The day after
UNDATED (AP) — It’s not a big surprise to employers around the country that employees today are sneaking a few minutes here and there working on their brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament. Filling out a bracket has become as much a part of March as St. Patrick’s Day.
The field was announced last night by the NCAA with Kentucky, Villanova, Duke and Wisconsin tagged as the four top-seeds with Kentucky No. 1 overall.
Play begins with the First Four games in Dayton, Ohio, with two games tomorrow, which coincidentally is St. Patrick’s Day.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-GEORGE MASON
Patriots fire coach
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — George Mason University is looking for a new men’s basketball coach as Paul Hewitt has been fired after going 66-67 in four seasons. He replaced Jim Larranaga (la-ra-NAY’-gah) who left the Fairfax, Virginia, campus in 2011 after leading Mason to the Final Four in 2006. The Patriots went 9-22 this season, 4-14 in the Atlantic 10, and lost their opening game in the conference tournament.
Before coaching the Patriots Hewitt was head coach at Georgia Tech. He led the Yellow Jackets to the 2004 NCAA Tournament championship game but was fired in 2011.
Mets lose another pitcher
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets right-hander Zack Wheeler has a torn elbow ligament. If he needs elbow ligament-replacement surgery, he likely would be out until early during the 2016 season. The club says Wheeler will be in New York today to “confirm the diagnosis” and discuss with team medical director Dr. David Altchek on how to proceed.
Playoff positioning continues
UNDATED (AP) — Indiana’s Pacers are a team many people felt would not be a contender for a post season berth this late in the season. That said as the regular season starts to wind down the Pacers are in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference as they start play tonight holding down the seventh-seed. This evening the Pacers are playing host to Atlantic Division leading Toronto, which is tied for third in the East with idle Chicago.
Miami is a half-game back of Charlotte for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth and tonight the Heat are home to the Cavaliers, currently the second-seed in the East. Boston is also a half-game behind Charlotte for that final spot and the Celtics are hosting the 76ers tonight. As far as the Hornets are concerned, they are on the road for a game with Utah.
In the West, Oklahoma City currently has the eighth and final playoff spot in hand, a game up on the Pelicans. Tonight, the Thunder are playing the Mavericks in Dallas while New Orleans has the night off.
The two conference leaders are in action tonight as Golden State, the top team in the West with a record of 52-13, is home to the Lakers and Atlanta, No. 1 in the East with 52 wins and 14 defeats, is in Sacramento.
Your remaining games feature the Blazers in Washington, Memphis home to Denver and the Nets at Minnesota.
Atlantic leaders to face off
UNDATED (AP) — The top two teams from the NHL’s Atlantic Division are headed for a face off tonight as Tampa Bay entertains Montreal. The visiting Canadiens top the Lightning by two points in the division as well as the Eastern Conference standings. This is the fourth of five meetings between the clubs this season with the Lightning having won the previous three by a combined score of 12-3.
The defending champion Los Angeles Kings are in jeopardy of not making the playoffs. As a new day of hockey begins, they have 79 points, one back of the eighth and final playoff berth in the West. Tonight, the Kings are home to Arizona’s Coyotes, who are going nowhere in the post season but to a golf course.
The rest of the schedule tonight has Washington skating in Buffalo and Edmonton home to Toronto.