DALLAS Teams

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Smart is doing work

Texas is rolling thanks to Shaka Smart leading the way. Most expected Smart to succeed, but do our experts think this is faster than expected? Daily Word

Tim MacMahon ESPN Staff Writer 

Rick Carlisle on benching Wesley Matthews in crunch time in Saturday's win in Memphis: "Hey, Wes wants to play. There's no question about that. And it's a good problem to have. You've got a guy like [Raymond] Felton that's playing that well, putting the ball in the hole, making plays and doing other things. These are tough decisions that a coach has to make, but I've got to make them." Matthews has been slumping for about a month, but he's tied with teammate Dirk Nowitzki for the NBA's best clutch plus-minus (plus-85) this season.

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Tim MacMahon ESPN Staff Writer 

Zaza Pachulia worked with Holger Geschwindner, Dirk Nowitzki's longtime shot doctor, for about 10 minutes after Monday's practice. "It was great to get some tips from the legend," Pachulia said. Geschwindner worked with Pachulia to improve his balance and the arc on his jumper. Pachulia had a similar session before practice with coach Rick Carlisle after they reviewed film of the big man's last 25 jumpers. Pachulia is in the midst of a career year but has struggled with his jumper, making only 29.4 percent of his midrange attempts, compared to 41.4 percent last season with the Bucks. "I'm going to keep working on it, because I know I have it and I've got to get it back," Pachulia said.

Tim MacMahon ESPN Staff Writer 

Rick Carlisle wasn't nearly as opinionated on the firing of Derek Fisher as he was after David Blatt's dismissal. "I'm disappointed for him,' Carlisle said of Fisher. "I don't know the specifics of the internal situation. There were in the midst of a pretty good turnaround until the recent stretch, and it's unfortunate. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you." Fisher played for Carlisle and the Mavs in the 2012-13 season, quitting after playing in nine games to supposedly spend more time with his family, only to join the Thunder later in the season.

Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

Running back of the future?

Ezekiel Elliott would like nothing more than to run behind Dallas' dominant O-line at the next level. But are the Cowboys a realistic landing place on draft day for the Buckeye standout? NFL rumors

Warren Wimmer/Icon Sportswire

Where will Dexter Fowler end up?

For Insider Tony Blengino, Fowler is the best free agent still on the board who turned down a qualifying offer. The Nationals, Dodgers, Cubs and Rangers are the most likely landing spots for the outfielder, according to Blengino. Unsigned qualifying-offer free agents (Insider)

Roger Steinman/AP

Should Dallas be the NFC East favorite?

Our panel sure thinks so, with the Cowboys landing just a bit outside the top 10. That's the power of a healthy Tony Romo at quarterback. Way-too-early Power Rankings

ESPN

Joe Lunardi's bracketology: No. 6 seeds

  • East: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • West: Providence Friars
  • South: Duke Blue Devils
  • Midwest: Baylor Bears
See full bracket

ESPN

Joe Lunardi's bracketology: No. 5 seeds

  • East: Purdue Boilermakers
  • West: Texas Longhorns
  • South: Arizona Wildcats
  • Midwest: USC Trojans
See full bracket

Stats & Info

Plenty of ways to win

Peyton Manning is the first quarterback since Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XL to win the Lombardi Trophy without throwing a touchdown pass.

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Romo: Return worth the risk (2:24)
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Romo: Drama more about record (2:49)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Crystal ball: Cowboys will bounce back

It was a nightmare season for Tony Romo & Co., but Dan Graziano sees Dallas restoring order in the NFC East next season behind a healthy No. 9. Crystal ball for 2016

Stats & Info

Dallas is nowhere without Romo

How important has Tony Romo been for the Cowboys? Dallas has gone 1-13 in games started by quarterbacks other than Romo over the last three seasons.

Ponies put a beatdown on Bulls

SMU's only had one bigger road victory in school history than the 34-point lambasting of USF. It's been a full century since their 51-1 win over Dallas High School in the first road win in school history during the 1916-17 season -- yes, you read that right.

Stats & Info

Carolina has a tough hill to climb

Getting to the Super Bowl is a hard enough task, but returning to the big game a year after losing? That is truly a rare feat. Only the '70 Cowboys and '71 Dolphins came back and hoisted the Lombardi Trophy a year after confetti fell on their opponent.

Stats & Info

Riding off into the sunset?

If Super Bowl 50 was indeed Peyton Manning's final game, Hollywood couldn't have scripted a better ending. The sure-fire Hall of Famer wouldn't be the first legend to finish on top.

Stats & Info

Denver continues to dominate

Super Bowl 50 was the Broncos' third title in the past 25 seasons. Only the Patriots have captured more Lombardi Trophies during that stretch.

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SMU crushes South Florida (0:30)