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NCAA tournament bracket tips: What they’re saying nationally

03.16.11 at 10:19 am ET
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Picking your NCAA tournament bracket is anything but an exact science. You could put hours of research into your bracket only to have it completely destroyed by the end of the first weekend. Or you could pick based on jerseys or mascots and end up winning your pool. There are certain trends worth paying attention to, though, and there are plenty of resources where you can learn about those trends.

Unsurprisingly, ESPN.com has the most comprehensive guide to picking your bracket. The site says that in the first round, you should pick all the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, pick one or two 12 seeds to upset a No. 5, and pick a No. 3 or No. 4 seed to lose.

Then you should pick one double-digit seed to reach the Sweet 16. You should also pick all the 1 seeds to get there, but ESPN says odds are that one of the 2 seeds will lose in the second round. The site says that if you still have any 12 seeds left in the Sweet 16, don’t pick them to continue on to the Elite Eight.

For the Final Four, ESPN says you should pick at least one 1 seed to get there, but not all four. It’s also a safe bet to pick all teams that are a 4 seed or better. And if you’re going to take a flier on someone, make it a No. 5 or No. 6 seed, but nothing lower than that.

ESPN isn’t the only site that can help you with your bracket, though. CBS gives us a list of dos and don’ts. The site says DO favor the big-name schools because they have more elite athletes who can help cover up weaknesses. They say DON’T fall in love with your upset picks too much, DON’T expect much from the Pac-10 and DON’T pick Ohio State to win it all because the Buckeyes are in the toughest region.

The Washington Times provides its own dos and don’ts. It says DO pick Texas A&M to get to the second round, but DON’T pick the Aggies to go any further. It also says DO pick at least one Colonial Athletic team to win in the first round and DON’T fall in love with UConn after its run through the Big East tournament.

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Read More: bracket tips, NCAA tournament,

Roger Goodell denounces draft boycott plan

03.16.11 at 8:40 am ET
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In an interview with ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday night’s “SportsCenter,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell denounced an NFLPA plan to keep prospects from attending next month’s draft.

“I just think it’s a shame for young men that are starting their careers in the NFL, that are having that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come across the stage, become an NFL player for the first time [to not be able to attend the draft],” Goodell told Schefter. “It’s a really special moment and I hope they get to experience it.”

Multiple sources told Schefter about the plan Monday. According to his sources, the NFLPA contacted 17 of the top prospects who are likely to be invited to the draft and recommended that they not attend.

Read More: Adam Schefter, Roger Goodell, Rumor Mill,

Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: NBA referee might have case in suit against AP reporter

03.16.11 at 7:35 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY WEDNESDAY:
NBA: Pacers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Braves, 1:05 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ NBA referee Bill Spooner is suing an Associated Press reporter over a tweet that reported Spooner promised a makeup call to Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis. The league cleared Spooner but advised against the defamation suit. At SportsIllustrated.com, Zach Lowe looks at whether the suit has a chance.

‘™¦ A story came out this week about a former Clippers assistant coach who needed prostrate cancer surgery a few years ago, and the team wouldn’t help pay for it (some players chipped in to cover it instead). At Yahoo!Sports.com, Adrian Wojnarowski criticizes commissioner David Stern for allowing this type of behavior, and for turning into someone who is feared rather than respected. Wojnarowski writes that Stern is losing touch and losing hold with comments like those of last week that were critical of Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. Writes Wojnarowski: “He gets such a charge out of humiliating those under him.”

‘™¦ In a poll of New York sports fans, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter was voted the greatest athlete in New York history, beating runner-up Babe Ruth.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 16, the Red Sox traded away which catcher ‘€” who then refused to report to his new team (the Indians) and retired instead?

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Read More: Adrian Wojnarowski, Babe Ruth, Bill Spooner, David Stern

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau criticizes protesting Canadiens fans

03.16.11 at 7:34 am ET
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Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau questioned fans in Montreal who protested outside the Bell Centre Tuesday night prior to the Caps-Canadiens game. The fans want the league to crack down on hits to the head, following Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara‘s hit on Max Pacioretty last week.

“You don’t like it, don’t come to the games. I think the players realize that they can get hurt. But unless you’ve played and see what goes on at the speed of the game, you’re not going to be able to argue with it,” Boudreau said.

“Listen, I don’t want to get into any controversy, but if that were [Canadiens defenseman] Hal Gill who hit David Krejci, I don’t think there’d be a protest going on here today.”

Read More: Bruce Boudreau, Rumor Mill,

NHL GMs decide not to ban hits to head

03.16.11 at 6:40 am ET
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At the NHL general managers meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., GMs decided Tuesday not to recommend a ban on hits to the head. Some other suggestions were made instead to try to cut down on concussions.

GMs will push for tighter enforcement of charging and boarding penalties and ask for longer suspensions for illegal head hits, especially for repeat offenders.

“By the time the season is over there will be 55,000 hits, and a small percentage are resulting in concussions,” commissioner Gary Bettman said. “We want to eliminate concussions, but the view is if we can define a rule that makes sense and doesn’t cause other problems in the game, we’re going to try and do that.”

Read More: Gary Bettman, NHL general managers meetings, Rumor Mill,

A’s reliever Andrew Bailey will visit doctor about elbow

03.15.11 at 12:48 pm ET
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A’s pitcher Andrew Bailey will be visiting recognized orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews to seek treatment on his right elbow and forearm.

Bailey began experiencing discomfort in his right arm during a spring training game against the Indians on Monday.  He would immediately leave the game, but the extent of his injury is still unknown.

No stranger to injury, Bailey had Tommy John surgery on the same right elbow in 2005 and also had corrective surgery on it at the end of the 2010 MLB season.

Read More: Dr. Andrews, MLB, Oakland A's, Rumor Mill

Report: NBA referee Bill Spooner suing AP reporter over tweets

03.15.11 at 12:46 pm ET
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NBA veteran official Bill Spooner reportedly is suing Jon Krawczynski, an Associated Press reporter who covers the Timberwolves.

According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, Spooner is suing over what he found to be a defamatory tweet. Krawczynski tweeted that he overheard Spooner tell Timberwolves coach Kurt Rambis that he would give Minnesota a makeup call in a Jan. 24 game against the Rockets. Houston won the game, 129-125.

Spooner reportedly is suing for damages totaling $75,000 as well as a retraction of the statement.

Read More: Bill Spooner, Jon Krawczynski, Rumor Mill,

Notre Dame fined for student videographer’s death

03.15.11 at 12:37 pm ET
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The University of Notre Dame was found to have committed six safety violations in the death of student Declan Sullivan, who fell from a a hydraulic lift while filming football practice on a windy day in October.

Notre Dame will be fined $77,500, according to Lori Torres of the Indiana Department of Labor Commission.

Violations included failure to properly train the student videographer, failure to have the lift properly inspected and failure to post the proper warnings on the lift itself.

Read More: notre dame, Rumor Mill,

Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Charles Barkley calls Knicks ownership ‘disgrace’

03.15.11 at 7:52 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY TUESDAY:
NHL: Bruins at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NESN)
MLB Preseason: Red Sox at Tigers, 1:05 p.m.

AROUND THE WEB:

‘™¦ TNT analyst Charles Barkley went off on the Knicks Monday, calling ownership a “disgrace” for raising ticket prices and then putting a damper on fans’ excitement over the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony by saying, “In the history of all basketball, they may be the worst defensive team ever.”

Regarding the ticket hike, Barkley said: “The Knicks have been stinking for a long time and these fans have always been loyal. For them to jab them like that with a 50 percent increase, that’s unfair.”

Meanwhile, Barkley wasn’t himself during his appearance on CBS’ NCAA selection show Sunday, bringing up the question of if the network is trying to tone down the act that made him so popular on NBA broadcasts.

‘™¦ The Fennville High School basketball team finally lost in the Michigan playoffs, following its inspiring run after the death of player Wes Leonard. The Detroit Free Press has the story of the emotional loss.

‘™¦ With the controversy surrounding the NCAA selection committee’s picks this year, John Feinstein in The Washington Post writes that it would help if the process wasn’t so secretive. Meanwhile, Jeff Goodman at FoxSports.com writes that expanding the field to 96 teams would be a catastrophe.

‘™¦ The New York Times profiles announcer Gus Johnson, who has become a legend for his calls of NCAA tournament games.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On March 15, 2001, in a game against the Suns, which Celtic recorded a four-point play, his second of the season?

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Charles Barkley, Gus Johnson, Wes Leonard

Report: Union plans NFL draft boycott

03.14.11 at 2:04 pm ET
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According to a report from ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, the NFLPA is planning a boycott of the NFL draft in April. The union apparently has been contacting top college prospects and telling them not to attend.

“As of right now, this is 100 percent happening,” Schefter quoted a source. “This is going down.”

Read More: NFL Draft, NFLPA, Rumor Mill,