Yahoo Sports AM: The Final Four

In today's edition: Recapping the divisional round, VanDerveer passes Krzyzewski, Nick Dunlap makes golf history, top plays of the weekend, and more.

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🚨 Headlines

⚾️ Hader to Houston: The Astros signed five-time All-Star closer Josh Hader to a five-year, $95 million deal, the largest present-day value contract for a relief pitcher in MLB history.

🏈 Alabama exodus: Five-star QB Julian Sayin (Ohio State) and star safety Caleb Downs (Ohio State) are the latest players to transfer from Alabama following Nick Saban's retirement.

🏀 Streak snapped: The Nuggets handed the Celtics their first home loss of the season (20-1) and snapped their 27-game home winning streak.

🏈 9th year: Miami tight end Cam McCormick will return for his ninth season of college football. The 25-year-old suffered season-ending injuries in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

🏒 Isles make a change: The Islanders fired head coach Lane Lambert on Saturday and replaced him with Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, who won his debut on Sunday.

🏈 The Final Four

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

And then there were four. The NFL's divisional round delivered this weekend, with three thrilling contests, tons of drama, and Jason Kelce upstaging Taylor Swift.

Chiefs 27, Bills 24: Kansas City came out on top in frigid upstate New York to advance to its sixth straight AFC title game. Only the Patriots (eight straight from 2011-18) have a longer streak.

Lions 31, Buccaneers 23: When the postseason began, Detroit had one playoff win in the Super Bowl era. They've now doubled that in an eight-day stretch.

  • Game-sealing INT: Derrick Barnes intercepted Baker Mayfield to seal the victory and send Detroit to the NFC championship game for the first time since the 1991 season.

  • Flashback: Sunday was the three-year anniversary of Dan Campbell's famous introductory press conference, during which he said the Lions would be "biting kneecaps off."

49ers 24, Packers 21: Brock Purdy and San Francisco squeaked past Jordan Love and Green Bay to become the first team to reach three straight NFC title games since they did so from 2011-13.

  • Massive audience: This game averaged 37.5 million viewers, making it the most-watched Saturday TV broadcast since the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding-fueled 1994 Olympics.

  • Boom or bust: The Niners have now gone 21 straight seasons either missing the playoffs entirely or making at least the NFC championship game.

Ravens 34, Texans 10: The Ravens defense shut down C.J. Stroud and the Texans, setting the stage for the first AFC title game in Baltimore since January 1971.

  • Rare feat: Lamar Jackson is the first player in NFL history to have two passing TDs, two rushing TDs, 100 rushing yards and a 100.0 passer rating in a game.

  • The dream is still alive: Earlier this month, Jim Harbaugh won the college football national championship. Now his brother, Jon, is two wins away from winning the Super Bowl.

Looking ahead: Everything to know about the AFC, NFC title games

🏀 VanDerveer passes Coach K

(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)
(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)

Stanford's Tara VanDerveer won her 1,203rd game on Sunday, passing Mike Krzyzewski to become the winningest coach in Division I history.

What she's saying: "It means I've coached a lot of great players, have a great staff, worked at great universities," VanDerveer said on the broadcast. "I'm just so blessed and so thankful."

By the numbers: VanDerveer, 70, is in her 38th season at Stanford (1985-present) after previous stints at Idaho (1978-80) and Ohio State (1980-1985).

  • She's led the Cardinal to three national championships (1990, 1992, 2021), 14 Final Fours and 25 Pac-12 regular-season titles.

  • She's coached two Naismith Player of the Year winners (Jennifer Azzi in 1990 and Kate Starbird in 1997) and 36 first-team All-Americans.

  • Stanford hasn't had a losing season since VanDerveer's first and has won 20 or more games in a season 38 times, an NCAA college basketball record.

Crazy stat: VanDerveer has accumulated more wins than 355 of the 360 D-I women's basketball programs.

Looking ahead: UConn's Geno Auriemma is third on the all-time list with 1,196 wins. He should pass Krzyzewski this season, and he and VanDerveer will continue battling it out atop the list until they retire.

⛳️ Nick Dunlap makes history

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Nick Dunlap (-29) made history this weekend at The American Express, outlasting Christiaan Bezuidenhout (-28) to become just the eighth amateur to win a PGA Tour event, and the first since Phil Mickelson 33 years ago, Jeff writes.

Amateurs to win on Tour:

  • Cary Middlehoff: 1945 North and South Open

  • Fred Haas: 1945 Memphis Invitational

  • Frank Stranahan: 1945 Durham War Bond Tournament, 1948 Miami Open

  • Gene Littler: 1954 San Diego Open

  • Doug Sanders: 1956 Canadian Open

  • Scott Verplank: 1985 Western Open

  • Mickelson: 1991 Northern Telecom Open

  • Dunlap: 2024 American Express

Tough break for the champ: The 20-year-old Alabama sophomore earned the same prize money this weekend as he did for winning last year's U.S. Amateur: $0. Instead, Bezuidenhout earned the $1.5 million champion's share of the $8.4 million purse.

What's next: Dunlap has a decision to make: Stay in school or turn pro? If he chooses the latter, he's earned PGA Tour membership through the 2026 season, as well as a spot in the Masters, the PGA Championship and the Players Championship.

🇺🇸 Photos across America

(Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Los Angeles — The Clippers made history on Sunday, closing with a record 22-0 run to beat the Nets, 125-114, after trailing by 18 points with five minutes left.

(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Old Westbury, New York — The freezing temperatures in the Northeast haven't been fun, but these are the days young hockey players will never forget.

(Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
(Carmen Mandato/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

San Antonio — The USMNT lost its first match of 2024, falling 1-0 to Slovenia on Saturday with a young roster comprised entirely of MLS players.

🌎 Photos around the world

(Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)
(Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images)

Udine, Italy — Saturday's match between AC Milan and Udinese was briefly suspended after AC Milan players walked off the field following racist chants directed at goalkeeper Mike Maignan.

(Derek Leung/Getty Images)
(Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Calgary — The Oilers beat the Flames, 3-1, on Saturday for their 13th straight victory, the longest winning streak ever by a Canadian NHL team.

(David Cannon/Getty Images)
(David Cannon/Getty Images)

Dubai, UAE — Rory McIlroy (-14) overcame a 10-shot third-round deficit to win the Dubai Desert Classic for the second straight year, and record fourth time overall.

📆 Jan. 22, 2006: Kobe drops 81

(Matt A. Brown/AP Photo)
(Matt A. Brown/AP Photo)

18 years ago today, Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in the Lakers' 122-104 win over the Raptors — the second-highest total in NBA history, Jeff writes.

Hot streak: Kobe was on fire entering the game, averaging 42 points across his previous 10 contests. He finished the season with a career-best 35.4 ppg, the ninth-best mark in NBA history.

More on this day:

*Fun fact: The Suns nickname was selected out of 28,000 entries in a "Name the Team" contest. Some other names considered: Scorpions, Rattlers, Cougars, Mustangs, Thunderbirds, Wranglers and Tumbleweeds.

📺 Watchlist: Aussie quarterfinals

(Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)
(Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The Australian Open quarterfinals begin today, with two young Americans headlining the action, Jeff writes.

  • No. 4 Coco Gauff vs. Marta Kostyuk (10pm ET, ESPN2): Gauff, 19, has won 10 straight Grand Slam matches dating back to her U.S. Open victory, the longest streak by an American teenager since Serena Williams 25 years ago.

  • No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 12 Taylor Fritz (11:30pm, ESPN2): This is Fritz's first trip to the Australian Open quarterfinals. It's Djokovic's 14th trip to the quarters* and he's won 32 straight matches in Melbourne.

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NCAAM: Wake Forest at No. 4 UNC (8pm, ESPN); Cincinnati at No. 3 Kansas (10pm, ESPN)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 5 UCLA at No. 20 Utah (8pm, ESPN2); No. 7 Kansas State at No. 12 Baylor (9:30pm, FS1)

  • 🏀 NBA: Spurs at 76ers (8pm, NBA); Hawks at Kings (11pm, NBA)

  • ⚽️ Italian Super Cup Final: Napoli vs. Inter Milan (3pm, Paramount+)

  • 🏒 NHL: Jets at Bruins (8pm, ESPN+) … First in the Atlantic vs. first in the Central.

*Kings of the quarters: This is Djokovic's 58th appearance in a Grand Slam quarterfinal, tied with Roger Federer for the most all-time.

🏈 NFL trivia

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

With the Lions win, there are now only two teams that haven't made it to the NFC championship game this century.

  • Question: Can you name them?

  • Hint: Same division.

Answer at the bottom.

🍿 Baker's Dozen: Top 13 plays of the weekend

(Texas Athletics)
(Texas Athletics)
  1. 🏀 Game-winner!

  2. ⚽️ Impossible angle

  3. 🎯 Nine-darter!

  4. 🏈 Mayfield to Evans

  5. 🏒 OT winner

  6. 🥍 Superman goal

  7. 🏀 On his head!

  8. 🏒 Filthy finish

  9. 🏀 Behind-the-back

  10. 🏀 No-look

  11. ⛳️ Drains it

  12. 🏀 Fancy move

  13. 🏀 Throws it down!

Watch all 13.

Trivia answer: Commanders (last made the NFC title game in 1991) and Cowboys (1995)

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