Wednesday Morning Sports Update-12/29/2021

NFL – John Madden, Hall of Fame coach and broadcaster, dies at 85
The NFL says Hall of Fame coach turned broadcaster John Madden has died at age 85. Madden’s exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades. The league says he died unexpectedly on Tuesday morning and did not provide a cause. Coaching the renegade Oakland Raiders, Madden compiled a stellar 103-32-7 regular-season record and led his team to victory in the Super Bowl after the 1976 season. He became an even more impactful figure after he stopped coaching at age 42, entertaining millions who tuned in to NFL football. He also was the name behind the hugely popular sports video game, “Madden NFL Football.”

NFL – NFL cuts isolation time to five days for players who test positive
The NFL is reducing isolation time for players who test positive for COVID-19 and are asymptomatic, including unvaccinated players, to five days from 10. The league and the NFL Players Association revised the protocols after the CDC changed its guidelines for those who are asymptomatic, recommending a five-day isolation period and masking over the second five days.

NCAAFB – College Football – Bowls
(20) Houston 17, Auburn 3                            Ticketsmarter Birmingham Bowl – Birmingham, AL
Air Force 31, Louisville 28                            ServPro First Responder Bowl – Dallas, TX
Texas Tech 34, Mississippi State 7                 AutoZone Liberty Bowl – Memphis, TN
(18) NC State vs. UCLA, Cancelled                San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl – San Diego, CA
Minnesota 18, West Virginia 6                       Guaranteed Rate Bowl – Phoenix, AZ

NCAAFB – Holiday Bowl scrapped as virus issues hit UCLA just before kickoff
The Holiday Bowl has become the fifth postseason college football game to be canceled. UCLA was forced to pull out just hours before kickoff because of COVID-19 issues with the team. The Bruins were scheduled to face No. 18 North Carolina State at Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres.  The Hawaii, Military, Fenway and Arizona bowls have already been canceled with virus issues leaving teams without enough available players. The Sun and Gator bowls have had to scramble to find replacement teams.

Maryland vs. Virginia Tech, 2:15 p.m.             New Era Pinstripe Bowl – Yankee Stadium – Bronx, NY
(19) Clemson vs. Iowa State, 5:45 p.m.           Cheez-It Bowl – Camping Word Stadium – Orlando, FL
(14) Oregon vs. (16) Oklahoma, 9:15 p.m.      Valero Alamo Bowl – Alamodome – San Antonio, TX
SMU vs. Virginia, Cancelled                          Wasabi Fenway Bowl – Fenway Park – Boston, MA

NCAAFB – CFP – Being Harbaugh: Quirky, competitive, ingenious, disruptive
Jim Harbaugh has been the most scrutinized coach in college football for seven seasons, defined by his failures despite a resume loaded with success. Now he has delivered on the promise he brought to his alma mater, leading the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff and a semifinal showdown against Georgia. In 17 seasons as a head coach in college and the NFL, Harbaugh is 156-65. The traits that make Harbaugh seem a little weird his supporters will tell you are ingenious.

NBA – National Basketball Association
New York Knicks at Detroit Pistons, 7:00 p.m.
Charlotte Hornets at Indiana Pacers, 7:00 p.m.
Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls, 8:00 p.m.

NBA – Parole canceled for man convicted of killing Jordan’s father
North Carolina’s parole commission has canceled the scheduled 2024 parole for one of two men convicted in the 1993 murder of Michael Jordan’s father. The state Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission didn’t give a reason Tuesday why an agreement with Larry M. Demery had been terminated. His initial August 2023 release date already had been pushed back a year. Demery will next get another parole review in late 2023. Demery is serving a life sentence for the death of James Jordan, who prosecutors said was killed in his car as he napped along the side of an access road off a Lumberton highway.

NHL – National Hockey League
Last Night
Columbus Blue Jackets at Chicago Blackhawks, PPD

Detroit Red Wings at New York Islanders, PPD
Chicago Blackhawks at Winnipeg Jets, PPD

NHL – Blackhawks F Khaira could return Saturday against Predators
Chicago Blackhawks forward Jujhar Khaira could return when the team visits Nashville on Saturday. Khaira hasn’t played since he was stretchered off the ice following a big hit by New York Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba on Dec. 7. He spent the night in the hospital and the team cited the NHL’s concussion protocol when it placed him on injured reserve. The Blackhawks’ matchup with the Predators is their first game since Dec. 18.

NHL – Stricter Canadian rules complicate NHL push through pandemic
Having seven teams based in Canada complicates the NHL’s path through the pandemic. More restrictive virus regulations north of the U.S.-Canada border could hamper the NHL’s ability to shorten isolation periods like the NFL and NBA may do in line with new CDC guidance. The league is now trying to navigate different sets of rules in the U.S. and Canada. The league postponed nine games slated to take place in Canada because of attendance restrictions. It hopes to reschedule them when fans can return.

IIHF – US-Canada women’s games off; US men forfeit at world juniors
The U.S. was forced to forfeit its game at the world junior championship against Switzerland after two players tested positive for the coronavirus. Those positive COVID-19 test results led to a mandated team quarantine. The U.S. as a result was unable to play Tuesday under tournament rules. Two women’s pre-Olympic tune-up games between the U.S. and Canada have also been canceled. Hockey Canada says several players and staff on its women’s national team are in virus protocol. The games were scheduled for Jan. 3 and 6 in Alberta.

NCAAMBKB – Men’s College Basketball
Last Night
Notre Dame 68, Pittsburgh 67   
Eastern Michigan at Ohio, Postponed

Notre Dame 68, Pitt 67 – Hubb leads Notre Dame comeback to beat Pittsburgh, 68-67
Prentiss Hubb hit a fade-away jumper from 10 feet to lift Notre Dame to a 68-67 road win at Pittsburgh in an Atlantic Coast Conference battle. Pittsburgh’s Jamarius Burton put up a well-defended runner at the buzzer that caromed off the glass.

High Point at (10) Michigan State, 3:00 p.m.            Superhits 103.7 Cosy-FM 2:00       
Central Michigan at Kent State, 4:30 p.m.
Western Michigan at Toledo, 7:00 p.m.

NCAAWBKB – Women’s College Basketball
Central Michigan at Buffalo, 1:00 p.m.
Western Michigan at Ball State, PPD
Bowling Green at Eastern Michigan, PPD

MHSAA – High School Sports
Last Night
Boys Basketball
Benton Harbor Earl McKee Holiday Tournament
Benton Harbor 74, Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills 50
Lansing Everett 80, Berrien Springs 50

Other Games
Bridgman 73, Cassopolis 57
Kalamazoo Hackett 66, Kalamazoo Phoenix 64

Boys Basketball
Harper Creek at BC Lakeview, 7:00 p.m.
BC Central at BC Pennfield, 7:30 p.m.
Colon at White Pigeon, 6:00 p.m.

Girls Basketball
Harper Creek at BC Lakeview, 5:30 p.m.
BC Central at BC Pennfield, 6:00 p.m.