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Mixed signals on American Pharoah

LITTLE ROCK — Head on a swivel, a cartoon cat named Tom listened to both a halo-wearing angel on one shoulder and a pitchfork-toting devil on the other. Trying to decide if American Pharoah is the Kentucky Derby winner or a paper tiger that must be in front from the get-go, I know the feeling.

Kentucky’s odds with a twist

LITTLE ROCK — Kentucky’s unprecedented favoritism to win the NCAA Tournament is reflected in creative wagers offered to those who want to make a big-picture bet on the Wildcats but are not interested in the miniscule odds available on Kentucky to win the whole kit and kaboodle.

SEC bubble teams teetering on the edge

LITTLE ROCK — At the craps table, there are five ways to make six. In Nashville, only one combination is a certain six for the SEC — Texas A&M, Ole Miss, LSU and Georgia advancing in the conference tournament, plus locks Kentucky and Arkansas.

Evolution of women’s basketball in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK — Bored by a girls high school basketball tournament, a sportswriter on one of his first out-of-office assignments turned away from the “action” and borrowed a friend’s transistor radio to listen to the supposedly questionable lyrics on a hit record by The Kingsmen.

Free throw shooting games

LITTLE ROCK — Growing up, the best free throw shooter in Razorback history possessed the self-discipline to abide by strict rules even when there was no one around to watch.

Good times at Oaklawn Park recalled and those to be had

LITTLE ROCK — A week out, the Friday forecast called for a high of 38 and a slight chance of rain in Hot Springs, good enough to prompt an email to a recently retired, longtime friend suggesting a meeting at a familiar parking lot in Benton and carpooling for opening day at Oaklawn Park.

Sizing up the quarterbacks in the CFP

LITTLE ROCK — Blake Sims’ well-documented testimonial to sticktuitiveness is uplifting, but it is surprising that one superb performance in the SEC championship game absolved his sins committed during the regular season.

Throwback to Broyles-Royal days

LITTLE ROCK — Declared days early, New Year resolutions include practicing with a traditional putter, taking a stand on a longshot at Oaklawn Park and omitting both Frank Broyles and Darrell Royal from the next Arkansas-Texas column.

Hesiman 2015 in flux

LITTLE ROCK — Whether Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and other high-profile underclassmen invoke Matt Barkley’s name, the former USC quarterback casts a long shadow over the race for the 2015 Heisman Trophy.