Thursday, March 12, 2020

NCAAB Game Preview: Marquette vs. Seton Hall - 3/12/2020 - 9:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Marquette vs. Seton Hall - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020The Big East Conference's two marquee players will get to close out the quarterfinal schedule at the league tournament on Thursday in one of basketball's most storied venues.In the pairing of Marquette and No. 16 Seton Hall late Thursday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, the side attraction of note will be Marquette's Markus Howard opposing Seton Hall's Myles Powell.The accolades already are coming as Howard and Powell, both senior guards, were named to the Sporting News' first-team All-America squad. Both also were unanimous All-Big East selections.Howard has been the top scorer in the nation for much of the season, and he enters his last Big East tournament ranked No. 1 at 27.8 points per game. Sports Bettors Email Leads. The Phoenix-area product has scored at le ast 30 points in each of his past five games while leading the sixth-seeded Golden Eagles to an 18-12 record.The Pirates have been less reliant on their No. 1 scoring option as Powell has delivered 21 points per game but has been no less effective. Free Sports Betting Picks. Third-seeded Seton Hall went 21-9 overall this season, but it enters the Big East tournament coming off a crushing 77-60 defeat at Creighton in the regular-season finale.Another defeat to Villanova last week means that while Seton Hall can still say it is a 2019-20 regular-season Big East champion, it has to share that honor with both Creighton and Villanova. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The consecutive defeats mean that the Pirates did not close out the regular season in top form."We're not done," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said in a postgame radio interview a fter the loss to the Bluejays. "I'm going to give my team a hug, tell them how proud I am of them and get ready for March. I hope our fans understand how proud they should be of this basketball team." Powell has 2,252 points at Seton Hall, putting him 21 behind Nick Werkman for second on the schools all-time list. The school's all-time leader is Terry Dehere at 2,494.Marquette enters Thursday's game following an 88-86 defeat to St. John's on Saturday. The Red Storm tied for next to last place in the Big East. The last-place team, DePaul, also defeated Marquette 69-68 last week.The Golden Eagles not only are on a three-game losing streak, but they have dropped six of their oast seven. And they have a quick return trip to New York after playing St. John's there over the weekend."We just want to win," coach Steve Wojciechowski said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I'm not feeling pressure. Our guys are playing like there's an incredible amount of pressure on them. I wish they would just compete."The only pressure is to play hard and to try to make people better. That's it." In the most recent meeting between the teams, Seton Hall won at Marquette 88-79 on Feb. 29 when Powell scored 28 points. Howard had 37. Seton Hall also won 69-55 at home on Jan. 11 when Powell had 23 and Howard had 27.--Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Kansas State vs. Baylor - 3/12/2020 - 7:00 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Kansas State vs. Baylor - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020No. 5 Baylor begins its run to the NCAA Tournament when it squares off against surprising Kansas State in a Big 12 Conference tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday in Kansas City.The Bears (26-4), seeded second in this championship, have dropped three of their past five games heading into the event. Baylor forged a Big 12-record 23-game winning streak this season and held down the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press poll for a school-record five straight weeks before faltering late in the campaign.The Bears are still projected by many pundits to earn a No. 1 regional seed in the NCAA Tournament, but their recent losses won't help their cause. Baylor finished second in the league."This hurts because we haven't won a conference championship since 1950," Baylor coach Scott Drew said. "No team had ever won 15 games before and not won the (Big 12) conference. But we'll get refocused for the Big 12 tournament and the NCAA Tournament." Baylor's last outing was a 76-64 loss at West Virginia on Saturday, the Bears' worst loss of the season. Sports Handicapping Service Units Gained. Their three other losses were by a combined seven points.Baylor picked up four conference awards this week, when all five Bears starters earned All-Big 12 honors, making Baylor the first team in the league's 24-year history with five All-Big 12 team selections.Drew was named Big 12 Coach of the Year, and Jared Butler was one of three unanimous selections to the All-Big 12 first team while MaCio Teague and Freddie Gillespie picked up All-Big 12 second-team honors. Davion Mitchell and Mark Vital were named to the All-Big 12 third team.Gillespie was selected as the league's Most Improved Player, Devonte Babdoo earned the Sixth Man Award and Mitchell was tabbed Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.All those accolades point to a definitive favorite role for the Bears when they play 10th-seeded Kansas State in the third quarterfinal game at the Big 12 tourney on Thursday.The Wildcats earned a spot in the quarterfinals with a 53-49 victory over seventh-seeded TCU on Wednesday. Cartier Diarra scored 13 points to lead Kansas State to the win, which was secured by a layup by Makol Mawien with 1:18 to play.Mike McGuirl added two free throws with 1.2 seconds to play to cement the win the Wildcats, which led by as many as 17 points in the first half and ended the game with an 8-0 run.Kansas State coach Bruce Weber understands that there's no margin for error for his team. NHL Handicappers. The Wildcats (11-21) will have to win three more games, and capture the tournament crown, to extend its season."I think there's a lot to lose -- you're done (if you lose)," We ber said. "Our whole thing is that this is our last opportunity. You have a lot of dreams and hopes coming into the season. Basketball Picks. Things didn't work out like we had hoped. Now, you have one last opportunity to step up and leave a little bit of a special legacy." Kansas State dropped both of its regular-season games to Baylor, losing 73-67 at home on Feb. 3 and 85-66 in Waco on Feb. 25."We finally made some plays," Weber said. "We've been through games like this all year, losing six games by three points or less. We stayed focused and hit some shots down the stretch." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Syracuse vs. Louisville - 3/12/2020 - 9:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Syracuse vs. Louisville - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020No. 15 Louisville will be the last team to take the court for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, and it probably feels like a long wait for the Cardinals.That's because they haven't played since losing Saturday in the regular-season finale at Virginia.The Cardinals meet Syracuse on Thursday night in an ACC tournament quarterfinal game at Greensboro, N. C.It will be the nightcap of the first day of the tournament without spectators in attendance. Leading Handicappers. That decision was announced during the evening session Wednesday night in reaction to the coronavirus scare that's gripping parts of the country."We just need to play off our own energy, and it will take probably a little bit to get used to it," Syracuse guard Buddy Boeheim said. "But just go out there and treat it like another game." Louisville's 57-54 loss to Virginia gave the Cardinals setbacks in two of their final three games of the regular season. It cost them a shot at holding at least a share of the ACC regular-season title."I am disappointed that we couldn't finish the deal," Louisville coach Chris Mack said.As a result, the Cardinals (24-7) slipped to the No. 3 seed for the ACC tournament. Yet their 15-5 record in ACC play reflects their best mark since joining the conference.Mack did try smaller lineups in the second half of the Virginia game. It could be something the Cardinals try moving forward."I think it is a different way to play," Mack said. "I thought we needed to change things rather than keep going punch-for-punch in the low post with our bigs and their bigs." Louisville holds a 2-4 all-time mark in ACC tournament play and it has never reached the semifinals.In the only previous Louisville-Syracuse game this season, the Cardinals rolled to a 90-66 home victory on Feb. 19.The Orange showed they could reverse a difficult February loss by the way they played against North Carolina on Wednesday night. Sixth-seeded Syracuse (18-14) handed the Tar Heels their worst loss in ACC tournament history with the 81-53 whipping in the second round."We got a great start, and then we were able to keep it up, keep going," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.The Hall of Fame coach added that he hopes the tournament can go on as scheduled even as it's slated to exclude fans."My hope would be for the players to get to play the games that they've worked so hard to get to where they are," he said.Syracuse's Elijah Hughes scored 27 points against North Carolina, appearing fully recovered from an injury sustained in the first half at Miami on Saturday. He banged his head in that game and didn't play in the second half.This time, he found a groove."Elijah operated on the offensive end, and he had a big first half and then (we) just played off him," Buddy Boeheim said.Syracuse received 12 rebounds and 13 points from post player Bourama Sidibe in the North Carolina game."He just started playing like that," Jim Boeheim said. "I don't know what happened, honestly." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Notre Dame vs. Virginia - 3/12/2020 - 7:00 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Notre Dame vs. Virginia - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020No. 17 Virginia is back in top form as it heads into the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.The second-seeded Cavaliers (23-7, 15-5 ACC) have won eight consecutive games and 11 of their past 12 entering a Thursday night quarterfinal clash with seventh-seeded Notre Dame (20-12, 10-10) in Greensboro, N. C.The Fighting Irish advanced with an 80-58 victory over Boston College in Wednesday's second-round action.Virginia is 9-2 in games decided by four or fewer points, including a 50-49 overtime win against the Fighting Irish on Feb. 11. All of the Cavaliers' past five games were decided by three points or fewer, and Virginia won each time.Notre Dame posted its lowest point total of the season in the Feb. 11 loss to the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Va., despite playing five extra minutes of OT.Virginia's Braxton Key made a tiebreaking free throw wit h 2:04 left, the last point scored by either side on a poor shooting night for both teams. Free Sport Pick. The Cavaliers hit 37.3 percent from the field and 25 percent (5 of 20) from 3-point range while the Irish shot 32.8 percent overall and 23.1 percent (6 of 21) from deep.Mamadi Diakite was the only Cavalier to score in double figures, finishing with 20 points. Kihei Clark added nine points, Key collected 12 rebounds, and Jay Huff chipped in eight points and nine boards.Prentiss Hubb paced the Irish with 12 points. John Mooney notched a double-double (11 points, 14 rebounds), and Nate Laszewski scored 11 points off the bench.The 7-foot-1 Huff blocked Mooney's layup attempt in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime, where the Irish were held scoreless for the final 3 1/2 minutes."Give credit to Virginia," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said afterward. "Again, they're really hard to score against, and we had a couple possessions down the stretch where they just kind of shut us down, and it's kind of hard to run your stuff." Mooney had one of his worst shooting nights of the season, finishing 4 of 14 from the field and 0 of 5 from long distance."He's a heck of a player," Huff said. "To hold him to 11 points ... we take great pride in that. Best Sports Handicapping Services. The way we play defense, very rarely is it one person locking someone up." The Cavaliers are trying to reach the ACC semifinals for the sixth time in seven years. Sports Handicappers. They lost to Florida State in the semifinals last season before reeling off six straight NCAA Tournament wins to capture the school's first national championship."This year's team, it's their year, it's their team. It's not last year's team," said Virginia coach Tony Bennett, who urged his players to "try to lay it on the line and forget about what the outside is or even the internal of trying to live up to something that is not yours. 'This is our year. This is our time. Let's max out.' "Notre Dame has a 10-5 record in the ACC tournament since joining the league in 2013-14, winning it all in Greensboro in 2015 and losing to Duke in the 2017 title game."We're obviously not done yet," said Mooney, who was named to the All-ACC first team on Monday. "We're still on a mission." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Depaul vs. Villanova - 3/12/2020 - 7:00 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Depaul vs. Villanova - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020Villanova will open the Big East tournament as the No. 2 seed and take on No. 10 DePaul in the quarterfinals Thursday in New York City.The Blue Demons upset No. 7 Xavier 71-67 in the opening round Wednesday night.Villanova, ranked No. 11 in the nation, finished the regular season at 24-7, and claimed a share of the conference title with Creighton and Seton Hall at 13-5.The Wildcats have won three consecutive Big East tournaments and four of the last five. Since falling 64-63 to Seton Hall in a quarterfinal matchup in 2014, the Wildcats are 14-1 in this event.Villanova, which doesn't feature one scholarship senior, concluded the regular season with a gritty 70-69 victory last Saturday at Georgetown.For young players who have never participated in the Big East tournament, the challenge can be daunting."I've just heard it's a great experience and that we've just got to stay focused on each other, the players and the coaches," freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl told Inquirer.com. "We have to stay focused on the task at hand." Robinson-Earl leads all Big East freshmen in rebounding, averaging 9.4 per game.Saddiq Bey leads the Wildcats in scoring, averaging 16.1 points per game overall. In Big East action, Bey is averaging 17.3 points.Collin Gillespie, another key leader for Villanova, is second on the team in scoring with 15.1 points per game overall."We're going to need a lot from him and a lot of his leadership in the tournament," Villanova head coach Jay Wright said of Gillespie.DePaul (16-16) lost both regular-season meetings to Villanova -- 79-75 in overtime Jan. 14 on the Main Line and 91-71 Feb. 19 at home.After being routed 93-55 in the regular-season finale at Providence to fall to 3-15 in the conference, the Blue Demons came back to beat Xavier for their first Big East tournament win since 2014.DePaul is 3-12 all-time in the Big East tournament.Paul Reed, an All-Big East second-team selection, led DePaul with 23 points and 12 rebounds for his 18th double-double this season. Charlie Moore added 18 points and nine assists.But the task will be extremely difficult to oust Villanova. Sports Betting Handicapping. The Blue Demons have lost 20 straight games in this series dating to 2008.For a team that started 12-1 and fell below .500 entering the Big East tournament, it sure rebounded in a big way."We can't do anything about yesterday," DePaul head coach Dave Leitao said before the tournament. "We can just be better tomorrow." Villanova awaits, but the Blue Demons remain confident they can keep winning."Those kinds of things happen, but you have to make them happen," Leitao told the Chicago Tribune of potentially winning the tournament. "We have to remain res ilient. We have got to remain positive. We've got to understand it's still out there for us." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Oklahoma State vs. Kansas - 3/12/2020 - 3:00 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Oklahoma State vs. Kansas - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020A strong showing in the Big 12 tournament will not provide No. 1 Kansas much of a jolt in its dance routine.But then, neither will fan support.Big 12 administrators decided Wednesday that remaining rounds in the event will restrict followings to 125 tickets per team at Kansas City, Mo. Sports Handicapper King. That decision followed the NCAA announcement Wednesday that fans would not be permitted to attend the NCAA Tournament because of concerns over the coronavirus."It'll be the highest-rated television tournament that anyone has ever seen," Kansas coach Bill Self said of the NCAA Tournament.No matter how the No. 1 Jayhawks (28-3, 17-1 Big 12) fare without their usual partisan crowd at the Big 12's postseason gathering, they are a presumptive lock for the top seed in the NCAA T ournament when pairings are announced Sunday.They might be the only clear-cut choice for the ranking after setting a Big 12 record with 17 league wins and becoming the first team to go 9-0 in conference road games.Winners of 16 straight, Kansas drew the No. 1 seed in the Big 12 tournament for the 16th time. It will open play in the quarterfinal round Thursday against eighth-seeded Oklahoma State (18-14, 7-11), a 72-71 first-round winner Wednesday over Iowa State."If you're dominant in the regular season, that's good, and that's a good goal, but it's postseason time, so it's all back to square one," said point guard Devon Dotson, who led Big 12 scorers with an 18.1-point average and needs 14 points to become the eighth Jayhawk to record 1,000 points in his first two seasons.Oddly enough, senior center Udoka Azubuike will participate in the Big 12 tournament for the first time.He comes in with impressive credentials after being the named the confe rence player of the year, having led the Jayhawks' title run by averaging a double-double. His 74.8 shooting accuracy is tops nationally.Wrist injuries curtailed Azubuike's freshman and junior seasons, and a sprained knee kept him from playing in the Big 12 tournament as a sophomore. By remaining healthy this season, Azubuike backed up his selection as the league's preseason player of the year."I didn't know if I was going to live up to the expectations," he said. "It all comes down to my teammates and my coaches. World's Best Handicapper. They did an unbelievable job, and me winning (player of the year) wasn't just about me. It was about them too." It's possible that Self could expand his rotation and use Silvio De Sousa in Kansas City. Baseball Predictions. The 6-9 forward drew a 12-game suspension for his role in a brawl with Kansas State players on Jan. 21. He was reinstated prior to the Jayhawks' last conference game at Texas Tech.Marcus Garrett, the Big 12 defensive player of the year, twisted an ankle at practice Tuesday. He will play in the tournament but will not be at full strength.Isaac Likekele posted 21 points, including the game-winning layup in the final seconds, and nine assists as Oklahoma State rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half."We just never doubted ourselves," Likekele said. "We just kept working hard. Every Big 12 game we'll take the win. It's a credit to our staff. They never gave up." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: West Virginia vs. Oklahoma - 3/12/2020 - 9:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: West Virginia vs. Oklahoma - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020When Oklahoma knocked off West Virginia on Feb. 8 in Norman, Okla., the Sooners sent the previously high-flying Mountaineers into a tailspin.West Virginia lost six of its next seven games to go from just outside the top 10 to out of the rankings in the span of three weeks.The rough stretch ended with a second loss to Oklahoma, this time in West Virginia.But entering Thursday's Big 12 tournament quarterfinal between the teams, the now No. 22-ranked Mountaineers have finally righted the ship and are playing similarly to how they were during an 18-4 start.West Virginia, the tournament's sixth seed, has momentum after wins at Iowa State and home against then-No. 4 Baylor to end the regular season."We played with a lot more enthusiasm. We had a lot more bounce in our step," Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said of his team's recent resurgen ce. "Sometimes you put your head down, it's easier to put it down than to get it back up. We finally got it back up. We played a lot harder than we had been playing." That win over Baylor was the lone West Virginia win this season over the top three teams in this week's tournament."We can play with anybody," Huggins said. "We've got to execute. We got to play with some toughness. We're physical enough inside when we want to be. We rebound well enough when we want to. And we're starting to make shots again." The Mountaineers (21-10) haven't made very many shots against the Sooners this season, shooting a combined 32.9 percent in the two losses to Oklahoma. Selections. That includes a season-worst 31.6 percent in the road loss.The third-seeded Sooners (19-12) also have some momentum, with three wins in their last four games. Make Money Betting Sports. The loss came on a late 3-pointer by Texas on March 3.But the Sooners are trying not to take their position for granted, even going against a team they've had plenty of success against this season."It's always hard to beat a team three times, especially a really good team," Sooners guard Austin Reaves said. "They were top 25 all year. It's going to be hard, but if we do what we do -- stick to our game plan, listen to the coaches, we'll be good." West Virginia has made it to at least the semifinals in the tournament each of the last four seasons.Oklahoma hasn't won a conference tournament game since 2016, the season the Sooners made the Final Four after getting bounced by the Mountaineers in a tight Big 12 semifinal game.But this year's Oklahoma team doesn't have any players who have won a game in the event."I don't know if there's any one reason as to why," Soon ers forward Kristian Doolittle said of Oklahoma's recent struggles in the Big 12 tournament. "This is the furthest I've ever been. Having the first-day bye gives us more time to rest." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Oregon State vs. Oregon - 3/12/2020 - 3:00 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Oregon State vs. Oregon - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020The Civil War rivalry heads south on Thursday when Pac-12 regular-season champion and tournament top seed Oregon faces eighth-seeded Oregon State in the conference tournament at Las Vegas.Oregon State (18-13) advanced to the quarterfinal matchup against Oregon (24-7), the 13th-ranked team in the nation, with a 71-69 defeat of Utah in a first-round game Wednesday. Jarod Lucas hit a corner 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining that sealed the win.Oregon State's Tres Tinkle said after the game that the play was designed to go to Ethan Thompson, but that one of the Utah defenders played Thompson tight and kept the ball out of his hands."Six seconds left, I tried to make a play, whether it was going to be for me. I know when I drive, teams load the paint, and I saw Jarod step over, jump-stop. And told him I trust him taking that shot every single time,&qu ot; Tinkle said.Tinkle -- who became Oregon State's all-time leading scorer last week -- finished with a team-high 19 points. He was one of four Beavers to score in double figures, joined by Lucas and Kylor Kelley with 12 points apiece, and Thompson with 11.Their contributions offset the Pac-12 tournament record-setting effort of Alfonso Plummer, who hit 11 of 16 3-point attempts and 12 of 17 shots overall from the floor en route to scoring 35 points for Utah."(The) individual performance by the Plummer kid, unbelievable. Only time I've ever seen something like that was my daughter was in city league, but that doesn't really matter," Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said after the game, adding, "That's a joke." But one thing that is not a joke for Oregon State is the similar defensive challenge it faces on Thursday against Oregon.Wayne Tinkle said Plummer's shooting negated the Beavers' hopes of running a 1-3-1 zone, and they draw a nother 3-point threat in the Ducks' Payton Pritchard.Pritchard, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a leading contender for national Player of the Year awards, shot a torrid 41.5 percent from long range in the regular season en route to a 20.5-points-per-game average."What he's meant to our team, what he's accomplished this year, he definitely is the player of the year in our league," Oregon coach Dana Altman told The Oregonian. "He's meant a great deal to our team, and we've had a little success." Oregon split the regular-season series with Oregon State, with the home team winning both games. Sports Handicapper Reviews. The Beavers held the Ducks to just 53 points in Corvallis, and although they allowed 16 points to Pritchard, only one other Oregon player hit double figures.That was Chris Duarte, a 12.9-points-per-game scorer this season, who is sidelined for the Pac-12 tourname nt due to a finger injury.Oregon won by 15 in the rematch in Eugene, the second game of an ongoing four-game winning streak for the Ducks. Pritchard hit five 3-pointers and scored 23 points in that one, with Will Richardson and Anthony Mathis adding 15 and 13, respectively.Mathis has stepped up his offensive production dramatically in Duarte's absence. He has four straight games of 11, 13, 17 and 14 points, and he made at least three 3-pointers in each of those contests.--Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Minnesota vs. Iowa - 3/12/2020 - 2:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Minnesota vs. Iowa - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020Minnesota will be the first team this season to get a third crack at Iowa center Luka Garza, newly crowned as Big Ten Player of the Year, when the teams meet Thursday afternoon in a quarterfinal matchup.Daniel Oturu, second to Garza in the conference scoring race, plans to rise to the challenge."Luka Garza is one of the best players in the country," Oturu said after leading the 12th-seeded Gophers (15-16) to a 74-57 win over Northwestern on Wednesday night in Indianapolis. "Being able to go up against a guy like that always brings the best out of you. You want to compete with him because you know he's going to bring it." Oturu, a 6-foot-10 sophomore who scored a game-high 24 points against the Wildcats, had an up-close look at Garza as the powerful junior center averaged 22.5 points and nine rebounds in a pair of wins for the fifth-seeded Hawkeyes (20-11) during the regular season.Iowa, ranked 25th nationally, rolled 72-52 at home on Dec. 9 behind Garza's 8-of-17 shooting from the field. Oturu had 22 points and 12 rebounds in that one, but he also committed eight turnovers.In the rematch on Feb. 16 in Minneapolis, the Gophers let a second-half lead slip away in a 58-55 loss. Garza finished with 24 points and eight rebounds on 11-of-21 shooting, while Oturu had 15 points and six rebounds.Double-teaming Garza (23.9 season scoring average) is a common theme against the 6-11, 260-pounder, so Oturu (20.0 scoring average) knows he won't have to do it alone."Just being solid on defense, trying to make it as hard as possible for him, is a key," said Oturu, named this week to the All-Big Ten second team. "He's a great player. He's going to make a ton of shots. But at the end of the day, I'm just going to try to compete with him and even maybe compete harder than him." Minnesota coach Richard Pitino noted the quick turnaround in facing Iowa, which dropped three of its last four games. Guard Joe Wieskamp, a 6-6 sophomore, saw his late-season slump begin with a 1-for-7 night at Minnesota."Obviously Garza is one of the best players in the country," Pitino said. "With short prep time, we have to be confident. Garza, from a defensive side of it for us, is such a load; he's so hard to guard and they run so many good things for him and he just keeps coming at you." Minnesota finished sixth in the Big Ten in 3-point shooting percentage and made nine of its 12 3-pointers after the break in wiping out a 31-29 halftime deficit against Northwestern."Their 3-point shooting can be devastating when they get going," Wildcats coach Chris Collins said.In the two losses against Iowa, however, Minnesota shot just 13 of 50 (26 percent) from beyond the arc."We haven't been great offensively versus them," Pitino said. " We're scoring the basketball pretty well as of late. We've got to get great rest, get off our feet, try to watch a little bit of film tonight and (Thursday) and get excited for another good opportunity." --Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Clemson vs. Florida State - 3/12/2020 - 12:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Clemson vs. Florida State - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 12, 2020The eighth-seeded Clemson Tigers will be looking for another upset when they play the top-seeded and fourth-ranked Florida State Seminoles in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament quarterfinal game on Thursday afternoon at Greensboro, N. C.Clemson (16-15) defeated visiting Florida State less than two weeks ago, winning 70-69 on Feb. 29.The Tigers drew six offensive charges in that game, the fourth most in program history."I'm not sure I've ever been in a game that had that many (charges)," Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said.That game also featured a game-winning, lefty layup by Clemson freshman point guard Al-Amir Dawes, who drove the length of the court and scored with one second left."I knew how much time I had left," said Dawes, who scored 18 points. "I was ready to make a play." Florida State (26-5) has won tw o straight games since that loss at Clemson. Hot Sports Handicappers. The Seminoles went 16-0 at home this season -- the only team in the ACC to go undefeated on its court -- but that's no longer a factor. Soccer Tipsters. They are 10-5 away from home.Florida State crushed visiting Clemson 72-53 the first time the teams met this season, on Dec. 8. Basketball Picks. The Seminoles -- known for their relentless depth, energy and athleticism -- got hot in that game, making 15 of 32 3-point attempts (46.9 percent). They really found their stroke in the second half, making 11 of 18 from long range (61.1 percent)."Once they get momentum," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said, "it's extremely difficult to stop them." Florida State's athleticism shows up in different w ays, including blocked shots. In the two games against Clemson this season, the Seminoles swatted 12 shots to just two for Clemson.Hamilton, who led Florida State this season to its first ACC regular-season title, was named the league's Coach of the Year on Monday, his third such award.Three Seminoles players -- Trent Forrest, Devin Vassell and Patrick Williams -- earned All-ACC recognition as well.Forrest, a 6-foot-4 senior point guard, was named to the All-ACC second team as well as the league's All-Defense squad. He averaged 11.6 points and finished second in the league in steals (2.2) and 10th in assists (4.1). He finished second in the voting for the league's Defensive Player of the Year, and he needs 15 more steals to become Florida State's career leader in that category.Vassell, a 6-6 sophomore shooting guard, was also named to the All-ACC second team. He led Florida State in scoring (12.7 points per game) and finished tied for second in the league' ;s voting for Most Improved Player. He averaged just 4.5 points as a freshman before making a big leap.Williams, a 6-8 forward, was named the ACC's Sixth Man of the Year and also found a spot on the league's All-Freshman team. Williams, who has come in off the bench in all 31 of the Seminoles' games so far, is fourth on the team in scoring (9.0) and rebounds (4.0) while leading in blocks (1.0). He is considered Florida State's best pro prospect.The Seminoles, who got a double-bye to get to the quarterfinals, also boast another talented player, M. J. Walker, a 6-5 junior guard. He finished third on the team in scoring (10.6) and made honorable mention All-ACC.Clemson is led by Aamir Simms, who made third-team All-ACC and finished fifth in the league in the voting for Most Improved Player. He paces the Tigers in scoring (13.1) and rebounds (7.3). On Wednesday, he had 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds in Clemson's 69-64 second-round win over Miami.Dawes scored a team-high 18 points against the Hurricanes.--Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Purdue vs. Ohio State - 3/12/2020 - 6:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Purdue vs. Ohio State - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 11, 2020Ohio State has played well enough of late to believe it could be in for more success at the Big Ten tournament.The 19th-ranked and No. 7 seed Buckeyes begin that quest Thursday night in Indianapolis against a 10th-seeded Purdue squad that needs a deep run this week, at least, to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.It's been an interesting season for Ohio State (21-10), which opened 9-0, then lost seven of 10 before going 9-3 during the final push of the league campaign. Sports Handicapping Service Winning Streaks. Though the Buckeyes' four-game winning streak ended with an 80-69 loss at surging Michigan State on Sunday, coach Chris Holtmann seems cautiously optimistic his team can make a deep run in this tournament -- and the next one."You know how it is when you get to tournament play. It's really just how you play in the that 40-minute stretch," Holtmann said."We have obviously had a very good five or six weeks. ... Sports Handicapping Sites. Tremendous credit to our guys down the stretch. ... We tried to own how we could get better. We've seen great progress, and now it is win and go home. We have to see if we can just continue to grow." Despite allowing Michigan State to reach 80 points and shoot 48.3 percent, the Buckeyes have been one of the Big Ten's top defensive teams, allowing 62.9 points per game and holding opponents to 39.7 percent shooting. Offensively, star Kaleb Wesson averages a team-high 14.0 points per game (plus 9.3 rebounds), but was held to just eight points at Michigan State.Sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr. (11.5 ppg) has averaged 14.5 points over the last six games. Junior CJ Walker (8.7 ppg), meanwhile, is scoring 13.7 and averaging 4.3 assists per con test over the same stretch.Junior starter Kyle Young, whom the Buckeyes hope to have back from an ankle issue, had 16 points with seven rebounds as Wesson added 13 with eight boards, four assists and four steals in a 68-52 home win over Purdue on Feb. 15. Ohio State shot 48.9 percent (9 of 20 from 3-point range) in that contest, while holding the Boilermakers to 35.2 percent and 4 of 20 from beyond arc. Purdue also committed 16 turnovers.A loss Thursday would essentially end Purdue's NCAA Tournament hopes, but the squad likely needs to make a serious run in Indianapolis, if not run the table, to get off the bubble. Baseball Predictions. The Boilermakers (16-15) have five wins over ranked teams this season, but lost five of their final seven games of the regular season, including 71-68 at home in overtime to Rutgers on Saturday."You can't make a run unless you win your first game," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "Just try to focus on us, and try to play better than we played that day in Columbus." Purdue has averaged just 65.4 points and shot 38.5 percent (24.8 from 3-point range) over the last seven games. Forward Trevion Williams (11.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is the Boilermakers' top scorer, but he's scored only 17 points combined in the last two games.He was held to jus four points at Ohio State last month. Teammate Evan Boudreaux scored 17 against the Buckeyes.Ohio State, which last won the Big Ten tournament in 2013, is 3-1 versus Purdue in this event. The Boilermakers' only tournament title came in 2009, but they've reached the championship game twice in the last four years.--Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: NC State vs. Duke - 3/12/2020 - 3:00 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: NC State vs. Duke - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 11, 2020Duke regained some of its confidence going into the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.Now it's a matter of the 10th-ranked Blue Devils continuing to play at a high level.On Thursday, Duke -- the No. 4 tournament seed -- will take on No. 5 seed North Carolina State. Sport Handicapping. The Wolfpack were a 73-58 winner against Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon in Greensboro, N. C."It's a confidence booster for all of us ... everyone on our team really," Duke freshman center Vernon Carey Jr. told reporters of the victories to close the regular season. "We just need to carry this into the postseason and keep on getting better." The Blue Devils (25-6) won a pair of home games last week, including one over archrival North Carolina, after a two-game skid. Duke is the reigning ACC To urnament champion."I think this is the best we've felt now," Duke guard Tre Jones said. "We're continuing to fight, better and better and more, and our offense is coming along as well." Earlier this week, Jones was named the ACC Player of the Year and ACC Defensive Player of the Year. Carey was picked as the ACC Freshman of the Year. Duke is the first ACC men's program to have players sweep those awards in the same season.Among the latest developments involving the Blue Devils is the emergence of forward Justin Robinson, a graduate student who suddenly has become a key component for the team.Robinson logged a career-high 25 minutes in Saturday's victory against North Carolina, matching a career-best point total with 13."He's been outstanding and hopefully he can keep it going, because he's made us better, there's no question about it," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He's really turned it up in practice ... My staff just said we have to give him a shot." Robinson, the son of NBA legend David Robinson, said it has been a matter of just finding a role where he can contribute."With that much talent (on the roster), there's only so many minutes," he said. "That's the way it is." Carey has 15 double-doubles this season. Jones has gone 10-for-10 on free throws in two games since the beginning of February.NC State (20-12) is trying to make a case for a spot in the NCAA Tournament."I don't think our team is really too focused like on the outside talk. Inside the locker room we're just focused on one game at a time," Wolfpack guard Devon Daniels said. "We know we can't go where we want to go, like unless we take care of the game at hand, so we're just taking it one game at a time." NC State and Duke split a pair of late-season games, both winning in blowouts at home.Duke turned to a zone defense to thwart NC State in the rematch."I think one of the things that hurt us when they went to the zone, we didn't make shots," NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. "Like we got wide-open shots. When I went back and watched the tape, we didn't make shots." Duke is 103-45 in ACC Tournament play and has won a league-record 21 titles, capturing seven of them at the Greensboro Coliseum.The Blue Devils hold an all-time record of 97-40 in games played in the building.--Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks vs. Arizona Coyotes - 3/12/2020 - 10:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Vancouver Canucks vs. Arizona Coyotes - Date: 3/12/2020 Two teams in need of points to stay in the Western Conference playoff race meet Thursday night when the Vancouver Canucks visit the Arizona Coyotes. Neither is playing their best hockey as the regular season winds down.Vancouver (36-27-6, 78 points) is tied for the second wild card thanks most recently to their 5-4 overtime shootout win over the New York Islanders. But they had lost five of six before that, including 4-2 to the Coyotes in Vancouver earlier this month.New arrival Tyler Toffoli is doing his part, though. Winning Sports Picks Who You Should Follow. The former Los Angeles King, a midseason acquisition for the Canucks, has six goals and four assists in 10 games since being picked up. He had a goal and an assist against the Islanders."It's nice to score, but getting a win at thi s time of year is what we've been looking for as a team," Toffoli told NHL.com. "I know that sounds cliche. It was a lot of fun. Winning is fun. Winning is contagious, and we have to do more of it."We've been playing playoff hockey ever since I got here. It was nice for us to pull through," he added.Vancouver got a career-high 45 saves from Thatcher Demko, and J. Sports Handicapping. T. Miller scored the winning goal in the shootout.This will be the first of a critical back-to-back road set for the Canucks, who after playing Arizona head straight to Denver to face the Colorado Avalanche, a team that has just about locked up a playoff spot.Arizona (33-29-8, 74 points) has lost two straight and has 12 games left to make a run at the playoffs. Free MMA Picks. The Coyotes have gone from first place in the Pacific Division b ack in early December to four points out of a wild-card spot.An inability to find consistent offense and top players not performing well down the stretch have hurt the Coyotes' chances. Most recently, they lost 4-2 at Winnipeg on Monday, despite leading 4-2 after the first period."We didn't talk a lot to each other on the ice and help each other out, and if you don't do that in this building, it's going to be a tough game. So, it was a tough game," captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson told NHL.com.Arizona does get the next five games at home, starting with the Canucks, but the Coyotes might have to win at least four of them to keep up in the wild-card race.Star goaltender Darcy Kuemper is back in net after a long-term injury, and Arizona has won five of the last six games against Vancouver, but it could be too late to save the Coyotes' season."We've got no choice. We need to pick it up again, and we need some more guys to pull the rope and go a t it. There's no other choice," coach Rick Tocchet said. "Obviously, the next game is even bigger and bigger, and we've got to rise to the challenge." --Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: New York Islanders vs. Calgary Flames - 3/12/2020 - 9:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: New York Islanders vs. Calgary Flames - Date: 3/12/2020 Two key NHL defensemen with injuries have been spotted skating and could be in the lineup Thursday when the New York Islanders visit the Calgary Flames.Flames blueliner Travis Hamonic and Islanders defender Johnny Boychuk are both game-day decisions for their teams.Hamonic appears the most likely to fit back into his team's lineup. After missing 14 games with an upper-body injury, he fully participated in practice Tuesday and Wednesday."I feel good, I feel healthy," Hamonic said. "I'm certainly eager to get back in there."I've had a good couple of practices and I've been skating quite a bit on my own, as well, when the team was gone. So I feel up to speed and ready to go when they want to put me in." Flames captain and fellow defenseman Marc Giordano is looking forward to getting Hamonic back, especially with another defender's status now in question. Noah Hanifin left Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights in the first period with an upper-body injury."Hammer plays top minutes," Giordano said. "His strength is on the penalty kill, defending, playing that gritty style. He's a guy who plays in all situations. When we get him back, it's going to be a big boost." Just Boychuk's presence on the trip was enough for buoyed spirits with the Islanders. Top Rated Sports Handicappers. The 36-year-old needed 90 stitches and plastic surgery to his left eyelid after being cut by the skate blade of Montreal Canadiens' Artturi Lehkonen on March 3."It's nice having him around the room," Mathew Barzal said. "After something like that, sometimes a guy might take some time off and hang out at home, but he was at the rink the next day having some laughs and a big smile on his fa ce. Sports Handicappers. That's kind of Johnny and we love having him around the room." Boychuk wasn't wearing any facial protection when he skated with his team earlier this week. Coach Barry Trotz lists him as day to day."It's going to come to Johnny's decision," Trotz said. "You look at the job the plastic surgeon did on his eyes, absolutely fantastic. When he feels he's got full sight and he's ready to play and confident, he'll make that decision." Both teams are coming off losses. Baseball Predictions. The Islanders (35-23-10, 80 points) extended their losing streak to seven games with a 5-4 shootout loss against the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday. The Flames (36-27-7, 79 points) battled back from 3-0 to tie the Golden Knights in the third, only to give up the game-winner with 1:10 left.Brock Ne lson, who had a pair of goals for the Islanders against the Canucks, looked on the bright side, even though his team gave up a 1-0 lead. They fought back to tie the game three times."I thought we did a pretty good job a couple times battling back," said Nelson. "We need that right now, especially the way things are going for us. It seems like we're close but we've just got to find that puck or that play to kind of get us over the hump and turn it around." The Flames are also looking at the positives."We did battle back," said Andrew Mangiapane, who had an assist against the Golden Knights. "We've got to start better off in the first. That's a big problem that we need to fix. Other than that, I thought we played a pretty solid game." --Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Florida Panthers vs. Dallas Stars - 3/12/2020 - 8:38 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Florida Panthers vs. Dallas Stars - Date: 3/12/2020 The Dallas Stars, who have lost six straight games, will play host to the suddenly optimistic Florida Panthers on Thursday night.Dallas lost 4-2 to the New York Rangers on Tuesday night. Best Sports Picks Service. The Stars (37-24-8, 82 points) were held scoreless for the first two periods on Tuesday, and only a pair of third-period goals kept them from being shut out for their third straight game.Stars interim coach Rick Bowness had a mixed message to his team following the loss to the Rangers."We're still in a playoff spot, and we can dig ourselves out of this," Bowness said. "But if we don't prepare ourselves properly the day of a game, it's not going to work. If we're not prepared, we're going to be embarrassed like we were for 40 minutes" on Tuesday night.On ly two NHL teams have scored fewer goals this season than the Stars. Sports Handicapping Software. The same issue existed last season for the Stars, who lost a Game 7 in the second round of the 2019 playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.The Stars are powered again this season by center Tyler Seguin, who leads the team with 50 points. Winger Jamie Benn is second with 39 points, and second-year defenseman Miro Heiskanen is third with 35.Heiskanen, who had two assists on Tuesday, is just 20 years old, and he continues to improve. Free Sports Picks Today. The native of Finland was the third overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and he had 33 points as a rookie.In goal, the Stars are expected to start Ben Bishop, who had 23 saves against the Rangers. For the season, he is 21-16-4 with a 2.50 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. Meanwhile, the Panthers (35-26-8, 78 points), who have won two straight games, have something odd happening -- their stars are slumping lately, and their lesser-known players are contributing above expectations.For example, Panthers captain and 2019 All-Star Aleksander Barkov hasn't scored a goal or dished an assist in six games, his longest drought of the season.Jonathan Huberdeau, the Panthers' leading scorer this season and a 2020 All-Star, has just one goal and one assist in his past seven games.And goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who signed a seven-year, $70 million contract in July to serve as the Panthers' savior in the nets, hasn't won a game since Feb. 25 and has spent the past three contests on the sidelines due to a lower-body injury.Yet, even without much help from their superstars of late, the Panthers are still in the playoff hunt because of the fill-ins -- newcomers such as goalie Chris Driedger and forward Aleksi Saarela.Driedger, who had never start ed a game prior to this season, is 2-0-1 with a 1.31 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage since Bobrovsky went down. A former third-round pick of the Ottawa Senators, Driedger has been the Panthers' best goalie this season, at least according to the statistics: 7-2-1, with an impressive 2.05 GAA and a .938 save percentage."I can't say enough good things about (Driedger)," Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said after his goalie's 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.Saarela, a 23-year-old former third-round pick of the New York Rangers, has outplayed Barkov by the numbers in the past six games, posting two goals and two assists.Said Quenneville: "(Saarela) has earned his opportunity." --Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild - 3/12/2020 - 8:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Vegas Golden Knights vs. Minnesota Wild - Date: 3/12/2020 Two of the hottest teams in the NHL collide on Thursday night when the Pacific Division-leading Vegas Golden Knights travel to Saint Paul, Minn., to play the Minnesota Wild.It's the fourth game of a five-game road trip for the Golden Knights (39-24-8, 86 points), who decided to fly home for a day-and-a-half after completing a back-to-back sweep of Calgary (5-3) and Edmonton (3-2 in OT) on Monday night before flying back to Minnesota after practice on Wednesday.Defenseman Shea Theodore scored the game-winner at 2:13 of overtime to defeat the Connor McDavid-less Oilers and improve Vegas to 11-2-0 over its last 13 games."A big team win," said Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer, who also called the victory at Edmonton "a gutsy effort. Soccer Tipsters. Three (games) in four nights, pla ying last night (and) back-to-back. I thought our guys showed up and did a good job -- every guy that dressed, goalie on out. We needed that kind of effort to win in here." Jonathan Marchessault had a goal and an assist, and Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for Vegas, which began the trip with a 4-0 loss at Winnipeg."Obviously, it's huge," defenseman Alec Martinez said of bouncing back from the loss to the Jets to garner four points in the back-to-back in Alberta. "We're getting down to crunch time here, and everybody is jockeying for positions in playoffs and the standings. We knew it was going to be a big trip for us. ... Between (the Calgary win) and tonight, we're happy to get the wins." Minnesota (35-27-7, 77 points), which has won six of its last eight contests, returns home after taking two out of three games on its California road trip capped by a 5-4 overtime win at Anaheim on Sunday night.Kevin Fiala continued his sizzling stretc h with two more goals, including the game-winner with 59 seconds left in overtime. Fiala has scored 14 goals to go along with 12 assists in 18 games since Feb. 4. In that span, Minnesota went 12-5-1 and is one point out of a wild-card spot in the Western Conference."Not the way we wanted," Fiala told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune after Minnesota allowed the tying goal to Anaheim's Christian Djoos with 1:42 left in regulation. "We don't want to give them the lead any time in the game. But it's going to happen. It's going to happen like this (where) we have to come back."Guys just talked about how much we needed the two points and that we have to bear down and go get them. With this group, over the last long stretch here, we certainly believed in ourselves to be able to do it." Minnesota had a successful road trip despite missing Eric Staal, who stayed behind due to a personal matter. Staal, who has 19 goals and 28 assists, returned to p ractice Tuesday and will rejoin the lineup on Thursday.Vegas, meanwhile, will once again be without forward Mark Stone, who is second on the team in scoring with 63 points and a team-best 42 assists, but is still week-to-week with a lower-body injury.DeBoer said center Chandler Stephenson (upper-body) will be a game-time decision, while Robin Lehner, obtained from the Chicago Blackhawks at the trade deadline, will make his fourth start in goal for the Golden Knights. Lehner is 3-0 with a 1.67 goals-against and one shutout with Vegas.--Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils - 3/12/2020 - 7:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Carolina Hurricanes vs. New Jersey Devils - Date: 3/12/2020 A season-long six-game road trip for the Carolina Hurricanes began as if it might end up sinking their playoff hopes. But the Hurricanes can close out the jaunt Thursday by further solidifying their standing in the Eastern Conference wild-card race when they visit the New Jersey Devils in Newark, N. J.Both teams were off Wednesday after playing Tuesday, when the Hurricanes beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2, and the Devils fell to the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins 5-2.The win for the Hurricanes (38-25-5, 81 points) was their third in a row and vaulted them into a tie for the Eastern Conference wild-card spots with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Handicapper Directory. The two teams are one point ahead of the New York Islanders, who fell out of the East's final playoff spot with a 5-4 shootout loss to t he Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.The Hurricanes started their streak with wins over a pair of contenders by beating the Islanders 3-2 in overtime on Saturday and with a 6-2 victory over the Penguins on Sunday.The Red Wings, who clinched the worst record in the NHL with Tuesday's loss, and Devils (28-29-12, 68 points), who are likely to finish last in the Metropolitan Division for the second straight season while missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years, present a far different challenge for Carolina, which was pleased with how it responded Tuesday night."That was a game where you look at the standings and you expect to win, but you still have to respect the game," Hurricanes right winger Justin Williams said Tuesday night. "We still had to go out there and work against a scrappy team that's fighting against you." While their playoff hopes are all but extinct, the Devils will get another chance at playing spoiler Thursday night . Sixteen of New Jersey's final 17 games are scheduled against teams that entered Wednesday in the playoff race.The Devils are 2-2 in their first four games in that stretch, with three-goal losses to the Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights (3-0 on Mar. 3) book-ending multi-goal wins over the St. Louis Blues (4-2) and New York Rangers (6-4) last Friday and Saturday."We know the situation they were in," interim Devils head coach Alain Nasreddine said Tuesday night. "They're up there in the standings for a good reason. Sports Free Picks. Their big players show up in big games. When it's not Sidney Crosby, it's (Evgeni) Malkin. When it is not Malkin, it's (Kris) Letang. When it's not Letang, it's (goalie Tristan) Jarry or (goalie Matt) Murray." The game Thursday will be the third of four scheduled meetings this season between the Metropolitan Division rivals. Sports Monitor. The Devils earned a 5-3 win at Carolina on Nov. 2 and fell to the host Hurricanes, 5-2, on Feb. 14. The teams are scheduled to play in New Jersey again on Mar. 29.--Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals - 3/12/2020 - 7:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Detroit Red Wings vs. Washington Capitals - Date: 3/12/2020 A three-game homestand that begins against the NHL's worst team could be just what the Washington Capitals need to start a winning streak.They have been floundering over the past six weeks, putting together back-to-back victories just once over that span. Overall, they've gone 7-9-3 in their last 19 games, which doesn't bode well for a team with championship aspirations.In their latest outing, they lost a shootout in Buffalo 3-2 on Monday. Free Soccer Picks. The Capitals are trying to hold off Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division."We know right now the points are pretty irrelevant for what we want to accomplish," goalie Braden Holtby told NHL.com. "If you look at how we're playing, how we're setting up games, h ow we're starting, how we're finishing -- if you look at the process that way, you're going to get a lot of points. Right now, we've just got to keep working, and keep pushing ourselves even harder." The Capitals (41-20-8, 90 points) fell behind the Sabres 2-0, then rallied in the third period to force overtime."The third period obviously is our best," Washington coach Todd Reirden said. "I think our execution through the first 40 minutes wasn't great in terms of -- particularly in the neutral zone -- giving our team a chance to have success. In the third period, we simplified our game. We put pucks behind them, and we hung on to the puck and played in the offensive zone." The Capitals will also face Chicago and Edmonton before venturing out of town again. Sports Handicapping Monitor. This will be the second of three meetings with the Red Wings.Washington won the first o ne at Detroit, 5-2, on Nov. 30.Alexander Ovechkin collected perhaps the easiest hat trick of his career, as he tallied two empty-netters.The Red Wings (17-49-5, 39 points) had a modest two-game winning streak snapped by Carolina on Tuesday, losing 5-2. Detroit is now 0-20-1 against Metropolitan opponents.Their special teams faltered against the Hurricanes, as they allowed three power-play goals and a short-handed goal while their power play went 0-for-5."It was unfortunate that we weren't able to generate anything on the power play," center Dylan Larkin told NHL.com. "They scored on their chances. It was a tight game. We got a power play there with 15 minutes left in the third, and we didn't even generate momentum. Sports Experts. That's kind of the hockey game there. We've got to find a way as a five-man unit." Detroit has been searching in vain for ways to win most of the season. It has already clinched the NHL's worst overall record for the first time since the 1985-86 season."We just didn't bear down on the penalty kill and we didn't bear down on the power play," Larkin said. "I'm not going to say they wanted it more than us, because we battled and we hung in there but they executed a little better in the special teams department." The Wings' All-Star representative, forward Tyler Bertuzzi, has heated up over the past week. After going without a goal for 13 consecutive games, he has found the back of the net the last three games.--Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs - 3/12/2020 - 7:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs - Date: 3/12/2020 The Nashville Predators will look to extend their three-game winning streak Thursday when they visit a Toronto Maple Leafs team that is seeking consistency.Both teams won Tuesday night. Sports Touts. The Predators (35-26-8, 78 points) earned a 4-2 road victory over the Montreal Canadiens, and the Maple Leafs (36-25-9, 81 points) beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 at home."I really liked our mental game (Tuesday)," Predators coach John Hynes said. "We really came into this game ready to play, and ready to play the right way." The Predators scored four goals in the second period, two by Filip Forsberg, as they improved their record to 13-7-1 over the past 21 games.Predators goaltender Juuse Saros, who had back-to-back shutouts against the Dallas Stars on March 5 and 7, had his s hutout string end at 181 minutes and seven seconds -- second longest in franchise history -- early in the third period."It's been unbelievable," Forsberg said. "By that point, it almost felt like it's just going to keep going and going. He's really stepped up for us." "I really like where he is at mentally and the consistency level and the mental toughness," Hynes said.Forsberg also had an assist as the Predators have won the first two games of a five-game road trip. Free Sports Picks. The left winger has 21 goals for the season to become the first player in franchise history with six consecutive 20-goal seasons."Every game is huge for us," Predators defenseman Roman Josi said. "Every game is like a playoff game. A good start in Dallas, and now (Tuesday) in Montreal with a win, so it's huge for us." Josi's two assists against the Canadiens gave t he captain a career-best 49 for the season.The Maple Leafs returned home Tuesday after going 0-2-1 on a West Coast trip.They had power-play goals from William Nylander and Auston Matthews on Tuesday. Defenseman Morgan Rielly returned to the Toronto lineup after missing 23 games with a broken foot. He played nearly 22 minutes."I thought he was pretty good, all things considered," Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said. "He hasn't played and it's a tough game -- especially in that second period. It's hard for our defense to get off the ice and they're really coming. It looked like it was taking a toll on him physically, in terms of his conditioning." The Maple Leafs have been trying all season to develop consistency."We've talked about being more consistent," Rielly said. "And I think now more than ever, just given the standings, the time of year and remaining games, I think it's an opportunity for us to start to play we ll and build some momentum. I think if you look back to this time last year our performances weren't what we wanted them to be in time for playoffs and this year we've got a chance to fix that and change that." Good goaltending helps, and Frederik Andersen provided that Tuesday with 32 saves."Freddie was outstanding, in the second period especially," Keefe said. "There were a lot of very good things for us and we'll take two very important points." --Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens - 3/12/2020 - 7:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Buffalo Sabres vs. Montreal Canadiens - Date: 3/12/2020 The clock is ticking on the respective seasons of the Montreal Canadiens and the Buffalo Sabres, and there's precious little time to spare.The Canadiens (31-31-9, 71 points) and Sabres (30-31-8, 68 points) will look to provide a jolt to their flickering postseason aspirations at the other's expense on Thursday when the Atlantic Division rivals meet in Montreal.The sputtering Canadiens haven't helped themselves after dropping three in a row and 10 of their past 14 games (4-8-2). Montreal resides 10 points in back of Toronto for third place in the division as well as 10 in back of Carolina and Columbus for the Eastern Conference wild-card spots.A disastrous four-goal second period was to blame in the Canadiens' latest loss, a 4-2 setback to visiting Nashville on Tuesday."Just as professionals, you've got to be better than that," M ontreal alternate captain Brendan Gallagher said. "It was extremely disappointing, obviously. We felt like we left our goaltender out to dry. You have a second period like that, it costs you the game." Artturi Lehkonen and Lukas Vejdemo scored in the third period to halve the deficit for the Canadiens. Vejdemo's goal was his first in the NHL, however the 24-year-old Swede promptly was reassigned to Laval of the American Hockey League after the game.Like Montreal, Buffalo has hit some sour notes of late as a recent six-game skid dropped it under the NHL's version of .500. Sports Handicapping Monitor. The Sabres got back on their feet with a 3-2 shootout win over Washington on Monday.Linus Ullmark made 33 saves in his return from a 17-game absence with a lower-body injury. Basketball Handicappers. The 26-year-old also thwarted six shots in t he seven-round shootout."You want to be with the team, you want to be in the mix, you want to be there and do what you do best," Ullmark said. "Obviously you can't buy the feeling of winning, so it was great to get the first win here." Captain Jack Eichel snapped a career-worst seven-game scoring drought and the club's 0-for-17 stretch on the power play by converting from the left circle early in the second period. Free Sports Picks Daily. The goal extended Eichel's career-best total to 36 while the 78th point has him four shy of his personal high, set last season."We're continuing to work on our game, we're continuing to add value to the process which is what we want to do here and Jack, of course, is at the lead of that," Sabres coach Ralph Krueger said. "Just looked a lot more comfortable (Monday) and I think he's let go of some of that pressure that he was feeling and he's sharing it with the team and as a result just a really strong game from him." Eichel looks to heat up again when he faces the Canadiens, against whom he scored two goals and set up two others in Buffalo's 5-4 overtime victory on Oct. 9. The 23-year-old Eichel, who set up Marcus Johansson's overtime winner in that contest, also tallied in the Sabres' 3-1 setback to the Canadiens on Jan. 30.Johansson has recorded one goal and two assists during his current three-game point streak. The 29-year-old has those same statistics during the first two contests of the season series.--Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - 3/12/2020 - 7:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Columbus Blue Jackets - Date: 3/12/2020 The game Thursday between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets is important for the Metropolitan Division standings, but it will be played at Nationwide Arena under unusual circumstances.After announcing the game would allow ticketholders, the Blue Jackets reversed course Wednesday afternoon and said the game will be played in front of only essential and credentialed people. Sports Handicapping. That was in response to an expected state ban on large gatherings because of the ongoing coronavirus scare.The Penguins (40-23-6, 86 points) are third in the division, four points behind first-place Washington and five points ahead of Columbus (33-22-15, 81 points).The Penguins are counting on continuing something they seemingly started Tuesday in their 5-2 win at New Jersey.After losing eight of 10, including two home games in as many days against Metropolitan Division teams over the weekend, Pittsburgh appeared to get back to the determined and responsible style that put the team in a good spot in the division before that swoon."(It) was a step in the right direction, for sure," goaltender Matt Murray said. "We did everything we needed to do. ... If we keep building on this one, we'll be in good shape." One player in particular is a symbol of the Penguins' potential turnaround. Center Evgeni Malkin called out his team after Saturday's loss to Washington. While that didn't seem to sink in Sunday for another loss against Carolina, Tuesday seemed different -- and Malkin led the way.Against the Devils, he scored twice in the third period, and his three-point night extended his point streak to five games (four goals, seven assists). He leads the team with 74 points after a down season in 2018-19 in which he turned the puck ov er often and took costly penalties."I think he's been terrific," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said of Malkin. "He's having a real good year for us. ... He's not as high risk a player. He's making better decisions. And he's paying attention to details." The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, are paying attention to the standings, as they currently hold an Eastern Conference wild-card spot."I'm looking at the standings more this year than I have prior," coach John Tortorella told The Athletic. "I look at our record, some of those overtime losses -- we have 15 of them -- and you wonder if maybe we could turn a few of those around, where would we be?"We're looking behind us (in the standings), too, but we're looking above, as to how close can we be there." Columbus moved into a wild-card slot Sunday when it downed Vancouver 2-1 to wrap up a 1-1-1 trip to Western Canada.The Blue Jackets will be playing a divisio n game for the first time since Feb. 20 and have six of their final 12 game within the Metropolitan."There's not that many games or us left," said goaltender Elvis Merzlikins, who returned from a concussion Sunday to make 26 saves at Vancouver. "Every game is important. ... We have to stick together, like we are doing, and play every shift as hard as we can." --Field Level Media

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NHL Game Preview: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning - 3/12/2020 - 7:08 PM EST

NHL Game Preview: Philadelphia Flyers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning - Date: 3/12/2020 After a Tuesday night performance in Toronto that Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper called "embarrassing," the Lightning are looking forward to sunnier times back home on Florida's west coast.The Lightning (43-21-6, 92 points) will host the Philadelphia Flyers (41-21-7, 89 points) on Thursday night in the third and final meeting between the two second-place teams in the Atlantic and Metropolitan Divisions, respectively.Tampa Bay sits comfortably in second in the Atlantic -- trailing first-place Boston by eight points and leading third-place Toronto by 11 entering Wednesday -- and are likely locked into the position they will hold when the Eastern Conference playoffs open next month.But Tuesday's 2-1 loss in regulation to the Maple Leafs did very little to instill any confidence into Cooper's bunch.To top it off, the Lightning -- who play ed without captain Steven Stamkos (out seven games) and Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Victor Hedman (two games) -- would face Toronto when the quarterfinals open if the division's standings hold true and the Maple Leafs can hold off the Florida Panthers."During the course of a year, 82 games, three periods a game, that's a lot of periods of hockey," Cooper said after the loss in Toronto, "and for the most part we have a lot of good ones, a small amount we could have been better and couple that are embarrassing."And that (first period) would fall under the embarrassing category." Ondrej Palat scored and goalie Andre Vasilevskiy stopped 34 shots for the Lightning, but the visitors allowed an early third-period goal by Auston Matthews to break a 1-1 tie and send Tampa Bay to another defeat and round out its last 10 games with a 3-6-1 mark.Toronto outshot Tampa Bay 17-5 in a lopsided first period, and the return of Hedman, who participated in Tuesday's morning skate, would go a long way toward bolstering the Lightning's overall output.In addition to being a lockdown defender over his 66 games played, the big Swedish blueliner has 55 points (11 goals, 44 assists) as the anchor of the club's stellar blue line.Philadelphia had its season-best winning streak of nine games broken Tuesday night in a stout performance by Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Free MMA Picks. The Finnish backstop denied all 36 Flyers shots as he recorded his 50th career shutout on his 33rd birthday.Flyers coach Alain Vigneault had little to criticize after the game and credited the standout play of Rask. He also has to be pleased by his team's performance over the course of the season."For two periods I felt we were the better team on the ice. We had some good opportunities to take a lead, couldn't get anything past (Rask)," Vigneault said.Win ners of 12 of their last 15 (12-3-0), the Flyers have lost both of their matches against Tampa Bay -- 1-0 in Philadelphia on Jan. 11 and 5-3 in Tampa on Feb. 15 -- with Vasilevskiy recording both victories.Philadelphia entered Wednesday just one point behind first-place Washington and three ahead of rival Pittsburgh in the chase for the top spot in the Metropolitan.--Field Level Media

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NCAAB Game Preview: Butler vs. Providence - 3/12/2020 - 2:30 PM EST

NCAAB Game Preview: Butler vs. Providence - Date: 3/12/2020 Mar 11, 2020Butler closed out the regular season in fashion.The No. 24 Bulldogs now look to add another memorable ending in the Big East Tournament. Butler, the No. 5 seed, opens the conference tourney against No. 4 seed Providence in the quarterfinals Thursday afternoon in New York City.Senior guard Kamar Baldwin poured in a career-high 36 points, highlighted by draining a 3-pointer from the wing with 1.2 seconds left, to lift the Bulldogs to a 72-71 win at Xavier on Saturday night.The Bulldogs (22-9) and Friars enter the tourney as two of the conference's hottest teams. Butler own a three-game winning streak, while the Friars (19-12) set a program record for most Big East wins in a season with 12 and won their final six games on the regular season -- including wins against three ranked teams."Heck of a win. Heck of a game," said Butler coach LaVall Jordan said following the Xavier victory. "I can't imagine what New York will be like with all the teams playing this well right now. We knew there would be a lot of energy in the building with their Senior Night. And we knew it would be a fight. I told them to keep battling. It came down to us having the ball last and No. 3 [Baldwin] hit a shot like he's done before." The neutral-site game between the Bulldogs and Friars is an ideal way to decide the season series winner. Last season, Providence defeated the Bulldogs three times, but that streak ended in the first meeting between the two teams this season."It's win and advance or lose and go home," Providence coach Ed Cooley said, "so our guys will be playing with a sense of desperation, just as Butler will." Baldwin and Jordan Tucker both scored 17 points in Butler's 70-58 road win over Providence on Jan. 10. At the time, the Bulldogs were 15-1 and had won all three of their conferenc e games.In their second meeting, the Friars avenged their loss to even up the season series with a 65-61 win in Indianapolis on Feb. 1. Luwane Pipkins scored 22 points off the bench, including hitting six free throws in the final 27 seconds, to seal the win. But the Bulldogs played without starting point guard Aaron Thompson and made just one of their 14 3-point attempts."We didn't shoot it well, but Providence had a lot to do with that. Documented Handicappers. They made it really tough to get our guys open," Jordan said after the game. "We let Pipkins get loose for too many looks, and he made us pay. Football Predictions. This is life in the Big East. You're across from a good team every night." Baldwin, an All-Big East First-Team selection, enters the game averaging 16.2 points and 3.3 assist s. Providence senior guard Alpha Diallo was a second-team honoree.The Friars received some good news in Saturday's win over DePaul, when guard Maliek White returned to the floor after dealing with a foot injury. Cooley said the Bulldogs are a deeper squad with a healthy Thompson."They're a totally different team with Thompson," Cooley said. "When Kamar Baldwin is on the ball he's not as aggressive as he is off the ball. He's very dangerous and is allowed to roam free with Thompson." --Field Level Media

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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

NCAAB Game Recap: Vanderbilt (73) vs. Arkansas (86) - 3/11/2020

NCAAB Game Recap: Vanderbilt (73) vs. Arkansas (86) - Date: 3/11/2020 Mar 12, 2020NASHVILLE, Tenn. Arkansas coach Eric Musselman is really glad his Razorbacks got one of the last chances to play a game in front of fans.Mason Jones scored 22 points before fouling out, and the 11th-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks beat No. 14 seed Vanderbilt 86-73 Wednesday night in the last Southeastern Conference Tournament game open to the general public.“They got an opportunity to experience that in a great environment I mean for a first game on the first night of the tournament,” Musselman said. “It was a great turnout, and obviously it's the severity and seriousness of this is well beyond anything a coach or player, whatever." The SEC announced a few minutes before tip-off that the league was joining other Power Five conferences in closing the rest of this event to all but players, essential staff and credentialed media. CBS Sports Picks. The decision wasn't made inside Bridgestone Arena until halftime with fans booing as soon as the P. A. announcer began talking.Arkansas (20-12) won its sixth straight over Vanderbilt and now will play No. 6 seed South Carolina on Thursday night in the second round. Sports Handicapper Leaderboard. The Razorbacks have reached the semifinals in three of the last five league tournaments and improved to 27-27 all-time at this event.“We're just going to go out there and go play just like we're in the park or something,” Jones said. “We're just going to play hard, and it'll still show a W or an L at the end of the day, and we want to come out with a W. So we're going to bring the same energy we brought today.”Jones, the SEC's leading scorer and The Associated Press' co-SEC player of the y ear, was 10 of 11 at the free throw line before fouling out with 1:45 left. Desi Sills added 20, Isaiah Joe had 18 before fouling out late and Jimmy Whitt had 12.Vanderbilt (11-21) snapped a two-game winning streak. Sports Betting Leads. The Commodores now have lost six of their last seven opening games at the SEC tournament, spanning three different coaches.“Not the ending that we were looking for,” Vanderbilt first-year coach Jerry Stackhouse said.Saben Lee led Vanderbilt with a game-high 30 points before fouling out in the final minute. Scotty Pippen Jr. added 16, Dylan Disu had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Wright added 10.Pippen opened the game with a 3-pointer for Vandy. Then Jones scored the next seven points to put Arkansas ahead to stay. Both teams struggled to shoot with the shot clock off for a bit, forcing the public address announcer to count off the final 10 seconds.Vanderbilt missed 19 of 20 shots and went 9:23 without a field goal. Arkansas had its stretches missing shots, but the Razorbacks still jumped out to a double-digit lead. They were up 25-9 with 6:04 left on a 3-pointer by Joe and led 38-26 at halftime.“We wanted to set the tone early,” Jones said.Arkansas opened the second half shooting much better and pushed its lead to as much as 52-32. Vanderbilt pulled within 59-48 on a 16-7 run capped by a three-point play by Lee. Sills answered with a 3, and Vanderbilt never got closer than 10 with 2:34 left.BIG PICTUREArkansas: The Razorbacks came in with the nation's best 3-point defense, and they held their 20th opponent to 29% or worse shooting outside the arc. Vanderbilt just 6 of 24 (25%).Vanderbilt: The Commodores' biggest issue all season has been shooting woes leading to long scoring droughts. This was the second time Arkansas had held them to 25% or worse from 3-point range. ... Disu had his fifth double-double of the seas on.QUOTABLE“No thoughts,” Musselman said when asked about a technical late in the game. “There's a lot of good shopping here in Nashville, so let my wife spend the money and not give it to anybody else, so I refrain from saying anything.”UP NEXTArkansas plays South Carolina on Thursday night.Vanderbilt: Stackhouse tries to build on a rough first season and will get leading scorer Lee back. He also started three freshmen in this game with Pippen starting his 31st of the season. Two other players sat out transfer years. “Next year I”m going to have a lot of little toys in my toy chest, and I can't wait to play with them," Stackhouse said.--Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker---More college basketball: https://apnews.com/MarchMadness and https://twitter.com/-Top25

NCAAB Game Recap: Kansas State (53) vs. TCU (49) - 3/11/2020

NCAAB Game Recap: Kansas State (53) vs. TCU (49) - Date: 3/11/2020 Mar 12, 2020KANSAS CITY, Mo. Kansas State hadn't won consecutive games since opening the season in November with four straight wins.The Wildcats have now put together back-to-back wins after beating Iowa State on Saturday, and TCU 53-49 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament.Cartier Diarra scored 13 points, Mike McGuirl added eight points that included two free throws to ice the game for No. 10 seed Kansas State (11-21), which scored the final eight points of the game.RJ Nembhard scored 19 points to lead the way for seventh-seeded TCU (16-16). Desmond Bane chipped in 16 points.Nembhard missed a go-ahead 3 with five seconds remaining. ''All you can do is get the best shot you can and I thought it was a pretty good shot,'' TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.McGuirl followed with a pair of free throws with two seconds left.'&# 39;We get to fight another day,'' Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. ''We finally found a way to win a game like this.'' David Sloan added nine points and Xavier Sneed had eight for Kansas State, which shot 21 of 54 (39%) from the field while the Horned Frogs were 20-of-50 shooting (40%). NFL Handicappers. The Wildcats also had a 36-27 rebounding advantage, and held the lead for 35 minutes.The Horned Frogs got their first lead of the game, 46-45 with five minutes left, on a floater by Nembhard. Kevin Samuel's free throw and jumper stretched TCU's advantage to 49-45.But the Horned Frogs didn't score in the final three minutes of the game and finished with 14 turnovers. ''We made bad decisions with the ball and we've been a high-turnover team all season,'' Dixon said.Sneed, McGuirl and Mawien made a basket apiece and the Wildcats regained the lead 51-49 with 1:1 9 to play.Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced 30 minutes before the start of the Iowa State-Oklahoma State game in the opener that the league would not allow fans at any games after Wednesday night. Free Sports Picks. The only people in attendance for the rest of the tournament will be teams, family members and essential staff. Each team will get 125 tickets to hand out on a game-by-game basis.BIGGER THAN BASKETBALLKansas State coach Bruce Weber said cancelling games might be the best for everyone involved in the country.''This is scary and I'm old,'' Weber said. ''I'm in the group where people die and I have a grandson coming any day now.'' BIG PICTURETCU: The Horned Frogs started slowly, but caught fire in the second half (13-of-28 shooting from the field that included four 3-pointers). It wasn't enough though as their season came to an end.Kansas State: Coming of f a 79-63 win against Iowa State on Saturday, the Wildcats used that momentum to beat TCU. But in order to win the next one against second-ranked Baylor, they'll have to play much better.UP NEXTTCU's season is over.Kansas State will play second-seeded Baylor on Thursday night.---For more college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/-Top25

NCAAB Game Recap: California (63) vs. Stanford (51) - 3/11/2020

NCAAB Game Recap: California (63) vs. Stanford (51) - Date: 3/11/2020 Mar 12, 2020LAS VEGAS For California and Stanford players and coaches, the game went on - even with a cloud of uncertainty going on in the sports world - and world.In perhaps their last game of the season in front of fans due to the threat of Coronavirus, the Cal Bears didn't want to make it their last game.Matt Bradley and Paris Austin both had 18 points along with six rebounds each to lead California past Stanford 63-51 at the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday night at T-Mobile Arena.Cal (14-18), which entered the tournament as the 10th seed, advanced to play No. 2 UCLA on Thursday. Kareem South added 15 points for the Bears.The game will be among the last without fan restrictions. Free Sports Picks Daily. The league announced prior to the game the conference's tournament wi ll be played under a restricted attendance policy.Earlier in the day, the NCAA announced that its annual tournament would be played under similar circumstances.''If health and the safety is the No. 1 priority that we say it is, then fully support keeping just those that are necessary to compete in the game tomorrow,'' said California coach Mark Fox, who won his 300th game in his career. ''And hopefully we can regroup and play well.'' ''I think the players and everyone's safety is the most important thing,'' Austin said. ''We love to play in front of fans, but right now safety is the most important thing.'' Daejon Davis led seventh-seeded Stanford (20-12) with 16 points and Bryce Wills had 10 as the NCAA-bubble Cardinals finished 17-of-53 shooting (32%).''I think today we just -- the intent was there and the care factor, as coach said, was there,'' Wills said. ''But I think we laid a l ittle bit of an egg today. And just our basketball lives are on the line right now. And we failed to do that today.'' The Bears jumped to a 7-0 lead and never trailed. Stanford once tied it at 17. Cal led 30-20 at halftime, capped by a Joel Brown running layup at the buzzer. Sports Monitor. The Bears built their largest lead at 16 late in the game and now will look back at their 50-40 loss to the Bruins on Jan. 19.''It's been a long time since we played UCLA,'' Fox said. ''They're a completely different team. We couldn't score, their defense was elite.'' STANFORD ON BUBBLEStanford coach Jerod Haase awaits word on a possible NCAA berth Sunday.''If you look at a piece of paper, I think we would be in,'' he said. ''But on the flip side of that, it's the eye test. If you take tonight out of the equation, I think our eye test looks pretty go od. We have a team that competes defensively, for the most part have been elite consistently this year.'' Fox pleaded for his rival to be selected.''First of all, we beat a terrific team,'' he said. ''This league deserves to have seven teams in the NCAA Tournament. Stanford had some great wins.'' THE RIVALRYThe teams split the regular season with Cal winning the second game at home, 52-50 on Jan. 26. Winning Sports Handicappers. This was the fourth time the teams have met in the 22-year history of the conference tournament. The series record is 2-2. The last time was in 2012 when the Cardinal won 76-58. The Golden Bears still lead the all-time series 150-125.TIP-INSCal: Fox, who also coached at Nevada (2004-2009) and Georgia (2009-2018), is now 300-194. This the first time Cal came into the tournament as a 10th seed. They had never been lower than ninth. The Bears are now 17-22 in tournament play.Stanford: The Cardinal are looking to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. Coming into Wednesday, Stanford led the Pac-12 in shooting at 47.4% and was 20th nationally. Ironically, the Cardinal shot 27.3% in the first half. Stanford had three players earn All Pac-12 recognition with first-teamer Oscar da Silva (four points), who was averaging 16.1 points per game coming into Wednesday.UP NEXTCal: Will play No. 2 UCLA Thursday in the quarterfinal round.Stanford: Will await word for a postseason tournament berth.---More college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and http://twitter.com/-Top25

NCAAB Game Recap: Nebraska (64) vs. Indiana (89) - 3/11/2020

NCAAB Game Recap: Nebraska (64) vs. Indiana (89) - Date: 3/11/2020 Mar 12, 2020INDIANOLIS Nebraska coach Fred Hoiberg was taken to a hospital for evaluation after he left Wednesday night's 89-64 loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament due to a cold.Hoiberg was in visible discomfort on the Cornhuskers' bench. Doc Sadler took over after Hoiberg left the floor in the second half.Nebraska did not make any players or coaches available to the media after the loss. Money Cappers. The school announced Hoiberg was checked by medical personnel before the game, and then became ill later. He was taken a hospital, where he was diagnosed with a common cold and then released, according to the school.The Big Ten is closing the rest of the tournament to fans over fears of exposure to the coronavirus.The 11th-seeded Hoosiers (20-12) will play sixth-seeded Penn State (21-10) in the second round Thursday night. Indiana split its two meetings with the Nittany Lions.''I would say it would be a heck of an environment in here, but it's going to be more like a closed scrimmage, which is unfortunate,'' Indiana coach Archie Miller said. ''We'll be ready to go. Penn State has had a heck of a season and heck of a team so we got a heck of a challenge.'' Miller chose to send his players back to the hotel instead of to interview room after hearing the news about the NBA suspending its season over concerns about the spread of coronavirus.''I think, once you start getting the news that we got after the game, I think right now for our players, it's let's get cleaned up, let's get out of here, and let's get back to the hotel where we can keep our group kind of tight and move forward with tomorrow,'' he said. ''They're not going to have a whole lot of answers about what's going on anyway.'' Indiana got pushed a bit by Nebraska, but the Hoosiers' depth was too much for the Cornhuskers.''They made their runs during the (second) half, got us a little bit stationary at times, but I thought overall our guys responded and were able to finish the game in a big way,'' Miller said. ''And I'm proud of our depth. I thought we had a lot of guys. We were committed to playing a lot of guys tonight, and we had a lot of guys play valuable minutes and get some things done.'' Indiana freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis had a double double of 11 points and career-high 17 rebounds. Armaan Franklin led the Hoosiers with 13 points. Justin Smith and Devonte Green each scored 12 and Al Durham added 11.Kevin Cross led Nebraska (7-25) with 23 points. Haanif Cheatham had 17, and Jervay Green finished with 15.Indiana shot 53% while Nebraska shot 30%.Indiana expanded its lead to 58-38 with 15:48 to go.''Early on, I didn't t hink we were ready, and then as the half sort of closed, we had a big run, which was a real key part of the game,'' Miller said. ''Being able to go into halftime with a lead was important, and then we started the second half, I thought, really well as well to build a cushion.'' BIG PICTURENebraska struggled in Hoiberg's first year as coach. Handicapping Sports. The former Iowa State and Chicago Bulls coach is trying to instill discipline in the program.Indiana strengthened its case for NCAA Tournament bid by winning its 20th game. Free Sports Picks. The Hoosiers seldom have success in the Big Ten Tournament, only reaching the championship game once, losing to Iowa in 2001.IMPRESSIVE EFFORTMiller was especially impressed with Franklin's play after the freshman's playing time had been more limited of late.''Here the last three or four weeks, his role really hasn't diminished in our eyes, but his minutes have gone down,'' he said. ''He stays with it. He's a great kid. He's an unbelievable teammate.'' SHORT-HANDED HUSKERSThe Cornhuskers played without Dachon Burke Jr. and Cam Mack, who were suspended indefinitely by Hoiberg last week. Burke averaged 12.2 points and Mack 11.9 points.Nebraska had seven scholarship players entering the game, so they added football players Noah Vedral, a quarterback, and Brant Banks, a 6-foot-7 offensive tackle, to the roster.Banks and Vedral both played the final two-plus minutes. Banks missed two free throws and one shot. Vedral missed two shots.UP NEXTNebraska ends its season with a 7-25 recordIndiana will play No. 6 seed Penn State.---More college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/-Top25