INDIANA STATE BASKETBALL FINALS SATURDAY APRIL 3

Class A State Championship | 10 am ET

Kouts (29-2) vs. Barr-Reeve (28-2) 

Class 2A State Championship | 1:30 pm ET

Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian (27-3) vs. Parke Heritage (27-3)

Class 3A State Championship | 5 pm ET

Leo (24-4) vs. Silver Creek (24-4) 

Class 4A State Championship | 8:30 pm ET

Carmel (25-2) vs. Lawrence North (28-2) 

NBA SCOREBOARD

Portland 125 Miami 122

New York 106 Washington 102

LA Clippers 98 San Antonio 85

Philadelphia 109 LA Lakers 101

Sacramento 141 Golden State 118

NHL SCOREBOARD

NY Islanders 4 Boston 3

NY Rangers 8 Philadelphia 3

Washington 4 New Jersey 3

Carolina 4 Columbus 3

Toronto 3 Ottawa 2

Pittsburgh 4 Buffalo 0

Chicago 3 Florida 0

Nashville 7 Detroit 1

Minnesota 2 St. Louis 0

Dallas 4 Tampa Bay 3

Colorado 5 Vegas 1

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

Chicago White Sox 9 Cincinnati 4

Kansas City 10 Arizona 1

Oakland 8 Seattle 5

Colorado 6 LA Angels 5

LA Dodgers 5 Chicago Cubs 2

San Diego 11 Texas 10

Milwaukee 2 San Francisco 2

Atlanta 5 Tampa Bay 2

Baltimore 10 Pittsburgh 9

Minnesota 7 Boston 4

Houston 3 St. Louis 0

Philadelphia 13 NY Yankees 12

Miami 7 Washington

Detroit 3 Toronto 3

MEN’S BASKETBALL SWEET 16 SCHEDULE

Saturday, March 27 

(12) Oregon State vs. (8) Loyola Chicago

  • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 2:40 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

 (5) Villanova vs. (1) Baylor

  • Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 5:15 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

 (15) Oral Roberts vs. (3) Arkansas

  • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 7:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TBS

 (11) Syracuse vs. (2) Houston

  • Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 9:55 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TBS

Sunday, March 28 

(5) Creighton vs. (1) Gonzaga

  • Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 2:10 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

 (4) Florida State vs. (1) Michigan

  • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 5:00 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

 (11) UCLA vs. (2) Alabama

  • Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 7:15 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TBS

 (7) Oregon vs. (6) USC

  • Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Start time: 9:45 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: TBS

INDIANA STATE BOYS BASKETBALL FINALS-SATURDAY APRIL 3

(1A CHAMPIONSHIP)

KOUTS (29-2) vs. BARR-REEVE (28-2)

SATURDAY, APR. 3 ▪ 10 AM ET ▪ BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE

KOUTS MUSTANGS

Head Coach: Kevin Duzan Record at Kouts: 107-43 (6th Year) Overall: 150-105 (11th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #3, Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR

An IHSAA member school since 1919, Kouts is playing in the state finals for the first time in any sport.  With a victory, Mustangs would become first 30-win Class A state champion of the multiple class era.  Mustangs rank fourth in the state in scoring (75.8 ppg) and fifth in margin of victory (23.1 ppg).  Team has reeled off 20 straight victories to reach the state championship game.  Champions of the Porter County Conference with a 7-0 record this season.  The state championship game against top-ranked Barr-Reeve will be the first ranked team the Mustangs have faced this tournament.  Won first sectional championship since 2012 with its 67-53 win over Washington Township on March 6.n Won first regional title since 2001 with its 56-42 victory over Triton on March 13.

Season Results (29-2)

11/24 Marquette Catholic W 87-71

11/27 at Hebron W 90-63

12/4 at Covenant Christian W 92-30

12/5 Kankakee Valley W 85-43

12/11 South Central W 91-58

12/12 South Bend Clay W 93-59

12/26 Bloomington South L 50-41

12/28 Terre Haute South Vigo W 80-61

12/29 Cloverdale W 68-50

12/30 Linton-Stockton W 40-35

1/12 Andrean L 73-59

1/15 at Washington Township W 92-53

1/16 Rensselaer Central W 72-53

1/19 Westville W 84-60

1/21 at South Central W 69-44

1/23 at Boone Grove W 79-50

1/29 at Boone Grove W 63-52

1/30 Westville W 87-60

2/11 Morgan Township W 58-44

2/12 at 21st Century Charter – Gary W 68-67

2/17 at Lake Station Edison W 89-46

2/19 Hanover Central W 62-32

2/20 Lowell W 69-62

2/23 at River Forest W 78-49

2/26 LaCrosse W 83-42

Kouts Sectional

3/2 Hammond Academy W 112-45

3/5 Morgan Township W 85-56

3/6 Washington Township W 67-53

Triton Regional

3/13 Fremont W 66-62

3/13 Triton W 56-42

Lafayette Jeff erson Semi-State

3/20 Southwood W 86-70

BARR-REEVE VIKINGS

Head Coach: Josh Thompson Record at Barr-Reeve: 79-6 (3rd Year) Overall: 189-162 (14th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #1 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #9

Top-ranked Barr-Reeve making school’s seventh state championship game appearance and looking for second title in boys basketball.  School looking for second state championship this school year after volleyball team won the Class 2A crown on Nov. 7.  Vikings have appeared in five Class A title games in last 12 years.  Team’s only losses have come to other state finalist teams. Lost at 4A finalist Carmel 57-55 in OT on Dec. 23 and lost to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 75-66 as part of the Hall of Fame Classic in New Castle on Dec. 30.  Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #4 North Daviess 40-38 in the sectional semifinal def. #2 Loogootee 56-38 to win fourth straight sectional title def. #8 Tindley 72-25 to claim semi-state championship  Champions of the Blue Chip Conference with an 7-0 record this season. Head coach Josh Thompson is in his third year coaching Barr Reeve and 14th season overall. He was a member of Bloomfield High School’s Class A state runner-up team in 1998.

Season Results (28-2)

12/5 at Vincennes Rivet W 75-26

12/8 Bloomington South W 41-36

12/11 Southridge W 52-19

12/12 North Harrison W 61-38

12/15 North Knox W 81-30

12/17 Northeast Dubois W 77-25

12/23 at Carmel L 55-57

12/30 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 66-75

12/30 Blackford W 71-46

1/2 at Washington W 72-45

1/5 at Orleans W 53-42

1/8 Evansville Mater Dei W 67-31

1/15 Loogootee W 67-64

1/16 at North Daviess W 39-38

1/23 Heritage Hills W 59-35

1/29 at Shoals W 78-27

1/30 Castle W 61-54

2/1 at Wood Memorial W 67-28

2/4 at Jasper W 56-54

2/12 South Knox W 51-32

2/13 Eminence W 96-47

2/20 at Rock Creek Academy W 71-45

2/26 at Bloomfi eld W 54-41

2/27 Shakamak W 69-39

North Daviess Sectional

3/2 Washington Catholic W 81-24

3/5 North Daviess W 40-38

3/6 Loogootee W 56-38

Loogootee Regional

3/13 Trinity Lutheran W 63-38

3/13 Lanesville W 64-34

Washington Semi-State

3/20 Indianapolis Tindley W 72-25

(2A CHAMPIONSHIP)

FORT WAYNE BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN (27-3) vs. PARKE HERITAGE (27-3)

SATURDAY, APR. 3 ▪ 1:30 PM ET ▪ BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE

BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN BRAVES

Head Coach: Marc Davidson Record at Blackhawk: 173-50 (8th Year) Overall: 258-120 (18th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #1 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #5

Top-ranked Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian making school’s third appearance in state finals and first in Class 2A. Team has won 10 straight games. School chasing second state championship in three years. High-scoring Braves lead state in that category at 82.7 points per game and also lead state in margin of victory at 25.5 points per game. Braves have defeated three other state finalist teams this season, two in overtime. Beat 3A Silver Creek 94-84 in 2OT on Dec. 12, beat 1A Barr-Reeve 75-66 in OT in the HOF Classic on Dec. 30, and beat 3A Leo 74-42 on Feb. 23. Team outscoring six tournament opponents by 29.8 ppg (80.1- 50.3 ppg). n Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #8 Blackford 88-61 for the semi-state championship.

Season Results (27-3)

12/1 FW North Side W 98-48

12/4 New Haven W 86-33

12/5 Hamilton (OH) W 57-30

12/12 Silver Creek W 94-84

12/18 at FW Canterbury W 82-42

12/22 Gary Lighthouse CPA W 118-75

12/30 Barr-Reeve W 75-66

12/30 Shenandoah W 66-59

1/7 at FW Wayne W 77-42

1/9 FW Concordia W 107-63

1/12 at Homestead L 72-60

1/16 FW Luers W 87-71

1/21 Bowman Academy W 91-63

1/23 Lakewood Park Christian W 107-26

1/26 FW Dwenger W 57-49

2/4 at FW South Side W 89-44

2/6 Indianapolis Tindley W 67-50

2/9 at FW Snider W 88-81

2/12 Indianapolis Cathedral L 86-78

2/13 Elevation Prep L 90-82

2/17 at Marion W 89-71

2/20 at Indianapolis Attucks W 75-72

2/23 at Leo W 74-42

2/25 FW Northrop W 95-53

Bluff ton Sectional

3/2 Bluffton W 86-44

3/5 Whitko W 78-39

3/6 FW Canterbury W 93-51

North Judson-San Pierre Regional

3/13 Churubusco W 68-55

3/13 Bowman Academy W 68-52

Elkhart Semi-State

3/20 Blackford W 88-61

PARKE HERITAGE WOLVES

Head Coach: Rich Schelsky Record at PH: 58-22 (3rd Year) Overall: 77-52 (5th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #5 Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR

Fifth-ranked Parke Heritage making school’s first state finals appearance in any sport. Parke Heritage is a two-and-a-half year old consolidation of Rockville and Turkey Run high schools in west central Indiana. Team aiming for state championship in just its third state tournament. One of two three-time state finalists (Kouts, Leo) in this year’s event. Wolves rank 12th in state in points allowed (42.1 ppg).  Champions of the Wabash River Conference with a 7-0 record this season. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #2 Shenandoah 52-33 to win its first regional crown on March 13. Wolves won school’s first sectional championship a year ago prior to the pandemic.

Season Results (27-3)

11/28 North Knox W 60-53

11/28 at Linton L 56-65

12/4 at Riverton Parke W 82-45

12/5 South Vermillion W 56-42

12/12 North Putnam W 57-44

12/19 at South Putnam W 74-36

12/26 North Central (Farmersburg) W 60-47

12/28 Greencastle L 51-63

12/29 Northview W 47-45

1/2 Crawfordsville W 60-52

1/8 at North Vermillion W 81-33

1/15 at Covington W 62-48

1/16 at Cloverdale W 65-48

1/23 Cascade W 64-41

1/26 South Vermillion W 50-38

1/29 at Riverton Parke W 73-44

1/30 at Lafayette Jefferson L 49-54

2/4 Attica W 63-15

2/6 Tri-West W 62-48

2/12 Fountain Central W 74-36

2/13 Lafayette Central Catholic W 46-30

2/19 Seeger W 64-38

2/23 at Southmont W 64-54

Cloverdale Sectional

3/2 Cloverdale W 48-25

3/5 Southmont W 66-34

3/6 North Putnam W 48-42

Greenfield-Central Regional

3/13 Triton Central W 47-30

3/13 Shenandoah W 52-33

Washington Semi-State

3/20 Southridge W 40-36

(3A CHAMPIONSHIP)

LEO (24-4) vs. SILVER CREEK (24-4)

SATURDAY, APR. 3 ▪ 5 PM ET ▪ BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE

LEO LIONS

Head Coach: Cary Cogdell Record at Leo: 240-151 (17th Year) Overall: 251-181 (19th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #9 Coaches Poll (Single Class): NR

Leo making school’s first appearance in the boys basketball state finals. Lions rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat South Bend St. Joseph 61-59 in the semi-state championship. Blake Davison connected on a runner high off the glass with 1.3 seconds remaining for the final margin. Lions won first 11 games of the season but dropped three of the last four regular season games before getting hot in the tournament. Leo is one of three first-time state finalists (Kouts, Parke Heritage) in this year’s event.  Champions of the Northeast 8 Conference with a 7-0 record this season. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #5 South Bend St. Joseph 61-59 for first semi-state title n Fell to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 74-42 on Feb. 23. Avenged a regular season loss to Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger with a 55-45 win for its second straight sectional crown on March 6. Head coach Cary Cogdell is a 1994 graduate of Leo High School and played on sectional championship teams as a junior and senior.

Season Results (24-4)

11/28 at Fort Wayne South Side W 66-56

12/2 Fort Wayne Wayne W 49-39

12/4 Fort Wayne Snider W 91-84

12/8 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers W 57-51

12/19 Shenandoah W 59-43

12/21 Fort Wayne Concordia W 75-57

12/30 at Warsaw W 69-55

1/5 at Fort Wayne Canterbury W 74-33

1/9 Norwell W 53-43

1/15 New Haven W 68-52

1/23 at East Noble W 46-30

1/25 at Fort Wayne North Side L 68-72

1/27 at Huntington North W 44-37

1/30 Bellmont W 47-43

2/6 Carroll (Fort Wayne) W 39-37

2/8 at DeKalb W 57-53

2/9 Angola W 62-43

2/12 Columbia City W 69-52

2/17 at FW Bishop Dwenger L 56-60

2/19 at Lakewood Park W 70-35

2/23 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 42-74

2/26 at Woodlan L 43-46

Woodlan Sectional

3/3 Angola W 64-38

3/5 Fort Wayne Bishop Luers W 76-70

3/6 FW Bishop Dwenger W 55-45

New Castle Regional

3/13 Mississinewa W 79-43

3/13 Northwood W 47-46

Elkhart Semi-State

3/20 South Bend St. Joseph W 61-59

SILVER CREEK DRAGONS

Head Coach: Brandon Hoffman Record at SC: 200-73 (11th Year) Overall: 200-73 (11th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #2 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #9

Silver Creek returns to boys basketball state championship game for second time in three years aiming for second title. Dragons will look to replicate the school’s girls team which won the 3A state title on Feb. 27. With a victory, Silver Creek would become third school to achieve the girls-boys sweep in the same year (Oregon-Davis 2007, Warren Central 2018). Team enters state championship game on a 13-game win streak. n Finished second in the Mid-Southern Conference with an 8-1 record this season.  Silver Creek avenged one of its regular season losses defeating #8 conference champion North Harrison 44-41 in the sectional semifinals. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #8 North Harrison 44-41 in the sectional semifinals def. #4 Heritage Hills 52-48 in the regional semifinals def. #6 Guerin Catholic 54-46 for semi-state crown. Fell to 2A finalist Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 94-84 in 2OT on Dec. 12. Head coach Brandon Hoffman is a 1998 Silver Creek graduate where he play basketball all four years for the Dragons.

Season Results (24-4)

11/25 at Columbus East W 106-81

12/1 at Charlestown W 78-31

12/4 Clarksville W 76-38

12/11 at North Harrison L 61-63

12/12 Fort Wayne Blackhawk L 84-94

12/18 Jeffersonville W 77-67

12/29 Providence W 62-41

12/30 Clarksville W 95-49

01/02 Bedford North Lawrence W 74-51

1/8 Eastern (Pekin) W 95-34

1/15 at Brownstown Central W 61-40

1/16 Bloomington North W 94-74

1/22 at New Albany L 72-81

1/29 at Madison W 69-56

1/30 at Bloomington South L 41-42

2/4 at Salem W 105-66

2/9 at Floyd Central W 68-59

2/12 Scottsburg W 94-46

2/19 Corydon Central W 92-54

2/20 Plainfield W 68-61

2/24 Austin W 87-51

2/26 Seymour W 72-56

Charlestown Sectional

3/2 Corydon Central W 77-42

3/5 North Harrison W 44-41

3/6 Madison W 83-71

Washington Regional

3/13 Heritage Hills W 52-48

3/13 Connersville W 31-30

Seymour Semi-State

3/20 Guerin Catholic W 54-46

(4A CHAMPIONSHIP)

CARMEL (25-2) vs. LAWRENCE NORTH (28-2)

SATURDAY, APR. 3 ▪ 8:30 PM ET ▪ BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSE

CARMEL GREYHOUNDS

Head Coach: Ryan Osborn Record at Carmel: 90-18 (4th Year) Overall: 90-18 (4th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #2 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #2

Carmel returns to its third state championship game in four years aiming for school’s fifth boys basketball crown. With a win, Carmel would become fourth school with five or more state championships (Marion, Muncie Central, Washington). Greyhounds will face conference rival Lawrence North in the third straight 4A title game between Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference teams. Second meeting this season between the two schools following the Greyhounds’ 63-49 road win on Feb. 4. Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #1 Homestead 60-49 in regional semifinals def. #8 Lafayette Jefferson 50-49 for regional title def. 10 Gary West Side 53-50 in OT for semi-state crown Carmel defense ranks sixth in the state allowing only 40.4 ppg. Both regular season losses were one-point decisions – 51-50 vs. Indianapolis Cathedral and 35-34 at Fishers. Champions of the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference with a 7-0 record this season.

Season Results (25-2)

11/24 Columbus North W 61-51

12/4 Lawrence Central W 64-35

12/5 Zionsville W 49-34

12/11 at Noblesville W 64-36

12/18 at North Central W 56-49

12/19 at New Albany W 50-42

12/23 Barr-Reeve W 57-55

12/30 Anderson W 44-30

1/8 at Center Grove W 51-44

1/9 Westfield W 54-30

1/13 Cathedral L 50-51

1/19 at Perry Meridian W 58-34

1/22 at Pike W 73-55

1/23 Brownsburg W 58-45

1/29 Ben Davis W 67-41

1/30 at New Castle W 72-25

2/4 at Lawrence North W 63-49

2/5 at Fishers L 34-35

2/12 Hamilton Southeastern W 49-30

2/13 at Carroll W 43-34

2/19 Warren Central W 56-47

2/23 at Crispus Attucks W 64-32

Carmel Sectional

3/5 Hamilton Southeastern W 46-33

3/6 Westfield W 53-27

Logansport Regional

3/13 Homestead W 60-49

3/13 Lafayette Jefferson W 50-49

Lafayette Jefferson Semi-State

3/20 Gary West Side W 53-50

LAWRENCE NORTH WILDCATS

Head Coach: Jack Keefer Record at LN: 787-304 (45th Year) Overall: 848-330 (49th Year)

Associated Press Poll (Four Classes): #3 Coaches Poll (Single Class): #3

Lawrence North making its fifth appearance in the state finals, aiming for fifth crown in boys basketball and first since 2006.  With a win, Lawrence North would become fourth school with five or more state championships (Marion, Muncie Central, Washington).  Wildcats, riding a 12-game winning streak, are 4-0 in previous state championship games.  Second meeting this season between the two schools following the Wildcats’ 63-49 home loss on Feb. 4.  Ranked teams they’ve faced this tournament: def. #5 Indianapolis Cathedral 75-63 in sectional first round def. #7 Warren Central 46-45 in sectional semifinals def. #6 Plainfield 43-39 for its first regional crown in 15 years. Finished second to Carmel in the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference race with a 6-1 record this year. Head coach Jack Keefer, in his 45th season, has been the only coach in school history, and is the second-winningest coach in state history (848 wins). He trails only J.R. Holmes of Bloomington South (861 wins), LN’s opponent in the semi-state.

Season Results (28-2)

12/5 Hammond W 52-51

12/9 Lawrence Central W 58-53

12/12 Cincinnati Moeller (Ohio) W 58-57

12/19 at Fort Wayne Northrop W 89-42

12/22 Fishers W 65-60

12/29 Indianapolis Tindley W 84-49

12/30 Gary West W 61-60

1/2 at Indianapolis Attucks W 67-56

1/8 Warren Central W 63-43

1/12 North Central (Indianapolis) W 69-59

1/13 at Lawrence Central W 81-67

1/15 Pike W 64-62

1/16 Warren Central W 59-56

1/22 North Central (Indianapolis) W 64-60

1/23 Homestead L 50-55

1/29 at Center Grove W 45-35

1/30 Jeffersonville W 55-50

2/4 Carmel L 49-63

2/6 at Connersville W 40-36

2/12 at Ben Davis W 57-39

2/13 at Fort Wayne Snider W 95-70

2/19 at Pike W 75-67

2/20 Floyd Central W 66-49

2/23 at Hamilton Southeastern W 68-42

Indpls. Aresenal Tech Sectional

3/3 Indianapolis Cathedral W 75-63

3/5 Warren Central W 46-45

3/6 North Central (Indianapolis) W 62-49

Southport Regional

3/13 Ben Davis W 58-44

3/13 Plainfield W 43-39

Seymour Semi-State

3/20 Bloomington South W 54-52

TOP HEADLINES:

Report: Magic trade Gordon to Nuggets for Harris, Hampton, 2025 1st

The Orlando Magic are trading forward Aaron Gordon to the Denver Nuggets, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Orlando will receive guards Gary Harris and RJ Hampton and a protected 2025 first-round pick in return for the high-flying 25-year-old and swingman Gary Clark, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Gordon had requested a trade from the Magic, who posted one winning record during his seven-season tenure. He’s averaging 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and a career-high 4.2 assists across 25 appearances this year and has evolved into a 37.5% shooter from distance after coming into the Association without much of a jumper.

The No. 4 pick in 2014 will join a Denver team that has won nine of its last 12 games and holds the West’s fifth seed. He’ll give the Nuggets another scorer in the frontcourt, joining Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr., and Paul Millsap.

Clark is averaging 3.4 points per game in his third NBA campaign and started 11 of his 32 appearances this season. The 26-year-old has been known more for his defense since breaking into the league undrafted with the Houston Rockets in 2018-19.

Harris heads to the Magic averaging 9.7 points this season. The Michigan State product has seen his scoring gradually decline since he averaged 17.5 points in 2017-18, but he’s still only 26.

Hampton, a first-round rookie, posted 2.6 points per outing in limited action off the Nuggets’ bench. He figures to see more playing time with the Magic, who appear to have launched another rebuild by dealing away Gordon and All-Star center Nikola Vucevic at the trade deadline.

The Nuggets reached the conference finals last season before falling to the Los Angeles Lakers. Michael Malone’s squad got off to a shaky start in 2020-21 but recently started to right the ship.

Report: Rockets trade Oladipo to Heat for Bradley, Olynyk

The Houston Rockets are trading Victor Oladipo to the Miami Heat, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Miami is sending guard Avery Bradley, forward Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 first-round pick swap back to Houston in the deal, a source told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon.

Oladipo, who’s averaging 20.8 points, five rebounds, and 4.7 assists this season, is set to join a Heat core comprised of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The former All-Star is in the final season of a four-year, $85-million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The 2013 second overall pick moved from the Indiana Pacers to the Rockets as part of the James Harden blockbuster trade earlier this season. Oladipo reportedly elected not to re-sign an extension with Houston earlier this month.

Oladipo has been plagued by injuries in recent seasons, appearing in 84 games since the start of the 2018-19 campaign. Miami marks the guard’s fifth different team in eight seasons.

Meanwhile, Houston is receiving a solid 3-and-D guard in Bradley. The 30-year-old has been limited to 10 games because of injuries this season. In that time, he’s averaged 8.5 points on 42.1% 3-point shooting.

As for Olynyk, he’s been a serviceable big man for Miami this season. The Canadian is averaging 10 points and 6.1 rebounds through 43 appearances.

Report: Aldridge, Spurs finalizing buyout; Heat favorites to sign him

LaMarcus Aldridge is finalizing a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports.

The Miami Heat are expected to emerge as the front-runners to sign Aldridge once the buyout is finalized, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Aldridge will hold discussions with multiple teams before making his decision, Wojnarowski adds.

Aldridge has taken a step back in his sixth season with the Spurs, averaging just 13.7 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21 games. He’s producing the least points per game since his rookie campaign.

Aldridge and the Spurs mutually agreed to part ways earlier this month. The 35-year-old is earning $24 million in the final season of a two-year, $50-million contract.

Miami reportedly acquired Victor Oladipo from the Houston Rockets prior to the NBA’s trade deadline to complement a core that features Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Duncan Robinson.

AP source: Pistons agree to trade Delon Wright to Kings

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have agreed to trade guard Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings for guard Cory Joseph and two second-round draft picks, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the trade had not been announced.

The 6-foot-5 Wright has averaged 10.4 points a game this season for the rebuilding Pistons. They acquired the 28-year-old guard in an offseason move. He has also played for Dallas, Memphis and Toronto.

The 29-year-old Joseph is averaging 6.6 points this season. He has spent the past season and a half with the Kings. Before that, he played for Indiana, Toronto and San Antonio.

AP source: Nuggets acquire center JaVale McGee from Cavs

DENVER (AP) — The Denver Nuggets are bringing back center JaVale McGee in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

The Nuggets will send power forward/center Isaiah Hartenstein to the Cavaliers along with a protected second-round pick in 2023 and another second-rounder in ’27. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday because the deal had not been announced.

It’s the second time the Nuggets have acquired McGee in a trade-deadline deal. They also picked him up from the Washington Wizards as part of a three-team exchange in 2012.

The 33-year-old McGee averaged eight points and 5.2 rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game for the Cavs this season. In Denver, McGee will be a backup to All-Star big man Nikola Jokic, who’s inserted himself into the MVP conversation by averaging almost a triple-double (27 points, 11.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists).

This may be the start of a busy trade-deadline day for the Nuggets, who made it to the Western Conference final inside the NBA bubble last season before being eliminated by the champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets are 26-18 and fifth place in the standings.

A three-time NBA champion with Golden State and Los Angeles, McGee brings plenty of playoff experience to the Nuggets.

McGee has been invaluable to the Cavs this season, serving not only as a backup but mentor to the team’s young core. He also was their “hype man,” leading their pregame huddles and often waving to fans as the Cavs took the floor for warmups.

The 7-footer has been a source of energy and optimism for Cleveland, which started well before going into a slide. The Cavs are still hoping to make it into the play-in.

With trade talks picking up, the team chose to rest McGee on Wednesday night in Cleveland’s win at Chicago.

Hartenstein was brought in as a free agent by the Nuggets in November. He averaged 3.5 points and 2.8 rebounds this season in 9.1 minutes per game.

One of his biggest moments in a Denver uniform may have been in Cleveland last month — and involved McGee.

Report: Blazers acquire Powell from Raptors for Trent, Hood

The Toronto Raptors traded guard Norman Powell to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for wings Gary Trent and Rodney Hood, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Powell is averaging career highs in points (19.6 per game) and field-goal percentage (49.8%). His 43.9% mark from deep ranks 10th in the Association.

The former second-round pick holds a $11.6-million player option for 2021-22, but is expected to decline that in favor of free agency.

Trent is also having a career year, averaging 15 points and shooting nearly 40% from beyond the arc. The 22-year-old will be a restricted free agent this summer.

Hood has failed to recapture his shooting form after tearing his left Achilles in December 2019. The Duke product is averaging a career-low 4.7 points per game over 38 appearances this season.

Portland inked Hood to a two-year, $21-million contract this past offseason, but the second year of the deal is non-guaranteed.

Report: Thunder trade Hill to 76ers in deal including Knicks

The Philadelphia 76ers are acquiring veteran point guard George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder as part of a three-team trade with the New York Knicks, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Oklahoma City will receive New York guard Austin Rivers along with Philadelphia center Tony Bradley and its 2025 and 2026 second-round selections. The Knicks will reportedly acquire 76ers wing Terrance Ferguson while sending second-year forward Ignas Brazdeikis in return.

Hill has appeared in 14 games for the rebuilding Thunder this season, contributing 11.8 points and 3.1 assists in 26.4 minutes per game. The 34-year-old has shot just over 40% over the past six seasons combined, including a league-best 46% while with the Milwaukee Bucks last year.

While Hill is under contract for $10 million next season, his deal is only guaranteed for $1.3 million if he’s waived before June 30.

Bradley and Fergusson were depth options on the Eastern Conference-leading Sixers. The 23-year-old Bradley has averaged 5.5 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game this season. Fergusson, 22, has rarely appeared outside of garbage time minutes.

Rivers provided some veteran leadership off the bench for New York as one of the league’s pleasant surprises. The 28-year-old averaged 7.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 21 minutes a night.

OKC will have the option to pay Rivers $3.3 million in 2021-22 and $3.2 million in 2022-23, but both years are fully non-guaranteed. The Thunder can waive him within the next two summers without penalty up to seven days after the free agency moratorium period begins.

Brazdeikis, the No. 47 pick two years ago, has mostly appeared with the Knicks’ G League affiliate over the past two campaigns. Philly will possess a $1.8-million team option for the Canadian forward.

Report: Magic trade Vucevic to Bulls for haul including Carter, two 1sts

The Orlando Magic are trading franchise center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

In return, the Magic will reportedly receive big man Wendell Carter Jr., wing Otto Porter Jr., and a first-round pick in 2021 and ’23.

Vucevic, the Magic’s longest-tenured active player, has blossomed into an All-Star-caliber big man in recent years. He’s capable of spreading the floor with his jump shot, facilitating from the elbow, and backstopping the defense up the middle.

Over the past three seasons, the 30-year-old Montenegrin has averaged 21.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game, shooting 49.5% from the floor overall and 37% on over four 3-pointers per contest. He was named an All-Star in 2019 and 2021.

Vucevic is under team control through the end of the 2022-23 campaign. He’ll earn $24 million and $22 million over the next two years of his deal. Aminu, also 30, is under contract through 2022. The veteran roleplayer will make $10.2 million next season.

In Carter, the Magic receive a frontcourt prospect less than three years removed from his selection at No. 7 overall. The 6-foot-10 Duke product has averaged 10.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, and one block in 26.5 minutes per game over 119 career appearances. He’ll be eligible for a long-term extension this summer.

Porter, 27, is a solid 3-and-D role player. He’s largely failed to live up to the four-year, $106.5-million deal he signed with the Washington Wizards prior to the 2017-18 season but will hit unrestricted free agency this summer.

Report: Celtics add Fournier for pair of 2nd-round picks

The Orlando Magic’s midseason rebuild continues, with the team trading veteran shooting guard Evan Fournier to the Boston Celtics for a pair of second-round picks, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Fournier, who will hit unrestricted free agency this summer, has been one of the most dependable scoring guards in recent years, averaging between 15 and 20 points per game in each season since 2015.

The 28-year-old Frenchman is averaging a career-best 19.7 points per game this year, thanks in part to hitting nearly 39% of his 7.2 long-range attempts per game, which is also representing a new career high.

The move comes shortly after the Magic reportedly agreed to send two-time All-Star center Nikola Vucevic and forward Al-Farouq Aminu to the Chicago Bulls for a package including third-year big Wendell Carter, soon-to-be free agent Otto Porter, and a pair of first-round picks.

For the eighth-seeded Celtics, Fournier is the first player Danny Ainge’s front office has added through an in-season trade since prying future All-Star Isaiah Thomas from the Phoenix Suns in 2015.

Report: Pistons trading Wright to Kings for Joseph, pair of 2nd-round picks

The Detroit Pistons are trading guard Delon Wright to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for guard Cory Joseph and two second-round picks, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Sacramento is sending the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2021 second-rounder and its own 2024 selection in the deal, Wojnarowski adds.

Wright, 28, is averaging 10.4 points, five assists, and 4.6 rebounds in 35 games (30 starts) for the Pistons in his first season with the club.

Joseph, 29, is putting up 6.7 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game in his second year in Sacramento.

The swap reunites Joseph with Dwane Casey, his head coach with the Toronto Raptors from 2015-17. Wright also played for the Raptors during that time and was traded by Toronto midway through the 2018-19 campaign to the Memphis Grizzlies.

McCollum, Blazers hold off short-handed Heat, 125-122

MIAMI (AP) CJ McCollum got Portland started, and Damian Lillard provided the finish.

Lillard made three free throws with one second remaining for the final margin, and the Trail Blazers survived a wild ending to beat the short-handed Miami Heat 125-122 on Thursday night.

Lillard was fouled by Miami’s Trevor Ariza on a 3-point attempt, which the Heat argued to no avail. He coolly sank all three foul shots, and the Blazers snapped a two-game slide.

“Sometimes I might have it going, but he’s the closer,” McCollum said of Lillard.

Miami didn’t have a time-out remaining to advance the ball and couldn’t get a desperation attempt to tie the game off before time expired.

McCollum had 21 of his game-high 35 points in the first quarter for Portland, which got 22 points from Lillard, 20 points from Carmelo Anthony and 18 points to go along with 16 rebounds from Enes Kanter.

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each had 29 points for Miami, which dropped its fifth straight and fell to 22-23. Kendrick Nunn scored 22 for the Heat.

“I was happy with the way we fought out there,” Herro said. “That was a great game, down to the end and they came down with a couple more free throws.”

A combination of trades, illness, injury and virus-related issues left the Heat with nine players for the game.

Victor Oladipo and Nemanja Bjelica have yet to join the club after being acquired earlier Thursday in moves that sent Kelly Olynyk and Avery Bradley to Houston, plus Chris Silva and Moe Harkless to Sacramento. The other Heat absences: Jimmy Butler was sick, Goran Dragic has a back issue and Udonis Haslem and KZ Okpala remain in the league’s health and safety protocols.

Portland took a 100-99 lead with 7:57 left on a 3-pointer by Anthony. To that point, neither team had been up by more than eight all night.

Knicks storm back, complete sweep of Wizards 106-102

NEW YORK (AP) Alec Burks scored 15 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and the New York Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 106-102 on Thursday night to sweep the two-game set.

RJ Barrett added 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for the Knicks. Immanuel Quickley had 16 points.

Two days after being in control throughout in a 131-113 victory, the Knicks trailed by 17 midway through the third quarter and never led until the fourth.

“The defense was much better in the second half and then the fourth quarter I thought we were making the right plays,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “We had a good rhythm. A lot of guys stepped up.”

They won by outscoring the Wizards 39-24 in the final period, with Barrett making a 3-pointer and then a tying three-point play with 4:45 to play. Quickley followed with a 3-pointer and Julius Randle capped an 11-0 run that put New York ahead 96-91 with 2:54 remaining.

“Even though Thibs is always yelling the whole time, when you really talk to him he always just talks about staying poised, understanding how long the game is,” Knicks center Taj Gibson said. “Even on tough nights, just work the game.”

Bradley Beal had 26 points and nine assists for the Wizards, but shot just 8 for 23. Russell Westbrook missed all eight shots in the second half and ended a dismal 3 for 15, and the poor shooting of their starting guards helped the Knicks surge ahead.

“I thought we were having a real physical mindset and in that fourth quarter we kind of let up and made some critical mistakes,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “And when you do that, they make 3s.”

Westbrook finished with 13 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists, but had eight turnovers. Rui Hachimura had 21 points and nine rebounds as the Wizards lost for the eighth time in nine games.

The Wizards led by five after one, then scored the first 10 of the second to open a 35-20 lead on Raul Neto’s steal and layup. Washington pushed the lead to 17 later in the period and took a 60-45 advantage to the break.

The Knicks missed their first eight 3-pointers before Quickley made one midway through the second quarter. But New York turned it around after halftime, cutting it to 11 after three.

“I think we played hard this game but we just have to be smarter,” Hachimura said.

Randle, who got treatment on his leg during the game, finished with 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting.

Jackson, George lead short-handed Clippers past Spurs, 98-85

SAN ANTONIO (AP) The Los Angeles Clippers overcame a tough loss off the court with their fourth straight victory despite missing a big part of their bench.

Reggie Jackson scored 28 points, Paul George had 24 points and 13 rebounds and the short-handed Clippers rallied in the second half to beat the San Antonio Spurs 98-85 on Thursday night.

The victory came hours after the Clippers traded Lou Williams to the Atlanta Hawks for Rajon Rondo just hours before tipoff.

“It’s a tough loss, it hurts,” George said. “You hate to see these things happen. We’re going to miss Lou. The best way we can do this, to send him off well, is to go out and try to win it (all).”

They started that campaign by handing San Antonio its fourth straight loss, including the first three of a nine-game homestand. DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, and Dejounte Murray added 18 for the Spurs.

San Antonio was attempting to rebound from a 134-101 loss to Los Angeles on Wednesday night, but could not do so even with the Clippers missing five key players.

Los Angeles also was without Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverley due to injury. Leonard and Morris were ruled out less than two hours prior to tipoff.

Terence Mann, who started in place of Leonard, had 10 points and 12 rebounds in 32 minutes.

Despite those absences, the Clippers led for much of the first half and recaptured the lead in the final minutes of the third quarter.

Los Angeles coach Tyronn Lue said he looked down at his bench during a sluggish start and told his assistants this is when he would want Williams.

“He’s going to be missed for everything he brought and not just basketball,” Lue said. “I just think he was a great person. That’s what I love the most. We all knew he was a great basketball player, but just him as a human being and what he stood for and how he always boosted the morale of the team with everyone around him. That’s what we are going to miss the most.”

Danny Green lights up Lakers for 28, Sixers win 109-101

LOS ANGELES (AP) Danny Green hit eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points against his former team, and the Philadelphia 76ers weathered Los Angeles’ late rally for their fourth straight victory, 109-101 over the slumping Lakers on Thursday night.

Seth Curry scored 19 points and Tobias Harris added 17 for the Eastern Conference-leading Sixers, who have won 10 of 11 overall and seven of eight without injured All-Star Joel Embiid.

Green hit six 3-pointers in the first 2 1/2 quarters and added a game-clincher with 30.4 seconds to play in the type of superb shooting performance he rarely achieved during his sole season with the Lakers, where he averaged 8.0 points over 89 starts.

“Got a chance to see some of my brothers, compete against them, and there’s nothing better to come out with a win,” Green said.

Green received his championship ring from the Lakers before the game along with Dwight Howard, who then got ejected after the first quarter. Green won back-to-back titles with Toronto and Los Angeles, but he still hasn’t collected his 2019 ring from the Raptors because of the pandemic.

When asked why he played so well against the team that traded him, Green replied: “Coincidence? Possibly. Probably.”

The Lakers traded Green in the offseason to acquire Dennis Schroder, who had 20 points and a season-high 11 assists in Los Angeles’ fourth consecutive loss.

Playing without superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers are on their second four-game skid since mid-February.

Kyle Kuzma scored 25 points and Montrezl Harrell added 20, but the defending NBA champions remained winless since James sprained his ankle last Sunday. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 19 points.

“We’re not trying to just hold on,” Harrell said. “We’re trying to compete, play the right way and win some basketball games. We’re in a tough patch right now. We’ve lost a couple of games, but we’re not going to stop, and we’re going to fight.”

Philadelphia led by 18 points in the second half after dominating the third quarter, but the Lakers made a late 18-6 run to trim the margin to 102-98 with 2:20 to play.

Fox scores career-high 44, Kings roll past Warriors 141-119

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) A few moments before coming out of Sacramento’s blowout win over the Golden State Warriors, point guard De’Aaron Fox kept hearing his teammates urge him to continue shooting.

“They were like, `Go get 50,'” Fox said. “I’m like, `Let’s just get this game over with. There’s other opportunities for this to happen.’ That’s what I said. I wasn’t looking for a career high but if the shots were there, take them.”

Fox had a career-best 44 points as the Kings romped to a 141-119 victory against a short-handed Warriors team Thursday night.

The mercurial Fox shot 16 of 22 and added seven assists, continuing his two-week scoring surge. He’s topped 40 points twice this season and poured in 30 or more in six of his last 10 games. He is averaging 30.7 points during that span.

“It’s fun to watch, it really is,” Sacramento coach Luke Walton said. “To see him continue to figure things out, to see him continue to grow as a leader both vocally and leading by example with his play, is a lot of fun. He’s in a good place right now. When De’Aaron is playing like this, we’re a pretty good team.”

Tyrese Haliburton added 21 points with a career-high six 3-pointers, and Richaun Holmes had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Buddy Hield scored 16. Sacramento has won five of six.

Andrew Wiggins had 26 points for the Warriors. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Nico Mannion scored 19 apiece.

Golden State beat Sacramento by 31 points in January. This time, the Warriors were missing two of their stars.

Stephen Curry sat out his fourth straight game with a bruised tailbone. Draymond Green also was held out after waking up feeling ill.

FORMER NBA COACH ALBECK PASSES

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Stan Albeck, the former San Antonio, Cleveland, New Jersey and Chicago head coach during a long NBA career, died Thursday in hospice care at son John’s home. He was 89.

John Albeck told the San Antonio Express-News his father entered hospice care Thursday after having a stroke March 14. He also had a stroke in 2001 while an assistant coach with Toronto.

Albeck coached the ABA’s Denver Rockets in 1970-71, then directed Cleveland in 1979-80, San Antonio from 1980-83, New Jersey from 1983-85 and Chicago in 1985-86 — with Michael Jordan in his second season. He took the Spurs to consecutive Western Conference Finals in 1982 and 1983.

Grand Canyon basketball player Oscar Frayer killed in crash

PHOENIX (AP) Grand Canyon basketball player Oscar Frayer died from a car accident, three days after the Antelopes played in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. He was 23.

Frayer and his sister, 28-year-old Andrea Moore, were killed with an unidentified person in a car crash in Lodi, California, on Tuesday, the school announced Thursday.

Frayer, a senior, was a four-year starter at Grand Canyon and completed his academic requirements to graduate in April. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 6.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists while helping the Lopes win the Western Conference Athletic Tournament for the first time.

The Oakland, California, native had returned to Northern California after finishing with eight points, five assists and three blocked shots in GCU’s loss to Iowa at the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis.

NCAA BASKETBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Under sharp criticism during its marquee March Madness tournaments, the NCAA said Thursday it is hiring a law firm to review potential gender equity issues related to how it conducts its men’s and women’s championship events.

The NCAA has been accused the past two weeks of not providing equal amenities to the teams in the men’s and women’s Division I basketball tournaments. Among other things, female players, coaches and staff in San Antonio have criticized the NCAA for not initially providing a full weight-training area to the women’s teams, noting the men’s teams in Indianapolis did not have the same problem.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Pat Kelsey is leaving Winthrop to become College of Charleston’s men’s basketball coach.

Charleston athletic director Matt Roberts announced Kelsey’s hiring Thursday. Kelsey, 45, spent nine seasons with the Eagles, leading them to three NCAA Tournament berths including this past season.

Kelsey’s Eagles opened 16-0 for the best start ever in the Big South Conference before finishing 23-2.

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina State has hired former Memphis assistant Tony Madlock to be its men’s basketball head coach.

Bulldogs athletic director Stacy L. Danley announced the move Thursday.

Madlock has spent 25 years as an assistant coach, including the past three seasons at Memphis under head coach and college teammate Penny Hardaway.

Before that, Madlock was at Mississippi as an assistant for three seasons and then served as interim head coach in 2017-18.


Oklahoma coach Kruger retires; led 2 teams to Final Four

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger announced his retirement Thursday, ending a 35-year Division I college head coaching career that included taking five schools to the NCAA Tournament – with two of them reaching the Final Four – and more than 650 career wins.

The 68-year-old Kruger led Florida to the national semifinals in 1994 and Oklahoma to the same spot in 2016. He is the only coach to lead five programs to NCAA Tournament wins — Oklahoma, Kansas State, Florida, Illinois and UNLV.

At 674-432, his win totals were 10th among active Division I coaches and 27th overall at the time of his retirement.

Kansas coach Bill Self was glad Kruger got to go out on his own terms.

“I have enjoyed competing against him at his different stops, but primarily at the University of Oklahoma where his teams were always classy and difficult to prepare for,” Self said. “I know personally the respect he commands in our industry and I’m sure his former players, assistant coaches and everyone affiliated in his programs over time would attest to the way he went about his business.”

He led the Sooners to a 195-128 record in 10 years and reached seven of the past eight NCAA tournaments. In his final season at Oklahoma, the Sooners went 16-11 and ended with a loss to top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round on Monday.

Along the way, he built a reputation for fixing struggling programs.

“His track record of successfully rebuilding programs everywhere he coached is made even more impressive when considering how he did it,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “He won with integrity, humility, class and grace. He did it with superior leadership skills and a genuine kindness that included his constant encouragement of everyone around him.”

Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton Tweeted about Kruger reaching out the day after Boynton was promoted to head coach back in 2017.

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Postseason (NCAA Sweet 16) NOTEBOOK

For the first time in Big Ten history, four conference schools (Indiana, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan) have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, surpassing the previous record of three Big Ten teams in the Sweet 16, set on four prior occasions (2003, 2004, 2005 and 2009).

This comes on the heels of the Big Ten tying its conference records for both the most teams selected for a single NCAA Tournament (seven; also in 2012 and 2015) and the most teams reaching the second round (five; also in 1995, 2004, 2013, 2014 and 2019).

Collectively, the seven Big Ten schools in this year’s NCAA Tournament have a 9-3 (.750) record, registering the most wins and the highest winning percentage by any conference. It’s the most wins in a single NCAA Tournament for the Big Ten since 2005, when conference teams went 10-5, culminating with Michigan State’s run to the NCAA national championship game.

Maryland is in the Sweet 16 for the 14th time in program history and the first time since 2017. The Terrapins stormed past Mount St. Mary’s (98-45) and Alabama (100-64) in the first two rounds of the tournament, setting a Big Ten record for most points scored (198) in the opening two games at a single NCAA Tournament and defeating consecutive NCAA Tournament opponents by 30+ points for the first time in school history. Maryland also registered its school-record seventh 100-point game this season (tops in the nation) and the most points by a Big Ten team in the NCAA Tournament since 2017, when the Terrapins posted a 103-61 first-round win over Bucknell.

Indiana is making its second Sweet 16 appearance, and first since 1983, when the NCAA Tournament was a 36-team event. Prior to this year, the Hoosiers had won a total of three NCAA Tournament games in their history. However, earlier this week, they defeated VCU (63-32) and Belmont (70-48) to earn their place in the regional semifinals, setting a Big Ten record for the fewest points allowed (80) through the first two games of a single NCAA Tournament  In addition, Indiana set another conference record for the fewest points allowed by a conference team in any NCAA Tournament game — the previous record had been set in identical 64-33 first-round wins by Penn State in 2003 (vs. Holy Cross) and Minnesota in 2005 (vs. Saint Francis-Pa.).

Iowa is back in the Sweet 16 for the third time in its last four NCAA Tournament trips (2015, 2019, 2021) and the eighth time in program history, having advanced to the Elite Eight in 2019 (Iowa’s first appearance in the regional finals in 26 years). The Hawkeyes, who toppled Central Michigan (87-72) and Kentucky (86-72) in the first two rounds of this year’s tournament, have also earned consecutive Sweet 16 berths for the first time since a three-year stretch from 1987-89.

Michigan secured its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance with wins over Florida Gulf Coast (87-66) and Tennessee (70-55) in the first two rounds of this year’s NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines had five all-time NCAA Tournament wins in eight previous appearances entering this season, but rolled to two victories in three days earlier this week behind a pair of double-doubles from Big Ten Player of the Year Naz Hillmon. The Cleveland native now has 15 double-doubles this year and 34 for her career, the latter tying Ohio State’s Dorka Juhász and Texas’ Charli Collier for the most career double-doubles among NCAA Division I juniors.

Northwestern earned its first NCAA Tournament win in 28 years with its 62-51 victory over UCF on Monday. The Wildcats last prevailed in an NCAA Tournament game in the first round of the 1993 event with a 90-62 win over Georgia Tech. It was the fourth NCAA Tournament victory in Northwestern’s program history (the Wildcats are now 4-8 all-time following their second-round loss to Louisville).

Even in defeat, Big Ten programs have been remarkably competitive this postseason. Of the four losses by conference teams in the NCAA Tournament and WNIT to date, all four have come by single digits and saw the Big Ten team either leading at the start of the fourth quarter or with a possession to tie/take the lead in the final period.

The Big Ten has had at least four schools selected for NCAA Tournament action every year since 1986, with this year marking the 16th time in the past 20 NCAA Tournaments at least six current Big Ten members have advanced to the Big Dance. Current Big Ten programs have advanced to the NCAA Women’s Final Four 15 times (most recently by Maryland in 2015) and have won two national championships (Purdue – 1999; Maryland – 2006).

Top-seeded Maryland earned its second consecutive Big Ten Tournament title and fifth in seven seasons as a conference member with a 104-84 victory over sixth-seeded Iowa in the championship game on March 13 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It was the highest-scoring title game in the tournament’s 28-year history, both for one team and combined.

Maryland won its sixth Big Ten Championship (and fourth outright title) in its seven years as a conference member, finishing this year’s Big Ten slate with a 17-1 record, one game clear of Indiana. The Terrapins are the third program in conference history to win six Big Ten Championships in a seven-year span and the first since Ohio State earned six straight titles from 2004-05 through 2009-10. Maryland is 109-13 all-time (.893) in Big Ten regular-season conference games and 19-2 (.905) in Big Ten Tournament games.

Seven Big Ten programs, the second-most of any Division I conference, are appearing in the March 15 Associated Press and/or Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA)/USA Today Top 25 polls. Both Indiana and Michigan set program records for their highest rankings in both polls earlier this season, with the Hoosiers rising as high as No. 9/9 (March 8-9), while the Wolverines rose to No. 11 on two occasions. Nine different Big Ten teams have been ranked or receiving votes in one or both polls this season.

According to Thursday’s NCAA statistics report, the Big Ten leads all Division I conferences in scoring (73.0 ppg.), field-goal percentage (.438) and assists (15.6 apg.), and is second in three-point percentage (.336).

The Big Ten leads the nation with seven teams among the top 35 in the country (including the country’s No. 1 and 2 teams and three of the top 10) in scoring offense. Maryland is first in scoring at 91.8 points per game, on pace to not only set a school record, but become the first Big Ten program to lead the country in scoring since the NCAA begin sanctioning the sport in 1981-82. The Terrapins are followed by Iowa (2nd – 86.6), Ohio State (10th – 80.2), Indiana (28th – 75.4), Michigan (29th – 75.3), Michigan State (30th – 75.2) and Rutgers (31st – 75.1). No other conference has more than four teams among the top 35 in the nation in scoring offense.

Continuing the theme of high-powered offenses, the Big Ten not only has three teams scoring more than 80 points per game, but half (7) of the conference schools are averaging better than 75 points per game, as of Thursday. The Big Ten has never finished a season with seven teams averaging 75 ppg. — the closest the conference came was in 1995-96, when five of the (then) 11 Big Ten programs averaged more than 75 ppg. (Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin).

The Big Ten is also tops among all conferences with six programs in the nation’s top 35 in field-goal percentage. Iowa is No. 2 in the nation (.516), followed by Maryland (3rd – .499), Rutgers (14th – .467), Indiana (18th – .457), Michigan (30th – .449) and Michigan State (32nd – .448). No other conference has more than four schools in the top 35 nationally in field-goal percentage.

The Big Ten’s shooting prowess extends to the three-point line as well, where three conference programs are among the top 20 in the nation in three-point percentage (including the country’s top two three-point shooting teams). Iowa is No. 1 in the nation in that category (.407), with Maryland in second (.406) and Rutgers at No. 19 (.367). Only one other conference (the SEC) has three schools in the top 20 nationally in three-point percentage.

The Big Ten features at least two of the nation’s top 10 in no fewer than six separate NCAA statistical categories (including four national leaders), as of Thursday. In scoring, Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is first (26.8 ppg.), followed by Michigan’s Naz Hillmon in fifth (24.3 ppg.). In field-goal percentage, Iowa’s Monika Czinano is No. 1 in field-goal percentage (.669), with Hillmon in second (.621) and Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes in fifth (.607). In three-point percentage, Maryland’s Katie Benzan is No. 1 (.508) and Rutgers’ Diamond Johnson is seventh (.455). In three-pointers made, Clark is second (3.86) and Benzan is seventh (3.25). In steals, Northwestern’s Veronica Burton leads the nation (3.84 spg.), while Rutgers’ Tekia Mack is 10th (3.00 spg.). And, in assist/turnover ratio, Penn State’s Niya Beverley is second (3.88), Benzan is fourth (3.50) and Burton is 10th (2.86).

The Big Ten set a new conference record for the best non-conference winning percentage in regular-season games in a single campaign, currently at .846 (44-8) — the previous record came last year when conference teams went .788 (123-33). This year’s record includes three non-conference Top 25 wins — Maryland 115-96 over No. 14 Arkansas on Nov. 29 (a Big Ten record for points against a ranked team); Michigan 76-66 at No. RV/23 Notre Dame on Dec. 3; Iowa 82-80 over No. RV/24 Iowa State on Dec. 9.

On Oct. 23, 2020, the Big Ten Conference announced the launch of the ‘United As One’ social justice campaign. ‘United As One’ is among several conference-wide Equality Coalition initiatives dedicated to constructively and collectively recognizing and eliminating racism and hate in our society by creating resources for inclusion, empowerment and accountability. More information on ‘United As One’ can be found on page 7 of the PDF version of this release.

The Big Ten Conference established the Equality Coalition in 2020 with 227 members including presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics, coaches, student-athletes, conference and school administrators, alumni, families and friends representing all 14 institutions.

Big Ten women’s basketball has played a key role in the growth and development of the Big Ten Equality Coalition, with 12 current women’s basketball student-athletes and coaches serving as members of the Coalition — Kennedi Myles (Illinois), Alexis Sevillian (Iowa), Brenda Frese (Maryland – head coach), Naz Hillmon (Michigan), Kim Barnes Arico (Michigan – head coach), Gadiva Hubbard (Minnesota), Amy Williams (Nebraska – head coach), Carolyn Kieger (Penn State – head coach), Nyagoa Gony (Purdue), Arella Guirantes (Rutgers), C. Vivian Stringer (Rutgers – head coach) and Tim Eatman (Rutgers – associate head coach). In addition, several Big Ten women’s basketball alumnae are part of the Coalition membership, including Diane Dietz (Michigan), Lauren Aitch (Michigan State) and Lea B. Olsen (Minnesota).

SOCCER

The United States will play Honduras for a berth in the Olympic men’s soccer tournament in a doubleheader opener Sunday night at Guadalajara, and host Mexico will play Canada for a spot at the Tokyo Games.

The U.S.-Honduras game is a rematch of the October 2015 qualification game, won by Honduras 2-0. That year’s format saw the semifinal loser go to a playoff for another berth, and the U.S. lost a home-and-home series against Colombia on 3-2 aggregate and missed its second straight Olympics.

This year’s format does not include a playoff, and Sunday’s two winners will complete the 16-nation field for the Olympic tournament

TENNIS

ST. PETERSBURGH, Fla. (AP) — The WTA is setting up a way that eventually will return its women’s tennis rankings to their usual 52-week system after a “freeze” of sorts was put in place to account for a tour hiatus and scheduling changes during the coronavirus pandemic.

It is a complicated way of calculating things, but in general, rankings points will remain part of a player’s total for a minimum of a year and not more than two years.

The changes will go into effect starting April 5, after the Miami Open ends.

COLLEGE SOCCER

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The men’s and women’s NCAA Division I soccer tournaments will be held in Cary, North Carolina, and surrounding areas under a plan approved by an oversight committee.

The NCAA’s soccer committees believe having all 48 women’s teams and 36 men’s teams in one region will help minimize travel, eliminate the need to comply with differing local COVID-19 protocols and cut the length of the postseason.

Having all the teams in one location will also centralize testing.

White Sox slugger Jimenez to miss 5-6 months with chest injury

The Chicago White Sox will be without Eloy Jimenez for five-to-six months as the star slugger suffered a ruptured pectoral tendon while attempting to rob a home run during a spring training game Wednesday, the team announced.

Bobby Brown, ex-Yankee and former AL president, dies at 96

(AP) — Bobby Brown, an infielder who played on five World Series champions with the New York Yankees and later became a cardiologist and president of the American League, has died. He was 96.

He died Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, the Yankees said.

Brown played with the Yankees from 1947-54, with Yogi Berra his roommate. He spent eight seasons in the majors and played in a career-high 113 games in 1948, batting .300 with three home runs, 48 RBIs. Overall, he batted .279 with 22 home runs and 237 RBIs.

He was president of the American League from 1984-94.

Commissioner Rob Manfred called him a “proud Yankee” and “quiet star.”

“Dr. Bobby Brown led an extraordinary life, which included great accomplishments on the baseball field and as a leader and executive in our game,” he said in a statement.

Brown was born on Oct. 25, 1924, in Seattle and went to the same San Francisco high school as Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and signed with the Yankees in 1946.

Brown continued his military service when he was called up by the Army medical corps in the middle of the 1952 season and was overseas during the Korean War for 19 months. He played in 28 games for the Yankees in May and June 1954 before retiring from baseball.

Brown is survived by his son, Dr. Pete Brown, daughters, Beverley Dale and Kaydee Bailey, 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Brown’s wife of more than 60 years, Sara, died in 2012.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: ATLANTA BRAVES

ATLANTA (AP) After coming up one win short of the World Series, the Atlanta Braves have only one goal in mind for 2021.

Winning it all.

The Braves finally won a postseason series – two of them, in fact – for the first time since 2001, and they had Los Angeles on the ropes with a 3-1 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Alas, the Dodgers won the final three games and went on to beat the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series.

For the Braves, the agonizing finish to the pandemic-shortened season merely fueled their determination to win Atlanta’s first Series title since 1995.

The front office did its part to get over the hump, re-signing slugger Marcell Ozuna to a $65-million, four-year contract and bolstering a thin rotation by landing Charlie Morton and Drew Smyly.

“Are we in a competitive championship window?” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “Sure, there’s no doubt about it.”

Some things to watch from the Braves in 2021:

POWER PUNCH

Atlanta has one of the most dynamic 1-2 hitting punches in the big leagues with Freeman and Ozuma. Freeman was a runaway choice for the MVP award after bouncing back from a frightening bout with COVID-19 to hit .341 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs. His numbers were greatly helped by the guy hitting behind him. Ozuna nearly won the Triple Crown, leading the league in homers (18) and RBIs (56) while finishing third in average (.338). And don’t forget Ronald Acuna Jr., who battled injuries but still had 14 homers and 29 RBIs in 46 games. The 23-year-old outfielder is just two years removed from a 41-homer, 101-RBI, 37-stolen base campaign.

ACES WILD

The Braves have three potential aces – none older than 27 years old. Max Fried followed up a 17-win season in 2019 by going 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA. He finished fifth in the NL Cy Young balloting. Mike Soroka was an All-Star in 2019 and the opening-day starter last season, but he went down with a torn Achilles in just his third appearance. Soroka will likely begin the season on the DL to make sure he’s fully recovered, but it won’t be long before he rejoins the rotation. And then there’s Ian Anderson, who dazzled in his rookie season by going 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA in six regular-season starts before showing poise beyond his years in the playoffs.

NEW LOOK

The starting rotation was extremely thin last season, so the Braves made an aggressive push to add more depth. Postseason stalwart Morton returned to the organization with a $15 million, one-year deal, while Smyly signed on for one year at $11 million. Combined with the team’s talented young starters, the rotation suddenly looks like one of the best in baseball. On the other hand, the bullpen is a bit of a question mark after being a huge strength in 2020. Closer Mark Melancon (11 saves) left in free agency, and there’s no one else on the roster who had more than one save last season. Former Giants closer Will Smith is an obvious candidate, but he surrendered seven homes in just 16 innings. Chris Martin, Tyler Matzek and A.J. Minter all have the potential to finish out games in what could be a closer-by-committee approach from manager Brian Snitker.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

CF Cristian Pache impressed last season after a late-season call-up, starting six games in the NLCS. Even though he’s got scant experience above Double-A, the Braves are confident that the 22-year-old is ready for the big leagues. He certainly showed off his enticing talents against the Dodgers with a second-deck homer and an above-the-wall catch. Pache is battling for the starting job against former All-Star Ender Inciarte, who has been plagued by injuries and is coming off the worst season of his career.

FANS IN THE STANDS

The Braves are planning to allow 33% capacity – about 13,500 fans per game – at Truist Park to start the season. Team officials will review the seating plan after each homestand and make adjustments as needed to ensure fan safety. No fans were allowed in MLB stadium during the 2020 regular season because of the pandemic, though hundreds of Braves’ backers gathered on a lawn outside their ballpark to watch the Braves’ playoff run on a giant video board. Matzek looks forward to having them closer to the action in 2021. “We have great fans,” the reliever said. “I can’t wait for them to be in the stadium with us this year.”

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

RF     Ronald Acuna Jr. (R)

SS     Dansby Swanson (R)

1B     Freddie Freeman (L)

LF     Marcell Ozuna (R)

C      Travis d’Arnaud (R)

2B     Ozzie Albies (S)

3B     Austin Riley (R)

CF     Cristian Pache (R)

BENCH

C     Alex Jackson (R)

UT   Johan Camargo (S)

UT   Jack Mayfield (R)

OF   Ender Inciarte (L)

OF   Abraham Almonte (S)

ROTATION

RHP     Mike Soroka

LHP     Max Fried

RHP     Ian Anderson

RHP     Charlie Morton

LHP     Drew Smyly

BULLPEN

LHP     Will Smith (C)

RHP     Chris Martin

LHP     A.J. Minter

LHP     Grant Dayton

LHP     Tyler Matzek

RHP     Luke Jackson

RHP     Touki Toussaint

RHP     Josh Tomlin

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: CHICAGO CUBS

CHICAGO (AP) When it comes to all the questions surrounding the Chicago Cubs these days, there is at least one that doesn’t seem to be bothering David Ross very much.

The second-year manager thinks his team’s biggest offensive stars will rebound over the course of a more conventional season.

“I think when this team’s rolling, it’s as good as anybody in the league, especially offensively,” Ross said. “The back of the baseball cards, if you lined them up, that’s a pretty nice, deep lineup that we have. So I’m extremely confident in that, and I think that it’ll show in their production how good that we can be when they’re all rolling.”

That rarely happened last year, when Chicago won the NL Central despite a .220 team batting average during the pandemic-shortened season. The offensive woes continued in the playoffs, with the Cubs managing just one run during an opening-round sweep by the Marlins.

Javier Baez hit just .203 and struck out 75 times in 59 games. Bothered by injuries for much of the year, Kris Bryant finished with career lows in batting average (.206), on-base percentage (.293) and slugging percentage (.351). Anthony Rizzo batted .222 for his lowest average since his rookie year in 2011.

“I don’t want to even talk about last year. It was frustrating to me, to a lot of players,” Baez said. “It was two months of baseball that I felt in a rush. I felt like I didn’t have time to make adjustments.”

As Baez, Bryant and Rizzo look to regain their form, their contract situations add another variable to the landscape. Each of the three sluggers is eligible for free agency after this season, putting new president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer in a tricky spot.

Heading into his seventh big league season, Bryant said he is staying with the same approach he has employed all along.

“My whole life, this has been who I am. I don’t want to put too much on myself, any more pressure,” the 2016 NL MVP said. “It’s just every year, I want to go out there and dominate. That’s just who I’ve always been and that’s what drives me.”

NEW LOOK

The rotation is a concern after Yu Darvish was traded to San Diego in December, and Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana departed in free agency. Darvish went 8-3 with a 2.01 ERA in 12 starts last year, finishing second in the NL Cy Young Award race.

Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills are back. Zach Davies, who was acquired in the Darvish deal with the Padres, fills one slot, and Jake Arrieta returns for a second stint in Chicago. Trevor Williams is looking to bounce back after he had a 6.18 ERA in 11 starts for Pittsburgh last year.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Adbert Alzolay could be used in a variety of roles after the 26-year-old right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.95 ERA in six appearances last year, including four starts.

JOC’S TIME

Joc Pederson takes over in left after agreeing to a $7 million, one-year contract. He replaces Kyle Schwarber, who signed a $10 million, one-year deal with Washington after he was cut loose by Chicago in December.

Pederson, who turns 29 in April, hit .190 with seven homers and 16 RBIs last season for the World Series champion Dodgers. But he set career highs with a .249 batting average, 36 homers and 74 RBIs in 2019.

WORTH WATCHING

Nico Hoerner had a strong spring training in his bid to earn regular playing time at second base. After an impressive big league debut in 2019, the 23-year-old Hoerner hit just .222 last year. If he can carry over his solid camp into this season, he could give Chicago’s lineup a big lift as the Cubs try to make it back to the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

CF     Ian Happ (S)

3B     Kris Bryant (R)

1B     Anthony Rizzo (L)

SS     Javier Baez (R)

C       Willson Contreras (R)

LF     Joc Pederson (L)

RF     Jason Heyward (L)

2B     Nico Hoerner (R)

BENCH

C      Austin Romine (R)

INF   David Bote (R)

INF   Ildemaro Vargas (S)

OF   Jake Marisnick (R)

ROTATION

RHP     Kyle Hendricks

RHP     Jake Arrieta

RHP     Kyle Davies

RHP     Adbert Alzolay

RHP     Alec Mills

BULLPEN

RHP     Craig Kimbrel (C)

RHP     Rowan Wick

LHP     Kyle Ryan

RHP     Brandon Workman

LHP     Andrew Chafin

LHP     Brad Wieck

RHP     Jason Adam

RHP     Duane Underwood Jr.

RHP     Dan Winkler

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL: ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

PHOENIX (AP) The Arizona Diamondbacks took a long look into the mirror after a lackluster 2020 season and made a somewhat surprising decision: They liked what they saw.

Not the results, of course. D-backs manager Torey Lovullo and GM Mike Hazen don’t have any real excuses for the team’s 25-35 finish last year that placed them last in the National League West.

They just don’t believe that nine weeks of bad baseball have any bearing on what’s coming in 2021.

Veteran outfielder David Peralta said all that confidence is much appreciated.

“We’re good the way we are,” Peralta said. “That’s what it seemed like. We’ve got a great group of guys. We added a couple of guys that are going to help us, but from last year, I think our lineup and pitching staff, we’re going to be good.

“We don’t care what the noise is from outside we’re going to go out there and do our job.

So the Diamondbacks stayed relatively quiet during the offseason, keeping their lineup nucleus of second baseman/outfielder Ketel Marte, first baseman Christian Walker, right fielder Kole Calhoun, shortstop Nick Ahmed, third baseman Eduardo Escobar, catcher Carson Kelly and Peralta.

The hope is Marte rediscovers his power swing, which led to a career-high 32 homers in 2019. They also think Escobar and Kelly can recover from poor offensive seasons.

The starting rotation is also expected to look very similar to last season. The D-backs are confident that four-time All-Star Madison Bumgarner will be the top-of-the-rotation lefty they expected when they signed him to an $85 million, five-year deal before the 2020 season.

They’re pleased with young ace Zac Gallen, who finished ninth in the NL Cy Young voting. They believe right-hander Merrill Kelly will bounce back from thoracic outlet surgery to dissolve a blood clot found in his throwing shoulder. They’re confident Luke Weaver’s brutal 2020 season won’t be repeated.

In case you’ve not noticed, that’s a lot of what-ifs. But that’s the D-backs’ story and they’re sticking to it.

“I’m not really worried about 2020 or any other year except for right now,” Bumgarner said. “Regardless of whether I won the Cy Young last year or had the year I did, this is a new year and we’ve all moved on.”

A FEW GOOD VETS

The D-backs did make some moves to improve their bullpen, adding right-handers Joakim Soria and Tyler Clippard. Both veterans will likely be used in the later innings to help close games.

The two pitchers have more than 1,500 appearances in the big leagues between them. Even with all that mileage, Soria was good for the A’s and Clippard a key piece for the Twins in 2020.

Now the D-backs hope both of them have at least one more good season remaining.

Arizona also boosted its lineup in the early days of spring training, adding veteran infielder Asdrubal Cabrera. The two-time All-Star can play third, second or first and has 188 career homers.

BUMPS AND BRUISES

Spring training hasn’t been without its share of problems. Calhoun had to have surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee on March 3 and is likely out for at least a few weeks at the beginning of the regular season.

Calhoun hit a team-high 16 homers in 2020.

The D-backs have also played most of their spring games without Ahmed, who is also battling a sore knee. Arizona still believes he’ll be able to get enough at-bats in the final two weeks of spring training to be ready for opening day.

If those two have to miss time, look for the Diamondbacks to give more at-bats to Tim Locastro and Josh Rojas.

The speedy Locastro can play all three outfield spots and hit .290 with a .395 on-base percentage in 82 plate appearances last season. Rojas has hit well during spring training and can play several positions, including shortstop.

UP AND COMING

Calhoun’s injury might pave the way for Pavin Smith to make the opening day roster. The left-handed, 25-year-old hit .270 with a homer in limited playing time during 2020 and can play both first base and right field.

The D-backs also could get help from Wyatt Mathisen and Daulton Varsho, who both had good moments during their MLB debuts last season.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

CF    Ketel Marte (S)

2B    Eduardo Escobar (S)

LF    David Peralta (L)

1B    Christian Walker (R)

RF    Kole Calhoun (L)

3B    Asdrubal Cabrera (S)

SS    Nick Ahmed (R)

C     Carson Kelly (R)

BENCH

C      Stephen Vogt (L)

OF    Tim Locastro (R)

UT    Daulton Varsho (L)

UT    Josh Rojas (L)

1B    Pavin Smith (L)

ROTATION

LHP     Madison Bumgarner

RHP     Zac Gallen

RHP     Merrill Kelly

LHP     Caleb Smith

RHP     Luke Weaver

BULLPEN

RHP     Joakim Soria (C)

RHP     Stefan Chrichton

RHP     Taylor Widener

RHP     Yoan Lopez

RHP     Kevin Ginkel

LHP     Alex Young

RHP     Chris Devenski
RHP     Tyler Clippard

Seattle Seahawks re-sign Carlos Dunlap; Jarran Reed expected to be released or traded

SEATTLE — In a major shake-up to their defensive line, the Seattle Seahawks are bringing back Carlos Dunlap and moving on from Jarran Reed.

A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the team is expected to trade or release Reed, which will save nearly $9 million against the salary cap. Agent Drew Rosenhaus told Schefter that Dunlap’s deal is for two years and $16.6 million with $8.5 million guaranteed.

The 32-year-old Dunlap became a free agent when Seattle released him earlier this month in a move that saved $14.1 million in cap space but also left the Seahawks without one of their most impactful defensive linemen.

Dunlap had helped ignite the Seahawks’ staggering pass rush when he arrived in an October trade from the Cincinnati Bengals by recording five sacks and 15 QB hits in nine games, including playoffs. He missed one game with a foot injury that he played through for part of his time in Seattle. He had six tackles and four passes defended with the Seahawks.

To facilitate his trade to Seattle, Dunlap agreed to restructure his contract with the understanding that the Seahawks would release him and let him test free agency if the two sides couldn’t agree to an extension. That restructure increased his 2021 cap number to a prohibitive $14.1 million.

The Seahawks thought when they released Dunlap that they would have a chance to re-sign him to a more team-friendly deal, which they’re doing. One reason his return seemed like a possibility was his fondness for the Seahawks. He had openly gushed about the organization after the trade, saying he felt rejuvenated in his new setting.

“I’d love to stay in Seattle as long as they’ll have me,” he said after the Seahawks lost in the wild-card round. “It was very clear what I was coming here to do and what my time span would be, so now it’s a conversation and I’m open and welcoming for it. You guys already know how grateful I am to be here. They’ve taken great care. I think it’s a great organization for vets, although I feel young and fresh like a young player as well. I feel like I’ve got a lot of ball left and I would like to finish it up with an organization like this.

“My two goals are still a Super Bowl and 100 sacks, and I have not accomplished either one of them. I haven’t won a playoff game. I think we have the pedigree here to do all of that next season, and I would love to be a part of it.”

That fondness was again on display Thursday night when he tweeted his reaction to the deal — with teammate Russell Wilson later doing the same.

ND BASEBALL: Series Preview – No. 6 Louisville

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The 12th-ranked Notre Dame baseball team is gearing up for one of the biggest regular season matchups in Frank Eck Stadium history. The Irish (10-3, 9-3 ACC) are set to begin a three-game with the sixth-ranked Louisville Cardinals (15-5, 7-2 ACC) Friday afternoon. It is set to be the first ever three-game series between Top-15 teams in Frank Eck Stadium as the two top teams in the Atlantic Division square off with first place on the line this weekend.

Home Sweet Home

  • The Irish are currently in the midst of a long stretch of games at home after not playing a home game since 2019 until the most recent series against Duke.
  • The weekend series with Louisville will conclude the seven game home stand for the Irish but they will not be gone for long.
  • With a quick trip to Pitt mixed in, 10 of the next 13 games for the Irish will be from the friendly confines of Frank Eck Stadium.
  • The Irish will welcome Louisville to town this weekend as a battle of Top-15 teams will take place for the first time in a three-game series in Frack Eck Stadium history.
  • The last time a Top-20 matchup happened at Eck was a two-game midweek series between the No. 8 Irish and No. 20 Central Florida back in May of 2004. 
  • Current assistant coach Rich Wallace was a volunteer assistant on the Golden Knights staff back in 2004. The Irish opened the series with a 4-0 win off the back of Jeff Samardzija on Tuesday before clinching the series with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
  • Louisville enters the weekend ranked as high as No. 6 in the polls and carries a 15-5 overall record and 7-2 mark in the ACC.
  • The Cardinals are coming off a midweek win over Eastern Kentucky and swept their previous ACC series last weekend on the road at NC State.

Kavadas Krushes Valpo

  • Senior slugger Niko Kavadas has been on a tear to begin the season and it continued in the midweek matchup against Valpo.
  • He opened the scoring in the fourth inning with a solo blast on the first pitch of the inning to put the Irish up 1-0.
  • Then in the seventh inning, he took the first pitch of the inning the other way once again for another solo shot to extend the Irish lead.
  • It was his second multi-home run game of the season and third of his career as he upped his season total to nine home runs in just 13 games.
  • Kavadas moved into a tie for eighth all-time for most home runs in their Irish career with Joe Binkiewicz and Brian Stavisky. 
  • The Irish pitching staff pieced together the midweek win as five pitchers were used on the night.
  • Will Mercer and Liam Simon combined for the final five innings and did not allow a run while limiting Valpo to just two hits.
  • Mercer tied a career high with five strikeouts to collect the win and Simon pitched the final two innings for the save.
  • On the night, the Irish pitching staff tallied 16 strikeouts, the most in a game since May 11, 2019 when they had 17 against Canisius.

Bertrand Bullies Blue Devils

  • On Saturday, the home run hitting duo of Niko Kavadas and Ryan Cole were at it again after the Irish fell behind 2-1 in the sixth inning.
  • Kavadas belted a three-run homer to left to regain the lead for the Irish.
  • Later in the inning, Cole tallied an inside the park home run to put the game out of reach. It was the first inside the park home run for the Irish since 2017.
  • John Michael Bertrand went the distance on Saturday for his second career complete game.
  • After his lone mistake of the game in the sixth inning, he allowed just two hits the rest of the way to earn his third win of the season.
  • He finished the game with six strikeouts, five hits allowed and the two runs. He is one of just two ACC pitchers to toss a complete game this year.
  • With the series win, the Irish have won their fourth-straight series to begin the season and they are the only ACC team to win each of their conference series this season. 
  • The Irish have won five straight ACC series dating back to the 2020 season for the first time since joining the conference. It is the first time they have won five straight conference series since 2005-06 when the Irish won seven-straight conference series spanning between the two seasons.
  • The Irish finished the series without committing an error for the second time this season. They ranked first in the ACC and third nationally with a fielding percentage of 0.994 as they have only committed three errors in 12 games.

Homers Help Irish Over Duke

  • In their first home game in 677 days, the long ball helped the Irish edge past the Blue Devils.
  • Trailing by two in the sixth inning, Niko Kavadas hit his sixth home run of the season to tie the game at 4-4. 
  • That was all the offense for either team until the 13th inning as both bullpens were up to the task.
  • The duo of Joe Sheridan and Tanner Kohlhepp stymied the Duke batters over 9.1 innings of work. 
  • The pair did not allow a run or a walk over 28 outs to keep the Irish in the game. 
  • In the 13th, Ryan Cole smashed his first career home run over the wall in left to give the Irish a 6-4 win.
  • It was the first walk off home run for the Irish since David LaManna in the 4-2 win over Purdue back in 2018.
  • Kohlhepp tied a career high with four strikeouts as he picked up his first win in an Irish uniform.

Malcolm Butler joining Cardinals on 1-year deal

Malcolm Butler is headed to the Arizona Cardinals.

The veteran cornerback agreed to a one-year contract with the Cardinals, the team announced Thursday.

Butler is a big addition to a Cardinals secondary that lost longtime cornerback Patrick Peterson to the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. He’ll likely assume the vacancy left by Peterson.

The Tennessee Titans released Butler earlier this month. The 31-year-old started all 16 games for the Titans last season, recording four interceptions and 14 pass breakups. He also added a career-high 100 tackles.

Butler has grabbed 17 interceptions over his seven-year career with the Titans and New England Patriots. He’s famously known for his goal-line interception against the Seattle Seahawks during the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIV victory.

The Cardinals continue to bolster their roster with veteran players this offseason. Arizona has now added J.J. Watt, Rodney Hudson, A.J. Green, and Butler.

Notre Dame Hockey Removed From NCAA Tournament

ALBANY, N.Y. — Due to positive COVID-19 test results within its Tier I testing group and in accordance with University of Notre Dame policies, the NCAA and the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee, the Notre Dame hockey team will no longer participate in the 2021 NCAA Championship. This decision was made in consultation with the Albany County Public Health Department and the NCAA Medical Advisory Group.

As the No. 4 seed in the Albany Regional, Notre Dame was slated to take on No. 1 seed Boston College at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 27 at the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. The game will now be ruled a no contest.

“It’s an unfortunate situation and I feel for our guys, especially our seniors,” Head coach Jeff Jackson said. “The team was excited about returning to the NCAA tournament and ready to continue competing after earning the opportunity. But with the multiple positives and subsequent contact tracing it became clear that for the safety of our team and the others in the tournament we could not proceed.” 

After losing in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament (March 14), the Irish remained in Big Ten testing protocols through Saturday, March 20. The team then began additional PCR testing on campus. All told, the team went through seven rounds of testing in the seven days leading up to its departure for Albany on Wednesday, March 24.

It marked Notre Dame’s fifth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship field, which is the second longest active streak in the country. It was the 12th time overall the Irish made the NCAA tournament and the 11th under Jackson.

Notre Dame, which went 14-13-2 on the season against a difficult schedule, was one of four Big Ten teams to make the field, joining No. 1 seeds Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as No. 2 seed Michigan. The Irish tied for the regular-season NCAA lead with 28 games played.

An NCAA hockey tourney first: All 5 Minnesota teams are in

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — For all Herb Brooks accomplished in the world of hockey, the Hall of Fame coach of the heralded “Miracle on Ice” team long held a localized goal of growing the college game in his home state.

The NCAA Tournament bracket this year would’ve made Brooks proud. For the first time, all five of Minnesota’s Division I programs made the 16-team field. The regionals start on Friday.

“I think that’s a really cool story,” said Minnesota coach Bob Motzko, whose team won the Big Ten Tournament and has the No. 3 overall seed.

The men’s college hockey tournament was first staged in 1948. The NCAA’s current 16-team format came in 2003.

Joining the Gophers this season are Minnesota State, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular season champion; St. Cloud State and Minnesota Duluth, who finished second and third in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference; and Bemidji State, the third WCHA team selected.

“Nobody’s slipped in. I can tell you that. All five teams have earned the right to be there, and any of the five have a chance,” said Motzko, who’s in his third season at Minnesota.

Motzko’s first year in coaching was as an assistant at St. Cloud State under Brooks, who helped launch the program’s leap to Division I in 1987. Brooks, the former Gophers player and coach who went on to fame at the Olympic and NHL levels until his death in a car crash in 2003, spoke often of his desire for in-state competition for Minnesota and Minnesota Duluth. Minnesota State moved up in 1996, and Bemidji State followed in 1999.

St. Thomas will become the state’s sixth and the NCAA’s 62nd Division I program next season, joining Minnesota State and Bemidji State in the new Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

“Very happy for the group, because I consider every one of those head coaches a very good friend of mine,” Minnesota State coach Mike Hastings said. “I wish them all the best, and hopefully we can all go and represent the state of Minnesota the way we want to.”

With so few schools offering the sport and largely confined to certain areas of the country, college hockey is a tight-knit community. There’s no stronger evidence of that than with the five Minnesota teams. Each head coach was born and raised in the state: Motzko (Austin), Hastings (Crookston), Minnesota Duluth’s Scott Sandelin (Hibbing), St. Cloud State’s Brett Larson (Duluth) and Bemidji State’s Tom Serratore (Coleraine). Motzko, Hastings, Larson and Serratore all spent time as a player or an assistant at at least one other of the Minnesota teams.

INDIANA BASEBALL: NOTES: Indiana Baseball Heads to Michigan State this Weekend

(IU RELEASE)

SETTING THE SCENE

• The Indiana Hoosiers will head north to face Michigan State in a three-game, Big Ten series in East Lansing starting on Friday at McLane Stadium.

• Indiana has won nine of its last 10 games and currently sits atop the Big Ten standings with a record of 9-2. Indiana’s 9-2 start in Big Ten play is the best for the team since starting 11-2 in league action in 2016.

• Jeff Mercer is in his third season at the helm of the Indiana baseball program. He led the Hoosiers to a Big Ten regular season title in 2019, earning him Big Ten Coach of the Year honors.

INSIDE #IUBASE

• The Indiana pitching staff has been electric this season, posting a team ERA of 2.49 with 127 strikeouts in 94 innings pitched. IU has allowed just 26 earned runs on 47 hits and has limited opponents to a batting average of .146.

• The Hoosiers are ranked first in the NCAA in hits allowed per nine innings (4.50 and WHIP (0.93), fifth in team ERA (2.49) and sixth in strikeouts per nine innings (12.2).

• INF/OF Drew Ashley has reached base in 36-straight games dating back to the 2019 season. He and freshman INF Paul Toetz have hit safely in all 11 games for Indiana this season.

• Individually, RHP McCade Brown leads the Big Ten in strikeouts (57) and strikeouts per nine innings (17.05, 5th in NCAA). LHP Tommy Sommer leads the conference in hits allowed per nine innings (3.26, 14th in NCAA), while RHP Matt Litwicki has a league-leading three saves.

• Indiana is ranked No. 9 in the nation by Perfect Game and No. 28 in the Collegiate Baseball poll. IU is receiving votes in both the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches polls.

• Since the start of the 2008 season, Indiana leads the Big Ten in wins (438) and conference wins (186). The Hoosiers have made seven NCAA Regionals over that span, the most out of any current Big Ten team.

•RHP McCade Brown was named the D1Baseball/AstroTurf Player of the Week, the Perfect Game/Rawlings Pitcher of the Week, Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week after a school-record performance against Penn State on Mar. 13.

• The sophomore hurler matched the Indiana school record with a career-high 16 strikeouts in seven, no-hit innings. He also broke the IU record for most strikeouts in a Big Ten game, eclipsing the previous record of 13.

• LHP Tommy Sommer was named the Big Ten Pitcher of the Week on Mar. 9. Sommer was outstanding for the Hoosiers this past weekend, helping the team defeat Minnesota, 5-2, on Mar. 5. The Carmel, Ind. native tossed eight shutout innings to earn the win, allowing just two hits, while matching his career-high with 10 strikeouts.

• Indiana OF Grant Richardson was named a First-Team Preseason All-American by both Perfect Game and Collegiate Baseball. He was also named Third-Team Preseason All-American by D1Baseball.

• Before the season, Indiana was tabbed to win the Big Ten in 2021 by Perfect Game. OF Grant Richardson was named the Player of the Year and to the Preseason All-Big Ten team. He was joined on the preseason All-Big Ten team by RHP Gabe Bierman and RHP Connor Manous.

• RHP Gabe Bierman, OF Grant Richardson and LHP Tommy Sommer were all named to the Big Ten Preseason Players to Watch List. IU was picked to finish second in the Big Ten behind Michigan in a preseason poll conducted of the league’s coaches.

• After leading the Hoosiers to the 2019 Big Ten regular season championship, Jeff Mercer was named Big Ten Coach of the Year. Mercer became the first Big Ten head coach since 1982 (John Anderson, Minnesota) to win a regular season conference title in his first season as the skipper.  He was just the second coach in IU history – in any sport, men’s or women’s – to win an outright Big Ten championship in his (or her) first year.

INDIANA SOFTBALL: IU Softball Clashes with No. 25 Michigan In First Home Series Of 2021

(IU RELEASE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana Softball (7-5, 7-5 Big Ten) returns to Andy Mohr Field this weekend when they play host to No. 25 Michigan (9-3, 9-3 Big Ten) for four games.

First Pitch

The first homestand of the year kicks off on Friday, Mar. 26. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 27 is a scheduled doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. The Hoosiers and Wolverines will then play the series finale on Sunday, Mar. 28 at 12 p.m. All four games will broadcast live on Big Ten Network Plus

First Pitch

Indiana Softball (7-5, 7-5 Big Ten) returns to Andy Mohr Field this weekend when they play host to No. 25 Michigan (9-3, 9-3 Big Ten) for four games. The first homestand of the year kicks off on Friday, Mar. 26. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday, Mar. 27 is a scheduled doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. The Hoosiers and Wolverines will then play the series finale on Sunday, Mar. 28 at 12 p.m.

All four games will broadcast live on Big Ten Network Plus. Connor Hines will also be providing a radio broadcast on IUHoosiers.com.

Checking Out the Competition

Michigan: The Wolverines come to town boasting a 9-3 record through the first two weekends of action. They have wins over Purdue, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin under their belts. Michigan dropped two to Illinois and one against Wisconsin as their only blemishes of the season. Carol Hutchins is in her 37th at the helm of the Wolverines and is the winningest coach in NCAA softball history. Lexie Blair leads Michigan at the plate with a .475 batting average, 12 runs on 19 hits, and eight RBI. In the circle, Alex Storako has a 0.49 ERA and 87 strikeouts. She has only allowed six runs on 17 hits. As a team, the Wolverines are batting .279.

Last Time Out

Last time the Hoosiers hit the diamond they went 3-3 in series against Northwestern and Rutgers down in Leesburg, Fla.

Indiana first faced Northwestern who was receiving votes in the latest coaches poll. In game one of a doubleheader, the Wildcats offense proved to be too much to handle as Northwestern took the contest, 8-0. Hannah Davis and Desiree Dufek recorded hits for the Hoosiers. Game one Indiana was able to see some offense when Dufek was able to score on a error by the Wildcats. Northwestern would end up getting an 8-1 decision despite the Indiana rally. The finale game of the series was a pitcher’s dual as Emily Goodin went six innings where she let up one run on three hits and had three strikeouts. With Northwestern being up 1-0 in the top of the seventh, the Hoosiers tried to rally when Annika Baez singled to the shortstop to get on base. Aaliyah Andrews entered to pinch run in which she stole second to get in scoring position with two outs. Andrews was left stranded after a quick out and Indiana dropped the finale to the Wildcats, 1-0.

The weekend turned around for the Hoosiers in a three-game series with Rutgers as Indiana was able to pick up the sweep against the Scarlet Knights. Game one saw the Hoosiers score 11 runs including a grand slam from Brittany Ford. Gabbi Jenkins had a program best six stolen bases and Indiana went on to win the contest 11-3. the Hoosiers continued to make contact with the ball lead by Taylor Lambert who had a homerun and brought in three RBI. Katie Lacefield also dinged a home run to propel Indiana to a 8-1 victory. Emily Goodin led in the circle with six innings pitched and seven strikeouts. The weekend finale was a finish for the ages by going all the way to the 11th inning. Down 5-4 in the 10th, Jenkins made a gutsy play by stealing home to tie the game at 5-5. Brooke Benson came in clutch with a walk off double as the Hoosiers completed the sweep.

News and Notes

•  Gabbi Jenkins leads the Big Ten and NCAA in stolen bases in a single game with six. Jenkins has a Big Ten leading 12 stolen bags this season.

•  As a team, the Hoosiers rank third in stolen bases, averaging 3.18 per game.

• Bella Norton and Hannah Davis lead the Hoosiers in RBI with six each.

• Brittany Ford hit her first career grand slam in game one against Rutgers on Mar. 13.

• Katie Lacefield and Taylor Lambert had their first home runs of the season on Mar. 13 during game two against Rutgers.

• Taylor Lambert leads the Hoosiers in runs with 13 on the season.

• Hannah Davis is hitting .419 which is the team leader and ranks seventh in the Big Ten. Davis has a team-high 13 hits on the season.

• In the game against Rutgers, Aaliyah Andrews knocked down her first career hit with a single.

• Brooke Benson recorded the first walk off her career when she hit a RBI double in the 11th innings to help the Hoosiers prevail and get the sweep against Rutgers.

• Emily Goodin and Amber Linton have the fewest sacrifice bunts in the Big Ten with one.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE BASEBALL: Baseball Heads to America’s Dairyland This Weekend

(PFW RELEASE)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Purdue Fort Wayne (7-8, 4-4 Horizon League) heads to Milwaukee (3-12, 3-5 Horizon League) for a baseball series this weekend. The Mastodons are tied for second place in the league. 

Who: Purdue Fort Wayne at Milwaukee

When: Friday, March 26 – 2 p.m. ET | Saturday, March 27 – 2 p.m. ET (DH) | Sunday, March 28 – 1 p.m. ET

Where: Franklin Field | Franklin, Wis.

Video: None

Listen (Milwaukee broadcast): Link

Series History: Milwaukee leads 5-3

Fan Policy: Masks and social distancing required

Probable Starters:

Purdue Fort Wayne:

GM 1 – LHP Justin Miller (4.34 ERA, 3-2)

GM 2 – RHP Cameron Boyd (4.91 ERA, 0-3)

GM 3 – LHP Jacob Myer (1.61 ERA, 3-0)

GM 4 – RHP Gerald Pintarich (8.44 ERA, 0-0)

Milwaukee

GM 1 – RHP Riley Frey (2.29 ERA, 0-2)

GM 2 – RHP Mike Edwards (4.58 ERA, 0-3)

GM 3 – TBD

GM 4 – TBD

Scouting the Mastodons: Purdue Fort Wayne travels to Milwaukee with five wins in their last seven games. The ‘Dons took 3-of-4 from Oakland last week in a series win that was powered by a 5-4 walkoff victory in game two. The ‘Dons were down 4-0 after four innings and came back to win the contest. The ‘Dons have played five one-run games this season, going 3-2 in the contests.

Scouting the Panthers: Friday’s contest will be the first for Milwaukee at Franklin Field. They intended to play at the stadium in 2019 before construction delays pushed their first game to 2020. Well 2020 came and so did a global pandemic. Now the Panthers are set to open play at the 4,000 seat stadium that also hosts the independent team Milwaukee Milkmen. On the field, the Panthers didn’t win a non-league game this season but own a pair of wins over UIC and one at Northern Kentucky in league play.

Series History: Milwaukee leads the series 5-3, with the most memorable contest between the two teams being the first ever meeting when the Panthers defeated the ‘Dons 26-21 in Fort Wayne on April 6, 2005 (box score). The last time the two teams played was a four-game series March 25-27, 2011 in Fort Wayne which the Panthers and ‘Dons split 2-2. 

Zac Attack: Zac Baden was inserted into the starting lineup on March 7 against Youngstown State. In 21 at-bats he is hitting .381 with eight hits while walking five times. The sophomore second baseman has been on base in 7-of-9 games.

Robison Saves The Day:  Ryan Robison picked up the win in the first game of the doubleheader over Oakland on March 20 and then earned the save in the nightcap. He has four saves on the season, best in the Horizon League and 14th in the nation.

Oh Myer: Jacob Myer is pitching like one of the best pitchers in the league. The junior college transfer from Milwaukee leads the league in ERA with a 1.61 mark over 28.0 innings.

J and J: Justin Miller ranks second in the league in opponent batting average (.162). Right behind Miller in third is Jacob Myer at .184.

Meep, Meep!: The Mastodons own a league best 26 stolen bases this year. They are 26-of-31 and rank 28th in the nation. Jack Lang leads the league with nine stolen bases.

How About Jack: Jack Lang ranks fourth in the league in hitting (.354). He has six multi-hit games this season and enters the weekend with an 11-game on-base streak.

Nearing 500: Head coach Doug Schreiber spent 18 seasons as the head coach at Purdue and is in his second season at Purdue Fort Wayne. He enters the weekend with 497 career victories.

Looking Ahead: The Mastodons host Northern Kentucky next week.  The ‘Dons will play a single game on Thursday (April 1) at Mastodon Field against the Norse and then a single game on Friday (April 2) at Parkview Field. The ‘Dons and Norse will close out the series on Saturday (April 3) with a doubleheader.

EVANSVILLE BASEBALL: Home-stand hits halfway point with Xavier series

(ACES RELEASE)

EVANSVILLE – In the midst of an 11-game home-stand, the University of Evansville baseball team does battle with Xavier this weekend in a four-game set on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.

Last Time Out: Evansville 10, Butler 1

  • Redshirt senior Kenton Crews became the first Ace in the NCAA Division I era to hit for the cycle as the University of Evansville baseball team captured the series with a 10-1 win over Butler on Sunday at German American Bank Field at Charles H. Braun Stadium in Evansville.
  • “So proud of our team to have that kind of performance in the rubber match. We played well in every aspect,” remarked Aces head baseball coach Wes Carroll on the win. “We saw the first of many wins for Donovan Schultz in an Aces uniform and Kenton Crews having the cycle! Great day for the Aces.”
  • Evansville flipped the script on the Bulldogs from Saturday’s game, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first to take an early advantage. After senior Troy Beilsmith was hit by a pitch in the first at bat of the inning, freshman Simon Scherry promptly stepped to the plate and ripped a double down the left field line to score Beilsmith.
  • Following another free pass with junior Tanner Craig taking a walk, Crews began his big day with a triple to left center that scored Scherry and Crews. The speedy Crews then scored from first on a base hit by senior Craig Shepherd to close the scoring in the inning.
  • After Butler scored a run in the second, Evansville answered with freshman Mark Shallenberger driving a base hit to center, scoring senior Ben Komonosky. 
  • The fourth inning represented another offensive explosion for Evansville, both coming in quick succession. Komonosky led off the inning and drove a home run to left field, the Canadian’s first homer since May 17, 2019. Butler responded with a pitching change, which Beilsmith took advantage of.
  • On the first pitch from the Bulldog reliever, Beilsmith copied Komonosky with a solo shot to nearly the exact same spot, increasing the Aces lead to 7-1.
  • Freshman Donovan Schultz finished his day on the mound after the fifth with a strong performance, allowing just one run and three hits, while striking-out five.
  • In the seventh, Crews rounded-out the most difficult portions of his cycle, slapping a two-run homer to left, scoring junior Eric Roberts. Later in the seventh, Komonosky drove in another run with a single to score senior Craig Shepherd.
  • Replacing Schultz, Roberts slid from designated hitter to the mound where he excelled, finishing the day with a perfect three innings of work with two Ks.
  • Crews completed his cycle with a base hit that slipped past the shortstop and rolled into left in the eighth.
  • The Aces recorded 15 hits on the afternoon, while limiting the Bulldogs to just three, closing-out the weekend with the 10-1 win. Through five weeks of the season, Evansville has won all three of its home series.


Previewing the Matchup: Xavier

  • Evansville and Xavier are meeting for the 44th time when the two sides meet in Friday’s series opener.
  • The Aces own a 27-16 in the all-time series, but have won just one of their last eight against the Musketeers.
  • Xavier enters the weekend with a 5-9 record and ranked 84th in RPI, having played a tough schedule and coming off a  four-game series split with crosstown rival Cincinnati.
  • Senior Nathan Croner makes his way back into the rotation after three weekends away to rehab an injury. The Independence, Mo. native is the active career leader in innings pitched, strikeouts, starts, and appearances.
  • This weekend’s series against Xavier represents the midpoint of an 11-game home-stand that will conclude with a four-game set against South Dakota State next weekend.


Offense Catches Fire

  • In last weekend’s series against Butler, the Aces offense found its rhythm.
  • Evansville scored seven or more runs each game, averaging 8.3 runs per game and out-scoring the Bulldogs, 25-13, and 17-1 on Friday and Sunday.


Komonosky Finding His Bat

  • A stellar force behind the plate defensively, senior catcher Ben Komonosky has started to improve his at-bats as well.
  • Komonosky opened the season without a hit in his first eighth contests, but has rebounded to hit .226 with a pair of doubles and a home run through 15 games.
  • Over the last four contests, Komonosky is hitting .546 with three RBI.

VALPO VOLLEYBALL: Volleyball Set to Close Regular Season at Evansville

(VALPO RELEASE)

Valparaiso (10-8, 9-7 MVC)
Matches #19/20 – March 27/28 – 6 p.m./4 p.m.
at Evansville (5-13, 4-12 MVC) – Evansville, Ind.

This Week in Valpo Volleyball: The Valpo volleyball team brings the regular season to a close this weekend as it travels downstate for its two-match series at Evansville Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Seedings for next week’s MVC Tournament is still up for grabs, as Valpo could enter the tournament as anywhere from the third seed through the seventh seed.

Previously: Valpo won for the seventh time in the last eight matches with a sweep of the opener against Indiana State last Sunday, but dropped a 3-1 decision to the visiting Sycamores Monday in its home finale.

Looking Ahead: The MVC Tournament opens on Thursday, April 1 at Illinois State.

Following the Action: Both matches this weekend are scheduled to be broadcasted live on ESPN+. Links for the live video, as well as live stats, will be available via ValpoAthletics.com.

Head Coach Carin Avery: In her 19th season as head coach at Valparaiso, Carin Avery has won 422 matches (422-206, .672) at the helm of the Brown and Gold and has led Valpo to three league regular season and tournament titles, as well as three NCAA Tournament appearances. A two-time league Coach of the Year, Avery has coached 61 All-League recipients over her tenure at Valpo. She is Valpo’s all-time leader in both victories and winning percentage, and owns a 477-230 (.675) record overall as a head coach.

Series History: Evansville holds a slight 11-10 edge in the all-time series over Valpo, but it is the Brown and Gold who have dominated recently. Under Coach Avery, Valpo owns an 8-1 record against the Purple Aces, including wins in five of six meetings as MVC opponents. Last season, Evansville pulled out a five-set victory at home before Valpo returned the favor with a three-set sweep at the ARC.

Scouting the Opposition: Evansville enters the final weekend of the regular season at 5-13 overall and 4-12 in MVC play. The Purple Aces have already been eliminated from contention for a berth in the MVC Tournament. Evansville features primarily two attackers, as Alondra Vazquez ranks second in the MVC with 4.38 kills/set and Melanie Feliciano ranks fourth with 3.84 kills/set. Vazquez also posts a team-high 3.66 digs/set.

Valpo Picked Seventh in Preseason Poll: Entering its fourth season of Missouri Valley Conference play, Valpo has been selected to finish in seventh place in the conference in the spring of 2021, acording to preseason polling of the conference’s head coaches. Valpo tallied 39 points in the polling, while UNI and Illinois State earned the top two spots, with the Panthers edging the Redbirds both in first-place votes (6-4) and total points (96-93). Notably, Valpo has outperformed its preseason poll rank in each of its first three seasons in the MVC.

Looking Back at 2019: Valpo finished the 2019 campaign with a 14-20 overall record and posted an 8-10 mark in MVC play to finish the regular season in fifth place in the conference standings, outperforming its preseason poll rank for a third straight year. The Brown and Gold advanced to the MVC semifinals for the second consecutive season. Rylee Cookerly was tabbed the MVC Libero of the Year and an AVCA Honorable Mention All-Region honoree and was joined by Peyton McCarthy as a First Team All-MVC member – giving Valpo multiple First Team All-MVC choices for the first time as an MVC program.

What’s Back and What’s New: Valpo returns 14 of 18 letterwinners and all of its starters from last year’s squad, a group which encompasses the vast majority of last year’s production – 100% of the blocks, 99.8% of the kills, 91% of the digs and 86.9% of the service aces. Included among the 14 returnees are five players who played all 127 sets in 2019: Brittany Anderson, Jaclyn Bulmahn, Rylee Cookerly, Jillie Grant and Peyton McCarthy. Joining the 14 returnees are a pair of freshmen: setter Victoria Bulmahn and middle Mallory Januski.

Digging Deep: Valpo continued its long tradition of strong back row play in 2019, finishing the year ranked ninth nationally in total digs and 26th in digs/set. The Brown and Gold have ranked among the top-30 nationally in digs/set in each of the last 10 seasons, including leading the nation with 20.03 digs/set in 2017 to go along with a fourth-place rank in 2010 and a sixth-place finish in 2015. 2018 saw Valpo lead the nation in a digs category as well, as it posted 2,613 total digs – a mark which not only ranked first nationally for total digs, but also set a program single-season record and a Division I record in the 25-point era. Valpo currently sits fourth nationally this year with 20.63 digs/set.

Looking For Their Best Finish: Valpo enters the final weekend of the regular season at 9-7 in MVC play. With two wins at Evansville, the Brown and Gold would conclude the conference slate with an 11-7 record, which would match the 2018 team for the program’s best MVC record since joining the conference. Additionally, Valpo can still finish as high as third in the standings, which would better the 2018 squad’s fourth-place regular season finish.

A Program First: Valpo earned its first-ever wins over UNI in the weekend sweep, as the Panthers had owned a 14-0 record in the all-time series, which included a 1995 NCAA Tournament play-in match and eight meetings in Valpo’s first three years in the MVC. Monday’s win was especially notable, as it was the first three-set win by an MVC program over UNI in regular season conference play since November 2017. Valpo also beat Illinois State earlier this year for its first MVC win over the Redbirds, meaning that the Brown and Gold have now beaten every Valley team at least once since joining the conference.

Going the Distance: Valpo’s opener with UNI went the full five sets, as Valpo took the first two sets before the Panthers claimed sets three and four. Valpo eventually pulled out the win in five sets. Valpo has now gone five sets in seven of its 18 atches this year – after losing the first four five-set contests of the year, the Brown and Gold have won each of the last three that have gone the distance.

Finishing in Three: It had been over a month since Valpo had a match end in the minimum three sets before the Brown and Gold swept Bradley in the opener of the two-match series March 7. Valpo has won in straight sets in three of its last six matches, as the second match against UNI and the first match versus Indiana State required just the minimum three sets. Having had only three three-set matches so far through 16 MVC matches this year is a complete 180 from the norm, as in its first three years in the conference, 28 of Valpo’s 54 MVC contests were decided in three sets (18-10). This year’s team is currently 4-0 overall in three-set matches, trying to become the first team in program history to not lose a single match in three sets.

What A Comeback It Was: Valpo volleyball fans hadn’t seen the type of comeback that the Brown and Gold put forth in the finale at Drake in quite some time. Valpo held off four Drake match points in the fourth set before eventually earning the win, the first time since September 2010 versus EKU it had won a match where it stared down four match points. In fact, the last time Valpo won a match where it was on the wrong end of even just one match point opportunity previous to Drake came in October 2013.

A Record-Setting Performance: The story of the Monday win at Drake was the Valpo back-row defense. The 134 digs Valpo totaled set a program record for not just the 25-point era but any rally-scoring match, besting the mark of 129 set against Wright State in October 2016. The 134-dig mark is also fourth-most across all eras in program history and is the most in a single match since September 1994. No NCAA D-I team has bettered 134 digs in a single match since Missouri State did so at Drake in October 2017.

Dominant Close to the Match: Never before in the rally scoring era had Valpo delivered as crushing a fifth-set victory as it did in the Monday win at Illinois State. Valpo finished the match with a 15-2 win in set five to earn its first win over the Redbirds since joining the MVC. The defense got the job done in the final frame, as ISU hit -.438 and committed eight attack errors – four of which were Valpo blocks. Valpo previously owned two fifth-set wins in the rally scoring era by 15-3 finals.

A Huge Weekend: A record-setting performance was part of a stellar pair of back-to-back matches for senior outside hitter Jaclyn Bulmahn last weekend against Indiana State in the final two home matches of her career. In Sunday’s three-set sweep of the Sycamores, Bulmahn exploded for 20 kills on a career-high .543 hitting percentage while adding a team-best four blocks as well. The 20 kills ties the Valpo record for kills in a three-set match in the 25-point era and shares top honors in the MVC for kills in a three-set match this year. Bulmahn followed on Monday with a match-best 19 kills on .432 hitting. Over the two matches, Bulmahn hit at a .486 clip and averaged 5.57 kills/set. Bulmahn currently ranks eighth in the MVC with a .267 hitting percentage in 10th with 3.04 kills/set.

Cookerly Continues to Dig: Senior libero Rylee Cookerly averaged a team-high 5.29 digs/set and did not commit a service reception error as Valpo split its final home series with Indiana State. Cookerly recorded 16 digs in Valpo’s three-set sweep of the Sycamores on Sunday and then tallied 21 digs on Monday. Cookerly now owns 2,476 career digs, good for 18th in NCAA history and just six away from moving into third in MVC history in the category. Currently 12th in the nation this year with 5.82 digs/set, Cookerly is poised to potentially finish the regular season in the top-15 in NCAA history in the category.

Bulmahn Sets Things Up: Freshman Victoria Bulmahn picked up her third Freshman of the Week honor from the MVC this week after her pair of performances in the split with Indiana State. Bulmahn opened the weekend series by leading the Valpo offense to a .308 hitting percentage in its Sunday sweep of the Sycamores, the team’s best hitting percentage of the year. She doled out 32 assists and added eight digs and three kills as well. On Monday, Bulmahn posted an eye-popping 28 digs on the defensive side of the ball, leading all players for the first time in her career in the category and setting a new career high. The rookie also dished out 46 assists — recording her 13th double-double of the season — and posted a pair of service aces as well. For the weekend, Bulmahn averaged 11.14 assists and 5.14 digs per set in the split. Her 10.86 assists/set on the season lead the Valley, rank 22nd nationally and are second-most in the nation by a freshman setter.

MIAMI VOLLEYBALL: Miami heads to CMU for Final Regular-Season Matches

(MIAMI RELEASE)

FRIDAY AND SATURDAY’S MATCHES: After picking up a key five-set win against Ball State on Tuesday, Miami rides a three-match win streak into a key weekend series at Central Michigan to round out the regular season. Miami is vying for a spot in the upcoming four-team Mid-American Conference Tournament in a tight race for the final spot. The RedHawks and Chippewas square off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 26 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 27.

ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN: The Chippewas enter the weekend with an 11-9 record and are also battling for a spot in the upcoming MAC Tournament. Savannah Thompson leads the team with 3.71 kps, while Hannah Warners averages 4.26 dps and Kendall Braate averages 3.66 dps. Maddi Whitfield averages 0.82 bps, while Grace Butler averages 5.51 aps and Kamryn Olson averages 4.94 aps.

THE SERIES WITH THE CHIPPEWAS: Friday marks the 62nd meeting between Miami and Central Michigan with the RedHawks holding a 36-25 lead in the series and have won the last six meetings. When playing in Mount Pleasant, Miami is 15-13. MU’s last win against CMU was Oct. 20, 2019 in Oxford, 3-2, and its last win at CMU was Oct. 13, 2018, 3-1. The Chippewas’ last win against the RedHawks was in Oxford on Oct. 18, 2013, 3-1, and their last win against MU in Mount Pleasant was Oct. 11, 2012, 3-1.

UP NEXT: Miami is in contention for one of the four spots in the MAC Tournament, and awaits the results from the weekend to determine if MU will make the tournament.

CAREER HIGH WEEKEND: Several RedHawks achieved career-high numbers against Eastern Michigan March 19-20:

Abigail Huser: 38 digs (3/19)

Morgan Seaman: 57 assist (3/19)

Taylor Nomanson: 9 digs (3/20)

Allyson Severance: 14 kills (ties), 14 digs, 4 block assists, 4 service aces (ties) (3/20)

HUSER RECORDS 1,000th CAREER DIG: Senior Abigail Huser became the 17th member of Miami’s 1,000 dig club on Thursday, March 4 at Kent State. Huser needed 13 digs entering the contest and hit the mark early in the third set. She has 1,168 entering Miami’s next match to rank ninth on the list.

REDHAWKS AMONG MAC LEADERS:

Miami – 13.68 kills per set; 3rd

Miami – .234 hitting percentage, 3rd

Senior Abigail Huser – 4.70 digs per set; 6th

Sophomore Allyson Severance – 0.33 service aces per set; 8th

Senior Morgan Seaman – 9.00 assist per set; 8th

SEAMAN CLIMBS ASSIST LIST: Senior Morgan Seaman moved into sixth on Miami’s career assist chart and has 2,804 entering MU’s next match. She has played in 112 career matches, playing in her 100th career match on Feb. 18 against Western Michigan.

ECLIPSING 750 CAREER WINS: With a 3-0 win versus Buffalo on Jan. 22, Miami head coach Carolyn Condit posted her 750th career win. Condit owns a 760-564 career record in her 41st season as a head coach. Condit’s 760 total victories are tied for eighth among active NCAA Division I coaches, and tied for 24th all-time. Owning more victories than any coach in the history of the Miami Athletic Department, Condit holds a 661-487 record in her 37th season in charge of the Red and White. Condit is the only volleyball coach in the history of the Mid-American Conference to win over 300 league matches, holding a conference mark of 364-216.

ODDS ‘N ENDS:

Senior Morgan Seaman has recorded eight assist/dig double-doubles this season, the last coming against Eastern Michigan on March 19 with 57 assists and 16 digs.

Five times this season senior Morgan Seaman has surpassed 50 kills, including Miami’s last three matches. She amassed a career-high 57 assists against Eastern Michigan on March 19 and posted her second-best career total the following night vs. EMU with 55.

Senior Sarah Wojick has been in double figures for kills in 12 of Miami’s last 15 matches. She tallied a career-high 18 kills at Akron on Jan. 29.

Senior Abigail Huser has been in double figures for digs in 17 of MU’s 19 matches this season and reached or surpassed 20-dig mark eight times. Huser notched a career-high 38 digs on March 19 versus Eastern Michigan.

Freshman Maggie McCrary leads Miami with 43 blocks this season, including 38 block assists. Three times she has notched five block assists in a match: Jan. 28 at Akron, Feb. 5 at Bowling Green, Mar. 13 vs. Ohio.

Four times this season, a Miami player has served up four aces in a match. Sophomore Allyson Severance has recorded four service aces three times: versus Buffalo on Jan. 23, at Northern Illinois on Feb. 25 and versus Eastern Michigan on March 20. Senior Morgan Seaman also served up four aces at Akron on Jan. 29.

WRIGHT STATE MBB: Love named to Lou Henson All-America Team for third consecutive season

(WSU RELEASE)

BOSTON, MA – After averaging a double-double for the season, Wright State big man Loudon Love has been named to the 2020-21 Lou Henson All-America Team, which honors the nation’s best mid-major players in Division I college basketball. This is Love’s third consecutive season earning the All-America honors.

Love now becomes a finalist for the 2020-21 Lou Henson Award, with the winner announced April 1.

A total of 30 players comprised this year’s All-America Team, with Love being one of two representatives from the Horizon League. Love was also Lou Henson All-America selection following the 2018-19 and 2019-20 campaigns.

Love led the Raiders in both scoring and rebounding this season, averaging a double-double for the season with a 16.6 points per game average and a 10.1 rebounds per game clip. He recorded double digit point totals in 23 of 24 games, including 14 games with 15 or more points and had 12 double-doubles this season while being named to the NABC All-District 12 First Team for the second straight year.

Love earned his second consecutive Horizon League Player of the Year selection last month, putting the Raider big man in rare Horizon League company, becoming just the sixth player in League history to win two Player of the Year awards and only the third Horizon League player to garner multiple Player of the Year honors and also have been named the League’s Newcomer of the Year. The only other Wright State player to earn the Horizon League’s top individual honor other than Love was DeShaun Wood following the 2006-2007 season.

Love has played in 120 career games with 1,792 career points, No. 3 all-time in Wright State program history, and his 1,123 career rebounds are the most in Wright State basketball history (men and women) and is the 79th-most in NCAA history. He is second in career rebounding among active players.

DAYTON BASEBALL: Baseball To Begin Four-Game Series With Kent State Friday

(DAYTON RELEASE)

DAYTON – The University of Dayton baseball team will open a four-game series against Kent State Friday at 3 p.m. at Woerner Field. The Flyers will play one on Friday before returning for a home matchup on Saturday at 1 p.m. Dayton will finish the series with a doubleheader on Sunday at Kent State with the first game beginning at 1 p.m.

All four games will have live stats for fans to follow along at home, with Saturday’s matchup featuring an audio stream and Sunday’s doubleheader including a live stream.

SCOUTING THE FLYERS

Dayton scored the most runs in a game since Feb. 25, 2017 in its 20-13 victory on Wednesday night at Eastern Kentucky. UD improved its record to 5-14 in 2021 in the win. The Flyers hit six home runs in the contest, getting round trippers from graduate students Alex Brickman and Eddie Pursinger, seniors Mitchell Garrity, Michael Cleary, and Mariano Ricciardi, and junior Marcos Pujols. It also marked the second-straight game that Garrity and Brickman went deep.

Junior Benjamin Blackwell leads Dayton offensively, hitting .333 in 19 games this season, tallying four doubles and an on-base percentage of .443. Blackwell also leads the team with five stolen bases. Brickman leads the Flyers from a run-producing standpoint, knocking a team-leading five home runs and 13 RBIs. Pujols has also put in consistent work, ranking second on the team with 12 RBIs.

Senior Hunter Wolfe was named Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week for his effort against Central Michigan on Friday. The lefty went seven scoreless innings while picking up at least 10 strikeouts for the second consecutive start. He is tied for the conference lead with 37 strikeouts this season, putting his career total at 162 strikeouts, putting him 17 behind Charlie Dant for 10th in program history. Senior Andrew Zapka has been a dominant force out of the Dayton bullpen as well, posting an ERA of 0.96 in 9.1 innings this season.

SCOUTING THE GOLDEN FLASHES

Kent State enters the weekend with a 7-8 record after losing three of four against Northern Illinois in the team’s first conference series. The Golden Flashes took the series finale 8-4 on Sunday against the Huskies. Kent State entered the season predicted to finish second in the MAC, receiving one more first place vote than Central Michigan, who was picked to win the conference.

Offensively, Collin Mathews leads the team with a .378 batting average with three home runs and 11 RBIs through 15 games this season. Justin Miknis has also been a key contributor offensively, hitting .333 and tying for the team lead with 12 RBIs, while Michael Turner has hit a team-leading four home runs for Kent State.

Luke Albright has been the main force in the rotation for the Golden Flashes. In five starts this season, Albright has a 1.52 ERA and 35 strikeouts, ranking in the top five in both categories entering the week in the MAC. Ryan Lane and Max Rippl are the other two consistent starters for Kent State, with both making four starts to this point in the season.

MATCHUP HISTORY

Friday’s game will mark the third time these two schools have played, with the two splitting other two games with each winning a home contest in 2019.

XAVIER BASEBALL: Baseball Heads to Evansville for Four Game Series

(XAVIER RELEASE)

CINCINNATI  – Xavier baseball (5-9) heads to Evansville for a four-game series with the Purple Aces, starting on Friday, March 16 at 7 PM ET. The series will continue on Saturday with a double-header, starting at 2 PM ET, then wrap up on Sunday at 2 PM ET.

OPPONENT NOTABLES

Evansville enters the game at 9-10, with series wins over NIU, Western Illinois and Butler.

Troy Beilsmith’s .319 average lead the Purple Aces at the plate, he has a team-high 23 hits and 19 runs scored.

Tanner Craig has 21 hits, including a team-high three home runs and seven doubles, to lead Evansville with 18 RBI. Craig has a .514 slugging percentage, highest among UE’s everyday players.

Shane Gray has made a team-high five starts on the mound for the season, posting a 2.76 ERA in 29.1 innings of work, also a team-high. He leads the Purple Aces with 22 strikeouts.

Nathan Croner has made starts, allowing six earned runs on 10 hits 9.0 innings of work.

Jake McMahill has made five appearances, including three starts, allowing 12 earned runs on 17 hits and seven walks for a 6.89 ERA through 15.2 innings of work. McMahill has 17 strikeouts on the season.

Michael Parks has made eight appearances in relief, going 13.2 innings with a 3.95 ERA.

Donovan Schultz has made five appearances, including four starts, with a 7.04 ERA through 15.1 innings of work.

Jakob Meyer has made seven appearances out of the bullpen, going 9.2 innings total with a 0.00 ERA, picking up two wins and both of Evansville’s saves for the season.

Evansville was 5-11 in 2020 when the remainder of the season was called off. The Purple Aces’ wins included a three-game sweep of BIG EAST foe Butler.

Xavier is 16-27 against the Purple Aces all-time. The last time the two programs faced off was a three-game series in March 2019, with the Musketeers taking two of three.

  MUSKETEERS ON THE MOUND

Trevor Olson made his second start of the season on Friday against UC, allowing just one earned run on three hits total after pitching a perfect game through six. Olson struck out a career-high seven batters while walking none on the way to the 2-1 win over the Bearcats, picking up his first win of the season to move his record to 1-0. On the season, he has a 1.86 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched, including three relief appearances. Olson has a team-high 16 strikeouts without a walking a batter.

Nick Zwack has a 3.98 ERA through four starts, pitching a total of 20.1 innings, allowing nine earned runs on 22 hits and has struck out 12 while allowing 10 walks.

Lane Flamm, who has made two starts this season, has an ERA of 3.60 after allowing four earned runs on 12 hits in 10.0 innings of work, striking out a team-high 12 in his two appearances.

Ethan Bosacker has made three starts, allowing 11 earned runs on 20 hits and eight walks, striking out 15. He has an ERA of 6.91 in 14.1 innings of work.

Connor Bailey made his first start of the season on Monday at Cincinnati, going 5.0 innings, giving up three hits and two walks and not allowing an earned run. Bailey had five strikeouts in the game and got a no-decision after leaving the game in a 1-1 tie.

Trey Schramm has made three relief appearances, going 5.1 innings total, allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk, striking out five. He has two saves on the season.

Dorsey Chatham has pitched a team-high 8.1 innings of relief work, posting a 3.24 ERA with only three earned runs allowed on eight hits, striking out 11 in the process.

XU AT THE PLATE

Alex Helmin went .333/.500/.833 at the plate during the UC series with four hits and two walks, five RBI and three runs scored, moving him to a .267 average at the plate for season, highest among players that have averaged 2 plate appearances per game for the season. His 12 hits seven walks are both a team high.

Jack Housinger (.244/.340/.415) has 10 hits on the season, including a team-high four doubles, scoring seven runs.

Luke Stephenson (.222/.364/.444) has reached safely in eight-straight games, the longest current streak for the Musketeers. Stephenson finished the UC series with four RBI and four runs scored on three hits and four walks to bring his season totals to six RBI and seven runs scored on six hits.

Natale Monastra (.234/.345/.340) has 11 hits on the season and has scored a team-high seven runs. He has eight RBI on the season following a seven-RBI performance against Cincinnati on Sunday after hitting a grand slam.

Luke Franzoni leads Xavier with three home runs and nine RBI.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

The Musketeers return home to host Dayton for a pair of game on Thursday and Friday, both starting at 3:00 p.m.

Xavier will then head up to Dayton for a double-header with the Flyers on Saturday, April 3, with game one set to begin at 12:00 p.m.

Xavier is 91-46-1 all-time against the Flyers, with the last match-up happening in 2015, an 18-9 win for the Musketeers in Cincinnati.

VS. CANCER

 Xavier Baseball is once again joining forces with Vs. Cancer to raise money in support of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, taking part in a “Pledge It” campaign though eight games this season.

Donors can pledge to sponsor strikeouts or hits during the four-game series with Butler (April 16-18) and UConn (April 23-25) at Hayden Field. Fans wishing to support the fundraising efforts can make a donation per hit or per strikeout, pledging that amount for the team’s total of either hits or strikeouts through those eight games. Sponsors can also choose to make outright gift of any amount.

Xavier Baseball has worked with Vs. Cancer since 2014 to help support children battling cancer, raising over $40,000 for the cause. Those funds were, in part, used to help the Vs. Cancer organization make a $100,000 gift to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

With the donation, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital was assisted in being able to establish its Proton Therapy Center, one of only two such centers in the world owned by a children’s hospital.

WEEKLY AWARDS

Trevor Olson was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday for a second-straight week after going 7.0 innings in his second start of the season, against Cincinnati. The outing matched Olson’s career-long outing in 2018 at San Francisco.

Olson allowed just one earned run on three hits total after pitching a perfect game through six. Olson struck out a career-high seven batters while walking none on the way to the 2-1 win over the Bearcats, picking up his first win of the season to move his record to 1-0.

Wie West struggles to 9-over 81 in return to LPGA Tour

CARLSBAD, Calif. (AP) Michelle Wie West struggled through a round of 9-over 81 in her first tournament in nearly two years, while Inbee Park shot a 6-under 66 to take the first-round lead Thursday in the Kia Classic at Aviara.

Park had a solid, bogey-free round in rainy, breezy conditions in the afternoon. Fellow South Korean Hyo Joo Kim was a stroke behind, and Sophia Popov, In Gee Chun, Stephanie Meadow and Mel Reid shot 68.

The focus was on the 31-year-old Wie West in her first event since giving birth to daughter Makenna nine months ago. This is her first tournament since the Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine in June 2019, when she shot 84-82.

She had hoped for a smoother return to the tour but finished the round tied with Yani Tseng for 142nd in the 144-player field. Wie West opened with her only birdie and then carded seven bogeys in her next 13 holes. She made a double bogey-6 on No. 15 and closed with a bogey on 18.

“I birdied the first hole, so that was good,” Wie West said. “I hit a lot of great shots today. Just felt like I had a couple unlucky bounces here and there that could have made a big difference. At the same time, I just couldn’t get my putter going. I Just didn’t make a lot confident strokes out there today which I know I can improve for tomorrow.”

Wie West said she had no excuses.

“I’m really taking a lot of the positives out of it, and there were a lot. It didn’t seem like it, but I’m excited,” she said. “I’m grateful to be back out here, grateful that I have another day tomorrow to kind of get my game ready for ANA. I hope I make a lot of birdies tomorrow.”

The ANA Inspiration, the season’s first major, is next week at Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.

Even though her parents flew over from Hawaii to help care for her daughter, Wie West said the demands of motherhood will affect the time she can spend at the course.

“I mean, I would be spending an hour on this putting green, but I’ve got to head back and do bath time now,” she said. “So definitely priorities are there, are different, and that’s just kind of … I mean, I had a big smile on my face all day today because life is good. I’m out here playing again; I have a beautiful daughter.”

Wie West was bothered by a hand injury in 2019 and said she thought about retiring, until finding out she was going to have a girl. She is married to Jonnie West, director of basketball operations for the Golden State Warriors and son of basketball great Jerry West.

Great Scot! MacIntyre battles world No. 1 Johnson to a draw

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Bob MacIntyre grew up playing the rough-and-tumble Scottish sport of shinty, and he had more than enough fight to give Dustin Johnson all he could handle Thursday in the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Johnson had to rally late with an eagle and a clutch birdie to send the match to the final hole, where both players missed birdie chances and settled for a tie.

Neither the world’s No. 1 player nor the 24-year-old from the tiny town of Oban were sure what to make of it.

“It was a tough match,” Johnson said. “Ended up making a really good halve, and definitely pleased with it.”

MacIntyre, who trailed for most of the front nine at Austin Country Club and led for most of the back nine, walked away with a mixture of satisfaction and disappointment.

Ultimately, both remained in position to advance out of their group to the weekend knockout stage.

“Obviously, I was dying to win that match,” MacIntyre said. “I was in such a great position to do it. But he threw everything at me, and I can be proud of finishing there all square. Inside I’m a little disappointed not to win. But once we walk away from here and drive back to the house, it’s going to be, ‘You know what? I can compete with these best guys on the planet.”

Some of the best in the planet were eliminated on the second day of round-robin group play.

Justin Thomas, the No. 2 seed, fell behind big on the front nine for the second straight day and couldn’t catch up. Thomas made a strong rally against defending champion Kevin Kisner before losing on the 17th hole.

Tyrrell Hatton delivered more highlights – not so much with a shot, but the artful tossing of a club and the sarcastic clapping of his hands – in losing to Sergio Garcia. The Spaniard, whose American home is in Austin, won his second match and thus eliminated Hatton, the No. 8 seed.

Other top seeds in the 16 groups who have no chance to move on were PGA champion Collin Morikawa (4), Tony Finau (12) and Viktor Hovland of Norway (13). In all, 18 players had matches Friday with nothing on the line.

Friday is the final day for groups, and Kisner’s victory set up a win-or-go-home match against Kuchar, a past Match Play champion who beat Thomas on the first day and outlasted Louis Oosthuizen on Thursday.

Jon Rahm and Ryan Palmer also square off Friday after both won went to 2-0 in their group. Rahm had a harder time than he imagined with British Open champion Shane Lowry, who was 3 down with three holes to play when the Irishman went birdie-birdie to send it to the 18th, and then showed off those great hands with a pitch from under a tree to 12 feet.

He missed the birdie putt and Rahm, who would have had a putt from the same range, smile a sigh of relief.

“He made a heck of a run at the end, man,” Rahm said.

It’s hard to find a true David vs. Goliath at this level of golf, not with the top 64 players available from the world ranking. MacIntyre, trying to nail down a spot in his first Masters, worked his way up to No. 44 with his first victory on the European Tour last fall and a close call in Dubai a few months later.

He briefly stepped away from golf to return to shinty, a sport that resembles a mix of field hockey and rugby that MacIntyre often says is “in my blood,” not to mention whatever blood he spills on the pitch.

He knew what he faced against Johnson and was up for it.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1936       Two future Hall of Famers ink modest contracts with their respective teams. The Tigers sign Hank Greenberg for $20,000, and Red Ruffing comes to terms with the Yankees for $12,000.

1951       During a spring exhibition game against the University of Southern California at Bovard Field, Mickey Mantle, batting left-handed, hits a home run off Tom Lovrich, which is estimated to travel 650 feet. The 19 year-old rookie’s performance, which includes a single, triple, and another homer, is one of the highlights of the Yankees’ first-ever West Coast trip.

1957       Yankee manager Casey Stengel is arrested and is released on $50 bail after he allegedly curses at and kicks a newspaper photographer during an exhibition game in St. Petersburg.

1960       Due to Cuba’s political unrest, Miami becomes the new venue for the Orioles-Reds series, initially scheduled for Havana. Cincinnati, which has a farm team on the island, wanted to play the exhibition games as planned, but Baltimore’s team president Lee MacPhail feared for his players’ safety.

1974       “I said that there’d come a time when somebody would take my job away and the time came. That’s the way the ball bounces. I was the same way when I broke in with the White Sox. If I came, someone had to go. Baseball is like life; it goes on no matter what.” – LUIS APARICIO, commenting on his unconditional release by the Red Sox. The Red Sox release future Hall of Famers designated hitter Orlando Cepeda (1999) and infielder Luis Aparicio (1984) after both contributed to the team last season. Cepeda was considered one of the best DH in the American League with 86 RBIs, 20 home runs, and a .289 average, and Aparicio batted a respectable .271 in 132 games, the best mark among shortstops in the league.

1976       The American League votes to expand to Toronto, awarding a franchise to a group consisting of Labatt’s Breweries (45%), the Imperial Trust, Ltd (45%), and CIBC (10%), the organization which will eventually purchase the team for $7 million. At first, the decision will appear in peril when President Gerald Ford attempts to pressure MLB to give the expansion franchise to Washington, D.C., which has been without a major league team since the Senators moved to Arlington, Texas to become the Rangers following the 1972 season.

1977       Boston releases fan-favorite Rico Petrocelli, a future inductee to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997. The two-time All-Star infielder will call it quits, ending his 13-year career, all with Boston, having played a vital role in the team’s 1967 and 1975 American League pennants.

1984       In a spring training deal, the Phillies trade outfielders Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier along with right-handed reliever Porfi Altamirano to the Cubs for right-hander Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz, a utility player. The former Philadelphia fly chasers, who will each receive consideration for the MVP award, both play a pivotal role in Chicago’s first-place finish this season in the National League Eastern Division.

1984       Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball’s color line, playing for the Dodgers in 1947, is awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously by President Reagan. Rachel Robinson, on behalf of her late husband, accepts the award, the highest civilian honor given in the United States.

2000       The demolition Kingdome happens in less than 20 seconds, thanks to 5,800 holes filled with gelatin dynamite ignited by 21.6 miles of detonation cord. The former home of the Mariners is now a 65-foot mound of rubble.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1973

ST. LOUIS-Bill Walton put on one of the greatest performances in college basketball tournament history tonight leading his University of California, Los Angeles team to its seventh straight National Collegiate Athletic Association championship. His record 44 points was only part of his total effort as U.C.L.A. defeated an exciting Memphis State team, 87‚66, for its 75th consecutive victory over 21û2 seasons and its ninth N.C.A.A. title in the last ten years.

But Walton’s amazing work was toned down when, with 2 minutes 51 seconds remaining, the 6-foot 11-inch red-haired Bruin fell hard to the floor and hurt his left knee and ankle. He limped off the floor to an ovation from the 19,301 fans. This most mobile of the present college basketball big men has always played with pain in his knees. He tapes them before every game.

Walton’s outstanding effort, hitting on 21 of 22 field goal shots, taking 13 rebounds and controlling both boards, was even more noteworthy because he played with three personal fouls from the start of the second half and picked up his fourth after 10 minutes and 33 seconds more. The fouls didn’t hamper his motion in beating Memphis State’s big men. He continued to play physically hard and in constant contact with the Tigers’ who were trying their best to draw that fifth personal and send Walton to the bench. When he was hurt, U.C.L.A. had finally taken command of the game and was leading, 75‚62.

But earlier, when Walton drew his third personal with 4:14 to go in the first half and U.C.L.A. led at 37‚31, Wooden benched him for the remainder of the first half. Memphis State suddenly was playing a normal team of mortals and gained a 39‚39 tie at intermission. Wooden, however did not remove his big junior hero after he drew that fourth personal. The coach didn’t dare do that. U.C.L.A. could easily have lost its slim lead-61‚55-at the time. Without Walton, this U.C.L.A. team is just another good team- maybe not even good enough to beat Memphis State.

Ronnie Robinson, Larry Kenon and Wes Westfall, Memphis State’s tall men who worked on Walton in pairs and relays, just couldn’t handle the big fellow from La Mesa, Calif., who zipped back and forth across the lane at the low post as if he was under 6 feet tall. He took in high and low passes from Greg Lee, Keith Wilkes, Larry Hollyfield and others and scored by out-reaching his defenders. He took rebounds jumping over the Tigers. Gene Bartow, Memphis State coach, said: “We couldn’t contain Walton. I’ve never seen a player so dominating as Walton.”

Bill Walton’s 44 points broke the previous individual scoring mark of 42 points in an N.C.A.A. title game, which had been set by Gail Goodrich, also of U.C.L.A., against Michigan in 1965. Bill Bradley of Princeton  and Austin Carr of Notre Dame (see March 7) scored more points in non-championship games of the tournament.

1944: St. John’s University, coached by Joe Lapchick, upended DePaul, 47‚39, at Madison Square Garden to become the first back-to-back winner of the National Invitation Tournament. The Redmen, as they then were called, won a third N.I.T. title by defeating Bradley in 1959.

1917: The Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association became the first United States team to win the Stanley Cup in the pre-N.H.L. days by beating the Montreal Canadiens, three games to one. It was the first time the Cup went south of the Canadian border since being donated in 1893.

1946: Hank Iba’s Oklahoma A&:M team defeated the University of North Carolina, 43‚40, for the Aggies’ second straight N.C.A.A. title. Bob Kurland, the first dominant 7-footer in basketball, scored 23 points as A&:M became the tournament’s first two-time champion.

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3213.71119-413-98-222-79-14 W
Brooklyn3015.6672.017-613-95-216-108-21 L
New York2322.5119.014-89-141-616-145-52 W
Boston2123.47710.513-78-163-515-134-62 L
Toronto1826.40913.59-109-163-512-161-91 W
 
Central Divison
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Milwaukee2914.67418-511-99-018-79-18 W
Indiana2023.4659.08-1212-115-313-135-51 W
Chicago1924.44210.09-1610-83-39-114-62 L
Cleveland1727.38612.511-126-153-513-124-61 W
Detroit1231.27917.07-125-190-98-193-72 L
 
Southeast Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Charlotte2221.51212-810-135-111-96-42 W
Atlanta2222.5000.511-911-133-313-128-22 L
Miami2223.4891.012-1210-115-413-145-55 L
Washington1528.3497.08-147-141-65-202-83 L
Orlando1529.3417.510-145-154-410-172-81 W
 
Western Conference
Northwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah3211.74417-215-93-213-66-43 W
Denver2618.5916.512-914-97-114-117-31 L
Portland2618.5916.514-912-93-415-126-41 W
Oklahoma City1925.43213.58-1311-123-611-175-51 L
Minnesota1034.22722.55-165-183-67-203-73 L
 
Pacific Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Phoenix2914.67415-814-65-219-87-31 L
LA Clippers3016.6520.515-615-106-218-96-44 W
LA Lakers2817.6222.014-1014-72-519-104-64 L
Golden State2223.4898.013-89-153-712-143-73 L
Sacramento2025.44410.011-129-134-49-116-43 W
 
Southwest Division
 WLPctGBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Dallas2319.54811-912-105-114-137-32 W
San Antonio2220.5241.010-1312-74-612-164-64 L
Memphis2120.5121.511-1310-73-510-145-53 W
New Orleans1924.4424.513-106-144-311-165-52 W
Houston1231.27911.56-166-154-58-151-91 L

NHL STANDINGS

East
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
New York Islanders34228448201027613-1-29-7-28-2-0
Washington Capitals32217446191109511-4-210-3-28-2-0
Pittsburgh Penguins342111244181099014-3-17-8-17-2-1
Boston Bruins291685371480707-3-29-5-34-3-3
New York Rangers32151343414102857-6-38-7-15-4-1
Philadelphia Flyers321513434141001197-7-38-6-13-6-1
New Jersey Devils3112154281278974-11-28-4-24-4-2
Buffalo Sabres326224164661152-11-24-11-20-9-1
 
West
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Vegas Golden Knights31228145221017213-2-19-6-06-4-0
Colorado Avalanche32218345211117213-4-18-4-28-1-1
Minnesota Wild32211014321947813-3-08-7-18-2-0
St. Louis Blues33161253714971064-7-312-5-23-4-3
Arizona Coyotes33141453311831018-8-36-6-24-4-2
Los Angeles Kings3213136321291906-4-47-9-24-5-1
San Jose Sharks3113144309891065-6-28-8-25-4-1
Anaheim Ducks349196248741155-11-34-8-33-7-0
 
North
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs332110244211108511-6-110-4-14-6-0
Winnipeg Jets332011242201099210-5-110-6-15-4-1
Edmonton Oilers342113042211169712-8-09-5-07-3-0
Montreal Canadiens3114893713100876-5-28-3-74-2-4
Vancouver Canucks371618335131001209-9-27-9-16-3-1
Calgary Flames34151633314891028-5-17-11-24-5-1
Ottawa Senators36122042810941358-6-44-14-04-3-3
 
Central
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Tampa Bay Lightning33247250231207813-2-011-5-27-3-0
Carolina Hurricanes32227347181088110-1-312-6-07-1-2
Florida Panthers33209444191079410-4-310-5-15-5-0
Chicago Blackhawks341613537141011089-4-27-9-34-6-0
Columbus Blue Jackets34131383411891107-6-66-7-24-3-3
Nashville Predators34161713313861049-7-07-10-16-3-1
Dallas Stars3011118301085807-5-64-6-24-3-3
Detroit Red Wings34102042410721137-8-33-12-13-6-1