Nice month. Soon after his first trip to the Pro Bowl, the free-agent QB re-signed in Cleveland for three years and $24 million. That, says G.M. Phil Savage, makes him the "lead horse" in the battle with Brady Quinn. And what do you get for the horse who has everything? Cleveland's next move was landing playmaking receiver Donte' Stallworth.
He went from loser to winner when Seattle dealt him to Cleveland, and the sixth man is settling in nicely next to the King. Szczerbiak's 17 points helped the Cavs beat Chicago on Sunday—one day after he and his wife, Shannon, had a son they're calling Maximus Jack.
Last year's NBA playoff darlings are this year's consistent winners; the team hasn't lost back-to-back games in two months, and by climbing to eighth in the West, the Warriors (36--22) are truly in a golden state. Forward Stephen Jackson: "We're starting to realize we're playing for something."
It's not just the win over Villanova that's reason for glee; Louisville (24--6) is 9--0 since Jan. 28. "I'm delighted with where we're at," said coach Rick Pitino. So's forward Juan Palacios (right), who had 13 points on Sunday in the first college game his mother, María, up from Colombia, ever saw him play.
A new lease on life? Not so much. After his disappointing five-season turn in Houston, the well-coiffed QB bombed so badly with the Panthers in '07 that last week they cut him loose. ("It didn't work out," explained G.M. Marty Hurney.) The final burn: Carolina's next move was landing playmaking receiver Muhsin Muhammad.
Everyone's excited about the Tigers' new power-packed lineup—except Inge, who lost his third-base job to incoming Miguel Cabrera. Now he wants a trade, especially after a stint at his old position, catcher, on Sunday left him with "kind of a downer feeling."
That's what some call NHL heavyweight Chris Simon; others consider him a thug. The oft-suspended forward (SI, Oct. 29, 2007) got dealt to Minnesota, rankling the Wild faithful (a good group, poll below). The team got so many complaints, it issued a letter saying it was "aware of fans' concerns."
It's not just the loss to Pitt that hurts—though coach Jim Boeheim called it "the most disappointing game I've ever been involved with," after Syracuse blew an 11point lead in the last 3:30. Syracuse (17--12) has lost five of six, all but ensuring it'll miss the NCAAs for the second straight year.
SI PLAYERS NHL POLL
Which team has the best fans in the NHL?
Montreal Canadiens 35%
Minnesota Wild 13%
Calgary Flames 11%
Vancouver Canucks 6%
Edmonton Oilers 6%
Players could not vote for their own fans.... The Canadiens (page 44) have sold out 133 straight games.... The Senators (12th, 1.4%) were the only Canadian team outside the top six vote-getters.... Aside from the Wild, the San Jose Sharks (5%) got the most votes among U.S. teams.... Among European players who responded, the Flames drew nearly 16% of the vote.
[Based on a survey of 365 NHL players] • For more on the poll, and to comment on it, go to SI.com/players.
THOMAS E. WITTE (ANDERSON)
CHUCK BURTON/AP (CARR)
DUANE BURLESON/AP (INGE)
JOHN BIEVER (PALACIOS)
DAVE SANDFORD/GETTY IMAGES (CANADIENS FAN)
STEVE WEWERKA (WILD FAN)
DAVID LIAM KYLE/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (SZCZERBIAK)