ISU World Figure Skating Championships
ISU World Figure Skating Championships – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – March 21, 2019. China’s Sui Wenjing and Han Cong in action during the Pairs Free Skating. REUTERS/Issei Kato

March 21, 2019

By Elaine Lies

TOKYO (Reuters) – China’s Olympic silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong took the pairs skating crown at the World Championships on Thursday after a breathtaking free skate at the Saitama Super Arena.

Despite a season blighted by injury, the 2017 world champions skated a lyrical, moving program for a season’s best 155.60 (234.84 combined), drawing a packed crowd to its feet with their clean jumps and gorgeous lifts.

“This has been a difficult year for us, we’ve had injuries and other issues,” said Sui, who laughed as Han pumped his fists at the end of the routine.

“But our coaches and team gave us support that we were able to turn into strength.”

Russians filled out the rest of the podium with second place going to Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov after a regal but mistake-marred program that included the latter putting his hand to the ice in the wake of their Triple toe loop.

“In the free program it was tough and we had to fight for every single element,” Morozov said after their routine, which garnered a season’s best 147.26 for a total of 228.47.

“It was totally different to yesterday, we were struggling to get everything right.”

Third place went to Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert, whose dynamic program earned them 144.02 and a combined total of 217.98.

European champions Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, favorites going into the worlds after an undefeated season, were only able to manage fifth.

Frenchwoman James collided with Italian skater Matteo Guarise during warm ups for the short program on Wednesday and fell after a botched landing in their routine.

“Worlds hasn’t been our best friend, I fell on the twist in the short program once and I fell on the triple Salchow before, but we know that each time we are getting stronger,” said Canadian-born James.

Cipres echoed her determination.

“I think we did our job today and we are never giving up. We won’t give up until we get the world title.”

The World Championships continue at the arena north of Tokyo until March 23, with the most-watched contest – the men’s singles – beginning later on Thursday.

(Reporting by Elaine Lies, editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: OANN

NBA: Houston Rockets at Memphis Grizzlies
Mar 20, 2019; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) defends against Houston Rockets center Clint Cappella (15) at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

Jonas Valanciunas’ offensive rebound and free throw with 0.1 second left in overtime helped the host Memphis Grizzlies topple the Houston Rockets 126-125 on Wednesday.

Valanciunas paired a career-high 33 points with 15 rebounds and teamed with Mike Conley (35 points, eight assists) to help Memphis fend off James Harden and the rallying Rockets. Valanciunas corralled a miss by Conley before absorbing a foul from Houston center Clint Capela on the game’s deciding play.

That followed an MVP-caliber stretch from Harden, who scored 18 of his game-high 57 points in the fourth quarter before adding eight points during a 28-second stretch in overtime.

Memphis averted a four-game season series sweep against Houston, which lost for just the third time since the All-Star break. Former Rockets forward Chandler Parsons drilled two 3-pointers in overtime to keep the Grizzlies in control despite Harden’s efforts.

76ers 118, Celtics 115

Joel Embiid collected 37 points and a career-high 22 rebounds to go along with a late key block on Kyrie Irving as host Philadelphia averted a season sweep by Boston.

Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the 76ers, who have won six in a row overall. Irving scored 16 of his 36 points in the first quarter for the Celtics, who fell short against Philadelphia for just the third time in the teams’ past 20 regular-season meetings.

Al Horford scored 22 points and Terry Rozier added 20 points off the bench for Boston, which saw guard Marcus Smart receive a flagrant-2 foul and an immediate ejection less than a minute into the third quarter following a two-handed shove into the back of Embiid.

Raptors 123, Thunder 114 (OT)

Pascal Siakam scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Toronto to an overtime win at Oklahoma City.

The Raptors dominated the extra session, outscoring the Thunder 13-4 after letting a 19-point, second-half lead slip away. Oklahoma City didn’t score in the extra period until 31.5 seconds remained. Kawhi Leonard scored five of his 22 points in overtime, and Fred VanVleet finished with 23 points for the Raptors.

Russell Westbrook, returning from a one-game suspension and coming off a 2-for-16 shooting performance Saturday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, helped lift the Thunder with 42 points and 16-of-29 shooting, including 5-of-10 accuracy from behind the 3-point arc.

Cavaliers 107, Bucks 102

Collin Sexton scored 25 points, and Jordan Clarkson added 23 off the bench to lead host Cleveland over short-handed Milwaukee.

Coming into the game, Sexton had been the first rookie to score at least 23 points in six consecutive games since Tim Duncan did it twice for the San Antonio Spurs in 1998. Sexton now has accomplished the feat in seven straight games.

Milwaukee dressed only nine players and was without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Mirotic. Antetokounmpo missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. The Bucks announced Wednesday that Mirotic will be out two to four weeks with a thumb injury. Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 26 points.

Heat 110, Spurs 105

Goran Dragic scored 22 points off the bench, and Dwyane Wade had a big basket and a steal in the final minutes as visiting Miami outlasted San Antonio to snap Spurs’ nine-game winning streak.

After trailing by as many as 18 in the third quarter and by 13 with 9:50 to play, San Antonio charged back, pulling within 106-103 with 2:05 left. With Miami on top 108-105, Wade stole the ball from DeRozan with 9.1 seconds left. Kelly Olynyk then converted a pair of free throws to cement the win for the Heat.

Dion Waiters scored 18 points for the Heat, who hold a 1 1/2-game lead on the Orlando Magic for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Aldridge scored 17 points each for the Spurs.

Magic 119, Pelicans 96

Orlando led from start to finish, pounding visiting New Orleans for its third consecutive win.

Evan Fournier scored 22 points for the Magic, and Aaron Gordon had 20. Nikola Vucevic contributed 15 points and 17 rebounds.

Frank Jackson was the only Pelicans starter to score in double figures, netting 14 points. Reserve Stanley Johnson scored a team-high 18 points off the bench. Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis did not play due to a family matter.

Bulls 126, Wizards 120 (OT)

Kris Dunn atoned for a late miss in regulation with a pair of 3-pointers in overtime, and Lauri Markkanen added a back-breaking trey with 32.3 seconds remaining to send Chicago to victory over visiting Washington.

The loss assured the Wizards (30-42) of a losing season and cost them a key game in their desperate quest to move up from 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Markkanen, the game’s leading scorer with 32 points, also collected a game-high 13 rebounds. Dunn had 26 points and 13 assists for the Bulls, who won their second straight after a five-game losing streak. Jabari Parker scored 28 points for the Wizards against his former team.

Trail Blazers 126, Mavericks 118

Damian Lillard scored 33 points and handed out 12 assists as Portland knocked off visiting Dallas.

Six players scored in double figures for the Trail Blazers, including Seth Curry with 20 off the bench. It was the fifth win in six games for Portland.

Luka Doncic scored 24 points and Justin Jackson contributed 21 for the Mavericks, who have lost 14 of their past 16 outings.

Jazz 137, Knicks 116

Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points in three quarters and Utah easily ran its winning streak to five games by rolling over host New York.

Mitchell helped the Jazz get their latest win by shooting 12 of 20 and hitting five 3-pointers. Utah matched a team record by hitting 20 3-pointers.

Rookie Kevin Knox scored 27 points for the Knicks, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Mario Hezonja added 23 points for New York, which was without Dennis Smith Jr. (sore back), Allonzo Trier (strained left calf) and Noah Vonleh (ankle).

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals
Mar 20, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) scores the game winning goal against the Washington Capitals during the overtime period at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

Victor Hedman scored 3:01 into overtime, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made a franchise-record and career-high 54 saves as the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Washington Capitals for the second time in five days, 5-4 on Wednesday night.

The old Lightning record for saves was 48, set by Ben Bishop in Jan. 19, 2014, and matched by Vasilevskiy on Dec. 13, 2018. Vasilevskiy was stellar at times, but he allowed Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov to tie the game with 52.6 seconds left in regulation.

The Lightning, though, prevailed for their sixth straight win — one game after clinching the Presidents’ Trophy with a victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Monday. Nikita Kucherov, the NHL leader with 119 points, scored twice during Tampa Bay’s four-goal second period.

Despite recording a franchise-high 58 shots, to Tampa Bay’s 28, Washington had its five-game home winning snapped and could not avenge a 6-3 road loss to the Lightning on Saturday.

Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 2

Auston Matthews and John Tavares each scored a goal and added an assist, and visiting Toronto held on to defeat Buffalo.

Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman also scored for the Maple Leafs, who won for only the second time in six games. Garret Sparks made 22 saves for the Maple Leafs, who swept the four-game season series between the teams.

Casey Mittelstadt and Alexander Nylander scored for the Sabres, who have lost eight of their past nine games (1-7-1). Carter Hutton was much busier than his counterpart, stopping 42 of 45 shots in Buffalo’s goal.

Canucks 7, Senators 4

Tanner Pearson and Bo Horvat both scored twice in three-point games while Loui Eriksson collected one goal and three assists as host Vancouver earned its third consecutive win in beating Ottawa.

Goalie Jacob Markstrom needed to make only 21 saves for Vancouver, which is on a 4-0-1 run and four points out of a playoff spot with eight games remaining in the regular season.

Max Veronneau, the prized product of Princeton University who signed with the Senators on March 12, put Ottawa on the board with his first career goal at 8:54 of the final frame. He was playing in his third NHL game. Anders Nilsson stopped 33 shots for Ottawa.

Jets 3, Ducks 0

Mark Scheifele scored an early goal, and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck made 29 saves as visiting Winnipeg earned a victory over Anaheim to get some breathing room atop the Central Division.

Kyle Connor and Nikolaj Ehlers added third-period goals for the Jets (44-25-4, 92 points), who are now three points ahead of the Nashville Predators in the division thanks to their four-game winning streak. The Jets’ magic number for clinching a playoff spot was reduced to five points.

The Jets held off the Ducks despite playing without defensemen Nathan Beaulieu, Dustin Byfuglien and Josh Morrissey. Winnipeg defenseman Joe Morrow did return Wednesday for his first game since Feb. 14 after recovering from a lower-body injury.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

Tennis: Miami Open
Mar 19, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Fans walk outside stadium court at Hard Rock Stadium during a rain delay in the first round of the Miami Open at Miami Open Tennis Complex. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – Rain again spoiled the Miami Open party wiping out the evening session on Wednesday and adding to what has been a soggy and dejecting kickoff to a tournament looking for a new start.

A move from the cramped Crandon Park on picturesque Key Biscayne to the wide open spaces at Hard Rock Stadium was hoped to provide the Miami Open with a bright future.

But so far dark storm clouds have cast a wet shadow over proceedings.

Prior to the start of the tournament, officials had boasted a 25 percent jump in ticket sales but the stands have been mostly empty through two days with only one of four sessions completed.

Organisers have now been left with a backlog of matches to schedule and sending out refunds.

Canadian teen sensation Bianca Andreescu, who claimed a stunning victory at Indian Wells on Sunday, was to be the headliner on the opening day but never made it onto the 13,800-seat stadium court to face Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

Following a ceremonial ribbon cutting earlier in the day under sunny skies involving Serena Williams, Roger Federer and world number ones Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, action got underway with three-time Miami champion Victoria Azarenka defeating Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 3-6 6-4 to christen the venue.

All of the 29-year-old Belarusian’s titles were celebrated at Crandon Park but the move to Miami suburbs did not have any affect on Azarenka as the twice Australian Open champion pounded 41 winners past her Slovak opponent.

“I think the stadium is beautiful. I think the logistics here work out pretty well,” said Azarenka, a former world number one. “I feel the expansion of the tournament was, first of all, really necessary.

“There is a lot more room. There is a lot better facilities. So I’m pretty happy.”

Before the rain began 17-year-old American hope Amanda Anisimova gave the small crowd something to cheer about as she romped into the second round with 6-4 6-3 decision over Germany’s Andrea Petkovic.

Before Andreescu grabbed the spotlight Anisimova had appeared to be the teenager to watch after she started 2019 with a run to the quarter-finals in Auckland and a fourth round appearance at the Australian Open.

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta
FILE PHOTO: New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in attendance at a press conference in advance of Super Bowl LIII at Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., January 30, 2019. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

March 21, 2019

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

Per the report, a motion was filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys with intentions to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. The report calls the motion a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial, along with other stipulations. CNN reported Wednesday Kraft will reject the offer.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

–Much of the New York Giants’ top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula and senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins to dinner Tuesday night, then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day the following day.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning with the No. 6 overall pick, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft positions. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

–Also in Columbus, potential No. 1 overall pick Nick Bosa did not participate in on-field drills after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

He said he had meetings scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the Giants. He also interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first. Bosa had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

–Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle that “more surgeries (are) on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source in saying that Baldwin will meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with a knee injury and a shoulder problem arose later in the campaign. He had surgeries to address both issues this offseason.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added two women as assistant coaches, making them the first full-time female coaches in team history and making the Bucs the first NFL team with two female coaches on staff. Maral Javadifar will take on the role as assistant strength and conditioning coach as Lori Locust will be an assistant defensive line coach.

–Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a reported one-year deal worth $2 million with the New York Jets. Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March. Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and ’17 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

–The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans. The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. … The Chicago Bears re-signed punter Patrick O’Donnell and backup quarterback Tyler Bray.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers
Mar 20, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

The Milwaukee Bucks played without All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second consecutive game Wednesday night as he continues to nurse a sprained right ankle.

Antetokounmpo, a candidate for MVP, did not play in the Bucks’ road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. He also missed Tuesday’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without their own superstar, LeBron James (sore left groin).

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo before Wednesday’s game, “He’s making progress, he just can’t go tonight. It’s us hopefully being smart and being somewhat cautious, but it’s more than that. He can’t play. We’ll see how the next 24-48 hours go, and I’m hopeful he’ll be in a good place as we move forward.”

The NBA-best Bucks (53-19) fell 107-102 to the Cavaliers, who own the third-worst record in the league at 19-53. Milwaukee returns home Friday for a game against the Miami Heat.

–Bucks power forward Nikola Mirotic will miss two-to-four weeks with a “slight fracture” of his left thumb, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported.

The Bucks acquired Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline to provide depth off the bench. The team confirmed the injury but did not update his status.

Since the trade, Mirotic has played in 14 games (three starts), averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game. Mirotic sustained the injury in the Bucks’ 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. The injury likely will keep him out the rest of the regular season.

–The NBA Summer League will have an international flavor in 2019, as the Chinese and Croatian national teams will join all 30 NBA teams in participating in the league, which will be held July 5-15 in Las Vegas, the NBA announced.

Team China played in Las Vegas at the 2007 NBA Summer League, but Team Croatia is making its debut at the event, marking the first time the league will have two international teams.

Each of the 32 teams will play four preliminary games, with the top eight teams seeded into a tournament to determine the champion. Those that don’t make the championship bracket will play a consolation game.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

MLB: Spring Training-Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
Mar 10, 2019; Port Charlotte, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) grounds out against the Tampa Bay Rays in the fourth inning at Charlotte Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

Reigning American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts said Wednesday he doesn’t expect to sign a contract extension with the Boston Red Sox, instead planning to enter the 2019 season playing under his existing one-year, $20 million deal before becoming a free agent next offseason.

Betts confirmed to reporters he rejected an offer of eight years and $200 million following the 2017 season, as first reported by Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

With baseball’s brightest young stars now committed to monster deals — Manny Machado (San Diego, 10 years/$300 million), Bryce Harper (Philadelphia, 13 years/$330 million) and Mike Trout (Los Angeles Angels, 12 years/reportedly $430 million) — Betts, 26, will command much more than $200 million if he remains on his career trajectory.

In 2018, Betts led the AL with a .346 batting average, a .640 slugging percentage and 129 runs. His .438 on-base percentage ranked second to Trout’s .460 mark. He displayed power and speed, with a career-high 32 home runs and 30 stolen bases.

–Without yet playing in a major league game, outfielder Eloy Jimenez agreed to a six-year deal worth a guaranteed $43 million with the Chicago White Sox, multiple outlets reported.

The deal, which also includes two option years, is a record in guaranteed money for a player already in a team’s system who had not logged a day of big league time. Jimenez, 22, has played in the White Sox organization since 2017 when he was acquired in the deal that sent left-hander Jose Quintana to the Chicago Cubs.

Because the contract will take him into his initial free agency years, the White Sox can put Jimenez on the major league roster now without worrying about starting his free-agency clock. He is expected to be in the team’s Opening Day lineup.

–Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw a simulated inning as he continues his build-up process for the regular season, one day after it was announced that he would begin the season on the injured list.

Kershaw, who turned 31 on Tuesday, is working through shoulder inflammation that appeared at the start of spring training. He threw 22 pitches on a back field at the Dodgers’ spring training complex at Glendale, Ariz. He faced batters in the batter’s box, though none of them took any swings.

There is no timetable on Kershaw’s return, but if he pitches that first full inning against hitters in the next week or so, there is a chance he could rejoin the Dodgers at some point in the second half of April.

–Chuck Harmon, the Cincinnati Reds’ first African-American player, who has already been honored with a plaque outside Great American Ball Park, died on Tuesday, the team announced. He was 94. Seven years after Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Harmon took the field for the Reds in 1954. He played in 289 career games, 203 of those in three seasons with the Reds, batting .238 with seven home runs and 59 RBIs.

–New York Yankees guest instructor Lee Mazzilli, who turns 64 next Monday, was scheduled to spend the night in the hospital after being struck in the head by a ball during batting practice at Tampa, Fla., according to published reports. Mazzilli played 14 big league seasons and batted .259 with 93 homers and 460 RBIs, and played for the Yankees for 37 games in 1982.

–Right-hander Ryan Pressly signed a two-year extension reportedly worth $17.5 million with the Houston Astros that takes him through the 2021 season, the team announced. The deal also reportedly has a $10 million vesting option for the 2022 season. … The Tampa Bay Rays and prospect Brandon Lowe have agreed on a six-year, $24 million deal, according to a report by The Athletic. Lowe, 24, is No. 93 on Baseball America’s list of Top 100 prospects and can play both infield and outfield.

–Detroit right-hander Michael Fulmer, who turned 26 last week, has decided to proceed with Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. … The Baltimore Orioles decided to part ways with shortstop Alcides Escobar, granting the veteran his unconditional release. … The San Francisco Giants agreed on a minor league contract with Matt Joyce one day after the veteran outfielder was released by the Cleveland Indians.

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

David Hookstead | Reporter

March Madness begins Thursday, and that’s great news for everybody.

This is the time of year that we wait for and dream about for months on end. This is the time of year that separates the boys from the men. This is what college basketball is all about.

A total of 64 teams (I’m ignoring dumb play-in games) will begin their journey to a championship today. Of them, 65 will fall short and fail. Only one will cut down the nets. The stakes couldn’t get any higher.

The first matchup will between Minnesota and Louisville shortly after noon, and it’ll only get crazier from there. You can see the full slate of games here(RELATED: The March Madness Bracket Has Been Released)

I also want to congratulate all of you who will be taking this journey with me for another run through March and into early April. The eyes of the world are upon us as we prepare to do battle against one another.

While I might hate you all on the court, we share a bond as college basketball fans that is simply unbreakable. We walked on the moon and we play basketball. Find me another country that can say the same.

You can’t.

I hope you all are even a fraction as excited as I am. We’re going to drink some beers, debate nonstop for the next three weeks, win some money (probably won’t come out on top) and maybe we’ll even get smitten with a few young ladies that share our desires for great post defense, boxing out and working the shot clock. If only we could be so lucky.

As for me and by Wisconsin faithful, we’re hunkered down and ready for a long siege if it comes to it. We’re at DEFCON 2, gentlemen. With any luck, we’ll be at DEFCON 1 by the time the sun goes down at the end of the weekend. (RELATED: Watch Wisconsin Beat Kentucky In The 2015 Final Four)

The further our teams advance, the higher the stakes will get. Welcome to the world of college sports. My Badgers are going to show up and show out, and I don’t care who we steamroll in the process.

Doubt us at your own peril.

Get your beers cold, get your bets placed and get ready for a hell of a lot of fun. This is what we train for. Now, it’s time to go out there and execute our way to a championship.

Godspeed to all of you. It’s been a hell of a ride, and it’s been my honor to share this season with each and every one of you.

Follow David Hookstead on Twitter

Source: The Daily Caller

FILE PHOTO: MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers
FILE PHOTO: Feb 25, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) looks on prior to facing the Chicago Cubs at Camelback Ranch. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw threw a simulated inning Wednesday as he continues his build-up process for the regular season, one day after it was announced that he would begin the season on the injured list.

Kershaw, who turned 31 on Tuesday, is working through shoulder inflammation that appeared at the start of spring training. He has pitched into October each of the past two seasons, as the Dodgers lost in the World Series both times, and he has dealt with injuries, mostly to his back, each of the past three years.

Kershaw threw 22 pitches on a back field at the Dodgers’ spring training complex at Glendale, Ariz. Teammates Joc Pederson, Max Muncy and David Freese all stepped into the batter’s box with Kershaw pitching, but none of them took swings.

“Health-wise, felt good,” Kershaw said afterward, according to “You just have to start the build-up process. That’s the bummer to being a starter. Can’t skip innings, got to go an inning at a time. One inning down and go to two innings and work your way up to 100 pitches. I don’t know the exact math, but you go up an inning a start and there’s days in between. It’s probably 20 days or something.”

There is no timetable on Kershaw’s return, but if he pitches that first full inning against hitters in the next week or so, there is a chance he could rejoin the Dodgers at some point in the second half of April.

There has been speculation Kershaw could pitch in a game in Arizona on Saturday, just before the Dodgers break camp.

The Dodgers still have not decided on an Opening Day pitcher. That assignment had belonged Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, for a team-record eight consecutive seasons.

“Better to miss a little at the beginning than any time at all the rest of it,” Kershaw said. “Being out there Opening Day is special. I don’t take that for granted. I love being out there and what it signifies and being part of the Dodger history and all that stuff. It’s not lost on me. I love doing that. But when you get super realistic about it, it is just one game.”

–Field Level Media

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Tennis: BNP Paribas Open-Day 2
FILE PHOTO: Mar 5, 2019; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Novak Djokovic (SRB) works on the practice court in preparation for the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

March 21, 2019

By Steve Keating

MIAMI (Reuters) – World number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday dismissed any suggestion of friction with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal as tennis politics spilled over to the Miami Open.

Tension between the three biggest names in men’s tennis appeared on the rise after Djokovic, president of the ATP Player Council, rebuffed a request by Federer to meet during the BNP Paribas in Indian Wells earlier this month to discuss the future of ATP chairman Chris Kermode.

Despite a tenure which brought record prize money and growth, Kermode was ousted as ATP chief when players’ representatives on the ATP Board failed to endorse an extension of the Englishman’s contract.

As head of the 10 member Player Council Djokovic had been pushing for change while Federer and Nadal backed Kermode or at the least felt the issue needed more discussion.

“I saw Roger today, we were in the opening ceremony cutting the ribbon on center court,” said Djokovic during his pre-tournament press conference on Wednesday. “We had a small chat there was no time to talk about the political stuff.

“That is hopefully something we will have time in the next few days to go through.

“It’s not necessary for you guys to create any tensions between us. In contrary I have a very good relations with both of them.”

With Kermode’s status decided Federer said on Wednesday that he is still willing to talk to Djokovic but with the decision made saw no urgency to meet.

“A lot of stuff has been decided already so we’ll see if this week is going to happen or not but we are not chasing each other at this point,” said Federer. “If it happens, it happens.”

For his part Djokovic appeared eager to wash his hands of the entire affair reminding everyone that it was the three players representatives on the ATP board that voted not to renew Kermode’s contract and not the Player Council, which was only part of the discussion.

The Serb added that if Federer and Nadal have opinions they were welcome to share them with the Player Council at any time.

“The player council is only part of the structure,” said Djokovic. “We are not part of the board or deciding anything that is voted on later on.

“We are in consultation and collaboration with our player board representatives.

“Board members are the ones voting on what they think is appropriate for the players side.

“Federer and Nadal have been icons of our sport for so many years and their opinions are extremely important to everyone.

“If they want to be active and part of it, either officially or unofficially, I think it’s only positive news for us.”

(Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

Source: OANN

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