INDIANA BOYS BASKETBALL TUESDAY
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|EASTERN HANCOCK||75||IRVINGTON PREP ACADEMY||25|
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GIANNIS RETURNS, BUCKS BEAT NETS 118-104 FOR 15TH STRAIGHT
NEW YORK (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 15 rebounds, and the Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to 15 games by beating the Brooklyn Nets 118-104 on Tuesday night.
Jrue Holiday had 14 points and eight assists for the Bucks, who went 10-0 in February and have passed the Boston Celtics for the best record in the NBA. They got Antetokounmpo back after he missed their home victory over Phoenix on Sunday with a bruised right quadriceps.
Brook Lopez added 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Khris Middleton had 18 points off the bench. Milwaukee held Brooklyn to 42 second-half points, dealing the Nets their third straight loss and seventh in their past nine games.
“I think the players adjusted,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “The challenge for those guys is to make good decisions, good reads and more often than not they’re going to do that. We didn’t in the first half, but you know, those guys figured it out.”
Mikal Bridges led Brooklyn with 31 points. Spencer Dinwiddie had 26 points and eight assists, and Cam Johnson added 19 points and seven rebounds.
“Our approach at the beginning of the game was really good. We gave ourselves a chance at halftime,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “We’ve got to be able to sustain it.”
Trailing by 10 at halftime, the Bucks outscored the Nets 66-42 in the second half, using a 14-4 third-quarter run to pull even at 68. Bridges answered Milwaukee’s run with his own personal 10-0 spurt, but the Bucks outscored the Nets 39-23 in the third, including 18-7 over the final 5:04 after Antetokounmpo went to the bench after picking up his fourth foul.
“I think we went 12-2 to start, and then they went back on a 10-0 run, and it felt like it was back to a 10-point game,” Budenholzer said. “The guys, to go on that run to finish the quarter (was) impressive.”
Then the Bucks, who rank No. 1 in the NBA in defensive rating and fourth in the league by allowing 111.2 points per game, turned up the defense in the fourth. Brooklyn was just 7 of 23 in the fourth, missing nine straight over a span of 4:23.
“I think we did a good job of trying to take (3-pointers) away from them as best as possible,” Holiday said. “Because we play defense so well, that kind of propelled our offense.”
Bridges said the Nets “just weren’t there” late in the game.
“We weren’t in our shifts and transitions, not getting back as hard and then Giannis got it going, got to the line, got the and-one and dunking and got them going,” Bridges said.
Brooklyn was aggressive against Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee offense early, forcing seven first-quarter turnovers and 12 in the first half. Antetokounmpo had the same number of field goals and turnovers in the first quarter (2), and the Nets turned that defense into offense, using a 17-2 run to build a 15-point advantage.
“I think we were competing, but we weren’t competing hard enough,” Antetokounmpo said. “Sometimes when you play teams like (Brooklyn), they force turnovers and get wide-open 3s.”
Bridges had 18 points, Johnson had 15 and six rebounds and Dinwiddie scored 13 and had six assists in the first half, helping Brooklyn take a 62-52 lead at halftime.
TIP-INS Bucks: Made just 4 of 12 free throws (33.3%). … Milwaukee’s win streak is the longest in the NBA this season and the fourth-longest in team history. Brooklyn has the second-longest win streak this season (12, Dec. 7-Jan. 2).
Nets: Forward Ben Simmons (left knee soreness) missed his third straight game, and guard Edmond Sumner (personal) and forward Yuta Watanabe (back tightness) were also unavailable.
UP NEXT Milwaukee: Host Orlando on Wednesday Brooklyn: At Knicks on Wednesday.
MORANT’S THIRD-QUARTER BURST LEADS GRIZZLIES PAST LAKERS
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Ja Morant scored 28 of his 39 points in the third quarter and added 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat Los Angeles 121-109 on Tuesday night in the Lakers’ first game since LeBron James injured his right foot.
Morant made 10 of 12 shots in the highest-scoring quarter ever by a Grizzlies player.
“I was just feeling it,” Morant said. “I got going and was able to keep it rolling and put us in a good position to win the game.”
Xavier Tillman finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, while Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane scored 16 points apiece.
“Obviously, Ja had a special third quarter,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “He was just in attack mode.”
The Lakers matched their season high with 26 turnovers, leading to 41 Memphis points – a Grizzlies franchise record. Memphis also dominated the paint, outscoring Los Angeles 86-48 and added 33 fast-break points.
“A lot of that was cause and effect with our turnovers,” Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham said, adding: “They just forced their will on us in the paint.”
Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 28 points and 19 rebounds, while Lonnie Walker IV scored 21 points. Austin Reaves had 17, while matching his season high with four 3-pointers.
“The turnovers are what killed us,” Davis said.
Morant’s burst broke open a close game and gave the Grizzlies a 93-84 advantage entering the fourth. He had made only three of his 14 attempts in the first half. He was 12 of 15 in the final two quarters.
“I wouldn’t say it’s flipping the switch,” Morant said. “It’s just the shots I missed in the first half, I made in the second half.”
Memphis would click off eight straight points to take the first double-digit lead in the game as Brandon Clarke scored on a dunk off the Lakers’ 22nd turnover with 9:14 left. The lead would eventually reach 106-92 with about nine minutes left.
But using a 3-point shooting streak, the Lakers cut the Memphis lead to 110-106 on a three-point play by Davis. Memphis answered by stretching the lead back to 118-106, enough to claim its second straight victory.
James’ injury, suffered in Sunday’s win over Dallas, left the Lakers without their leading scorer at 29.7 points per game. They don’t know how long he will be out.
Los Angeles shot 37% and Memphis 33% in the first half. The Grizzlies held a six-point lead, the biggest of the half for either team.
“At halftime, my teammates just kept encouraging me. Just telling me to keep going,” Morant said. “I told them I wasn’t going to miss too many more.”
Lakers: In addition to James, G D’Angelo Russell missed his second game with a right ankle sprain. …Recorded five blocks in the second quarter, ending the night with 10, including five by Davis.
Grizzlies: Have won five straight at home and are 26-5 at FedExForum. …Jaren Jackson Jr. had four blocks in the game.
JAMES INJURY UPDATE
Ham said the Lakers continue to evaluate the right foot injury to James and he had no definite timetable for his return. But he said the team continues to strive for the postseason despite the injury. The Lakers are only a half-game out of the play-in game and 2 1/2 from sixth-place Dallas. “It’s a huge blow to have LeBron injured,” Ham said. “We’re going to keep going, and it’s full steam ahead with the goals we set for ourselves.” The Lakers coach added that the organization would not return James to action until he is cleared by the medical staff.
Lakers: Play Wednesday at Oklahoma City
Grizzlies: Travel to Houston to play the Rockets on Wednesday.
BEAL, WIZARDS SPOIL SNYDER’S HAWKS DEBUT WITH 119-116 WIN
ATLANTA (AP) Returning to the bench for the first time in 10 months, Quin Snyder quickly got an idea of the challenge he faces with the Atlanta Hawks.
The enigmatic team flopped down the stretch in Snyder’s Atlanta coaching debut, losing 119-116 to the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night.
Bradley Beal scored 37 points and Kyle Kuzma added 28 as the short-handed Wizards stifled Trae Young and the Hawks when it mattered most.
Three drives by the Atlanta star in the final 2 1/2 minutes were swatted away by Delon Wright, Daniel Gafford and Kuzma.
Young made only 1 of 8 shots in the fourth quarter.
Kuzma also had a steal and dunk off an errant pass from Young, giving the Wizards their first lead since the second quarter.
“Down the stretch, I put my hard hat on,” Gafford said. “We really just focused on getting stops at the end.”
Beal hit a pull-up jumper with 35.3 seconds left that pushed the Wizards to a 117-113 lead.
Young, who paced Atlanta with 31 points, finally got one to go with a contested 3-pointer that pulled the Hawks within a single point with 30.6 remaining.
But Beal went to work again. With the shot clock running down, he drove on Dejounte Murray, deking left before cutting right to bank in his final points of the night.
“A thing of art,” Gafford marveled.
It was just enough. Young had a couple of chances to send the game to overtime, getting the ball back after a long rebound off a missed 3-pointer, but his second attempt beyond the arc also rimmed out.
“We did a good job of staying resilient,” Beal said. “We just find a way to win.”
The Hawks hope Snyder can provide a spark for an underachieving squad that seems headed for a second straight appearance in the play-in tournament.
For his first night, at least, it was just another exasperating loss.
“I still getting to know the team,” said Snyder, who was officially hired 48 hours earlier. “You saw some of that tonight.”
With injured Kristaps Porzingis watching from bench, the Wizards knocked off the Hawks with essentially a two-man team at the offensive end.
Gafford scored 13 points and was the only other Washington player in double figures.
Snyder spent eight seasons as Utah’s coach before resigning last June after the Jazz were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.
The 56-year-old Snyder says he left coaching to spend more time with his family, but the chance to lead the Hawks lured him back to the sideline sooner than expected.
He’s got his work cut out for him.
“We’ll continue to build on it, work on it,” he said.
Atlanta fired Nate McMillan after limping into the All-Star break with a 29-30 record – far below what was expected from a team that reached the Eastern Conference final just two seasons ago.
Joe Prunty guided the Hawks to a pair of victories as interim coach before Snyder reached agreement on a five-year deal. Prunty remains with the team as Snyder’s top assistant.
Atlanta is eighth in the East, remaining 3 1/2 games behind Brooklyn for a top-six finish that would avoid the play-in tournament.
Washington moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Bulls for the final play-in berth.
Wizards: Beal made 17 of 30 shots and also had seven assists, while Kuzma was 10 of 26 from the field. … Washington snapped a two-game losing streak. … Porzingis (sore left knee) and Monte Morris (lower back soreness) were both out for the second game in a row. … Gafford had 12 rebounds and Deni Avdija pulled down 13 as the Wizards controlled the boards 48-42.
Hawks: Young committed a silly blunder at the end of the first half, needlessly fouling Wright as he threw up a desperation heave from half-court just ahead of the buzzer. After reviewing the replay, the officials ruled the foul occurred 0.9 seconds ahead of the buzzer. Wright knocked down all three free throws to cut Atlanta’s lead to 56-52 at the break. … Atlanta briefly had a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter – the largest margin for either team. … Seven Hawks scored in double figures, including Clint Capela with 13 points to go along with 15 rebounds.
Wizards: Return to D.C. for the start of a three-game homestand against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night. Those same teams will meet again Saturday.
Hawks: Wrap up a five-game homestand wrapped around the All-Star break when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Atlanta hasn’t played a road game since Feb. 13.
DURANT EXPECTED TO MAKE SUNS DEBUT ON WEDNESDAY VS. HORNETS
PHOENIX (AP) Kevin Durant is expected to make his Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday against the Charlotte Hornets.
The Suns made the announcement on social media Tuesday. The 13-time All-Star came to Phoenix on Feb. 9 in a blockbuster trade that sent Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jae Crowder and four first-round picks to the Brooklyn Nets.
Durant hasn’t played for the Suns while recovering from a sprained knee ligament. The 34-year-old is still one of the game’s elite scorers, averaging nearly 30 points per game this season.
Durant joins a Suns starting lineup that includes Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. Phoenix is trying to make it back to the NBA Finals for the second time in three seasons.
The Suns lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in six games in 2021.
KOBE BRYANT FAMILY SETTLES PHOTO LAWSUIT FOR $28.5 MILLION
LOS ANGELES (AP) The family of the late Kobe Bryant has agreed to a $28.5 million settlement with Los Angeles County to resolve the remaining claims in a lawsuit over deputies and firefighters sharing grisly photos of the NBA star, his 13-year-old daughter and other victims killed in a 2020 helicopter crash, attorneys and court filings said Tuesday.
The figure includes a newly agreed upon payment from the county of $13.5 million along with the $15 million a federal jury awarded Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, at a trial in August.
The agreement resolves any future claims by Bryant’s three surviving daughters, related issues pending in state court, and other costs. A proposed settlement order, which a judge must approve, was filed Tuesday in federal court.
“Today marks the successful culmination of Mrs. Bryant’s courageous battle to hold accountable those who engaged in this grotesque conduct,” Bryant’s attorney Luis Li said in a statement. “She fought for her husband, her daughter, and all those in the community whose deceased family were treated with similar disrespect.”
Mira Hashmall, the attorney representing LA County, called the statement “fair and reasonable” adding, “We hope Ms. Bryant and her children continue to heal from their loss.”
Kobe Bryant, the former Lakers star, five-time NBA champion and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, was traveling with Gianna and seven others to a youth basketball game when the helicopter they were aboard crashed into hills in Calabasas west of Los Angeles on Jan. 26, 2020.
Deputies and firefighters responding to the crash scene shot phone photos of the bodies and the wreckage, which Hashmall argued at trial were an essential part of assessing the situation.
But the pictures were shared, mostly between employees of the county sheriff’s and fire departments, including by some who were playing video games and attending an awards banquet. They were also seen by some of their spouses and in one case by a bartender at a bar where a deputy was drinking.
Li told jurors that the close-up photos had no official or investigative purpose, and were mere “visual gossip” shared out of a gruesome curiosity.
Hashmall argued that the sheriff acted swiftly and appropriately when he ordered the photos deleted.
Vanessa Bryant tearfully testified during the 11-day trial that news of the photos compounded her still-raw grief a month after losing her husband and daughter, and that she still has panic attacks at the thought that they might still be out there and her daughters might someday see them online.
The verdict in her favor was erroneously read as $16 million in court, but was later amended to $15 million.
Federal safety officials blamed pilot error for the crash itself.
Chris Chester, Vanessa Bryant’s co-plaintiff at the trial, was also awarded $15 million at trial, and reached his own settlement with the county in September for nearly $5 million more.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
NO. 6 MARQUETTE BEATS BUTLER TO CLINCH BIG EAST OUTRIGHT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Now that No. 6 Marquette has secured the regular-season Big East championship, more accolades could follow.
It would be hard to pick against Tyler Kolek for Big East player of the year or Shaka Smart for conference coach of the year.
Kolek had 21 points and 10 assists, and Marquette clinched its first outright conference title in 20 years by beating Butler 72-56 on Tuesday night.
Heading into the game, Kolek, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard from Cumberland, R.I., was second in the NCAA in assists (7.8 per game). Over the past nine games, he has averaged 18.2 points. He shot 9 of 13 from the field and 2 for 3 on 3-pointers against the Bulldogs.
“To me, he’s the MVP of the Big East. He makes that team go,” Butler coach Thad Matta said. “He’s such an intelligent basketball player. He’s got a great pulse on that team. It looks like they really feed off him, and he embraces that leadership.”
The victory was the fifth in a row and 10th in 11 games for the surprising Golden Eagles (24-6, 16-3), picked ninth by the league’s coaches in the preseason poll.
This week, Marquette ascended to its highest ranking in the AP Top 25 since it was No. 1 in 1978.
Marquette, which had already earned at least a share of its first Big East title since 2013, had not won an outright regular-season crown since doing so in Conference USA in 2003.
Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 14 points and Oso Ighodaro had 12 for the Golden Eagles, who will be the top seed in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden – an event Marquette has never won.
The Golden Eagles will open in the quarterfinals March 9 against the winner of a first-round game between Butler and St. John’s.
“The calendar is about to turn to March,” Smart said. “We’re very excited about winning the Big East regular season. But we’re not done.”
The 45-year-old Smart, in his second season at Marquette after six each at VCU and Texas, won his first regular-season league championship in 14 years as a Division I head coach.
He said he is not one to “politic” for individual awards, but offered this assessment of Kolek:
“I would say that he has been as impactful for winning as anyone in our league. And there’s a lot of really good players in our league.”
In the second half, the Golden Eagles shot 65% (15 of 23) from the floor and led by as many as 24 points.
Jayden Taylor scored 13 and Jalen Thomas had 10 for Butler (14-16, 6-13), which finished 4-6 in Big East home games.
Butler shot 0 of 10 while going scoreless for nearly nine minutes in falling behind 16-6. After the Bulldogs closed to 18-13, Marquette went on a 14-3 spurt to seize a 32-16 lead.
Butler was never closer than 11 points thereafter.
Marquette shot 72% (13 for 18) on 2-pointers in claiming a 36-22 halftime advantage. Kolek had 11 points at the break.
Marquette: The Golden Eagles made the biggest jump in the history of the Big East preseason poll. In 1989-90, Connecticut was picked eighth and tied Syracuse for first place.
“We never really talked about winning the Big East championship,” Smart said. “It was never a point of emphasis. We did talk about being picked ninth. We thought we were better than that.”
Marquette’s 16 league wins are the most in school history. For the first time, the Golden Eagles defeated every league opponent at least once.
Butler: In the first season of Thad Matta’s second coaching stint at Butler, the Bulldogs would have to win Saturday at No. 19 Xavier and then twice in the Big East Tournament to avoid a third successive losing season.
Butler was 14-19 (7-13 Big East) last season and 10-15 (8-12) in 2020-21. The school has not won an NCAA tournament game since 2013.
Butler center Manny Bates was back in the lineup after missing two games with a shoulder injury. Another Butler regular, wing Ali Ali, was sidelined by concussion protocol for the second time this season.
Marquette: Closes the regular season Saturday at home against St. John’s.
Butler: Plays at No. 19 Xavier on Saturday.
NO. 3 KANSAS TOPS TEXAS TECH TO CLINCH BIG 12 TITLE SHARE
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) In their final game at Allen Fieldhouse, Jalen Wilson and fellow Kansas senior Kevin McCullar Jr. not only kept the hardscrabble Jayhawks in front of Texas Tech most of the night but made the play that sealed the win.
Along with another Big 12 title.
Wilson had 21 points to lead all scorers, McCullar added 14 points with a critical basket in the final minute, and the third-ranked Jayhawks held off the Red Raiders 67-63 on Tuesday to clinch at least a share of their NCAA-leading 64th regular-season conference championship.
“It felt so good to win,” Wilson said. “I just wanted to cherish the moment.”
Dajuan Harris had 16 points for the Jayhawks (25-5, 13-4), who would capture the outright title if No. 9 Texas loses to No. 22 TCU on Wednesday night. Otherwise, the Jayhawks would need to beat the Longhorns on Saturday.
Kansas was left clinging to a 61-60 lead after the Red Raiders’ De’Vion Harmon could only make the second of two free throws with 56.4 seconds left. But after the Jayhawks raced up the floor, and Wilson failed to get an open look, a loose ball ended up in the hands of McCullar, who merely had to lay it in for a three-point lead.
“It was a loose ball. I seen Harmon reach for it and I was like, ‘I need to get this ball and get this bucket,’” said McCullar, who transferred from Texas Tech. “Nobody was around so I just stuck it in. That play was huge.”
“If anybody was going to make that play, it was Kevin,” Wilson added. “That’s just the type of guy he is.”
Texas Tech still had time left and called a timeout to set up a play. But Pop Isaacs threw a driving layup off the side of the backboard, and Harris scored in transition for the Jayhawks to put the game out of reach.
“We had to decide for the 3 or try to score and get something quick and went with that,” Red Raiders coach Mark Adams said of the game’s crucial possession. “Didn’t get the call.”
The Jayhawks improved to 22-1 against Texas Tech (16-14, 5-12) in the Phog with their seventh consecutive win overall, and they have not lost on senior night since the 1983-84 season.
“They made some big plays down the stretch, especially the last couple of minutes. That’s what Kansas does,” Adams said. “With their homecourt advantage, they know how to win late in games.”
Harmon had 15 points to lead Texas Tech, which was just 3 of 16 from the 3-point line. Kevin Obanor added 14 points, Fardaws Aimaq had 13 points and 18 rebounds, and Isaacs finished with 11 points.
Wearing retro red uniforms for their senior sendoff, the Jayhawks got off to a frigid start against the defensive-minded Red Raiders. McCullar eventually dropped a couple of 3s minutes apart to give Kansas some breathing room, and Wilson began driving for contested layups, helping the Jayhawks forge a 30-21 lead by the break.
Texas Tech was 1 of 11 from beyond the arc and committed seven turnovers over the first 20 scattershot minutes.
The Red Raiders’ cold streak ended there. They scored five quick points to start the second half, nearly wiping out their deficit in their first few trips down floor, and Obanor began to get easy buckets in the paint.
While the Jayhawks kept answering every time Texas Tech got within a possession, they could never put the game away. And when it appeared as if they might as Gradey Dick scored his first points on two free throws to make it 60-55 with about three minutes to go, the Red Raiders answered with back-to-back baskets at the other end.
It wasn’t until McCullar’s bucket and Harris’ breakway layup in the final minute that Kansas could finally celebrate.
Texas Tech was making a late run toward an NCAA Tournament bid with four straight wins, including consecutive victories over Kansas State and Texas. But back-to-back close losses to TCU and Kansas could make a run to the Big 12 Tournament title the only way to make it back to the dance.
Kansas has more Quad 1 wins than any other team in the country, and advanced metrics also love the Jayhawks, who once again reign supreme in the nation’s toughest conference. That’s probably enough to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but winning Saturday along with a Big 12 tourney title could get them the top seed overall.
The regular season concludes Saturday when Texas Tech plays Oklahoma State and Kansas visits Texas.
NATE OATS APOLOGIZES FOR BRANDON MILLER’S PREGAME PAT-DOWN
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama coach Nate Oats apologized and took responsibility for allowing freshman forward Brandon Miller to continue going through a pat-down during pregame introductions.
Miller had received the pat-down upon his introduction well before the Jan. 15 arrest of then-teammate Darius Miles and another man on capital murder charges in the shooting death of 23-year-old Jamea Harris. Then, police testimony last week accused the second-ranked Crimson Tide’s biggest star of delivering Miles’ gun, though his attorney said he never handled it and didn’t know it was going to be used for a crime.
“That situation’s on me,” Oats said on Tuesday of the pregame ritual. “We addressed it as a team. As soon as I brought it up to them, they immediately understood how it could be interpreted, and we all felt awful about it.
“They explained to me that it’s like when TSA checks you when you get on a plane. And now Brandon’s cleared for takeoff. We as the adults in the room should have been more sensitive to how it could have been interpreted. I dropped the ball. That’s it, I dropped the ball on it. I can assure you it won’t happen again.”
Miller, who has started every game, hasn’t been charged and the university said he is a cooperating witness, not a suspect.
The Tide can clinch the Southeastern Conference regular season title outright with a win Wednesday night against rival Auburn. Miller is the SEC’s leading scorer and fifth-leading rebounder, averaging 19.7 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.
He scored 41 points against South Carolina a day after the courtroom testimony linking Miller to the scene, and then added 24 against Arkansas. Miller wasn’t named SEC player of the week or freshman of the week.
Oats was asked if he felt backlash is affecting Miller’s chances for in-season or postseason accolades, and said he didn’t know the answer.
“In the SEC, they’ve got to make tough decisions every week as to who gets it,” he said. “There was great players that got the award. Brandon had a good week. I’m sure he’ll get awards moving forward. We’ll address that as it comes up.”
MARCH MADNESS 2023: BUBBLE WATCH AS SEASON DRAWS TO A CLOSE
March Madness is coming up fast. Here is what to know along with some key games to watch and who’s on the bubble ahead of Selection Sunday for the NCAA Tournament:
The basketball calendar is getting crowded. Up first are the conference tournaments:
— The ACC Tournament start things off March 7-11 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
— The Big 12 Tournament will be March 8-11 in Kansas City, Missouri.
— The Big Ten Tournament will be March 8-12 in Chicago.
— The Big East Tournament will be March 8-11 in New York.
— The Pac-12 Tournament will be March 8-11 in Las Vegas.
— The SEC Tournament will be March 8-12 in Nashville, Tennessee.
Selection Sunday is March 12, when bracket matchups will be set for the First Four and first- and second-round games that stretch from Florida to California.
Sweet 16 weekend will see games in New York City (East Region), Las Vegas (West), Kansas City, Missouri (Midwest), and Louisville, Kentucky (South).
Where is the Final Four? In Houston, on April 1, with the championship game on April 3.
Basketball aficionados, take note: The women’s NCAA Tournament will hold its Final Four in Dallas, a four-hour drive up the road from Houston.
Who’s going to win the national championship? With the season still rolling, the betting favorites as of this week to reach the Final Four are Houston, Kansas, Purdue and Alabama, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. That matches the top teams in the NCAA’s initial seed watch, too, and many of the teams in the AP Top 25.
Arizona State (20-9): Desmond Cambridge deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament after swishing a 55-footer at the buzzer to stun rival and then-No. 7 Arizona 89-88 on the road Saturday. The Wildcats have won two in a row and four of five to claw their way into the postseason picture. Sitting 61st in the NCAA’s NET rankings, they still have work to do but close the regular season against fourth-ranked UCLA and fellow bubble team USC — a clear path to locking up a tourney spot.
Auburn (19-10): The Tigers ended a tough February by dropping five of seven, including a 32-point drubbing at Kentucky. Three more of those recent losses came on the road — Tennessee, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. It doesn’t get any easier for Auburn, which finishes the regular season at second-ranked Alabama and against No. 12 Tennessee. The Tigers, ranked 36th in the NET, could use another Quad 1 victory.
Michigan (17-12): With freshman Dug McDaniel playing his best basketball of the season, the Wolverines have won three straight and six of eight to make a late push. They can significantly improve their tournament hopes by winning road games against Illinois and No. 15 Indiana this week.
Memphis (22-7): Kendric Davis and DeAndre Williams have the Tigers and coach Penny Hardaway on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season. They have won four of five, moving up to 38th in the NET, but can’t afford a loss at SMU on Thursday and could use a victory in their nationally televised home finale against top-ranked Houston on Sunday. Davis, who is averaging 21.2 points and 5.7 assists, missed the first meeting with Houston (a 72-64 loss).
Penn State (17-12): The Nittany Lions seemed like a tournament lock after winning three straight against Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio State. But then they squandered a 19-point, second-half lead to Rutgers on Sunday, leaving the senior-laden team on bubble watch down the stretch. Coach Micah Shrewsberry’s group can bounce back in a big way with Quad 1 games at Northwestern and against No. 21 Maryland.
Charleston (28-3), Florida Atlantic (26-3) and Liberty (24-7): All three dominated their leagues and won the regular-season championship, but they will likely need to win their conference tournament — all of them playing in one-bid leagues — to make the NCAA field.
GAME(S) TO WATCH
Xavier at Providence, Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. Eastern (FS1): The Friars are 15-0 at home this season and have won 17 straight at Amica Mutual Pavilion. That streak could be tested by Xavier, which is the lone Big East team with a chance to catch No. 6 Marquette for the top seed in the conference tournament. While the 19th-ranked Musketeers are a lock for the NCAA Tournament, the Friars could use another Quad 1 victory to strengthen their resume.
Purdue at Wisconsin, Thursday, 9 p.m. Eastern (FS1): Wisconsin has dropped seven of its last 11, leaving the Badgers squarely on the NCAA bubble. Beating fifth-ranked Purdue would be a huge boost for a team that hasn’t won two in a row in two months.
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, Saturday, 6 p.m. Eastern (ESPN2): The Cowboys have dropped five straight, all without guard Avery Anderson, who is out indefinitely following wrist surgery. The Red Raiders gained traction with home wins against three ranked teams in the past month — Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas.
WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL
SHOWDOWN LOOMS FOR SOUTH CAROLINA, LSU AT SEC TOURNAMENT
Another SEC showdown is looming at the league tournament this week between undefeated No. 1 South Carolina and one-loss, No. 4 LSU.
The teams met on Super Bowl Sunday in a highly anticipated game featuring two of the game’s biggest stars in reigning AP player of the year Aliyah Boston for the Gamecocks and the Tigers’ Angel Reese.
South Carolina shut down Reese — it was her only game this season without double figures in both points and rebounds — in an 88-64 victory.
The tournament opens in Greenville, South Carolina, on Wednesday. The top four seeds — South Carolina (29-0), LSU (27-1), No. 3 Tennessee (21-10) and No. 4 Mississippi (22-7) — don’t play until Friday. The semifinals will be Saturday, with the championship and the NCAA Tournament’s automatic bid at stake on Sunday.
The February beatdown by South Carolina left LSU coach Kim Mulkey a bit humbled. “It’s South Carolina, in my opinion,” she said, “and everyone else.”
At the moment, Mulkey has a much more modest goal for tournament play in her second year at LSU.
“I’ve never won an SEC Tournament game as a coach,” said Mulkey, whose team lost its opener a season ago to eventual champion Kentucky. “So our goal is to win one more in the SEC Tournament than we’ve done since this staff has been here.”
The Gamecocks have their own motivation from a year ago. South Carolina was heavily favored to win its seventh tournament crown in eight seasons. Instead, Kentucky rallied from eight points down in the fourth quarter for a 64-62 victory.
The Gamecocks haven’t lost in 35 games since, including a run to the 2022 national title.
South Carolina leading scorer Zia Cooke says that defeat is in the past and there’s no reminders or rallying cry.
“I think what happened last year is what happened last year,” she said. “We’ve moved on.”
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley, whose team wrapped up its seventh regular-season SEC championship in the past 10 seasons, has seen her team step up to each challenge this year and doesn’t expect that to change.
“I know this team understands the path that’s in front of them,” Staley said. “They stay current with that, so I can only feel good about what they’ve done.”
There are six other 20-win teams in the SEC this season: the Lady Vols, Rebels, Mississippi State (20-9), Alabama (20-9), Georgia (20-10) and Arkansas (20-11). That group is a combined 0-14 against South Carolina and LSU this season.
SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Boston bested Reese for SEC player of the year, the conference announced Tuesday. Boston won the honor for the second straight year. She also earned her second nod as defensive player of the year. Boston and Reese, who leads the SEC in scoring (23.7 points a game) and rebounding (16) this season, were both named to the All-SEC first team.
DEFENDING TOURNAMENT CHAMPS
It would be an even bigger surprise if Kentucky won a second straight SEC Tournament title. The Wildcats enter as the 14th and last seed after going 10-18 and 2-14 in SEC play. This team lost centerpiece player Rhyne Howard to the WNBA and had 10 newcomers on their opening roster.
It can’t get much easier, at least logistically, this postseason for No. 1 South Carolina. The SEC Tournament is in the first of a three-year run in Greenville, about a two-hour drive from the Gamecocks’ campus. The first two rounds of the NCAAs almost surely will be on South Carolina’s home floor. Should the Gamecocks advance to the Sweet 16, they most likely will return to Greenville for a chance to get to a third straight Final Four. That will require a flight to Dallas.
The network will locate its “College GameDay” program at the SEC Tournament site this Sunday. It’s the last of three stops the program made to women’s basketball games, going to UConn’s game with Tennessee in Knoxville on Jan. 26 before going to Iowa City for the Indiana-Iowa game last Sunday.
MARCH MADNESS 2023: BUBBLE TEAMS AT WOMEN’S LEAGUE TOURNEYS
March Madness is coming up fast. Here is what to know along with some key games to watch and who’s on the bubble ahead of Selection Sunday for the women’s NCAA Tournament:
The basketball calendar is getting crowded. Up first are the conference tournaments:
— The ACC Tournament will be March 1-5 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
— The Big Ten Tournament will be March 1-5 in Minneapolis.
— The Big 12 Tournament will be March 9-12 in Kansas City, Missouri.
— The Pac-12 Tournament will be March 1-5 in Las Vegas.
— The SEC Tournament will be March 1-5 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Selection Sunday is March 12, when brackets for First Four games (March 15-16) and first- and second-round games (March 17-20) are set at multiple sites across the country.
Sweet 16 weekend brings a twist this year for the women’s teams: There will be two regional sites instead of four with Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle each hosting eight teams.
Where is the women’s Final Four? In Dallas, where the semifinals are March 31 and the championship game is April 2.
As it happens, the men’s Final Four is a four-hour drive down the road in Houston that same weekend.
Who’s going to win the national championship? The betting favorites as of this week to reach the Final Four are defending national champion South Carolina, Stanford, Indiana and UConn, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The NCAA’s seeding prediction is a little different — Utah replaces UConn — and the top quartet in the AP Top 25 poll is: South Carolina, Indiana, Utah and LSU. So buckle up!
Arkansas (20-11) reached 20 victories for the first time since the 2019-20 season when it went 24-8 before COVID-19 prompted the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament. It may need to beat Missouri in an eight-nine seed matchup Thursday in the Southeastern Conference Tournament to secure its third straight bid to the NCAAs.
Syracuse (18-11) needed to rally late in the season to keep its NCAA chances alive and it did with wins over Miami and Pitt. That’s left the Orange as the last team in the field of 68, according to ESPN. Syracuse will look to enhance its chances at the ACC Tournament, starting Thursday against North Carolina State, a team once part of the top 10 that has slid out of the rankings.
Oregon (16-13) was projected as a No. 4 seed by ESPN in early January after opening the year 10-1. But the Ducks have lost 12 of their final 18 games. It Oregon can’t rebound in the Pac 12 Tournament starting Wednesday, it will end a run of five straight NCAA appearances, not counting the virus-cancelled event in 2020.
GAMES TO WATCH
No. 16 Oklahoma (22-5) hopes to keep its shot at a Big 12 Conference title alive when it hosts Kansas State (16-13) on Wednesday. The Sooners, projected a fifth seed for the NCAAs, trail Texas by a game in the last week of the regular season.
No. 25 South Florida (25-5) leads the American Athletic Conference and wraps up its regular season at Cincinnati (9-19) on Wednesday night. The Bulls have won 15 of their last 16 games and re-entered the rankings this week.
RODGERS, QBS BECOME TOP ATTRACTIONS AT NFL COMBINE
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Green Bay Packers will continue to play the waiting game with Aaron Rodgers.
They’re also ready with a backup plan.
Though general manager Brian Gutekunst’s first choice still appears to be bringing back the four-time league MVP and longtime face of the team, Gutekunst acknowledged the Packers are willing to go with Jordan Love — if needed.
“I think he’s ready to play. I think he’s ready to be an NFL starting quarterback,” Gutekunst said Tuesday, referring to Love. “He’s worked really hard. He’s shown a lot of progression. I know he’s really eager to have that, and I think that’s the next step in his progression, is to play.”
First, though, Rodgers must make his call.
The one-time Super Bowl champ is scheduled to cost the Packers $59.5 million, a prohibitively high number that would prevent the team from doing much in free agency.
Rodgers has already acknowledged publicly if he does return, he would likely redo his contract. He also has completed the “darkness retreat” he said would help him sort out his options.
Green Bay also must decide whether to exercise its fifth-year option on Love, their first-round pick from 2020 who has not played much as Rodgers’ backup. Extending Love’s contract through next season would cost the team $20.3 million in 2024.
Otherwise, the Packers next year could be facing the same dilemma the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens now have — using franchise tags to keep their starters, Daniel Jones and Lamar Jackson — around. Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta is scheduled to speak Wednesday at the NFL’s annual scouting combine.
Still, Gutekunst is willing to be patient with Rodgers and hopeful he’ll have an answer before free agency begins March 15. If not, he’ll be ready to go either direction.
“We’ll move forward and have conversations as we go,” Gutekunst said. “There will be a point here soon where we have to make some decisions moving forward.”
It’s a familiar scenario for Packers fans who still remember when three-time MVP Brett Favre retired in 2008, handing the job to Rodgers, Green Bay’s first-round pick in 2005. When Favre later decided to return, he was eventually traded to the New York Jets.
The Jets are in the quarterback market yet again and are one of several teams now jockeying for position to answer their own quarterback questions.
While Jets GM Joe Douglas acknowledged the team remains committed to Zach Wilson, Douglas also said team officials have spoken with the recently released Derek Carr and they plan to meet again this week.
“I can say he (Carr) left a strong impression with everybody,” Douglas said. ”Obviously we’re going to be exploring the veteran quarterback market this offseason and we’ll look at every available option.”
They’re not alone.
Carolina also plans to meet this week with Carr, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the team doesn’t announce its meetings with free agents.
Two other veterans also recently hit the open market. The Washington Commanders cut Carson Wentz on Monday and 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota was released Tuesday by the Atlanta Falcons.
Both teams seem content to go with second-year quarterbacks Desmond Ridder and Sam Howell, at least for now.
“If you go back to his junior year, coming out, (Howell) is a guy that had some very good grades on him,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said. “I looked at our people’s grades and we had some very good grades on him, so we feel very confident in his ability. He’s got a good arm.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also may try the young arm of Kyle Trask — if Tom Brady does not come out of retirement again. That may be out of necessity with the Buccaneers more than $57 million over the cap.
Still, coach Todd Bowles wouldn’t rule out signing a veteran.
“We understand we’re over the cap,” he said. “We have a long-term plan. We don’t want to sacrifice one year for paying someone as opposed to sacrificing the future. But we’ll go out and we’ll be smart about it. It’s also a desirable place because we do have talent.”
The same is true of the Packers, who have already restructured the contract of running back Aaron Jones and expect promising second-year receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs to continue improving next season — whether it’s Rodgers or Love throwing passes.
“Obviously, he (Rodgers) is a big part — if he comes back,” Gutekunst said. “He’s a big part of what we’re doing, but at the same time, I don’t think that will really change the roster much.”
REPORT: BUCS TO RELEASE FOURNETTE AFTER 3 SEASONS
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers plan to release running back Leonard Fournette when the new league year begins March 15, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Fournette asked to be released, sources told Jordan Schultz, theScore’s NFL insider.
Fournette spent the last three seasons with the Bucs after playing the first three years of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Tampa Bay is $56.5 million over the cap, according to OverTheCap. The team will save just under $3.5 million if Fournette is a pre-June 1 cut or just under $5 million with a post-June 1 designation.
The 28-year-old played in 16 games for the Bucs this season, finishing with 668 rushing yards, 523 receiving yards, and six total touchdowns. He’s totaled 6,697 scrimmage yards and 41 scores since being selected fourth overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Rachaad White, a third-round selection in 2022, is likely to see an increase in playing time. White had 481 yards and one score on the ground while contributing 290 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air in his rookie campaign.
VIKINGS GM HINTS AT UNCERTAINTY OVER COOK’S ROSTER SPOT
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was noncommittal when asked at the NFL combine Tuesday if he anticipates running back Dalvin Cook remaining on the roster in 2023.
“Great player and great leader,” Adofo-Mensah said, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. “In the NFL, you have a lot of constraints, salary cap, different things, and we’re trying to figure out how we can operate in those things.”
The Vikings are $24.4 million over the salary cap, per OverTheCap. Releasing Cook as a pre-June 1 cut would free about $5.9 million, while designating him as a post-June 1 cut would increase that to $9 million.
Cook has made four consecutive Pro Bowls with the Vikings. The 27-year-old totaled at least 1,380 scrimmage yards and six touchdowns in each of those seasons. Despite the Pro Bowl nod, 2022 was Cook’s worst campaign for yards per carry (4.4) and yards per touch (4.8) since he entered the NFL.
Cook’s agent appeared to showcase some frustration towards the Vikings in an Instagram story posted Monday.
CARROLL: SEAHAWKS COULD DRAFT QB EARLY, EVEN IF GENO RETURNS
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that the team could consider a quarterback in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, even if Geno Smith returns.
“We’re totally connected to the quarterbacks coming out,” Caroll responded when asked if the team could re-sign Smith and draft a quarterback, according to The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta. “This is a really huge opportunity for us. It’s a rare opportunity. We’ve been drafting in the low 20s for such a long time. You just don’t get the chance at these guys. So we’re deeply involved with all them.”
The Seahawks currently own the fifth and 20th overall selections in the draft. They acquired the No. 5 overall pick when the team traded quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos prior to the 2022 campaign.
Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson are all expected to go in the first round when the draft kicks off April 27.
Smith started all 17 games for the Seahawks in 2022 after spending most of his career as a backup. The 32-year-old led the league in completion percentage (69.8%) while throwing for 4,282 yards, 30 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. His efforts won him the Associated Press’ Comeback Player of the Year award.
Smith is currently not under contract for 2023. Seattle can use the franchise tag or negotiate an extension to retain his services. Smith previously said that extension talks were going well.
BILLS GM: HAMLIN’S RETURN HINGES ON HIS MEDICAL PROGRESS
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin has a few more visits to doctors before determining whether he can pursue his goal of returning to play football after going into cardiac arrest and having to be resuscitated on field in January.
In providing the update at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Hamlin’s “end game” is to resume playing so long as he receives the necessary medical clearance.
“If we’re able to get full clearance and he feels he’s ready to do it, that’s another big smile of a story. Not only that he’s just got his life back, but that he’d have his football career back,” Beane said. “I would love to give the storybook ending that he’s definitely going to play, but we just don’t know that yet. But if he does, we’ll be very happy for him.”
Beane said “all is well” with Hamlin’s test results after visiting numerous specialists around the country, with two or three more visits still scheduled. He said the Bills medical staff is traveling with Hamlin to get a clear picture of the player’s status, because the team would also have to provide clearance in allowing him to return to the field.
Hamlin has enjoyed what doctors are calling a remarkable recovery since collapsing on the field after making what appeared to be a routine tackle in the first quarter of a game against the Bengals which was suspended and eventually canceled.
The second-year player from Pittsburgh’s exurb of McKee’s Rock spent nearly 10 days recovering in hospitals in both Cincinnati and Buffalo before being released. He eventually began visiting the Bills facility and attended the team’s season-ending 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Hamlin has since made numerous appearances around the country, including during the Super Bowl festivities in Arizona, where he received the NFLPA’s Alan Page Community Award. He also took part in a pregame ceremony in which the NFL honored the Bills and Bengals training and medical staffs and first responders who treated the 24-year-old.
BROWNS COULD RESTRUCTURE DESHAUN WATSON’S $230M CONTRACT
CLEVELAND (AP) — The record-setting contract Deshaun Watson received from the Browns could undergo some revising.
Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry indicated the team may consider restructuring the five-year, $230 million deal — to clear salary cap space — it used to entice Watson to agree to a trade from Houston to the Browns one year ago.
“It could be on the table, but there’s a lot of flexibility in terms of what we can do,” Berry said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis.
The Browns are approximately $14 million over the salary cap and need to get under it if they intend to be active in free agency, which opens on March 15.
Watson’s deal not only made league history because it was fully guaranteed, but his salary cap hit is $55 million in 2023, another record. The contract also established a new bar for quarterbacks around the league.
While the Browns have some current financial constraints, Berry was confident the team will be active in free agency. Cleveland needs to upgrade its defensive line and may be in the market for a top-flight wide receiver.
“The rules are flexible, whether it’s releasing a player, trading a player, restructuring a deal, negotiating an extension,” Berry said. “There are a number of different avenues to create cap space. The approach we would take would really be dictated by the opportunities in front of us. One of our tenants is flexibility. We have enough flexibility to be as aggressive or conservative as we need to be.”
As for Watson, the Browns need him to be better.
He was suspended 11 games by the NFL last season after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women while he played for the Texans. Watson initially turned down a trade to the Browns before they upped their offer to him in desperation to land one of the league’s top QBs.
Cleveland also sent three first-round draft picks to Houston in the deal, which sent a shockwave across the league.
Following his suspension, Watson went just 3-3 in six starts as the 27-year-old struggled to find his Pro Bowl form following a 700-day layoff between games. The Browns finished 7-10, but Berry remains confident Watson will improve in 2023.
“We are pleased with where Deshaun is, pleased with the progress he has made since he has been with us and certainly anticipate him having a very strong year on and off the field going into 2023,” Berry said. ”We are very excited about Deshaun.
“We are looking forward to continuing to evolve the offense over the next several months. Obviously having him have a full offseason going into 2023 and certainly expect him to play at a high level.”
NOTES: The Browns will play the New York Jets in this year’s Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3. With former Cleveland All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas slated for induction in a class that includes Jets legends Joe Klecko and Darrelle Revis, the matchup is a natural. It will be the Browns’ first appearance in the game since 1999, when they returned to the league as an expansion franchise.
AP SOURCE: NFL OWNERS TO DISCUSS SNYDER AT UPCOMING MEETING
(AP) — Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder’s future is on the agenda for discussion at upcoming committee meetings in Florida ahead of the annual NFL meeting in Arizona in late March, according to a person familiar with the docket.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the person wasn’t authorized to release details, said voting to oust Snyder if he chooses not to sell the team remains a possibility.
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, at a league meeting in October, said there’s “merit to remove” Snyder. That would take an unprecedented vote of 24 of the other 31 team owners to happen.
Two weeks after Irsay’s comments, and with multiple investigations ongoing into the team’s workplace culture, finances and Snyder himself, he and wife Tanya hired a firm to “consider possible transactions.” Asked at the time if the Snyders were considering selling part or all of the team, a spokesperson said, “We are exploring all options.”
The sales process has since included the likes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils owner Josh Harris and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta getting involved to various degrees. The New York Post reported that Snyder was blocking Bezos from putting in for a bid, despite him hiring a firm to explore that possibility.
The Commanders are taking issue with the contents of a newspaper report about the sale process and demands being made by Snyder. The team, in a statement late Monday, said a story published hours earlier by The Washington Post is “simply untrue.”
Citing anonymous sources, the Post reported that Snyder and his attorneys have demanded that NFL owners and the league indemnify him against future legal liability and costs if he sells the team and threatened to sue if not. The Post said Snyder also wants the findings of a league investigation into him kept private and that his demands angered owners and renewed discussion about possibly taking a vote to remove him.
An NFL spokesperson declined to comment Tuesday on the Post report.
In the aftermath of The Washington Post story about Snyder seeking indemnification, ESPN on Tuesday reported that a federal grand jury has issued subpoenas related to team finances after prosecutors launched an inquiry into a $55 million loan he took out without the knowledge and approval of his then-minority owners. ESPN said the criminal inquiry is being led by a team of FBI and IRS agents.
Snyder bought out minority owners Fred Smith, Dwight Schar and Bob Rothman in spring 2021 after they sued him the previous November seeking an injunction to allow them to sell their shares of the team. That transaction was approved by league owners.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement sent to The Associated Press that Snyder and his previous minority owners “had a series of disputes” before going through mediation with an arbitrator and Commissioner Roger Goodell and coming away with an agreement. McCarthy added, “The agreement included full releases of all claims that were or could have been asserted by any party in the arbitration proceeding.”
Commanders counsel John Brownlee said in a statement that the team has been fully cooperating with the Eastern District of Virginia since it received a request for records last year.
“The requested records only relate to customer security deposits and the team’s ticket sales and revenue,” Brownlee said. “The team will continue to cooperate with this investigation.”
A team spokesperson added that the Commanders are “completely transparent in sharing all financials with the league for their review and oversight.”
Snyder and the team are still under investigation by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who was retained by the league to look into various aspects of the organization stemming from a congressional probe into workplace misconduct that also included a referral to the Federal Trade Commission for potential business improprieties, which the Commanders denied.
The Attorney General for the District of Columbia filed two suits in civil court against the Commanders late last year: one for a scheme to cheat fans out of ticket money and another naming Snyder, Goodell and the league, saying they colluded to deceive fans about an investigation into the team’s workplace culture that ended with a $10 million fine and no written report. The Commanders settled with the state of Maryland, agreeing to return security deposits to former season ticket holders and pay a $250,000 penalty.
An investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform, launched in October 2021 and including testimony from Snyder, Goodell and many others, said the team fostered a toxic workplace culture. A final report by Democrats overseeing the investigation said the team had a pattern of “ignoring and downplaying sexual misconduct” and what female former employees described as hundreds of instances of sexual harassment by men at the top levels of the organization.
BILLS DC FRAZIER TAKING A YEAR OFF, PLANS TO RETURN IN 2024
(AP) — The Buffalo Bills coaching staff has a big hole to fill at defensive coordinator after Leslie Frazier informed the team he is taking a year off from coaching but plans to return for the 2024 season.
Speaking at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Tuesday, coach Sean McDermott cited what was a “long and hard season” in saying Frazier informed him of the decision last week. McDermott did not go into further detail on the reasons behind his longtime trusted adviser’s decision to step away from football.
“We’ll miss him. I thought he did a really good job with our defense,” McDermott said of a decision that came a little more than five weeks after the three-time defending AFC East champion Bills were eliminated with a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati in the divisional round of the playoffs.
General manager Brandon Beane provided a few more details on Frazier’s reasoning by saying: “Ultimately, he didn’t want to retire. He’s not there in his mind, but he just wanted to take a step back.”
While Frazier, who is still under contract with the Bills, intends to return to coaching, Beane said it’s not clear whether that will be with Buffalo.
As for Frazier’s immediate replacement, McDemott said he was still evaluating who will oversee the defensive play-calling duties next season. And McDermott didn’t rule out himself for the job, given he has spent a majority of his 25 seasons in the NFL overseeing defenses.
“That’s a big part of the consideration,” McDermott said. “I’m extremely confident in the guys that we have and the coaches that we have already in our building. So we’ll just see where it goes.”
Among McDermott’s options among coaches on his staff to fill the coordinator’s job are Al Holcomb, who was hired this offseason to serve as a senior defensive assistant, and defensive line coach Eric Washington, who also has experience as a coordinator.
Holcomb joined the Bills after finishing last season as the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator under interim coach Steve Wilks after Matt Rhule was fired. Holcomb has ties with McDermott, when he was the linebackers coach during McDermott’s final four seasons as the Panthers defensive coordinator before he was hired by Buffalo in 2017.
Frazier’s decision comes after an emotionally draining season, which included safety Damar Hamlin going into cardiac arrest and having to be resuscitated on the field during a game in Cincinnati on Jan. 2. The Bills also had their schedule disrupted by two major snowstorms.
The 63-year-old Frazier has spent the past six seasons as the Bills defensive coordinator, and he was among the first coaches hired by McDermott upon taking over in Buffalo.
He has 24 seasons of NFL coaching experience, including a three-plus-year stint as head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2010 to 2013.
One disappointment for Frazier has been an inability land another head coaching job. After interviewing for several vacancies in 2020 and 2021, he was not a candidate for any of the openings this offseason.
Last year, Frazier oversaw a Bills defense that overcame a series of injuries to finish ranked sixth in the NFL in fewest yards allowed and second in points allowed. Over his six years in Buffalo, the Bills defense finished ranked third or better in fewest yards allowed three times, including first in 2021.
Despite the defense’s regular-season success, critics pointed to how Buffalo underperformed in each of the team’s recent playoff defeats. Against Cincinnati, the Bills allowed 412 yards and a playoff-high 30 first downs. A year earlier in a 42-36 overtime loss to Kansas City in the divisional round, the Bills gave up 552 yards and squandered a three-point lead in the final 13 seconds in the fourth quarter.
Frazier is a former cornerback, who spent five seasons in the NFL and was a member of the 1985 Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears’ famed Buddy Ryan defense, which is considered one of the best in league history.
Frazier broke into coaching in 1988 as head coach of NAIA Trinity College. In December, he was selected as a member of the Class of 2023 for the Black College Football Hall of Fame. He will be honored during a ceremony in June.
The Bills announced other changes to McDermott’s staff, including Adam Henry taking over as receivers coach. Henry, who spent last year as Indiana’s offensive coordinator, replaces Chad Hall, who left Buffalo this offseason after being hired as the Jacksonville Jaguars receivers coach.
Henry has 11 seasons of NFL coaching experience, with his most recent as the Dallas Cowboys receivers coach from 2020-21. He served as receivers coach at LSU from 2012-14, when the Tigers receivers included Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
The Bills also hired Austin Gund as an assistant offensive line coach and Kyle Shurmur as an offensive quality assistant coach.
COMMANDERS PUT FRANCHISE TAG ON DEFENSIVE TACKLE DARON PAYNE
(AP) — The Washington Commanders have put the franchise tag on Daron Payne, solving one of their biggest offseason problems by keeping the standout defensive tackle under contract following the best season of his NFL career.
Payne will earn just over $18.9 million if he plays on the franchise tag next season, a likelihood given Washington already had extended fellow Alabama defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and still need to determine a course of action on pass rushers Montez Sweat and Chase Young.
But even after drafting yet another Crimson Tide defensive tackle, Phidarian Mathis, in the second round last year as Payne’s projected replacement, the Commanders had to figure out a way to keep the accomplished veteran in the fold. After Mathis was lost to a season-ending knee injury, Payne led the team with a career-high 11 1/2 sacks and went to the Pro Bowl.
“Daron is an important part of what we’re doing,” general manager Martin Mayhew said at a season-ending news conference. “He’s always been disruptive. He’s always been in the back field, he’s always been around the ball. This was the first year he really was finishing the way that he finished this year, so he played outstanding football for us.”
Payne was set to become a free agent next month after Washington previously did not pick up his fifth-year option, a decision that forced management’s hand on the franchise tag, which the Commanders foreshadowed using.
“It’d be difficult, to move forward without him, obviously,” Mayhew said. “We have a plan, and we definitely want to get him back.”
Coach Ron Rivera, a retired linebacker, said Payne “fits the formula of what we want to do and how we want to play and (has) the skill set that you would like to have.”
“We think his presence on the football field was outstanding this season, and he did a lot of good things for us,” Rivera said.
Washington’s previous regime selected Payne 13th in the 2018 draft, and he has since made 296 tackles and recorded 26 sacks in 81 NFL games.
Paying Payne – for less money than the team saved by releasing quarterback Carson Wentz after a failed, one-year experiment – shores up a defense that ranked third in the league. But it does complicate the decision to pick up Young’s fifth-year option with the 2020 No. 2 pick coming off a torn ACL in his right knee, after the Commanders already decided to do so for Sweat.
NOTES: The Commanders made several coaching changes on the staffs overseen by Rivera, new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. Tavita Pritchard was named quarterbacks coach after previously serving in that role at Stanford; former QBs coach Ken Zampese was named senior offensive adviser for game management; Brent Vieselmeyer was promoted to defensive backs coach to replace Chris Harris, who went to Tennessee; Richard Rodgers was named senior defensive assistant/safeties and Christian Garcia was promoted to assistant defensive backs/nickels coach.
AP SOURCE: PANTHERS TO MEET WITH QB DEREK CARR AT COMBINE
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Panthers will meet with free agent quarterback Derek Carr this week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team doesn’t announce its meetings with free agents. The NFL Network was first to report the planned meeting.
The Las Vegas Raiders released Carr on Feb. 14 rather than pay him $40.4 million in guaranteed money.
The 31-year-old Carr already has met with the New York Jets and the New Orleans Saints. Jets general manager Joe Douglas said while speaking at the combine that the team will meet again with Carr sometime this week in Indianapolis.
“I can say he left a strong impression with everybody,” Douglas said of Carr’s first meeting with the Jets. “Obviously we’re going to be exploring the veteran quarterback market this offseason and we’ll look at every available option.”
The nine-year NFL veteran is the Raiders’ career leader in yards passing (35,222) and touchdown passes (217) but is just 63-79 as an NFL starter and never won a playoff game for the franchise. Las Vegas was 0-1 under Carr in the playoffs.
The Panthers have been searching for a quarterback for the better part of the last five years and owner David Tepper is desperate to fix the issue.
Over the past three years, the Panthers signed free agent Teddy Bridgewater, traded for Sam Darnold and Baker Mayfield and even brought back Cam Newton. Bridgewater was traded after one season and Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, didn’t even make it through an entire season before being released because of his struggles on the field in 2022. Newton never panned out in his return, going 0-5 as a starter.
Darnold has spent the last two seasons with Carolina and finished 2022 as the team’s starter, but he is an unrestricted free agent and re-signing him is not considered a priority.
General manager Scott Fitterer recently indicated the Panthers ideally would like to build around a young quarterback.
Carolina has the ninth overall pick in the draft this year and there’s a good possibility it will take a quarterback at that spot or even try to move up to acquire one. The team drafted Matt Corral in the third round last year, but he missed the entire season with a foot injury and has not played in a regular-season game.
Carr’s older brother, David, spent one season with the Panthers in 2007, going 1-3 as a starter.
FORMER NFL STAR, CBS ANCHOR IRV CROSS HAD BRAIN DISEASE CTE
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Irv Cross was a man of faith and devout fan of football who could no longer in his final years attend Bible study or watch NFL games with friends. The degenerative brain disease that festered inside the former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback had triggered depression, mood swings and the type of memory loss that forced him into isolation.
“He really didn’t want to be with people,” said his widow, Liz Cross. “The only person he wanted to be with was me. When he was with me, he really didn’t want to be with me. He just wanted me to be there.”
Cross, the former NFL defensive back who became the first Black man to work full-time as a sports analyst on national television, is the latest football player diagnosed with the brain disease CTE. Cross, who was 81 when he died Feb. 28, 2021, suffered from stage 4 chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Boston University researchers said Tuesday.
Stage 4 is the most advanced stage of CTE, showing the kind of damage that often causes cognitive and behavioral issues in those exposed to repetitive head trauma. He struggled physically with his balance and was paranoid.
“Toward the end,” Cross said, “he saw things that weren’t there.”
Cross said her husband, who was diagnosed with mild cognitive dementia in 2018, often sat in a chair and grimaced from headaches that weren’t going away. He declined any kind of medicine because it didn’t help the pain. He stopped going to church. Once a student of the game, NFL games were mostly background noise because he didn’t know who was playing.
“He was afraid someone would ask him a question,” Cross said, “and he wouldn’t know the answer.”
Irv Cross, of course, was not alone in misery among his former NFL brethren. According to its latest report, the BU CTE Center said it has diagnosed 345 former NFL players with CTE out of 376 former players who were studied, a rate of 91.7%. The disease can be diagnosed only after death.
“He was the nicest, kindest, most helpful, wonderful man I ever met,” Cross said. “But that wasn’t who he was at the end. And that wasn’t who he was. It was the disease that did that.”
Dr. Ann McKee, a professor of neurology and pathology at Boston University, said she was not surprised Irv Cross’ brain reached stage 4 given the length of his overall football career (the study counted 17 years) and his age. Irv Cross and his family made the decision to donate his brain to help raise awareness of the long-term consequences of repeated blows to the head.
“I do think there’s more education about the risks of football and I do think there’s more awareness of concussion management but I still think we’re way, way behind where we should be,” McKee said. “We need to educate young athletes that this is a risk that they are undertaking. We need to educate coaches to keep head trauma out of the game. We need to do more managing of athletes by monitoring them better. I still think there’s a very cavalier attitude toward CTE. There’s a lot of denial.”
In fact, Liz Cross said she and her husband were “both in denial” about the cause of the breakdowns in his health until about five years before his death.
“For somebody who had been so active and so able to do everything, and an athlete, not having balance, not having strength, not being able to do any of the things he had done before, it was embarrassing,” she said. “He was pretty much in a constant state of depression.”
One of 15 children from Hammond, Indiana, Cross starred in football and track and field at Northwestern. He was drafted in the seventh round by Philadelphia in 1961, was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1966 and returned to the Eagles in 1969 as a player coach for his final season.
The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback had 22 interceptions, 14 fumble recoveries, eight forced fumbles and a pair of defensive touchdowns. He also averaged 27.9 yards on kickoff returns and returned punts.
Chris Nowinski, the founder of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, said he met with Cross in 2018 and “it was very clear” the former Eagle was suffering.
“It’s important to highlight cases like Irv Cross’ because he was able to live a long and successful life where CTE didn’t dramatically impair him,” he said. “But at the end, it was a struggle.”
Cross joined CBS in 1971, becoming the first Black network sports show anchor. He left the network in 1994, and later served as athletic director at Idaho State and Macalester College in Minnesota. In 2009, he received the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. He was married to Liz for 34 years when he died.
Cross said her husband never experienced regret over his football career.
“He would have done it again in a heartbeat,” she said. “But he didn’t think kids should play football.”
As for diagnosed concussions, Cross said her husband told her he did suffer from several during his playing career but did not keep count. He suffered so many head injuries in his rookie season that his Eagles teammates called him “Paper Head.”
Irv told his wife that after a blow to his head that almost caused him to swallow his tongue, doctors said if he suffered another concussion “he would die.”
“And so did he stop playing? No,” the 76-year-old widow said. “They made him a stronger helmet.”
Liz Cross said she wanted to remember the joy their young grandson brought Irv over his final years and not dwell on how she had to watch the man she loved slip away.
SEATTLE’S AUSTIN BLYTHE ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AFTER 7 SEASONS
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Center Austin Blythe announced his retirement on Tuesday after seven seasons with four teams.
Blythe spent last season with the Seattle Seahawks and started all 17 games in the regular season and the team’s one playoff game. Blythe was set to become a free agent when the new league year begins next month.
Blythe, 30, started his career with Indianapolis before spending four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and one season in Kansas City. Last season was his only year with the Seahawks.
“For a short, unathletic, undersized kid from Iowa, I’ve played a lot of football, met countless coaches and teammates that I can call friends, and made enough memories for myself and my family to last a lifetime,” Blythe wrote on Instagram.
Center was already likely to be a position to be addressed this offseason by the Seahawks before Blythe’s decision.
FALCONS CUT VETERAN QB MARIOTA, GAIN $12 MILLION IN CAP ROOM
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons released quarterback Marcus Mariota on Tuesday, a move that was expected after the veteran was benched late in the season.
The Falcons were 5-8 with Mariota as the starter before rookie Desmond Ridder started the final four games, winning two.
“We really appreciate Marcus and all the things he did while he was here, personally, professionally, great man,” general manager Terry Fontenot said Tuesday at the NFL scouting combine.
“We just feel we’re doing what’s best for the team at the time but appreciate him and what he did while he was here.”
Mariota signed a $10.5 million, two-year deal with Atlanta after the Falcons traded longtime starter Matt Ryan to Indianapolis. Mariota completed 184 of 300 passes for 2,219 yards with 15 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He rushed for 438 yards and four touchdowns.
After Mariota was benched, he left the team to have season-ending knee surgery. The Falcons are expected to save approximately $12 million in salary cap space by cutting Mariota.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said at the Super Bowl he is excited about building the team around Ridder. Fontenot also had praise for Ridder and said the team will look for help at the position in the NFL draft or free agency.
“We’re going to add to the position and we’ve been really clear with how we feel about Desmond Ridder and what he’s done to this point in his career, his makeup and just the way he’s handled every role that he’s been in and what he did over the last four games of the season,” Fontenot said.
Fontenot said Ridder “dealt with adversity, he got off the mat and kept fighting. Desmond has done some good things and we know he’s going to continue to improve this offseason and yet we’re going to add to the position whether it’s free agency, the draft or both.”
Fontenot left open the possibility the Falcons could use their No. 8 overall pick in the draft to add another quarterback.
“We’re never going to put ourselves in the corner,” Fontenot said. “We’re always going to leave every door open. Again, draft, free agency, whether it’s the eighth pick or some other pick in the draft, we could bring in a quarterback. … We could bring in a veteran. We could bring in a guy with experience. We could bring in a guy with no experience. We definitely want to add to the room.”
Falcons coach Arthur Smith and Fontenot have declined to say Ridder is the 2023 starter.
“We wouldn’t do that,” Fontenot said. “We wouldn’t make any announcements like that. We’re not in the business of anointing players.”
Ridder, a 2022 third-round draft pick from Cincinnati, completed 73 of 115 passes for 708 yards with two touchdowns while rushing for 64 yards.
Atlanta’s run-first offense was boosted by the late-season emergence of rookie running back Tyler Allgeier. Another rookie, wide receiver Drake London, had 72 catches but tight end Kyle Pitts was limited to 10 games by a knee injury after failing to become a consistent option for Mariota.
Even before the release of Mariota, the Falcons had the second-most cap space in the league at about $67 million, according to Spotrac. The team has to negotiate with its free agents, including right tackle Kaleb McGary, and already has re-signed backup tight end Parker Hesse and long snapper Liam McCullough.
SOURCE: GIANTS PLAN TO RELEASE WR KENNY GOLLADAY
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — A person familiar with the situation says the New York Giants have told Kenny Golladay and his agent he will be released on March 15 after two horrible seasons.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team doesn’t plan to announce the move until it is official. March 15 is the start of the 2023 NFL season.
The move was expected after Golladay caught 43 passes and one touchdown in his time with the team after signing a four-year, $72 million contract. The only question was when it would happen.
Making the move on March 15 will allow the Giants to get Golladay off the books for the 2024 season. They will save roughly $6.7 million in cap space this year and will have $14 million in dead cap money.
New York could have made the move on June 1 but some money would have carried over to the ’24 season.
General manager Joe Schoen did the same thing last season with James Bradberry when the cornerback was released in a move to help the Giants with salary cap woes.
NCAA FOOTBALL PANEL OUT TO SHORTEN GAMES; PLAYER SAFETY GOAL
College football administrators are looking at ways to reduce the number of plays in games in the name of player safety, with a tweak in clock operating procedures likely the first step.
The NCAA Football Rules Committee is meeting in Indianapolis this week, and recommendations it forwards and approved in the spring would take effect next season.
Steve Shaw, NCAA secretary-rules editor and officials coordinator, said the average number of plays per game in the Bowl Subdivision has hovered at 180 the past three seasons. NFL games average 154.
Conference commissioners would like to cut the number to reduce the players’ potential injury exposures. The issue has taken on urgency because some teams will be playing more games as the College Football Playoff expands. The playoff goes from four to 12 teams in the 2024-25 season, and further expansion is possible after that.
A proposal to let the game clock continue running when a team makes a first down, except in the last two minutes of a half, has broad support. Currently, the clock stops on a first down until the referee gives the ready-for-play signal. A rules committee study last season found about eight plays per game would be cut if the clock kept moving.
An eight-play reduction over a 12-game season would save 96 potential injury exposures per team, and there would be over 100 fewer exposures for teams that advance to the playoff.
“That probably has significant impact,” Shaw said. “Is that the right number? I don’t know. But let’s start with a conservative approach and see what this does and let’s keep looking at it.”
A more radical proposal would have the clock begin running once the ball is spotted after an incomplete pass. Currently, in both the college and pro game, the clock starts running once the ball is snapped.
Tulane athletic director Troy Dannen, who chairs the Football Competition Committee, said there is minimal support for the clock change on incompletions. The rules committee study showed a wide range in how many plays would be saved because of differing offensive styles, but the average was 17.
A drawback would be that coaches of up-tempo systems might try to further speed up their offenses to squeeze in more plays, thus defeating the purpose of the change.
The rules committee also is looking at a change to the procedure when there is a penalty at the end of a quarter. Currently, the following play is an untimed down if the penalty is enforced. The procedure would not change at the end of the second and fourth quarters, but plays that were untimed at the end of the first and third quarters would be moved into the following quarter.
Another proposal — more in line with reducing game lengths that averaged 3 hours, 27 minutes last season — would eliminate a team’s ability to call back-to-back timeouts during the same dead ball period.
Dannen, whose committee of athletic directors and faculty representatives provides input to the rules committee, said identifying the appropriate number of plays in a game will continue to be a topic for discussion.
“In the year or two ahead of us, there’s going to be a lot more data collected,” he said. “I don’t think there’s an answer that if you were at 150 plays it’s imminently more safe than 160 or 220. The big effort right now is, ‘How do we not increase plays with an increased playoff?’”
NCAA IMPOSES SHOW-CAUSE PENALTIES ON 4 EX-TENNESSEE STAFFERS
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Four former Tennessee football staffers have received multiyear show-cause penalties for their roles in recruiting violations under agreements with the NCAA.
The NCAA said Tuesday that the four had reached agreements with the enforcement staff that include show-cause penalties ranging from three to five years, making it difficult for them to get other college jobs during that time. The NCAA did not identify the former staffers who worked under former coach Jeremy Pruitt, but SI.com identified them as inside linebackers coach Brian Niedermeyer, outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton, director of player personnel Drew Hughes and student assistant Michael Magness.
The agreement has received preliminary approval from a Committee on Infractions panel. Tennessee and other individuals named in the case have contested either violations, certain penalties or both. In a statement after the negotiated resolutions for the four ex-staffers were announced, Tennessee cited its cooperation with the NCAA during its investigation.
“Through that process, the individuals acknowledged their involvement in violations, including unethical conduct and, in some cases, failing to cooperate with investigators,” the school said. “The university continues to pursue a resolution of its case that recognizes and demonstrates for other NCAA member institutions that the actions taken by the university during the investigation, including our swift corrective actions and exemplary cooperation, should be the standard for institutional inquiries into potential violations.”
The four will be able to begin serving their penalties immediately without having to wait for the final ruling from the Division I Committee on Infractions.
The NCAA notified Tennessee in July 2022 of 18 potential Level I violations, the most serious, for allegations of providing impermissible cash, gifts and benefits worth about $60,000 to football recruits and their families under Pruitt. The notice of allegations says at least a dozen members of Pruitt’s staff were involved in more than 200 individual violations over a two-year period.
The university fired Pruitt and nine others in January 2021 after Tennessee found what the university chancellor called “serious violations of NCAA rules” uncovered in an internal investigation. The firing negated Pruitt’s $12.6 million buyout after he went 16-19 in three seasons.
The show-cause penalties announced Tuesday stemmed from violations over several years and involved cash payments to recruits and their families, along with improper recruiting contacts during a dead period for COVID-19 and other inducements during unofficial visits.
Tennessee did not self-impose a postseason ban to avoid punishing current players.
EXPECTED DODGERS SS LUX OUT FOR SEASON AFTER KNEE INJURY
(AP) — Gavin Lux hasn’t seen the video of the injury that ended his chance of being the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting shortstop this season and has no plans to watch it.
Lux will miss the season with torn ligaments in his right knee after getting hurt running the bases in a spring training game. The 25-year-old came to camp as the top candidate to replace the departed Trea Turner as the Dodgers’ shortstop.
“That’s one of the hardest parts,” Lux said Tuesday, while fighting back tears and leaning on crutches inside the team’s facility in Glendale, Arizona. “I think every baseball player’s dream is to play shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called the injury a huge blow and said his heart goes out the young infielder.
Lux got hurt Monday when running between second and third base against San Diego after a groundball was hit. Soon after ducking to avoid a throw, he took a couple of steps before his right knee buckled, he stumbled forward and fell to the ground. He said he felt something pop and his leg went numb.
“I tried to duck out of the way of the throw, and I think my cleat got kind of stuck into the ground a little bit and straightened out a little funky, and bowed out, and yeah, I kind of rolled up on my ankle, too. Freak thing, I don’t even think it’s really avoidable,” Lux said. “In hindsight, probably should have just took the throw to the nose and worn it.”
The Dodgers’ first-round pick in the 2016 amateur draft, Lux played only nine games at shortstop last season while hitting .276 in 129 games, most at second base and some in left field. He led the NL with seven triples, while hitting six homers and driving in 42 runs.
Turner, the starting shortstop last year, left as a free agenct for Philadelphia. That came after Corey Seager left the Dodgers the previous offseason and signed with Texas.
“Crush my rehab and try to be ready for, you know, 2024, when it rolls around,” Lux said. “It’s kind of all you can do.”
Tyler Glasnow will miss the start of another season for the Tampa Bay Rays.
After not making his debut last season until September following Tommy John surgery, Glasnow is expected to miss six to eight weeks because of a left oblique strain.
The Rays said Tuesday that an MRI detected a grade 2 strain. That came a day after the 29-year-old right-hander, who signed a $30.35 million, two-year contract, cut short throwing live batting practice after six pitches.
Glasnow was the Rays’ opening day starter in 2021, when he went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts. The 6-foot-8 Glasnow then missed nearly 14 months because of the Tommy John surgery.
PADRES’ MUSGROVE OUT AT LEAST 2 WEEKS WITH A BROKEN TOE
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) San Diego All-Star pitcher Joe Musgrove will be sidelined for at least two weeks after breaking his left big toe in a weight room accident, putting in question whether he will be ready for the start of the season.
Musgrove was hurt Monday, Padres manager Bob Melvin said,
“It is tough to forecast when you’re talking about a broken toe. It will be about how it heals and certainly if it is a pain tolerance thing, Joe would be one of those guys who would be sooner than later,” Melvin said Tuesday.
Once Musgrove is cleared to throw, he will have to build up arm strength and endurance.
“He is not starting over but the longer you go the more it gets closer to starting over. Joe is a guy who keeps himself in really good shape,” Melvin said.
A 30-year-old right-hander, Musgrove went 10-7 with a 2.93 ERA last season and is starting a $100 million, five-year contract.
Yu Darvish and Nick Martinez become the most likely candidates to start the opener against Colorado on March 30. The Padres’ projected rotation also includes Blake Snell, Michael Wacha and Seth Lugo.
MANNY MACHADO, PADRES FINALIZE $350M, 11-YEAR CONTRACT
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Having signed All-Star slugger Manny Machado for more than another decade, San Diego Padres chairman Peter Seidler was clear with his goal.
“We’re here to win a championship and we came reasonably close last year. We believe we have every chance this year.” Seidler said. “Non-conflicted people are saying, hey, the Padres got a shot. .. One year soon, the baseball gods will shine on the San Diego Padres and we will have a parade.”
San Diego, which has never won a World Series title, finalized a $350 million, 11-year contract with Machado on Tuesday, the fourth-largest deal in baseball history.
Machado gets a $45 million signing bonus, of which $10 million is payable this Dec. 1 and $5 million on each Dec. 1 from 2027 through 2033.
He receives salaries of $13 million in each of the next three seasons, $21 million in 2026 and $35 million annually from 2027-33.
Machado gets a full no-trade provision, a hotel suite on road trips and the right to purchase a luxury suite and four premium tickets to all home games. He agreed to make a charitable contribution of 1% of his salary each season.
Machado, who has helped turn the Padres into a World Series contender, finished second in the NL MVP race last year as the Padres reached the NL Championship Series before losing to Philadelphia. He figures to anchor a star-laden lineup that includes Xander Bogaerts, Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr., who is on track to return on April 20 from an 80-game suspension for a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug.
“For the fans of San Diego, I think we’re going to be here for the long haul,” Machado said. “My family and I are going to do a lot of great things for this organization. We’re going to go above and beyond for it and hopefully bring a championship to the city that’s been craving it and wants it.”
Machado and Bogaerts are under contract through 2033 and Tatis through 2034.
Machado batted .298 with 32 home runs and 102 RBIs in last year and is entering his 12th big league season. The six-time All-Star has a .282 career batting average with an .833 OPS, 283 homers and 853 RBIs.
His deal’s total trails contracts for Mike Trout ($426.5 million for 12 years), Mookie Betts ($365 million for 12 years) and Aaron Judge ($360 million for nine years). However, Machado’s $31.8 million average ranks just 14th among active players.
Machado, 30, had said that after this season he planned to opt out of the $300 million, 10-year deal he signed as a free agent in 2019. With the $120 million he already has received, the new contract increases the Padres’ commitment to Machado to $470 million over 15 years.
RAYS’ GLASNOW TO MISS 6 TO 8 WEEKS WITH OBLIQUE STRAIN
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow is expected to miss six to eight weeks because of a left oblique strain.
The 29-year-old right-hander was hurt while throwing batting practice on Monday. He rejoined the Rays rotation last September after missing nearly 14 months because of Tommy John surgery.
Tampa Bay said Tuesday that an MRI detected a grade 2 strain.
The Rays’ opening day starter two years ago, Glasnow had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 4, 2021. The 6-foot-8 right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts in 2021.
Glasnow signed a $30.35 million, two-year contract. He gets $5.35 million this season and $25 million in 2024, when he would have been eligible for free agency.
NO UMPS WHEN ORIOLES AND PIRATES PLAY UNNEEDED BOTTOM OF 9TH
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — There was no umpire behind the plate calling balls and strikes, or even one of those so-called robo umps that could become part of the game in the future, when the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates kept playing Tuesday.
Umpires left the field after Baltimore’s Josh Lester grounded out to end the top of the ninth inning with the Orioles trailing 7-4, officially ending the spring training contest.
But the teams went ahead and played the bottom of the ninth inning after Pirates manager Derek Shelton and Baltimore skipper Brandon Hyde had a quick discussion.
The Orioles wanted to get some work on the mound for right-hander Ofreidy Gómez. Teams occasionally agree to shorten or lengthen spring training games depending on needs.
With the umpires gone, the balls and strikes were called by the catcher, just like is done in so many backyard games. Maverick Handley, a non-roster invitee who has never played about the Double-A level, was behind the plate for the Orioles.
RANGERS’ K’ANDRE MILLER SUSPENDED 3 GAMES FOR SPITTING
NEW YORK (AP) K’Andre Miller of the New York Rangers has been suspended three games for unsportsmanlike conduct for spitting at Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty.
The NHL’s department of player safety announced the suspension Tuesday following a hearing with Miller, who will miss upcoming games Wednesday at Philadelphia, Thursday against Ottawa and Saturday at Boston. He’ll also forfeit $15,000 in salary.
Miller, 23, was given a match penalty and ejected late in the first period of the Rangers’ game against the Kings on Sunday. In a message posted on social media Monday, Miller called his actions “completely accidental.”
“I would never intend to do something like that on purpose,” Miller wrote. “It goes against everything I am as a person and player. I felt awful about it.”
It’s the same length of suspension as Garnet Hathaway got in 2019 for spitting on Anaheim’s Erik Gudbranson when with Washington.
Miller’s suspension complicates New York’s already murky roster situation ahead of the trade deadline Friday. The Rangers have been making roster moves to maximize salary cap space in advance of an anticipated trade for three-time Stanley Cup-winning Chicago winger Patrick Kane.
REPORT: RANGERS TO ACQUIRE KANE FROM BLACKHAWKS
The New York Rangers are set to acquire star forward Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks, sources told Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli.
New York and Chicago plan to conduct a three-team trade call Tuesday evening, according to Seravalli.
The Rangers are reportedly expected to send a conditional 2023 second-round pick and a fourth-round pick to Chicago.
If the Rangers make the conference finals, the second-round pick becomes a first-round selection in either 2024 or 2025, sources told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan.
The Blackhawks will retain 50% of Kane’s $10.5-million cap hit, while the Arizona Coyotes will act as a third party and take on 25% of his salary, Kaplan reports. The Coyotes are receiving a 2025 third-round pick from the Rangers as part of the deal.
A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Kane has 16 goals and 45 points in 54 games this season. A lingering hip injury made teams concerned about his status.
“Showtime” has 52 goals and 132 points in 136 career postseason games. He captured the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2013.
The Rangers can’t fit Kane into their salary cap until after 5 p.m. Tuesday. New York would be left with $1,600 in cap space upon adding Kane with double retention at $2.625 million, according to PuckPedia.
Kane had been vocal about his interest in New York as a potential destination if he chose to waive his no-trade clause. The 34-year-old is from Buffalo.
New York already added Vladimir Tarasenko, Niko Mikkola, and Tyler Motte earlier in February.
MCAVOY SCORES IN OT, BRUINS BEAT FLAMES AS WIN STREAK HITS 8
CALGARY, Alberta (AP) Charlie McAvoy scored at 4:55 of overtime to give the Boston a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, extending the Bruins’ winning streak to eight games.
Dmitry Orlov had two goals and an assist for Atlantic Division-, Eastern Conference-, and NHL-leading Boston, and Pavel Zacha also scored. Linus Ullmark stopped 54 of the 57 shots he faced.
It was another stellar night for Ullmark, who is the league leader in wins, goals-against average and save percentage. He is 31-4-1 on the season. It was also a career high in saves for Ullmark, whose previous best was 44, accomplished twice.
Blake Coleman, Dillon Dube and Jonathan Huberdeau scored for Calgary. Dan Vladar, who allowed two goals on five shots in the first period, was lifted in favor of Jacob Markstrom at the start of the second period. Markstrom made 13 saves.
The Flames are five points back of the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers, who are tied for the two wild-card spots in the Western Conference
The Flames overcame a 2-0 first-period deficit and led 3-2 in the third period until Zacha scored a power-play goal at 14:07 to tie the game.
On the overtime winner, McAvoy was able to deflect in Patrice Bergeron’s pass just as the game appeared to be headed to a shootout.
After relinquishing the 2-1 lead that the Bruins took into the third period, the Boston got it back to even at 14:07 on a power-play goal.
Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov stepped up to lay a hit on Jake DeBrusk as he crossed the blue line with the puck, but the collision also took out teammate Andrew Mangiapane. With two Flames down on the ice, Orlov grabbed the loose puck and set up Zacha for an open net.
After trailing most of the night, Dube tied it at 2 at 8:16 of the third when he took Tyler Toffoli’s pass and put a shot inside the far post.
Less than 90 seconds later, the Flames took their first lead when Huberdeau’s attempted pass to Jakob Pelletier deflected in off a Bruins’ skate.
The Bruins are the NHL’s No. 1 team with a 13-point cushion over the Carolina Hurricanes in the overall standings. Boston had not generated fewer than 21 shots in a game or allowed more than 41 shots against – both of those marks fell with the Flames outshooting the Boston 57-20.
Down 2-0 after the first period despite holding a 19-5 edge in shots, the Flames kept up the pressure in the second, finally breaking through on Coleman’s goal at 1:07.
After that, it was all Ullmark.
Orlov scored his first goal as a Bruin at 4:47 when he took a pass from his defensive partner Hamphus Lindholm and wove through the neutral zone and over the Flames’ blue line, beating Vladar blocker side on a rising shot from 40 feet.
Shortly after, Huberdeau got in alone but was robbed by Ullmark. Boston responded to make it 2-0 with Orlov scoring again, this time off a setup from DeBrusk.
The Bruins improved to 21-2-2 against the Western Conference. Included is an 11-1-2 mark against the Pacific Division.
Flames center Nazem Kadri played in his 800th career game, while Coleman scored his 100th career goal.
Bruins: Host Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
Flames: Host Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
SENS’ 4-GOAL BURST IN 1ST PERIOD FUELS SWEEP OF RED WINGS
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) Tim Stutzle scored on a penalty shot in the first period and had two assists, and Austin Watson scored twice as the Ottawa Senators beat Detroit 6-1 Tuesday night and completed a two-game sweep of the Red Wings.
Claude Giroux, Alex DeBrincat and Brady Tkachuk also scored for Ottawa. Mads Sogaard stopped 16 shots and picked up his fourth NHL victory.
With their four-goal outburst in the first period, the Senators are the first team in NHL regular-season history to score a power-play goal, a short-handed goal, an even-strength goal and a penalty shot goal in a period.
Dominik Kubalik scored for the Red Wings. Ville Husso made 21 saves.
“These are games that we were very excited to get up for and we’re definitely proud of the effort we put in,” Tkachuk said. “Now it’s focusing on getting a rest tomorrow and playing the way we need to play come Thursday.”
Ottawa was coming off a 6-2 win over Detroit on Monday night.
“We’re pretty down,” said Detroit’s Dylan Larkin. “Both of these (games), it’s just not the way we wanted this trip to go. We’re definitely leaving with our tail between our legs. It’s a tough feeling.”
Both Ottawa and Detroit have 64 points and find themselves five points back of Pittsburgh, which holds the final wild-card spot.
The final 22 games will be a grind, but that’s exactly what the Senators have been waiting for.
“Clearly there’s a difference in maturity from them now to four years ago when I got here,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “Now they’re starting to be difference makers every night. They know what they have to do to win. It’s not going to happen every night, but they know the way they have to play.”
Ottawa took control of the game midway through the first and didn’t let up.
Detroit opened the scoring three minutes in when Kubalik beat Sogaard with a weak shot on the glove side.
Stutzle tied the game on a penalty shot, the first of his career, and Watson scored his first of the game, short-handed, beating Husso up high.
Watson scored his second of the game by tapping in a Derick Brassard pass. He took a high stick from David Perron moments after, cutting his nose. DeBrincat scored his 20th on the ensuing power play to make it 4-1.
Ottawa made it 5-1 with a second power-play goal when Giroux got a shot through traffic from the blue line.
Tkachuk rounded out the scoring, tipping a shot from Giroux.
Red Wings coach Derek Lalonde felt for Husso.
“We’ve taken a lot of pride all year in not giving up easy offence, you guys have seen that,” Lalonde said. “The breakaways, the 2-on-1s, the odd-man (rushes), poor Ville (Husso). That’s an impossible game as a goalie. He never got comfortable. Everything he faced was either a breakaway or a power-play situation.”
Ottawa’s Parker Kelly was a healthy scratch for the fourth straight game. Detroit will be without Michael Rasmussen indefinitely with a lower-body injury.
Red Wings: Host Seattle on Thursday.
Senators: At the New York Rangers on Thursday.
GEEKIE ENDS DROUGHT WITH 2 GOALS, KRAKEN BEAT BLUES 5-3
ST. LOUIS (AP) Morgan Geekie scored twice and the Seattle Kraken snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday night.
Geekie ended a 10-game scoring drought that dated to Jan. 28 with his first multi-goal game of the season and first since March 11, 2021, as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes.
“I think we tried to play below the goal line as much as we could,” Geekie said. “I think we’re a pretty heavy team, we moved the puck well underneath them. I think we stuck to our gameplan.”
Jared McCann, Jamie Oleksiak and Brandon Tanev also scored, and Martin Jones made 22 saves as the Kraken kicked off a four-game trip. Daniel Sprong and Eeli Tolvanen each had two assists.
Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich each had a goal and an assist, and Brandon Saad scored for the scuffling Blues, who lost their sixth straight. Jordan Binnington made 21 saves.
Geekie’s second goal of the game gave the Kraken a 3-2 lead with 6:28 left in the second, and Oleksiak’s goal midway through the third proved to be the winner.
“We had a little bit of a slow start in the first seven, eight minutes,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “After that you know, we played a good road game. We had a response. Each time they scored, you know, we bounced back and score within a couple of minutes to push the momentum back the other way.”
Buchnevich scored with 5:31 left, but the Blues couldn’t get the equalizer before Tanev scored into an empty net with 6.5 seconds left.
“Pretty good game, but I don’t think we were fast enough,” Buchnevich said. “We have to play quicker and I don’t know, like I said, when you lose six in a row … you have to find something positive to build from that and stop this losing streak.”
The Blues started the game with an 8-1 advantage in shots on goal, but trailed on the scoreboard after Geekie beat Binnington with a wrist shot from the left circle midway through the first.
Thomas evened the game for the Blues with a short-handed goal early in the second period, scoring off Jones from nearly the identical spot that Geekie did the previous period.
“Just little patience in the D-zone,” Thomas said. “Sometimes there’s plays to be made and you can get some good looks off the rush.”
McCann put the Kraken up 2-1 a couple minutes later with his team-high 27th goal of the season. It also matched a career-high for a season set last year.
Saad tied the game for St. Louis midway through the second with his first goal since Feb. 11.
Forward Jaden Schwartz made his first appearance at Enterprise Center since signing with the Kraken as a free agent in 2021. Schwartz was a first-round draft pick by the Blues in 2010 and was a part of the 2019 Stanley Cup championship team.
Schwartz received a standing ovation from the crowd after being honored with a video tribute during a break in the first period.
FACE IN THE CROWD
Roman Bürki, the goalkeeper and captain of the Major League Soccer expansion team St. Louis City SC, was in attendance. St. Louis beat Austin 3-2 in its first game on Saturday.
NOTES: RW Kasperi Kapanen made his Blues debut. The 26-year-old was awarded to the Blues through waivers on Saturday. … Kraken D Vince Dunn, a former Blue, played in his 400th career game. … Binnington played in the 209th game of his career, moving him into a tie with Greg Millen for fifth on the Blues’ all-time franchise list.
Kraken: At Detroit on Thursday night.
Blues: At San Jose on Thursday night.
CONCUSSION LINGERS FOR FORMER NASCAR CHAMPION KURT BUSCH
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Kurt Busch might have received a proper sendoff this weekend in Las Vegas, where his hometown track treated him cruelly over 21 tries until he broke through for a win in 2020.
Busch could have been feted with gifts as part of a season-long farewell tour. His parents who helped mold him into a ferocious stock car driver would have cheered him on. Little brother Kyle would take him on in one of the final brother vs. brother battles in the desert.
Yet, those scenarios are implausible now for the 44-year-old Busch, his career prematurely curtailed because of lingering effects from a concussion suffered in a wreck during qualifying last summer at Pocono Raceway.
Busch instead is now a de facto consultant for his old 23XI Racing team and Toyota. He counseled Travis Pastrana at the Daytona 500. He championed crew chief Billy Scott as the next Chad Knaus, and Busch has thrown his arms around anyone in the garage who needs advice. He’s chatted up sponsors and is doing the grunt work needed to make the gears turn on the team co-owned by Michael Jordan.
He just can’t race.
Busch is still walking out of a fog from the blunt impact his brain absorbed in the crash. He’s vowed to race in a competitive series again — even if a Cup Series ride is out of reach — but he has not yet been cleared by doctors.
“When you look at the therapist, and he’s looking back at you, there’s work to be done,” Busch said. “That’s really all I can give you.”
Busch is hopeful a new physical therapy program designed to strengthen balance and eye movement will aid in a full recovery. Until then, Busch keeps pushing in a journey without a true finish line in sight.
“Go-karting has been fine for me, the simulator has been fine,” Busch said. “It’s just when I had my head in the headrest and there’s that movement, that bothers me.”
NASCAR’s dramatic safety upgrades that included SAFER barriers and head-and-neck restraints in the wake of Dale Earnhardt’s death in the 2001 Daytona 500 lulled fans into thinking drivers were bullet proof inside their modernized cars. NASCAR has not suffered a racing death in its three national series since 2001 and most drivers — think Ryan Newman surviving a fiery crash at the 2020 Daytona 500 — escape even the scariest wrecks relatively unscathed.
Jeff Burton, an NBC Sports announcer and former driver, said Busch “was still as good as he’s ever been” when the 2017 Daytona 500 champion took his No. 45 Toyota out last July for what should have been a routine qualifying lap on the 2½-mile track in Pennsylvania. Busch, though, seemed to lose control as the Toyota slid up the track and the right rear slammed square into the wall.
The car whipped around and the nose violently tagged the wall, as well.
Looked bad, yes. But certainly not any worse to the naked eye than most wrecks. Busch apologized over the radio and then waved to the crowd to signal he was “OK” as he walked to the waiting ambulance — and hasn’t been inside a Cup car for a race since.
Busch told The Associated Press he was told the rear hit registered at a brain-rattling 30 G’s — consider, modern fighter pilots pull a G-force of about nine — and the front smacked the wall at 18 G’s, numbers that raised concerns about safety in the Next Gen cars.
Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman missed five races with a concussion late last season after his Chevrolet hit the wall at Texas Motor Speedway, and multiple other drivers complained about the violence of routine hits and wondered if they too had suffered a concussion.
The drivers suddenly didn’t seem so invincible.
“The wreck might not look like it wasn’t that violent. But primal fear is — I leaned forward knowing I was backing into the fence,” Busch said, as he pulled his hands to his head. “If you feel fear coming from behind, you lean away. So I exaggerated the hit by leaning forward and that 30 G’s backward was something I never felt before. I don’t remember the right front hit. That’s when things got serious in the infield care center.”
Busch, who won 34 races in 776 starts over 23 years, and the 2004 Cup championship, said his examination in the moments after the wreck turned scary when he couldn’t stand up straight. Busch also couldn’t answer questions from doctors about thee impact of the front collision.
Busch returned to his motorhome and took a call from his dad. Busch told his dad, Tom, a former racer who built and won in his own cars, he wasn’t cleared to race at Pocono and surrendered his ride to rookie Ty Gibbs. Tom Busch told his son “it was probably that right front hit.”
“I go, ‘Why are you asking me the same thing?’ I don’t remember the right front hit,” Busch said. Tom Busch ended the conversation and told Kurt to watch a replay.
“That’s when it settled in,” Busch said. “That’s a whole different view.”
Busch, who also got divorced last year, leaned on his parents in the aftermath; his mother, Gaye, accompanied him on his doctor visits. The update is always the same: Busch is not cleared to race.
“There’s huge progress,” Busch said. “But to race with the best of the best, I’m not 100% and I feel it.”
Busch’s absence from the Daytona 500 meant there are no active Cup drivers who raced against Earnhardt. There’s a youth movement in NASCAR — fellow 40-something driver and NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick is calling it quits at the end of the season — and Busch conceded 2023 would have been his last one anyway.
“I see him doing a lot of different things and looking at his schedule and talking with some of the folks around him, he is somewhere doing something every day,” Kyle Busch said. “He is fine off the track, as much as it can be inside a Busch’s head anyway.”
Busch has told 23XI co-owner Denny Hamlin he wanted to graduate into a coaching/adviser role once he retired.
Busch just wished the move could have come on his own terms. Busch served as one of the grand marshals at the Daytona 500 — he was selected as a driver who both won a Cup championship and the “Great American Race” — and tried to put a bright spin on his early retirement.
He soaked in the Florida sun and enjoyed the bustle of the fans, the camaraderie inside the garage and the thrill of another race day ahead — just like normal.
“Fans are here for the race and they’re all still rooting me on,” he said. “It’s like they want me to get back in the car and I feel that spirit.”
All Times Eastern
NASCAR CUP SERIES
Site: Las Vegas
Schedule: Saturday, practice, 1:35 p.m., and qualifying, 2:20 p.m.; Sunday, race, 3:30 p.m. (FOX).
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Race distance: 267 laps, 400 miles.
Last year: Alex Bowman won after starting 13th.
Last race: Kyle Busch stormed from back in the field after a pit road penalty and grabbed the lead with 20 laps to go in the final race at Fontana to win in just his second start for Richard Childress Racing.
Fast facts: Busch’s 61st career victory, the most among active drivers, ended a 28-race drought and gave him at least one victory in 19 consecutive seasons, breaking a record he shared with Richard Petty. … Chase Elliott finished second followed by Ross Chastain, who leads the point standings after two races. … Auto Club Speedway will soon be demolished to make room for a proposed half-mile track.
Next race: March 12, Avondale, Arizona.
NASCAR XFINITY SERIES
Alsco Uniforms 300
Site: Las Vegas
Schedule: Friday, practice, 6:35 p.m., and qualifying, 7:05 p.m.; Saturday, race, 4:30 p.m. (FS1).
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Race distance: 200 laps, 300 miles.
Last year: Ty Gibbs won after starting 11th.
Last race: John Hunter Nemechek regained the lead after a restart with 12 laps to go and held off Sam Mayer at Fontana to earn his third career Xfinity Series victory.
Fast facts: The race was run on Sunday night after persistent rain and snow flurries on Saturday. It started about 45 minutes after Busch won the Cup race. … Justin Allgaier finished third. … The victory was Nemechek’s first in the series since 2021 at Texas and came after he finished second in the season-opener at Daytona. He was deprived of a celebratory burnout because his car overheated on the final lap.
Next race: March 11, Avondale, Arizona.
NASCAR TRUCK SERIES
Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200
Site: Las Vegas
Schedule: Friday, practice, 4:35 p.m., qualifying, 5:05 p.m., and race, 8:35 p.m. (FS1).
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Race distance: 134 laps, 201 miles.
Last year: Chandler Smith won after starting third.
Last race: Defending series champion Zane Smith took the lead on Lap 65 and was declared the race winner 14 laps later when a fifth rain shower caused NASCAR to abandon track drying efforts at Daytona.
Fast facts: Zane Smith has won the season-opener two years in a row. Tanner Gray was second — his best finish in 72 career starts — and Christian Eckes third at Daytona. … Gray is racing for the newly-minted TRICON Garage team. … Eckes leads the standings. Zane Smith is fourth.
Next race: March 18, Hampton, Georgia.
Bahrain Grand Prix
Site: Sakhir, Bahrain.
Schedule: Friday, practice, 6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.; Saturday, practice, 6:30 a.m. and qualifying, 10 a.m.; Sunday, race, 10 a.m. (ESPN).
Track: Bahrain International Circuit.
Race distance: 57 laps, 191.5 miles.
Last year: Charles Leclerc won after starting on the pole.
Last race: Max Verstappen won the season finale in Abu Dhabi, his 15th victory in 23 races last season, to claim his second consecutive series championship.
Fast facts: Including the 2021 season finale, Verstappen has won 16 of the past 24 races, or 67%. … The Red Bull team of Verstappen and Sergio Perez led the way in preseason testing. … Leclerc, last season’s distant runner-up, went mountain climbing in what he called “extreme training” to prepare for this season. … Seven-time series champion Lewis Hamilton, winless last year and sixth in the final standings, was second-fastest on the second day of the two-day test.
Next race: March 19, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg
Site: St. Petersburg, Florida.
Schedule: Friday, practice, 3 p.m.; Saturday, practice, 10 a.m., and qualifying, 2:15 p.m.; Sunday, race, 12:20 p.m. (NBC).
Track: St. Petersburg street course.
Race distance: 100 laps, 180 miles.
Last year: Scott McLaughlin won after starting on the pole.
Last race: Alex Palou won at Laguna Seca and Will Power earned his second series championship.
Fast facts: IndyCar has not had a repeat champion since Dario Franchitti won three straight titles from 2009-2011. … Hall of Fame female golfer Annika Sorenstam will be the grand Marshal for the race. … In IndyCar’s effort toward environmental sustainability, the series will use desert shrubs to produce a new source of rubber for Bridgestone Americas tires that will be used on all five of its street courses this season.
Next race: April 2, Fort Worth, Texas.
NHRA DRAG RACING
Next event: March 9-12, Gainesville, Florida.
WORLD OF OUTLAWS
Next events: March 5-6, Barberville, Florida.
HARRINGTON, KNOX APPRECIATE VALUE AND STRESS OF 36-HOLE CUT
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Not having a cut is one of the sticking points for LIV Golf’s request to be part of the Official World Golf Ranking system. Padraig Harrington and Russell Knox can appreciate the importance for different reasons.
Harrington is now on the PGA Tour Champions, though he still dabbles quite a bit on the European tour and he is playing two weeks in a row on the Florida swing, at the Honda Classic and Bay Hill.
“It’s nice not to have the stress of a cut,” Harrington said of the 54-hole events on the PGA Tour Champions. “Even the couple of events I played on the European tour — even the first one where I finished fourth — at one stage on the Friday I’m like, ‘What’s the cut going to be? Where am I?’ And when you start thinking like that, you just hit a brick wall.
“It’s a big difference having a cut line — a lot of pressure, a lot of stress in that cut line, and it doesn’t matter how good, what you’ve done in your career.”
Knox won a World Golf Championships event in Shanghai among his two PGA Tour victories, and he once reached as high as No. 18 in the world.
“If you’re playing well, you don’t even think about it,” he said of the cut.
He’s not playing his best right now, and the pressure is hard to avoid, particularly because the PGA Tour has changed its model so that only the top 70 (down from top 125) made the FedEx Cup postseason.
“Right now, in this instant snapshot, it is quite stressful,” Knox said. He is coming off three straight missed cuts, after making eight in a row.
“I see my game as not as good as it potentially is, and with the changes the tour is making and the standard of everyone’s game, I feel the most pressure I’ve felt into my first couple of months,” he said. “The money is the most it’s ever been, the opportunity is the highest to do well.
“I feel the pressure to play some decent golf.”
Knox is taking this week off to regroup for The Players Championship, where a year ago he tied for sixth.
“I don’t think you can underestimate the importance of not having a cut,” he said. “That eliminated a boatload of stress. The first goal is to survive to the weekend, and then see what happens.”
CLUB PRO’S DREAM SEASON
That birdie putt Kapalua head pro Michael Castillo made in September is paying more dividends than he ever imagined.
Castillo won the Aloha Section PGA Championship with a birdie on the final hole, which got him into the Sony Open. He made his PGA Tour debut at age 60, a few months after radiation for cancer that returned to his liver.
Now he’s off to the PGA Tour Champions this week in Arizona.
“I’m living the club pro’s dream,” Castillo said before leaving for the Cologuard Classic in Tucson, where he received a sponsor exemption.
This exemption was a surprise, but it’s a good fit.
Exact Science Corp. produces Cologuard, a noninvasive screening test for colorectal cancer and precancer. Cologuard has been the name of the tournament since it began in 2015.
Castillo was first diagnosed about five years ago with colon cancer, which was detected through a home screening test.
“It wasn’t theirs, but it was a product for early detection,” he said. “That’s what they do, and that’s what helped me get on this cancer thing earlier rather than later.”
Like other players, he will be representing a cancer survivor during the tournament.
Castillo will be in a field that includes Bernhard Langer going for his record 46th career PGA Tour Champions victory, along with other major champions who played the old PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Poipu Bay when Castillo was the head pro at the Kauai resort.
Castillo missed the cut at the Sony Open, though he met his goal of 36 holes without anything worse than a bogey and no three-putts.
He is playing both pro-am days at Omni Tucson National, and he is guaranteed 54 holes because there is no cut on the PGA Tour Champions.
“Without the worry about a cut, I can just freewheel a little bit,” he said. “I try not to worry about what my fellow competitors are doing, but they were 50-plus (yards) in front of me at the Sony. I don’t think this week will be the same. I’ll be somewhere in the same zip code as the best Champions Tour guy.”
As for that club pro’s dream? In a span of six months, Castillo will have competed in the Senior Professional National Championship, the PGA Tour, the PGA Tour Champions and the Professional National Championship, where the top 20 club pros earn a spot in the PGA Championship at Oak Hill.
CURRENT BIG THREE
Jon Rahm would love nothing better than to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, giving him a sweep of tournaments hosted by Palmer, Jack Nicklaus (Memorial) and the Genesis Invitational (Tiger Woods).
“But I haven’t won the Byron Nelson,” Rahm was quick to point out, a tournament he has played only once and likely won’t be returning to this year in a busy May schedule.
The AT&T Byron Nelson doesn’t carry the same weight as the other three now, not so much because Nelson died in 2006, but there was never a strong connection with the golf course. Dating to when Nelson became host, it has been held at five venues.
Rahm also mentioned one other difference should he win at Bay Hill — not getting a handshake from The King.
“But the meaning would still be there,” he said.
Palmer and Nicklaus effectively built their tournaments — Palmer bought Bay Hill, Nicklaus built Muirfield Village. Woods became the official host only in 2019, when the PGA Tour gave it elevated status with Bay Hill and the Memorial.
Ernie Els, Fred Couples and Hale Irwin are the only players to win at Riviera, Bay Hill and Muirfield Village. Irwin won in LA in 1976, when it was hosted by Glen Campbell.
As far as winning tournaments hosted by golf’s biggest names, Els and Couples have the trifecta. They not only won Bay Hill, Memorial and the Nelson, all three legends were around to greet them off the 18th green.
VU ON THE RISE
UCLA alum Lilia Vu picked up her first LPGA Tour victory last week in Thailand, and it might have felt overdue.
She was a three-time winner on the Futures Tour in 2021. She was outside the top 200 when she began her rookie season on the LPGA Tour and recorded three third-place finishes. Vu tied for third in Saudi Arabia a week before rallying to win in Thailand.
Vu also moved to No. 3 in the Solheim Cup standings and moved into position to be on the four-player U.S. team for the International Crown at Harding Park in May.
According to showbuzzdaily.com, LIV Golf’s opening event at Mayakoba, which aired from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on The CW Network, had a household rating of 0.18 for Saturday and Sunday. … Phil Mickelson has fallen out of the top 300 in the world for the first time as a professional. He last was this low before winning the Tucson Open while still at Arizona State. LIV Golf is still waiting to hear whether it will get world ranking points since it began in June. … Tyler Duncan finished third in the Honda Classic for his first top 10 since he won the 2019 RSM Classic at Sea Island.
STAT OF THE WEEK
This is the first time since the world ranking began in 1986 that No. 1 has changed among three players (Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler, Jon Rahm) before March.
“You can’t get more nervous than nervous. You’re either nervous or you’re not. If you’re nervous trying to win your club championship, it’s the same feeling as Tiger Woods when he’s trying to win the Masters.” — Russell Knox.
2-TIME OLYMPIC POLE VAULT CHAMPION BOB RICHARDS DIES AT 97
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bob Richards, a two-time Olympic pole vault gold medalist who also became an ordained minister, died Sunday. He was 97.
USA Track and Field confirmed his death. His son, Brandon, wrote in a social media post that his father “passed in his sleep peacefully surrounded by loved ones.”
Richards competed at the 1948, ’52 and ’56 Olympics in the pole vault. He won a bronze medal in his first Olympic go-around, followed by back-to-back gold medals. The versatile athlete known as the “Vaulting Vicar” also competed in the Olympic decathlon in 1956.
From Champaign, Illinois, Richards went on to become a six-time NCAA champion at the University of Illinois. The school said in a release he held the ranking as the No. 1 pole vaulter for eight consecutive years.
He was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 1983 after a career that included winning at the Millrose Games 11 straight times. He also appeared on a box of Wheaties cereal.
His sons followed in his pole-vaulting footsteps. In his Facebook post, Brandon Richards said his father began reading the Bible and preaching as a way to overcome his stuttering. He became a pastor who went all around to give lectures, leading to a career as a motivational speaking.
Wrote Brandon Richards of his dad: “We lost a national treasure.” He added that his father “always motivated us kids the same way to be the best we could be. He was the greatest dad I could ever ask for and I will miss him dearly.”
TOP INDIANA NEWS RELEASES
After going a full two months without a road win, the Pacers have finally found a winning formula away from Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
Indiana (28-35) picked up its second road victory in four days on Tuesday night in Dallas, holding on late for a 124-122 victory over Luka Doncic and the Mavericks (32-31).
Playing on the day he celebrated his 23rd birthday, Pacers All-Star guard Tyrese Haliburton tallied 32 points, seven rebounds, and six assists to lead Indiana to its second straight win to open a four-game road trip. Dallas native Myles Turner added 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting, seven rebounds, and four blocks against his hometown team.
“We’re battling ourselves for a playoff spot,” Turner said. “Our playoffs started right after All-Star break. Every game matters for us and I think that we’re going out there and playing like it.”
The Pacers led 121-110 following Bennedict Mathurin’s dunk with 6:11 remaining on Tuesday, but the Blue & Gold went scoreless over the next 3:58.
Dallas capitalized by reeling off 10 straight points, with Reggie Bullock’s fourth three of the night making it a one-point game with 2:30 remaining.
Haliburton finally ended the drought by drawing a foul with 2:13 to play, but only hit one of two foul shots. Neither team scored again until the final minute.
The Mavericks missed three potential go-ahead threes on consecutive possessions. Doncic came up with an offensive rebound on the last miss and dished to Kyrie Irving under the basket, but Aaron Nesmith blocked Irving’s shot out of bounds with 35.8 seconds left and 10 seconds remaining on the shot clock.
Dallas head coach Jason Kidd took a timeout to draw up a play, but the Pacers defended it well, forcing a rushed Tim Hardaway Jr. three at the end of the shot clock that missed the rim completely and richoted off Doncic and out of bounds.
The Mavs had to foul the Pacers, sending Haliburton to the line with 19.1 seconds remaining. This time, the All-Star converted both free throws to make it a two-possession game.
Doncic drew a foul on the other end with 11.2 seconds left. He made both, followed by the Mavericks fouling rookie guard Andrew Nembhard with 7.6 seconds to play. The rookie missed both foul shots and Dallas corralled the rebound and called timeout with 7.3 seconds left.
Irving attempted a step-back three over T.J. McConnell on the game’s final possession, but couldn’t get it to fall. Turner tipped away the rebound, allowing the clock to expire.
“It was a great ending,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “Our guys really worked hard for it.”
Haliburton went 9-for-18 from the field and 12-for-15 from the free throw line in the victory, as Indiana attempted a season-high 40 shots from the charity stripe.
It was enough to outduel another All-Star celebrating a birthday, as Doncic — who turned 24 on Tuesday — finished with 39 points, nine boards, and six assists.
Both teams got off to strong starts offensively. Turner scored eight points in the opening quarter, Haliburton added seven, and Jordan Nwora scored six off the bench.
But Doncic was sensational in the opening frame, tallying 18 points on 7-of-9 shooting to propel the hosts to a 33-31 lead after the opening 12 minutes.
The Blue & Gold opened the second quarter with nine unanswered points — including five from third-year big man Jalen Smith — to move in front. Dallas rallied to tie the game and briefly led again, but the Pacers reasserted control with another 7-0 run — this one featuring a three-point play and a 3-pointer by Nesmith on back-to-back possessions.
The visitors added to their lead before halftime. Haliburton scored seven points over the final 2:03 of the half. His deep three put Indiana up 69-57 with 33.7 seconds remaining in the first half. Christian Wood’s dunk on the other end made it a 10-point game at the intermission.
The Mavs surged back in front early in the second half. Bullock hit two 3-pointers and Maxi Kleber knocked down one during an 11-3 Dallas run that gave the hosts the lead just under five minutes into the third quarter. Another three by Doncic shortly thereafter extended Dallas’ lead to 84-80 midway through the frame.
But the Pacers responded with 10 straight points — the last five by Nwora — to move back in front.
Haliburton scored 14 points in the third quarter and helped Indiana maintain the lead in the latter stages of the frame. The All-Star scored seven straight Pacers points in a 1:11 span, then dished to Nwora for a corner three in the closing seconds of the frame that pushed the visitors’ lead to 106-98.
The Pacers extended the margin to as high as 12 points early in the final frame and led 121-110 at the midway point of the period. That proved to be just enough cushion to withstand Dallas’ late rally.
“I think just getting our swagger back,” Haliburton said of the Pacers being able to rediscover how to win on the road. “Just playing the way we were playing during that late December run when we were playing really well. Playing free, getting enough stops to allow us to run and play transition offense and that’s when we’re at our best.”
Six Pacers finished in double figures in the victory. Nwora scored 16 points off the bench, going 6-for-10 from the field and 3-for-4 from 3-point range. Nesmith tallied 14 points, Smith contributed 11 points and nine rebounds, and Buddy Hield finished with 10 points, five boards, and four assists.
Irving — acquired in a blockbuster deal with Brooklyn just before the trade deadline — had 16 points, five rebounds, and nine assists for the Mavericks, who are just 1-4 so far when Irving and Doncic both play.
Hardaway scored 16 points off the bench on 4-of-6 3-point shooting. Bullock added 14 points while going 4-for-8 from beyond the arc, while Wood tallied 12 points and six rebounds.
The Pacers continue their road trip on Thursday night in San Antonio before wrapping up the trip on Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
Inside the Numbers
Haliburton topped 30 points for the fifth time this season. His 12 free throws made and 15 attempts were both new career highs.
Turner put together another outstanding all-around performance. He has been particularly sharp offensive over the last several weeks, scoring over 20 points in three straight games, seven of 10 contests in February, and 10 of his last 14 games dating back to Jan. 24. He also blocked four shots on Tuesday, his 23rd game this season with three or more rejections.
Nwora has now tallied 18 and 16 points over the first two games of the road trip, his fourth and fifth games as a Pacer after being acquired at the trade deadline.
Smith came up just one rebound shy of his first double-double since Jan. 2, but did manage to score in double figures for the first time since Jan. 21.
Hield reached double figures despite attempting just two shots and just one 3-point attempt. He went 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
The Pacers outscored Dallas 20-4 in fastbreak points.
After scorching the nets for most of the night, both teams went cold late. The Pacers did not make a field goal over the final 6:11, while the Mavs did not make one over the final 2:30.
You Can Quote Me On That
“My shot wasn’t falling, I was missing some open jumpers early. So (I was) thinking let me get downhill, attack the rim, if I see it go in a couple times that will get me going from the outside…My teammates just put me in a good spot to get downhill. They were setting good screens, moving, spacing the right way.” -Haliburton on getting to the free throw line 15 times
“Tyrese has carried a big load for us all year long. The 32 points tonight — we needed every single one of them. It was tough, it was a grind. They were physical with him, he hit the floor a few times. It wasn’t easy.” -Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle on Haliburton’s performance
“I’m in a great place. I wanted to be here. I wanted to have an opportunity to play my natural position. I’m with a young and up-and-coming team and I just want to keep having fun with what I’m doing.” -Turner on his strong play since signing a contract extension on Jan. 30
“He’s really hooping for us right now. He’s playing really patient, letting the game come to him. Today was the first time he really got on me to get him the ball. I was like, ‘I like that, I’m going to get you the ball.'” -Haliburton on Turner
“Jalen’s just been exemplary over the last month, since his playing time really diminished. He stayed professional. He has kept a great attitude and approach. He’s worked extremely hard. He’s encouraged his teammates the entire time. He knew that his time was going to come again.” -Carlisle on Smith staying ready after falling out of the rotation
“He’s stayed ready. He was in the gym every day, one of the last ones to leave. That’s what this league’s about. You see him flourishing today and hopefully he continues to do so.” -Turner on Smith’s performance
Stat of the Night
The Pacers went 31-for-40 from the free throw line, outscoring the Mavericks (18-for-28) by 13 points at the charity stripe. Indiana’s 40 free throw attempts were a season high and the most by the Blue & Gold in a game since Jan. 25, 2021, when they shot 45 free throws in a win over Toronto.
The Mavericks were the last NBA team the Pacers had yet to play this season. The two teams will meet again at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 27.
Haliburton was born on Feb. 29, 2000, but celebrates his birthday on Feb. 28 in non-leap years.
Turner now has 1,107 career blocks and is four shy of Rik Smits for second place in franchise history.
Tuesday’s victory was the first for Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle in Dallas since leaving the Mavericks, who he coached from 2007-2021 and led to an NBA championship in 2011.
After a four-game road trip, the Pacers will return to Gainbridge Fieldhouse to host Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, March 6 at 7:00 PM ET.
INDIANA DROPS CONTEST WITH IOWA
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Mike Woodson coached for answers that wouldn’t come. Not Tuesday night against Iowa.
Indiana lost a game and any chance to share the Big Ten title, and it burned.
“It’s unacceptable the way we played,” Woodson said in the aftermath of the 90-68 loss. “I apologize to the fans.
“I’m the coach. I’ve got to get them ready to play. That was a (bad) performance.”
Forward Trayce Jackson-Davis tried to explain how the No. 15/13 Hoosiers (20-11 overall, 11-8 in the Big Ten), so dominant at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall all season, coming off an impressive win at Purdue, could lose in such a way.
Iowa (19-11, 11-8) built leads as large as 25. It made 13 three-pointers and 12 layups, totaled 19 assists, shot 56 percent from the field and dominated the boards 39-27.
“We had a full meltdown of our defensive game plan,” Jackson-Davis said. “They exploited it and hit shots. Credit to them.
“Everyone is upset. Doing this is not what we stand for. There’s not much to be said. Come in and work.”
Perhaps it was a letdown from Saturday’s Purdue victory, or a continuation of Iowa’s elite execution from its dramatic overtime win over Michigan State, or, most likely, a combination of the two
“There was no hangover,” Jackson-Davis said. “It was the defensive end. They pushed up-tempo and fast. We played at their pace and they took advantage.
“It’s been a while since a team dictated their tempo of offense like that. They shoot really well. They were hot already from the Michigan State game. They shot lights out. We never responded.”
Iowa shot 61 percent in the first half with 13 assists en route to a 47-36 halftime lead, then made its first eight shots of the second half to build a 23-point advantage it never lost.
What could have made the difference?
“How about playing some defense?” Woodson said. “That would help. It was non-existent. They did everything they wanted to do.”
The Hawkeyes have won four straight in the series.
“They competed,” Woodson said. “They kicked our (behind). It was just that simple.
“We haven’t given up 47 points in a half all year. Nothing we did defensively worked. We weren’t there. I have to figure it out.”
Jackson-Davis had 26 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals. He passed Alan Henderson for the program’s career rebound record. He has 1,100 rebounds. Henderson finished with 1,091.
On this night, that didn’t matter.
“Defensively, we just broke down,” Jackson-Davis said. “They were comfortable.”
No Hawkeye was more comfortable than forward Kris Murray, who totaled 26 points.
“You’ve got to look at (the game film),” Woodson said. “Learn from it. We’ve got to get back to work.”
Iowa’s shooting frenzy from three days earlier against Michigan State continued into Tuesday night’s opening minutes. It hit its first five shots — including three three-pointers — plus its first three free throws for a 16-5 lead four minutes into the game.
IU picked up its defense, got the ball to Jackson-Davis, and closed to within four points at 24-20.
But a sixth Hawkeye three-pointer helped push them ahead 33-20. A seventh three-pointer made it 43-26 (via 64 percent shooting) and Woodson had seen enough. He called a timeout. The only thing keeping IU that close was Jackson-Davis’s 13 points and six rebounds.
Jalen Hood-Schifino hit three straight baskets. Jackson-Davis scored inside. Hood-Schifino scored again. IU trailed 47-36 at halftime.
Momentum, it seemed, had found the Hoosiers.
They unleashed a full-court press to start the second half. Jackson-Davis got a steal and a dunk.
The crowd roared.
IU forced another turnover, but couldn’t capitalize. Murray followed with a three-pointer to spark an 18-6 run and a 65-42 Iowa lead.
It was too much to overcome.
IU ends the regular season Sunday at home against Michigan. It needs a victory to have a chance to earn the double bye in next week’s Big Ten tourney.
“You have to wash it out,” Jackson-Davis said. “We have another game. We have to prepare for it. It’s a quick turnover. Get ready to work in practice.”
MIKE WOODSON POST GAME: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmpR7lcSayE
MOREN NAMED COACH OF THE YEAR, HOLMES IS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AS SIX EARN ALL-BIG TEN HONORS
ROSEMONT, Ill. – Indiana head coach Teri Moren was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year while senior forward Mackenzie Holmes is the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year among six Hoosiers who pulled in All-Big Ten honors in the annual postseason awards, announced on Tuesday.
Indiana is led by unanimous first team honors the coaches and media for Holmes and a first team nod for graduate student guard Grace Berger. Junior guard Chloe Moore-McNeil is a second-team honoree from the media while earning a place on the honorable mention squad from the coaches. Freshman guard Yarden Garzon and junior guard Sydney Parrish also earned honorable mention from both the coaches and media. Senior guard Sara Scalia rounded out the All-Big Ten selections placing on the media’s honorable mention team.
Moore-McNeil joins Holmes on the All-Defensive team. Holmes was selected by both the coaches and media while Moore-McNeil earns the nod from the coaches. This is the first time IU has placed multiple players on the All-Defensive squad while Holmes repeats as a selection, also appearing in 2020-21. This is also the third straight year IU has placed a player on the All-Defensive team. Garzon earns a spot on the All-Freshman team selected by both the coaches and media, the eighth player to be on the newbie squad in IU’s history. Moore-McNeil was tabbed the team’s Sportsmanship Award winner.
Moren earns her second Big Ten Coach of the Year, as she also picked up the honor in 2016 and becomes the first IU head coach to earn the honor twice. She led the 2022-23 team to an outright Big Ten regular season championship, its first in 40 years, finishing the regular season 26-2 and 16-2 in Big Ten play along with a perfect 16-0 record at home. They set a new program record for wins and tied for most Big Ten wins in a single season. Her team leads the nation with nine Top 25 wins and five Top 10 victories this season. Indiana leads the Big Ten in scoring defense (60.9), scoring margin (+20.4), second in scoring (81.3), field goal percentage (50.2) and opponent field goal percentage (38.9). Nationally, her team is second in field goal percentage, fourth in scoring margin, fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.45), seventh in scoring offense and eighth in assists per game (18.3). Indiana is on track to have its best offensive season ever, as 81.3 points per game (up 10.0 points from a season ago) and a 50.2 field goal percentage would both be season-bests. They have shot 50 percent or better on 17 occasions. Defensively, the team is just as solid, holding 22 opponents to 69 points or less and allowing 11 teams to score 59 points or fewer. The program held both lengthy win streaks this season, opening the season with 12 wins and most recently tying the second-longest win streak in program history at 14.
Holmes has produced an incredible season so far for the Hoosiers, as she averages a team-high 22.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and is one of the nation’s most accurate shooters by going 69.5 percent from the floor. She is second in the nation and leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage, fourth in field goals made (260), sixth in rebounds per game (7.4) and seventh in points score (631). The Gorham, Maine native is making her second All-Big Ten appearance with a first team nod and is the program’s first ever Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Holmes has led the Hoosiers in scoring on 22 occasions this season. She has scored in double figures in all 28 games, scoring 20 points 16 times and has three 30-point scoring efforts this season. Her nine double-doubles leads her teams as six of her double-doubles have occurred in conference play, which ranks eighth all-time in a single season. Her led the league in blocks (53) and blocks per game (1.9) and averages 1.1 steals (31) per game. She set a season-high five blocks against Nebraska and Michigan while recording multiple blocks in 13 games. Holmes is now tied for sixth all-time in scoring with Cindy Bumgarner (1,865) and second in all-time blocks with 203.
Berger is now a four-time All-Big Ten first team honoree, becoming the fourth four-time All-Big Ten honoree joining Ali Patberg (2018-22), Cindy Bumgarner (1985-88) and Jill Chapman (1999-02) and the only one out of the group to earn All-Big Ten first team honors in all four seasons. She is averaging 12.4 points, a team-high 5.9 assists, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 steals and holds a +2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. Berger scored a season-high 26 points in the home win over Iowa and has three double-doubles. The Louisville, Ky. native has 14 double figure scoring games in 20 appearances this season, missing eight games this season due to injury. Berger helped Indiana to a win at then No. 11/4 Tennessee where she had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. In her return from injury, she scored 16 points and have five assists and two steals against Northwestern. She continues to climb the all-time scoring list at Indiana, recently moving into the top 10 and sits ninth overall in points scored (1,779) and is second all-time in assists (553).
Moore-McNeil has made her way into IU’s starting lineup this season, starting in all 28 games while averaging 9.5 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals while holding the Big Ten’s best and one of the top in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratios (+3.3). She set new career-highs in just about every category this season, including 18 points against Iowa and scoring in double figures 15 times. The Sharon, Tenn. native has dished out multiple assists in 27 of 28 games and seven of her nine games with multiple steals game in Big Ten play. A solid free throw shooter as well, Moore-McNeil averages 85.7 percent at the line, which ranks sixth in the Big Ten. Often tasked with the assignment of the opposing team’s best shooter, Moore-McNeil has really turned up her defensive presence this season and included 43 total steals. Her 6-3 wingspan creates havoc for opposing players.
Garzon has put up one of the best freshmen campaigns in recent history, averaging 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and shooting 45.9 percent from the 3-point line while starting in all 28 games. She scored in double figures 16 times and has one double-double while being named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week four times. Nationally, Garzon’s 3-point field goal percentage ranks fifth in the country and tops in the Big Ten. The Ra’anana, Israel native scored in double figures 16 times this season and has two double-doubles. In her debut for Indiana, Garzon hit five triples and led with 19 points in a victory over Vermont. Her 62 made 3-pointers is a team-high, ranks 10th all-time in a single season and third in the program’s freshmen records. She needs five more to tie the all-time freshman high of 67. Garzon is also shooting 46.3 percent from the floor and 86.2 percent at the free throw line. Garzon earned three Big Ten Player of the Week honors and was named the USBWA Tamika Catchings National Freshman of the Week in January, the first ever for the program.
Parrish appeared in her first six games off the bench for the Hoosiers before making her way into the lineup for the last 22 contests. She averages 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game. The Fishers, Ind. native has scored in double figures 20 times, including a season-high 24 points in the win over No. 6 UNC in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. She has recorded three double-doubles this season and lead the team in steals (48) and is second in 3-pointers made (49). In a well-balanced stat sheet, Parrish has had multiple rebounds in all 28 games, multiple 3-pointers in 16 outings, multiple assists in 15 games, multiple steals on 12 occasions.
Scalia averaged 9.2 points in her first season with Indiana and ranks third on the team with 45 triples made this season where she has had 13 games with multiple 3-pointers. She is also one of the team’s best free throw shooters, shooting 88.6 percent at the line. The Stillwater, Minn. native is shooting 33.8 percent from the 3-point line and is also adding 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. She has scored in double figures 12 times including a season-high 24 points by going 9-for-12 from the floor at Ohio State, where she went 6-for-8 from the line.
The overall No. 1 seed Hoosiers will face either No. 8 Nebraska or No. 9 Michigan State in Big Ten Tournament action on Friday, March 3 at 12:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network.
JACKSON-DAVIS NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR NAISMITH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year award, the publication announced on Tuesday.
His 2.9 blocks per contest rank fifth in the NCAA and third among high-major players. The Greenwood native is ninth nationally with 72 total blocked shots this season, despite missing three games.
Jackson-Davis is averaging 11.0 rebounds (5th in the NCAA) per contest, with 7.9 (4th) coming on the defensive end of the floor. His career-high 24 rebounds against Northwestern (Jan. 8) tied Oscar Tshiebwe (Kentucky) for the most rebounds in a game this year. He has produced three of the 15 20-rebound games across the country this season.
TJD is one of two players (Aziz Bandaogo, Utah Valley) nationally that average at least 7.5 defensive rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots per game.
In two seasons with Jackson-Davis anchoring head coach Mike Woodson’s defense, the Hoosiers have allowed opponents to shoot just 40.1% from the floor, the lowest figure in the Big Ten Conference. IU has held league foes to 41.4% shooting, the lowest tally in the conference.
In the month of January, the National Player of the Year candidate averaged 23.0 points, 14.6 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks per game. He joined Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Tim Duncan and Shaquille O’Neal as the only three players in the last 25 seasons to average at least 23.0 points, 14.0 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game in a calendar month (min. 5 games) in Division I basketball or the NBA.
On Dec. 17, Jackson-Davis blocked a career-best nine shots at Kansas, the most ever by a Jayhawk opponent and the highest single-game block total by any player in college basketball this season. He has blocked at least four shots in nine games this season.
The four-time Big Ten Player of the Week has secured 15 double-doubles this season, tied for eighth in the country. Jackson-Davis has produced seven 20-10 games and six 15-15 games this season.
Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalists
Chase Audige, Northwestern
Moussa Cisse, Oklahoma State
Jaylen Clark, UCLA
Zach Edey, Purdue
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Indiana
Ryan Kalkbrenner, Creighton
Caleb McConnell, Rutgers
Kevin McCullar Jr., Kansas
Marcus Sasser, Houston
Zakai Zeigler, Tennessee
BART BALL BESTS BUTLER
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana baseball program returned home and used a barrage of offense on its way to a 13-2 victory over Butler on Tuesday (Feb. 28) at Bart Kaufman Field. The Hoosiers used a pair of four-run innings and nine pitchers combined to strike out 16 batters in the victory.
Indiana (4-4) opened the scoring with a four-run first inning, with four doubles doing most of the damage. Butler (2-6) got a single run back in the third inning, before. Indiana put up another four-run inning in the bottom half of the frame. The Hoosiers one run in each of the next three innings, before the Bulldogs added a single run in the top of the sixth. IU closed the scoring with two runs in the bottom of the eighth.
The pitching staff held the Butler offense to just two runs on five hits, with Ty Bothwell (1-1) picking up his first win of the season. Redshirt senior Craig Yoho struck out a trio of Bulldogs in one inning of work, while five other Hoosier pitchers posted a pair of strikeouts in the game. The 16 strikeouts marked the third double-digit strikeout game of the season for IU.
Seven different players picked up a hit for the Hoosiers, with sophomore Carter Mathison leading the way with a 3-for-3 night at the plate. Mathison was on base four times in the game with two doubles, one triple and one hit-by-pitch. He scored three runs and drove in one RBI.
Four other IU hitters posted two-hit games, as senior Phillip Glasser, sophomore Josh Pyne, sophomore Brock Tibbitts and redshirt junior Bobby Whalen all recorded multi-hit games. Pyne had a pair of doubles and drove in three RBIs in the game, while Glasser had a double, single, walked twice and stole two bases in the contest.
Freshman Tyler Cerny went 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and one RBI, but was hit-by-pitch three times and stole three bases in the game. Three hit-by-pitch are the most in a game since Michael Basil was plunked three times at Michigan State on April 14, 2013 and his three stolen bases are the most in a game since Micah Johnson swiped four bases against Evansville on March 27, 2011.
In all, the Hoosiers stole eight bases, its most since taking nine bags in 2007 at North Florida. That total is also a Bart Kaufman Field record in a single game, one more than its six stolen bases against Northwestern on April 15, 2018.
For Butler, Scott Jones posted a pair of hits and scored one run, while three other Bulldogs chipped in one hit apiece. Carter Dorighi and Kyle Van Liere each drove in RBIs in the game and Ian Choi had the other run scored. Defensively, Butler turned three double plays in the game.
Bobby Whalen doubled into the right-center field gap, moving Phillip Glasser to third and Josh Pyne bounced a ground rule double into the Hoosiers bullpen to plate the first two runs. Carter Mathison doubled off the left-center field wall to plate Pyne and Brock Tibbitts rounded out the scoring with an RBI double to left center.
at Indiana 4, Butler 0
Ian Choi walked and stole second in front of Carter Dorighi’s double to left field.
at Indiana 4, Butler 1
Mathison doubled and Tibbitts walked in front of a double steal. Matthew Ellis lined out to right field to score the first run of the frame and Devin Taylor grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Tibbitts. Tyler Cerny lined into center and brought Taylor around to score and Glasser’s single bright in the final run of the frame..
at Indiana 8, Butler 1
Mathison led off the inning with a triple to the warning track in right-center and scored on a Tibbitts base hit up the middle.
at Indiana 9, Butler 1
Glasser walked, stole second and scored on a Pyne double to left center.
at Indiana 10, Butler 1
Scott Jones singled with one out and moved to third on a Xavier Carter single. Kyle Van Liere grounded into a fielder’s choice to push the run across.
at Indiana 10, Butler 2
Morgan Colopy walked and eventually scored on a passed ball.
at Indiana 11, Butler 2
Ethan Vecrumba tripled to left center, scoring Cerny, who reached via hit-by-pitch, and came in to score on a Whalen single.
at Indiana 12, Butler 2
Indiana travels to Greenville, North Carolina, to take part in the Keith LeClair Classic from March 3-5. Friday’s game against East Carolina will be broadcasted on ESPN+ and all three games will be available on the Indiana Sports Radio Network
EDEY NAMED A SEMIFINALIST FOR NAISMITH DPOY
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Given annually to America’s top defensive player, Zach Edey has been named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award semifinalist, the organization announced today.
Already a front-runner for National Player of the Year awards, Edey is now a semifinalist for the top defensive honor as well. Edey is one of 10 players named to the watch list.
Defensively, Edey has led a Boilermaker defense that ranks in the nation’s top 20 in defensive efficiency (19th), scoring defense (18th) and rebound margin (1st). The Boilermakers are allowing 62.2 points per game, the lowest average for an opponent since the 2010-11 season (61.1 points per game), and just three opponents have surpassed 70 points this year. Foes are shooting just 41.6 percent from the field, but even more impressive, opponents are averaging just 10.5 free throw attempts per game, the lowest mark for a team nationally in the last 15 years.
Edey leads the country in rebounds per game and total rebounds, is 11th in blocks per game and defensive rebounds per game and 15th in total blocks.
Edey, a 7-foot, 4-inch center from Toronto, is considered the front-runner for the National Player of the Year awards. He currently averages 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 assists per game while shooting over 60.0 percent from the field and nearly 75.0 percent from the free throw line – ranking fifth nationally in scoring and first in rebounds. He also leads the country with 22 double-doubles.
Edey currently leads the Big Ten in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, and is on pace to become the second player in Big Ten history and the first since Ohio State’s Gary Bradds in 1963-64 to lead the league in all three categories.
The No. 5-ranked Boilermakers travel to Wisconsin on Thursday night, beginning at 9 p.m. ET, on FS1.
TERRY, ELLIS NAMED ALL-BIG TEN
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Big Ten Conference postseason awards were announced Tuesday by the league office, and Purdue Women’s Basketball senior Jeanae Terry garnered Second Team All-Big Ten honors by the conference’s coaches.
In her second season at Purdue, Terry earned a spot on the All-Defensive Team from the league’s media, who also named her honorable mention.
Abbey Ellis was tabbed All-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and media for the second straight time.
Terry upgraded her honorable mention nod from last season, after one of the best all-around campaigns in the country this season. The Detroit native tallied 6.7 points, 7.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.3 steals per game this season. Terry joined Iowa’s Cailtin Clark and Notre Dame’s Olivia Miles as the only players in the country to average over six points, rebounds and assists per game. That list dwindled to just Terry and Miles when adding two steals per game.
Terry was the only player in the in the Big Ten to rank among the league’s top 10 in rebounds, assists and steals per game this season. The senior finished the season ranked 11th in the nation in total assists (175) and assists per game. She is the only Boilermaker in program history to dish out 170 or more assists in two seasons.
A season after becoming the first player in Purdue history to record multiple triple-doubles, Terry recorded the program’s first non-point double-double. She finished the campaign with three of them, including an nine-point, 10-assist, 10-rebound, eight-steal outing against Penn State last week.
Terry ended her regular season ranked fifth in the Big Ten in total rebounds (206) rebounds per game, fourth in total steals (63) and third in steals per game.
Terry’s second-team nod was the 24th in program history and first of the Katie Gearlds era. Purdue put a player on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team for the first time since 2020 and 13th time in history.
Ellis earned her second consecutive honorable mention laurel following a season in which she averaged 11.2 points per game, while shooting 46.4% from the field and 35.7% behind the arc in conference play. The Australian international made 42 of her 46 free throw attempts in league action to record the third-best free throw percentage in the conference at 91.3%. She led the conference and was eighth in the nation with a 90.8%.
Cassidy Hardin was named Purdue’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree for this season.
Terry, Ellis, Hardin and the Boilermakers will open the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday evening at 6:30 p.m. as the seventh seed against 10th-seeded Wisconsin at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
14 BOILERMAKERS SCORE IN MULTIPLE EVENTS AT BIG TENS
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Headlined by silver medalist Nick Sherman’s two team records, 14 of the 17 Boilermakers that scored for Purdue men’s swimming & diving at the Big Ten Championships this year did so in multiple events.
Sherman won silver in the 200 individual medley, the Boilermakers’ first IM medal at Big Tens since Guillermo Blanco in 2015. Sherman finished top six in all three of his individual events, joining Trent Pellini (in 2021) and Blanco as Purdue’s only swimmers since 2013 to be three-time A finalists in one year. As a second-team All-Big Ten honoree while winning his first career individual medal (fourth overall), Sherman scored in all three of his individual events for the fourth consecutive year, accounting for a team-high 77 points.
Sherman closed out his career at Big Tens as the program’s active scoring leader, accounting for 212 team points. Since the Big Ten went to the top-24 scoring format in 2016, Joe Young (2016-19) is the only other Purdue swimmer to score in all three individual events in four consecutive years.
The 14 student-athletes to score in multiple events ranks as the Boilermakers’ third most since the scoring format change in 2016. Purdue had 16 multi-event scorers last year and 15 in 2016, hosting the championships both years. The 2016 roster also featured just two active divers similar to this season.
Sophomores Jordan Rzepka (71 points), Brady Samuels (67) and Sam Bennett (47) also scored in all three of their individual events for the second year in a row. Not surprisingly, they ranked 2-3-4 behind Sherman. Ethan Shaw (23) and Liam Walker (19) accomplished the feat for the first time.
Rzepka finished top seven in all three diving events and is now 6-for-6 in career top-10 finishes at Big Tens. He accounted for 147 team points during his underclassman seasons.
Samuels finished top five in the A finals of the 100 backstroke and 100 freestyle. He’s already a four-time A finalist at Big Tens. The sophomore improved on his second-fastest time in team history in the 100 back (45.86) while continuing to rank among the program’s all-time top two in four different individual events plus seventh in the 50 free.
The Boilermakers accounted for 15 times that went into the all-time leaderboards. Sherman eclipsed his own records in both the 200 free and 200 IM.
CAREER BESTS TO MOVE UP OR JOIN PURDUE RECORD BOOK
• Nick Sherman – Team Record in 200 Free (1:33.56)
• Nick Sherman – Team Record in 200 IM (1:42.62)
• Brady Samuels – 2nd in 100 Back (45.86)
• 200 Medley Relay – 2nd (1:23.86)
…Muhammad, Witty, Samuels, Sherman
• Ethan Shaw – 3rd in 500 Free (4:20.79)
• Coleman Modglin – 4th in 100 Breast (53.08)
• Nick Sherman – 4th in 50 Free (19.47)
• 400 Medley Relay Team – 4th (3:08.36)
…Muhammad, Sherman, Samuels, Hart
• Idris Muhammad – 5th in 100 Back (46.98)
• Aaron Frollo – 7th in 500 Free (4:23.64)
• Ethan Shaw – 11th in 200 Fly (1:46.33)
• Ethan Shaw – 12th in 400 IM (3:51.23)
• Aaron Frollo – 12th in 1000 Free (9:18.00)
• Andrew Swenson – 13th in 200 Back (1:44.41)
• Aaron Frollo – 14th in 1650 Free (15:27.18)
Shaw registered career bests in all three of his individual events, highlighted by a move into third place all-time in the 500 free (4:20.79) with the program’s best time since 2018. Distance freestyle specialist Aaron Frollo also had a trio of career bests (500, 1000, 1650) that ranked among the all-time leaderboards.
Coleman Modglin won the B final of the 200 breast Saturday for a top-10 overall finish. He joined Sherman and Rzepka as active Boilermakers to win a B/consolation final at Big Tens. The junior moved into fourth place all-time in the 100 breast (53.08) and will have an opportunity to be a four-year scorer at Big Tens next season.
Seniors Skyler Younkin, Keelan Hart and Walker all scored at Big Tens for the third time in their careers. Classmates Elliot Cooper and Michael Juengel also accomplished that feat.
NO. 6 MARQUETTE TOPS BUTLER, 72-56
Tyler Kolek led No. 6 Marquette with 21 points and 10 assists as the Golden Eagles clinched the outright BIG EAST regular season championship with a 72-56 win over Butler Tuesday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
With the win, Marquette improves to 24-6 on the season and 16-3 in BIG EAST play. Butler falls to 14-16 (6-13 BIG EAST).
STAT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Marquette held a 44-24 advantage in points in the paint as Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Oso Ighodaro combined for 26 points overall.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE:
Marquette shot 56 percent from the field in the game, including 65 percent in the second half.
The Golden Eagles shot 5-for-7 from three-point range in the second half.
Jayden Taylor led Butler with 13 points, while Jalen Thomas added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Both teams committed 13 turnovers.
Marquette had a 36-22 halftime lead and an early 9-0 second half run pushed the lead to 20 for the first time at 47-27 with 12:23 remaining.
Manny Bates returned to action for the Bulldogs after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury.
The Bulldogs were without Ali Ali Tuesday night, who led the team in scoring in their most recent outing, a road win at DePaul last week.
UP NEXT: The Bulldogs conclude the regular season Saturday night, traveling to Xavier for a match-up with the Top 20 Musketeers. The 7 p.m. tip will air on FS1. Butler is locked into a first round game at the BIG EAST Tournament against St. John’s on Wednesday, March 8.
BRACKET SET FOR 2023 #BIGEASTWBB TOURNAMENT
NEW YORK – The bracket for the 2023 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament was solidified on Monday night, the final day of the regular season. Entering the evening, just two seeds remained undetermined, with St. John’s 53-50 win at Providence locking up the No. 4 seed for the Red Storm and pushing Marquette, which defeated DePaul 98-80 to tie St. John’s in the standings, into the No. 5 spot. The BIG EAST Tournament is set for March 3-6 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. The winner of the conference tournament receives the league’s automatic bid into the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
Ninth-ranked UConn (26-5, 18-2 BIG EAST), which clinched a share of the regular-season title on Saturday at DePaul, claimed the crown outright tonight with a 60-51 win over Xavier. The regular-season championship is UConn’s 22nd overall and third straight since returning to the BIG EAST prior to the 2020-21 season. They are also the BIG EAST Tournament No. 1 seed for the third straight year.
There were two ties in the final regular-season standings – Marquette and St. John’s tied for fourth at 13-7 while Butler and Georgetown knotted in eighth at 6-14. SJU and MU split their regular-season series, with the next tiebreaker being results against the team in the highest position in the standings, then proceeding down the standings until an advantage is determined. MU and SJU both went 1-1 against UConn and 0-2 against Villanova; St. John’s went 1-1 against third-place Creighton while Marquette went 0-2 to give the Red Storm the edge. Butler swept Georgetown to win that tiebreaker.
BIG EAST Tournament play begins Friday, March 3 at 11 a.m. ET when No. 9 seed Georgetown (13-16, 6-14) faces No. 8 seed Butler (11-18, 6-14) in the First Round. At 1:30 p.m., No. 10 seed Providence (13-18, 4-16) squares off with No. 7 seed DePaul (15-16, 8-12), before the 4 p.m. game sees No. 11 seed Xavier (7-22, 0-20) against No. 6 seed Seton Hall (17-13, 10-10). All three First Round games will air live on SNY and will also stream on the FOX Sports App and FloHoops.
Quarterfinal play is set for Saturday, March 4, beginning at noon ET when top-seeded UConn faces the winner of the Georgetown-Butler First Round game. That game will air on FS1. FS2 takes over coverage for the remaining Quarterfinal tilts, beginning at 2:30 p.m. when Marquette (20-9) and St. John’s (22-7) square off. The evening session begins at 7 p.m. on FS2 when No. 2 seed Villanova (26-5, 17-3) faces the winner of the Providence-DePaul First Round tilt, before action wraps up at 9:30 p.m. when No. 3 seed Creighton (21-7, 15-5) tips off against the Xavier-Seton Hall winner.
FS1 will air the final three games of the BIG EAST Tournament, beginning with the Semifinals on Sunday, March 5. Saturday’s afternoon session winners will meet at 3 p.m., followed by the evening session winners at 5:30 p.m. A champion will be crowned on Monday, March 6 with semifinal winners meeting at 7 p.m. on FS1.
For the most up to date information and coverage, follow BIG EAST Women’s Basketball on Twitter (@BIGEASTwbb), Instagram (bigeast) and YouTube (@BIGEASTConference). For more on the BIG EAST Tournament, visit //BIGEAST.com/WBBT
2023 BIG EAST Women’s Basketball Tournament
presented by JEEP
Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, Conn.
March 3 – First Round
Game 1: 9 seed Georgetown vs. 8 seed Butler, 11 a.m. (SNY)
Game 2: 10 seed Providence vs. 7 seed DePaul, 1:30 p.m. (SNY)
Game 3: 11 seed Xavier vs. 6 seed Seton Hall, 4 p.m. (SNY)
March 4 – Quarterfinals
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. 1 seed UConn, Noon (FS1)
Game 5: No. 5 seed Marquette vs. No. 4 seed St. John’s, 2:30 p.m. (FS2)
Game 6: Game 2 winner vs. 2 seed Villanova, 7 p.m. (FS2)
Game 7: Game 3 winner vs. 3 seed Creighton, 9:30 p.m. (FS2)
March 5 – Semifinals
Game 8: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 3 p.m. (FS1)
Game 9: Game 6 winner vs. Game 7 winner, 5:30 p.m. (FS1)
March 6 – Final
Game 10: Game 8 winner vs Game 9 winner, 7 p.m. (FS1)
All times Eastern
INDIANA POSTS 13-2 WIN OVER BUTLER
BLOOMINGTON – The Indiana Hoosiers scored eight runs over the first three innings to build a lead over Butler and would move forward to defeat the Bulldogs 13-2 on Tuesday night. Ty Bothwell was credited with the win for the Hoosiers and Grant Brooks (0-1) was hit with the loss.
Indiana scored 13 runs off 13 hits and the IU arms limited Butler to just two runs off five hits. Butler got on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning. Ian Choi walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Carter Dorighi doubled to score Choi.
The second BU run came around in the sixth. Scott Jones hit a one-out single to right and advanced to third on a base knock from Xavier Carter. Kyle Van Liere followed in the lineup and would earn an RBI on a fielder’s choice.
Indiana took control early by recording five-straight hits in the first inning. Four of the five hits were doubles allowing IU to score four in the first. Four more Hoosier runs came in the bottom of the third and the home team would add single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth before finishing with two in the eighth.
It was a bullpen day for each staff. IU used nine different arms and the Bulldogs went through eight.
The Bulldogs return to action with a Friday doubleheader in Baton Rouge, La. They will face Central Connecticut State at 1 PM and then face #1 LSU at 6:30 that night.
JAGUARS’ UPSET BID FALLS JUST SHY AT ROBERT MORRIS, 67-64
MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The IUPUI basketball team’s upset bid of No. 6 Robert Morris fell just shy inside the UPMC Events Center on Tuesday night (Feb. 28) as the visiting Jaguars fell to the Colonials, 67-64. RMU’s Michael Green III swished a game-winning three from the top of the key with 2.1 seconds left after IUPUI had completely erased a 14-point halftime deficit. Sophomore Jlynn Counter led four Jaguars in double-digits with 25 points and both DJ Jackson and Chris Osten tallied 13 apiece.
Kahliel Spear led RMU (16-16) with 17 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots in the win and Green contributed 16 points, including four treys, off the bench.
“We wanted to put ourselves in a position to win the basketball game at the end and that’s what we did. Give credit to (Green), he came down and made a big time shot. That’s not to take anything away from what our guys did though – they fought until the very, very end,” head coach Matt Crenshaw said. “That’s what I’m most proud of is that we fought for every second until the final horn.
“That’s going to continue to be a staple within this program.”
IUPUI (5-27) trailed 34-20 at halftime and appeared to be dead in the water with 3:19 remaining as RMU led 60-48 after a made free throw. However, Counter single-handedly willed the Jaguars back into the game before ultimately tying the score with 10.1 seconds left.
He drilled a corner three with 1:45 to play to cut the RMU lead back to eight and after a defensive stop, rainbowed in a wing three with 1:18 to play to narrow the lead to five. RMU extended the lead back to eight with 38 seconds left before Osten put back a miss moments later to make it a two possession game. IUPUI got the ball back and Counter drew a foul and calmly made both attempts to make it a four-point game.
After a timeout, Counter collected a steal out of the press and raced the other way for a three-point play opportunity. RMU left the door open by splitting a pair of free throws and Counter knotted the score with a driving layup with 10.1 seconds left, setting up Green’s game-winner. The tie with 10.1 seconds left was the lone tie of the game and the Jaguars never led as the hosts opened the contest with the game’s first six points.
DJ Jackson just missed sending the game to overtime as his 60-footer at the horn glanced off the front iron.
Osten was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor in his final collegiate game and grabbed seven rebounds. Jackson grabbed eight rebounds and Vincent Brady II finished with 10 points in the loss. Two other seniors were the only other two players to score as Marlon Taylor had two points and seven boards and Jonah Carrasco finished with one point off the bench.
IUPUI shot 45.1 percent from the floor and held RMU to under 36 percent shooting. The Jags also rallied to win the glass, closing with a 41-35 advantage.
BUSKER LEADS JAGUARS ON FINAL DAY OF TCHEFUNCTA INVITATIONAL
COVINGTON, La. – The IUPUI women’s golf team concluded play at this week’s Tchefuncta Invitational at Tchefuncta Country Club on Tuesday (Feb. 28), posting a final round 312 to end the event at 935 (304-319-312). Junior Shelby Busker topped the Jaguars on day two with a final round, 4-over 75.
Classmate Madeleine Pape closed at 6-over 77 and both Annaliese Fox and Kara Blair closed at 9-over 80. Sophomore Nerea Lancho posted a 12-over 83.
Blair, Busker and Pape all made two birdies during their rounds while Busker had a team-high 11 pars in the final round. Blair and Pape finished the tournament tied for the team lead with five birdies apiece while Lancho made a team-high 32 pars.
Blair was the team’s top performer for the week at 231 (72-79-80), placing 26th overall. Pape tied for 27th overall at 232 (74-81-77).
Host South Alabama rallied for the team win with a final round 6-over 290, edging Southern Miss by two shots for the title. Toledo’s Yedam Lee finished at 5-under 208 for medalist honors, winning by five shots. IUPUI finished the event tied for seventh overall at 935, matching UAB.
The Jaguars will return to action on Apr. 7-8 when they participate in the Dolores Black Falcon Invite at Stone Ridge Golf Club in Bowling Green, Ohio.
JAGUARS INK FIVE ADDITIONAL FRESHMEN FOR 2023
INDIANAPOLIS – The IUPUI men’s soccer program announced its second wave of newcomers for the upcoming 2023 season as head coach Sid van Druenen announced the additions of five true freshmen to his incoming class. The Jaguars are up to 12 newcomers for next season with 10 true freshmen and two midyear transfers.
The Jaguars finished the 2022 season at 7-7-6 and scored 31 goals in 20 games, marking the program’s most in the Division I era.
“This next crop of recruits all come to us from high youth levels from either abroad or MLS Next academies. I am excited to see their immediate impact as they all are competitors used to playing against the best,” van Druenen said of the group.
Baela Brucker (Albuquerque, N.M. / Albuquerque)
5-foot-10 // Defender
-Two-year varsity letterwinner at Albuquerque (N.M.) High School
-Helped his team to a state runner-up finish his sophomore season
-Four-year honor roll member
-Played for NM United Academy in the USL and also trained with the New Mexico ODP
van Druenen on Brucker
“Baela is a hard working left back with a good soccer brain that loves to be involved in both the build, as well as joining the attack.”
Patrick Curry (Orland Park, Ill. / Carl Sandburg)
6-foot-0 // Defender
-Played for Chicago Fire Academy, serving as team captain
-Selected to the MLS Next All Star Game at the 2021 Summer Showcase
-Voted ‘Man of the Year’ in 2019 by the coaching staff and Chicago Fire players
-Invited to multiple US National Team ID events
-Academically is an Illinois State Scholar
van Druenen on Curry
“Patrick is a leader and good all around footballer. He is a versatile and aggressive defender that will give us depth in our back line.”
Noah Kummrow (Oconomowoc, Wisc. / Oconomowoc)
5-foot-11 // Defender
-Four-year letterwinner at Oconomowoc (Wisc.) High School
-Two-time All-Classic 8 Conference honoree and two-time honorable mention pick
-Four-time Scholar Athlete Award recipient
-Played for SC Wisconsin as well
van Druenen on Kummrow
“Noah combines good soccer ability with pace and athleticism – all important attributes for an outside back in our system.”
Giovanni Leon (Indianapolis, Ind. / Cathedral)
6-foot // Defender
-Played and trained with the Indy Fire Academy
-Played for the Indy Eleven during the USL Academy Playoffs
-Previously played for USAI
van Druenen on Leon
“Gio is one of the top local prospects and we are excited to have him. He’s a strong and physical defender with good pace and technical ability.”
Jago Thompson-Roberts (Frome, England / Beechen Cliff School)
6-foot-2 // Defender
-Came through the Southampton Academy before carrying out a youth scholarship at Forest Green Rovers
-Later played for Thornbury in the Hellenic League before signing with Frome Town FC
-Was a five-time 1st Team Football captain and two-time Player of the Season
-Earned the Donald Stephens Memorial Prize
van Druenen on Thompson-Roberts
“Jago comes to us from England with a high level youth background at Southampton and Forest Green Rovers. I expect him to come in, raise the level and lead our back line immediately.”
IUPUI Recruiting Class (as of 2/28/2023)
Name Ht. Pos. Hometown High School
Baela Brucker 5-10 D Albuquerque, N.M. Albuquerque
Patrick Curry 6-0 D Orland Park, Ill. Carl Sandburg
Ryan Grinstead 6-2 F Shawnee Mission, Kan. Shawnee Mission East
Jose Herrera 5-11 F Bensenville, Ill. York Community
Noah Kummrow 5-11 D Oconomowoc, Wisc. Oconomowoc
Giovanni Leon 6-0 D Indianapolis, Ind. Cathedral
Brady Lombardo 5-7 MF Ballwin, Mo. Parkway South
Jago Thompson-Roberts 6-2 D Frome, England Beechen Cliff School
Demian Martinez 5-9 MF Romeoville, Ill. Romeoville
Austin Wells 5-11 GK Guilford, Ind. East Central
BALL STATE ATHLETICS
BROWN NAMED NCBWA CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association announced its weekly Dick Howser Trophy Nation Players of the Week on Tuesday. Ryan Brown was named Co-Pitcher of the Week after a phenomenal weekend on the mound for the Ball State baseball team.
Brown was electric on the mound for the Cardinals. He made two appearances in relief. He picked up two wins in 6 1/3 innings of work. He finished the week with 17 strikeouts and just one walk. Against Canisius, he struck out 12 of the 13 batters he faced. He did not give up a hit. For the weekend, he faced 20 batters and struck out 17.
Brown currently leads the NCAA with 22.09 strikeouts per nine innings and in total strikeouts with 27.
“Ryan Brown was outstanding in his two outings of relief this weekend,” said Head Coach Rich Maloney. “17 strikeouts to one walk was amazing. Truly some of the best pitching I’ve seen in my 28 years as a head coach.”
Ball State returns North Carolina for a tournament at Wake Forest on Friday, March 3. The Cardinals will open against the Cornell Big Red with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m.
WBB FACES BGSU WEDNESDAY ON A NATIONAL STAGE IN MIDWEEK MAC SHOWDOWN
Game 30 | Ball State (23-6, 13-3 MAC) vs. Bowling Green (24-4, 13-3 MAC)
March 1 | Bowling Green, Ohio | Stroh Center | 5 pm ET
– The Ball State women’s basketball team looks to improve to 14-3 in Mid-American Conference play after losing a 72-70 heartbreaker to Toledo Saturday afternoon in Worthen Arena. Bowling Green suffered a loss too this past weekend after falling at home to Buffalo, 84-66.
– The remaining two games will have a lot riding on them as Ball State and Bowling Green are tied currently for second in the MAC standings. As of now, the Cardinals have head-to-head tie breaker over the Falcons after defeating BGSU in both teams league opener in Worthen Arena by a score of 81-73, Jan. 4.
– Tonight’s contest will be Ball State women’s basketball first regular season nationally televised on ESPNU when it takes on Bowling Green at the Stroh Center.
– The Cardinals currently have 23 wins with four games left and the MAC Tournament on the horizon, Ball State has the potential to have the best record in program history. The Cardinals are three wins away from tying the program record which is 26-9 in 2008-09.
– Ball State and Bowling Green have met a total of 72 times in program history with the Falcons leading the all-time series record, 46-26. In their last meeting, the Cardinals defeated the Falcons in Worthen Arena Jan. 4, 2022 by a score of 81-73. Ball State has won two of its last three meetings against Bowling Green,
– Ball State and Bowling Green’s first-ever meeting was in 1974-75, the Cardinals defeated the Falcons by a score of 58-52 in Terre Haute, Ind.
– Prior to the Saturday’s contest, the Cardinals will say good-bye to seniors Anna Clephane and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir.
– Redshirt senior Anna Clephane has 1,210 points for her career and became the 10th player under Brady Sallee to reach the 1,000 point milestone against Miami (1/14/23). Clephane is first on the team in scoring averaging 14.9 points per game.
– Sophomore Marie Kiefer has proven to be a great defender for the Cardinals. She currently sits in 12th place all-time in blocked shots with 89 and so far has 41 total this season. Kiefer averages 1.4 blocks per contest.
– Graduate senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir has found her rhythm behind the arc again as she currently leads the team with 91 three’s so far this season. Agustsdottir has 309 total 3-pointers for her career and sits in second place all-time. She needs 15 more to take the top spot which is currently being held by former Cardinal and current associate head coach Audrey Spencer (2006-10) with 323 3-pointers. Agustsdottir right now ranks sixth in the nation in made 3-pointers (91), sixth in 3-pointers per game (3.14) and 14th in 3-point field goal percentage (42.7). She also leads the MAC in those categories.
Sallee Enters Year 11:
Sallee enters his 11th season at the helm of the Cardinals, already the winningest coach in program history. He touts a record of 206-138 (.598) in just 11 seasons and has guided Ball State to seven postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournaments, a WNIT Final 16 appearance, a Mid-American Conference West Division title (2014), nine MAC Tournament appearances and five 20-plus win seasons, a feat no head coach at Ball State had done before him.
Career Night for Thelma:
Graduate senior Thelma Dis Agustsdottir scored a career-high 34 points and tied the program’s single-game 3-point record with nine to help lift Ball State past Ohio Feb. 15 in Worthen Arena with a 78-53 win over the Bobcats.
CSC Academic All-District:
Both Anna Clephane and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir have been tabbed to the 2023 CSC Academic All-District Team. The 2022-23 Academic All-District® Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams, selected by College Sports Communicators, recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the court and in the classroom. The CSC Academic All-America® program separately recognizes basketball honorees in four divisions — NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II, NCAA Division III and NAIA — for each gender.
The Next Game:
The Cardinals close out their regular season when Ball State travels to Mid-American Conference rival Miami Saturday for a 1 pm ET start in Millett Hall. Since the 1989-90 season, the Cardinals have won 21 of the last 31 meetings against the RedHawks. Out of all the Ball State women’s basketball coaches, Brady Sallee owns the best record over Miami at 12-1.
Look Back At MAC Tourney 2022:
The Ball State women’s basketball team was the No. 5 seed last season at the 2022 MAC Tournament. The Cardinals knocked off No. 4 Northern Illinois (60-54) in the quarterfinals and then pulled off the 71-66 upset against top-seeded Toledo in the semi’s. Ball State advanced to the title game for the sixth time in program history and the second time under head coach Brady Sallee. The Cardinals fell to the second-seeded Bulls in the championship by a slim four-point margin (79-75).
MAC Tourney Time:
This marks the 33rd appearance for the Cardinals in the Mid-American Conference Tournament in program history. Ball State has advanced to Cleveland 21 out of the past 23 seasons. The Cardinals are 22-31 all-time in MAC Tournament play and have advanced to the MAC Tournament finals on six occasions.
KASH BELLAR TALLIES A TOP-FIVE FINISH, CARDINALS WRAP UP DORADO BEACH COLLEGIATE
DORADO, PUERTO RICO – The Ball State men’s golf team finished the Dorado Beach Collegiate today after their final round against #10 Virginia, #2 Auburn, and Boston College.
The Cardinals finished in ninth place (285-285-283—853), only one stroke behind West Virginia and 6 strokes behind #2 Auburn.
Kash Bellar continued to lead the Cardinals throughout the tournament. Bellar finished at 5-under today (68-69-67—204) and wrapped up the tournament tied for fourth overall out of 91 players from very competitive programs. Bellar’s 54-hole final tally is tied for the second-best mark in program history.
Ali Khan finished round three at 1-under (72-72-71—215), tying for 37th and staying consistent throughout three rounds. Joey Ranieri finished tied for 48th (74-71-72—217), recording five birdies in round three.
Carter Smith is tied for 51st, finishing today at 1-over (71-74-73—218). Griffin Hare completed round three at 1-over (74-73-73—220), finishing tied for 63rd.
“Outstanding tournament for Kash Bellar, his 54-hole 204 total is tied for second-best in program history, and he got a lot of really good head-to-head wins against many of the top players in college golf. Our team played solidly, we had a few things each round that held us back from having a really good event, but overall, we played pretty well,” said head coach Mike Fleck. “We got some great experience playing with two of the best teams in college golf each day going toe to toe with Virginia and Auburn. Both programs will be in the mix for a national championship later this spring, and we will use the experience to get better. A lot of positives to take away from the week and now we continue to build and get prepared for a challenging schedule coming up in late March and April.”
The Cardinals’ next competition is slated for March 27-28 at the Butler Invitational in Indianapolis, Ind.
Team Standings After Round Three
Cincinnati – 820
Duke – 828
UNCG – 833
Augusta – 837
Virginia – 842
Auburn – 847
Rutgers – 849
West Virginia – 852
Ball State – 853
Kennesaw State – 859
Drexel – 861
Boston College – 862
Old Dominion – 881
Army West Point – 917
MEN’S TENNIS CRACKS TOP 75 NCAA/ITA NATIONAL RANKING
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State men’s tennis team cracked the 2023 top 75 NCAA/ITA national ranking list which was announced today by the office of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
The Cardinals checked in at No. 74 and was the lone Mid-American Conference program to be ranked. More thank 250 schools compete in men’s tennis at the Division I level.
Ball State begins its journey out west for its spring break trip this Thursday as they face Nebraska at 2 pm ET in Lajolla, Calif. The Cardinals will also compete at the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship (March 2-March 5).
MEN’S VOLLEYBALL HOSTS CENTRAL STATE WEDNESDAY; HEADS OUT WEST FOR SPRING BREAK
No. 12 Ball State (9-5) vs Central State (8-11) Mar. 1, 6 pm ET (Muncie, Ind./Worthen Arena)
at No. 4 Long Beach State (8-2) Mar. 3, 10 pm ET
at UC San Diego (6-8) Mar. 5, 5 pm ET
Series History: Ball State leads the all-time series 2-0
Last meeting: Ball State 3, Central State 0 (3/28/06) in Muncie
Series History: Long Beach State leads the all-time series 15-4
Last meeting: Long Beach State 3, Ball State 1 (3/14/03) in Long Beach, Calif.
Series History: Ball State leads the all-time series 8-0
Last meeting: Ball State 3, UC San Diego 0 in Lajolla, Calif.
CRUZ’S FIRST MEMORABLE SEASON: The Cardinals are looking to build off a historic 2022 season which saw Donan Cruz, in his first year at the helm, lead Ball State to a 23-4 overall record and the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Men’s Volleyball Championship. BSU was also ranked third in the final NVA/AVCA Men’s Division I-II Coaches Poll: the highest ranking in program history. Ball State was also the 2022 Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season and tournament champions. Cruz was named the 2022 AVCA Coach of the Year last season and MIVA Coach of the Year.
SCOUTING CENTRAL STATE: The Marauders come to Ball State for the first time since the 2006 season when the Cardinals beat Central State by a score of 3-0 on March 28 in Worthen Arena. So far this season, the Marauders own an 8-11 over mark. Central State comes to Muncie after beating Benedict College in a 3-0 sweep in Columbia, SC, Feb. 25. The Marauders have also faced fellow Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) opponent Ohio State resulting in a 3-0 loss for Central State in Columbus, Ohio, Jan. 5. The Marauders are led by Cameron Lee with 216 total kills while averaging 3.09 kills per contest.
SCOUTING NO. 4 LONG BEACH STATE AND UC SAN DIEGO: The Cardinals will head out west to face No. 4 Long Beach State and UC San Diego this weekend. It has been 20 years since Ball State has played Long Beach State. Recently Long Beach State earned back-to-back 3-0 sweeps at home in Walter Pyramid versus NJIT. Similar opponents that Ball State and Long Beach State have faced thus far this season were MIVA member Loyola Chicago, resulting in a 3-2 win for Long Beach State, Feb. 3 in Long Beach, Calif. Long Beach is led offensively by Sotiris Siapanis with 107 total kills while averaging 3.15 kills per set. After Long Beach State, the Cardinals will continue their two matches in the state of California when Ball State plays at UC San Diego which is also a member of the Big West Conference along with Long Beach State. The 6-8 Triton’s recently fell to No. 14 CSUN 1-3 at home at LionTree Arena. Ball State has won all eight matches it has played in the past against UC San Diego. The Tritons are led by Ryan Ka with 166 total kills while averaging 3.69 kills per set.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: – Ball State swept its long MIVA road weekend last week after posting a 3-2 thriller at Lindenwood and then a 3-0 sweep Saturday against Quincy. Kaleb Jenness led the Cardinals charge once again totaling 36 kills in two matches while averaging 4.50 kills per set. Jenness also hit .380 from the floor and had 17 defensive digs along with one block solo and a service ace.
NDAVAZOCHEVA EARNS MIVA OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK & OFF THE BLOCK NATIONAL HONORS: Sophomore Tinaishe Ndavazocheva of the ninth-ranked Ball State men’s volleyball team has earned his first career weekly honor for the Cardinals after being named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Offensive Player of the Week. Ndavazocheva gave Ball State its first win over a ranked foe this week, splitting a two-match series with No. 11 BYU. The sophomore from Masvingo, Zimbabwe finished his week with 43 kills, averaging 5.38 per set. He was efficient with his offense, hitting over .300 in both matches and averaging .393 for the week. The outside hitter also added a pair of aces. Ndavazocheva was also recognized by Off The Block as the nation’s Outside Attacker of the Week.
CARDINAL STANDOUTS RETURN: The Cardinals return veterans outside attacker Kaleb Jenness and middle blocker Felix Egharevba. Jenness has been tabbed preseason All-MIVA three straight seasons. Last year, Jenness was tabbed the MIVA Player of the Year and the MIVA Tournament MVP while also tallying First Team All-MIVA honors. Jenness was also tabbed as First Team NVA/AVCA All-American. Egharevba, a force to be reckoned with on defense, Egharevba was tabbed to the All-MIVA Second Team for the second time in his career. Last year Egharevba also earned NVA/AVCA All-American Honorable Mention. He ended last season as the 2021-22 NCAA Division NC statistical champion for blocks per set (1.41).
NEXT GAME: The Cardinals continue their journey out west Wednesday, March 8 in Phoenix, Ariz. against Grand Canyon Univeristy at 10 pm ET. After that, Ball State returns to Worthen Arena to face one of its longest MIVA rivals Ohio State for Club Volleyball Night. The Cardinals will be recognizing Munciana’s 50 year anniversary during that match.
NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS
NIELE IVEY NAMED 2023 ACC COACH OF THE YEAR
GREENSBORO, N.C. — In just her third season at the helm, Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey is the ACC Coach of the Year.
Ivey led her No. 10 Notre Dame team to a 24-4 overall record in the regular season, a 15-3 mark in the ACC and a regular season ACC title. It is Notre Dame’s seventh championship of the sort and first since 2019.
“I am truly thrilled that Niele is this year’s ACC Coach of the Year,” Associate Head Coach Carol Owens said. “In three short years, Notre Dame has become one of the nation’s elite programs, and it’s a testament to the tireless effort she has put into leading this team. The work she has done with our group through all of the adversity has been absolutely amazing!”
Notre Dame had several notable victories this year under Ivey’s leadership. The Irish knocked off rival UConn at home in early December before opening up ACC play with a road win against Virginia Tech. Both the Huskies and the Hokies remain top-10 teams in the most recent AP Poll.
After the winter holiday, Notre Dame continued finding ways to win against conference foes. The Irish battled back in games against Clemson and Florida State and won in hostile environments like Syracuse and Louisville. Notre Dame’s 83-43 win at Pittsburgh on Feb. 19 and 76-53 victory over Georgia Tech four days later was the first time the Irish have won back-to-back ACC games by 20+ points since 2019.
In addition to the big wins, Ivey and her staff have overcome interruptions brought by several injuries. Dara Mabrey suffered a season-ending knee injury against Virginia, Lauren Ebo was out for five games with a lower body injury, and Olivia Miles went down with a knee injury on Sunday at Louisville. In the face of adversity, Ivey challenged each member of her team to step up. They answered the call and brought the ACC trophy home from Louisville as a result.
Ivey and Co., will look to win the ACC Tournament this weekend for the first time since 2019. The Irish have not been to the title game since that season either. It would be the first championship appearance under Ivey’s tutelage, although she made five as an assistant coach.
Notre Dame also had four players earn All-ACC honors; Miles and Sonia Citron made the First Team, Maddy Westbeld is a member of the Second Team, and KK Bransford made the All-ACC First Team.
MILES, CITRON, WESTBELD AND BRANSFORD EARN POSTSEASON ACC HONORS
GREENSBORO, N.C. — After going 24-4 and winning a regular season title for the first time since 2019, four Notre Dame women’s basketball players have earned postseason ACC honors.
Olivia Miles — All-ACC First Team
Miles finished just behind Virginia Tech’s Elizabeth Kitley for the ACC Player of the Year award, but she earned a spot on the First Team for the second time. The 5-10 guard out of New Jersey leads the Irish to this point in rebounds (7.2), assists (6.9) and steals (2.1) per game. Until this weekend, she was also the leading scorer and still remains second in that category (14.3).
The sophomore is also all over the national map. On Monday, she was announced as one of five finalists for the 2023 Nancy Lieberman Award, which is given to the nation’s best point guard. She has also recently been named to the Dawn Staley Award Late Season Watch List, Naismith Midseason Watch List and Wooden Watch List. She earned the No. 4 spot on ESPN’s Top 25 Players List in November, and Miles was named the ACC Player of the Week Dec. 5 and Dec. 19.
Sonia Citron — All-ACC First Team
Last season’s ACC Rookie of the Year finds herself earning top honors once again. Citron leads Notre Dame with 14.5 points per game and is also good for 5.5 boards and 2.3 assists each contest. She had an eye-popping day at Louisville on Sunday, scoring 27 (a season-high) and making multiple critical defensive stops. She has posted at least 24 points in three games this year, which is the most of any Irish player.
Citron has been seemingly near-automatic from 3-point range this year. She hits nearly half of her shot attempts from deep (45.1 percent) and she had a 48.1 percent success rate from behind the arc at home. Citron nearly broke a school record against Virginia when she hit her first six 3-point shot attempts.
Maddy Westbeld — All-ACC First Team
Westbeld can truly do it all, and she showed that on several occasions this season. In addition to leading the team in blocks and recording a career-high 35 of them this year, Westbeld puts up 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. She is just a single point shy of 1,000 career points in an Irish uniform. She has also improved greatly in the assist category, averaging 2.4 a game and leading Notre Dame in the assist category seven times this season. She had never led the team in assists in a game prior to this year.
A forward who can also shoot from deep, she has been critical to Notre Dame’s offense, particularly since Dara Mabrey went down with a season-ending knee injury. Westbeld is shooting 35.7 percent from deep on the year. She has hit at least a pair of treys in six games.
Westbeld missed the All-ACC cutoff last season, but she was the 2021 ACC Rookie of the Year. She began this season on the Katrina McClain Award Watch List Award, which is given to the country’s top forward.
KK Bransford — All-ACC Freshman Team
Just 24 hours after being named ACC Rookie of the Week and a couple hours after earning USBWA Freshman of the Week honors for performances against Georgia Tech and Louisville, Bransford is one of five freshmen to earn a spot on the rookie team.
In total this year, Bransford has brought valuable depth to Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey’s roster. She played in all 28 games and made seven starts while center Lauren Ebo recovered from injury. Bransford has put up 12 performances with 10+ points and four games with 6+ rebounds.
When coming off the bench, no other freshman in the ACC has been as dominant. Bransford leads the league with 65 made field goals and 50 made free throws in a non-starting role. Her 8.6 points per game off the bench is second in the conference.
BRANSFORD GRABS ANOTHER HONOR, NAMED USBWA FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — After earning ACC Rookie of the Week honors on Monday, Notre Dame’s KK Bransford has been named the USBWA Freshman of the Week.
Bransford, a 5-11 guard out of Cincinnati, started the week with 10 points against Georgia Tech in a 76-53 home victory. She went 5-for-7 from the floor over nearly 19 minutes of play.
On Sunday, the rookie had a career day at Louisville. Bransford had 14 points via 7 buckets. The latter mark was a career-high. Bransford approached her career-high in minutes with nearly 31, as her time on the court increased in the absence of point guard Olivia Miles. She left with a knee injury in the second quarter. Bransford’s willingness to flock to the basket — she had 3 rebounds as well — helped Notre Dame beat Louisville, 68-65. The Irish walked away with a regular season ACC title.
Overall on the week, Bransford went 12-for-18 from the field (.667) with 4 rebounds and a pair of assists. Her 12 points a game over those two contests was tied for the ACC lead amongst freshmen last week.
In total this year, Bransford has brought valuable depth to Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Niele Ivey’s roster. She played in all 28 games and made seven starts while center Lauren Ebo recovered from injury. Bransford has put up 12 performances with 10+ points and four games with 6+ rebounds.
When coming off the bench, no other freshman in the ACC has been as dominant. Bransford leads the league with 65 made field goals and 50 made free throws in a non-starting role. Her 8.6 points per game off the bench is second in the conference.
PURDUE FT. WAYNE ATHLETICS
MOVING ON! ‘DONS HEADED TO #HLWBB QUARTERFINAL AFTER 65-61 WIN OVER DETROIT MERCY
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Sixth-seeded Purdue Fort Wayne women’s basketball took down No. 11 seed Detroit Mercy 65-61 in the 2023 Barbasol Horizon League Championship First Round on Tuesday (Feb. 28) in the Gates Sports Center. Tuesday’s conference tournament victory was the first for the Mastodons as a member of the Horizon League and the first conference tournament win in 10 years.
The Mastodons led from the jump, racing out to an early 7-2 lead. Purdue Fort Wayne shot a blistering 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from the floor, while also connecting on 3-of-6 3-point attempts in the opening period. Detroit Mercy was able to keep pace with the Mastodons, as the Titans connected on 10-of-20 field goal attempts through the game’s first 10 minutes.
Purdue Fort Wayne was able to extend its lead to as many as 13 points in the second stanza as the Mastodons forced eight Titan turnovers and a 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) effort from the floor. A 3-pointer by visiting Detroit Mercy at the horn sent the ‘Dons into the intermission with a 40-30 lead.
Both teams traded runs in the fourth quarter. Detroit Mercy provided an initial surge, using an 11-0 run to claw to within a point, 54-53, with 5:57 left in regulation. The Mastodons then responded with a 7-0 run of their own led by five points from Audra Emmerson and a layup from Jazzlyn Linbo. The visiting Titans hit Purdue Fort Wayne with an 8-0 run in the game’s closing minutes to tie the game at 61. A 3-pointer by Amaya Burch knotted the score with 23.2 seconds left in regulation.
Following a Mastodon timeout, Destinee Marshall converted a driving right-handed layup to give the lead right back to the ‘Dons with 11.7 seconds left in regulation. The ‘Dons’ defense stood tall on their final defensive possession and Amellia Bromenschenkel iced the game with a pair of free throws with three seconds left on the clock.
For the game, Purdue Fort Wayne shot 24-of-55 (43.6 percent) from the field while also connecting on 7-of-17 3-point field goal attempts (41.2 percent). Emmerson finished with a game-high 16 points to lead the Mastodons. Linbo added 12 points while Marshall and Bromenschenkel each added nine points.
The Mastodons forced 24 Titan turnovers and came away with 13 steals in Tuesday’s win. Purdue Fort Wayne converted those 24 turnovers into 32 points.
Purdue Fort Wayne (13-18) will advance to the Horizon League Quarterfinals on Thursday (March 2) for matchup at No. 3 seed IUPUI. Game time against the Jaguars is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Jungle.
MASTODONS DROP #HLMBB FIRST ROUND CONTEST AT DETROIT MERCY
DETROIT – Bobby Planutis finished with 20 points in Purdue Fort Wayne’s 81-68 loss at Detroit Mercy in the First Round of the 2023 Barbasol Horizon League Men’s Basketball Championship on Tuesday (Feb. 28) evening at Calihan Hall.
The Mastodons were hurt in the first half by two quick fouls for Damian Chong Qui and Anthony Roberts. The ‘Dons went to the break down eight at 34-26. Planutis led the ‘Dons with 10 points in the first half.
Purdue Fort Wayne trailed 41-36 with 16:08 left in the game after five consecutive points by Jarred Godfrey. The game then shifted on a 14-0 Detroit Mercy run. The Titans made three 3-pointers in the stretch to put the game away.
Planutis finished with six rebounds to go with his team-high 20 points. Roberts scored 15 points. Chong Qui added 12 points. Godfrey scored seven points to bring his program-best career total to 2,164. He also had six assists in the game.
Antoine Davis scored 38 points for the Titans.
Purdue Fort Wayne shot 38.3 percent (23-of-60). Detroit finished at 47.5 percent (29-of-61).
Detroit improves to 14-18. The ‘Dons fall to 17-15.
MARK FRAZIER NAMED MIVA DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Mark Frazier of the Purdue Fort Wayne men’s volleyball team was selected as the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association’s Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday (Feb. 28).
Frazier led Purdue Fort Wayne to a pair of wins over McKendree and Lewis. Frazier had 18 digs and 12 blocks this week for an average of 2.25 digs and 1.50 blocks per set. The sophomore opposite had eight digs and six blocks at McKendree then 10 digs and six blocks against Lewis. This is Frazier’s first Player of the Week award.
Frazier is the third Mastodon to be named the MIVA Defensive Player of the Week. No other school has more than one representative this season.
Frazier and the Mastodons hit the road to play at No. 9 Loyola Chicago on Saturday (March 4).
BASEBALL LOOKS TO EXTEND WIN STREAK WEDNESDAY AT SEMO
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville baseball team will look to extend its winning streak to three games on Wednesday afternoon, as the Purple Aces will travel to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to battle preseason Ohio Valley Conference favorite Southeast Missouri State in a mid-week contest. First-pitch is now set for 1 p.m. to try and avoid rain on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s game will feature the respective Players of the Week in the Missouri Valley Conference and OVC. Evansville fifth-year first baseman Chase Hug earned MVC Player of the Week honors on Monday after slashing .667/1.083/.778 in UE’s four games last week, while helping power the Purple Aces to a series victory over Eastern Michigan. Meanwhile, SEMO outfielder Josh Cameron was named OVC Player of the Week on Monday after hitting .471 with three home runs, two triples, a double and six RBI in five starts for the Redhawks.
Evansville will enter Wednesday’s game at 2-5 overall after winning the last two games of a weekend series against Eastern Michigan. The Purple Aces rallied for nine runs in the eighth inning on Saturday to pick up its first win of 2023, 9-7, over Eastern Michigan. Junior catcher Brendan Hord then hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning on Sunday to help UE to a 5-3 victory over the Eagles.
SEMO, meanwhile, will bring a 2-6 overall record into the Redhawks’ home-opener. The Redhawks exploded for a 23-2 seven-inning victory in game two of a Saturday doubleheader at Abilene Christian to snap a four-game skid, but ACU swept a Sunday twinbill by scores of 7-4 and 5-4 to win the series. Southeast Missouri State is the reigning OVC Tournament champions and the Redhawks posted a 23-2 overall record at home last season.
Evansville will start freshman RHP Max Hansmann (1-0, 10.80 ERA) on Wednesday.
HOWE EARNS MVC AWARD AS ACES RECEIVE VOTES IN NATIONAL POLL
ST. LOUIS – University of Evansville freshman Taylor Howe was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week on Tuesday as the Purple Aces earned national recognition.
Opening the season at 13-1, Evansville received two votes in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll. It marked the first time in over 20 years that the program received votes.
Having a major impact on that start has been Taylor Howe, who earned her first MVC accolade.
Howe batted .389 with seven hits, six RBI, four runs and three doubles in a 5-0 weekend for the Purple Aces. Howe reached base 45.0% of the time and picked up a steal in her lone attempt of the weekend.
Picking up a hit in the weekend opener versus Purdue Fort Wayne, Howe opened the scoring with a steal of home in a 3-2 win. She added a 3-4 effort in Friday’s match-up versus St. Thomas where she posted two RBI. Included in that tally was a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded in the 6th inning. Howe recorded another 3-hit afternoon in Sunday’s comeback win over Bowling Green. She added four RBI, three runs and two doubles.
Her biggest hit of the weekend came in the 7th inning. With her team trailing 9-6 and the bases loaded with no outs, Howe hit a bases-clearing double to tie the game before UE won later in the inning.
MAC CHAMPIONSHIPS BEGIN WEDNESDAY FOR MEN’S SWIMMING & DIVING
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville men’s swimming & diving team will travel to Oxford, Ohio this week looking to replicate the success UE had at last year’s Mid-American Conference Championships, as the 2023 version of the conference meet will begin on Wednesday night at 5 p.m. central time.
“We are really looking forward to this week,” said UE head coach Stuart Wilson. “This is what we have been training for all season, and it will be good to be able to go out and just lay it all on the line. The men have been working hard since our last meet, and now will be the time to let that hard work pay off.”
Last year, Evansville broke a school record 13 different times in a four-day span, and current junior Alon Baer (Gesher HaZiv, Israel) and sophomore Patrik Vilbergsson (Kopavogur, Iceland) earned All-MAC honors. Now, six individuals who helped set six individual school records and four relay school records last year return to help lead Evansville into the 2023 MAC Championships.
Baer set both the 100- and 200-Yard Breaststroke school records at last year’s MAC Championships, and posted an NCAA ‘B-Cut’ in the 100 Breast on his way to All-MAC honors last March. This year, Baer has been undefeated in both races – minus his competition at the Toyota U.S. Open Championships – and enters the week having posted the fastest 200 Breast time in the MAC, while ranking third-fastest in the 100 Breast.
Vilbergsson, meanwhile, ranks in the MAC’s top 10 in both the 100- and 200-Yard Backstroke events this year, and set the UE school record in the 1,650 Freestyle at last year’s MAC Championships. He traded the 1,000-Yard Freestyle school record with junior Jackson Caudill (Mt. Sterling, Ky./Montgomery County) at last year’s MAC Championships, and Caudill returns this year ranked in the MAC’s top five in both the 1,000 and 1,650 Free this year.
Senior Riccardo Di Domenico (Johannesburg, South Africa) was a part of four relay records for UE last year, and this season, he broke a more-than-20-year-old record in the 100-Yard Freestyle for UE. Sophomore Daniel Santos Lopez (Madrid, Spain) was also a key part of UE’s relay success last season, and this year, ranks as the fourth-fastest MAC swimmer in the 100-Yard Butterfly, as he set a school record with a time of 48.00 earlier this season. Sophomore Jakob Grundbacher (Thalwil, Switzerland) also returns after helping UE break school records in the relays last March.
The MAC Championships will feature competitors from seven schools this year, with Evansville joining the likes of Ball State, Miami (OH), Missouri State, Southern Illinois, UIC and Valparaiso at the championships. Wednesday’s action will begin at 5 p.m. central time with the 200-Yard Medley Relay. Then, approximately 30 minutes later, the 800-Yard Freestyle Relay will conclude the first day of action. Free video streaming will be available from the MAC’s main website – getsomemaction.com.
SOUTHERN INDIANA ATHLETICS
POLAKOVICH AND SWOPE EARN OVC HONORS
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Men’s Basketball senior forward Jacob Polakovich (Grand Rapids, Michigan) and sophomore guard Isaiah Swope (Newburgh, Indiana) were honored with All-Ohio Valley Conference post-season honors today. Polakovich and Swope were named to the ten player first-team after being selected by the OVC head coaches and the communications directors.
The post-season conference honor is the second for Polakovich, who was named first team All-GLVC last year and the first for Swope.
Polakovich, the NCAA Division I leader in total rebounds (371), leads the Screaming Eagles and OVC with 12.8 rebounds per games. He also is averaging a double-double with 12.8 points per contest.
The senior forward has had 14 double-doubles, four games of 20-or-more rebounds, and 20 double-figure rebound contests. The three-time OVC Player of the Week had a season-best 27 points and 26 rebounds in his OVC-debut versus Southeast Missouri State University.
Swope earns his first-team honor after averaging a team-high 15.6 points per game, while dishing a team-high 3.6 assists and grabbing 2.5 rebounds per contest. The sophomore guard has reached double-digits in scoring in 23 of his 29 games this season and is averaging 24.8 points in the last four games of the regular season.
Polakovich, Swope, and the Eagles (16-15) starts their first NCAA I post-season run Wednesday in the OVC Tournament as the seventh seed at the Ford Center. USI is set to play Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the sixth seed, in the 9 p.m. contest.
WOMEN’S BASKETBALL BACK HOME TO TAKE ON MURRAY STATE
Valparaiso (7-20, 5-13 MVC)
Game #28 – March 2, 2023 – 6 p.m.
Murray State (13-14, 6-12 MVC)
Athletics-Recreation Center (5,000) – Valparaiso, Ind.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valpo women’s basketball team returns to the ARC for the final weekend of the regular season, with its eyes on moving up the MVC standings heading into Hoops in the Heartland. The Beacons open weekend play on Thursday evening when they welcome Murray State to the ARC for the first time.
Previously: Looking to make it four consecutive road victories, Valpo led MVC co-leader Illinois State in Normal, Ill. at the end of the first quarter on Saturday afternoon, but the host Redbirds pulled away over the next three periods to earn a 78-49 victory. Ali Saunders paced Valpo with 12 points, while Jayda Johnston scored 10 off the bench.
Following Valpo Basketball: Streaming Video: ESPN+
Streaming Audio: Via YouTube
Links for live coverage: Available via ValpoAthletics.com
Head Coach Mary Evans: Mary Evans is in her fifth year at the helm of the program in 2022-23 and owns a record of 55-88. Evans has made an impact on the program in her first four years, raising the team’s level of play to be competitive in a strong Missouri Valley Conference. Evans’ preferred style of play has been a big part of the program’s turnaround, as Valpo has led the MVC in 3-pointers made per game in each of the last three seasons and in steals per game in two of the last three years.
Series Notes: The all-time series between Valpo and Murray State consists of exactly one game, as the two teams met on the hardwood for the first time earlier this season on New Year’s Day in Murray, Ky. The Beacons were within three points at the start of the fourth quarter of that contest, but the Racers pulled away in the final period for a 67-48 victory. Olivia Brown scored a team-high 15 points in that game, while Leah Earnest contributed eight points and 10 rebounds.
– Valpo was picked to finish in 10th place in the MVC preseason poll, totaling 197 points, just 10 points behind Evansville.
– Valpo is in its sixth season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference.
– The Valley was ranked 10th in conference NET last year, was ranked seventh nationally in conference NET in 2020-21 and was eighth nationally in conference RPI in 2019-20.
…at Illinois State
– After surrendering the first six points of the game, Valpo scored the next seven to set the stage for an opening quarter which featured five lead changes.
– The Beacons scored the final five points of the period in the final minute to take an 18-14 lead at the end of one.
– Valpo and Illinois State were tied at 25-25 late in the second quarter before the Redbirds closed the half on an 11-2 run to lead 36-27 at intermission.
– Valpo was held to one field goal over the first 7:50 of the third quarter as Illinois State pulled out to a 56-35 lead with 10 minutes to play. The Beacons were unable to get closer than 18 points in the final quarter.
– After shooting better than 50% in each of their previous two games, the Beacons hit just 34.7% (17-of-49) from the field and were just 7-of-29 from 3-point range.
– Valpo did hold Illinois State to 39.7% shooting from the floor (25-of-63), but the Redbirds hit 11 3-pointers — a season high for a Valpo opponent in MVC play. The Redbirds also committed nine fewer turnovers than the Beacons.
– Ali Saunders paced Valpo with 12 points and dished out a game-best six assists to set a career high.
– Jayda Johnston joined Saunders in double figures, scoring 10 points to reach double digits for the third time this season.
– Leah Earnest and Emma Tecca shared team-high honors with five rebounds each. Tecca’s five boards were her season best and matched her career high from her time at Akron.
– Valpo led 16-15 at the end of the first quarter and held Bradley to eight second-quarter points to extend its lead to 33-23 at intermission.
– Bradley got to within seven in the third quarter, but the Beacons ended the period on a 10-2 run to push its advantage to its apex at 53-37 with 10 minutes to play.
– Valpo scored 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor in the final period, but needed every bit of it, as Bradley poured in 35 points on 14-of-18 shooting over the final 10 minutes.
– The Braves outscored Valpo 10-2 over a three-minute stretch to close to within one possession at 68-65 with 1:31 to go. Ali Saunders hit Olivia Brown for a layup with 1:08 to play to make it a five-point game, but on the other end, Bradley’s Ruba Abo Hashesh hit from deep to cut the lead to 70-68.
– Valpo ran the shot clock down on its next possession and got Leah Earnest in an iso at the top of the key, and the junior drove past her defender for a one-handed layup to make it 72-68 with 22.6 seconds remaining. Bradley scored inside on each of its next two possessions, but both times Valpo hit a pair of free throws — first Earnest, then Saunders — to keep the Braves from possessing with a chance to tie or take the lead.
– Valpo shot a season-best 53.2% from the field in Thursday’s win. The Beacons have hit at better than 50% in each of the last two games after doing so just twice in the first 24 games of the season.
– This marks the first time Valpo has shot 50% or better in consecutive games since doing so against Bradley and Illinois State last February.
– It was a balanced team effort on Thursday, as no player played more than 31 minutes and nine played at least 15 minutes. All nine of those players scored, with six of them scoring six or more points.
– Leading the way offensively were Brown and Saunders, who shared game-high honors with 17 points. Brown paced Valpo for the third straight game in the scoring column, going 6-of-8 from the floor and a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line.
– Saunders scored in double figures for the 15th time with her 17-point effort, missing just once from the floor (6-7 FG; 2-3 3PT; 3-3 FT). The freshman also tied for team-high honors with four assists and committed just one turnover.
– Earnest’s four clutch points in the final minute of play bumped her game total to 11 points, as she scored in double figures for a team-best 17th time this season. The junior also pulled down five rebounds.
– The regular season wraps up at the ARC Saturday afternoon on Senior Day as the Beacons host Belmont.
– Hoops in the Heartland begins Thursday, March 9 in Moline, Ill.
…at the ARC
– Thursday’s game is the 14th of 15 home games this season for Valpo and the ninth home MVC game.
– The Beacons are 3-10 at home so far this year and went 6-7 in home games last season.
– Murray State enters Thursday’s game with a 13-14 overall record this season and a 6-12 mark in MVC play.
– The Racers are just 1-7 in conference road games in their first season in the Valley.
– Murray State fell to Drake (97-71) and UNI (76-46) last weekend.
– The Racers are led by MVC Player of the Year candidate Katelyn Young, who leads the Valley, averaging 21.6 points/game to go with 7.9 rebounds/game. Macey Turley (12.0 points/game) and Hannah McKay (10.0 points/game) also average in double figures in the scoring column.
A Look at the Standings
– With just two games to go in the regular season, seeding for Hoops in the Heartland is up in the air up and down the MVC standings, and Valpo’s eventual placement is no exception.
– The Beacons, currently tied for 10th, can finish as anywhere from the eight seed through the 11 seed, meaning three out of Thursday’s four first-round games in Moline are still potential landing spots.
– Head-to-head ties at the end of the regular season with either Indiana State or Evansville would break in Valpo’s favor – both season series were split, and then comparing results against the top down in the final standings would give Valpo the advantage in both cases by virute of its win over Missouri State.
– A head-to-head tie with Murray State would depend on which team of Belmont (who Murray State beat this season) or Missouri State finished higher in the standings, or potentially having to go further down the standings to break the deadlock.
– Valpo would not come out on the bottom of any three or four-way tie.
KRIKKE CONTINUES AWARDS HAUL WITH MVC MOST-IMPROVED TEAM NOD
Ben Krikke (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada / Jasper Place) was already a high-level player prior to the 2022-23 season, but this year his play reached a whole new level for the Valparaiso University men’s basketball team.
By virtue of making another giant step forward, Krikke was tabbed to the Missouri Valley Conference Most-Improved Team for the second time in his career as that squad was released by the league office on Tuesday. This came a day after the 6-foot-9 forward was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team for the third consecutive season.
Entering the State Farm MVC Tournament, Krikke boasts a league-leading scoring average of 19.6 points per game overall. In league play, he finished as the MVC scoring king at 21.0 ppg.
Krikke, who was previously tabbed to the Most-Improved Team following the 2020-21 campaign, was also recently named College Sports Communicators Academic All-District for the second time in his career. His long list of honors also includes All-MVC Third Team accolades each of the last two seasons. He ranks eighth on the program’s all-time scoring list and also sits in eighth place on the program’s single-season scoring list. Twice this season he earned MVC Player of the Week accolades.
Krikke increased his scoring average by 5.4 points per game from last season while upping his rebounding average by 1.4 boards per contest and has 20 more assists in just two more games. He also improved his field-goal percentage, 3-point percentage, offensive rebound total, and blocked shot total from last year.
Krikke increased his conference-only scoring average by 6.4 points per game as well. He is set to become just the third MVC player since 2005 to average at least 17 points and five boards while shooting better than 75 percent from the line and 50 percent from the floor, joining Missouri State’s Isiaih Mosley and Creighton’s Doug McDermott.
This is the fifth straight season that Valpo has boasted at least one member of the MVC Most-Improved Team, with the Beacons notching five honorees in that span – Derrik Smits (2018-19), Javon Freeman-Liberty (2019-20), Mileek McMillan (2019-20), Krikke (2020-21), Sheldon Edwards (2021-22) and Krikke (2022-23). Krikke becomes Valpo’s first two-time MVC Most-Improved Team recipient.
The all-conference teams and other league awards will be announced at Wednesday night’s awards banquet in St. Louis. The Beacons will begin the conference tournament on Thursday night at 6 p.m. vs. Murray State.
MVC All-Bench Team
Ja’Shon Henry, Bradley (captain)
Sardaar Calhoun, Drake
Ja’Kobi Gillespie, Belmont
Chance Moore, Missouri State
Landon Wolf, UNI
MVC Most-Improved Team
Tytan Anderson, UNI (captain)
Darnell Brodie, Drake
Ben Krikke, Valparaiso
Malevy Leons, Bradley
Zek Montgomery, Bradley
BEACONS, RACERS TO REMATCH IN MVC TOURNAMENT OPENER
Valparaiso (11-20, 5-15 MVC)
vs. Murray State (16-14, 11-9 MVC)
Game No. 32 – Thursday, March 2, 6 p.m. CT
Enterprise Center (8,476 lower bowl; 16,502 full) – St. Louis, Mo.
Next Up in Valpo Basketball: The Valparaiso University men’s basketball team will open the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday night in St. Louis in a rematch with Murray State after the two teams closed out the regular season against one another. Valpo is the No. 10 seed in the 12-team event, while Murray State is the No. 7 seed. Both of the regular-season matchups between these two teams required overtime to determine a victor.
Dec. 4 – Murray State 77, Valpo 70 (OT): Valpo received a then career-high 31 points from Ben Krikke and led by as many as 10 during the first home conference game of the season, but visiting Murray State raced back for a 77-70 overtime victory. Valpo led for much of the first half, but the second half was a seesaw battle in a game that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes. Jerome Palm had a career-high 10 rebounds off the bench, while Quinton Green (18) and Kobe King (11) also tallied in double figures in the scoring column.
Feb. 26 – Murray State 77, Valpo 76 (OT): In a game that unfolded in similar fashion to the first matchup between the two teams, Valpo led by as many as 12 in the first half, but Murray State rallied to take a slim lead by the break. After a Kobe King dunk, the Beacons were up by five at 63-58 with 1:44 to go in regulation. The Racers eventually tied the game on a second-chance triple with seven seconds remaining, and scored the first five points of overtime. Valpo tied the game late in the extra session, but Ben Krikke was whistled for his fifth foul with 0.5 seconds remaining in OT, and Murray State made the first before missing the second intentionally to win the game. Krikke posted a game-high 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting.
Following the Beacons: Television – MVC TV Network (Bally Sports Midwest-Kansas City Extra, Bally Sports Indiana Extra, Bally Sports Extra in Kentucky, Bally Sports Southeast and NBC Sports Chicago Plus) – Scott Warmann (play-by-play) and Kevin Lehman (analyst)
Streaming – ESPN+ – available is some states but subject to local blackouts
MVC Radio – KTRS 550 AM St. Louis – Brendan Wiese (play-by-play) and Rich Zvosec (analyst)
Radio – 95.1 FM, WVUR, ValpoAthletics.com, TuneIn Radio App – Todd Ickow (play-by-play) and Paul Oren (analyst)
Twitter updates – @ValpoBasketball
Links for video, audio and live stats will be available at ValpoAthletics.com.
Head Coach Matt Lottich: Matt Lottich (108-116) is in his seventh season as the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2022-2023. Twice during his tenure, Valpo has upset Top-25 opponents, defeating Drake and Rhode Island at the ARC. Valpo has four wins over AP Top 25 teams in program history, and two have come under Lottich. In 2019-2020, Valpo became the first team in the history of Arch Madness, the annual Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in St. Louis, to reach the title game after playing in the opening round by winning three games in three days. Lottich, hired as the 22nd head coach of the Valpo men’s basketball program in April 2016, graduated from Stanford University in 2004 and New Trier High School (Illinois) in 2000.
Series Notes: This will mark the seventh all-time matchup between the two teams with the squads splitting the first six right down the middle. Murray State won both regular season matchups in overtime. Prior to the Racers joining The Valley this year, the most recent showdown between the two teams was Nov. 29, 2014, a 93-58 Valpo win as part of the Challenge in Music City in Nashville, Tenn.
Ain’t Nothin But a Heartache
Valpo went 0-7 in Missouri Valley Conference games that were decided by fewer than five points or went to overtime this season.
Nearly half of Valpo’s 15 Valley defeats came in those aforementioned close calls.
Valpo closed the regular season by losing seven of its last eight games, but five of those seven losses came by fewer than five points or in overtime.
Two of Valpo’s last three regular-season games were one-point road defeats – 74-73 at UIC on Feb. 19 and 77-76 in overtime at Murray State on Feb. 26.
The Beacons have been no stranger to overtime over the last two seasons, playing 11 OT affairs in that time including five this year. Valpo has dropped four straight games that have gone to the extra session and went 0-4 in OT games in Valley play.
Both matchups with Murray State went to overtime this season, making it the second straight year that Valpo had both showdowns with an opponent go to the extra session as it happened last year between Valpo and Illinois State. Prior to that, Valpo had not played multiple overtime games against the same opponent in a season since 1992-93 (UIC).
This marks the first time in program history Valpo has had two overtime losses to the same opponent in the same season.
Awards Keep Coming
Ben Krikke has added to his ever-growing trophy case over the past two weeks.
On Monday, Feb. 20, he was named MVC Player of the Week after averaging 29.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists over two games the previous week, shooting 61.1 percent from the floor (22-of-36), 40 percent from 3-point range (2-of-5) and 80 percent from the free-throw line (12-of-25).
This marked the second time this season and the third time in his career that Krikke has earned MVC Player of the Week laurels.
The big week continued on Tuesday, Feb. 21 when Krikke was named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District Team. He holds a 3.78 cumulative grade point average in finance. This marks the second time in his career that Krikke has earned Academic All-District from CSC, previously known as CoSIDA.
Speaking of academic accolades, Krikke was named to the MVC Scholar-Athlete First Team on Monday. He was the only member of the squad to earn the honor for the third consecutive year and was one of just five MVC players on the first team. The squad is selected based on voting from the league’s sports information directors, who consider both academic and athletic credentials.
The Conference’s Leading Scorer
Ben Krikke finished as the Missouri Valley Conference scoring king in league-only games at 21.0 points per game. Entering the league tournament, he also leads The Valley in overall scoring average at 19.6 ppg.
Krikke ranks among the league leaders in the following categories as well – rebounds per game (5.9, t-11th), field goal percentage (55.3, second), free-throw percentage (78.7, ninth) and blocked shots per game (0.9, ninth).
Krikke is the first Valpo player to lead the MVC in scoring and the first Valpo player to sit atop any league in scoring since Alec Peters paced the Horizon League at 23.0 ppg in 2016-17.
Kobe King ranks eighth in the league at 16.4 points per game, making Valpo the lone team in the league with two players who rank in the top 10 in scoring.
Valpo in St. Louis
The program’s history in the building now known as the Enterprise Center goes beyond the team’s four MVC Tournament appearances.
Valpo’s Sweet Sixteen game against Rhode Island in 1998 was played in the building, which was then known as the Kiel Center.
Valpo also appeared in the 2002 NCAA Tournament in St. Louis, but the first-round date with Kentucky was played at the Edward Jones Dome.
Head coach Matt Lottich played at Stanford from 2000-2004 and was part of the Cardinal team that participated in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament at the Edwards Jones Dome in 2002. His squad joined Valpo as two of the eight teams competing in St. Louis in the opening round of the tournament that year.
Scouting the Racers
Picked to finish eighth in the MVC Preseason poll, and exceeded expectations by finishing seventh.
Led in scoring by Rob Perry at 14.1 points per game.
Won three of their final four regular-season games with wins over Illinois State, Evansville and Valpo.
Under the direction of Steve Prohm, who is in the first season of his second stint at the helm.
FIVE HOUNDS HEADED TO INDOOR TRACK & FIELD NATIONALS
INDIANAPOLIS – The UIndy indoor track & field teams will be sending a total of five student-athletes to the 2023 NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships. Action is set for March 10-11 at the Virginia Beach Sports Center in Virginia Beach, Va.
The women’s team will be sending four athletes in Sabrina Robison (pole vault), Brittney Clark (pole vault), Ellie Lengerich (pentathlon), and Zoe Pentecost (weight throw). The men will have Treyton Arnold competing in the pole vault.
Listed below are where each athlete ranks among the field of competitors.
NAME RANK EVENT MARK
Zoe Pentecost 4th weight throw 20.10m
Sabrina Robison 5th pole vault 4.10m
Brittney Clark 8th pole vault 4.04m
Ellie Lengerich 14th pentathlon 3712
Treyton Arnold 15th pole vault 5.02m
WOMEN’S INDOOR TRACK & FIELD UP FOUR SPOTS IN USTFCCCA RATING INDEX
NEW ORLEANS – Fresh off a second-place finish at the 2023 GLVC Indoor Championships, the UIndy women’s indoor track & field team has moved up four spots to No. 20 in the recently released USTFCCCA Rating Index.
The Hounds jump up after earning 41.40 points and sit as the only recognized GLVC team. Minnesota State still holds the top spot while West Texas A&M, Adams State, Grand Valley State, and Pittsburg State sit in second through fifth, respectively.
This past weekend at the GLVC Indoor Championships, the women’s team claimed five individual gold medals. Sabrina Robison (pole vault), Ailliyah Reese (60 meter hurdles), Ellie Lengerich (pentathlon), Zoe Pentecost (weight throw), and Melissa Spencer (5000 meters) all won their respective event with Robison and Lengerich each setting new school records.
The Hounds will now prepare for the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships set for March 10-11 in Virginia Beach, Va.
SOFTBALL CONTINUES ASCENT OF COACHES POLL
LOUISVILLE, Ky.—The UIndy softball team climbed three spots in the latest NFCA Division II Coaches Poll, released Tuesday. The Greyhound earned a share of 11th in the weekly rankings after a perfect 4-0 stinch at the Blue Bridge Battle over the weekend.
The Hounds are tied for 11th with Alabama Huntsville, a team they defeated, 11-8, earlier this month. UIndy remains the only GLVC team in the top 25, with Illinois Springfield among the “others receiving votes”. Rogers State once again received all 16 first-place votes as the unanimous No. 1.
NFCA DII COACHES POLL
|RK||TEAM (1st-place votes)||PTS||REC||PREV|
|1.||Rogers State (16)||12-1||400||1|
|5.||Cal State San Marcos||10-3||330||6|
|8.||Grand Valley State||5-0||262||12|
|14.||Cal State Dominguez Hills||10-5||213||13|
|22.||West Texas A&M||15-0||61||RV|
Others receiving votes: Oklahoma Christian (19), Harding (17), Nova Southeastern (16), Wingate (5), Oklahoma Baptist (3), Angelo State (1), Carson-Newman (1), Illinois-Springfield (1).
GREYHOUNDS MAINTAIN TOP-10 RANKING FOR SIXTH STRAIGHT WEEK
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The UIndy men’s basketball team maintained its top-10 ranking in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) poll on Tuesday, slipping three spots to No. 7 following its first loss in nearly three months over the weekend. It is the sixth straight week that the Hounds have been ranked inside the top 10.
The Greyhounds finished the regular season on a high note, earning a road win at Missouri S&T on Saturday. UIndy earned the top seed in the upcoming GLVC Championship Tournament, finishing 25-3 with a 17-3 mark in league action.
Sitting just one win shy of tying the program record in a single season, the Hounds tip with eighth-seeded Quincy on Thursday in St. Charles, Mo.
Nova Southeastern remained atop the coaches poll as the lone undefeated program in DII. Northwest Missouri claimed the final two first-place votes, while Indiana (PA) rounded out the top three for yet another week.
NABC DII Poll
|RK||SCHOOL (1st-place votes)||REC||PTS||PREV|
|1.||Nova Southeastern (14)||27-0||398||1|
|2.||Northwest Missouri State (2)||27-2||385||2|
|8.||Cal State San Bernardino||25-3||263||11|
|13.||Colorado School of Mines||24-4||199||15|
|16.||Black Hills State||24-4||180||10|
|20.||St. Thomas Aquinas||24-4||79||23|
|22.||West Texas A&M||22-6||62||25|
Others receiving votes: Alabama Huntsville 15, MSU Moorhead 13, Southern New Hampshire 4, Daemen 3, Emporia State 2, North Georgia 2, USC Aiken 2, Azusa Pacific 1, Ferris State 1, Fort Hays State 1.
POTTER TAKES RUNNER UP AS KNIGHTS FINISH SECOND AT SHOWDOWN AT LEGENDS
Myrtle Beach, SC – The Marian men’s golf team kicked off their spring season on a high note after finishing second with an overall team score of 890 at the Showdown at Legends in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The two-day event was hosted by Lindsey Wilson.
Lindsey Wilson finished first with a total score of 879, while the Knights finished with 890 to beat out two top-10 teams and take a second-place finish.
Leading the Knights individually was Nolan Potter who tied for first before falling in a four-hole playoff to finish runner up. Potter carded a 73 in his first two rounds, before finishing with a 70 in the final round for a total score of 216 to finish even. Marian’s second finisher was Brandon Heffner, who tied for 10th, turning in a final card of 82+71+71=224.
Marian had two more top-20 finishes as Weston Ogden and Patrick Guymon finished tied for 13th and tied for 19th, respectively. Ogden ended with 77+73+75=226, while Guymon scored 78+77+73=228. Augie Mann rounded out the Knights lineup, scoring 78+85+80=243.
The Knights will be back in action this weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida. Marian will golf in the Keiser Cup, hosted by Keiser University on March 5-7.
SMALL COLLEGE ATHLETIC SITES:
INDIANA WESLEYAN ATHLETICS: https://iwuwildcats.com/
EARLHAM ATHLETICS: https://goearlham.com/
WABASH ATHLETICS: https://sports.wabash.edu/
FRANKLIN ATHLETICS: https://franklingrizzlies.com/
ROSE-HULMAN ATHLETICS: https://athletics.rose-hulman.edu/
ANDERSON ATHLETICS: https://athletics.anderson.edu/landing/index
TRINE ATHLETICS: https://trinethunder.com/landing/index
BETHEL ATHLETICS: https://bupilots.com/
DEPAUW ATHLETICS: https://depauwtigers.com/
HANOVER ATHLETICS: https://athletics.hanover.edu/
MANCHESTER ATHLETICS: https://muspartans.com/
HUNTINGTON ATHLETICS: https://www.huathletics.com/
OAKLAND CITY ATHLETICS: https://gomightyoaks.com/index.aspx
ST. FRANCIS ATHLETICS: https://www.saintfranciscougars.com/landing/index
IU KOKOMO ATHLETICS: https://iukcougars.com/
IU EAST ATHLETICS: https://www.iueredwolves.com/
IU SOUTH BEND ATHLETICS: https://iusbtitans.com/
PURDUE NORTHWEST ATHLETICS: https://pnwathletics.com/
INDIANA TECH ATHLETICS: https://indianatechwarriors.com/index.aspx
GRACE COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://gclancers.com/
ST. MARY OF THE WOODS ATHLETICS: https://smwcathletics.com/
GOSHEN COLLEGE ATHLETICS: https://goleafs.net/
HOLY CROSS ATHLETICS: https://www.hcsaints.com/index.php
TAYLOR ATHLETICS: https://www.taylortrojans.com/
VINCENNES ATHLETICS: https://govutrailblazers.com/landing/index
|W||L||Pct||Conf GB||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Last 10||Streak|
|1 Milwaukee||44||17||.721||—||26-5||18-12||8-4||25-13||10-0||15 W|
|2 Boston||44||18||.710||0.5||24-7||20-11||9-2||27-13||7-3||1 L|
|3 Philadelphia||39||21||.650||4.5||24-10||15-11||7-6||22-15||6-4||2 L|
|4 Cleveland||39||25||.609||6.5||26-7||13-18||11-3||23-12||7-3||1 W|
|5 New York||36||27||.571||9.0||18-15||18-12||6-8||25-16||8-2||6 W|
|6 Brooklyn||34||27||.557||10.0||18-12||16-15||6-7||24-16||3-7||3 L|
|7 Miami||33||29||.532||11.5||19-10||14-19||7-4||16-19||4-6||1 W|
|8 Atlanta||31||31||.500||13.5||17-13||14-18||5-6||19-20||5-5||1 L|
|9 Toronto||31||32||.492||14.0||20-13||11-19||4-9||19-20||8-2||1 W|
|10 Washington||29||32||.475||15.0||14-13||15-19||7-3||16-19||5-5||1 W|
|11 Chicago||28||34||.452||16.5||18-13||10-21||5-7||22-21||3-7||1 L|
|12 Indiana||28||35||.444||17.0||18-15||10-20||4-5||19-18||4-6||2 W|
|13 Orlando||26||36||.419||18.5||15-16||11-20||3-8||13-26||6-4||1 W|
|14 Charlotte||20||43||.317||25.0||11-18||9-25||7-8||11-29||5-5||5 W|
|15 Detroit||15||47||.242||29.5||8-22||7-25||0-9||6-30||2-8||5 L|
|W||L||Pct||Conf GB||Home||Road||Div||Conf||Last 10||Streak|
|1 Denver||44||19||.698||—||28-4||16-15||10-5||31-12||7-3||2 W|
|2 Memphis||37||23||.617||5.5||26-5||11-18||6-2||19-16||5-5||2 W|
|3 Sacramento||36||25||.590||7.0||18-12||18-13||6-6||24-13||7-3||4 W|
|4 Phoenix||33||29||.532||10.5||21-10||12-19||9-1||22-15||6-4||1 L|
|5 Golden State||32||30||.516||11.5||25-7||7-23||4-7||20-15||6-4||3 W|
|6 LA Clippers||33||31||.516||11.5||15-15||18-16||6-5||19-19||4-6||3 L|
|7 Dallas||32||31||.508||12.0||20-12||12-19||8-2||24-17||4-6||2 L|
|8 Minnesota||32||32||.500||12.5||20-14||12-18||8-7||23-20||4-6||1 W|
|9 Utah||31||32||.492||13.0||20-13||11-19||5-6||21-19||4-6||1 L|
|10 New Orleans||30||32||.484||13.5||20-11||10-21||7-4||19-15||4-6||4 L|
|11 Portland||29||32||.475||14.0||17-14||12-18||5-8||21-18||4-6||1 L|
|12 LA Lakers||29||33||.468||14.5||15-14||14-19||3-9||16-21||5-5||1 L|
|13 Oklahoma City||28||33||.459||15.0||17-14||11-19||5-7||15-21||4-6||4 L|
|14 San Antonio||15||47||.242||28.5||9-21||6-26||2-8||6-32||1-9||1 W|
|15 Houston||13||48||.213||30.0||8-21||5-27||1-8||7-34||0-10||10 L|
Eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs.
X – Clinched Playoff Spot, Y – Clinched Division, Z – Clinched Conference
|1 Boston Bruins||60||47||8||5||99||45||226||129||24-2-3||23-6-2||9-1-0|
|2 Carolina Hurricanes||58||39||11||8||86||36||198||151||21-7-2||18-4-6||8-2-0|
|3 New Jersey Devils||59||39||15||5||83||38||208||157||18-11-2||21-4-3||7-2-1|
|4 Toronto Maple Leafs||60||37||15||8||82||37||207||158||23-6-4||14-9-4||7-3-0|
|5 Tampa Bay Lightning||60||37||19||4||78||35||213||180||22-5-3||15-14-1||5-3-2|
|6 New York Rangers||60||34||17||9||77||31||201||168||17-10-4||17-7-5||6-3-1|
|7 New York Islanders||64||31||25||8||70||31||184||176||18-11-3||13-14-5||4-3-3|
|8 Pittsburgh Penguins||60||30||21||9||69||29||195||191||16-9-4||14-12-5||5-5-0|
|9 Buffalo Sabres||59||31||24||4||66||30||223||208||12-16-2||19-8-2||5-5-0|
|10 Florida Panthers||62||30||26||6||66||28||214||214||16-9-3||14-17-3||6-4-0|
|11 Ottawa Senators||60||30||26||4||64||28||189||188||18-12-2||12-14-2||6-3-1|
|12 Detroit Red Wings||60||28||24||8||64||26||182||196||15-12-3||13-12-5||6-4-0|
|13 Washington Capitals||62||29||27||6||64||28||188||187||15-13-3||14-14-3||3-7-0|
|14 Montreal Canadiens||60||26||30||4||56||22||166||215||14-15-1||12-15-3||6-4-0|
|15 Philadelphia Flyers||61||23||28||10||56||22||161||202||11-15-3||12-13-7||2-7-1|
|16 Columbus Blue Jackets||61||20||35||6||46||19||159||225||13-18-2||7-17-4||5-3-2|
|1 Vegas Golden Knights||60||35||19||6||76||32||192||169||18-13-1||17-6-5||6-1-3|
|2 Dallas Stars||60||31||16||13||75||28||195||159||15-8-8||16-8-5||3-3-4|
|3 Los Angeles Kings||62||34||20||8||76||28||211||211||17-9-2||17-11-6||6-2-2|
|4 Minnesota Wild||61||34||21||6||74||27||177||167||21-10-2||13-11-4||7-1-2|
|5 Colorado Avalanche||58||34||19||5||73||30||185||157||16-9-4||18-10-1||7-1-2|
|6 Seattle Kraken||60||33||21||6||72||33||208||192||15-12-3||18-9-3||4-5-1|
|7 Edmonton Oilers||61||32||21||8||72||32||232||204||14-12-5||18-9-3||3-3-4|
|8 Winnipeg Jets||61||35||24||2||72||34||187||165||20-10-1||15-14-1||4-5-1|
|9 Calgary Flames||61||27||21||13||67||26||193||191||15-11-3||12-10-10||3-4-3|
|10 Nashville Predators||58||29||23||6||64||26||170||174||16-11-3||13-12-3||5-5-0|
|11 St. Louis Blues||60||26||29||5||57||23||183||220||13-14-4||13-15-1||3-5-2|
|12 Vancouver Canucks||60||24||31||5||53||21||204||240||11-16-1||13-15-4||4-5-1|
|13 Arizona Coyotes||60||21||30||9||51||18||164||212||14-10-2||7-20-7||5-2-3|
|14 San Jose Sharks||61||18||31||12||48||17||180||226||6-16-8||12-15-4||3-6-1|
|15 Chicago Blackhawks||60||21||34||5||47||19||150||217||12-16-3||9-18-2||5-5-0|
|16 Anaheim Ducks||61||20||34||7||47||17||156||252||10-16-1||10-18-6||4-5-1|
Last updated Mar. 1, 1:49 ET
Eight teams in each conference qualify for the divisional playoff format. The top three teams from each division make up the first six spots. The two remaining teams with the highest points, regardless of division, qualify for the final two wild card spots.
X – Clinched Playoff Spot, Y – Clinched Division, Z – Clinched Conference
TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY
1903 The rules committee sets the height of the pitcher mound (box) to a maximum of fifteen inches. In 1969, the maximum elevation will drop to ten inches due to last season’s dominating pitching, which saw batting averages plummet to all-time lows.
1909 The Pirates begin constructing a new ballpark near Schenley Park near the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. The spacious state-of-the-art venue, named a Forbes Field in honor of a pre-Revolutionary British general, will never have a no-hitter thrown in its spacious confines during the sixty-one years the Bucs call the ballpark home, a span of more than 4,700 games.
1947 Father Vincent Powell announces the diocese’s Catholic Youth Organization will no longer participate in the Dodgers’ Knothole Club, stating the church cannot continue to have their youngsters associated with the team’s manager, Leo Durocher. The monsignor, who has been the director of the local CYO since 1940, believes the Brooklyn skipper “represents an example in complete contradiction” to the faith’s moral teachings.
1949 As a ploy to increase their rental income, the Browns evict the Cardinals, their Sportsman’s Park tenants. The Redbirds accuse the owners of breaking the lease, and as the season approaches, it is uncertain where the St. Louis National League team will play its home games.
1954 After surviving two plane crashes serving in Korea, Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams breaks his collarbone on the first day of spring training when he stumbles in the outfield fielding a line drive during batting practice. The Boston superstar, who hit .407 in 37 games at the end of the season after flying thirty-nine combat missions as a Marine pilot, will miss the season’s first four weeks.
1961 After leaving the Oval Office six weeks ago, former President Dwight Eisenhower jokes with the Angel players before an intra-squad game. Ike will sit in the dugout with the newly established expansion team during the five-inning scrimmage.
1967 Commissioner William Eckert approves the BBWAA’s plan to select a Cy Young Award recipient from the National League and American League. The honor, initiated in 1956, had been given to just one pitcher in the major leagues each season, a position strongly supported by former commissioner Ford Frick.
1969 Citing “I can’t hit when I need to,” Mickey Mantle announces his retirement, thus ending his fabled Hall of Fame career. The oft-injured Yankee slugger ranks third, behind Babe Ruth and Willie Mays, on the all-time home run list with 536 round-trippers and finishes his 18-year stay in the majors with a .298 batting average.
1987 Charlie Kerfeld and the Astros finally agree on a one-year contract worth $110,037.37 and 37 boxes of orange Jello, planned for use in future pranks. The Houston reliever, who wears number 37, insisted he earned more than right-hander Jim Deshaies, and the reliever’s new deal pays him $37.37 more than his teammate.
1993 Major League Baseball reinstates Yankee owner George Steinbrenner two and a half years after accepting a life-long ban from involvement in the team’s day-to-day operation. ‘The Boss’ had been exiled from baseball by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring Howie Spira, a known gambler, to snoop into the life of star outfielder Dave Winfield.
1994 Leonard Coleman, MLB’s executive director of market development, is elected the National League president, replacing the retiring Bill White. The position will be eliminated in 1999, making the former banker the last person to hold the position.
1995 In an evening exhibition game, the Angels, using replacement players, beat the Arizona State University Sun Devils squad, 13-5. The Tempe (AZ) contest marks the first time since 1912 that replacement players participate in a major league game and the only time the team has worn big league uniforms.
1999 In the episode “Big Shots” of the Everybody Loves Raymond show, security kicks out fictional Newsday sports writer Ray Barone, played by Ray Romano, from an event honoring the Mets’ 1969 World Series championship team. The guards at Hall Fame lose their patience when the title character, who insists on using his journalist’s credentials to avoid the wait, refuses to get in line with the fans waiting to meet their heroes, including Tug McGraw and Art Shamsky.
2005 Deciding not to file as a free agent at the end of the season, Tim Hudson (12-6, 3.53) agrees to a four-year, $47-million contract extension with his new team, the Braves. The 29-year-old right-hander, acquired in a trade with Oakland in the off-season, grew up near Atlanta and rooted for the local team as a youngster.
2005 The Cubs announce construction for an additional 1,790 bleacher seats at Wrigley Field, which will begin at the season’s end and be ready for Opening Day next year. A deal is reached for the expansion when the team agrees to pay the city $3.1 million before starting the project, contributing the funds for a local school park and a $400,000 traffic signal system near the ballpark.
2009 Insisting there was no wrongdoing on his part, Jim Bowden resigns as the Nationals’ general manager. The Washington GM is part of a federal probe investigating scouts and executives that accepted kickbacks from baseball bonuses intended for players signed in Latin America.
2012 After spending 15 seasons, including serving as the team captain for the past seven, Red Sox backstop Jason Varitek announces his retirement, leaving only Carl Yastrzemski (23), Ted Williams (19), and Jim Rice (16) with longer tenures with the team without playing for another franchise. The venerable catcher, ninth on the all-time franchise list with 1,546 games, is the only major league player to have played in the Little League World Series, the College World Series, the World Series, the Olympics, and the World Baseball Classic.
2012 Yadier Molina signs a five-year extension with the Cardinals worth $75 million, an agreement to keep the Gold Glove catcher with the world champions through 2017. This new contract, which takes effect next season, includes a mutual $15 million option that could add another year to the deal.
2019 Bryce Harper reaches a free-agent deal with the Phillies for 13 years and $330 million, the largest guaranteed contract for a baseball player. The 26-year-old six-time All-Star’s historic agreement eclipses the 13-year, $325 million contract extension Giancarlo Stanton signed with the Marlins in November of 2014, a deal Mike Trout surpasses in a few weeks when the Angels give $426.5 million over 12 years.
March 1, 1893- Rawlings Brothers’ store was destroyed by an accidental gunpowder explosion. The store sold some sporting goods but mainly ammo and firearms. This made the Rawlings brothers to go from a brick and mortar store to a catalog company and propelled them into manufacturing sporting equipment including football safety equipment and footballs.
Hall of Fame
March 1, 1883 – Muskegon, Michigan – The brilliant Yale end, Tom Shevlin arrived into this world. Click his name for more info!
March 1, 1884 – Vince Stevenson the University of Pennsylvania quarterback in the early 1900’s was born. We have more on this Hall of Famer by clicking his name.
March 1, 1926 – Pete Rozelle attended Compton Junior College and then served as a the University of San Francisco’s Sports Information Director. He later became the General Manager of the Los Angeles Rams. In 1960 after the sudden and unexpected death of NFL Commissioner Bert Bell, Rozelle became the surprise successor to lead the NFL. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Rozelle’s accomplishments are legendary, and the NFL’s many challenges during his tenure are well documented. Pete guided the League through such items as blockbuster television contracts, the war with the competing American Football League and the resulting merger, the development of the Super Bowl into America’s premier sporting event and even difficult player issues including strikes and threatened strikes. The NFL became stronger and stronger during his tenure. The Pro Football Hall of Fame named Pete Rozelle as an enshrined contributor in 1985 after 30 seasons of service.
March 1, 1946 – Trenton, New Jersey – The feared defensive end of North Carolina A&T, Elvin Bethea arrived into this world. Bethea was the Houston Oiler third round pick in the 1968 Draft and played for 16 seasons in pro football. Unofficially, because it was not a stat during his career, Elvin is the franchise career sack leader with 105 career QB takedowns behind the line of scrimmage. He was an All-Pro second team four times and played in 8 Pro Bowl games. At the 2003 Enshrinement ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, Elvin Bethea was named for entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
March 1, 2006 – Camden, New Jersey – The outstanding Nebraska halfback, Mike Rozier was born. The NFF states that Rozier rushed for 973 yards in 1981 as a sophomore and was not the feature back of the offense. The following year he became a consensus All-America as he ran for 1,689 yards, and 15 touchdowns. In 1983 his senior year, Rozier was part of a team that averaged over 50 points per game. Mike’s contributions included a nation leading 2,148 yards on the ground, as he was college football’s top dog with 2,486 all-purpose yards and a 7.8 yards per carry average. He also scored an eye popping 29 touchdowns with 11 games where he exceeded the 100-yard mark in rushing. Mike Rozier’s collegiate gridiron accomplishments are forever remembered as in 2006 they were inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
SPORTS IN NUMBERS
4 – 9 – 7 – 26
March 1, 1903 – A rule revision was unveiled by the Major League Baseball Rules Committee. The new standard stated that pitcher’s mound must not be more than 15 inches higher in elevation than the baselines or home plate.
March 1, 1910 – National Baseball Commission prohibited giving mementos to players on winning World Series teams. The reasoning as to why has since been lost to time. Sports Casting.com Website shares that the decision was later reversed, as the 1922 New York Giants received rings for their World Series title.
March 1, 1919 – Future Hockey Hall of Fame center Newsy Lalonde, wearing the Number 4 sweater, set an NHL playoff record with 5 goals in the Canadiens’ 6-3 win over Ottawa in NHL Championship Game 3 in Montreal
March 1, 1954 – Future Baseball Hall of Fame outfielder Ted Williams, Number 9 fractured his collarbone on the first day of Boston Red Sox spring training. That unexpected injury kept the brilliant slugging left fielder out of Red Sox lineup through the middle of May that season.
March 1, 1967 – MLB Commissioner William Eckert approved the Baseball Writers Association of America’s plan to name a Cy Young Award recipient from both the National and American Leagues.
March 1, 1969 – New York Yankees legend Mickey Mantle, Number 7 announces his retirement due to persistent knee injury. The future hall of Fame nominee finished 18-season career with 536 home runs and .298 batting average, many All-Star selections and was a 3-time American League MVP.
March 1, 1969 – Number 7, Phil Esposito has a goal and assist in Boston Bruins’ 8-5 win over NY Rangers to give him 99 points for the season, breaking the NHL record for most points in a season (97) held by Stan Mikita
March 1, 1970 – Minnesota North Stars coach Charlie Burns becomes the final player/coach in NHL history. He set this mark when he played in the North Stars’ 8-0 win over Toronto Maple Leafs and wore the jersey Number 9, and in fact he remained in the dual role for the club for the entire final month of the season.
March 1, 1970 – The Boston Bruin’s Bobby Orr, Number 4 became the first defenseman in NHL history to score 25 goals in a season during a 3-1 Boston victory over the visiting St. Louis Blues.
March 1, 1986 – Quebec Nordiques star, Number 26, Peter Stastny becomes just the second player in NHL history to score 100 points in each of his first 6 seasons, with an assist in an 8-4 Nordiques’ loss to the visiting Buffalo Sabres
|NCAA BASKETBALL GAMES – MEN’S||TIME ET||TV|
|LAMAR AT NICHOLLS||4:00PM||ESPN+|
|BIG SOUTH FIRST ROUND: HIGH POINT VS. CHARLESTON SOUTHERN||6:00PM||ESPN+|
|XAVIER AT PROVIDENCE||6:30PM||FS1|
|AUBURN AT ALABAMA||7:00PM||ESPN2|
|PITT AT NOTRE DAME||7:00PM||ESPNU|
|VANDERBILT AT KENTUCKY||7:00PM||SECN|
|MARYLAND AT OHIO STATE||7:00PM||BTN|
|DEPAUL VS. UCONN||7:00PM||CBSSN|
|FORDHAM AT GEORGE MASON||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|TULSA AT SOUTH FLORIDA||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|GEORGE WASHINGTON AT DAVIDSON||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|UMASS AT DUQUESNE||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|RICHMOND AT SAINT JOSEPH’S||7:00PM||ESPN+|
|OVC FIRST ROUND: SOUTHEAST MISSOURI VS. LINDENWOOD||7:30PM||ESPN+|
|SAM HOUSTON AT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN||7:30PM||ESPN+|
|BIG SOUTH FIRST ROUND: CAMPBELL VS. PRESBYTERIAN||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|OKLAHOMA AT KANSAS STATE||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|UTA AT UTAH VALLEY||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA AT HOUSTON CHRISTIAN||8:00PM||ESPN+|
|GEORGETOWN AT CREIGHTON||8:30PM||FS1|
|NEW ORLEANS AT MCNEESE||8:30PM||ESPN+|
|TEXAS AT TCU||9:00PM||ESPN2|
|TULANE AT EAST CAROLINA||9:00PM||ESPNU|
|MISSOURI AT LSU||9:00PM||SECN|
|PENN STATE AT NORTHWESTERN||9:00PM||BTN|
|RHODE ISLAND AT LOYOLA CHICAGO||9:00PM||CBSSN|
|CHICAGO STATE AT GONZAGA||9:00PM||WCCN|
|GRAND CANYON AT SOUTHERN UTAH||9:00PM||ESPN+|
|A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI AT A&M-COMMERCE||9:00PM||ESPN+|
|SEATTLE U AT UTAH TECH||9:00PM||ESPN+|
|UIW AT NORTHWESTERN STATE||9:00PM||ESPN+|
|OVC FIRST ROUND: SIUE VS. SOUTHERN INDIANA||10:00PM||ESPN+|
|UTRGV AT CALIFORNIA BAPTIST||10:00PM||ESPN+|
|UTAH STATE AT UNLV||11:00PM||CBSSN|
|MLB SPRING TRAINING||TIME ET||TV|
|WASHINGTON VS NY YANKEES||1:00PM||ESPN|
|MILWAUKEE VS LA ANGELS||3:10PM||MLBN|
|NBA REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|PHOENIX AT CHARLOTTE||7:00PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|CHICAGO AT DETROIT||7:00PM||NBCS-CHI|
|CLEVELAND AT BOSTON||7:30PM||ESPN|
|PHILADELPHIA AT MIAMI||7:30PM||NBCS-PHI|
|BROOKLYN AT NEW YORK||7:30PM||YES|
|MEMPHIS AT HOUSTON||8:00PM||ATTSN-SW|
|ORLANDO AT MILWAUKEE||8:00PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|LA LAKERS AT OKLAHOMA CITY||8:00PM||SPECTRUM|
|NEW ORLEANS AT PORTLAND||10:00PM||ESPN|
|NHL REGULAR SEASON||TIME ET||TV|
|NY RANGERS AT PHILADELPHIA||7:30PM||TNT|
|TORONTO AT EDMONTON||8:00PM||SPORTSNET|
|ARIZONA AT DALLAS||8:30PM||BALLY SPORTS|
|NEW JERSEY AT COLORADO||9:00PM||MSGSN|
|CAROLINA AT VEGAS||10:00PM||TNT|
|WASHINGTON AT ANAHEIM||10:00PM||NBCS-WSH|
|SOCCER MATCHES||TIME ET||TV|
|COUPE DE FRANCE: NANTES VS LENS||12:15PM||FS2|
|ENGLAND FA CUP: SOUTHAMPTON VS GRIMSBY TOWN||2:15PM||ESPN+|
|ENGLAND FA CUP: BURNLEY VS FLEETWOOD TOWN||2:30PM||ESPN+|
|ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: ARSENAL VS EVERTON||2:45PM||USA|
|ENGLAND FA CUP: MANCHESTER UNITED VS WEST HAM UNITED||2:45PM||ESPN+|
|ENGLAND FA CUP: SHEFFIELD UNITED VS TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR||2:55PM||ESPN+|
|ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE: LIVERPOOL VS WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS||3:00PM||PEACOCK|
|COUPE DE FRANCE: OLYMPIQUE MARSEILLE VS ANNECY||3:00PM||FS2|
|COPA DEL REY: OSASUNA VS ATHLETIC CLUB||3:00PM||ESPN+|
|COPA LIBERTADORES: HURACÁN VS BOSTON RIVER||5:00PM||BEIN SPORTS|
|COPA LIBERTADORES: MEDELLÍN VS EL NACIONAL||7:00PM||BEIN SPORTS|
|COPA LIBERTADORES: ATLÉTICO MINEIRO VS CARABOBO||7:30PM||BEIN SPORTS|