs | Bengals

NBA Trade Deadline Buyer's Guide: California teams in the market 🏀

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The NBA trade deadline is exactly two weeks away. As always, there are plenty of teams looking to buy, and there should be plenty of teams looking to sell, too. We covered sellers last week. Now, our Sam Quinn is looking at buyers.

The state of California and the four teams that call it home -- the Lakers, Clippers, Warriors and Kings(!) -- could all be buyers as they prepare for the stretch run. There's never been a season where all four franchises made the postseason, but it's a possibility this year... if they can get some help.

Let's start with the Warriors. The reigning champs are in play-in territory, and they have some real holes on the roster, but there are also real solutions out there, Sam writes.

  • Quinn: "What they need? A defensive guard and an all-purpose forward as insurance for Jonathan Kuminga (who is thriving, but is still too young and raw for significant playoff minutes) would be helpful. ... Best targets? If James Wiseman is on the table, a swap for P.J. Washington makes sense for both sides. He could fill in for Otto Porter Jr., and if Draymond Green does leave in free agency this offseason, he gives Golden State a young forward to develop into some of those minutes."

Sam also has potential solutions for the Lakers -- subject of trade rumors seemingly forever -- and, yes, Lakers fans, these trades actually make sense. After all, as Sam wrote, the Rui Hachimura trade was a good start, but there's more to be done.

Swinging over to the Eastern Conference, the Celtics are far and away the top team, but even they have a role to fill. A sharp-shooting forward is atop the list after Danilo Gallinari's offseason injury and Sam Hauser's shooting slump. The options may be limited, but they're there, Sam writes. You can read the entire buyer's guide here and the potential sellers here.

Is FAU too good to be a Cinderella? 🏀

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 26 Florida Atlantic at Charlotte
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Quick question, dear readers: Do you know who has the longest winning streak in Division I men's basketball? I'll give you a moment to think.


It's the Florida Atlantic Owls, winners of 18 straight and up to 21st in this week's AP Poll. It's their second appearance in the poll ever. The other time was last week. At 19-1, the Owls are already just three wins from passing the single-season school record.

And no, it's not just because they play in Conference USA. The metrics love them, as our Matt Norlander explains. They'd be a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tournament as of right now, according to Jerry Palm's Bracketology.

It's a good story but, more importantly, it's a great team -- maybe too good to be considered a Cinderella, Matt writes.

  • Norlander: "You want a reason to trust this team in March? Why you should consider picking it to win a game (or two?) in your bracket? The biggest factor in FAU's success is familiarity. The Owls brought back eight of the top nine guys in the rotation, including Nick Boyd, who missed all of last season with a broken foot. ... Five players average between 9.2 and 12.7 points. There is no star. Seven players have the green light from deep, and those seven collectively shoot 22.5 treys per night for a top-30 team in 3-point accuracy (37.7%)."

Because the Owls are so good, they technically wouldn't meet "Cinderella" criteria in March Madness. But I say we expand the definition in this instance. This entire season qualifies as a Cinderella run. This is a program that has one NCAA Tournament trip (2002) and zero NCAA Tournament wins. If their magical run continues into March, so be it. And count me in.

You can read more on FAU -- and the rest of college basketball -- in Matt's Court Report.

What we're watching Thursday 📺

🏀 Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 1 Purdue at Michigan, 9 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 8 UCLA at USC, 9 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Mavericks at Suns, 10 p.m. on TNT