Joe's Morning Sports-Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Major League Baseball is considering expanding the playoffs to nearly half the 30 teams and allowing higher-seeded wild-card teams to choose opponents.  The playoffs would grow from ten clubs to 14 under the plan, first reported yesterday by the New York Post.  There would be four wild cards in each league, up from two.

The Creighton men’s basketball team has slipped from 21st to 23rd in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll.  The 18-6 Bluejays split two games last week, falling at Providence last Wednesday 73-56 and beating St. John’s at home last Saturday 94-82.  Creighton returns to action on Wednesday at 5:30 when they visit tenth ranked 18-5 Seton Hall.  The top five remain Baylor, Gonzaga, Kansas, San Diego State, and Louisville.

The Lincoln Journal Star has updated its high school boys basketball rankings.  Bellevue West is the new number one in Class ‘A’ while Omaha Skutt stays at number one in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C-1’, Auburn is once again first, Wayne stays at number seven, and Logan View/Scribner-Snyder remains at number ten.  In Class ‘C-2’, BRLD remains first, Ponca moves up from sixth to fifth, Oakland/Craig drops from fourth to sixth, and Hartington Cedar Catholic remains seventh.  In Class ‘D-1’, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family is once again first, Osmond stays at number three, Laurel/Concord/Coleridge remains fourth, Fullerton & West Holt enters the rankings at number eight & ten respectively, and Howells/Dodge falls from the rankings.  In Class ‘D-2’, Falls City Sacred Heart stays at number one, Humphrey St. Francis remains second, O’Neill St. Mary’s moves up from ninth to eighth, and Randolph slips from eighth to ninth.

The Omaha World Herald & Lincoln Journal Star has updated their high school girls basketball rankings.  In the Omaha World Herald, Millard South remains first in the ‘Nebraska Top 10’ & Class ‘A’ while Oakland/Craig is once again ninth in the ‘Nebraska Top 10’.  Crete stays at number one in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C-1’, Lincoln Christian is the new number one, West Point-Beemer remains ninth, and Battle Creek drops out of the rankings.  In Class ‘C-2’, Oakland/Craig is once again first, Crofton moves up from fourth to third, BRLD jumps from fifth to fourth, Ponca improves from seventh to sixth, West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic drops from third to seventh, and North Central enters the rankings at number ten.  In Class ‘D-1’, Pleasanton stays at number one, Chambers/Wheeler Central remains second, Pender moves up from seventh to fifth, and Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family drops from third to sixth.  In Class ‘D-2’, Humphrey St. Francis stays at number one, Wynot remains sixth, and Stuart is once again tenth.  In the Lincoln Journal Star, Millard South remains first in Class ‘A’ while Crete stays at number one in Class ‘B’.  In Class ‘C-1’, Lincoln Christian is once again first and West Point-Beemer moves up from seventh to sixth.  In Class ‘C-2’, Oakland/Craig stays at number one, Crofton remains third, West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic slips from fourth to fifth, BRLD is once again sixth, and Ponca stays at number eight.  In Class ‘D-1’, Pleasanton is once again first, Chambers/Wheeler Central remains second, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family drops from third to fourth, Pender moves up from eighth to sixth, and Elkhorn Valley slips from fifth to seventh.  In Class ‘D-2’, Humphrey St. Francis is once again first, Wynot remains second, and Stuart stays at number ten.

The Norfolk High wrestling team finished fourth at the State Dual Championships at Kearney last Saturday.  It was the first time the Panthers had qualified for the event since 2016 and the first time they brought a trophy back to Norfolk.  They beat Omaha Burke 45-30 in the opening round, lost to Millard South 60-10 in the semifinals, and dropped the third place match to Grand Island 45-29.  Austin Miller recorded a 3-0 record, pinning all three opponents in the first period.  This season, Norfolk has won titles at Fremont, the Nebraska Invitational Dual Team Championships, and Sioux City East.  They have also earned a third place and three fourth place finishes.  The Panthers, who are currently 25-5 in duals, turns their attention to the A-3 District Meet hosted by Papillion La Vista on Saturday.  Columbus, Fremont, Millard West, Omaha Bryan, Omaha Central, Omaha Northwest, and Papillion La Vista are the other competitors in the tournament.

The Northeast Hawks men's basketball team is 12-13 on the season after snapping a six game losing streak with a 75-48 home rout of Marshalltown Community College of Iowa last Saturday.  This year the Hawks have beaten the York JV twice, Iowa Central twice, Lake Region State of North Dakota, the Morningside JV of Iowa, Little Priest Tribal College, the Peru State JV, the Mt. Marty JV of South Dakota, Iowa Western, Quakerdale Prep of Iowa, and Marshalltown of Iowa.  Northeast is outscoring their opponents on average through 25 games 87.7-86.2.  They to action with road games this week when they visit 16-10 Central Community College of Columbus on Wednesday and then visit fourth ranked in Division I 24-3 Ottumwa, Iowa on Saturday to play Indian Hills Community College.  The Hawks lost to both teams in the month of January.

The Norfolk Catholic boys basketball team is 9-10 on the season after finishing fifth with a 2-1 record at the Mid State Conference Tournament last week.  The Knights lost to eventual champion Wayne in the opening round 57-53, routed O’Neill 66-41 in a consolation game, and edged West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic in the fifth place game last Saturday 67-66.  This year, Norfolk Catholic has beaten Omaha Gross, Boone Central/Newman Grove, Elkhorn Valley, Battle Creek, Winnebago, Crofton, Neligh/Oakdale, O’Neill, and West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic while falling to Grand Island Central Catholic, Bishop Neumann, Battle Creek, Lutheran High Northeast, Wayne twice, Columbus Scotus, Pierce, O’Neill, and Humphrey St. Francis.  The Knights are being outscored by their opponents on average through 19 contests 65.1-63.  Their remaining home schedule includes road games with West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic and Hartington Cedar Catholic.  The Knights visit 9-11 West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic tonight at 7:45 for their regular season matchup.

The Norfolk High girls basketball team is 12-8 on the season and have won three games in a row after sweeping this past weekend.  They won at Lincoln Southeast last Friday 59-44 and beat Omaha Benson at home 47-38 last Saturday.  This year the Lady Panthers have beaten Elkhorn South, Columbus, Papillion La Vista South, Lincoln Southeast twice, Lincoln North Star twice, Kearney, South Sioux City, Omaha North, Omaha Central, and Omaha Benson while falling to Lincoln East, Millard West, Lincoln Pius X twice, Lincoln Southwest twice, Lincoln High, and Fremont.  Norfolk, despite the winning record, is being outscored by their opponents on average through 20 contests 47.3-44.8.  Their remaining home schedule includes games with Omaha Northwest on Saturday and Lincoln East while visiting Grand Island on Friday and Lincoln Northeast.

Checking out the local schedule for today, in basketball, the Lutheran High Northeast girls & boys host Creighton starting with the girls game at 6:00, the Norfolk Catholic boys are at West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic at 7:45, and the Nebraska men visit College Park, Maryland to play the University of Maryland at 7:30.

Local Schedule:  Creighton at LHNE (G&B BB-6:00); NC at West Point GACC (BBB-7:45); Nebraska at Maryland (MBB-7:30).

Wednesday Evening:  The Northeast Hawks women & men’s basketball teams visit Central Community College in Columbus starting with the women’s contest at 5:30.  Pregame coverage at 5:10 on Newstalk WJAG 105.9 FM & WJAG.com.  

Newstalk WJAG 105.9 FM & 780 AM the home of Kansas City Chiefs football & Kansas City Royals baseball!

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Final    Orlando    135    Atlanta    126

Final    Brooklyn    106    Indiana    105

Final    Charlotte    87    Detroit    76

Final    Toronto    137    Minnesota    126

Final    Milwaukee    123    Sacramento    111

Final    Utah    123    Dallas    119

Final    Denver    127    San Antonio    120

Final    Miami    113    Golden State    101

Final    L.A. Lakers    125    Phoenix    100

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NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Final    Philadelphia    4    Florida    1

Final    N-Y Islanders    5    Washington    3

Final    Arizona    3    Montreal    2

Final OT    Tampa Bay    2    Columbus    1

Final    Calgary    6    San Jose    2

Final    Vancouver    6    Nashville    2

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TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Final    (1)Baylor    52    Texas    45

Final    (7)Duke    70    (8)Florida St.    65

Final    (24)Texas Tech    88    TCU    42

In other news

Trae Young poured in a career-high 50 points and the Atlanta Hawks closed on a 10-0 run to beat the Miami Heat, 129-124.  Young made 18-19 free throws and 8-15 three-pointers to help Atlanta overcome Bam Adebayo’s 28 points and season-high 19 rebounds for Miami.