Weekday Morning Sports – Monday 3/12/18

NCAAMBB – Men’s College Basketball – 2018 NCAA Tournament
West Regional
Xavier has followed one of the best regular seasons in program history with its first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seeding. The Musketeers (28-5) are No. 1 in the West Region and will face the First Four winner between North Carolina Central and Texas Southern on Thursday in Nashville. Xavier had its highest ranking by reaching No. 3 in the AP Top 25 and earned the No. 1 seed in the West despite being upset by Providence in the Big East Tournament semifinals. The West Region, which concludes in Los Angeles, also includes North Carolina, Michigan, Gonzaga and Houston.

Midwest Regional
Michigan State is staying home as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region, where  the Spartans will open against 14th-seeded Bucknell at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Michigan State (29-4) won the Big Ten regular season championship and lost in its tournament semifinals to rival Michigan, which handed the Spartans two of their four losses. The Spartans are in the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive year. Hall of Fame coach Tom Izzo always says he hopes to “win the weekend” in the NCAA Tournament. He hasn’t been able to do that the past two years, getting knocked out in first and second rounds.  Izzo clearly knows how to win this time of year, though. He’s won 47 NCAA Tournament games, a total that ties John Wooden for seventh on the all-time list.

NCAA West Regional, Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, KS.
#14 Montanta vs. #3 Michigan, 9:50 p.m.

NCAA Midwest Regional, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
#14 Bucknell vs. #3 Michigan State, 7:10 p.m.

NCAAMBB – Men’s College Basketball – 2018 NIT
NCAA snubs USC, Notre Dame highlight NIT field
Southern California, Notre Dame, Baylor and Saint Mary’s are the No. 1 seeds for the National Invitation Tournament. USC (23-11) finished second to Arizona in the Pac-12 this season and lost 75-61 to the Wildcats in the conference tournament final Saturday night, making the Trojans one of the most notable snubs for the NCAA Tournament field. USC will play UNC Asheville on Tuesday night in its first appearance in the NIT since 1999. Notre Dame takes on Hampton, Baylor plays Wagner and Saint Mary’s faces Southeastern Louisiana in the first round. The Irish also had a strong case for a spot in the NCAA tourney after preseason All-American Bonzie Colson returned from a broken left foot.

NIT First Round – Purcell Pavillion, South Bend, IN
#8 Hampton at #1 Notre Dame, 9:00 p.m.

NHL – National Hockey League
Last Night
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Boston Bruins 1

Blackhawks 3, Bruins 1 – Kane’s late PP goal lifts Blackhawks past Bruins 3-1
The Boston Bruins were unable to gain ground on the idle Tampa Bay Lightning as the two teams battle for the NHL’s Atlantic Division title. Patrick Kane scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal with 3:16 left and had an assist in sending the Blackhawks past Boston, 3-1. Artem Anisimov also had a power-play goal against the Bruins, who went 4-for-6 with the man advantage in Saturday’s 7-4 dismantling of Chicago. B’s defenseman Zdeno Chara tied it in the third period, but his double-minor contributed to Kane’s game-winner. The Bruins ended a six-game winning streak to stay six points behind the division-leading Lightning.

Detroit Red Wings at San Jose Sharks, 10:30p.m.

NBA – National Basketball Association
Last Night
Chicago Bulls 129, Atlanta Hawks, 122
Indiana Pacers 99, Boston Celtics 97

Bulls 129, Hawks 122 – LaVine, Portis lead Bulls past short- Hawks, 129-122
Zach LaVine scored 21 points, including four free throws handed in the final 17 seconds to stop Atlanta’s comeback, and the Chicago Bulls beat the injury-depleted Hawks 129-122 on Sunday. Bobby Portis also had 21 points for Chicago. The Hawks, already playing without injured point guard Dennis Schroder, lost Kent Bazemore to a right knee sprain and Jaylen Morris to a left ankle injury in the second quarter. Taurean Prince, who led Atlanta with a career-high 38 points, sank a 3-pointer in traffic with 1:26 remaining to cut Chicago’s lead to 118-115. Prince added a four-point play with 18.3 seconds remaining, again cutting the Bulls’ lead to three points at 125-122 before LaVine’s free throws padded the lead.  Mike Muscala also set a career high with 19 points for Atlanta. Lauri Markkanen scored 19 points and Antonio Blakeney had 14 for Chicago.

Pacers 99, Celtics 97 – Pacers hold on for 99-97 victory over Celtics
Victor Oladipo scored 27 points, then committed a dead-ball offensive foul with 1.5 seconds left that gave Boston a shot to win the game at the buzzer, but the Indiana Pacers held on to beat the depleted Celtics 99-97 on Sunday night. Myles Turner scored 19 points, including the game-winning basket with 21 seconds to play, and added 10 rebounds for Indiana, who survived the crazy
ending to win for the fifth time in six games. Marcus Smartscored 20 with eight assists and Tatum scored 19 for the Celtics, who had won six of their last seven.

MLB – Major League Baseball – Spring Training
Detroit Tigers 6, Atlanta Braves 3
Chicago White Sox 6, Arizona Diamondbacks 5
Oakland A’s 7, Chicago Cubs 2

Washington Nationals at Detroit Tigers, 1:05 p.m.            Lakeland, FL
Chicago White Sox at Seattle Mariners, 3:05 p.m.              Peoria, AZ
Cubs are off

MLB – AP sources: Free agent ace Arrieta, Phillies reach 3-yr deal
Two people familiar with the deal tell The Associated Press that free agent ace Jake Arrieta and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a three-year deal. Both people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract is pending a physical. The deal is reportedly worth $75 million. NBC Sports Philadelphia first reported the agreement. The 32-year-old righty was among several top free agents didn’t get a deal for six or seven years in a changing free-agent market. The Phillies, who have plenty of money to spend, waited until the price was right for them. Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Chicago Cubs and helped them win the World Series the next season. He was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA last year.  Arrieta was 68-31 with a 2.73 ERA in five seasons in Chicago. He’ll join Aaron Nola atop the Phillies’ rotation on a team that finished last in the NL East. The Phillies haven’t had a winning season since 2011, but now have added veteran slugger Carlos Santana, Arrieta and quality relievers to a young nucleus that could show considerable improvement over last season’s 66-96 mark.

NFL – Sherman signs with 49ers
Star cornerback Richard Sherman signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, two days after being released by the rival Seattle Seahawks. The deal reportedly is worth up to $39.15 million. Sherman played an integral role in the fierce NFC West rivalry between Seattle and San Francisco earlier this decade. With the Seahawks retooling their defense, he became expendable.

Golf – PGA – Casey wins as Woods comes up short
Paul Casey got between Tiger Woods and his first PGA victory in five years. Casey fired a 6-under 65 to close out a one-stroke win over Woods and Patrick Reed in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. Casey ran off three straight birdies early on the back nine to take the lead before closing with tough pars for a 10-under total. It’s his first PGA victory since the 2009 Houston Open. Woods charged up the record crowd with a birdie putt from just inside 45 feet on the 17th hole to get within one shot, but his long birdie attempt on 18 was 2 feet short. Patrick Reed squandered a chance to force a playoff when a long birdie putt rolled 45 feet back to his feet and he three-putted for bogey.

Golf – Champions – Vijay Singh gets 1st individual win on PGA Tour Champions
Vijay Singh got up-and-down for birdie with a putter from off the green on the final hole for a one-shot victory in the Toshiba Classic on Sunday. The 55-year-old Hall of Famer edged Tommy Tolles, Tom Pernice Jr. and Scott McCarron to win for the first time as an individual on the PGA Tour Champions. He teamed with Carlos Franco to win last year’s Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf. Singh has played a limited schedule on the 50-and-over tour while continuing to compete on the PGA Tour, where he has 34 career victories. The Fijian closed with a 5-under 66 for a three-day total of 11-under 202 at Newport Beach Country Club.
NASCAR – Harvick gets third straight Cup win
Kevin Harvick is looking like the early favorite to win NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driving championship. He earned his third consecutive Cup Series victory by holding off Kyle Busch for his record-extending ninth win at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. Harvick is the first driver to win three straight Cup races since Joey Logano in 2015.  Harvick took the lead with 22 laps left and got in front of Busch on the last series of pit stops on the mile oval.  Chase Elliott was third, followed by Denny Hamlin and pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr.

AHL – American Hockey League
Last Night
Grand Rapids Griffins 3, Hershey Bears 0
Rockford IceHogs 2, Chicago Wolves 1 – OT

ECHL – East Coast Hockey League
Last Night
Kalamazoo Wings 6, Fort Wayne Komets 3
Indy Fuel 7, Toledo Walleye 4

MHSAA – High School Sports
Boys Basketball – Regional Semifinals
Class A at Battle Creek Lakeview
Kalamazoo Central vs. East Lansing, 5:30 p.m.
Coldwater vs. Okemos, 7:00 p.m.

Class B at Coloma
Dowagiac vs. Wayland, 6:00 p.m.
Benton Harbor vs. Hudsonville Unity Christian, 8:00 p.m. 95.7 & 1400 WSJM Sports

Class C at Constantine
Schoolcraft vs. Kalamazoo Christian, 5:30 p.m.
Cassopolis vs. Homer, 7:15 p.m.

Class D at Climax-Scotts
Wyoming Potter’s House Christian vs. Howardsville Christian, 5:30 p.m.
Lake Michigan Catholic vs. Bellevuew, 7:00 p.m.