What we watched: I don't get NFL Network, so this week's new episode of Criminal Minds was on tap instead. And it was lovely. Spoiler alert: they caught the killer(s).
What we're watching (all times EST, unless noted): Creighton vs. Charlotte in men's college soccer at 6 (ESPNU). NCAA Division I FCS playoffs, Northern Iowa at Montana at 8 (ESPN). Richmond at Viriginia Commonwealth in men's college basketball at 8 (ESPN2). North Carolina vs. UCLA in men's college soccer at 8:30 (ESPNU).
Oh, wonderful: "As Las Vegas's housing supply exploded, so did the competition among lawyers and contractors to represent new homeowner associations in so-called construction-defect lawsuits. It was in this environment, according to plea agreements recently unsealed in an ongoing FBI investigation, that a shadowy outfit cooked up a brazen scheme. When a new development was nearing completion, the group would buy a couple of units in the community and then transfer partial ownership of the condos to individuals secretly on its payroll, according to court documents. While pretending to be residents of the communities, these 'straw buyers' would run for leadership positions on boards of the new homeowner associations. By paying off community managers, hiring private investigators to find dirt on legitimate candidates, and rigging elections, the documents allege, the straw buyers were able to infiltrate boards at several new developments in Las Vegas from 2003 to 2008. Once in control of the boards, the straw buyers would then use their governing positions to steer millions of dollars in construction and legal fees back to their co-conspirators." [Business Week]
Throw your weight around, big fella: "Dwight Howard is preparing to ask the Orlando Magic to trade him to the New Jersey Nets, according to sources close to the situation. Howard's representatives have told the Nets that they are his preferred destination. Howard has yet to tell the Magic he will not re-sign with them after this season, but the sources said he will within the next few days, perhaps as early as Friday. There is also a chance that Howard will not attend the opening of training camp Friday, according to a source." [ESPN]
At least he's honest: "Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has issued a challenge to his players heading into Sunday's game against the potent Saints offense - be more physical, even if it means risking a fine from the NFL. In other words, hit first and ask questions later. ‘The biggest thing I think in this league is you have to start putting fear in guys from throwing the ball in the middle of the field,' Gray said Thursday. 'And if that means getting a letter from the commissioner on Monday, that means getting a letter from the commissioner.'" [Tennessean]
Your Pissed Off Baby Interlude:
Lance Briggs clearly respects Tim Tebow: "#Bears LB Lance Briggs on if he would be embarrassed if team loses to #Broncos and Tim Tebow: ‘No, I will be frickin' pissed.'" [@BradBiggs]
High praise: "As news of Albert Pujols's $254 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels circulated the winter meetings Thursday, Cashman's initial reaction was: ‘Wow, that's all. Wow. I don't know him personally,' Cashman added with a wry smile, ‘but I see what he does with that bat, and it's Montero-like.'" [NYT]
Send stories, photos, and anything else you might have to email@example.com.