While three teams are looking for their first NCAA title, UConn is pursuing a return to glory. The Huskies are the biggest name left playing basketball this season. They made the Final Four as a No. 4 seed, joining fifth-seeded Miami and San Diego State and ninth-seeded Florida Atlantic. But while Connecticut can boast four titles, the most of any school in college basketball over the last quarter-century, this week’s trip to the Final Four is the men’s first since their last championship in 2014. When Dan Hurley took the job in 2018, his charge was to restore luster to the brand and he says the Huskies are right on time.
The battle for the national championship in women’s basketball is on. Defending champion South Carolina will face Iowa in the second national semifinal after an 86-75 win over Maryland. LSU will face Virginia Tech in the first game after the Hokies defeated Ohio State 84-74. The Final Four is in Dallas on March 31 and the championship game is two days later on April 2.
NFL teams will be allowed to appear in two Thursday games on short weeks based on a rule change implemented Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.
A toxic cauldron on social media is one of the minefields players in the NCAA Tournament must navigate. In an era of increased sensitivity to athlete mental health, never have there been more outside voices scrutinizing their every move. In the third part of a series on social media's impact on March Madness, The Associated Press found that turning off social media is an option but not really a practical one. It's unrealistic with the way society interacts in the 21st century. And many athletes need to use social media for endorsement deals. All of that, the AP found, comes with a toll best illustrated by spikes among athletes in anxiety and depression over the past two years.
The NCAA has gotten mostly positive reviews for its new women's Sweet 16 format during March Madness. Hosting games it two cities instead of the traditional four set attendance records higher TV ratings. The two regionals combined to set an all-time attendance mark for the Sweet 16, following up the record mark set the first weekend. The switch in format was done for a few reasons including helping get a separate TV deal for the women’s tournament. The current NCAA TV deal ends next summer.. The current NCAA TV deal ends next summer. The NCAA also hopes the success leads to more cities bidding to host the regional games and eventually the Final Four. The current NCAA TV deal ends next summer. The next bid cycle starts in July where regional hosting will be decided from 2027-31.
Major League Baseball’s new rules package is set for its regular-season debut Thursday when all 30 teams play their first game. It’ll be the first time many fans see the sport’s sizable list of rules changes, including a pitch clock, limits on infield shifts and bigger bases. The good news for the sport is that the rules changes have been widely praised during spring training. The games move at a noticeably crisper pace. MLB says spring games have averaged about 2 hours, 35 minutes through the first three weeks of games. That is 26 minutes shorter than spring games last season.
The stakes are high for Anthony Joshua in a fight that comes at a crossroads in his career. The former two-time world champion takes on American boxer Jermaine Franklin at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday. Joshua is coming off consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk that have damaged his status. His career would be pretty much in ruins if he also loses to Franklin. Joshua has been repeatedly asked if a loss would send him into retirement and he says that would at least free him from the pressure of an expectant public. Yet he is also talking about a possible blockbuster all-British heavyweight fight with Tyson Fury.
Today in Sports, March 30 - Phelps youngest US swimming world record.
Tottenham managing director of football Fabio Paratici will serve a worldwide ban for his part in a false accounting scandal involving Juventus. Italy’s most famous soccer team was hit with a 15-point penalty in January and bans were also handed out to a number of its officials. Paratici was the club's sporting director and was handed the longest ban of 2½ years by the Italian soccer federation. FIFA says that has now been extended worldwide. Paratici would have been expected to play a key role in identifying and hiring a successor to Antonio Conte at Tottenham.
Leeds midfielder Tyler Adams is set for an extended spell out of the team after undergoing a hamstring operation. Adams missed the Premier League match at Wolverhampton on March 18 and didn’t play for the United States in its games against Grenada and El Salvador over the past week. The 24-year-old Adams has undergone what was described by Britain’s Press Association as a “non-invasive” procedure after consulting a specialist. Leeds is waiting to discover how much of the remainder of the season he is likely to miss. The club hasn’t commented officially on the length of Adams’ likely absence.
Defending champion Lyon travels to Stamford Bridge to take on Chelsea for the second leg of their Champions League quarterfinal, trying to overcome a 1-0 deficit. The London club says more than 13,000 tickets have been sold, surpassing Chelsea women’s previous record for a Champions League home match. Chelsea is trying to become only the second team to defeat the holders over two legs in the competition since 2015. Wolfsburg has a 1-0 lead over Paris Saint-Germain in Thursday’s other game. PSG will be without the suspended Élisa de Almeida and defenders Paulina Dudek and Amanda Ilestedt, who are out injured.