WAMC Sports Report for Monday, 3/13/23: March Madness: Alabama, Houston, Kansas, Purdue the 1 seeds
Alabama is the overall top seed in the NCAA Tournament after cruising through the end of the season. Kansas, Houston and Purdue grabbed the other top seeds. Action in the 68-team tournament begins Tuesday with two games in the First Four. March Madness gets into full swing Thursday and Friday with 32 games spread over eight cities. Speaking of, MVP Arena is getting ready to host four games on Friday. Coming to Albany for the city's first men's tourney since 2003 are fifth-seeded Miami against 12-seed Drake, fourth-seeded Indiana against 13-seed Kent St., fifth-seeded St. Mary's against 12-seed VCU, and fourth-seeded UConn against 13th-seeded Iona. Iona, the MAAC champion, has won a number of conference titles in the arena, which is Siena's home floor. Elsewhere, Vermont notched a 15 seed and will face second-seeded Marquette on Friday. On the women's side, second-seeded UConn will face 15-seed Vermont.
Houston has received the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region for the NCAA Tournament. The selection committee rewarded the Cougars at the expense of Kansas, which had been hoping its national title defense would include a stop in Kansas City, Missouri, just down the road from its campus in Lawrence. Texas earned the No. 2 seed after routing the Jayhawks in the Big 12 finals. Xavier is the No. 3 seed and Indiana the fourth.
Meanwhile, South Carolina is six wins away from becoming the 10th women’s basketball team to go undefeated for an entire season, and the Gamecocks will enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed. Dawn Staley’s squad has been challenged a few times this year but has always pulled through. The defending national champions will play Norfolk State in the first round of the tournament. The other No. 1 seeds are Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford. The tournament begins Wednesday with four First Four games and the full madness starts Friday.
Joel Embiid scored 34 points, James Harden had 18 points and 14 assists and the Philadelphia 76ers cruised to a wire-to-wire 112-93 win over the fading Washington Wizards. Tobias Harris added 11 points and De’Anthony Melton 10 for the 76ers who have won five in a row to keep pressure on Milwaukee and Boston for the top two seeds in a crowded Eastern Conference. Washington got a career-high 25 points from Corey Kispert and 13 from Bradley Beal, but dropped its fifth game in its last six. The Wizards also fell out of a tie for the 10th and final spot in the Eastern Conference’s play-in tournament.
Julius Randle scored 33 points in a bounce-back performance, RJ Barrett got 20 of his 30 in the second half, and the New York Knicks snapped their three-game losing streak with a 112-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Immanuel Quickley had 15 points as the Knicks survived a ferocious late rally by the Lakers to salvage a weekend split in Los Angeles without injured Jalen Brunson. D’Angelo Russell had a season-high 33 points despite managing just two in the fourth quarter for the Lakers, who took only their fourth loss in 12 games since the trade deadline.
Mikal Bridges scored 25 points and the Brooklyn Nets withstood a late rally and another triple-double by Nikola Jokic to beat the Denver Nuggets 122-120 on Sunday.
Nic Claxton had 20 points and Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie added 15 points each for Brooklyn, which has won five of its last six games.
Jokic had 35 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists for his league-leading 27th triple-double of the season but missed a contested 14-foot jumper with 5 seconds left that would have given the Nuggets the lead.
Michael Porter Jr. added 23 points for Denver, which matched a season high with its third consecutive loss.
Dylan Larkin scored to help his team take a four-goal lead and the Detroit Red Wings held on to beat the Boston Bruins 5-3. The Red Wings were ahead 4-0 late in the second period and the NHL-best Bruins pulled within a goal midway through the third. Boston pulled backup goaltender Jeremy Swayman with 2:23 left to add an extra skater and Detroit’s Andrew Copp put the puck into the empty net with 23.1 seconds left to seal the win.
Kris Letang’s power-play goal 1:38 into overtime lifted the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. Letang’s ninth goal of the season came after New York’s Artemi Panarin was called for tripping Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin early in the extra period. Letang’s blast from the point helped the Penguins strengthen their hold on the first wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh is now 7-1-1 in its last nine games. Barclay Goodnow and Chris Kreider scored for New York, which went 2-0-1 on a three-game road trip.
Jack Hughes stole a puck and scored early and set up two goals by Jesper Bratt to lead the New Jersey Devils beat Carolina 3-0 to tie the Hurricanes for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Vitek Vanecek had 32 saves in posting his third shutout of the season. New Jersey and Carolina both have 94 points, although the Hurricanes have played one fewer game. Pyotr Kochetkov made 20 saves for the Hurricanes, who were coming off a 4-0 loss to Vegas on Saturday. The consecutive shutout losses were the first for Carolina since January 2014.
Scottie Scheffler is back to No. 1 in the world thanks to a masterful performance at The Players Championship. Scheffler ran off five straight birdies around the turn at the TPC Sawgrass. He extended his lead to six shots at one point. Scheffler left all the drama to everyone else. He closed with a 69 to become only the third winner at Sawgrass with all four rounds in the 60s. The five-shot win was the largest in 17 years at The Players Championship. Tyrrell Hatton birdied his last five holes for a 65 to finish alone in second place.
American skier Mikaela Shiffrin has set the outright World Cup record for most career victories with 87 by winning a slalom. Shiffrin broke a tie with Ingemar Stenmark on the all-time overall winners list between men and women. The Swede competed in the 1970s and 80s. Shiffrin had matched Stenmark’s mark of 86 wins with victory in a giant slalom Friday. Saturday’s result marked the American’s sixth slalom win of the season and the record-extending 53rd career win in the discipline. She has already locked up her fifth overall championship and the discipline titles in slalom and GS.
William Byron won his second straight NASCAR Cup Series race, taking advantage of a pair of late cautions to give Hendrick Motorsports a victory in overtime at Phoenix Raceway. Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet got a great start in overtime with two laps left, and just like he did a week earlier at Las Vegas, he overtook teammate Kyle Larson for the win. He also had to hold off Ryan Blaney, who finished second, while Tyler Reddick was third. Byron denied Kevin Harvick a chance to win his 10th race in Phoenix.
Two people with knowledge of the deal say the Miami Dolphins are acquiring All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams. Los Angeles will get Miami’s third-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft and tight end Hunter Long for Ramsey. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the deal. Ramsey had 77 tackles and four interceptions during the Rams’ Super Bowl-winning 2021 season. Last season, he had a career-high 88 tackles and four interceptions.
(C) 2023 Associated Press