Sports News of the Week: NCAA Sweet 16 Is Set, William Byron Wins the QuikTrip 500, and Deshaun Watson Signs with… Cleveland?

by Chris Haney
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Another great week of sports has passed, so we’re back to catch you up on anything you may have missed recently. The 2022 NCAA Tournament began and once again we know why they call it March Madness. There’s been upsets galore as expected as the Sweet 16 is all set.

There’s also been some huge trades in the NFL as some of your favorite players now have a new home. Multiple quarterbacks have switched teams including Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, and Carson Wentz. Plus, arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver, Davante Adams, got traded to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Major League Baseball kicked off its Spring Training games on Friday and NASCAR driver William Byron won the QuikTrip 500 on Sunday. In addition, NBA superstar LeBron James had his second record-breaking week in a row as he continues to add to his already storied legacy. We’ve got that and much more as we take a look back at the last week in sports.

What to Watch For This Week

  • The 2022 NCAA Tournament is in full swing and the Sweet 16 is set as the tourney continues on Thursday.
  • The EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas is up next on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
  • There’s only 10 games left in the 2021-22 NBA season, so every game counts as teams vie for a spot in the playoffs.
  • If you’ve missed Major League Baseball, tune into your favorite team’s Spring Training games before the season begins on April 7.

In Case You Missed It

  • The NFL quarterback carousel continues as more huge names are on the move including Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan, and Carson Wentz.
  • March Madness kicked off as the first two rounds of the 2022 NCAA Tournament are in the books.
  • Driver William Byron won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday.
  • MLB teams are in the middle of Spring Training as the first preseason games began on Friday.
  • L.A. Lakers forward LeBron James officially moved into second place on the NBA’s all-time leading scorer list.

Houston Texans Trade Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns

After more than a year of speculation that surrounded quarterback Deshaun Watson’s future in Houston, the three-time Pro Bowler finally has a new home. Yet no one could’ve guessed where Watson would eventually end up playing next season.

Last season, Deshaun Watson didn’t play a single game with the Texans due to ongoing legal issues. Numerous women came forward accusing Watson of sexual misconduct while in massage therapy sessions. On March 11, a Texas grand jury determined there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Watson with any crimes. However, the quarterback is still facing 22 civil lawsuits and he remains under NFL investigation, which means he could still face discipline from the league.

Once the jury threw out all criminal charges, a bidding war ensued for the 26-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback. Multiple teams went after him, including the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. Since Deshaun Watson had a no-trade clause in his contract, any trade had to be approved by the QB first.

Early reports stated that his representatives reached out to the Browns to tell the franchise he was no longer considering Cleveland. Atlanta joined the mix late and became a front-runner because of Watson’s ties to the city. He grew up just outside of Atlanta in Gainesville, Georgia, and it looked more and more likely he would sign with the Falcons.

In a move that shocked NFL analysts and fans alike, the Texans confirmed that Deshaun Watson waived his no-trade clause and would join the Cleveland Browns. He’s expected to sign a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million deal with the organization. In return, Houston is getting a massive haul of draft picks that includes three first-round picks, a 2023 third-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick.

2022 NCAA Tournament: Everyone’s Brackets Are Busted Once Again

There’s an old saying that nothing is certain in this world except death and taxes. We should update that list to include busted NCAA Tournament brackets since they’re a given during March Madness every year as well. The first two rounds of this year’s tourney are now complete and the Sweet 16 is set. And of course we’ve had some huge upsets along the way.

Upsets are bound to ruin even the best of brackets. And once again, this year was no different. In ESPN’s Tournament Challenge alone, more than 17 million people filled out a bracket. By the second day of games early Friday afternoon, there was less than 200 perfect brackets remaining. By the end of Friday, only two perfect brackets were left, and that dropped to zero on Saturday.

One team in particular is currently writing their own Cinderella story in 2022. Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City, New Jersey has become a giant slayer as they’ve beat the odds twice now. The No. 15-seeded St. Peter’s began the first round with a shocking upset over No. 2 Kentucky. They then followed that up with another victory against the favored No. 7 seed Murray State. In fact, the school became only the third university to ever make the Sweet 16 as a No. 15 seed in tournament history.

While St. Peter’s has definitely been a highlight of the 2022 NCAA Tournament, there’s been many other upsets and storylines. Last year’s tournament champions, the No. 1-seeded Baylor Bears, were taken out in a thrilling overtime win by No. 8 North Carolina. Some other upsets include No. 11 Michigan winning over No. 3 Tennessee, No. 11 Iowa St. beat No. 3 Wisconsin, and No. 10 Miami sent No. 2 Auburn packing.

Additionally, the Duke Blue Devils won a close one against Michigan State to keep Coach K’s final season before retirement alive for at least one more game.

William Byron Wins the QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway

On Sunday, Team Hendrick and driver of the No. 24 car William Byron won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Atlanta welcomed the NASCAR Cup Series to town over the weekend in what would be a wild race filled with so many cautions that they reached into double digits. Yet Byron and his team navigated the seemingly countless wrecks to take the QuikTrip 500 checkered flag.

Atlanta Motor Speedway debuted a new track on Sunday, which seemed to give all the drivers a hard time. Wrecks were expected by NASCAR analysts. But no one expected the race to break a record for wrecks that stood for 60 years.

The 1.5-mile track made some adjustments recently that included new asphalt along with reworked banks and lanes. That meant drivers had to make adjustments of their own, but some fared better than others. And William Byron topped them all in a tight finish that came down to the wire.

“It was so cool,” Byron said in his post-race interview. “I think fans saw a heckuva race. It was certainly long from my seat, lots of [the race was] mentally taxing. So just thanks to all the fans for coming out. It’s been an awesome weekend.”

LeBron James Passes Karl Malone For 2nd Place On NBA’s All-Time Leading Scorer List

Another week, another NBA record for Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. Two weeks ago, he became the only player in NBA history to reach 10,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, and 10,000 assists. This past week, James took over sole possession of second place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

On Saturday, in the second quarter against the Washington Wizards, James passed Karl “The Mailman” Malone’s record of 36,928 points. The 37-year-old now only trails the all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who set the bar with 38,387 points.

“Just to be part of this league the many years I’ve been a part of it and being linked to some of the greatest who’ve ever played this game and guys I’ve ever watched or studied or read about or aspired to be like … I’m just always lost for words for it,” James said, according to ESPN. “It’s an honor for myself, for my hometown, for my family and friends to be able to live these moments throughout this journey. And that’s exactly who I do it for.”