Drexel Will Wait; Penn, La Salle, Joe's and 'Nova Will All Press on

Drexel Will Wait; Penn, La Salle, Joe's and 'Nova Will All Press on

Back iron.
Drexel's Frantz Massenat dribbled once, took a step right, fired and...back iron.
Rather than capping off a 16-point comeback to force the game to overtime, the freshman's three-point attempt went a fraction too far. With their 59-56 win, Virginia Commonwealth clinched an auto-bid back to the NCAA tournament, where just once year ago they shocked the nation (and Dick Vitale) by reaching the Final Four.

[Your City Six Champ Week primer, featuring Tuesday Night Previews,
A-10 and Big East brackets and one very special Ivy League showdown
after the jump...]

Back to the Dragons, they'll be sitting on their hands -- when not practicing, of course -- waiting for Selection Sunday to see if 27 wins and top 30 mentions in both major polls will be good enough. Unlike like the Jones' piece we linked to over the weekend, we're now throwing you over to Roob Frank for why the Dragons deserve an at-large selection.
But Drexel or no Drexel, Championship Week does roll on. So before you kick it on over to Roob, we present to you the four City Six teams in action tonight and break down the roads they'll need to travel (sometimes literally) to make it to the Field of 68.

Richmond vs. La Salle (Gola Arena) -- 7 p.m. / 990 AMThe first round of the A-10 tournament is held on the individual campus sites. As such, the La Salle Explorers will play host to the defending champion Richmond Spiders this evening.
We've mapped the A-10 bracket above, but we'll walk you through it down here as well. The Explorers are on the non-Temple-St. Joseph's side of the bracket, meaning they wouldn't see either Big 5 rival until next Sunday, if at all. Instead, a win tonight would put La Salle in line for a quarterfinal round matchup with the second-seeded St. Louis Billikens on Friday at Boardwalk Hall.
But before they can pack up to head down the Expressway, they'll need to plug the holes in their rapidly sinking ship to pull out one last win at the Gola. The Explorers have played less than .500 basketball over the last month and decided to tank when teams need to peak. We still believe they can do damage in postseason tournaments like the NIT, CIT or certainly the CBI, but they need another win or two to regain some of their early season confidence before they receive their eventual invites.
As for tonight, perimeter shooting will be even more important than usual for La Salle, as they have literally no way to matchup with Richmond power forward Derrick Williams. This matchup has upset written all over it if Williams does to La Salle what he did to Temple and Saint Joseph's earlier this season.
We'll be in-house for this one and are looking forward to it. Follow along @cnmenta for in-game updates.
Charlotte vs. Saint Joseph's (Hagan Arena) -- 7 p.m. / Atlantic10.com / 1210 AMWethinks the Hawks might be just a little upset with the (13-16, 5-11) 49ers. Far more than the Richmond game, it was SJU's loss to Charlotte at the Hagan Arena that shot their tournament resume mostly to hell.
With the Hawks having to get to at least the championship game (and, really, they probably have to win it) to get back to the NCAAs for the first time since 2008, their first step in the process will be to get revenge on Charlotte tonight.
We've got the Hawks going over big here, so, looking forward, you can expect to see them tipping off at 2:30 p.m. on Friday against the St. Bonaventure Andrew Nicholson's who needed double-overtime to just barely sneak past the Hawks in Olean, NY last week.
From there, we could see the completion of a best-of-three series between the Hawks and the Temple Owls on Saturday (assuming both teams take care of business beforehand).
Penn at Princeton (Jadwin Gym) -- 7:30 p.m. / ESPN3.com / 88.5 WXPN FMWhile we're taking in the Explorers and the Spiders, we'll be keeping a close eye on this one, as well. This game gets the official T7L stamp of approval for "Game of the Night."
First, some background. The Penn Quakers have been chasing the Crimson of Harvard for weeks. Last Friday night, their path to the Ivy League Title (and the league's subsequent auto-bid to the NCAAs) seemed simple enough: win three games in four days, and the worst they could do would be to face Harvard in a one-game playoff.
The Quakers are now one win away from doing just that. After defeating Brown and Yale on back-to-back nights over the weekend, Jerome Allen, Zack Rosen and Co. will travel briefly over 676 before booking it up I-95 to Princeton, NJ to take on the Tigers.
With a win, the Quakers will guarantee themselves a one-game playoff with the Crimson at a neutral location later this week. The winner of that game will move on the NCAA tournament. It would be a rubber match, as the two teams have already split games 1-1 this season.
A loss, on the other hand, would see Zack Rosen's collegiate eligibility expire without a single trip to the tourney. If you've been watching Penn, you'll already know he isn't going to let that happen without one hell of an entertaining fight.

Villanova vs. Rutgers (Madison Square Garden) -- 9 p.m. / ESPNU / 950 AMBleh. That sums up the Wildcats season for everyone except Maalik Wayns.
And just as it was Wayns who almost single-handedly defeated the Cincinnati Bearcats over the weekend (though we saw you getting your game on Mouph), it will need to be Wayns again if Villanova has any hopes of staying in NYC for more than just one night.
Tonight, they take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, who they did defeat last Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak. If they can do it again, they'll meet USF tomorrow. Should they somehow sneak past the Bulls, who are strongly in-line for an at-large, they'll have the pleasure of meeting Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.
Will a win over Rutgers and a solid showing against USF be good enough for a CBI? That's really all the Wildcats have to play for right now, other than pride.
And there you have it. We'll be back tomorrow with the winners and losers to set up the Atlantic 10 tournament, what's (potentially) left of the Big East for Nova and whether or not Penn will have its one last chance at Harvard.
As for tonight, what about you? Where will you be? What will you be watching?
Which of these team's do you see making a run? Which do you see in the NCAAs? The NIT? The CBI?

MLB Notes: Bag of signed Jose Fernandez baseballs wash up near site of fatal crash

MLB Notes: Bag of signed Jose Fernandez baseballs wash up near site of fatal crash

MIAMI — As the baseball world mourned the death of Jose Fernandez, a beachgoer found a bag containing four baseballs signed by the Marlins 24-year-old pitcher.

WSVN-TV reports a black bag containing Jose Fernandez's checkbook and four autographed baseballs apparently washed ashore on Miami Beach not far from the site the pitcher's boat slammed into a jetty early Sunday. Fernandez and two friends were killed.

Ocean Rescue Division Chief Vincent Canosa tells WSVN the bag was given to a lifeguard and that it apparently came from the boat.

Fernandez had been scheduled to start Monday night's game against the New York Mets. Instead, his teammates honored him in an emotional pre-game ceremony. The players took the field, tears in their eyes, wearing black jerseys with the number 16 and Fernandez's name on back.

Rangers: Brother of Yu Darvish convicted on gambling charges
TOKYO — A Japanese court on Tuesday convicted the brother of Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish of gambling on baseball games, handing him a suspended prison sentence.

The Osaka District Court found Sho Darvish guilty of taking hundreds of bets on Major League Baseball and on professional baseball games in Japan last year.

The court said the 27-year-old younger brother of Yu Darvish was sentenced to two years and four months in prison, but it was suspended for five years. The court said the defendant's gambling was limited to his group of friends and was not linked to organized crime, according to local media reports.

The younger Darvish took bets of 10,000 yen ($100) on Japanese and American professional baseball games, accepting wagers totaling about 110 million yen ($1.1 million) through the LINE social networking application, Kyodo News reported.

Sho Davsish himself bet roughly 220 million yen ($2.2 million) on the games, Kyodo said.

His arrest last year led to an investigation of his brother, Yu Darvish, but the authorities found no involvement by the Rangers star.

Sho Darvish reportedly said during his trial that he regretted causing trouble to his family and that he planned to change his surname to make their relationship less obvious.

But on Tuesday, judge Hajime Hashimoto reportedly advised Darvish that what should change are his actions, not his name.

Pouring a little cold water on Eagles' big win over Steelers


Pouring a little cold water on Eagles' big win over Steelers

Now that everybody has had a day to enjoy the Eagles' shocking 34-3 victory over the Steelers, it's time to pour a little cold water on the celebration.

There was actually a lot working in the Eagles' favor on Sunday. We're all so conditioned to look at the Steelers as legitimate Super Bowl contenders — and they are — that it's easy to overlook some of the obvious warning signs an upset might be brewing.

None of this is to say the Eagles aren't a better team than many people expected or Carson Wentz and the defense aren't the real deal. It's clear even some of the more optimistic projections underrated the talent on this roster or didn't account for a rookie quarterback playing like a 10-year veteran.

Are the Eagles now Super Bowl contenders themselves though? I'm not sold. Everything seemed to align just right this week, and that's not always going to be the case as this season progresses.

Steelers' 31st-ranked pass defense

To begin with, Pittsburgh's pass defense is atrocious. The Steelers have just one sack through three games, while the secondary consists of two first-year starters and had two rookies playing key roles on Sunday as well.

We can discuss at length how they were playing more zone, tried to disguise their coverages and used exotic blitzes. The truth is, from a talent and experience standpoint, the Steelers pass defense wasn't any better than that of the Bears or Browns. If Wentz was able to carve up those defenses, why not Pittsburgh? Turns out he did with little trouble, which probably says just as much about the opponent as it does this kid.

Big Ben plays small on the road

As great as Ben Roethlisberger is, he's been a different quarterback in road games throughout his career, especially in the last year-and-a-half. In eight starts since 2015, the 13th-year veteran has now thrown just eight touchdowns to 11 interceptions while guiding the Steelers to a 4-4 record. Over his career, Roethlisberger has posted starkly different home/away splits in touchdown-to-interception ratio (2.3:1 to 1.5:1) and win percentage (.759 to .575).

Any win over Roethlisberger is a good one, but it's not quite the same as if the Eagles had gone into Pittsburgh and done it. He from being incredible at Heinz Field to merely good as a visitor, particularly recently.

Injuries, injuries and more injuries

Every team has to deal with injuries in the NFL. Yet as much as pointing to injuries could be construed as making excuses for the Steelers, the fact is they lost a lot of bodies as the game went on.

Left guard Ramon Foster exited with a chest injury, and the Steelers' top two interior reserves were already out. Pro Bowler Lawrence Timmons was sent to the hospital with a shin injury, while fellow interior linebacker Ryan Shazier played with a bum knee. Starting safety Robert Golden departed with a hamstring injury, and complementary receiver Eli Rogers was taken out by a toe.

With Le'veon Bell already inactive due to suspension, the Steelers were incredibly shorthanded by the time the clock hit zero. Sure, the Eagles were without a pair of starters in Zach Ertz and Leodis McKelvin, but that was nothing compared to heavy losses sustained by the other side. That was a depleted team on Sunday.

The Steelers got away from their game plan

You can't help but think the Steelers probably abandoned the ground attack far too early in the game. Pittsburgh running backs only carried nine times on Sunday, and four of those came on the opening possession. That means the offense only handed the ball off five more times in a contest that was still only 13-3 at halftime. That could not have been the plan.

To the Eagles' credit, they did a good job of stopping the run. However, once the Steelers became one-dimensional, that allowed the defensive linemen to pin their ears back and really get after Roethlisberger, and they did exactly that.

So why should that be held against the Eagles? Because you have to believe other teams will be more patient with the run in the future after watching this front four tee off on Roethlisberger. A more balanced approach will make future opponents a lot less predictable and harder to defend, even if it's not exactly Big Ben under center.

Bye bye, Lane

Any day now, we're expected to hear the final result of Lane Johnson's appeal for his PED suspension, and while there's a chance it might be reduced from 10 games, the expectation is the right tackle will not be uniform after the bye and will miss significant time.

A big part of the reason the Eagles have been so successful thus far is they're winning the battle up front. They're protecting Wentz reasonably well and running the ball effectively. Now what happens when Johnson is out, Alleb Barbre has to take his place and either Stefan Wisniewski or rookie Isaac Seumalo steps in at left guard for Barbre? What happens if there's an injury or two along the line beyond that?

That's pure conjecture, other than the part where Johnson is probably going to miss a minimum of a month. Once that news is handed down, there's no telling if the offensive line will be as good as it has, which could have a domino effect of sorts for the Eagles.