Sports Today: Reds best start since 1990, Ohio State spring winding down, NBA playoffs, etc. 

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Sports Today: Reds best start since 1990, Ohio State spring winding down, NBA playoffs, etc. 

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PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 11: Raisel Iglesias #26 of the Cincinnati Reds reacts after the final out in the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on April 11, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

Trying not to get carried away with the Cincinnati Reds’ hot start? 

I say, “Why bother?” 

DRINK IT UP! Enjoy the ride! 

Print out the story with the headline, “Young Reds enjoying best start since 1990” and roll around in it if you want. 

It could end at any moment. 

For now take their sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates at face value. It was a thorough beating, not a team getting by on grit and luck. 

There are questions in the starting rotation – and perhaps a budding star in Amir Garrett – but the lineup and the bullpen (really) have the potential to be pretty good, which isn’t actually all that surprising. 

Cincinnati’s stay in first place might not last long, but the Reds’ being better than the Pirates would be a significant step this season after the last two ended in the NL Central basement… 

Urban Meyer gave his last press conference before the Ohio State spring game yesterday, and he didn’t say anything too surprising

The older cornerbacks are still ahead of the exciting freshmen. 

J.K. Dobbins is going to play. 

He praised Dre’Mont Jones for the 500th time. 

Meanwhile, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports released his look behind the curtain in Columbus, and it included a few interesting tidbits. 

Meyer acknowledged to Feldman that J.T. Barrett had stagnated last year, and sophomore receiver Binjimen Victor was identified as the best candidate to alleviate Ohio State’s problems with the downfield passing game. 

In addition to Victor, Meyer and several other Buckeye coaches and players were pretty consistent in the players they said are primed for breakout seasons. All the coaches I spoke to pointed to a big improvement from the tight end group, most notably A.J. Alexander and Luke Farrell. O-lineman Demetrius Knox’s name also came up a lot. Linebacker Malik Harrison had taken a big step forward before his spring was cut short with shoulder surgery.

On top of that, Greg Schiano said his current Ohio State crop of defensive backs has more talent than the groups he coached at Miami in 1999 and 2000. 

The Columbus Blue Jackets lost the first game of their Stanley Cup Playoffs series at Pittsburgh last night, but don’t throw dirt on John Tortorella’s team just yet. 

They can still steal one in the Steel City before coming back to Ohio and have just the goalie to do it… 

We did a Facebook Live on the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday, and I think we came to a consensus on a few things: 

The offensive line can’t be trusted, which means Andy Dalton will probably have to bear a heavy load. 

Adding some weapons on offense could help with the latter, of course, but the defense still needs an infusion of young talent more. 

Check out the whole thing!... 

A couple of developments on the Wright State recruiting front this week: 

1. Coach Scott Nagy signed Jaylon Hall, a guard from Louisville, and reportedly offered a scholarship to Trotwood-Madison senior Torrey Patton. 

2. As chronicled last month, Patton had a puzzling lack of offers as the Rams made their run to the state final four, but he has caught the attention of a few schools since then. 

At 6-4, Patton cuts a similar profile to Mark Alstork, the Raiders’ leading scorer last season. Alstork, a Thurgood Marshall grad, has announced he won’t be back in Fairborn next season. 

If he is not satisfied with feedback during the NBA draft process, he will likely find a new team as a grad transfer

Alstork told MLive.com last weekend his long list of potential destinations includes Michigan, Maryland and Cincinnati. Former WSU coach Billy Donlon is an assistant at Michigan. 

The Raiders signed guard Tyler Mitchell from Kings High School during the early signing period last fall while guard Cole Gentry transferred to WSU from South Dakota State… 

The Reds aren’t the only baseball team in Southwest Ohio on a streak. 

2015 first-round pick Tyler Stephenson drove in four runs, including a three-run homer for the hosts, who have won five in a row… 

Dragons catcher Tyler Stephenson is too late with the tag on Elvis Rubio. The Dragons defeated the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers) 3-2 in a Class A minor-league baseball game at Dayton’s Fifth Third Field on Tuesday, April 11, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF Staff Writer

We close things out today with a peak at the NBA playoff pairings. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers will defend their NBA championship as the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but that might not end up mattering much because the two teams perceived to be their biggest threats – Boston and Washington – will still have to face each other before getting their shot at LeBron James and Co. 

The Celtics are the No. 1 seed, but the Wizards slipped to No. 4 with Toronto finishing a game ahead of them. 

The Warriors are the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. 

Former Dunbar star Norris Cole II and the Oklahoma City Thunder will open the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. 

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