Coby White and the Bulls' silver lining

Most fans have already given up on the season, but it's a good thing the rookie from North Carolina hasn't

Good morning, frents

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‘From North Carolina ….’

Coby White finally got the first start of his NBA career on Tuesday night and all it took was about two weeks of Bulls Twitter lobbing insults at Jim Boylen.

He did decently too, scoring 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in the Bulls’ 108-103 win over Cleveland. The nine turnovers and some spotty defense weren’t great, but that wasn’t why anyone risked coronavirus to show up at the United Center to see him. White dropped a couple of stepback threes, turned in the direct-to-SportsCenter highlight above and even went coast-to-coast. We saw just enough of White’s electricity that we weren’t left questioning our life choices for deciding to watch an early March game between the Cavs and Bulls.

Oh, and we got to hear “From North Carolina …” in the intros for the first time since the 1998 NBA Finals. That was pretty cool.

So what happens next? Well, the Bulls have 17 games left this season and it’s imperative White stay in the starting lineup, particularly when Zach LaVine returns “sometime in the next week.” Seeing if White can close out the season strong after blossoming into an offensive force these past six weeks will take us a long way into the summer.

Well, maybe at least just part of the way into that summer. While this Bulls campaign has been one gut punch after another, all the credit in the world goes to White for continuing to work and giving us a reason to tune in to a lost season.

Bulls 108, Cavs 103

Northern Kentucky 71, UIC 62
The Flames’ dreams of dancing were doused in the Horizon League final by NKU, which has now been to three of the last four NCAA tournaments.

Spring training
Cubs 16, Giants 3
The lineup mashed but the day’s takeaway was Tyler Chatwood, who is looking like he might a thing …  a good thing.

Rangers 9, Sox 2
Michael Kopech’s return to the mound was a promising one. Six of his 11 pitches topped 100 mph as he pitched a clean inning with one strikeout.

Today’s schedule

Sharks (+125) at Hawks (-145) (7 pm, NBC Sports Network, O/U 6)

Big Ten tournament (Full bracket)
13 Northwestern (+8.5) vs 12 Minnesota (5 pm, BTN, O/U 137)
14 Nebraska (+12.5) vs 11 Indiana (7:25 pm, BTN, O/U 144)

Spring training
Padres (SS) at Cubs (8:05, Marquee)
Sox at Rockies (3:10)

The 2020 Bears draft capital got a boost on Tuesday when the team was awarded a compensatory pick at No. 140 (fourth round) for losing four free agents last year. The award gives the Bears eight picks in the draft and is the irfirst compensatory pick since 2009 (also 140, which allowed the team to select WR Johnny Knox).

Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!

How Chicago teams are handling coronavirus. (The Athletic)

Will Leitch believes it’s only a matter of time until our stadiums empty. (NY Mag)

• You’d  be hard pressed to find anyone who’s written about Chicago sports over the past decade better than Sam Fels. Now he’s off to his next big venture and I think he’s going to kill it there, too.  (Faxes From Uncle Dale)

Will the Sox give the 26th roster spot to Yermin Mercedes’ big bat? (Tribune)

• Don’t give Jim Boylen any ideas …

Coronavirus is having a big impact on the Masters ticket market. (Yahoo Sports)

• Finally, yesterday I asked for some of your favorite finds on the new MLB video search and you responded! (The rest of you, say goodbye to 15 minutes at least.)

Thanks to Chris, Mike, Todd and Pat for sending those clips in.

That’s it for today. Thank you so much for being a #frentofthenewsletter.

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