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) 

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

WOMEN’S SWEET 16 SCHEDULE

Saturday, March 27

1 p.m. — No. 5 Iowa vs. No. 1 UConn — ABC
3 p.m. — No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 2 Baylor — ABC
6 p.m. — No. 4 Indiana vs. No. 1 NC State — ESPN2
8 p.m. — No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 2 Texas A&M — ESPN2

Sunday, March 28

1 p.m. — No. 5 Georgia Tech vs. No. 1 South Carolina — ABC
3 p.m. — No. 5 Missouri State vs. No. 1 Stanford — ABC
7 p.m. — No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 2 Louisville — ESPN
9 p.m. — No. 6 Texas vs. No. 2 Maryland — ESPN

NBA SCOREBOARD

Brooklyn 113 Detroit 111

Boston 122 Milwaukee 114

Phoenix 104 Toronto 100

Denver 113 New Orleans 108

Minnesota 107 Houston 101

Portland 112 Orlando 105

Charlotte 110 Miami 105

Indiana 109 Dallas 94

Utah 117 Memphis 114….DESMOND BANE 3PTS, 2 REB

Atlanta 124 Golden State 108

LA Lakers 100 Cleveland 86

NHL SCOREBOARD

Washington 4 New Jersey 0

Anaheim 4 St. Louis 1

Arizona 5 San Jose 2

Winnipeg 3 Calgary 2

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL – SPRING TRAINING

Cleveland 5 Colorado 4

San Francisco 5 Chicago Cubs 5

Chicago White Sox 7 Milwaukee 5

Cincinnati 7 Arizona 3

Texas 8 Kansas City 1

Oakland 11 LA Dodgers 0

San Diego 6 Seattle 3

Detroit 5 Pittsburgh 2

Tampa Bay 7 Boston 3

Atlanta 7 Minnesota 6

Miami 9 Houston 0

Washington 7 NY Mets 3

Baltimore 4 NY Yankees 1

Toronto 6 Philadelphia 5

INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL PRE-SEASON POLLS

4A

1)ZIONSVILLE H.S. 0-0 (130)

2)WESTFIELD H.S. 0-0 (102)

3)LAKE CENTRAL H.S. 0-0 (96)

4)COLUMBUS NORTH H.S. 0-0 (78)

5)CARMEL H.S. 0-0 (70)

6)CENTER GROVE H.S. 0-0 (58)

7)HOMESTEAD H.S. 0-0 (56)

8)ANDREAN H.S. 0-0 (44)

9)EVANS. NORTH H.S. 0-0 (36)

9)PENN H.S 0-0 (36)

Receiving Votes:

Bedford N.L. H.S., Castle H.S., Columbus East H.S., Evans. Central H.S., Floyd Central H.S., Harrison H.S. (West Lafayette), Indpls Cathedral H.S., Jasper H.S., Jeffersonville H.S., Munster H.S., New Albany H.S., New Palestine H.S., Noblesville H.S., Valparaiso H.S.,

3A

1)WESTERN H.S. 0-0 (96)

2)EDGEWOOD H.S. 0-0 (88)

3)BREBEUF H.S. 0-0 (76)

3)SOUTH BEND ST.JOE H.S. 0-0 (76)

5)SILVER CREEK H.S. 0-0 (72)

6)SOUTHRIDGE H.S. 0-0 (70)

7)NEW CASTLE H.S. 0-0 (58)

8)WEST VIGO H.S. 0-0 (50)

9)LEBANON H.S. 0-0 (46)

10)EVANS. MEMORIAL H.S. 0-0 (38)

Receiving Votes:

Crawfordsville H.S., Danville H.S., F.W. Dwenger H.S., Glenn H.S. (John Glenn), Hanover Central H.S., Indian Creek H.S., Kankakee Valley H.S., New Prairie H.S., Peru H.S., Scottsburg H.S, South Dearborn H.S., Washington H.S.,

2A

1)MONROE CENTRAL H.S. 0-0 (110)

2)LAFAYETTE CENTRAL CATHOLIC H.S. 0-0 (104)

3)SOUTH ADAMS H.S. 0-0 (94)

4)CLINTON PRAIRIE H.S. 0-0 (70)

5)SOUTH RIPLEY H.S. 0-0 (60)

6)WAPAHANI H.S. 0-0 (54)

6)HEBRON H.S. 0-0 (54)

8)BOONE GROVE H.S. 0-0 (52)

9)LINTON-STOCKTON H.S. 0-0 (50)

10)NORTH POSEY H.S. 0-0 (30)

Receiving Votes:

Alexandria H.S., Cascade H.S., Cass H.S. (Lewis – Cass), Delphi H.S., Eastside H.S., Forest Park H.S., Heritage Christian School, Knightstown H.S, North Posey H.S., Park Tudor H.S., Perry Central H.S., University High School, Westview H.S.,

1A

1)DALEVILLE H.S. 0-0 (122)

2)OLDENBURG ACADEMY 0-0 (98)

3)SOUTHWESTERN H.S.(SHELBYVILLE) 0-0 (84)

4)WASHINGTON TWP. H.S. 0-0 (78)

5)SHAKAMAK H.S. 0-0 (62)

6)HAUSER H.S. 0-0 (56)

7)KOUTS H.S. 0-0 (50)

8)F.W. BLACKHAWK CHRISTIAN H.S. 0-0 (44)

9)TECUMSEH H.S. 0-0 (42)

10)SOUTH CENTRAL H.S. (UNION MILLS) 0-0 (40)

Receiving Votes:

Barr-Reeve H.S., Borden H.S., F.W. Canterbury H.S., Fremont H.S., Lanesville H.S., Loogootee H.S., North Daviess H.S., Pioneer H.S., Rising Sun H.S., Riverton Parke H.S., South Central H.S., Trinity Lutheran H.S.,

INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL SOFTBALL PRE-SEASON POLLS

4A

Crown Point                      

Center Grove                    

Decatur Central               

Lake Central                      

New Palestine                  

Roncalli                                

Leo                        

Penn                    

Brownsburg      

Castle                   

3A

Yorktown                           

Hanover Central              

Benton Central                 

South Bend St. Joseph’s

Danville                               

Bellmont                             

New Prairie                        

Tri-West Hendricks         

Edgewood                         

Bremen

2A

Tecumseh

Boone Grove

Tipton

Union County

Oak Hill

Andrean

South Vermillion

Speedway

Paoli

Lapel

1A

Indianapolis Lutheran

West Washington

Loogootee

Fremont

Frontier

Morgan Township

Hauser 

Lincoln

Tri

Clay City

TOP HEADLINES

INDIANA WBB: No. 4 Indiana Meets Top Seeded North Carolina State In Regional Semifinal On Saturday

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – No. 4 Indiana continues its run in the Big Dance as it faces No. 1 North Carolina State on Saturday at the Alamodome. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

NO. 4 INDIANA (20-5) VS. NO. 1 NC STATE (22-2)

Saturday, March 27, 2021 • 6 p.m. ET • NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinal
Alamodome • San Antonio, Texas

ABOUT THE WOLFPACK

The ACC Tournament champions have wins over North Carolina A&T and South Florida to advance to its third-straight Sweet Sixteen. They are led by All-American junior center Elissa Cunnane who averages 16.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Jakia Brown-Turner adds 13.7 points per game while senior guard Kayla Jones chips in 11.9 points per outing. The Wolpack are averaging 77.5 points per game this season and shooting 46.9 percent from the field.

SERIES HISTORY

NC State leads series 4-0

LAST MEETING

12/6/16 – L, 70-84

NOTES

  • Indiana advances to the regional semifinals for the first time in the 64-team format and second time in school history. It previously advanced to the round of 16 in 1983 when the tournament field was comprised of 32 teams.
  • It advanced after defeating Belmont, 70-48, on Wednesday. The Hoosiers have allowed a combined 80 points in its first two tournament games, the fewest points ever allowed by a Big Ten team in the first two games of the Big Dance.
  • The Hoosiers are led by four All-Big Ten selections including sophomore forward Mackenzie Holmes who averages 17.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. Junior guard Grace Berger (15.5 points) and senior guard Ali Patberg (14.0 points) each add double figure.
  • IU secured its sixth-straight 20 win season on Wednesday, continuing the program’s longest streak of 20-win seasons. Overall, the Hoosiers have posted 10 20-win seasons in its 48 year history.
  • A Wolfpack alumnus will be on the Hoosiers’ sideline on Saturday night in first year assistant coach Ashley Williams. Williams, a native of Cary, North Carolina, was a walk-on for head coach Wes Moore from 2013-17. She graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in 2017 before spending two years at IU as a graduate manager from 2017-19 before returning at the start of this season in a full-time capacity. The last time the two programs met, Williams was a senior guard for the Wolfpack.

UP NEXT

The winner of Saturday’s game faces the winner of Arizona/Texas A&M on Monday, March 29 in the regional final.

INDIANA MBB: More players enter transfer portal

Khristian Lander has become the sixth IU player to enter the transfer portal Friday. Lander joins Aljami Durham, Parker Stewart, Race Thompson, Armaan Franklin and Jordan Geronimo.

Lander’s stats this season: 2.1 points per game on 25.7% shooting from the floor, including 27.3% on 3-pointers (12-for-44).

PURDUE WBB: Karissa McLaughlin enters NCAA transfer portal

Karissa McLaughlin announced Friday she intends to transfer.

McLaughlin enters the portal as a grad transfer, giving her immediate eligibility for next season. Also, Purdue center Fatou Diagne has put her name into the transfer portal.

McLaughlin averaged 7.6 points this past season.

UCLA, USC go from late night to NCAA prime-time spotlight

LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA and Southern California games are usually late-night viewing for most college basketball fans during the regular season but both programs have prime time spots for the second weekend of March Madness.

The Los Angeles schools are among four Pac-12 teams in the men’s Sweet 16, the first time since 2007 and third time overall that the Bruins and Trojans have both made it to the regional semifinals in the same tournament.

“To see UCLA, USC and all the other conference teams having this excellent success throughout this tournament, it’s just very satisfying and inspirational,” said former UCLA great Bill Walton, who announces games for ESPN and the Pac-12 Network.

Most of the country might be shocked about the Pac-12′s success, but UCLA coach Mick Cronin isn’t one of them.

“I coached in the Big East in the heyday, 11 teams in the NCAA Tournament (in 2011), so I know good teams,” said Cronin, who is in his second season in Westwood after 13 years at Cincinnati. “Teams in the Pac-12 play hard. We have excellent coaching. It’s way more competitive physically than the rest of the country knows because most people are sleeping when we play.”

The conference is assured of at least one team in the Elite Eight with USC (24-7) facing Oregon (21-6) in a West Region matchup Sunday night. UCLA (20-9) also plays Sunday when it meets Alabama (26-6) for a spot in the East Region final.

The Bruins and Trojans are crosstown rivals but both have built tournament runs on similar traits — strong coaching, great defense and local players leading the way.

Cronin is one of only five coaches to direct teams to the last nine tournaments. The Bruins appeared to be in for a short stay when they trailed Michigan State by 14 in the first half of their First Four game, but they rallied for an 86-80 overtime victory.

Over the last five halves and overtime, which also includes wins over BYU and Abilene Christian, the Bruins are holding opponents to 38.8% shooting from the floor.

“We’ve continued to try to get better at the things that go into winning, whether it’s executing and taking care of the ball on offense, being physical and rebounding, and being the better defensive team,” Cronin said.

USC’s Andy Enfield was the Pac-12 Coach of the Year after the Trojans were ranked for the final month of the regular season. This is the fifth time in eight seasons he has directed the Trojans to more than 20 wins.

INDIANA PACERS: Pacers 109, Mavericks 94

(PACERS RELEASE)

Game Recap

The Pacers continued their recent stretch of strong play on Friday night in Dallas. Indiana (21-23) used a balanced effort to handle an undermanned Mavericks (23-20) team, 109-94.

It was the fourth win in the last five games for the Pacers, who have been sharing the wealth offensively during their recent hot streak. The Blue & Gold made 20 3-pointers and six players in scored in double figures in Friday’s victory.

Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis shared high scoring honors with 22 points each. Brogdon went 6-for-9 from 3-point range, while Sabonis tallied 15 rebounds and five assists.

“They play so hard for each other all the time, but you see it growing more and more, the way that they’re sharing the basketball,” Pacers head coach Nate Bjorkgren said after the win. “26 assists again tonight. They’re all making the right play on that. They know that there could be seven, eight, nine guys on this team that are capable of scoring double-digit points…It’s fun to be a part of.”

With All-Star guard Luka Doncic sidelined by lower back tightness, Kristaps Porzingis picked up the offensive slack early for the Mavericks, scoring 13 of Dallas’ first 17 points.

The Pacers’ offense was more balanced but just as good in the first quarter, as Indiana made six 3-pointers in the opening frame and Goga Bitadze’s buzzer-beating hook shot gave the visitors a 31-29 lead after one.

The 3-point barrage continued in the second quarter. Indiana hit six more threes over the first five minutes of the period — three by Doug McDermott, two by Myles Turner, and one by Edmond Sumner — as the Blue & Gold reeled off a 20-9 run to extend their lead to 13 points.

Tatum, Smart help Celtics end Bucks’ winning streak

MILWAUKEE (AP) Jayson Tatum scored 34 points, Marcus Smart had 23 and the Boston Celtics beat Milwaukee 122-114 on Friday night to snap the Bucks’ eight-game winning streak and spilt the two-game series.

The Celtics, who led 60-55 at the half, hit nine of 14 3-pointers in the third quarter to push the lead to 103-89 entering the final period.

“It felt good to get a win. A lot of guys played well. Especially after what happened yesterday, losing a couple of my teammates,” Tatum said, referring to deadline trades. “So, it just happened to come together today. It was only one win, but maybe this can be the start of something good.”

Bryn Forbes’ 3-pointer pulled Milwaukee to 112-97, but newly acquired Moe Wagner and Smart countered from beyond the arc to extend the lead to 118-97.

Kemba Walker added 21 points, and Jaylen Brown had 18 for the Celtics.

“Boston played really, really well tonight on both ends of the court,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “They were excellent. We didn’t play our best. When a team plays that well and you’re not clicking, you’re not playing your best or kind of matching that execution both offensively and defensively, that’s just to me what I saw. They played really well and we weren’t as good as them tonight.”

Boston finished 22 of 47 from beyond the arc. Smart was 7 for 10, and Brown and Tatum added four apiece.

“We want layups. We want to get to the rim, but Milwaukee’s one of the best at closing down the paint,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “And certainly we saw saw some bad rim reads hurt us in the first half. It got them going in transition, because we tried to shoot it over people and through people instead of kicking it out.”

For the second straight game, the Celtics held Giannis Antetokounmpo in check, holding him to 16 points, well below his 28.6 average. Khris Middleton had 19 points and Jrue Holiday 17 for the Bucks.

Harden, Griffin help Nets hold off Pistons 113-111

DETROIT (AP) Blake Griffin seemed to be in the middle of everything in his return to Detroit.

Griffin scored 17 points and was part of a first-half dustup that resulted in Isaiah Stewart’s ejection, and the Brooklyn Nets outlasted the Pistons 113-111 on Friday night. James Harden had 44 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists in a disjointed game that was full of free throws, technical fouls and other contentiousness.

“They’re a hard-playing team,” Griffin said. “I don’t know if you expect to get elbowed, but I knew it was going to be chippy. They’re going to play hard.”

Griffin spent three-plus years with the Pistons, but he reached a buyout agreement with Detroit earlier this month and went to the contending Nets. The Pistons played a tribute video for him during a first-half timeout, and he stood to acknowledge the small number of fans in attendance.

By the end of the game, however, Detroit coach Dwane Casey didn’t want to talk about Griffin at all.

“To talk about somebody else’s players, I’m not going to do that,” he said.

Make no mistake: Griffin was an opponent. In the second quarter, Stewart appeared to give Griffin a shot to the head with his arm. After a lengthy review, Griffin received a technical foul – and Stewart was called for a flagrant foul and ejected.

“You can’t be baited into a situation like that,” Casey said.

Harden was back after missing his team’s previous game because of neck soreness. Brooklyn was still without Kevin Durant (left hamstring strain) and Kyrie Irving (personal reasons), but the Nets had enough to hold off the last-place Pistons.

Jerami Grant scored 19 points for Detroit.

49ers trade up to acquire No. 3 pick from Dolphins

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers have made a big move to grab their quarterback of the future by trading up with Miami to acquire the No. 3 pick in next month’s draft.

The Niners announced Friday they are trading their No. 12 pick along with first-round picks in 2022 and 2023 and their compensatory third-rounder in 2022 to get the third overall pick.

ESPN first reported the deal.

The Dolphins then immediately traded the 12th pick, the 123rd pick and their own 2022 first-rounder to Philadelphia for the No. 6 and No. 156 picks in the draft, the Eagles announced.

The trade by the Niners puts them in position to draft a quarterback with Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Trey Lance all possibilities. Jacksonville is expected to take Trevor Lawrence first and the New York Jets also could take a quarterback at No. 2.

Drafting a quarterback would likely lead to the end of Jimmy Garoppolo’s tenure in San Francisco either in a trade this season or after a year if the Niners opt to keep a veteran to help ease the transition for a rookie QB.

San Francisco acquired Garoppolo midway through the 2017 season from New England for a second-round pick and gave him a $137.5 million, five-year contract the next offseason.

Garoppolo helped the Niners reach the Super Bowl in the 2019 season, but he missed 23 starts the other two seasons because of injuries. That contributed to San Francisco’s desire to find a more dependable option at quarterback in coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

The Niners have rarely taken a quarterback high in the draft, passing up on both Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in 2017 in the first season under coach Kyle Shanahan.

San Francisco has used a first-round pick on a QB only three times in the common draft era that started in 1967, taking Steve Spurrier third that year, Jim Druckenmiller with the 26th pick in 1997 and Alex Smith first overall in 2005.

For the Dolphins, the trade signals they’re not in the market for another potential franchise quarterback, and will stake their future on Tua Tagovailoa. He was the No. 5 overall pick last year and went 6-3 as a rookie starter.

Dolphins acquire No. 6 pick from Eagles for No. 12, 2022 1st

The Philadelphia Eagles traded the No. 6 and No. 156 overall picks in the 2021 draft to the Miami Dolphins for selections No. 12, No. 123, and a 2022 first-rounder, the Eagles announced Friday.

The Dolphins reportedly acquired the No. 12 pick earlier in the day in a blockbuster deal with the San Francisco 49ers. In addition to its first-rounder this year, San Francisco sent Miami its next two firsts and a 2022 third in exchange for the No. 3 selection.

Miami sent Philadelphia its own 2022 first-rounder, not the one it received from San Francisco, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports.

The Eagles also tried to acquire the No. 3 pick but only would’ve made the move if they could land BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Rapoport later clarified that while Philadelphia liked Wilson, it ultimately decided moving back and gaining more assets was a better team-building strategy.

Wilson is the favorite to be selected by the New York Jets at No. 2, with Trevor Lawrence widely expected to be the Jacksonville Jaguars’ pick first overall.

Philadelphia could potentially own three first-rounders next season, depending on the conditions of the trade that sent Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts will reportedly send the Eagles a first-rounder instead of a second if the quarterback plays 75% of the Indy’s snaps this upcoming season or 70% and qualifies for the playoffs.

Bucs re-signing Fournette to reported 1-year deal worth up to $4M

Running back Leonard Fournette is re-signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he told NFL reporter Josina Anderson on Friday.

The free agent is inking a one-year contract worth up to $4 million, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Fournette was the backup to Ronald Jones for the regular season, but the veteran exploded during Tampa Bay’s four-game run to a Super Bowl title, racking up 300 rushing yards, 148 receiving yards, and four total touchdowns.

The former Jacksonville Jaguars standout had 367 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries during the regular season.

Tampa Bay has retained almost all of its championship core during a busy start to the offseason.

Receiver Chris Godwin was kept with the franchise tag, while linebacker Lavonte David, tight end Rob Gronkowski, pass-rusher Shaq Barrett, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh all signed new contracts. Wideout Antonio Brown is the only significant name of the 2020 team who remains a free agent.

Saints’ Lattimore suspected of possessing stolen handgun

CLEVELAND (AP) New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore was arrested Thursday in his hometown of Cleveland on suspicion of possessing a loaded handgun that had been reported stolen, police said.

Lattimore was a passenger in a car pulled over Thursday night for “multiple traffic violations,” said Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, a spokesperson for the Cleveland Police Department.

Lattimore possessed a loaded Glock handgun that was reported stolen in the city of Euclid in suburban Cleveland, Ciaccia said. He is also suspected of failing to inform an officer he was carrying a concealed weapon.

Lattimore, who has no criminal record and was not formally charged, is “fully cooperating” with police, his lawyer said in a statement.

“We believe that this was a misunderstanding and that this will become even clearer as new information becomes available and is shared with the authorities,” attorney Marcus Sidoti said.

The driver and two other passengers were also arrested on weapons charges.

Lattimore played for Cleveland’s Glenville High School and later Ohio State University. He was the NFL’s defense rookie of the year in 2017.

NFL plans more international presence if 17 games approved

(AP) — The NFL is planning to expand its international presence with more games abroad in 2022 if the 17-game regular-season schedule is approved.

Team owners meet next week and are expected to rubber stamp the additional game, while reducing the number of preseason contests to three per club. The additional games will be interconference, all of them in current home stadiums.

But next year, the league would take four games from the conference that otherwise would be hosting nine games and designate them to occur at neutral sites, almost certainly outside the United States.

For the first time, the NFL could guarantee that all 32 clubs would play internationally at least once every eight years.

Of course, beyond those four international games, other clubs could volunteer to play home games abroad, as Jacksonville has done except in the pandemic-impacted 2020 season.

Thus far, the NFL has played 38 international regular-season games: 28 in London, six in Toronto, and four in Mexico City. In 2007, the league began yearly games in London, increasing to two matches in 2013, three in 2014 and four in 2017.

TV viewership in such markets as Canada, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom rose 4% last season, with record Super Bowl audiences in Germany and the UK. That indicates to the league a hunger remains for its games being staged abroad.

Zach Wilson shines in passing drills at BYU pro day

PROVO, Utah (AP) Zach Wilson gave observers a taste Friday of why he’s projected to go higher in the NFL draft than any BYU player before him.

The quarterback only took part in passing drills, following a script of 60 passes drawn up by former BYU and NFL quarterback John Beck. Wilson threw a mix of deep routes, crossing routes, slants, curls, wheel routes and timing routes.

Wilson made virtually every pass look effortless.

“The goal of today was to show what makes me different, the type of throws that I can make that I feel like other guys don’t practice and don’t try and do,” Wilson said.

Wilson skipped running the 40-yard dash and other drills as a precautionary measure after tweaking his hamstring two weeks ago. He trained to do everything as recently as January and then shifted his focus exclusively to passing drills so he could be in peak form as a passer Friday.

“We didn’t have a combine, so I didn’t want to do everything on the pro day and not be able to throw,” Wilson said. “That was the most important thing for me.”

Wilson is projected to go second overall to the New York Jets in the latest mock drafts from ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. The Jets had GM Joe Douglas, coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in Provo to watch Wilson throw.

Officials from numerous NFL teams, including the 49ers, Raiders, Vikings, Titans, Lions, Falcons, Panthers, Broncos and Eagles, also attended. New Jaguars coach Urban Meyer notably skipped the trip to Provo. Jacksonville is widely expected to select Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence at No. 1 overall and sent only offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell to watch Wilson.

Wilson emerged as a top quarterback prospect after a breakout 2020 season. He threw for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns while completing 73.5% of his passes and throwing only three interceptions. As a junior, Wilson led the FBS in touchdown to interception ratio. He ranked second nationally in completion percentage and third in total passing yardage and passing touchdowns.

LSU coach accused of ignoring sexual harassment complaint

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) A 74-year-old woman told state lawmakers Friday that she spoke directly to Louisiana State University football coach Ed Orgeron about sexual harassment she endured in 2017 from one of his star players, adding he did nothing to reprimand the running back.

Gloria Scott, a security worker at the Superdome in New Orleans, said then-LSU player Derrius Guice walked up to her with his friends at an event and told her: “I like having sex with older women like you” and “I want your body,” among other vulgarities while rubbing his body.

“I have never felt so embarrassed,” Scott, who is a grandmother, told lawmakers during an appearance in which she broke down at times in tears.

Scott said she called LSU and reported the incident and eventually received a return phone call from Orgeron, who she said offered to put Guice on the phone to apologize. Scott said Orgeron asked her to “please forgive (Guice) because he’s a troubled child.”

Scott said she refused to speak to the player and urged Orgeron and other LSU athletic officials to keep Guice out of an upcoming bowl game as discipline – a request that wasn’t fulfilled. After the call, Scott said she never heard from Orgeron again.

The football coach denies ever speaking with Scott.

Her testimony came at the second hearing called by female state lawmakers who are following up on an independent report that determined LSU for years mishandled its response to student allegations of rape, domestic violence and assault, in some instances ignoring the claims entirely.

LSU hired law firm Husch Blackwell to review its handling of complaints under federal Title IX laws after reporting by USA Today scrutinized the school’s handling of sexual assault cases involving Guice and another former football player.

Orgeron told Husch Blackwell in an interview that he didn’t speak with Scott, but was told about the harassment allegations. Athletic department spokesperson Michael Bonnette repeated that denial in a statement Friday.

“Coach Orgeron never had any direct communications with the complainant. He has and will continue to follow university protocols regarding reporting,” Bonnette said.

Marquette hires Texas’ Smart as head coach

Marquette hired Texas’ Shaka Smart as the program’s next head coach, the school’s vice president and director of athletics Bill Scholl announced Friday.

Smart, who grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, has been the Longhorns’ head coach since 2015, compiling a 109-86 record with three NCAA Tournament appearances in that span.

“I’m grateful to (Marquette) president (Michael R.) Lovell and Bill Scholl for entrusting me with the growth and development of this storied basketball program and the student-athletes who make it so special,” Smart said in a statement. “I am extremely excited to get to Milwaukee to begin building relationships and getting to work on the court!”

The 43-year-old engineered a sensational six-year run at Virginia Commonwealth before his time in Austin, leading the Rams to five March Madness appearances, including a Final Four run in 2011.

The Golden Eagles only made the NCAA Tournament twice under Steve Wojciechowski over the past seven seasons despite a 128-95 overall record and generally posting winning campaigns.

Cavs buy out Drummond, center eyes signing with contender

CLEVELAND (AP) Center Andre Drummond is now a free agent and can sign with a contending team after reaching a buyout with the Cavaliers.

Drummond, who hasn’t played since mid-February, began negotiating terms of the buyout with the Cavs on Thursday after the club didn’t trade the 27-year-old before the deadline.

The agreement ends a partnership that became awkward when the Cavs benched Drummond to give young center Jarrett Allen more playing time.

Despite losing his role with the team, Drummond, a two-time All-Star with Detroit before coming to Cleveland last year, stayed engaged with his teammates and didn’t become a distraction. He often sat among the Cavs coaches during games, offering tips and encouragement.

“I want to thank Andre for his contributions to our team both on and off the court, and for his professionalism and mutual cooperation as we navigated through this process with him and his representation,” said general manager Koby Altman. “We have great respect for Andre as a person and a player here in Cleveland and we are happy to have reached an outcome that is in the best interest of both Andre and our team.”

One of the NBA’s top rebounders and a proven scorer, Drummond, who was under contract for $28.7 million this season, is expected to draw interest from several teams, including the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers.

He averaged 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in 25 games before the Cavs decided to give Allen the bulk of playing time.

Drummond twice made the playoffs with the Pistons, who selected him with the ninth overall pick in 2012.

Hornets GM: LaMelo Ball could possibly return this season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak says he’s not ruling out LaMelo Ball returning this season.

Kupchak says the rookie point guard will be reevaluated in “four or five weeks” after fracturing his right wrist on March 20.

If Ball is revaluated in five weeks on April 27 the Hornets would have about three weeks remaing before the end of the regular season on May 16. Charlotte is in the hunt for a playoff spot, so its season could stretch into late May and beyond.

Kupchak confirmed that the Hornets initially thought Ball’s injury was season-ending, but an MRI later revealed more details and created some optimism about a possible earlier return.

“What (the surgery) doesn’t do is preclude him from coming back this season,” Kupchak said.

Nothing is definitive at this point, and for now the Hornets say they will remain patient. What is largely unclear is how quickly the wrist will heal and how long it would take for the No. 3 pick in the 2020 draft to return to basketball shape.

“We have to wait,” Kupchak said. “He’s casted. We’ll wait until five weeks. And we’ll evaluate where we are as a team at that time.”

Kupchak made it clear the Hornets aren’t going to rush him back if he’s not ready.

“What we’re not going to do is put his health in jeopardy,” Kupchak said.

Prior to the injury Ball was considered a frontrunner to win NBA rookie of the year honors.

He is averaging 15.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 1.59 steals. He stepped up his production after entering the starting lineup on Feb. 1 following an injury to Devonte Graham, averaging 19.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals in 21 starts.

The Hornets (22-21) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings entering Friday’s night game against the Miami Heat.

Correa turned down $120M, 6-year deal, says deadline stands

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla, (AP) Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa says he turned down an offer for a $120 million, six-year contract covering 2022-27 and is not sure whether there will be a deal before his deadline of opening day next week.

Correa has an $11.3 million salary this year and can become a free agent after the World Series.

“The way things are looking, I don’t know right now,” Correa aid Thursday. “The first offer I thought it was really low, and if that’s how they feel about me and that’s where we stand, then I guess I will go out there and play and try to win another championship for the city of Houston and then explore free agency.”

Correa said the Astros’ long-term offer was made several week ago.

“There was no conversation after that,” he said. “We haven’t spoken about a possible extension since then, so I’m preparing like I’m going to be a free agent this year.”

Houston opens the season next Thursday at Oakland, and Correa ruled out talks after then.

“Once the season starts and I start playing, I’m playing my last season before I become a free agent,” he said. “For me it doesn’t make any sense to be dealing when I’m trying to focus and trying to perform and help my team try to win ballgames, so absolutely not.”

Now 26, Correa was selected by the Astros with the first overall pick in the amateur draft in 2012, a year the Astros had their second of three straight seasons with more than 100 losses. He debuted in 2015 and was voted AL Rookie of the Year. Correa was an All-Star in 2017, when he helped lead the Astros to their first World Series title.

Correa batted .264 with five homers and 25 RBIs in last year’s pandemic-shortened season and has a .276 career average with 107 homers and 397 RBIs.

“I understand the business and I know how it goes. so there’s never emotions involved,” he said. “I’ve given five, six years of my career to this organization, Rookie of the Year, All-Star Games, World Series champions, multiple great playoff performances, and if they don’t see me here long-term, then another team will. So, yeah, there’s never hard feelings. It’s a business. That’s how it works.”

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: TAMPA BAY RAYS

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) There’s unfinished business on the minds of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The defending AL champions flirted with winning the World Series during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and are motivated not only to get back to baseball’s biggest stage but win it all after losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games.

“We’re not disappointed at all with the way last season ended. Obviously, we didn’t want to come up short, but we accomplished way too much to be disappointed about anything,” defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said. “To be one of the last two teams standing is something to be proud of.”

The Rays are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances, their first AL East title in a decade and posting the best record in the league during a season shortened to 60 games and played while adjusting to strict protocols instated due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kiermaier said reaching the World Series and losing whet the team’s appetite for more success.

Manager Kevin Cash will navigate the way with a revamped pitching rotation led by opening day starter Tyler Glasnow after the Rays declined a $15 million option on right-hander Charlie Morton and traded 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell to the San Diego Padres in cost-conscious moves.

Pitchers Michael Wacha, Chris Archer, Rich Hill and Collin McHugh were the team’s most notable offseason additions. Rookie Randy Arozarena will get an opportunity to play every day after a record-setting postseason that heightened expectations for the 26-year-old outfielder.

“It looks like it’s going to be a great year, with tons of talent in this clubhouse once again,” Kiermaier said. “It’s up to us to go out there and perform the way we’re capable.”

NEW LOOK

A versatile lineup will be largely the same, with Arozarena getting more playing time after a breakout postseason that saw him hit .377 with 10 home runs and 14 RBIs in 20 games. The Rays didn’t add much offensively, focusing instead of bolstering the pitching staff this winter. But Cash is confident they’ll score more runs if Austin Meadows, Ji-Man Choi, Yandy Diaz and Yoshi Tsutsugo rebound from subpar years at the plate. Wacha, Archer and Hill will fill openings in a revamped rotation, and McHugh adds depth to an already deep bullpen.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Arozarena was called up from the Rays alternate training site in late August, appearing in 23 games and hitting .281 with seven homers and 11 RBI’s in 23 games during the pandemic-shortened season. He built on that with a record-breaking postseason that included AL Championship Series MVP honors. Left-handed pitcher Shane McClanahan is a newcomer who could have an impact, too, after making his major league debut during the postseason.

Wander Franco, a 20-year-old shortstop generally regarded as the best prospect in baseball, will begin the season in the minors.

DEEP BENCH

In addition to accumulating lots of candidates to help a pitching rotation depleted by decisions to part with Morton and Snell, the Rays have a formidable bullpen and versatile bench to give Cash plenty of flexibility filling out the lineup and making in-game moves.

Tsutsugo, Mike Brosseau, Joey Wendle and Brett Phillips aren’t household names, however Cash is excited to have them at his disposal.

Francisco Mejia, acquired in the trade that sent Snell to San Diego, is a once highly-regarded prospect who will share the catching job with Mike Zunino.

“We have talent and we have depth,” general manager Erik Neander said. “That’s what you need to win a lot of games.”

MORE COMFORTABLE

Cash expects Tstutsugo, who signed with the Rays as a free agent last winter after playing 10 seasons in Japan, to be more productive this year after struggling to get his bearings in the majors while playing through the pandemic in 2020.

The 28-year-old, who could get playing time as an outfielder and designated hitter, as well as at first and third base, batted .197 with eight homers and 24 RBIs as a rookie.

Cash said the pandemic posed challenges for all players, let alone one making the transition to the majors from another country.

I think he’s going to be a lot more comfortable,” Cash said. “Coming over from Japan … there was just so much on his plate. We’re all very confident he can impact us with the bat, and his versatility (in the field) is going to help.”

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

RF    Austin Meadows (L)

2B    Brandon Lowe (L)

LF    Randy Arozarena (R)

1B    Ji-Man Choi (L)

3B    Joey Wendle (L)

DH   Yoshi Tsutsugo (L)

SS    Willy Adames (R)

CF    Kevin Kiermaier (L)

C      Mike Zunino (R)

BENCH

IF     Mike Brosseau (R)

IF    Yandy Diaz (R)

C     Francisco Mejia (S)

OF   Manuel Margot (R)

OF   Brett Phillips (L)

ROTATION

RHP    Tyler Glasow

LHP    Ryan Yarbrough

RHP    Chris Archer

RHP    Michael Wacha

LHP    Rich Hill

BULLPEN

RHP    Nick Anderson (C)

RHP    Diego Castillo

LHP     John Curtiss

RHP    Pete Fairbanks

LHP    Ryan Sherriff

RHP    Ryan Thompson

LHP    Ryan Yarbrough

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: LA ANGELS

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Mike Trout and Joe Maddon both think the Los Angeles Angels’ playoff breakthrough would have already happened if the 2020 season had been a normal length.

With a long, beautiful summer stretching out in front of the Angels this year, it’s time to find out whether the three-time AL MVP and his indefatigable manager are right about this long-struggling team’s potential to pop.

“At the end of last year we had, I think, a great month,” Trout said. “I think we had one of the best records in baseball, but the season was shortened. Obviously, we needed to come out hotter at the start, but the last few weeks of the season, man, we played good baseball. And now, we’ve added a few guys, so I think we can build off that.”

The Angels did appear to be a team on the verge of something good last season during that 17-9 surge down the stretch. Their high-priced lineup was clicking around Trout and Anthony Rendon, while Dylan Bundy, Andrew Heaney and Mike Mayers led a long-miserable pitching staff to competence.

Nearly everybody who contributed to that successful stretch last season is back, while many players who struggled are gone. The Angels then added complementary veterans at several positions, and they hope the result is a team that will end their six-year postseason drought – tied for the third-longest in the majors.

“These guys are totally absolutely invested in the team and in their future,” said Maddon, the bench coach for the Angels’ only World Series championship team in 2002. “I was part of the first group that won it all for the Angels, and we want to do it again.”

The Angels’ biggest offseason change was in the front office, where first-time general manager Perry Minasian took over for first-time GM Billy Eppler and attempted to fix the problems that have kept the Angels far from the championship race for Trout’s entire career.

Minasian’s plan included a severe limitation of the Angels’ financial obligations beyond 2021 while acquiring veterans who can patch the obvious holes in LA’s pitching staff. With Albert Pujols’ albatross of a contract also finally coming off the books this year, the Halos are in position to make big moves next winter – but Minasian also believes this team can win now.

NEW LOOK

Minasian’s additions include two starting position players – shortstop Jose Iglesias and right fielder Dexter Fowler – and veteran hurlers Jose Quintana and Alex Cobb. Angels fans were hoping for bigger names, particularly on the mound, but Minasian avoided long-term commitments to mid-career veterans – a favorite vice of Angels owner Arte Moreno. The Halos also added closer Raisel Iglesias to lead a bullpen that got a significant overhaul.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Eppler’s reconstruction of the Angels’ once-miserable farm system is finally producing results without him. Jo Adell struggled when he was rushed to the majors last year, but the Halos remain committed to developing his ample potential either in Anaheim or Triple-A Salt Lake. Jared Walsh is likely to be the primary starter at first base as he looks to build on his remarkable September. Top prospect Brandon Marsh could make an impact in the outfield this season, while left-handed starter Reid Detmers looks like he could reach the majors this year.

ALBERT’S FAREWELL?

The 41-year-old Pujols is the oldest player in the majors as he begins his 21st big league season and wraps up the 10-year, $240 million contract that has hamstrung this franchise. Pujols says he won’t decide whether to retire until after the season, but he’s no longer an everyday starter at first base, and he had a minus-0.7 WAR over the past four seasons while making $110 million. The Angels hope Pujols can hit enough homers as a part-time first baseman and designated hitter to put a graceful cap on a slam-dunk Hall of Fame career, despite its disappointing second decade in Anaheim.

TWO-WAY SHOHEI

Shohei Ohtani had a miserable 2020 on the mound and at the plate, but the early results this spring are promising. The two-way star batted .579 with four homers in his first seven spring training games, while his velocity and control both look encouraging during his mound work. He will be the Angels’ designated hitter between his once-a-week mound starts, and Maddon is growing increasingly confident the Angels will get Ohtani’s 2018 form.

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

2B    David Fletcher (R)

CF    Mike Trout (R)

3B    Anthony Rendon (R)

DH   Shohei Ohtani (L)

SS    Jose Iglesias (R)

1B    Albert Pujols (R)

LF    Justin Upton (R)

RF   Dexter Fowler (S)

C     Max Stassi (R)

BENCH

C      Kurt Suzuki (R)

1B    Jared Walsh (L)

INF   Luis Rengifo (S)

OF    Jo Adell (R)

ROTATION

LHP    Andrew Heaney

RHP    Dylan Bundy

LHP    Jose Quintana

RHP    Griffin Canning

RHP    Shohei Ohtani

RHP    Alex Cobb

BULLPEN

RHP    Raisel Iglesias (C)

RHP    Ty Buttrey

RHP    Felix Pena

RHP    Mike Mayers

RHP    Jose Alberto Rivera

LHP    Alex Claudio

RHP    Jaime Barria

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PREVIEW: MINNESOTA TWINS

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Minnesota Twins have returned largely the same team that won the last two AL Central titles and added some accomplished newcomers to help fill a few holes.

For all the familiar spring optimism, the franchise’s historic fall failures loom large. Even Rocco Baldelli, as easygoing a manager as there is in the major leagues, won’t pretend to ignore that all-time-record 18-game postseason losing streak.

“We have to play better. We’re going to stand up raise our hands and say that, but I also know that looking in that clubhouse that those are the right guys to do the job. Those are the guys who are going to go out there and win our next playoff game,” said Baldelli, who’s entering his third year with the Twins and has overseen five of the losses.

Hitting was the biggest problem last season. The Twins scored the second-most runs in baseball in 2019 but ranked just 18th last year. In their two-game sweep by Houston in the opening round of the postseason, they totaled two runs on seven hits.

The Twins will be banking on bounce-back years by catcher Mitch Garver, right fielder Max Kepler and first baseman Miguel Sano, and healthier seasons for third baseman Josh Donaldson and center fielder Byron Buxton. The arrival of four-time Gold Glove award-winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons has allowed the offense-oriented Jorge Polanco to move to second base and put .331 career hitter Luis Arraez in the super-sub, multi-positional role. The only regular who departed was left fielder Eddie Rosario.

“We have a really good offensive group,” Baldelli said. “We have a lineup that is capable literally of anything on any given day. I enjoy writing out our lineup, believe me. I wish I could say we went out there in the playoffs and did what we expected to do. We didn’t, but I think it’s certainly not far-fetched that in our next playoff game – whenever that may be – that we will be there and be ready to score a bunch of runs.”

NEW LOOK

The biggest boost to the pitching staff this year might actually be Simmons, who has been hampered by ankle injuries in each of the last three seasons but can field this vital position as well as anyone in the game.

J.A. Happ and Matt Shoemaker, with a combined 22 years in the majors, were added on low-risk contracts to fill out the rotation. Likely closer Alex Colome was plucked from the bullpen of the Chicago White Sox, who’ll almost certainly be the primary competitor in the division. Hansel Robles, who had a rough 2020 with the Los Angeles Angels, was another addition with ninth-inning experience who’ll be asked to handle late-game outs along with Taylor Rogers and Tyler Duffey.

ROOKIES TO WATCH

Alex Kirilloff played so well in the intrasquad games at the team’s alternate training site during the pandemic-altered season that he became the rare player to make his major league debut in the playoffs. The 2016 first-round draft pick is on track to take over for Rosario in left field, but if the team decides to start him in Triple-A then another top-grade prospect, Brent Rooker, could get the bulk of the early playing time. Behind them is 2018 first-rounder Trevor Larnach, giving the Twins a wealth of young outfield talent to tap for years to come.

BULKED-UP BUXTON

Buxton’s tantalizing skill set has been frequently off limits to the Twins due to a litany of injuries over his career, largely due to bad luck or his aggressive style. The 27-year-old center fielder, who hit 13 homers in 130 at-bats last season, added 10 or 15 pounds of muscle during winter training.

FROM THE TOP

Kenta Maeda, who finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting in his first season with the Twins, will start the opener on April 1 at Milwaukee. Jose Berrios will follow him in the rotation.

“I’m so happy that I may be floating a little bit,” Maeda said through his interpreter after being told by Baldelli of the assignment. “When I first came over to MLB, being an opening day starter was something that I never dreamed of.”

BEEN A LONG TIME

The Twins last won a postseason game in 2004 and haven’t advanced to the next round since 2002. The only team that has been waiting longer is the Seattle Mariners, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2001. The Cincinnati Reds have not advanced in the postseason since 1995, but they did experience a win in the playoffs as recently as 2012.

The 10,000 fans with tickets to the first home game on April 8 against the Mariners won’t be worrying about that postseason skid, only giddy to be back at Target Field again after COVID-19 kept the gates closed in 2020. The ballpark for now will be open to 25% capacity.

“As much as I loved watching our team play, I found the environment to be soulless,” team president Dave St. Peter said, “and I never really want to experience it again.”

Projected Lineup: 

LINEUP

RF    Max Kepler (L)

SS    Jorge Polanco (S)

3B    Josh Donaldson (R)

DH   Nelson Cruz (R)

3B    Miguel Sano (R)

LF    Alex Kirilloff (L)

CF    Byron Buxton (R)

C     Mitch Garver (R)

SS    Andrelton Simmons (R)

BENCH

INF  Luis Arraez (L)

C     Ryan Jeffers (R)

OF   Brent Rooker (R)

OF   Jake Cave (L)

ROTATION

RHP    Kenta Maeda

RHP    Jose Berrios

RHP    Michael Pineda

LHP    J.A. Happ

RHP    Randy Dobnak

BULLPEN

LHP    Taylor Rogers (C)

RHP    Alex Colome

RHP    Tyler Duffey

RHP    Jorge Alcala

RHP    Hansel Robles

RHP    Cody Stashak

LHP    Caleb Thielbar

RHP    Matt Shoemaker

2021 NFL DRAFT: TOP QUARTERBACKS

1 TREVOR LAWRENCE, CLEMSON

Almost from the beginning, Trevor Lawrence was anointed as a franchise quarterback in the NFL and a player who would eventually be the first pick of the draft. And after breaking down the film, there’s no reason to doubt any of that.

Lawrence possesses all the skills to carry a team in the NFL — physical, mental, and intangible. He does an incredible job leading the offense, possesses the ability to make all the throws, and consistently makes proper choices. Lawrence is a big-bodied pocket passer, but he possesses the foot speed to pick up big yardage with his legs.

2 ZACH WILSON, BYU

If there’s a faster-rising prospect in the nation than Zach Wilson, I’m not aware of him. Except for the fact he’s short, Wilson checks all the boxes you want in a quarterback at the next level. He is smart, tough, athletic, and has the arm strength necessary to make all the throws.

3 JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE

Big-armed passer with the ability to make all the throws. Patient in the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield, and takes the safe underneath outlet if nothing else is available. Sells ball fakes, remains poised under the rush, and buys as much time as necessary for receivers. Elusive, keeps plays alive, and easily gets outside the box to elude pass rushers and make the throw on the move.

Possesses a next-level arm, puts speed on all his throws, and loses nothing passing on the move. Displays a sense of timing, drives the deep throw, and delivers some outstanding long passes. Throws the ball 50+ yards with speed and spin, perfectly placing it in the receiver’s hands. Legitimate threat running the ball, showing the ability to pick up yardage with his legs. Tough and plays while injured.

4 TREY LANCE, NORTH DAKOTA STATE

Every quarterback has a different path to success. Trey Lance’s path was winding; he didn’t come out of high school with the same attention as other top quarterback prospects.

Lance went to high school at Marshall High in Minnesota. There, he played with the varsity team in his junior and senior years, only elevating to a starting role in his final season.

Lance, then less than 200 pounds, played both quarterback and safety. On offense, he threw for 1,097 yards, 10 touchdowns, and three interceptions in nine games. On defense, he logged 45 total tackles, three picks, and a forced fumble.

As he hit the recruiting trail, Lance’s athletic profile wasn’t fully developed yet, so he failed to attract the desired interest. Only one Division I-A college football team, Northern Illinois, offered him a scholarship. The team on his wish list, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, wanted Lance to play safety. Lance was set on playing quarterback, and so he held out for more offers.

5 MAC JONES, ALABAMA

Poised and tremendously smart quarterback whose game has been on a straight shot north since November 2019. Patient in the pocket, buys time for receivers, and displays tremendous sense and wherewithal of what’s happening on the field. Goes through progressions, distributes the ball to all his targets, and takes the safe underneath outlet if nothing else is available.

Nicely sets up screen passes, throws a catchable ball, and displays a sense of timing on passes. Accurate, does not have receivers waiting on the ball. Shows great pass placement, putting throws where only his receiver can make the reception. True field general who does a great job commanding and controlling the offense.

6 KYLE TRASK, FLORIDA

Smart, accurate pocket passer who displayed consistent progress in his game through the years. Patient, remains poised as the pocket collapses around him, and consistently scans the field going through progressions. Senses the rush, moves outside the pocket to buy time, and throws with a fluid over over-the-top delivery. Locates the open wideout and goes to the safe, underneath outlet if necessary.

Consistently keeps his eyes downfield and distributes the ball using all his targets. Consistently identifies the open wideout, anticipates where his receivers will be, and hits targets in stride. Accurate and does not make pass catchers work hard based on his ability to place throws. Effective setting up screen throws. Does a great job commanding and controlling the offense.

7 DAVIS MILLS, STANFORD

Started 11 games for Stanford the past two seasons. Physically-gifted quarterback with a next-level arm. Possesses terrific size, can spin the ball, and throws all his passes with speed. Spreads the ball around to all his targets, quickly identifies the open wideout, and flashes the ability to beautifully place the ball into receivers’ hands.

Goes to the check-down target, throws darts, and gets the ball through tight spots. Patient, buys time, and does not force the issue. Puts touch on throws when necessary and delivers a catchable pass. Elusive with the ability to escape the rush or pick up yardage with his legs.

8 JAMIE NEWMAN, WAKE FOREST

Nice-sized pocket passer with an undeveloped game. Patient, buys as much time as necessary for receivers and stands strong against the rush. Possesses a compact throwing motion, a live arm, and throws tight spirals with speed. Displays a sense of timing on throws and does not have receivers waiting for the ball to arrive.

Natural-looking off the safety, spreads the ball around and uses all his targets. Remains poised as the pocket collapses around him, shows no sense of worry, and is quick bouncing it to the outside. Loses nothing throwing on the run and easily gets the ball downfield. Puts touch on throws and delivers a catchable ball. Effectively led the Wake Forest offense in 2019.

ALSO:

9 KELLEN MOND, TEXAS A&M

10 SAM EHLINGER, TEXAS

INDIANA BASEBALL: Hoosiers Earn 8-2 Win at Michigan State

(IU RELEASE)

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Indiana University baseball team defeated Michigan State, 8-2, on Friday afternoon at McLane Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.

With the victory, the Hoosiers improve to 10-2 on the season overall and in Big Ten conference play. The Spartans fall to 6-7 on the year and in league action.

KEY MOMENTS

• Trailing 1-0, Indiana responded with four runs in the top of the fifth inning. The rally started with an RBI groundout from DH Kip Fougerousse and an RBI infield single courtesy of INF Cole Barr.

• Two batters later with the bases loaded, INF Jordan Fucci lined a 1-1 offering to right-center field, plating two runs to give IU a 4-1 lead.

• In the top of the sixth, Barr collected another RBI with a bases-loaded walk, only for INF Paul Toetz to clear the bases with a three-run double to right-center field, pushing the Hoosier lead to 8-2.

• LHP Tommy Sommer (3-0) earned the win for Indiana, allowing just two runs on six hits in five innings of work, striking out a pair.

NOTABLES

• Indiana’s 10-2 start in Big Ten play is the best for the team since starting 11-2 in league action in 2016.

• OF Drew Ashley extended his on-base streak to 37-games dating back to the 2019 season.

• Ashley and Toetz have at least one hit in all 12 games this season for the Hoosiers.

• LHP Braden Scott pitched two shutout innings of relief, allowing no hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

• RHP Reese Sharp earned the final six outs of the game for the Hoosiers, surrendering no hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

• OF Grant Richardson and Toetz each had three hits on the day. Combined, IU’s three through six hitters batted 10-for-17 with four runs and seven RBI.

• Indiana matched its season-high with 14 hits.

UP NEXT

• The Indiana Hoosiers will continue their Big Ten series at Michigan State on Saturday, Mar. 27. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

PURDUE WBB: Gearlds Joins Coaching Staff as Part of Planned Succession

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – With a focus on the future of the program, Purdue women’s basketball head coach Sharon Versyp welcomes back Katie Gearlds as the new associate head coach of the Boilermakers. Gearlds will succeed Versyp as the eighth head coach of Purdue women’s basketball at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.

The duo will reunite on the sidelines of Mackey Arena for the first time since leading the Boilermakers to an Elite Eight appearance in 2007, Gearlds’ senior season and Versyp’s first campaign with the Boilermakers.

“I have been blessed to realize my dream of coaching at my alma mater,” Versyp said. “It has been the honor of my life to lead the Boilermakers and be an ambassador for this great university. I have to thank Morgan Burke, Mike Bobinski, President Mitch Daniels and Nancy Cross for their constant support and for giving me the opportunity to lead Purdue.

“I am thrilled to welcome Katie back home to Purdue. Katie was one of the hardest working players I’ve ever had the good fortune to coach, and her character and leadership embodied everything we wanted in a student-athlete to represent our program.”

Versyp’s mentorship during the upcoming season will play a key role as Gearlds makes the jump from NAIA Marian to Purdue, the Big Ten and the NCAA. The succession plan will give Gearlds access and guidance from Versyp to navigate in-game coaching, the recruiting trail, administration, strategic scheduling, managing relationships within a large program and other key areas at an elite level.

The bond between Versyp and Gearlds has always been strong, dating back to that 2006-07 Elite Eight campaign. Versyp has served as a sounding board for Gearlds during her professional career and transition into coaching. Seeing Gearlds develop into one of the most dominant young coaches in the NAIA and knowing the profound passion and loyalty she has for Purdue made it an easy selection when Versyp and Purdue began vetting possible successors.

“When presented with the privilege of participating in selecting my successor, we knew without a doubt that Katie was the best person to continue the long and rich tradition of Purdue women’s basketball,” Versyp added. “I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Katie this next season to move our program forward and begin to write the next chapter in its history.”

Gearlds spent the last eight seasons taking Marian University to unparalleled success, winning back-to-back NAIA National Championships in 2016 and 2017. She is the winningest coach in Marian history with a 228-50 record, an 82% clip.

A three-time NAIA National Coach of the Year, Gearlds guided the Knights to six straight Crossroads League regular-season titles, four league tournament championships and seven appearances in the NAIA Tournament.

With only five All-Americans in program history before her arrival, Gearlds mentored 12 All-America honorees, including 2021 WBCA NAIA National Player of the Year Imani Guy, as well as 28 All-Crossroads League selections.

At the conclusion of the 2020-21 campaign, Gearlds was named to the coaching staff for the 2021 USA Basketball U16 Junior National Team.

“First and foremost, I want to thank Mike Bobinski, Coach Versyp and Nancy Cross for believing in me,” Gearlds said. “Honestly, it just feels like I am coming home. I am thoroughly excited for the opportunity to help put Purdue back on the national scene. I believe we will accomplish great things in the years ahead, and am looking forward to being a part of the next chapter in Purdue women’s basketball history.

“Eight years ago, (Marian Athletic Director) Steve Downing took a chance on me, and we never looked back. I was afforded the biggest privilege to have the opportunity to lead this program, and I will be forever grateful. My staff, every young woman I had a chance to coach and the administration at Marian have made me exactly the coach I am today, and the love I have for all of them is endless. This is a page in my life that I am going to struggle to turn, but I’ll never forget the memories we made and the family we built. They will forever be a part of me.

“When Coach reached out about returning home, it was an opportunity I could not pass up. Purdue is the next step for me, and it’s a step I feel like I was born to take. I can’t wait to get to West Lafayette, begin building relationships with the team and dive straight into work. It’s going to be a fun ride.”

Prior to her jump into coaching, Gearlds spent three seasons in the WNBA with the Seattle Storm. She was taken with the seventh overall pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft, the highest selection ever from Purdue and the 10th top-10 pick in Big Ten history.

Over three campaigns with the Storm, Gearlds shot just under 40% from the field and 37.9% from distance. She also spent time playing professionally in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Slovakia.

“We knew we wanted the next era of Purdue women’s basketball to be led by someone who has had demonstrated success in coaching, both in the WNBA and in college; we were able to find all that and much more in Katie Gearlds.  A proud Boilermaker, she knows what is needed to return Purdue women’s basketball to a championship level and we are excited to welcome her back home to begin that work,” Bobinski said. “We also want to thank Coach Versyp for her commitment to making this year of transition a successful one and are fortunate to have her and our entire women’s basketball staff alongside Katie during what we expect will be an exciting 2021-22 season.”

PURDUE VOLLEYBALL: No. 10 Volleyball Topples No. 9 Ohio State

(PURDUE RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After falling 20-25 in the first set, No. 10 Purdue volleyball (12-5) battled back against No. 9 Ohio State (15-2) to secure the program’s second win of the season over a top-10 program. The Boilermakers took sets two, three and four closing out the afternoon meeting with a 3-1 score (20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22).

In total, the match saw tied scores 27 times en route to the Boilermaker victory, including nine tied scores and six lead changes in the first set alone.

Two Boilermakers recorded double-doubles with Grace Cleveland (17 kills, 11 digs) and Caitlyn Newton (13 kills, 11 digs) helping the program hand No. 9 Ohio State its second loss of the season and first on its home turf. The win also marked Purdue’s first comeback victory of the season when dropping the first set.

Freshman middle blocker Taylor Trammell produced nine stuffs, pacing the team with two per set while chipping in eight kills with two errors on 18 attempts for a team-leading .333 attack %. Meanwhile, libero Jena Otec led the back row with 22 digs, the second-most this season behind her career-high 31 set earlier this year vs. then-No. 6 Minnesota.

Setter Hayley Bush recorded 49 assists, the most for the redshirt junior since the Boilermakers’ victory at then-No. 10 Penn State. Additionally, the Kentucky native recorded three kills.

With the win, Purdue improves to 4-5 against top-25 opponents this season.

Set 1 | 20-25

Cleveland had a hand in the first three Boilermaker points, including an ace to knot the score 3-3. Purdue and Ohio State continued to trade points until a 10-2 Purdue run, including six consecutive points, gave Purdue a five-point advantage, the largest of the set, however Ohio State responded with a 10-1 run of its own to reclaim the lead and close out the set.

Set 2 | 25-22

Chinn sparked a five-point Purdue run to, which included two consecutive Purdue blocks, tie the match 17-17. Ohio State took the next three points, but with the score 18-20, Purdue went on a 6-1 run to regain the lead. Cleveland posted six kills with just one error on 11 swings during the set for an afternoon’s best .455 hitting %. Meanwhile, Jena Otec recorded seven digs.

Up Next

No. 10 Purdue will be back at the Covelli Center tomorrow to face No. 9 Ohio State once more at 2 p.m. ET. Fans can watch live on ESPNU.

PURDUE SOFTBALL: Boilermakers Drop Home Opener to Iowa

(PURDUE RELEASE)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue softball team could not piece together a late-inning rally Friday afternoon in its home opener against Iowa at Bittinger Stadium, falling 4-2 to the Hawkeyes.

Purdue was outhit 13-3, but the Boilermakers pitching staff worked itself out of several jams to strand 11 runners on the afternoon.

Iowa took an early lead in the first inning on an RBI double to right center by Denali Loecker. Purdue righty Sydney Bates was able to ward off any more damage by getting out of the bases-loaded jam.

After the Hawkeyes tacked on a pair of runs in the top of the fourth, Rylee Platusic launched the second home run of her career with a solo blast to left center that cut the gap to 3-1.

Ashley Peters scattered eight hits in her four innings out of the bullpen, forcing Iowa to leave eight runners on the bags. The Hawkeyes managed just one run off the lefty in the sixth on an RBI single to right.

Purdue trimmed the deficit back to two in the bottom half of the sixth. Rachel Becker led off with a double center field, before advancing to third on a wild pitch. The junior came home on a dropped third strike to Kiley Goff.

Kaitlyn Brannstrom started the seventh off with a single to center, and pinch runner Kiara Dillon reached scoring position on a foul out to right field. Despite bringing the game-tying run to the plate in three at-bats, the Boilermakers could not complete the comeback.

Iowa hurler Sarah Lehman went the distance for the Hawkeyes, surrendering three hits, two runs, one earned and striking out three.

Bates finished with five hits and three earned runs allowed over three innings of work.

Purdue (4-9) – 2, Iowa (8-5) – 4

Winning pitcher: Sarah Lehman (5-1)

Save: None

Losing pitcher: Sydney Bates (2-3)

NOTES

• Platusic extended her team-long hitting streak to four straight games.

• Cora Bassett recorded her fifth stolen base of the year. Purdue is now 9-for-9 when stealing.

• Purdue’s pitching staff has not allowed a home run through 13 games.

• The Boilermakers played error free for the fifth time this season.

• Purdue played its first home game since April 28, 2019, a span of 698 days.

• Purdue is 18-7 all-time in home openers.

UP NEXT

The Boilermakers will look to bounce back tomorrow afternoon with a Saturday doubleheader against the Hawkeyes slated for 1 p.m. Both games have been sold out.

PURDUE BASEBALL: Rutgers in Town for First Home Series at Alexander in 678 Days

(PURDUE RELEASE)

GAMEDAY INFORMATION

Rutgers (6-5) at Purdue (2-9)

Friday to Sunday, March 26 to 28 / BTN+

Series Opener: Friday March 26 at 4 p.m.

Middle Game: Saturday, March 27 at 2 p.m.

Series Finale: Sunday, March 28 at 1 p.m.

Alexander Field / West Lafayette, Indiana

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUPS

Friday: Trent Johnson (Sr, RHP) vs. RU’s Harry Rutkowski (R-Jr, LHP)

Saturday: Calvin Schapira (Jr, LHP) vs. RU’s Ben Wereski (Grad, LHP)

Sunday: Jett Jackson (So, RHP) vs. RU’s Brent Teller (Grad, RHP)

SERIES HISTORY

All-Time: Tied 7-7

As Big Ten Rivals: Tied 6-6

All-Time in West Lafayette: Purdue leads 4-2

Last Series: Rutgers won 2 of 3 (April 2019 in Piscataway)

Last Series in West Lafayette: Purdue swept a 3-game set (April 2018)

First Meeting: Purdue 15, Rutgers 9 (March 1999 in Boca Raton, Florida)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The long-awaited return to action at Alexander Field brings a streak of 678 consecutive days without a regular-season home game to an end as Purdue baseball hosts Rutgers this weekend.

First pitch is set for 4 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Purdue Athletics has been granted an opportunity to issue 500 tickets for each home game. Those became available at 10 a.m. Thursday and were quickly scooped up.

While it’s been a long time since the Boilermakers’ last regular-season home game on May 18, 2019, the limited capacity allotment announced this week does assure that Purdue baseball and Purdue softball will not to have to play home games in front of minimal crowds comprised entirely of family members. That was the case for many of their comrades within Purdue Athletics as well as Big Ten rivals that opened their home schedules prior to this weekend. Conversely, the spring sports did endure the full shutdown and cancellation of the remainder of their seasons on March 12 a year ago.

Of the 40 players on Purdue’s roster this season, only 11 have played in a regular-season game at Alexander Field. That’s a total that includes Justin Walker Jr., who played there with Indiana in 2018.

Second-year head coach Greg Goff will also be filling out the lineup card for a regular-season game at Alexander Field for the first time. He coached first base for 43 games at Alexander as an assistant from 2018 to 2019. After Thursday’s practice this week, Goff was recognized with a plaque commemorating his first win as Purdue head coach. It was originally scheduled to be presented before last season’s March 17 home opener.

Rutgers is also led by a second-year head coach in Steve Owens. He has the Scarlet Knights playing well early this season, highlighted by an Opening Day win vs. Indiana (in Minneapolis) and a series win vs. Ohio State this past weekend. Owens coached against Purdue as recently as March 2010 when he was the head man at Le Moyne (Syracuse, N.Y.), then an NCAA Division I independent. Following the 2010 season, Owens made the move to Bryant (Smithfield, R.I.) and led the Bulldogs to 192 wins and eight consecutive Northeast Conference titles in his nine seasons.

Led by a Big Ten-high eight long balls from third baseman Chris Brito, the Scarlet Knights have already hit 20 home runs in 11 games this year. They had 10 in 15 games in last year’s abbreviated campaign. However, there were only 21 home runs hit in 23 games at Alexander Field in 2019, 10 of those coming in the final series of the season (May 16-18) when the weather finally aided the hitters.

Purdue’s Trent Johnson and Rutgers’ Harry Rutkowski are both slated to make their third career starts against the opponent Friday. Johnson has struck out 14 over 11 shutout innings of four-hit ball in his career against the Scarlet Knights. The Boilermakers beat Rutkowski at Alexander in April 2018 but the lefty returned the favor the following season in New Jersey, striking out 12 over eight shutout innings. Rutgers’ Saturday and Sunday starters – Ben Wereski (Columbia) and Brent Teller (Sacred Heart) – are both graduate transfers from fellow Northeast-based universities.

Purdue has endured some offensive struggles early this season against the toughest schedule in the Big Ten over the first three weekends. However, the Boilermakers scored 13 runs last weekend in Bloomington after Hoosiers had given up only 15 runs in their first eight games. Purdue held the lead at the end of 14 innings over the course of the series after leading for only four innings over the first eight games.

PURDUE NOTABLES

• Ben Nisle has accounted for eight of Purdue’s first 18 extra-base hits this season. In doing so, he became just the sixth Boilermaker since 2001 with eight over the first 11 games. Nisle stole home against Rutgers, with Harry Rutkowski on the mound, in the first inning of Purdue’s game 2 win in the 2018 series sweep at Alexander.

• Meanwhile, Skyler Hunter enters the weekend leading the Big Ten with 12 walks. He’s only third Boilermaker since 2001 to draw a dozen walks over the first 11 games. He’s also the most unexpected to accomplish the feat. Through the end of the 2019 season, the switch-hitter had 204 hits vs. 44 walks in 713 career plate appearances.

BUTLER MSOCCER: Butler MSoccer and Marquette Set for Saturday Kick in Milwaukee

(BUTLER RELEASE)

Butler will travel to Milwaukee to face conference rival Marquette on Saturday. The game will kick off at Valley Field at 3 .m. (Eastern; 2 p.m. Central/Milwaukee).

A live stream of the match will be available on GoMarquette.com.

Butler heads into the match with a record of 2-5-2, while Marquette sits at 7-1-1. The Golden Eagles are ranked No. 21 in this week’s United Soccer Coaches poll.

Marquette currently leads the Midwest division of the BIG EAST standings at 4-1-1. Creighton is second at 4-2, followed by the Bulldogs at 2-1-2. DePaul (2-4) and Xavier (0-4-1) round out the standings.

This will be the 13th meeting between the Bulldogs and Golden Eagles, with Marquette holding a narrow lead (6-5-1) in the all-time series.

BIG EAST play during the 2021 spring includes a home-and-home series with the four other Midwest division schools: DePaul, Xavier, Marquette, and Creighton.

In the first matchup between the two teams March 10 in Indianapolis, the Bulldogs and Golden Eagles played to a 0-0 double-overtime draw. Butler dominated the game on the offensive end, outshooting the Golden Eagles, 21-8. Wilmer Cabrera Jr. and Jack Haywood led the Bulldogs with five shots apiece. Hemi Nasser added four.

Butler’s Gabriel Gjergji and Marquette’s Chandler Hallwood each posted a clean sheet, with Hallwood making seven saves, while Gjergji turned away four of Marquette’s attempts.

In Butler’s most recent contest, a golden goal in the 93rd minute from Hemi Nasser lifted the Bulldogs to a 1-0 win over DePaul in Chicago, Ill. on Saturday afternoon. Ultimately, the Bulldogs only needed three overtime minutes for Tommy Visser to send a cross from the left wing that allowed Nasser to head in the game-winner.

The golden goal from Nasser was his first goal since scoring in Butler’s season-opener on Feb. 5 against SIUE. Nasser and Visser are tied for second on the Bulldogs in scoring at six points apiece, just off the pace of Cabrera Jr. and his eight points.

Gjergji earned his fourth shutout of the year with the decision over DePaul.

Butler was predicted to win the BIG EAST Midwest Division, which was voted on by the league’s head coaches earlier this year. The Bulldogs had two players named to the Preseason All-BIG EAST Team in sophomore Cabrera Jr. and senior defender Rhys Myers. 

Cabrera Jr. was the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year in 2019, after scoring eight goals and starting in every game. Haywood was All-BIG EAST third-team in 2019 after tying for conference high in assists.

Following Saturday’s match, Butler will have a week off before returning to action on Saturday, April 3, when they travel to Cincinnati to take on Xavier.

NOTRE DAME BASEBALL: SERIES PREVIEW: NO. 6 LOUISVILLE

(ND RELEASE)

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.

PURDUE FT. WAYNE BASEBALL: Miller Fans 12 But Milwaukee Uses Four-Run Eighth To Top ‘Dons 6-3

(PFW RELEASE)

FRANKLIN, Wis. – Justin Miller recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts but it came in a loss for the Mastodons after Milwaukee rallied to defeat Purdue Fort Wayne 6-3 on Friday (March 26) afternoon in the first game of a four-game Horizon League series.

Miller went 7.2 innings and finished with a line of three runs (two earned), five hits and two walks allowed to go with his 12 strikeouts. They are the most strikeouts by a Mastodon since Evan Miller struck out 13 against Omaha on April 26, 2015.

Miller left in the eighth with the ‘Dons leading 3-2 and a runner on first after an infield single by Mike Ferri. Unfortunately for the ‘Dons, Ferri’s single would be the first of five consecutive hits for the Panthers that would put them up 6-3.

Aaron Chapman, playing not far from his hometown of Waterford, Wisconsin, smacked a three-run home run for the ‘Dons in the third inning. His blast to left field scored Trenton Stoner and Jack Lang. It made it a 3-1 game as the Panthers had scored one run the previous inning. The Panthers made it a 3-2 game in the fifth with the help of an unearned run. It stayed that way until the Panthers’ four-run eighth inning.

Andrew Neu got the win for the Panthers. He is now 2-0 after throwing 2.1 scoreless innings. AJ Blubaugh tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season. Ryan Robison suffered his first loss of the season and is now 1-1 on the year.

Garett Lake and Lang each had two hits in the game for the ‘Dons. Chapman’s home run and Jack Cavanaugh’s eighth inning triple were the only two extra base hits in the game. 

The ‘Dons fall to 7-9 (4-5 Horizon League). The Panthers improve to 4-12 (4-5 Horizon League). The series will continue on Saturday.

MIAMI BASEBALL: Baseball Snatches 4-3 Victory Over Northern Illinois

(MIAMI RELEASE)

OXFORD, Ohio —  The Miami University baseball team scored four unanswered runs over the final two innings against Northern Illinois University, winning on a walk-off wild pitch in the ninth inning. Redshirt senior Grant Hartwig pitched 7.2 dominant innings, striking out 11 batters to spur the RedHawks in a 4-3 come-from-behind win at McKie Field. With the victory, the RedHawks improve to 11-8 overall and 4-1 in Mid-American Conference play, while the Huskies fall to 4-12 overall and 3-2 in MAC action.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth and extended their lead to 3-0 in the top of the eighth inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, redshirt freshman Nate Stone singled up the middle, driving in freshman Jacob Hensor and redshirt freshman Benji Brokemond to close within one of the Huskies.

In the bottom of the ninth, junior Cole Andrews doubled to left field. Junior Mac Hippenhammer came on to pinch-run for Andrews and ended up with the game-tying run on redshirt sophomore Stephen Krause’s walk. The following at-bat, junior Tyler Wardwell came in on a wild pitch, giving the RedHawks a 4-3 win.

GAME NOTES:

Hartwig pitched 7.2 innings, striking out 11 NIU batters.

Stone went 1-for-3 with a two-run single on the day.

Wardwell went 1-for-3 with a double while also scoring the game-winning run.

Senior Logan Schmitt pitched 1.1 scoreless frames picking up the win.

WHAT’S NEXT:

The RedHawks will play a doubleheader against Northern Illinois on Saturday, March 26. The first pitch will be at 1 p.m. at McKie Field in Oxford. Each game is scheduled for seven innings.

MIAMI SOFTBALL: RedHawks Take Down Chippewas in Five Innings, 9-0

(MIAMI RELEASE)

OXFORD, Ohio—Senior Courtney Vierstra pitched a perfect 5.0 innings giving up no hits, no walks and no runs while striking out seven batters to propel the Miami University softball team to a 9-0 five-inning win against Central Michigan University on Friday afternoon at Miami Softball Complex.

After two scoreless innings, Miami erupted for nine runs off eight hits over the third and fourth innings to notch its seventh-straight win. The RedHawks move to 13-6 on the season and 5-0 in Mid-American Conference action. The Chippewas drop to 4-10 and 2-3 in MAC play.

HOW IT HAPPENED:

Junior Adriana Barlow got Miami on the board in the bottom of the third inning, blasting a three-run home run over the left field fence to plate freshman Karli Spaid and freshman Karlee Juarez, who both singled to lead off the inning.

With bases loaded in the top of the fourth inning, Spaid hit a two-run single to right field that scored freshman Holly Blaska and pinch runner senior Morgan Lott to lift Miami to a 5-0 lead. Barlow belted another two-run single to right field with bases loaded that plated Spaid and Juarez to extend the MU lead to 7-0. Sophomore Kate Kobayashi tripled down the left field line to score Barlow and junior Allie Cummins and push the RedHawk advantage to 9-0 after four innings.

The Central Michigan batters went down in order in the top of the fifth to ice the game for the RedHawks.

NOTES:

Three RedHawks had multi-hit games. Juarez was 2-for-2 from the plate with two runs. Spaid went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBI, while Barlow was 2-for-3 with two runs and five RBI.

Vierstra moved to 8-2 in the circle on the season and picked up her fourth shutout.

It was Miami’s sixth shutout of the season, and the fifth time in their last six games that the RedHawks have won in fewer than seven innings. 

UP NEXT:

Miami and Central Michigan continue the weekend series with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 27. First pitch in the opening game is scheduled for 1 p.m.

DAYTON BASEBALL: Baseball Takes Series Opener Against Kent State Friday

(DAYTON RELEASE)

DAYTON – The University of Dayton baseball team won the series opener against Kent State 14-2 at Woerner Field on Friday afternoon.

Senior Hunter Wolfe went eight innings on the mound to earn his second win of the season, allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out nine. It marked the fourth-consecutive start where the reigning Atlantic 10 Pitcher of the Week went at least six innings and struck out at least eight.

Graduate student Alex Brickman homered for the third-straight game and graduate student Eddie Pursinger hit a grand slam to pace the offense for the Flyers. That pair combined for nine RBIs in the win. Senior Mitchell Garrity moved closer to the program record for hit by pitches, getting plunked once in the game and bringing his career total up to 46, just two off the record of 48 set by Cole Tyrell from 2007-2010. Senior Michael Cleary was hit by two pitches, moving him into a tie for third all-time with Jeff Bourassa, who was hit by 41 pitches from 2000-2003. As a team, Dayton was hit by nine pitches in the contest.

ON THE MOUND

Wolfe put in his longest outing of the season with his eight innings. In his last four starts, the senior has allowed just three runs in 27 innings with 40 strikeouts. His 46 strikeouts this season puts him just eight behind Charlie Dant’s 179 in Wolfe’s career for tenth in program history.

The lefty was relieved by freshman Parker Bard, who pitched the last inning, giving up just one hit in a scoreless ninth.

SCORING PLAYS

Bottom 1: (5-0 Flyers)

Senior Mariano Ricciardi opened the game by reaching on an error. Junior Benjamin Blackwell was hit by a pitch and junior Marcos Pujols hit a single off the left field fence to load the bases. Brickman drove in the first run of the game getting hit by a pitch before Pursinger cleared the bases with his fourth home run of the season to give Dayton an early 5-0 lead.

Bottom 4: (9-0 Flyers)

Pujols and senior Riley Tirotta were hit by pitches to put two on before Brickman’s team-leading sixth home run of the season made it 8-0 Dayton. Pursinger would reach on a dropped third strike before stealing second and third base. A single to center field by junior Jay Curtis brought him home and extended the UD lead to nine.

Top 5: (9-1 Flyers)

After retiring the leadoff hitter, Wolfe allowed a home run to left field, making it a 9-1 Dayton lead.

Bottom 5: (11-1 Flyers)

Back-to-back walks from Ricciardi and Blackwell to open the inning were followed with an RBI single by Pujols to make it 10-1. After Tirotta moved Blackwell to third with a fly out to center field, Pursinger brought him home with a single to right field giving the Flyers a double-digit lead.

Top 6: (11-2 Flyers)

Another one-out solo home run off of Wolfe cut the Dayton lead back to single digits.

Bottom 6: (14-2 Flyers)

Curtis walked to lead off the game before senior Michael Cleary and Ricciardi were hit by a pitch to load the bases. Blackwell’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Curtis from third and after another hit by pitch to Pujols, Tirotta brought two more runs home with an RBI double to center field to give the game its 14-2 final score

UP NEXT

The Flyers will return to Woerner Field on Saturday to take on Kent State for the second game of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

CINCINNATI VOLLEYBALL: Volleyball Drops Day One Of Conference Play Against Temple 3-1

(CINCINNATI RELEASE)

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Cincinnati volleyball team dropped a 3-1 decision on the first day of its weekend American Athletic Conference match up at Temple as the Bearcats fight for their spot in the AAC Championship next week.

Cincinnati (6-6, 4-3 AAC) accumulated 50 kills on 162 attempts and 31 errors, averaging 12.5 kills per set with a .117 hit percentage in Friday evening’s loss against Temple (9-5, 3-4 AAC).

NOTES

Maria Mallon led the Bearcats in both kills and digs, totaling 14 and 16, respectively, earning her fifth double-double of the season.

Shannon Williams also secured a double-double of her own, putting up 13 kills and 10 digs.  She also averaged 2.6 kills per set with a hit percentage of .243.

Sarah Norcom had 11 kills on the night with two service aces.

Payton Frederick had a three services aces of her own and 11 digs.

Armania Heckenmueller led the Bearcats in assists with 34 while also scooping 11 digs, enough for a double-double of her own.

Kerstin Ficker tallied one service ace for the Bearcats

SET BREAK DOWN

SET 1: TEM; 25-19

UC grabbed the first two points of the match, giving them a brief lead. Temple quickly answered with three points on a kill and two attack errors in its favor. The owls picked up some momentum putting up a six-score run, giving them an 11-5 advantage over the Bearcats. UC put up three quick points including a service ace by Ficker bringing the Bearcats within four. Temple held onto the lead for the remainder of the set, taking four of the final six points. The Owls put away the first set 25-19 on a kill by Tyler Lindgren.

SET 2: TEM; 25-18

Things remained even to start the second set with Williams putting up three of the Bearcats first nine points. Mallon got a pair of kills to give UC a brief 11-10 lead which went back and forth through 16 when Temple put up three points of its own giving the Owls a three-point advantage. The Owls went on finish the set on five-score run including three services aces in a row by Falanika Danielson which lined Temple up for the set point, taking it 25-18 on a kill to end the rally.

SET 3: UC; 27-25

Temple grabbed an early two-point advantage to open the set while holding onto its momentum from the second set. Norcom answered with three points for the Bearcats, including a set of kills followed by a service ace to even the set at four. The Battle pressed on the remainder of the set when a service ace by Gimshaw set Temple up for a 24-21 match point. UC rallied, shifting the momentum back in its favor. Back-to-back kills by Mallon rejuvenated the Bearcats forcing a Temple timeout. Cincinnati kept the pressure on forcing a 24-24 tie, taking the third set 27-25 on another pair of kills by Mallon, overcoming a late three-point deficit.

SET 4: TEM; 25-21

Williams put the first point of the set for the Bearcats and followed up with a massive block to give Cincinnati a 3-2 lead. Just four points later the Bearcats went on a three-point run with another service ace by Norcom, extending UC’s lead by two. Temple quickly gathered themselves putting up 10 of the next eight points, giving them back control the match. Temple. Held on to the lead through the remainder of the set when another five-score run by the Owls gave temple a 23-16 lead. Mallon put up two more late points for the Bearcat, giving them life as they put up five unanswered points, including a service ace by Frederick. Temple followed up with a setpoint, taking the match on a bad set in their favor.

UP NEXT

UC returns to McGonigle Hall Saturday at 3 p.m. ET to take on the Owls in its final regular season match of the season.

OHIO STATE SOFTBALL: BUCKEYES BLANK MARYLAND IN HOME OPENER, 5-0

(OSU RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It may have taken nearly 700 days between appearances at Buckeye Field, but the wait was worth it for the Ohio State softball team and a handful of its players who were making their home debuts.

Freshman pitcher Allison Smith gave up just three hits over seven innings and Tegan Cortelletti, Sam Hackenbracht, Mariah Rodriguez and Taylor Pack – all also making their first appearances at Buckeye Field – drove in runs to help the Buckeyes (7-6) secure a 5-0 win over Maryland (6-7).

The Buckeyes and Terrapins will meet again tomorrow for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. All three remaining games in the series will be carried on BTN Plus.

Smith struck out eight Maryland batters and didn’t allow an extra-base hit while only walking one. She was supported with a three-run second inning on offense that was keyed by a bases-loaded single off the bat of Pack, an RBI single from Rodriguez and an RBI ground out from Cortelletti.

While the three runs were all Smith would need, Ohio State added two more in the bottom of the fifth when Hackenbracht hit a two-RBI single up the middle to score Niki Carver and Ashley Prange, who had reached on a hit batter and walk, respectively.

The Buckeyes’ nine hits matched a season high. Rodriguez led the way with a 2-for-3 showing with an RBI while Prange, Cortelletti, Carver, Coffman, Pack, Hackenbracht and pinch hitter Spencer Sansom also had one hit.  Cortelleti ended her hitting streak to five games.

Smith, from Champion, Ohio, improved to 5-4 on the season while lowering her ERA to 1.41. She’s struck out 50 batters in 49.2 innings and had a .187 batting average against.

OHIO STATE VOLLEYBALL: OHIO STATE DROPS 3-1 DECISION TO PURDUE

(OSU RELEASE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 9 Ohio State women’s volleyball team fell to No. 10 Purdue, 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-22), on Friday afternoon inside the Covelli Center. The Buckeyes are 15-2 on the season while the Boilermakers move to 12-5.

Emily Londot paced all scorers with a match-best 23 kills and tied her career mark in digs with 17. Vanja Bukilić matched her season high on 16 kills and Rylee Rader chipped in eight kills.

Mac Podraza distributed 49 assists while Kylie Murr notched a match-high 25 digs. Gabby Gonzales and Hannah Gruensfelder tallied 14 and 11 digs, respectively. Lauren Witte had four blocks, followed by Bukilić, Rader and Londot with two each.

SET 1: The teams went back and forth to start the match until Purdue took at 13-10 lead. A 3-0 scoring run pulled the Buckeyes within two, 18-16, and forced a Boilermaker timeout. Ohio State overpowered the visitors, scoring nine of the last 10 points to win the set, 25-20.

SET 2: The Buckeyes used a 6-1 sprint to go ahead 12-7. Purdue clawed its way back on five straight points to tie the frame at 17-all, which sent Ohio State to its bench. The Buckeyes locked the rally at 21, but fell 25-22.

SET 3: A Witte-Londot block gave Ohio State an 11-9 edge. The Boilermakers stayed close and tied the set at 16-all. Purdue went up 22-19 after putting together a 5-0 run and used that momentum to close the set, 25-22.

SET 4: Ohio State needed a timeout as it fell behind 9-2. The Buckeyes made up the difference with a 9-2 run, tying the frame at 18-all. Purdue earned five of the final seven points for a 25-22 tally.

UP NEXT

Ohio State and Purdue meet again on Saturday at 2 p.m. live on ESPNU.

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1902       A Chicago Daily News headline reads, ‘Manager of the Cubs is in Doubt Only on Two Positions,’ marking the first time the team’s nickname has appeared in print. Although the moniker has been around since 1890, the Orphans, also known as the Colts and White Stockings, will not officially adopt the Cubs as its new name until 1907.

1935       In the bottom of the ninth inning, Russell Hinaga singles off future Hall of Fame Russian-born pitcher Victor Starffin, giving the San Jose Asahi, a hometown Japanese American semi-pro team, a 3-2 victory over the powerful Tokyo Giants. The visitors, who will avenge their loss to the ‘Morning Suns,’ next year, are touring the United States to promote the formation of a Japanese professional league, which they plan to established in the Land of the Rising Sun next season.

1967       Giants’ right-hander Juan Marichal ends his 29-day holdout when he becomes the third $100,000 major league pitcher in history, joining Dodger hurlers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. The ‘Dominican Dandy’ also reported to spring training late last season but proceeded to win his first ten games en route to a 25-6 record.

1973       Twins’ right-hander Jim Perry becomes the first player to use the ’10 and 5 rule’ when he okays his trade to the Tigers for minor league pitcher Dan Fife and cash. During his one season in Detroit, Gaylord’s brother will post a 14-13 (.519) record along with an ERA of 4.03 in 35 appearances with the team.

1973       Hoping to make the team in spring training, right-hander Denny McLain is released by the Braves, in effect ending his career two days before his 29th birthday. During his ten-year major league tenure, the former 30-game winner compiled a 131-92 career record with an ERA of 3.39.

1981       Boston’s Gold Glove catcher Carlton Fisk is declared a free agent by major league baseball, much to the chagrin of the Fenway Faithful. The 33 year-old backstop can now negotiate with other teams for his services because he received his contract from the Red Sox two days after the deadline.

1987       The Mets trade backup catcher Ed Hearn, right-hander Rick A. Anderson, and pitching prospect Mauro Gozzo to the Royals for David Cone and minor leaguer Chris Jelic. The 24 year-old right-hander, who will compile an 80-48 (.625) record during his first six seasons in New York, posts a 5-6 mark this season, with Hearn appearing in only 15 games for Kansas City.

1989       Sports Illustrated exposes Pete Rose’s gambling activities. The article alleges ‘Charlie Hustle’ bet from the Riverfront Stadium dugout using hand gestures with an associate.

1992       The Brewers trade Gary Sheffield to the Padres for pitcher Ricky Bones and minor leaguers Jose Valentin and Matt Mieske. Sheffield, Milwaukee’s first-round pick (sixth overall) in the 1986 draft, will hit .330 for his new team this season, winning the National League batting crown.

2002       After being told he would not be an everyday player, the Expos give 37 year-old Jose Canseco his unconditional release. The 1986 Rookie of the Year and 1988 MVP of the American League ends his 17-year career with 462 home runs while batting .266, playing with five different clubs in the Junior Circuit.

2002       The Cubs, in desperate need of a closer due to Tom Gordon’s muscle tear, trade righties Julian Tavarez (10-9, 4.52) and Jose Cueto as well as southpaw Dontrelle Willis and catcher Ryan Jorgensen to the Marlins for Antonio Alfonseca (4-4, 28 saves) and right-hander Matt Clement (9-10, 5.05). Willis, next season’s Rookie of the Year in the National League, will become a twenty-game winner for the Fish in 2005.

2008       At the start of spring training, Hideki Matsui, who already planned to be wed in a few weeks, a fact not known to the Bronx Bombers, makes a wager with some of his teammates about who would be the first to get married. A surprised Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu agree to pay off the bet after learning the Yankee slugger pulled a fast one on them by getting ‘hitched’ in New York on the club’s off-day yesterday.

2009       In a Kansai Independent League game played at the Osaka Dome, knuckleballer Eri Yoshida makes her debut, becoming Japan’s first female professional baseball player. The 17 year-old faces two batters on Opening Day, walking one and striking out the other, in the ninth inning of the Kobe 9 Cruise’s 5-0 victory over the hometown Gold Villicanes.

2011       Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka will make a $1 million contribution to the Red Sox Foundation for victims of the earthquake and tsunami in his native Japan. The team’s official charity has raised more than $1.3 million in response to the March 11th disaster, including personal donations from other Japanese players Hideki Okajima, Junichi Tazawa, and Itsuki Shoda.

2011       The Nationals trade Nyjer Morgan to the Brewers in exchange for minor league infielder Cutter Dykstra and cash. Washington sends the light-hitting fleet-footed outfielder to Milwaukee to obtain the Class A minor league third baseman, the son of former major leaguer Lenny Dykstra.

2012       Embattled owner Frank McCourt agrees to sell the Dodgers to a group that includes former LA Lakers star Magic Johnson and former baseball executive Stan Kasten for $2 billion, the highest amount ever paid for a team in the history of professional sports. The sale price far exceeds the $1.47 billion Malcolm Glazer paid for the English soccer team Manchester United in 2005.

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1996

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates- Cigar, the great American thoroughbred who traveled more than 6,000 miles to race here, held off a breathtaking stretch challenge tonight to win the $4 million Dubai World Cup by half a length and collect racing’s richest prize. It was the 14th straight victory by the extraordinary 6-year-old bay, but it also was by far the narrowest of that streak. Soul of the Matter closed from the outside to run eye to eye with Cigar with just three-sixteenths of a mile to go, and the jockey Jerry Bailey had to ask the horse for more than he had ever asked before.

The triumph left Cigar just 2 victories short of the legendary Citation’s record of 16 consecutive victories, vaulted Cigar past Alysheba as racing’s career leading money winner and swelled his international reputation. Still, Cigar’s trainer, Bill Mott, said his horse was not at his best, underscoring just how risky and unusual an undertaking the race was for such a valuable horse. Mott said that as Cigar and Soul of the Matter thundered side by side down the stretch, he was counting the 11 training days that Cigar had lost after sustaining a bruised right foot only five weeks ago. “Tonight you saw him reach down and find something he hasn’t had to use every time he’s run,” Mott said. “It was just sure grit, and it’s really good to see that he’s got it in him.”

Gambling is not permitted in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai, where the eclectic scene at tonight’s six-card race included foreigners in miniskirts, Sudanese workers in turbans and members of the ruling family in royal robes. But for those who placed their bets outside the country, Ladbrokes, the British odds-making firm, had Cigar as the heavy even-money favorite. Soul of the Matter, a 5- year-old bay, was listed by British bookmakers at 25-1.

Cigar, who started from the eighth position in an 11-horse field, was the last one loaded into the starting gate for the mile-and- a-quarter race on the sandy Nadal- Sheba track. He slipped on the way out, leaving him in the middle of the pack with five furlongs to go. Cigar took the lead from the pacesetter, L’Carriere, on the final turn into the long three-furlong homestretch, but then Burt Bacharach’s Soul of the Matter roared from last place to make the final challenge. “I was a bit worried,” said Bailey, who wore the red, white and blue silks of Cigar’s owner, Allen Paulson.

But Bailey responded with hands and whip to urge Cigar first a nose, then a shoulder and finally a half-length ahead in a race that the jockey, speaking of his mount, said was “not his best performance, but it was his best effort.” Gary Stevens, who rode Soul of the Matter, said he believed his horse had actually nosed in front for a moment. “I think it’s been quite some time since anybody’s got past Cigar,” he said. But Bailey, North America’s 1995 Jockey of the Year riding the 1995 Horse of the Year, said, “Nobody was going by me, even if we went around again.”

Cigar tied Citation’s American record for consecutive victories with his 16th straight four months later. Cigar won 19 of his 33 career races and was named Horse of the Year in 1995 and ’96.

NBA STANDINGS

Eastern Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Philadelphia3213.71119-413-98-222-79-14 W
Brooklyn3115.6741.517-614-95-217-108-21 W
Milwaukee2915.6592.518-611-99-018-88-21 L
Charlotte2321.5238.513-810-136-112-97-33 W
New York2322.5119.014-89-141-616-145-52 W
Atlanta2322.5119.011-912-133-313-128-21 W
Boston2223.48910.013-79-163-516-134-61 W
Miami2224.47810.512-1210-125-513-154-66 L
Indiana2123.47710.58-1213-115-313-135-52 W
10 Chicago1924.44212.09-1610-83-39-114-62 L
11 Toronto1827.40014.09-119-163-512-161-91 L
12 Cleveland1728.37815.011-126-163-513-123-71 L
13 Washington1528.34916.08-147-141-65-202-83 L
14 Orlando1530.33317.010-155-154-410-172-81 L
15 Detroit1232.27319.57-135-190-98-203-73 L
 
Western Conference
 WLPctConf GBHomeRoadDivConfLast 10Streak
Utah3311.75018-215-93-214-66-44 W
Phoenix3014.6823.015-815-65-219-87-31 W
LA Clippers3016.6524.015-615-106-218-96-44 W
LA Lakers2917.6305.015-1014-72-519-105-51 W
Denver2718.6006.512-915-97-115-117-31 W
Portland2718.6006.514-913-93-415-126-42 W
Dallas2320.5359.511-1012-105-114-136-41 L
San Antonio2220.52410.010-1312-74-612-164-64 L
Memphis2121.50011.011-1310-83-510-155-51 L
10 Golden State2224.47812.013-99-153-712-143-74 L
11 Sacramento2025.44413.511-129-134-49-116-43 W
12 New Orleans1925.43214.013-116-144-311-174-61 L
13 Oklahoma City1925.43214.08-1311-123-611-175-51 L
14 Houston1232.27321.06-166-164-58-161-92 L
15 Minnesota1134.24422.56-165-183-68-204-61 W

NHL STANDINGS

East
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Washington Capitals33227448201149512-4-210-3-29-1-0
New York Islanders34228448201027613-1-29-7-28-2-0
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 Devils32121642812781014-11-28-5-24-5-1
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 Blues34161353714981104-8-312-5-22-5-3
Arizona Coyotes34151453512881039-8-36-6-24-4-2
Los Angeles Kings3213136321291906-4-47-9-24-5-1
San Jose Sharks3213154309911115-6-28-9-25-4-1
Anaheim Ducks3510196269781165-11-35-8-33-7-0
 
North
 GPWLOTLPtsROWGFGAHomeRoadL10
Toronto Maple Leafs332110244211108511-6-110-4-14-6-0
Winnipeg Jets342111244211129410-5-111-6-16-3-1
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 Flames35151733314911058-6-17-11-24-5-1
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