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Morning roundup: Cardinals agree to terms with free agent edge rusher JJ Watt

Former Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates a play during a game in January. Watt has agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. [AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File]
Former Houston Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates a play during a game in January. Watt has agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals. [AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith, File]


Cardinals agree to terms with free agent Watt

J.J. Watt has agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, showing that the franchise will be aggressive once again in their push to snap a five-year playoff drought.

The team announced the deal with the free-agent edge rusher on Monday. Watt was released last month by the Houston Texans, for whom he won three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards.

A person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press that the total package is worth $31 million.

A five-time All-Pro, Watt — who turns 32 in three weeks — has been one of the NFL’s best players for a decade, but asked out in Houston, which is undergoing a roster upheaval. Watt joins another former Texans star, wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, in Arizona. Hopkins was acquired by the Cardinals in a one-sided trade a year ago.

Watt had one year remaining on a six-year, $100 million contract with the Texans.

Bears hire former Texas coach Herman

Former Texas Longhorns coach Tom Herman, whom the program fired in January, was announced as an offensive analyst/special projects for Chicago.

Herman went 32-18 in four seasons at Texas, including victories in all four bowl games that the Longhorns appeared in during his time there. His best season was in 2018, when he led Texas to a 10-4 mark and a victory over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.

Before coaching at Texas, Herman was the head coach at Houston, where he went 22-4.

Herman joins a Bears offense that has struggled at times under the direction of coach Matt Nagy and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. This will be Herman’s first job experience in the NFL.


NIT moves 2021 event to Texas

The NIT is moving the entire 2021 event to Texas, taking the semifinals and championship game out of New York’s Madison Square Garden for the first time in the 83-year history of college basketball’s oldest postseason tournament.

The pandemic is also reducing the field to 16 teams from the usual 32, and all games are set for the Dallas area. The two venues are the University of North Texas in Denton and an arena in Frisco that is home to a G League team affiliated with the Dallas Mavericks.

First-round games will be played March 17-20, with the quarterfinals March 25. The semifinals are set for March 27, followed by the championship game the next day. Specific arenas for each round weren’t announced Monday.

The field for the NIT will be announced after the NCAA Tournament is set March 14.

Gonzaga still No. 1, West Virginia surges in men’s basketball poll

Gonzaga, now the last unbeaten team in Division I, remains No. 1 in the Ferris Mowers Men’s Basketball Coaches Poll, picking up 31 of 32 first-place votes. Michigan moves up to No. 2 and claims the remaining first-place nod.

Baylor falls just one spot to No. 3 after sustaining its first loss of the season at Kansas. The Jayhawks climb five places to No. 14 on the strength of that victory.

West Virginia is the week’s biggest mover, vaulting eight spots all the way up to a tie for No. 5 with Alabama. The Mountaineers have won six of their last seven games after defeats of TCU and Kansas State last week.

Other teams on the rise include Arkansas, up seven places to No. 13, and Oklahoma State, gaining four places to No. 17 after upending Bedlam rival Oklahoma. The Sooners fall seven spots to No. 15 but have an immediate opportunity to avenge that loss to the Cowboy on Monday night.

Welch powers Sooners to lead at Cabo Collegiate

Powered by clubhouse leader Patrick Welch, the top-ranked Oklahoma men’s golf team was the lone team under-par in the Cabo Collegiate’s opening round and are in alone in first place after 18 holes of play at the 54-hole event in San Antonio.

The Sooners (287, -1) collected 13 birdies and a field-high 57 pars on Monday to take a 10-stroke lead into the second round of the tournament that features nine top-25 teams, including the nation’s top-three teams.

Welch carded a 3-under 69 on Monday at the par-72, 7,034-yard TPC San Antonio Oaks Course to take a two-stroke lead over a trio of golfers in second place after Monday’s opening round.

Logan McAllister and Jonathan Brightwell carded even-par 72’s, good for a share of fifth.

Oklahoma State, led by Bo Jin, is currently in 5th place.

Sooners defeat Baylor to close Round Rock Classic

Brett Squires drove in three runs and the pitching combination of Jake Bennett, Carson Carter and Jason Ruffcorn allowed no earned runs as the Oklahoma baseball team defeated Baylor 9-3 Sunday evening to close out the Round Rock Classic at Dell Diamond.

The Sooners (4-3) scored six runs over the first three innings on their way to season highs of nine runs and 13 hits.

Bennett (1-0) went 5.0 innings in his second start of the season, scattering seven hits and a walk, and allowing two unearned runs (both in the first inning) with two strikeouts.

Squires, starting at third base for the first time this season, went 3 for 5 with three RBIs.


Four Sooners make U.S. national team

Four current and former University of Oklahoma men’s gymnasts claimed U.S. Senior Men’s National spots at the conclusion of the 2021 USA Gymnastics Winter Cup in Indianapolis on Sunday.

Former Sooners Allan Bower and Yul Moldauer retained their spots on the national team following their performances on Friday on day one of the meet, while current junior Vitaliy Guimaraes and alum Genki Suzuki gained their spots on the team following Sunday’s competition.

It marks the first senior national team roster spot for Guimaraes, while Suzuki regained his spot on the team. The four Sooners on Team USA ties for the most of any university on the U.S. squad.

Moldauer took home the event crown on parallel bars with a two-day total of 28.150, putting up a 13.850 score in his second routine Sunday evening. Suzuki claimed the high bar event title with a two-day tally of 27.250 after putting up a 13.600 on day two. Moldauer collected three more top-five finishes at the meet, taking third on floor (28.300), fourth on pommel horse (27.750) and fifth on still rings (27.950). Suzuki claimed sixth on pommel horse (27.200)

Guimaraes claimed two top-10 finishes, placing fifth on high bar with a 26.700 two-day total and eighth on parallel bars (25.900).

Wire reports