By Marc Lawrence — Hammering Hank Aaron left our world a sadder place yesterday, leaving one less national treasure for our nation to embrace. He was – and always be in my mind – MLB’s home run king. As ESPN points out, if you turned his 755 home runs into outs, he still finished with more than 3,000 hits. Or another way: He played 23 major league seasons and was a 25-time All-Star (there were multiple All-Star Games early in Aaron’s career). He was the epitome of durable, playing in 2,157 out of a possible 2,214 games from 1955 to 1968. And he never had a bad season. He never struck out 100 times in a season and finished with more walks than strikeouts. To put it into perspective, Babe Ruth, playing in an era with far fewer strikeouts than even Aaron’s era, led his league five times in strikeouts. Perhaps most impressive of all, his total bases record might be even more unbreakable. Aaron has 6,856 – well ahead of Stan Musial’s 6,134. And he never got in trouble off the field. It’s safe to say a case could be made that we was the greatest player of all-time.
Fresh off of disappointing ACC losses early in the week, the Duke Blue Devils and Louisville Cardinals will both attempt to rebound with a must-win today. The well-documented ailments of the Blue Devils (5-4) are no mystery, and Mike Krzyzewski’s squad is still in need of a season-defining win in what has been an outrageously disappointing year. After starting their ACC schedule at 3-0 behind wins over Notre Dame, Boston College, and Wake Forest – arguably, the three worst teams in the conference – the Blue Devils have fallen on the road by single-digits in their last two outings at Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. But like Duke, Louisville has suffered from inconsistency in their latest two outings. Against Miami, Dre Davis scored 11 points – and then went scoreless against Florida State. David Johnson and Samuell Williamson – both starters – scored 5 and 4 points, respectively, against the Hurricanes before reaching double-digits against the Seminoles. For more on this game, click here.
Grinding Out The Profits
From this week’s Playbook Basketball Newsletter: North Carolina head coach Roy Williams is 15-2 SU and 14-3 ATS as a conference favorite when playing with same season revenge against foes not coming off a double-digit win. Their opponent today, NC State, is 0-10 ATS in their last ten SU losses as an underdog.