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Colorado weather: Blizzard-like conditions to make travel difficult late Monday into Tuesday morning

January 21, 2019 - 5:25pm

Commuters in the Denver area should not face any weather-related issues Monday evening, but Tuesday morning could be a different story, as snow and wintry weather will likely tangle traffic.

In Denver on Monday night there’s a 10-percent chance of rain after 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The forecast calls for snow to sweep into the Denver area after 8 p.m., with periods of heavy snowfall.

The overnight low in Denver on Monday night into Tuesday will drop to about 23 degrees with winds gusting up to 33 mph, the weather service said. The chance of overnight precipitation is 90 percent with new snow accumulation between 3 and 5 inches.

A quick heads-up with a look at SE WY this aftn. Much colder air & strong north winds are heading toward NE CO at this time. Snow is expected over the plains & Urban Corridor in the 6-8pm time frame. Plan ahead if venturing out on the road tonight. #COwx #WYwx pic.twitter.com/OIdokNIX3T

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) January 21, 2019

Denver commuters can expect patchy, blowing snow before 9 a.m. Tuesday and the daytime high temperature should climb only to about 32 degrees, the weather service said. The chance for precipitation Tuesday in the city is 80 percent, with only one additional inch of accumulation on top of the overnight snow.

Meanwhile, a blizzard warning has been posted for areas east and south of Denver from late Monday evening into Tuesday morning, according to the weather service. Winter weather advisories are posting from 8 p.m. Monday until 9 a.m. Tuesday for the northern and central mountains, southern Front Range foothills, suburbs west of Denver and the northeastern plains. Denver, Boulder, Fort Lupton, Golden and Greeley are among the cities included in the winter weather advisory.

The winter storm moving in Monday evening will bring “moderate to heavy” snow to the northeast plains and Palmer Divide into Tuesday morning. Winds gusting to 50 mph after midnight will create blizzard conditions, limiting visibility and making driving and traveling treacherous, the weather service warns. Severe weather conditions are expected along I-70 from Watkins east to the Kansas border, and along I-25 from south of Denver to Monument Ridge. In addition, I-76 from northeast Denver to Julesburg should be hard hit.

Wintry weather conditions in northeastern Colorado should continue into Tuesday morning with snow ending at about noon. Strong winds, however, will continue into the afternoon, the weather service said, creating blizzard-like conditions at times.

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Colorado lawmaker Lori Saine claims blacks, whites were lynched in “nearly equal numbers” for being Republican following Reconstruction

January 21, 2019 - 4:53pm

A Colorado representative from Weld County claimed blacks and white Republicans were lynched in “nearly equal” numbers following Reconstruction and chastised the main sponsors of a resolution honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day during a speech on the House floor Friday.

“We have come a long way on that arc since the Reconstruction, since whites and blacks alike were in nearly equal numbers lynched for the crime of being Republican,” Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, said.

She then went on to allege that a fellow lawmaker was told her skin color was the reason she couldn’t introduce a resolution honoring King.

“My colleagues, how can you redeem your marginalized voice by marginalizing ours? Our march towards justice is not over when a colleague is barred from introducing a resolution on this floor because of the color of her skin,” Saine said. “Our march of justice is not over when a member of this body who represents all races, creeds and religions is told that Martin Luther King does not represent her heritage.”

Saine couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday afternoon, but she posted the speech to her Facebook page and wrote that she was defending state Rep. Perry Buck, R-Windsor. Buck also could not be reached for comment.

Saine, Buck and dozens of other House members sponsored House Joint Resolution 19-1006, which commemorated King’s birthday. It was introduced in the House by Reps. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, and Leslie Herod, D-Denver.

Herod told The Denver Post that the reason she and Melton introduced the resolution this year is because they were also honoring former state Rep. Wilma Webb, who championed the bill that made MLK Day a Colorado holiday. Herod now represents Webb’s district and Melton is close friend.

“There was no keeping anyone off this resolution,” Herod said.

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She went on to characterize Buck’s brief floor speech on the resolution as both eloquent and in keeping with the spirit of MLK, but Herod said Saine’s remarks were “completely off base.”

“I don’t know where she got her misleading and not factual information,” Herrod said.

According to the NAACP’s history of lynchings, nearly 73 percent of the 4,800 people lynched from 1882 until 1968 were black. It’s possible that some were also Republicans, but they were lynched because of the color of their skin and not their political party, Herod said.

The NAACP notes that many of the lynchings of white people took place in the West following accusations of or convictions for murder and cattle theft.

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Martin Luther King Jr. Day Marade sends thousands through Denver

January 21, 2019 - 4:27pm

As thousands gathered in Denver’s City Park on Monday to celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., speakers didn’t mince words: King’s message was not only about love and unity, they said, but it was about fighting for freedom and equality for everyone.

That, they said, means taking action against the separation and imprisonment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border, mass incarceration, the Muslim travel ban and formerly proposed Muslim registry, anti-semitism, police brutality and the criminalization of homelessness.

Participants in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Marade — a combination march and parade — peacefully walked the 5 kilometers from City Park to Civic Center Park, holding up signs and chanting slogans.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win,” marchers chanted. “We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

The diverse crowd of all ages and various ethnicities was not lost on many who noted the change over the Marade’s 34-year history. Students from various school groups joined the event.

Sherry Allen, 62, recalled the attendees of the first march being all black. But now, it’s a different image of various people coming together to help one another and carrying on King’s message, Allen said.

“(King) wanted equality for everyone,” she said.

Elisabeth Epps, a Denver criminal-justice reform activist, addressed the crowd at Civic Center Park in a keynote speech after participants completed their march. She said that while she was tired and has to turn herself in to jail in two days on a conviction of obstructing a peace officer, she wasn’t ready to rest “and I hope you aren’t either.”

She said her 2015 charge was for “the unforgivable crime” of talking back to Aurora police while black. Meanwhile, she noted, a Westminster police officer convicted of rape while on duty is facing the same jail sentence: three months.

Epps acknowledged that “some of my friends” disrupted the march in 2016 — the group Black Lives Matter 5280 took over the microphone, calling for the release of video from the death of Michael Marshall, as well as accountability for the deaths of others in Denver. Marshall, a black man, choked on his own vomit while being restrained by deputies in the Denver jail. The city agreed to settle with his family in 2017.

“The difference between myself and Mr. Marshall and Sandra Bland is I’m alive to tell the tale,” Epps said. Bland was a 28-year-old black woman found dead in her Texas jail cell in 2015. Authorities said her death was a suicide. Texas authorities also reached a settlement agreement with Bland’s family.

“If anything happens to me, let me be real clear: I didn’t hurt myself,” Epps said. “They can’t lie on me like they lied on Sandra Bland.”

Speaker after speaker talked about how King’s message was not only for black people nor was it about only certain types of freedoms, but, rather it was about equality for everyone.

Interfaith Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders led prayers, asking those in the audience to remember that faith and prayers alone weren’t enough. They need to also take action.

“This is a time for holy action,” said Rabbi Rachel Kobrin. “Today, each and every one of us must be praying with our legs.”

Political leaders spoke about progress made under King’s leadership and in the years since his death, but also of the work ahead. Those speakers included new Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, former state Rep. Wilma Webb and ex-Denver Mayor Wellington Webb.

U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder — Colorado’s first black congressman — spoke about how that work led the way to his election, to roaring applause from the crowd.

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Bennet reminded attendees that Monday wasn’t just about marching on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“We have to do the work,” he said.

Denver resident Thomas Hercule decided to attend the Marade this year for the first time because he wanted to make his voice heard. He said he has been the victim of racial discrimination by a police officer who pulled a gun on him when he went to work early one day. Hercule said he didn’t do anything wrong.

“Racial prejudice and discrimination exist,” he said.

Speakers and attendees said that in today’s political climate, all groups need to stand together and make their voices heard against oppression.

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Teen killed by driver in Lakewood crosswalk didn’t have walk signal, police say

January 21, 2019 - 4:10pm

The teenage girl struck and killed while crossing the street in Lakewood on Sunday night was in the crosswalk but didn’t have a walk signal, Lakewood police said Monday.

Police identified the teenager as 13-year-old  Angelina Thompson.

Angelina was crossing in the crosswalk with a friend at 6:20 p.m. at South Wadsworth Boulevard, south of West Virginia Avenue, police said in a news release.

A driver who was traveling south hit Angelina, and she died at the scene. Her friend was uninjured, according to police. The driver remained at the scene until police arrived.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident, speaking to witnesses and seeking video from nearby businesses, according to the news release.

Police said they do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the incident and they have not filed any charges.

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Colorado Convention Center scandal: Accused companies still collaborating on huge Denver Water project

January 21, 2019 - 4:00pm

The men and companies who expected to play key roles in the Colorado Convention Center expansion have been working together for years on another major public project, and the city of Denver’s allegations of collusion are forcing a re-examination of whether the work on the older project was above-board.

Last month, the city of Denver accused two major companies, Trammell Crow and Mortenson, of tainting the bidding process for the convention center. Emails released by the city of Denver show employees of the companies discussing information that the city says was confidential and talking about eliminating competitors.

The city moved quickly to fire the companies from public projects.

However, as the Denver District Attorney’s Office reviews the convention center situation, the companies are still working together on the $196 million redevelopment of the campus of Denver Water, which is independent from the city. Public records show that the companies and some of their key employees were involved in similar ways in both major projects.

Denver Water says it has not found signs of collusion between the men or their employers, but the high-level similarities between the projects have prompted the agency to examine whether its own competitive process was corrupted by insider influence.

“While we are still conducting our due diligence, we are not aware of any wrongdoing on the Operations Complex Redevelopment project,” Denver Water CEO Jim Lochhead said in a statement to The Denver Post.

“Protecting the integrity of our procurements is of critical importance, and we take this matter very seriously.”

High-level similarities

In both cases, Trammell Crow was entrusted with the power to influence how money flowed from public agencies to private contractors — a role that the city of Denver has accused it of abusing.

As a “program manager,” the company’s responsibilities include managing the bidding for a general construction contractor, giving its staff the power to make recommendations about which companies should be allowed to work on projects.

Mortenson won that competition for the Denver Water project, and it was a finalist for the convention center job before the scandal broke.

The two projects also shared high-ranking employees: Michael Sullivan of Trammell Crow and Dave Kuntz of Mortenson.

Both men feature prominently in emails uncovered as part of the city’s convention center investigation. Sullivan has since been fired from his employer, while Kuntz is no longer working on the Denver Water project, according to Denver Water officials.

Allegations of an improper relationship

Denver Water has promised a “thorough yet expeditious” review of its sprawling construction effort, which includes 11 new structures across its 35-acre headquarters in Lincoln Park, which stands at 1600 W. 12th Ave.

That investigation began within days of Denver’s public accusations, according to spokesperson Travis Thompson.

The review includes “the selection process and the contractors’ work during the project in light of the information we are learning about the City’s Convention Center procurement,” Thompson wrote in an email.

No documents released suggest wrongdoing on the Denver Water project.

To understand what patterns the agency may be looking for, it’s helpful to review Denver’s own allegations.

When the city conducted its internal investigation of the convention center project, it found emails that allegedly show Sullivan leaked a steady stream of unauthorized information to Mortenson employees, including Kuntz, during the bidding process.

“FYI,” Sullivan wrote as he forwarded emails from city officials to Kuntz. “As always, keep this quiet.” Just days earlier, city staff had asked that Sullivan not share the document with anyone.

“Instead of notifying the City that Trammell Crow was doing this, Mortenson accepted and used these confidential drafts for its benefit,” city officials wrote in a letter to Mortenson.

In other emails, Sullivan appears to have recruited Mortenson employees to do work for him, which he then presented to the city as his own. That may have given outsiders access to sensitive pricing information, city officials said.

Sullivan also talked about taking Mortenson employees out to dinner “to say thanks,” even though program managers are expected to minimize their communication with potential bidders.

In an exchange on May 15, Sullivan asked Mortenson employees when they would have the meal.

Kuntz wrote back within minutes, the files show: “I can think of a day that would be awesome…. (smiley) The day we get this job!”

Sullivan responded: “Nope. That’s the day YOU guys can take ME out! Ha ha!!”

And the requests appeared to go both ways. In a different email, Kuntz asked whether Sullivan was “able to get any language” into the rules for the competitive process that would “shutdown” a competing company’s bid. That change didn’t happen, but the company was eliminated from competition.

AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver PostRich Carollo walks through the area to be expanded at the Colorado Convention Center on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Full steam ahead

Denver Water’s project is scheduled for completion in 2019 after years of construction.

Trammell Crow has been working on it since 2012, when it won a competitive selection process. Later, Trammell Crow helped Denver Water select Mortenson’s bid to build the project.

Kuntz and Sullivan played high-level roles for their employers on the project, records show.

Kuntz was part of the Mortenson team during the contractor competition in 2014, though he wasn’t the team leader, according to Denver Water. He later worked on the project as the company’s local director of operations. Sullivan was the “program manager” for the development on Trammell Crow’s side, giving him broad oversight.

A month after the accusations, Trammell Crow has fired Sullivan. Meanwhile, Kuntz “is no longer involved” with the Denver Water project, according to the agency, though there is no sign he has left Mortenson.

Denver Water is using its audit rights to review documents and other information from the companies, according to Thompson. Both companies are cooperating, he said.

CEO Lochhead promised in his statement to “take any actions necessary to protect the investment our customers have made in this project and to ensure the integrity of future Denver Water procurements.”

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Trammell Crow was expected to make roughly $5 million from the project, while Mortenson’s contract was worth nearly $200 million, a sum that had to cover construction materials and other costs, according to public records.

Trammell Crow was quick to assure Denver Water it could finish the project after the convention center issues became public and it fired Sullivan.

“We’re confident in our ability to continue managing all portions of the project going forward,” a Trammell Crow employee wrote in an email last month.

Neither Sullivan nor Kuntz could be reached for comment. The Denver District Attorney’s Office, which is reviewing the convention center case, has not responded to a request for comment about the Denver Water project.

“Mortenson values its partnership with Denver Water and are proud of the work we have completed together over the past four years,” said Maja Rosenquist, Mortenson’s regional leader, in a statement to The Denver Post. “We have pledged to fully support their internal review.”

Trammell Crow also has promised its cooperation.

Do you know something we should know about this story? Contact the reporter at akenney@denverpost.com or 303-954-1785, and indicate whether you would like to remain anonymous.

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5 lessons NFL teams can learn from the Super Bowl paths of the Rams and Patriots

January 21, 2019 - 3:51pm

Once again in the AFC, Tom Brady would not allow the torch to be passed. His 37-31 overtime win over Patrick Mahomes and a fatigued Kansas City Chiefs defense allowed the New England Patriots to go to their ninth Super Bowl with Brady and Coach Bill Belichick era.

The NFC championship game was just as compelling, as the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl with a 26-23 overtime victory, and the Saints were robbed by the officials on the missed pass interference call on Nickell Robey-Coleman.

The victories set up a very compelling Super Bowl matchup that in many ways will be painted as young (Rams quarterback Jared Goff and Coach Sean McVay) versus old (Brady and Belichick). But there are also many similarities between the two teams, and while some reasons for their success are obvious — Brady and Belichick are all-time greats, while McVay is considered perhaps the brightest young mind in the game — others are a little more hidden. As the NFL’s other 30 teams make their offseason changes, they would be wise to learn from these lessons from the Super Bowl participants.

Lesson 1: Don’t shy away from making trades

Over the past several years, the Patriots have been one of the most aggressive teams in the league as it pertains to making trades. Knowing the difficulty of getting rookies to play at a championship level, Belichick has mastered the strategy of trading for players in the third and fourth years of their rookie contracts.

The Patriots traded for left tackle Trent Brown, Cordarrelle Patterson, Danny Shelton and Jason McCourty this offseason. Last offseason, he traded for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, before dealing him to the Rams this April.

Part of the Rams’ championship blueprint has been built through the trades of General Manager Les Snead, who dealt for cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib along with Cooks this offseason. He didn’t stop there, acquiring edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. from Jacksonville at the trade deadline. All have played pivotal roles this season, with Fowler making the hit on Brees that forced the overtime interception that set up Greg Zuerlein’s game-winning field goal.

Lesson 2: Place a high value on offensive line play, and coaching

According to Pro Football Focus, the four conference finalists ranked among the top 11 for offensive line play, with the Patriots ranking third and the Rams seventh.

Los Angeles rebuilt its line with the additions last offseason of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan — the two positions that most GMs around the league will tell you are the most important on any line. O-line coach Aaron Kromer is a valuable asset, as he picked up on how the Dallas Cowboys were tipping off their stunts and blitzes by the way they lined up before the snap in last week’s divisional-round matchup.

The Patriots may not have any big names along their line, but offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia is one of the all-time best. His aggressive blocking scheme against the Los Angeles Chargers played a big role in that victory, and the work of Brown at left tackle since coming over in a trade with the 49ers has been impressive. New England lost Nate Solder in free agency, and then first-round pick Isaiah Wynn to injury before the season began, and still found a way to build a very effective front wall for Brady and the running game.

Lesson 3: In an offense-heavy game, the teams with the best playcallers rose to the top

Clearly, NFL teams are aware of the success of McVay, who has been held up as the modern prototype for the role. But it’s still worth noting that of the four conference finalists, each had a playcaller considered one of the best in the game: McVay, Payton, Andy Reid and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

The league’s rule changes gave the offense a decided advantage, and the four highest-scoring teams in the league wound up playing for Super Bowl appearances on Sunday. With that unlikely to change next season, any team with a serious shot at contending is going to need to put a high-scoring offense on the field. All four of the conference finalists had a 4,000-yard passer, with the exception of Brees, who came up 28 yards short after resting the team’s season finale.

Lesson 4: Go for it on fourth down

Interestingly, McVay went against his usual formula by opting for a chip-shot field goal to tie the NFC title game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter Sunday, instead of going for the touchdown and the lead. It all ended up working out, but had the Saints gone on to win in regulation, that would have been a heavily scrutinized decision.

Still, the Rams and Patriots (in addition to the Saints and Chiefs) deserve credit for embracing the analytics movement and being aggressive in going for it on fourth down. The four teams were a combined 38 of 60 on fourth-down attempts, converting 63.3 percent — well above the league average of 55.7 percent. The Rams essentially iced their win over Dallas in the divisional round with McVay’s decision to go for it on fourth and goal. The Chiefs did make a critical fourth-and-1 stop of New England in Sunday’s game, but generally speaking, fortune has favored the teams willing to go for it on fourth down this season.

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Lesson 5: A strong running game still matters

The Rams and Patriots both ranked in the top five of the NFL in rushing yards per game this season. Their ground success was readily apparent in both teams’ divisional-round wins, and while the Saints largely bottled up the Rams on the ground Sunday, the Patriots put up 176 rushing yards and four touchdowns against Kansas City, with the running game proving pivotal in building a 14-0 first-half lead.

For L.A., the running game — usually led by Todd Gurley, who was limited in Sunday’s win — is also a huge factor in setting up the play-action pass, including through the use of jet sweeps and other motion that McVay has become known for as a playcaller. The Patriots also ask a lot of their running backs in the passing game, with McDaniels finding creative ways to get them the ball out of the backfield.

Even though this was an NFL season defined by big plays in the passing game, teams that can win on the ground set themselves up for success.

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Colorado Avalanche suffers black eyes, bruised knuckles and another crushing defeat at the hands of the Predators

January 21, 2019 - 3:43pm

Ouch.

Black eyes, bruised knuckles and another crushing defeat.

That one hurt.

Heading into Monday’s matinee at the Pepsi Center — and as the Avalanche aimed to put together a winning streak for the first time since Nov. 28 — the Predators seemed like as good of a matchup as any in order to inject some mojo back into Colorado’s season.

Nashville had been sliding, dropping two straight and four of its last five, and Colorado had a shot at closing the gap on second place in the Central Division to six points. A scoreless first period was promising, with the Avs ready for a physical affair with the team that sent them packing in the contentious first round of the playoffs last April. But that was about the only positive takeaway from a 4-1 defeat.

Nashville owned the second period with a trio of goals, and the Avs’ offense was largely silenced by Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. Colorado’s frustrating funk (7-13 since Dec. 1) continued.

“To come out right away, feed off the crowd and be able to play that sort of physical game allowed us to get our legs under us with everyone feeling confident,” Matt Nieto said. “But we have to keep that going for three periods. That’s the consistency we’ve been looking for lately.”

There were three fights in the opening period alone, but Colorado couldn’t cash in on four penalties — and nearly 11 minutes worth of power plays — as Rinne posted five saves while Semyon Varlamov matched his tally on the other end of the ice.

“We deserved to have a lead there early, but we couldn’t capitalize on our scoring chances,” winger Mikko Rantanen said. “And in the third, when we really needed it, we didn’t have good chemistry and didn’t create any chances to score goals.”

Nashville’s Colin Blackwell initially got the fists flying when he decked Sven Andrighetto less than two minutes into the game, prompting Patrik Nemeth to immediately engage Blackwell. Nikita Zadorov followed a few minutes later with a huge hit on Calle Jarnkrok, causing Zadorov and Austin Watson to begin a brawl which resulted in both serving five-minute majors.

By the time another fight sparked behind the Predators’ net near the end of the period, it was clear Colorado had come out with an edge similar to the one it had in Saturday’s 7-1 home rout of the Kings.

“The first period might have been one of the best periods of the year,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “We were getting under their skin. We were giving them nowhere to move … We frustrated them, and we even could’ve earned another penalty or two.”

But neither the momentum nor the scoreboard tilted in the Avalanche’s favor in the second, when Rinne stonewalled Nieto on a penalty shot early before the Predators lit the lamp twice within 90 seconds to take a 2-0 advantage.

“We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized,” Bednar said. “They made mistakes, too, and we didn’t capitalize. But the difference was Rinne.”

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For Nashville’s first strike, Zadorov’s sloppy turnover in the defensive zone set up Nick Bonino’s goal through Varlamov’s legs at the 14:49 mark. Shortly after, Viktor Arvidsson beat Colorado defenders down the ice to Filip Forsberg’s pass, wrapped around the back of the net and scored on a too-slow Varlamov on the other side of the pipes.

“Those two goals obviously changed the game a bit and made it a little more uneven,” Colin Wilson said. “But we just have to find ways to score more goals. We haven’t done that much lately.”

In the latter half of the second, Colorado’s offense pressed Rinne and the Nashville defense further, showing the same life the Avalanche came out with at the initial whistle. The Predators’ defense finally broke with 3:17 left in the period when Samuel Girard‘s pass to Alex Kerfoot was deflected home to liven up the home crowd.

But the energy was short-lived, as Nashville got the goal right back 75 seconds later when Roman Josi skated behind the Colorado defense for a free look on Varlamov from the left circle. Josi wristed it home as Nashville took a 3-1 lead into the third, where Rinne (35 total saves) continued to turn away Avalanche advances en route to coach Peter Laviolette’s 600th career win.

Ryan Ellis added an empty-net goal when Colorado pulled Varlamov in favor of an extra attacker as a last-ditch effort to get a puck past the Venza Trophy winner. But shooting on Rinne on Monday was like punching a brick wall.

Ouch.

 

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Nikola Jokic on the Denver Nuggets’ All-Star chances: “I think we’re all supposed to go”

January 21, 2019 - 3:30pm

Nikola Jokic has only one thing to say to Kenyon Martin right now:

Back atcha, big guy.

“It means a lot, to be honest, because (Martin) was something special,” Jokic said early Monday afternoon when asked about the praise that Martin, the former Denver enforcer from 2004-2011, heaped upon the current Nuggets post star over the weekend

K-Mart, who was honored at the Pepsi Center during the Cavaliers game, isn’t one to mince words — or to sugarcoat his opinions. But he said he has liked what he had seen of The Joker, especially because the Nuggets’ center “competes every night.”

With Martin in the house, Jokic posted his sixth triple-double of the season against Cleveland: 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in just 28 minutes.

“He was an extremely high-energy guy,” Jokic said of Martin, who retired from pro basketball in 2015. “He was extremely passionate about basketball. He didn’t want to lose. And when someone like that says something (about) you, it means a lot, of course.”

The 7-foot Serbian is threatening to pass Martin on the Nuggets’ career scoring and rebounding lists over the weeks to come. Jokic opened the week with 4,285 points and snatched 2,533 rebounds over his three-plus seasons with the franchise; Martin scored 4,553 points and collected 2,583 boards during his seven years in Denver.

Martin also said Jokic was a “prototypical big these days” and that he should be one of at least three Nuggets chosen to the Western Conference All-Star squad. Despite being the only center among the NBA’s top 10 in assists per game (7.7) while leading also leading the Northwest division leaders in scoring (19.6 per game) and rebounding (10.0 per contest), Jokic ranked No. 7 among Western Conference frontcourt players in the NBA All-Star Game fan voting (1.128 million votes) as of Jan. 17.

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Fan voting, which accounts for 50 percent of the vote that determines the All-Star starters, closes Monday night.

“I mean, I don’t know,” Jokic shrugged when asked about Martin’s All-Star prediction. “Yes, I think we’re all supposed to go.”

The big lug then paused, smiling wickedly.

“Sparky, too,” Jokic said with a grin, a nod to longtime Nuggets equipment manager Sparky Gonzales. Who, it should be noted, is, um, not on the ballot.

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New role, same goal for Colorado Buffaloes’ Darrin Chiaverini

January 21, 2019 - 3:21pm

Given the keys to the Colorado offense a year ago, Darrin Chiaverini could not have been more excited.

Having those keys taken away after one season wasn’t exactly what he had in mind, but as Chiaverini prepares for his fourth season on the CU coaching staff, his goal remains the same: win football games.

Chiaverini, who played receiver at CU from 1995-98, spent the past three seasons as co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach for previous head coach Mike MacIntyre. Last year, he was given play-calling duties.

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Following a disappointing 5-7 season in 2018, which included a seven-game losing streak to end the year, MacIntyre was fired. Chiaverini was one of just three assistants retained by new head coach Mel Tucker — along with running backs coach Darian Hagan and linebackers coach Ross Els — although he will have a different role.

With Jay Johnson hired as offensive coordinator and play-caller, Chiaverini will focus solely on coaching receivers (as well as retaining his role as recruiting coordinator). While it is a demotion from his coordinator role, Chiaverini said CU is where he wants to coach.

“I’m excited to be a Buff,” he said. “I’m a Buff for life and obviously getting a chance to be retained and be on coach Tucker’s staff, I’m really excited. I’m excited to work with coach Johnson.”

Read the full story at Buffzone.com.

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Broncos CB Chris Harris is Pro Bowl bound after Patriots punch Super Bowl ticket

January 21, 2019 - 3:06pm

Broncos cornerback Chris Harris is headed to the Pro Bowl.

Harris was added to the AFC roster Monday, he announced on social media, after Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore withdrew consideration as New England prepares to face the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Harris had previously been voted in as an alternate. It marks his fourth Pro Bowl appearance in eight seasons all with the Broncos.

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Harris starred in the Denver secondary last year with three interceptions (one returned for a score), 10 pass deflections, 49 tackles and one sack. He suffered a broken leg in Week 13 at the Bengals and eyed a return for the regular-season finale if Denver remained in the playoff picture. But the Broncos were eliminated and Harris received an injured reserve designation.

“I definitely could’ve played for the Chargers game,” Harris said in December. “I was definitely getting ready. I wanted you all to see my amazing comeback.”

The Broncos now have three players featured in the Pro Bowl: linebacker Von Miller, long snapper Casey Kreiter and Harris. Running back Phillip Lindsay had been the first undrafted offensive rookie in history selected, but wrist surgery will keep him out of the game. Lindsay will serve as an NFL social media correspondent during the event.

The Pro Bowl kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday in Orlando, Fla. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Overseas schedule announced. The NFL has announced five international games for the 2019 season and the Broncos are not included.

Four games will be played in London: Panthers vs. Buccaneers, Bears vs. Raiders, Bengals vs. Rams, and Texans vs. Jaguars. One game will be featured in Mexico City: Chiefs vs. Chargers. Specific dates and start times will be available when the full NFL schedule is announced in April.

Here are the Broncos’ opponents for the 2019 season … Home: Jaguars, Titans, Bears, Lions, Browns, Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs. Away: Texans, Colts, Vikings, Packers, Bills, Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs.

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Sportsbook refunds New Orleans Saints bets over uncalled penalty

January 21, 2019 - 2:01pm

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — A sportsbook in New Jersey is refunding bets on the New Orleans Saints due to the widespread belief that the team was victimized by a blown call by referees during its loss Sunday in the NFC championship game.

PointsBet said Monday it will refund spread and money-line bets on the Saints, who lost the game after officials failed to call a penalty on a Los Angeles Rams defender who leveled a New Orleans receiver long before the ball arrived.

Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman acknowledged after the game he should have been flagged for a penalty.

“Came to the sideline, looked at the football gods and was like, ‘Thank you,'” Robey-Coleman said. “I got away with one tonight.”

The Rams went on the win the game and eliminate New Orleans from the playoffs.

The company announced what it calls a “Good Karma Payout” due to an unlikely event that swayed the result of a game.

PointsBet did not say how much the refunds will cost the company.

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The Rams advanced to the Super Bowl, where they will play the New England Patriots.

The move is the latest attention-grabbing payout by a New Jersey sports betting operator as numerous firms vie for market share and attention in the fast-growing market.

In December, FanDuel paid off all bets on Alabama to win the national college football championship more than a month before the game was played. Alabama was routed when the game actually happened, losing to Clemson 44-16.

The same company also paid $82,000 to a New Jersey man who, due to an equipment glitch, was promised a wildly inflated payout on a football bet that should have returned only a meager payout.

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Backcountry skier dies in avalanche near Aspen, officials say

January 21, 2019 - 12:06pm

An avalanche near Aspen claimed the life of a man who was skiing in the backcountry Monday, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The name and age of the victim have not been released.

The avalanche occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. in a wilderness area near the Markley Hut, said Alex Burchetta, chief deputy of operations for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was with five family members and friends when he was overtaken by an avalanche, Burchetta said. Family and friends dug him out of the snow and performed CPR.

An Aspen Mountain Rescue volunteer was in the area and called 911, Burchetta said. Eventually, CPR was discontinued.

Two Mountain Rescue Aspen teams and sheriff’s deputies were responding to the avalanche area to help evacuate the five friends and family members.

Afterward, volunteers will remove the body of the man killed in the avalanche, Burchetta said.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center recently has issued multiple backcountry skiing warnings because of heavy snowfall in the area, he said.

“I would say the hazards are significant. Conditions in the backcountry are dangerous,” Burchetta said. “It’s a terrible situation for sure.”

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The avalanche was the second of 2019 to claim a life in Colorado. On Jan. 5, an avalanche on Upper Senator Beck Basin, northwest of Red Mountain Pass, killed Peter Marshall, of Longmont. He was a member of a class at the Silverton Avalanche School that was learning avalanche safety, according to prior Denver Post reports.

At the time, five other skiers were caught in the avalanche. Marshall was buried in about 8 feet of snow and it took about 50 minutes to dig his body out.

Our office has been notified of an avalanche outside Aspen, in the area of the Markley Hut. The slide caught one individual & has claimed the life of that individual. Deputies & @MtnRescueAspen are making a plan now. Updates will be available as we learn more information. pic.twitter.com/pbFF3Tg1Fd

— Pitkin Co. Sheriff (@PitkinSheriff) January 21, 2019

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Kiszla vs. O’Halloran: Are the NFL’s overtime rules unfair and need to be changed?

January 21, 2019 - 11:48am

Kiz: Tom Brady thinks the odds were stacked against him. Yeah, life’s tough for Mr. Gisele Bundchen. But as the AFC championship game entered overtime, the teams met at mid-field for a coin flip. Heads? Brady wins. And the Chiefs lose, without ever touching the football. When New England won the toss, Patriots captain Devin McCourty thought: “As soon as I saw it was heads, I was like: I’ve seen this before. I know what happens at the end of this one.” Does the NFL need to change its overtime rules?

O’Halloran: It has been amusing to hear Brady carry out the theme no doubt planted behind the scenes that the Patriots are being counted out and their dynasty is over, blah, blah, blah. Two years ago, when the Patriots played Atlanta in the Super Bowl and won the overtime coin toss, I figured the game was over. I happened to be right. But yes, the NFL should consider an overtime rule adjustment for the playoffs. Each team gets the ball at least once. Period.

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Kiz: Hey, I get it. The NFC championship game also went to overtime, and New Orleans won the coin toss, then managed to lose the game. Play some defense in overtime, as the L.A. Rams did, and good things can happen. The Chiefs did not play D all season long. This is the definition of soft: This Kansas City team lost five games. In those five losses, Patrick Mahomes and the offense averaged 36.2 points, yet lost anyway. That’s almost incomprehensible.

O’Halloran: Think about overtime from the perspective of the Chiefs’ defense. Your offense has scored 31 points … in the second half! After looking semi-spooked in the first half, Mahomes and Co. were operating at their usual peak capacity. The Chiefs needed one stop. That’s it. Force the Patriots to punt (or even kick a field goal) and let Mahomes pave the way to Atlanta. Instead, the Chiefs allowed three third-and-10 conversions to lose as Mahomes watched from the sideline. In this example, did the Chiefs really deserve to win? Maybe not.

Kiz: I have long been on record as saying the NFL’s overtime rules are unfair, to say nothing of stupid. The league has stacked the rules so high in favor of offense for so long that both quarterbacks deserve to touch the football at least once in overtime, barring a defensive touchdown on the extra period’s opening possession. How hard would it be to make that simple rule change? And how cool would it have been to watch Mahomes try to match Brady’s touchdown drive with one of his own for the Chiefs?

O’Halloran: The NFL’s system of parity is designed to have high drama. Mahomes on the field, knowing only a touchdown keeps the game alive, would have been awesome. I want the Competition Committee to alter the overtime rules (playoff games only) when they meet in March. Don’t make it like college football (start at 25-yard line, both teams get a possession and they play into the wee hours). But do make it so that each quarterback has a chance.

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Australian Open: Tennis players can cause quite a racket by smashing rackets

January 21, 2019 - 11:38am

MELBOURNE, Australia — Way behind in a match he soon would lose, Alexander Zverev leaned forward in his Australian Open sideline seat to repeatedly, and violently, crack his racket against the court with a reverberating THWACK — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight times in all, before throwing down the offending, and now-mangled, piece of equipment.

Caused quite a, well, racket.

“I heard it,” said Zverev’s opponent Monday, 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic. “I don’t think I looked over. I think it was pretty clear what was going on.”

It certainly was not unusual. Smashing, spiking, bouncing or otherwise harming rackets is the most public form of anger, um, mismanagement in professional tennis, done all the time by all kinds of players, whether they are men or women, famous or unknown, seeded or otherwise, winning or losing. Over the first week of the Australian Open, Naomi Osaka, Dominic Thiem,Ryan Harrison and Daniil Medvedev, just to name a few, joined Zverev in producing GIF-worthy outbursts.

For better or for worse, racket-breaking is as inescapable an element of the sport as forehands and backhands, often revealing frustration, sometimes reversing the course of a contest, usually resulting in a fine of thousands of dollars, and even — as was the case with Serena Williams during her U.S. Open final loss to Osaka last September — occasionally costing a player a point (in Williams’ case, because of an earlier warning).

“I love it!” exclaimed Henri Leconte, the 1988 French Open runner-up.

“I mean, sure, it’s not good for kids to see,” he said. “But sometimes, it’s very important to show emotion. … In my generation, we had so many players who did that: John McEnroe was doing it a lot; Goran Ivanisevic was breaking rackets. Sometimes, when you see your opponent doing that, you say: ‘Oh, he’s really upset. That’s good.’ But if you were playing McEnroe, you were in trouble, because he played better afterward.”

Current players will cite McEnroe or Andy Roddick or Marat Safin, among others, when the subject is raised. They’ll talk about all-time classic displays, such as three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka’s signature move of bending a racket in half over his knee, the way a Major League Baseball slugger might try to break a bat. Or Marcos Baghdatis reaching into his bag for additional rackets during a changeover at the 2012 Australian Open (in a match against Wawrinka), until he’d slammed four and discarded them. Or Benoit Paire and his multiple-racket, sitting-then-standing tantrum (in a match against Baghdatis) that drew $16,500 in fines, more than double his prize money from last year’s Washington tournament.

“If we see a guy break a racket, someone will say to me, ‘Ah, yours was better,'” said Baghdatis, the 2006 runner-up in Melbourne.

“There are worse things. For me, it’s something that it’s fun to see. It’s good for tennis. There is some character and it should be like that,” he said. “You have a bad day at the office, (and) you have a fight with your wife. You have a fight with your brother, your mother, your sister, your father. It’s the way life is. Sometimes you have bad days and it just comes out.”

Leconte is hardly the only one who wonders about what sort of example is being set for children who are watching, especially those who play tennis.

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“It’s become all too commonplace. And it seems like other players see it happening and they think, ‘Oh, this is OK to do.’ I think it’s bad modeling, and the rackets are obviously expensive,” said Tracy Austin, the 1979 and 1981 U.S. Open champion. “Emoting is good. We want to see personalities. But actually being destructive is not helpful for anybody.”

Ernests Gulbis, a former top-10 player known for raising racket abuse to an art form, says he wishes he could avoid ever doing it again.

He also admits that’s not likely.

“Sometimes the emotions just take over. It’s a fight. It’s like a gladiator fight. It’s not like you’re laying in bed and can just be relaxed,” Gulbis said. “Emotions just come out. I’m against it, personally, because you can fix your problems on court in a different way. But to be honest, sometimes it helps.”

That’s a popular take.

“It made me feel better. I was very angry, so I let my anger out,” Zverev said Monday.

Didn’t do him a bit of good on the scoreboard, though.

He was trailing Raonic 6-1, 4-1 when he destroyed his racket at a changeover, then proceeded to drop the next two games and the third set, too.

But Osaka, who’ll play in the quarterfinals Wednesday, did appear to get a boost from her racket fling while losing the opening set of what became a three-set victory.

“For me, I tend to keep a lot of things bottled up. I just felt like in that moment, sort of releasing it was easier than just keeping it inside,” Osaka said, “and then maybe I would have dwelled on it for longer.”

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic is a firm believer that the direction of a match can change with a well-timed to-do.

So the 14-time Grand Slam champion is hardly shy about chucking the tool of his trade when the inspiration strikes.

“At times in my career, these kind of situations, when I would scream or throw a racket, it would kind of wake me up and help me to just kind of free myself from that pressure that is just building throughout the match,” Djokovic said. “But there are times when it doesn’t help.”

Crowd reactions vary.

Fans are sometimes seen begging a player to hand over a messed-up racket as a keepsake. Yet when Djokovic shattered a frame by pounding it against the French Open’s red clay last year, spectators whistled and booed.

“I’m not proud of doing that, to be honest. I don’t like doing that,” he said. “But at times, it happens.”

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Senior Bowl Primer: Players the Broncos should watch this week

January 21, 2019 - 11:29am

A primer on Senior Bowl Week, which begins Tuesday with the weigh-ins and continues through Saturday’s game in Mobile, Ala.:

CALLING ALL CORNERS

The Broncos have veteran Chris Harris, 2018 rookie Isaac Yiadom … and not much else at the cornerback position.

Isaiah Johnson, Houston

Johnson certainly checks the “size” box (6-foot-4, 203 pounds). He started his career at Houston as a receiver before moving to defense in 2017. In 23 games at cornerback, he had 111 tackles, four interceptions and 18 pass break-ups. He skipped his team’s bowl game to begin preparing for the draft.

Amani Oruwariye, Penn State

He had to wait until his fifth year on campus to start a game, but he took advantage of the opportunity. In 13 games, he had three interceptions and 12 pass break-ups and showed a willingness to tackle (51). Listed at 6-foot, 202, Oruwariye could be the first Penn State defensive back to go in the first round.

Sheldrick Redwine, Miami (Fla.)

A veteran of 49 games, Redwine (6-1/205) started his career at cornerback before moving to safety for his final two years. That versatility should make him attractive because the physical attributes suggest he can play over the slot receiver. In his two full years as a starter, Redwine had 123 tackles, five interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

Rock Ya-Sin, Temple

Teams will take a good look at Ya-Sin this week because he played only one season in FBS. Ya-Sin played three years at FCS Presbyterian and transferred when the program moved to a non-scholarship conference. He was first-team American Athletic Conference (three interceptions and 12 pass break-ups).

INTRIGUING QUARTERBACKS

Eight quarterbacks were invited and the Broncos should look at these four:

Will Grier, West Virginia

Grier was starting at Florida in 2015 when he tested positive for a banned supplement and was suspended for a year. He transferred to West Virginia and started for two seasons (71 touchdowns/20 interceptions). He had 10 300-yard passing games this past season and five games of at least four touchdowns.

Daniel Jones, Duke
A fourth-year junior who has graduated — making him eligible for the Senior Bowl — Jones threw 52 touchdowns in 36 games. But his completion percentage was 59.9 (not great) and he threw 29 interceptions (ditto). He had three 300-yard passing games in 2018.

Drew Lock, Missouri
A ton of experience (1,553 pass attempts) against SEC opponents, Lock finished his career with 99 touchdowns, 39 interceptions, and a 56.9 completion percentage. In 2018, Lock (6-4, 225) improved his completion percentage from 57.8 to 62.9 and had four 300-yard passing games.

Gardner Minshew, Washington State
Minshew began his college journey at Troy, then junior college and then East Carolina. Last summer, he was going to transfer to Alabama to get a head start on his coaching career, that was until Mike Leach called. Minshew went 11-2 for the Cougars with 38 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a Pac-12 record 4,776 yards passing.

INTERIOR HELP

Broncos center Matt Paradis is a free agent and rehabilitating from a broken leg. Left guard Ron Leary missed the last 11 games with a torn Achilles. It’s time to place a heavy emphasis on the interior offensive line, led by these four players:

G Beau Benzschawel, Wisconsin

A right tackle for six games his freshman year, Benzschawel started 41 games at right guard for the Badgers. He was named first-team All-America in 2017-18, only the second Wisconsin offensive lineman to achieve that. The other is future Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Thomas. Benzschawel is a plug-and-play rookie.

G Michael Deiter, Wisconsin

The Broncos could draft Deiter and then figure out his position as the offseason program moves along. For the Badgers, Deiter started 54 games — 24 at left guard, 16 at center and 14 at left tackle. The Badgers went 42-12 in those starts. He was a second-team All-America selection in 2018 while playing left guard.

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C/G Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

A four-year starter for the Crimson Tide, Pierschbacher played in four national title games. He was a left guard for three years before attrition at center forced the Tide to move him to that position. He started every game this past season.

G Ben Powers, Oklahoma

Powers had no Division I offers despite being a four-star high school player and went to Butler  Community College (El Dorado, Kan.) instead of Division II. He started at right tackle for Butler before joining Oklahoma and starting three years at left guard. Powers (6-4, 313) was first-team All-Big 12 this past season and did not allow a sack.

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Girls high school wrestling division gets one step closer to reality in Colorado

January 21, 2019 - 10:18am

Clarissa Batrez is one of several girls who will wrestle as members of the first St. Vrain Valley School District team that is, and will continue to be, open to any SVVSD girls wrestler. After a regular week of practicing with the Erie boys team, Batrez entered the Mead wrestling room Jan. 11 for Mead’s first girls-only practice and shared the experience with four other SVVSD girls — Cloey Bonge (Silver Creek), Sara Gomez (Mead), Jenna Joseph (Longmont) and Kassandra Reyes (Mead).

Pilot programs like this one are popping up all over Colorado but could soon be much more.

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Alongside fellow pilot sports unified bowling and boys volleyball, a girls wrestling proposal was presented to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s Equity Committee this past Thursday. It was a critical step in the sport’s ongoing quest for CHSAA sanctioning.

Colorado Prep Stats

It passed.

Girls wrestling must now go before the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Classification and League Organizing Committee. If all three committees recommend that the proposal proceed through the sanctioning process, girls wrestling will be eligible to go before the Legislative Council during the upcoming April meeting and be voted on to officially become a CHSAA-sanctioned sport for the 2020-21 school year.

Read the full story at Bocopreps.com.

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AP men’s college basketball poll: Tennessee moves to No. 1, Duke drops to No. 2

January 21, 2019 - 10:11am

Top-ranked Duke went down early in the week. No. 2 Michigan and No. 4 Virginia, the last of Division I’s unbeaten teams, both fell over the weekend. In all, six top-10 teams lost.

Tennessee kept rolling amid chaos across the AP Top 25.

The Vols are the new No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s college basketball poll on Monday, climbing three spots to earn their first top ranking since the 2007-08 season.

Tennessee received 48 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel in the poll released Monday, well ahead of No. 2 Duke with 11. No. 3 Virginia received three first-place votes and No. 6 Michigan State two. Gonzaga and Michigan rounded out the top five.

“The guys playing right now built this thing,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said.

Expectations followed the Vols into the 2018-19 season. With its top six scorers back from a team that shared the SEC title, Tennessee had its highest preseason ranking at No. 6 and was eyeing a deep NCAA Tournament run in Barnes’ fourth season.

The Vols have lived up to the forecast so far, bouncing back from an overtime loss to then-No. 2 Kansas to win 12 straight games. Tennessee knocked Gonzaga from atop the AP Top 25 with Barnes’ first win over a No. 1 team in early December and won its two games last week, rolling over Arkansas and holding off Alabama .

The only other time Tennessee (16-1, 5-0) was No. 1, it lost the next night to Vanderbilt — the Vols’ opponent on Wednesday.

“Tennessee basketball hasn’t been ranked No. 1 in a long time,” Vols guard Jordan Bone said. “That’s a good feeling, but we can’t be so locked in on that. We have to continue to stay hungry. We can’t be so focused on that. It’s so fleeting. It can change really quick.”

The changes in the AP Top 25 came quickly after a wild week.

Duke started by losing to Syracuse in overtime at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils played without a sick Cam Reddish and lost point guard Tre Jones to a shoulder injury in the first half.

Reddish returned against Virginia on Saturday and Duke responded with a superb game, knocking Virginia from the unbeaten ranks with a 72-70 victory despite playing without Jones.

Michigan lost to Wisconsin by 10, also on Saturday, leaving the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers as the last Division I team to go undefeated.

No. 7 Kansas, No. 8 Texas Tech and No. 9 Virginia Tech also lost. The Jayhawks fell two spots after losing to West Virginia. The Red Raiders dropped six spots to No. 14 after losses to Iowa State and Baylor. The Hokies were down one to No. 10 following a loss to Virginia.

In all, 13 ranked teams lost last week.

KENTUCKY RISING

Kentucky saw a steady slide down the AP Top 25 after opening the season with a blowout loss to Duke. The preseason No. 2, the Wildcats were down to No. 19 just a month ago, but started climbing again.

Kentucky is up to No. 8 after beating No. 14 Auburn and Georgia this week, with games against No. 22 Mississippi State and No. 9 Kansas coming up.

RISING AND FALLING

Kentucky, No. 17 Houston and No. 18 Villanova had the biggest climbs of the week, each moving up four spots.

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Florida State after stretching its losing streak to three games with losses to Pittsburgh and Boston College, falling out of the poll from No. 11.

MOVING IN

Louisville moved into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season at No. 23 following wins over Boston College and Georgia Tech.

Iowa State’s wins over Texas Tech and Oklahoma State put the Cyclones back in at No. 24 after they dropped out from No. 20 last week.

LSU beat then-No. 19 Mississippi and South Carolina last week to return to the poll at No. 25.

MOVING OUT

Oklahoma joined Florida State in dropping out of the poll following losses to Kansas State and Texas. The Sooners were No. 20 last week.

Indiana, No. 25 last week, did not receive a single vote after lopsided losses to Nebraska and Purdue.

AP college basketball poll Team Record Points Pvs 1. Tennessee (48) 16-1 1,575 3 2. Duke (11) 15-2 1,520 1 3. Virginia (3) 16-1 1,451 4 4. Gonzaga 18-2 1,374 5 5. Michigan 17-1 1,363 2 6. Michigan State (2) 16-2 1,355 6 7. Nevada 18-1 1,143 10 8. Kentucky 14-3 1,087 12 9. Kansas 15-3 1,060 7 10. Virginia Tech 15-2 1,007 9 11. North Carolina 14-4 895 13 12. Marquette 16-3 861 15 13. Maryland 16-3 751 19 14T. Texas Tech 15-3 743 8 14T. Buffalo 17-1 743 16 16. Auburn 13-4 627 14 17. Houston 18-1 544 21 18. Villanova 14-4 450 22 19. Iowa 16-3 332 23 20. Mississippi 14-3 291 18 21. North Carolina State 15-3 282 17 22. Mississippi State 14-3 266 24 23. Louisville 13-5 230 – 24. Iowa State 14-4 156 – 25. LSU 14-3 154 – Dropped out: Florida State (11), Oklahoma (20), Indiana (22). Others receiving votes: Florida St. 139, Purdue 111, Kansas St 91, Nebraska 66, Wisconsin 64, Oklahoma 16, Syracuse 13, Washington 11, Murray St. 9, Cincinnati 6, Wofford 5, Saint Louis 3, San Francisco 2, Florida 2, TCU 1, Hofstra 1.
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Carmelo Anthony getting traded to Chicago, AP source says

January 21, 2019 - 10:02am

MILWAUKEE — Carmelo Anthony is going to Chicago, albeit only on paper.

Where he’s going next remains unclear.

A person with direct knowledge of the matter said the Houston Rockets are trading Anthony and an undisclosed amount of cash to the Bulls in a deal that is expected to be completed Tuesday. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the trade still needs league approval.

When that comes — the only reason why it didn’t happen Monday is because the NBA office was closed to commemorate the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday — Anthony will have a new team, though still won’t be back on the floor. The Bulls have no plans to play Anthony and will look to either trade him before the Feb. 7 deadline or ultimately waive him and make him a free agent.

The trade ends a short-lived saga in Houston for Anthony, who averaged 13.4 points in 10 games with the Rockets. He has not played since Nov. 8.

Anthony was traded by Oklahoma City to Atlanta in July, a move that preceded the Hawks releasing him to sign with the Rockets. The Bulls, technically, will be Anthony’s fourth franchise in seven months, with likely one more to come before long.

“We just had to see how things worked out,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said in November when the team said it was parting ways with Anthony. “And the way we play probably wasn’t conducive to his game, and he was trying to make the necessary sacrifices and it wasn’t fair to him as a Hall of Fame player to play in a way that wasn’t good for him, wasn’t good for us. It just wasn’t a fit.”

Anthony is a 10-time All-Star who has averaged 24.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in his career. He was the No. 3 pick in the star-studded 2003 draft class that also included No. 1 LeBron James, No. 4 Chris Bosh and No. 5 Dwyane Wade.

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___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Mikaela Shiffrin shows she’s ready to take over from Lindsey Vonn

January 21, 2019 - 9:58am

CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy — A passing of the torch moment. A generational transformation marked by a veteran’s tears and the unbridled joy of youth.

Call it what you want, it seemed like destiny played a role when Mikaela Shiffrin won what could very well turn out to be Lindsey Vonn’s last race.

In the space of about a half hour on Sunday, Vonn broke down emotionally after she failed to finish a World Cup super-G on knees so worn down that she describes them as “bone on bone,” then Shiffrin came down nine racers later and won her first speed race at the premier stop on the women’s circuit.

Shortly after the normally reserved Shiffrin unleashed an unusual hands-over-her-head celebration, Vonn announced that she was considering moving up her retirement.

“As a fan of ski racing and as an American, if Lindsey’s not there it’s awesome to see another American girl on top,” said retired U.S. racer Daron Rahlves, who was in attendance. “But I know it’s burning inside for Lindsey.”

After collecting herself, the 34-year-old Vonn went over and embraced the 23-year-old Shiffrin, who was standing in the leader’s box.

“I just told her, ‘Congratulations and awesome skiing. It was a well-earned victory today,'” Vonn said.

Not too long ago, it was a moment that Shiffrin could only have dreamed of.

“When I was younger she was someone I looked up to like crazy,” Shiffrin said. “I was doing book reports on her. I was one of those fans.”

Lately, Shiffrin has had a front-row seat to observe Vonn’s perseverance.

At Shiffrin’s first world championships in Schladming, Austria, she watched as Vonn tumbled head first into one of the ugliest and most damaging crashes of her career — the one that eventually kept Vonn out of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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Shiffrin, by then an Olympic champion like her idol, was also there when Vonn, 33 at the time, won a bronze in the downhill at last year’s Pyeongchang Games, becoming the oldest female medalist in Olympic history for Alpine skiing.

“The speed that she has is just in her — more speed than everyone else — it lives in her bones,” Shiffrin said. “Managing that with the injuries that she’s had and the mentality she always has to push 1,000 percent … I’ve always been watching that.”

While Vonn returned this weekend from a left knee injury — she hyperextended it and sprained a ligament in November — her right knee is permanently damaged from previous crashes . She has also suffered fractures near her left knee, broken her ankle, sliced her right thumb, had a concussion and more.

Vonn was planning on retiring in December but her results this past weekend — her best finish in three races was ninth — prompted her to consider leaving the sport earlier.

“There’s only so much I can handle and I might have reached my maximum,” Vonn said Sunday.

U.S. team spokeswoman Megan Harrod said Monday that Vonn “is going to take the next couple/few days to think about how she will proceed and process everything, and then decide about how she will move forward based on that.”

Vonn has 82 World Cup victories — best all-time among women — and four fewer than record-holder Ingemar Stenmark, who raced in the 1970s and 80s.

“She took Alpine racing to the next level,” said Tina Weirather, the Liechtenstein racer who is the daughter of two skiing champions and who finished second Sunday. “Her mentality was something we had never seen before. She was never afraid to say that she’s the best and she wants to be best.”

Shiffrin also had a desire to be the best from a young age, and it was a relief for her to notice when she first came on tour that Vonn has the same determination.

“I used to apologize for that because it was almost like I had more intensity than all the other girls. When I saw Lindsey like this it was confirmation that this philosophy I had was working and it would work and I have to stay on this track,” Shiffrin said. “That was a really cool feeling and something that made a difference for me.”

With Shiffrin well on her way toward a third straight overall World Cup title — Vonn won four overalls — she’s well prepared to take over the spotlight from Vonn.

“She’s been a little bit sidelined for most of my career, which kind of makes me feel like the spotlight doesn’t change for me,” Shiffrin said. “When she’s around, for sure the attention is on her but when she’s not around then I feel kind of normal with it anyway. So I don’t think that really changes. Anyway I’m always the one that’s a little bit shyer.”

Shiffrin’s victory Sunday was the 54th of her career, tying her with Hermann Maier for sixth on the all-time list.

“I would love to see Lindsey catch fire again and finish off strong and set a new record of World Cup wins,” Rahlves said. “It’s been standing for so long it would be fun to see her get that record. But then it probably won’t be too long for Mikaela to come around and challenge it as well.”

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NFL to play 4 games in London in 2019, 1 in Mexico City

January 21, 2019 - 9:49am

NEW YORK — The NFL will play four games in London next season but did not say which would be at Tottenham’s delayed new stadium and which would be at Wembley.

The league also said Monday one game will be in Mexico City — Kansas City vs. the Los Angeles Chargers at Azteca Stadium, which hosted games in 2016 and 2017. The Rams and Kansas City were to have played there Nov. 19 but the game was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions.

In London, the NFC champion Los Angeles Rams will play Cincinnati. The other games are Houston-Jacksonville, Carolina-Tampa Bay and Chicago-Oakland. Jacksonville is owned by Shahid Khan, who also owns the Premier League club Fulham.

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Two games will be at Wembley and two at Tottenham’s new stadium, which was to have opened last summer but faced construction delays. The stadium’s opening has been delayed six times. A game between Oakland and Seattle was to have been at Tottenham last Oct. 14 but was moved to Wembley.

The NFL has played annually in London since 2007 — 21 games at Wembley, three at Twickenham.

Major League Baseball plays its first games in London on June 29-30, when the World Series champion Boston Red Sox host the New York Yankees in a two-game series at London’s Olympic Stadium.

The NBA played two games at London’s O2 Arena in 2011 and has had one there each January since 2013. The NHL played two regular-season games at O2 Arena in September 2007.

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