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Yahoo Sports AM: A star is born

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🚨 HEADLINES

⛳️ Rahm to LIV: Jon Rahm is joining LIV, where he'll be paid hundreds of millions of dollars to hit golf balls. As Yahoo Sports' Jay Busbee writes: What's good for Rahm is terrible for the game.

⚾️ O's sale talks: The Angelos family are in talks to sell the Orioles to billionaire David Rubenstein, Bloomberg reports. Rubenstein, 74, is the co-founder of the Carlyle Group and a Baltimore native.

🏈 Pats get the win: New England got its third win of the season on Thursday night, as backup QB Bailey Zappe outplayed backup QB Mitch Trubisky in a 21-18 Patriots victory.

⚽️ Copa América draw: The USMNT will be in a group with Uruguay, Panama and Bolivia at the 2024 Copa América, the modified South American soccer championship coming to the U.S. next summer. See the full draw.

🏀 THE BREAKOUT STAR OF THE IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT

Tyrese Haliburton had a performance for the ages on Thursday night in Las Vegas to lift the Pacers past the Bucks, 128-119, and into the championship game of the NBA's inaugural In-Season Tournament.

By the numbers: Haliburton finished with 27 points, 15 assists, 7 rebounds and zero turnovers. It's his third game already this season with 15 assists and zero turnovers, tying John Lucas (1984) and Steve Nash (2007) for the most in a single season. And it's only early December!

"It's our time": Haliburton and the Pacers are the breakout stars of the IST, and their surprising run is the perfect storyline for the NBA's newest event. This young Indiana team isn't a title contender, but they're hot right now (they've yet to lose a tournament game) and the IST has given them a chance to prove themselves on an elevated stage.

Haliburton has been lights out all tournament. In years past, he would have merely had a dominant run in late November and December. Now, he's doing it on national TV with more at stake, making a name for himself and giving the NBA a minted star.

"It's our time," said Haliburton, who has 28 assists and zero turnovers in knockout play. "We have a lot of guys that want to compete for something and play for something bigger than ourselves. … We have a chance to win a championship, and we're not taking that lightly."

Head coach Rick Carlisle: "We're a disruptor. A lot of people didn't want us here. We didn't care about that. We earned our way here, we earned our way to three additional national TV games. So people are gonna find out about the Pacers and who we are and how we play."

Coming up: The Lakers blew out the Pelicans in the other semifinal, meaning Saturday's championship game on ABC will feature LeBron James — welcome news for the NBA and Disney.

🏈 ARMY'S NEW-LOOK OFFENSE

Army and Navy face off for the 124th time tomorrow, but this edition of the storied rivalry might look a little different from those in years past, Jeff writes.

New scheme: The Black Knights abandoned the flexbone triple option this season in favor of a modified scheme that operates out of the shotgun and de-clutters the tackle box. That means you might actually see them attempt more than a handful of passes, albeit mostly screens.

Rewind: The triple option has long been a staple of service academy offenses. Its basic premise is that the QB takes the snap under center and then decides whether to hand it to one running back, pitch it to another or keep it himself.

This scheme helped the academies dominate in the early days of college football, and even as the game changed they've stuck with the triple option because it helps neutralize their size and talent disadvantage.

So why the change at Army? A new NCAA rule change restricting cut blocks (below-the-waist) made the traditional triple option less tenable, so head coach Jeff Monken implemented a new offense to take his program into the future.

How it's gone so far: The Black Knights (5-6) have had an up-and-down season, but they've won three straight. Their pass attempts (14) and passing yards (107) per game are both the highest of Monken's tenure, which began in 2014.

Most importantly, they're in position to win their fourth Commander-in-Chief's Trophy since 2017, and 10th overall*.

They already beat Air Force in the first leg of the annual service academy series; a win over Navy tomorrow clinches this year's trophy.

*Closing the gap: Air Force leads the all-time series with 21 Commander-in-Chief's trophies, and Navy is second with 16. Army's win in 2017 was its first since 1996.

⚾️ JUAN SOTO: BY THE NUMBERS

Juan Soto will enter his walk year wearing pinstripes. While everyone knows he's among the game's best hitters, it's worth looking at just how historically great Soto's young career has been, Jeff writes.

By the numbers: Soto has batted .284 with a .946 OPS and 160 HR in 779 games since his 2018 debut. He's also won a World Series and earned four top-10 MVP finishes.

.421 OBP: He's never registered a season with a sub-.400 on-base percentage, and his .421 career mark is the best in baseball since his debut. It's also the 13th-best in MLB's modern era.

100% BB, 577 K: Among the 112 players who've drawn at least 200 walks since 2018, only Soto (100%/577) and Alex Bregman (462/411) have walked more than they've struck out.

157 OPS+: His adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage* of 157 is the 17th-best in the modern era. Now, he'll be paired with Aaron Judge, who ranks 10th on that list.

154 wRC+: Soto's weighted runs created** of 154 is the 10th-best ever through age 24 behind nine all-time greats: Ted Williams, Joe Jackson, Ty Cobb, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, Tris Speaker and Rogers Hornsby.

And remember, he's only 25: 17 players received a Rookie of the Year vote in 2023. Soto is younger than seven of them, as The Ringer notes.

*OPS+ takes on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) and normalizes the number across the league, accounting for external factors like ballparks. It then adjusts so a score of 100 is league average, and 150 is 50% better than league average.

**wRC+ takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for external factors like ballpark or era. A wRC+ of 100 is league average and 150 would be 50% above league average.

📸 IN PHOTOS: THE MOTHER OF ALL RIVER WAVES

One of the most famous waves in Central Europe isn't in the ocean. The Eisbach wave was created on the man-made Eisbach River that flows through Munich, Germany.

The "mother of all river waves" is widely considered the birthplace of river surfing, with surfers riding it for the first time in 1972. After a decades-long ban, it became legal to ride in 2010.

At Eisbach, you don't paddle into the wave — you jump onto it from the river bank. A sign warns that, "Due to the forceful current, the wave is suitable for skilled and experienced surfers only."

When I think of surfing, I tend to picture a van with a board tied to the roof. Now I've got another, much gnarlier image to add to the memory bank.

📆 DEC. 8, 1940: 73-0

83 years ago today, the Bears won the NFL championship over the Redskins in a 73-0 drubbing, the most points ever scored by an NFL team, Jeff writes.

Great quote: After the game, Washington QB Sammy Baugh was asked if the outcome would have been different had WR Charlie Malone not dropped an early TD pass. "Sure," Baugh wryly replied. "The final score would have been 73-7."

More on this day:

🏀 2011: The NBA and players union ratified their new CBA, ending the 161-day lockout* that marked the second-longest labor stoppage in league history.

🇺🇸 2022: Brittney Griner was released from Russian prison in a swap for arms dealer Viktor Bout, nearly 10 months after being arrested in Moscow for carrying hash oil in her luggage.

*Shortened season: The 2011-12 season was shortened from 82 to 66 games and culminated with the Heat beating the Thunder in the Finals.

📺 WATCHLIST: MLS CUP FINAL

The Columbus Crew host LAFC on Saturday afternoon (4pm ET, Fox/Apple) in a battle for the MLS Cup, with both recently-crowned champs looking to add to their trophy case, Jeff writes.

Crew: The two-time champs, who last won in 2020, adopted an entirely new playing style this season under first-year manager Wilfried Nancy.

LAFC: The six-year-old club won their first title last season and now have a chance to become just the fourth back-to-back champion* in MLS history.

More to watch:

🏀 NBA: Pacers vs. Lakers (Sat. 8:30pm, ABC) … Championship of the inaugural In-Season Tournament.

🏈 CFB: Army vs. Navy (Sat. 3pm, CBS) … At Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

⚽️ Men's College Cup: No. 5 WVU vs. No. 9 Clemson (Fri. 6pm, ESPNU); No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Oregon State (Fri. 8:30pm, ESPNU) … Final Four in Louisville.

🏈 NFL Sunday: Seahawks at 49ers (4:05pm, Fox); Bills at Chiefs (4:25pm, CBS); Eagles at Cowboys (8:20pm, NBC)Full slate.

🏈 FCS Elite Eight: Furman at No. 2 Montana (Fri. 9pm, ESPN2); No. 8 Villanova at No. 1 SDSU (Sat. 12pm, ESPN); NDSU at South Dakota (Sat. 2:30pm, ABC); Albany at No. 4 Idaho (Sat. 10pm, ESPN+)

🏀 NCAAM: No. 20 Illinois at No. 17 Tennessee (Sat. 12pm, CBS); No. 23 Wisconsin at No. 1 Arizona (Sat. 3:15pm, ESPN); Missouri at No. 2 Kansas (Sat. 5:15pm, ESPN); Colorado at No. 15 Miami (Sun. 2pm, ESPN2) …Full slate.

🏀 NCAAW: No. 20 FSU at No. 2 UCLA (Sun. 12pm, ESPN2); No. 25 Penn State at No. 12 Ohio State (Sun. 1pm, BTN+); No. 1 South Carolina at No. 11 Utah (Sun. 2:30pm, ESPN); No. 7 UConn at No. 24 UNC (Sun. 5pm, ESPN)Full slate.

🏒 NHL: Penguins at Panthers (Fri. 7pm, NHL); Coyotes at Bruins (Sat. 1pm, NHL); Predators at Maple Leafs (Sat. 7pm, NHL)Full slate.

⚽️ European soccer: Juventus vs. Napoli (Fri. 2:45pm, Paramount+); Aston Villa vs. Arsenal (Sat. 12:30pm, NBC); Tottenham vs. Newcastle (Sun. 11:30am, USA); Barcelona vs. Girona (Sun. 3pm, ESPN+) … Top-six matchups.

*The other three repeat champs: D.C. United (1996-97), Houston Dynamo (2006-07) and LA Galaxy (2011-12).

🏈 NFL TRIVIA

Robbie Gould formally retired on Thursday with the eighth-most made field goals (447) and 10th-most points (1,961) in NFL history.

Question: Who ranks first in both those categories?

Morten Andersen

Gary Anderson

George Blanda

Adam Vinatieri

Answer at the bottom.

🏒 POND HOCKEY

The Islanders have built two public pond hockey rinks as part of The Park at UBS Arena, a 155,800 square foot experience outside their home arena that opens later this month.

Details: One rink has natural ice and will be available for public skating sessions and youth tournaments. The other has synthetic ice for year-long accessibility.

___

Trivia answer: Adam Vinatieri

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.