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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy calls UConn tournament ban ‘outrageous’

04.06.12 at 8:03 am ET

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NBA: Pistons at Hawks, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA: Rockets at Lakers, 10:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
NHL: Coyotes at Blues, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 3 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Giants at Diamondbacks, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Royals at Angels, 10 p.m. (ESPN2)

NBA: Celtics at Pacers, 7 p.m. (CSNNE; WEEI)
NBA: Magic at 76ers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Nuggets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
NHL: Sabres at Bruins, 4 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Red Wings, 1 p.m. (NBC)
NHL: Flyers at Penguins, 4 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Capitals at Rangers, 6:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Kings at Sharks 10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College hockey: NCAA final, Ferris State vs. Boston College, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 4:05 p.m. (Fox; WEEI)
MLB: Yankees at Rays, 7 p.m. (MLB Network)

NBA: 76ers at Celtics, 6 p.m. (NBA TV; WEEI)
NBA: Bulls at Knicks, 1 p.m. (ABC)
NBA: Rockets at Kings, 9 p.m. (NBA TV)
MLB: Red Sox at Tigers, 1:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI)
MLB: White Sox at Rangers, 8 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ The NCAA on Thursday denied the UConn men’s basketball team’s final appeal of its ban from the 2013 NCAA tournament due to its failure to meet academic standards. UConn argued that it has shown improvement over the past two seasons, but the NCAA wouldn’t budge.

The school said it’s hoping the rule will be changed in time for it to submit more recent test scores.

“While we as a university and coaching staff clearly should have done a better job academically with our men’s basketball student-athletes in the past, the changes we have implemented have already had a significant impact and have helped us achieve the success we expect in the classroom,” coach Jim Calhoun said in a statement. “We will continue to strive to maintain that success as we move forward.”

Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy called the NCAA’s rejection “absolutely outrageous.”

“It’s as if they’ve decided to get UConn, one way or the other,” he told The Associated Press. “UConn should have done a better job. But in point of fact, they are doing a better job. The results are already there. You know, grade the test.”

‘™¦ Dwight Howard might remain in Orlando after this season, but if he does it seems highly unlikely that Stan Van Gundy will be his coach.

In a strange situation Thursday after the Magic’s morning shootaround in New York, Van Gundy told reporters that he learned from high-ranking team officials that Howard has asked for the coach to be fired.

“I know he has,” Van Gundy said. “That’s just the way it is. Again, I’ve been dealing with that all year. It’s not anything real bothersome. You go out and do your job.”

Howard then arrived on the scene and put his arm around the coach and the two men shared an awkward moment, promising to focus on winning games. Howard, as he has done before, denied requesting his coach’s removal.

“Whatever happens at the end of the season is not under my control,” Howard said. “I am a player for the Magic. I am not the GM. ‘€¦ I haven’t said anything to anybody about anything. Our main concern is winning. So, all the other stuff should stop.”

Van Gundy said later that he, Howard and general manager Otis Smith met Thursday afternoon and “are ready to move forward.”

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‘™¦ The University of Arkansas put football coach Bobby Petrino on administrative leave Thursday night after learning that the 51-year-old married coach was riding with a 25-year-old female employee of the football program when he crashed his motorcycle over the weekend.

“I have been in constant pain, medicated and the circumstances involving the wreck have come out in bits and pieces. That said, I certainly had a concern about Jessica Dorrell‘s name being revealed,” Petrino said in a statement released by the school. “In hindsight, I showed a serious mistake in judgment when I chose not to be more specific about those details. Today, I’ve acknowledged this previous inappropriate relationship with my family and those within the athletic department administration.”

Added Petrino: “I will fully cooperate with the university throughout this process and my hope is to repair my relationships with my family, my athletic director, the Razorback Nation and remain the head coach of the Razorbacks.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On April 6, 1973, the designated hitter made its major league debut in the Opening Day game between the Red Sox and Yankees. Ron Blomberg of the Yankees was the first DH to get a plate appearance. Who was the Red Sox’ first-ever DH?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I had to use two timeouts … to remind us that we are actually having an NBA game tonight. I thought this was the worst loss for us this year the way we approached the game.” — Celtics coach Doc Rivers, after Thursday’s 93-86 loss to the Bulls

STAT OF THE DAY: 51 — Consecutive saves converted by Tigers closer Jose Valverde before the Red Sox tagged him for two runs and tied the score Thursday before losing a 3-2 game in the bottom of the ninth inning

‘NET RESULTS: Following the success of last year’s Red Sox-Yankees commercials featuring John Krasinski and Alec Baldwin, New Era unveils its new ad with Nick Offerman (who plays Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation”) and Craig Robinson (who plays Darryl Philbin on “The Office”) teasing each other about Chicago’s teams.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Orlando Cepeda, who went 0-for-6 in the Sox’ 15-5 victory

SOOTHING SOUNDS: Merle Haggard turns 75 Friday.

Read More: Bobby Petrino, Dan Malloy, Dwight Howard, Jim Calhoun