Preparing for more March Madness, including a rematch of a 2021 classic, plus Ja Morant returns

Preparing for more March Madness, including a rematch of a 2021 classic, plus Ja Morant returns

Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Oh, how sweet it is. The Sweet 16 is here, and I could not be more excited. This year's bunch features several terrific games, but one stands out: Gonzaga-UCLA.

The Bulldogs and the Bruins are atop David Cobb's Sweet 16 game rankings.

Cobb: "This is a rematch of the Final Four thriller from 2021 that Gonzaga won on a legendary buzzer-beater from Jalen Suggs. Though a couple of seasons have elapsed, some of the biggest names from that game are still around. Drew Timme is still Gonzaga's leading scorer, and UCLA stars such as point guard Tyger Campbell and forward Jaime Jaquez are now senior leaders."

If this game is even half as good as the 2021 version, it will be an absolute treat. And if Gonzaga wants to win, it'll have to be on the back of Timme. I broke down how the 'Zags -- and every other Sweet 16 underdog -- can advance to the Elite Eight.

Timme's throwback, post-oriented game may never translate to the NBA, but there are plenty of intriguing pro prospects still playing in the Tournament, and our Kyle Boone ranked 16 who could be drafted this summer. Here's the top five:

Here's what else to know:

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...


All season long, the Clippers have tried to manage their roster in a way that doesn't put too much of a burden on their stars. But load management can't prevent every injury.

Paul George will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks after spraining his knee in Tuesday's loss to the Thunder. He will likely miss the rest of the regular season at least.

The injury occurred late in the fourth quarter, when George skied to get a rebound and landed awkwardly after being bumped into by Luguentz Dort.George -- who also missed time earlier this season with a different knee injury -- is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists this year and made his eighth career All-Star Game.The Clippers are currently fifth in the Western Conference standings but just 1.5 games out of seventh, which would require advancing through the play-in tournament.

Two weeks from Wednesday -- the soonest George will be re-evaluated, much less return -- is April 5. The regular season ends April 9, the play-in tournament starts April 11 and the playoffs start April 15. Basically, if/when George does return, he won't have a lot of ramp-up time to do so.

The Clippers have outscored opponents by nearly nine points per 100 possessions when George and Kawhi Leonard play together this season, an elite rate and by far the best of any duo on the team. Unfortunately for LA, it doesn't look like they will be playing together any time soon.

Not so honorable mentions

As Ja Morant returns, will winning ease his transition back?