Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) reacts during Game 6 of the Western Conference finals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Saturday, May 28, 2016. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma sports fans have endured a painful past five months

When sports curses or painful setbacks are discussed, they’re typically processed through the lens of cities such as Cleveland, Buffalo, Washington, D.C., and others. But over the past five months, the most noticeable stomach punches in American sports have been endured by an entire state: Oklahoma. It is true that sports problems exist in different […]


College football’s 5 most tortured postseason teams

With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing, we’ve seen some remarkable victories and heartbreaking failures. And because it’s Game of Thrones season, it only seems fitting that this week at The Comeback we take a long look at the latter. Here are the franchises with the most torturous postseason histories in all of […]


Rules are meant to be enforced: The real lesson of Thunder-Spurs endgame

The Oklahoma City Thunder found themselves at the center of a storm Monday night in San Antonio, one they barely managed to survive. Most of America might hate the San Antonio Spurs, or at the very least, it might resent the Spurs’ longstanding excellence as the NBA’s closest approximation of a 21st-century empire. Yet, even […]

April 5, 2015; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl (center) instructs in a huddle against the Utah Jazz during the fourth quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Jazz defeated the Kings 101-95. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The road less traveled: 5 bizarre coaching relocations in the 2010s

Real estate agents and those who spend their time coaching major-league pitchers are kindred spirits, because they share this mantra: “Location, location, location.” They never said anything about relocation. That’s probably because, in the course of coaching relocations, the coaches themselves typically move — or are moved — in predictable ways. Coach A does well at […]

Mar 21, 2015; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Chicago Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau smiles before the game against the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.  (Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)

Dances with Timberwolves: Tom Thibodeau gets Towns, Wiggins… and power

The NBA needed a jolt during a yawn-inducing playoff week, and Tom Thibodeau happily obliged. The former head coach of the Chicago Bulls, also the architect of the 2008 world champion Boston Celtics’ defense under then-coach Doc Rivers, will not merely be the new head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Owner Glen Taylor handed the […]


The importance of being Tubby Smith: A coaching career unlike any other

Tubby Smith agreed to become the new head basketball coach at the University of Memphis on Thursday morning. One day earlier, when his name surfaced as the likely replacement for Josh Pastner, reaction from local fans — while hardly unanimous — acquired some rather eye-popping expressions. This one was my favorite: Ah, the ol’ use […]


The top 10 moments of the 2016 NCAA Tournament

The 2016 NCAA Tournament — literally — merited the following adjective: half-bad. The first two rounds were spectacular. The Sweet 16 and the Final Four national semifinals were total busts. The Elite Eight was okay, but the most memorable game was an all-time gack attack by a Virginia team which had been the portrait of […]


ONIONS, DOUBLE ORDER! Villanova and Kris Jenkins win a classic

  The Villanova Wildcats are the national champions of college basketball in 2016. That’s a dull sentence, but it conveys the result of Monday night’s spectacular national championship game at the Final Four in Houston’s NRG Stadium. If words seem manifestly inadequate in the face of what a national television audience (and over 74,000 spectators) […]

The Oklahoma bench watches play against Villanova during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game Saturday, April 2, 2016, in Houston.  Villanova won 95-51.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Bloody Saturdays: The 5 worst Final Four semifinal doubleheaders

Previously, the Final Four National Semifinal games had DirecTV. The one we just watched this past Saturday in Houston? It had cable. Hi, TBS. Jokes aside (and goodness, there was plenty of time to make them during two blowouts), the 2016 Final Four easily made the short list of worst semifinal doubleheaders of all time. It […]


Orange Sunset: North Carolina puts away Syracuse, moves into Monday night

In order to appreciate North Carolina’s win over Syracuse in Saturday’s second Final Four national semifinal, you need to go back in time… but not very far. This past Sunday, in what amounted to a second ACC tournament in March, Syracuse and North Carolina both made their way to the Final Four with wins over […]

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 02:  Jamuni McNeace #4 of the Oklahoma Sooners defends a shot by Josh Hart #3 of the Villanova Wildcats in the first half during the NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at NRG Stadium on April 2, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Steppig - Pool/Getty Images)

The Wright Stuff: Villanova hammers Oklahoma in a semifinal smackdown

The Villanova Wildcats aren’t the highest-seeded team at the 2016 Final Four. They’re merely playing like one. In a national semifinal which felt like Saturday’s main event but was relegated to the undercard time slot by North Carolina’s TV-magnet presence, Villanova landed an early knockout blow against the shellshocked Oklahoma Sooners. After a beatdown reminiscent […]


LSU’s 1986 Final Four run established the template for Syracuse in 2016

Is the Syracuse Orange’s run to the Final Four unprecedented? The 1986 LSU Tigers can assure you it’s not. Syracuse has become the first No. 10 seed to ever reach the Final Four, but don’t allow that one detail to convince you that the Orange’s mad dash to Saturday’s national semifinals is a new thing in […]


One, not done: North Carolina becomes the only top seed in the Final Four

Business before pleasure: The North Carolina Tar Heels — an embattled program with an embattled coach facing an uncertain future in the face of an NCAA investigation — felt an uncommonly large weight as they took the court for Sunday’s East Regional final in Philadelphia. Staring at the possibility of postseason ineligibility in 2017, and […]


The 7-year itch is over: Villanova makes its first Final Four since 2009

The Villanova Wildcats know what the Kansas Jayhawks are feeling on Saturday night in Louisville, but they’ll still revel in their accomplishment. They damn well deserve to. Kansas and Bill Self have turned in yet another conference championship season, excelling for the better part of four months, only to fall short of the Final Four. […]


More than OK: Buddy Hield leads Oklahoma past Oregon and into the Final Four

The Oklahoma Sooners didn’t need Buddy Hield to shoot well in order to beat Texas A&M Thursday night in the NCAA West Regional semifinals. Late in that Sweet 16 game, Hield chucked a bunch of long threes. It was almost as though Hield knew the outcome didn’t ride on those shots. Placed in an unfamiliar […]


Good Friday becomes Great for Notre Dame in stunning late rally against Wisconsin

Not everyone celebrates Good Friday, but as with other important days on the calendar, you don’t have to celebrate it to notice it. One observer of Friday’s East Regional semifinal between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Wisconsin Badgers made the essential connection right as the Irish were putting the finishing touches on a […]


NCAA tournament: ranking the Sweet 16 coaches

The Sweet 16 is set for the 2016 NCAA tournament. How would you rank the 16 coaches left on the Dance floor? Before anything else, let’s acknowledge that standards will vary for each person. Therefore, before we get started, a few basic ground rules are necessary. Coaches have histories. Not all of them break through their […]

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 18:  Thomas Walkup #0 of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks reacts in the second half against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Barclays Center on March 18, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Stone Cold: Stephen F. Austin bodyslams West Virginia by 14 points

The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks did not record the biggest upset on first-round Friday in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders attained that honor when they shocked Tom Izzo and Michigan State earlier in the day. The Lumberjacks will have to settle for “second,” but they finished in first place after 40 […]

Mar 18, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes center Adam Woodbury (34) is congratulated by teammates after scoring the game-winning basket in overtime against the Temple Owls in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-264942 ORIG FILE ID:  20160318_jel_usa_110.jpg

Buzzer-beater in Brooklyn: Iowa and Adam Woodbury beat Temple in OT

Adam Woodbury gave the Iowa Hawkeyes one last push into the second round of the NCAA tournament. He discarded a Temple Owl defender to put back Mike Gesell’s airball, but a foul wasn’t called. Iowa advanced in a topsy-turvy overtime thriller on Friday in Brooklyn: Iowa had led, 63-60, in the final five seconds of […]