The NCAA approved several changes to March Madness aimed at reducing conference foes from facing off in early rounds of postseason play. Teams in the same conference who played against each other during the season will be less likely to meet in early rounds, which also gives mid-majors a better chance at a real seed rather than a somewhat randon placement into the field. The full details are explained here, and here is a quick summary.

Generally speaking, these rules changes seem to make sense on first glance. Relaxing the rule that required the top three teams from a league to be placed into different conferences is a big plus. That will allow the committee to stay closer to real seeds and not punish teams, especially those from slightly smaller conferences, where the best team from a league previously could be squeezed out of a preferred region due to conference conflicts elsewhere. It also will diminish the number of situations like last season, where Indiana was perceived to be “playing for Indianapolis” against Michigan and other Big Ten contenders. In theory, both of those teams could now be in the same region (as the 1 and 2) as long as there weren’t four Big Ten teams in the top four seed lines (as there were last season).

 

Urban Meyer says Ohio State (No. 2 in the preseason polls) doesn't have "Alabama speed" which is either crazy or means Alabama (No. 1 in preseason polls) is really that scary....again.

 

Robby Thompson is the acting manager of the Seattle Mariners while Eric Wedge recovers from a mild stroke, and he accidentally called the wrong pitcher into the game while up 7-2 in the ninth against the Red Sox. The Mariners then went on to lose 8-7 after Murphy's Law took full effect for the new manager.

 

Aaron Hernandez wrote a letter from jail which TMZ somehow obtained.

Aaron Hernandez wrote a pen pal a letter from inside his jail cell, declaring his innocence, saying his murder charges are God's plan, and vowing to return to the NFL ... and TMZ has a copy.

We have verified with law enforcement the letter is the real deal. You can read it yourself ... among the highlights:

-- "The world just makes things out of false accusations ... and it will all die down, especially when they say NOT GUILTY"

-- "All the people who turned on me will feel like crap." -- "God put me in this situation for a reason."

-- "Can't wait to sign [autographs] again when I'm playing again an [sic] prove all the haters WRONG." 

 

Nationals manager Mike Rizzo is about to receive a bonus and an extension.

 

According to reports, which, let's face it, have been all over the place, say A-Rod will not agree to a suspension but will fight the case instead. 

 

The Jacksonville Jags are taking things slowly with Denard Robinson.

 

49ers DB Chris Culliver tore his ACL and is out for the season.

 

Jimmy Butler says the Chicago Bulls can't let a three-peat for Miami happen.

 

Speaking of Chicago, Derrick Rose is being penciled in for an Oct 5 return. 

 

Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu are competing for Arizona's kick-return job. That's a huge win for the Cards.

 

The Knicks are discussing a deal with Jannero Pargo.

 

Greg Oden will choose his next destination later today.

 

Michael Dyer will accept an offer from Louisville to return to DI college football. Huge snag for the Cardinals.

 

Yu Darvish struck out 14 as the Rangers took down Arizona 7-1.

 

John Wall is mighty fast.

 

 

FLASHING LIGHTS

 

Stalley released the tracklist and cover art for his upcoming mixtape, Honest Cowboy.

 

The Weeknd is promoting his upcoming album, Kiss Land, via billboard in Toronto.

 

Paul Wall released a video in anticipation of his upcoming mixtape, Check Season.

 

Spend a day with Juicy J as he prepares to drop his next album, Stay Trippy.

 

Kanye West reemerged at a Travi$ Scott concert in LA and performed "New Slaves."

 

 

DID YOU REALIZE?

 

The Postal Service may soon deliver alcohol because there is money to be made. 

 

Now that Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, President Obama's trip to visit Mother Russia this Fall doesn't look like it's going to happen.

 

John Kerry said he and President Obama have a timeline for ending drone strikes in Pakistan.

 

Here's a Republican calling for much more action to prevent climate change.

 

 

GOTTA HAVE IT

 

If you've ever lost your lighter, Redman's latest is for you. Shoutout to Nas too, because "2nd Childhood" is one of my all-time favorites.