The NCAA Tournament comes to a conclusion tonight as top-seeded North Carolina does battle with second-seeded Villanova in the national title game from Houston. The Tar Heels are going for their sixth championship, while the Wildcats are shooting for a second. UNC handled Syracuse, 83-66, and ‘Nova hammered Oklahoma, 95-51, in Saturday’s Final Four.
It’s Masters week on the PGA Tour. The first major of the season tees off Thursday on the famed course at Augusta National. Practice rounds will take place each of the next three days and the Par 3 Contest is slated for Wednesday. Tiger Woods will not be at the event. Jordan Spieth [[ Speeth ]] is the defending champion.
The 2016 MLB season is underway. The Royals beat the Mets, 4-3, last night to cap off a three-game Sunday slate. Kansas City took care of New York in five games during the 2015 World Series. In other action, the Pirates clipped the Cardinals, 4-1, and the Blue Jays defeated the Rays, 5-3. There are 12 games on tap today.
The Cubs open the regular season tonight against the Angels in Anaheim. Reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta starts for Chicago opposite the Halos’ Garrett Richards. The Angels scored four times in the eighth to beat the Cubs 6-4 in Sunday’s final exhibition.
The White Sox are also in California for Opening Day to begin a four-game series with the Athletics tonight. Chris Sale toes the rubber for Chicago versus Oakland’s Sonny Gray. The White Sox went 76-and-86 last season, finishing fourth in the Central Division.
Kyle Busch is celebrating a weekend sweep at Martinsville. Busch, who also won the NASCAR trucks race on Saturday, pulled away on a restart with 11 laps left, and held off AJ Allmendinger for his first career Sprint Cup Series win at Martinsville. Allmendinger finished second, followed by Kyle Larson, Austin Dillon and Brad Keselowski.
David Backes scored to ignite a three-goal first period as the Blues beat the Avalanche 5-1 in Denver. St. Louis is just two points behind Dallas for the top seed in the West with three games to play. The Blues host Arizona tonight. Dallas has two games left, both at home.
Patrick Kane’s hat trick helped the Blackhawks skate past the Bruins, 6-4, at the United Center. Chicago scored four goals in the second period to jump out to a 6-0 lead. Scott Darling stopped 42-of-46 shots for the ‘Hawks, who have 99 points to put them in third in the Central Division with three to play. They host the Coyotes tomorrow night.
The Warriors are inching closer to history. Golden State improved to 69-and-8 with a 136-111 stomping of the Trail Blazers at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors have five games left and must go 4-and-1 to beat the 1995-96 Bulls’ 72-win record. The “Dubs” host the Timberwolves tomorrow night.
Jimmy Butler made 10-of-11 shots on his way to 25 points as the Bulls beat the Bucks, 102-98, in Milwaukee. Chicago has won three of four to put them at 39-and-38. They trail the Pacers and Pistons by two games for the final two playoff spots in the East. The Bulls are at the Grizzlies tomorrow night.
Another chapter in the NBA’s greatest rivalry is in the books. The Lakers lost to the Celtics, 107-100, at the STAPLES Center yesterday. It was Kobe Bryant’s final game against Boston. Bryant scored 34 points in the loss. He has six games left in his career.