Smoke Room Cross Post

David Hookstead | Reporter

The Wisconsin Badgers are national champions.

My women’s hockey team defeated Minnesota 2-0 Sunday afternoon in dominating fashion to win our fifth national title in the past 13 years.

Star Annie Pankowski shredded apart the Gophers, and our neighbors to the west really never had a chance. (RELATED: Watch ‘Miracle On Ice’ Legend Mark Johnson‘s Wisconsin Jersey Retirement Ceremony)

I know that I regularly trash women’s sports, but women’s hockey is different. Whether it’s the national team or the top teams in college, those gals are exciting as hell to watch.

Just days after our hearts were broken by Oregon in March Madness, my beloved Badgers are back on the top of the world. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

What an incredible time to be a Wisconsin Badgers. Five titles since 2006. Mark Johnson really has done something incredible with this program.

Again, I know you’re probably shocked I tuned in for a women’s sporting event, but you just don’t know what you’re talking about if you don’t understand the high level of play in elite women’s hockey.

It’s incredibly entertaining and we’re here for every single second of it. Major props to my ladies back home for taking care of business. I couldn’t be prouder of them.

Finally, Wisconsin star Sophia Shaver is an absolute smoke.

With women like that on our roster, we were winners before they even dropped the puck.

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Source: The Daily Caller

William Davis | Contributor

Alabama has officially decided to “mutually part ways” with head basketball coach Avery Johnson.

The Crimson Tide announced its decision in a press release on Sunday. Johnson had been Alabama’s coach for four years, and finished his career with a record of 75-62. (RELATED: Avery Johnson Could Be Out At Alabama, Says Report)

“After meeting with Coach Johnson, we made the decision to mutually part ways,”  Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne said. “This was not an easy decision, and we thank him for his contributions over the past four seasons. We wish Coach Johnson and his family the very best.”

Johnson handled his departure with the same class that he displayed over his four years at Alabama. (RELATED: Nick Saban And Bill Belichick Photographed Together At Alabama’s Pro Day)

“This was an opportunity of a lifetime, and we truly enjoyed our experience at Alabama,” Johnson said.  “I also want to thank my family for all of their support and contributions to the program.”

I had the opportunity to meet Coach Johnson a few years ago when I was a student. He’s a class act and a good basketball coach, but he couldn’t get the program over the hump. Best of luck to him and his family.

The question now becomes who Alabama hires next. We have an incredibly talented roster returning, and a good recruiting class. This is clearly one of the best open jobs in the country right now, but Alabama has to get this hire right.

Many fans are going to want the Crimson Tide to look at Rick Pitino, but that seems unlikely given all of his baggage. Alabama alum Steve Prohm has been solid at Iowa State, although he appeared to deny interest in the job.

Regardless of who Alabama hires, it’s time for this program to finally start living up to its potential. Alabama basketball is a sleeping giant, but it has to wake up now.

It’s now or never.

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Source: The Daily Caller

The TV ratings for March Madness are huge.

According to a release from March Madness TV on Twitter, the Friday primetime slot across CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV hit a 28-year high of 7.7 for the tournament. Streaming numbers on March Madness Live were also up 20 percent from 2018. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

Duke playing in primetime obviously helped the numbers, but these ratings are outstanding. It initially looked like the ratings were going to take a substantial dip after Thursday. Clearly, that wasn’t a trend that would actually hold. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

You know that things are going good in America when college basketball TV ratings hit a near three-decade high. Our founding fathers would be proud as hell.

The other thing worth noting that’s so impressive is the fact these games haven’t been particularly close, but people keep watching. That’s a great sign.

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Make sure to keep tuning in for all the action as we go down the stretch this beautiful Sunday and into next week. Trust me, you’re not going to want to miss one second of the action.

God bless this beautiful country!

Source: The Daily Caller

William Davis | Contributor

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning was born Mar. 24, 1976 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The legendary ex-athlete and American television icon turned 43 years old on Sunday. A star quarterback at Tennessee, Manning was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Manning played in the NFL for nearly two decades before retiring in early 2016. (RELATED: Vote: Who Is The Best Quarterback Of All Time?)

Over the course of his career, Manning amassed five MVP awards and two Super Bowl titles. He is deservedly considered one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. (RELATED: 18 Times Peyton Manning Looked Like An Average Guy Than An Athlete [Slideshow])

Manning overcame some early playoff struggles to finally win a Super Bowl in 2006, and he was named the MVP of Super Bowl 41 with the Colts. Nine years later with the Denver Broncos, Manning won another Super Bowl, solidifying his career as a champion.

He then retired two months later.

While Manning’s future plans are still up in the air, I can’t imagine anybody with more options than he has. Will he head to the broadcast booth? Or, will he head to Congress?

Millions of Americans are anticipating his next move, but for now, we wish him a happy birthday!

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Dr. Dre is very proud of his daughter for getting into USC.

The superstar rapper posted a photo of himself on Instagram late Saturday with his daughter Truly holding her USC admission letter, and captioned the post, “My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!”

It’s an obvious shot at the likes of Lori Loughlin and others who allegedly bribed their children’s way into schools such as USC and others. (SLIDESHOW: These Are The Hottest Women On Instagram)

However, it is worth noting that Dr. Dre did make a donation of $70 million to USC in 2013 to start the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts and Technology, according to the Daily Mail.

Now, I’m sure a lot of people would pile on her and claim that Dr. Dre’s donation is the reason his daughter got in. Who really knows? Sure, writing a check for $70 million probably didn’t hurt, but that happened when she was in middle school.

That’s one hell of a long game strategy if he was trying to get her into USC.

The reality of the situation is that if you’re dad has a building named on campus after him, then you’re probably going to be just fine when admission time comes around.

Of course, that’s not to say Truly isn’t super smart herself. Her dad is one of the best businessmen that the entertainment world has ever seen.

Either way, writing a check for $70 million is one hell of a power move!

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Houston basketball coach Kelvin Sampson had some powerful thoughts about families that need financial assistance to see their kids play.

Houston has had a great season, making it to the tournament as a three seed. However, not all the families could afford to make the trip to watch their March Madness run, and there’s no help from the NCAA. That really bothers the Houston coach, as it should. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

“I’ve had families ask if they can sleep on their son’s hotel room floor. Think about that now,” Sampson told the media when explaining how some families can’t afford to travel.

Watch his full comments below.

I couldn’t agree more. The NCAA tournament prints money. It is essentially an ATM. There’s nothing wrong with that. People enjoy the games, and it generates big money. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

There’s no excuse for the NCAA not helping facilitate travel and housing for families during the tournament. There is plenty of money out there. At the very least, allow the schools to pay for it themselves.

The system we currently have has no problem using young men to produce cash through college football and basketball. God forbid their families get a little help so they can travel to games.

It’s almost like the NCAA doesn’t actually care about the well-being of the student-athletes. This should be fixed, and it should be fixed immediately.

Of course, we all know that’s not likely, which is a damn shame.

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

“Yellowstone” season two is only a few months away, and we have the first image from the upcoming episodes.

Everybody knows that I’m a huge fan of the hit show on the Paramount Network. Kevin Costner as John Dutton is one of the coolest storylines that I’ve ever seen on TV.

The whole cast is incredible, and I’m extremely optimistic that things will only get crazier in season two. In the first image from the new season, all our favorite characters are gathered on the front porch of John’s house. (RELATED: ‘Yellowstone’ Season 2 Will Premiere June 19, 2019 On The Paramount Network)

Kayce, Beth, Jamie, their father, Rip and Monica are all in the picture. Jamie’s presence is interesting because he pretty much cut and run from the family at the end of season one.

This photo makes me think that Jamie is going to make some amends in the second season. He flamed out his father to a reporter, and that could cause some serious problems for the head of the Dutton family.

Yet, there’s a war brewing, and we all know John will close ranks. Will Jamie find his way back into his good graces? We’ll have to find out. (RELATED: The ‘Yellowstone‘ Season One Finale Was Electric [SPOILERS])

It’s also interesting that Monica is featured. Hopefully, that’s a sign she’s going to smooth things over with Kayce.

There’s no question she’s better off on the ranch than on the reservation. That was made obvious in season one.

Tune in June 19 to catch all the action in season 2. It should be great.

Source: The Daily Caller

The Alliance of American Football released a pretty cool video late Saturday of Johnny Manziel ahead of his debut.

The Memphis Express quarterback talked about his rise to fame at Texas A&M and how it all came crashing down afterwards. He was open, honest and appeared very self-aware of the mistakes in his past. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Signs With The Memphis Express In The AAF)

The Heisman winner even admitted that he has a lot of regrets about how things when down when he flamed out of Cleveland.

Watch the video below.

Now, Manziel will make his AAF debut when the Memphis Express play the Birmingham Iron tonight on the NFL Network.

Given all the things that have happened in Manziel’s life and his short stint in Canada, it’s kind of hard to believe how nicely things came together for him in the AAF. (RELATED: Johnny Manziel Says He’s ‘Getting Some Of The Rust Out’ Ahead Of Memphis Express Debut)

It should be fun to see if he can still go out there and spin it like he did during his days with the Aggies.

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Make sure to tune in for the game. Johnny Football won’t be starting, but I absolutely expect him to get some snaps.

It’s going to be a good one as we watch Manziel’s return to pro football.

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Fans gave Minnesota star Jordan Murphy an emotional goodbye after losing to Michigan State Saturday night.

The Gophers got blown out by the Spartans in the second round of the NCAA tournament, but that didn’t stop the fans from showing their appreciation for Murphy, who has been a major part of the Minnesota program these past few years. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

Coach Richard Pitino pulled him from the game with just under a minute and a half left as the crowd got to its feet, and started applauding.

The senior star shared some emotional hugs as he went down the bench.

That’s how this journey will end for every single player on ever single team except one. Sports are about huge emotional swings, and most people will hang up their shoes without ever getting close to a championship.

I have no doubt last night was a hard pill to swallow for Murphy. I have no doubt at all, but the sting of losing his final March Madness game will eventually fade.

When it does, people will always remember just how great he was for the Gophers.

Props to him on a very successful career in the Big Ten. Now, it’s time for him to go make some money playing this incredible sport.

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Source: The Daily Caller

David Hookstead | Reporter

Scott Van Pelt has gone viral for some comments defending Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo.

Izzo tore into Aaron Henry during their first NCAA tournament game against Bradley, and he refused to apologize for his treatment of the freshman. (RELATED: Tom Izzo Goes Ballistic On Aaron Henry, Refuses To Apologize)

You can watch the intense moment below.

Obviously, some people (not me) thought Izzo took it too far. Van Pelt wasn’t having it. He absolutely shredded Izzo’s critics in an awesome recent rant on ESPN. (RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

He specifically called out the people who don’t “really want context,” but just “want to be mad.” Watch the incredible segment below, which has since blown up on Twitter.

I agree with pretty much every single word spoken by the ESPN host. This is major college basketball we’re talking about here. It’s going to be tough. It’s not always pretty. That’s just the fact of the matter.

Izzo wasn’t pleased with his guy, and he let him have it. That’s called coaching and holding people to a standard of excellence. If we’re not going to do that, then why are we even playing the game?

This is March Madness. Everything is on the line. Izzo should lose his mind if his players aren’t giving their all.

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Good for Izzo for refusing to apologize, and props to Van Pelt for calling out the ridiculous critics. I couldn’t agree more with either of them.

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Source: The Daily Caller

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