The Sports Section

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Sweet 16

The 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has already been one of the craziest ever. The rounds leading up to the Sweet 16 have had more upsets by teams seeded in the double digits than any other tournament. That being said, all of the number one seeds are still in the tourney, but only in the West will you still find the top 4 seeds. In the West (1) Oregon plays (4) Duke and (3) Texas A&M plays (2) Oklahoma. The biggest first round upset was (15) Middle Tennessee State defeating (2) Michigan St. Many experts said that MSU should have been a number one seed, and no #1 seed has ever lost in the first round of the tournament. The MTSU Blue Raider’s Cinderella run was crushed in the next round by the Orangemen of Syracuse. (10) Syracuse, also a double digit seed who defeated (7) Dayton in the first round, shutdown the Blue Raiders 51-70, to advance to the Sweet 16. The “Elite 8” is guaranteed to see a double-digit seed, as (10) Syracuse will face (11) Gonzaga who defeated an overrated (3) Utah team.

Miami Advances to Sweet 16

It was the smallest guy on the court that stole the show when (3) Miami faced (11) Wichita St. on Saturday. Angel Rodriguez played like he was the biggest player on the court as he helped his teammates put on a defensive show and building its big lead from the start and went into the locker room at halftime up 32-19. Wichita St. had to win a play-in game and upset sixth seeded Arizona, and they weren’t ready to give up after being down 13 at the break. Miami ran the lead to 21, but after a 22-4 rally by the WS Shockers, a big steal and slam dunk by Shaquille Morris pulled the Shockers within two. After a technical foul was called on irate Miami coach Jim Larranaga and a clutch 3 pointer by Wichita State, Miami found themselves down by one. Rodriguez wasn’t about to let the Hurricanes choke the lead away that lead that he basically created. The one point lead by the Shockers was their first lead of the game…. and it would be their last. Rodriquez rang up 28 points to lead the Canes over the Shockers, 65-57 and advance to play (2) Villanova in the Sweet 16.

 

Kansas Too Much for FGCU

Unfortunately for the Eagles of Florida Golf Coast, (1) North Carolina didn’t go as quietly as the MSU Spartans did against Middle Tennessee. The Eagles did however give the Tar Heels all they could handle in the first half and only trailed by a single point at the break. FGCU played great defense in the first half and gave Eagles fans hope that they would be the first #16 seed to defeat a #1, but in the second half UNC played like the team that won this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. The Tar Heels opened the second half with a 20-3 run by controlling the boards and locking down the Eagles to push the lead to 20 in the first 10 minutes of the half. It was too much for FGCU to overcome, and in the end UNC had five players in double digits. FGCU’s 60 percent shooting in the first half was the best in a half against UNC all year and best for an NCAA game since the second half of a 1996 second-round loss to Texas Tech, but it still wasn’t enough to make their mark in history as the first 16 seed to beat a 1 seed. North Carolina faces (5) Indiana late Friday night.

MLB

We’re just over a week away from opening day in Major League Baseball. Our local spring training teams aren’t playing exceptional ball, but they aren’t terrible either. Then again, it is spring training and records don’t matter. Boston’s has a losing record in the spring, but seems to have a better offense this year. The Twins on the other hand, aren’t putting up a lot of runs, but have had good pitching behind some strong defensive play. Minnesota has a winning record in the spring, but on Monday, while I watched from the stands, the Pirates put their exceptional pitching on display against the Twins. The Pirates shut out the Twins 2-0, extending Juan Nicasio shutout streak to 15 innings, as he struck out eight in five innings.

NASCAR

NASCAR’S Superman did it again on Sunday. Yes, with the Superman logo emblazoned on the hood of his #48 Chevy, Jimmie Johnson’s pulled away in overtime to beat Kevin Harvick and celebrated his 77th career victory, passing Dale Earnhardt for seventh place in NASCAR history. On a late restart, Johnson surged past leader Denny Hamlin and Harvick. Fontana ended with a green-white-checkered finish for the second straight year. Brad Keselowski snatched victory away from Harvick last year. In 2011, Harvick got around Johnson late to win at Fontana. The next race is the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 3rd.

Mike Yost

 

NASCAR SPRINT CUP

  1. Kevin Harvick (4) 195
  2. Jimmie Johnson (48) 184
  3. Carl Edwards (19) 171
  4. Denny Hamlin (11) 170
  5. Kyle Busch (18) 170
  6. Joey Logano (22) 165
  7. Kurt Busch (41) 148
  8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88) 145
  9. Brad Keselowski (2) 142
  10. Austin Dillon (3) 139