MARCH MADNESS

Everything you wanted to know and more as Cougars open tournament against Northern Kentucky

Everything you wanted to know and more as Cougars open tournament against Northern Kentucky
The action starts Thursday night for the Coogs!Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images.
All the reasons Kelvin Sampson and the red-hot Coogs deserve more run

Houston has hosted more than its share of mega-monster sports moments and events – Super Bowls, World Series, Final Fours, college basketball’s “Game of the Century,” the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, Muhammad Ali title fights and more.

But if, and let’s not get ahead of ourselves, the University of Houston makes it to the Final Four held at NRG Stadium April 1-3, and, fingers crossed, wins the NCAA basketball championship …

That will be the cherry on top of the biggest, most exciting, happiest sports week in Houston history. This city will absolutely lose its flippin' mind. Yeah, that's how big the Final Four is.

Don’t forget, the week from March 30 to April 5 also has our World Series champion Astros opening their 2023 season with home series against the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Opening Night March 30 will feature the unveiling of the 2022 World Series banner, and the Astros will receive their championship rings the following night.

The Astros and Final Four will go head-to-head on Saturday, April 1 and Monday, April 3. The Astros will be giving away Jeremy Pena World Series MVP bobbleheads on April 1. The promotion for April 3 is a package deal - a ticket, soda, hot dog and popcorn for $22.

All this excitement, of course, has a price. For Astros Opening Night, the cheapest tickets on the secondary market run from $99 in the upper deck to more than a grand for field level.

That’s peanuts, with or without popcorn, compared to tickets for the NCAA championship game on April 3. Those are selling for $200 for seats in the heavens all the way to $7,000 for courtside tickets.

The March Madness Music Festival at Discovery Green will be held Friday, March 31 to Sunday, April 2 and will feature Megan Thee Stallion, Lil Nas X, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Maggie Rogers, Little Big Town and more. Tickets will be free, but you have to register to claim them at ncaa.com/marchmadness/musicfest.

If the University of Houston wins the title … look out below! There will be a parade downtown that will rival the celebration following our World Series triumph last year. Just call us “Championship City.”

UH coach Kelvin Sampson will own this town and cement his legacy as an all-time beloved coach and Houston icon. It will only add to the frenzy that this year marks the 40th anniversary of UH’s heartbreaking loss to NC State in the 1983 championship game. Revenge is a dish best served cold on a basketball court.

Jim Nantz, a UH grad, will be calling play-by-play for his 33rd and final Final Four on CBS in his adopted hometown of Houston. Talk about wrapping things up with a nice bow.

The Final Four is big stuff, one of the most-watched sports events in the U.S. Last year, with Kansas topping North Carolina, the championship game attracted 18.1 million viewers. That’s more than the NBA Finals (16.9 million), World Series (14.3 million), Masters golf tournament (13.6 million) and Wimbledon (7.5 million).

The 31-3 Cougars are currently the (+500) betting favorite to be crowned champions. That means if you bet $10 on UH you can win $50 – and possibly a free mattress from some local “furniture salesman.” (Just kidding, love ya Mack.)

The next favorite is Alabama at (+800) meaning if you bet $10 on the Crimson Tide you can win $80. Among the ultimate longshots is Northern Kentucky University, the Cougars’ first-round opponent. The Norse (odd nickname for a school in Kentucky) are listed at (+100,000), meaning if you bet $10 on them, and they win the whole shebang, you’ll be $10,000 to the good. But don’t bet on it.

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Houston Texans named in surprising blockbuster trade proposal

The Houston Texans have some big decisions to make this offseason, and we know one of the main areas they will be focusing on is the defensive line.

Both Jonathan Greenard and Sheldon Rankins are free agents, so it's possible the team will have to add a new edge rusher and defensive tackle if they are unable to bring these players back

ProFootballFocus put together a trade scenario sending Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick to the Texans in exchange for a second round pick (No. 59 overall).

And while Chris from Sports Talk Extra in the video above likes this move for Houston because they don't have to surrender a ton of compensation, I have to disagree.

The reason Reddick will only cost a second round pick is because he's in the last year of his deal, and he's making a lot of money ($15.5 million).

Add that to the fact that he'll be 30 years old in September, and we have some real red flags. I would much rather use that draft pick to select a rookie that will be here for the next four years and isn't in his thirties.

Plus, the Texans would risk losing Reddick in free agency next year. Not a gamble I would be willing to take.

Why the deal could make sense

If you're the Eagles, this trade would make a lot of sense. They've already given Reddick permission to seek a trade, so they're ready to move on from him now, or when his deal expires after the season.

Who wouldn't want to trade away an older player with a big salary for a second round pick?

For the Texans, Reddick would be a good addition to the defense. He's recorded at least 11 sacks in four straight seasons. He would bring a veteran presence to the mix, and help the team put pressure on the opposing quarterback. Reddick has also been named to the Pro Bowl over the last two seasons.

But a second round pick for a player with an expiring contract feels a little rich for my blood.

In theory, the Texans could extend his contract when making the trade, but if they're going to have to commit a lot of money to him, re-signing Greenard would be my preference.

Be sure to watch the video above and decide if you agree with his premise, or if you would rather keep the pick and address the d-line in a different way.


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