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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Rick Pitino goes insane on UNC fan; Aaron Hernandez lawyers reportedly look to use pot defense 02.23.17 at 8:40 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: 
NHL: Washington at Philadelphia, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL: Boston at Anaheim, 10:30 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: Michigan at Rutgers, 6:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: DePaul at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Duke at Syracuse, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Wake Forest, 7 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: TCU at Kansas, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: UCF at Temple, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Xavier at Seton Hall, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Minnesota at Maryland, 8:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Butler at Villanova, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Louisville at North Carolina, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oklahoma State at Kansas State, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Oregon at California, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: UConn at Houston, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Fresno State at San Diego State, 11 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Oregon State at Stanford, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Louisville coach Rick Pitino had a heated exchange with a UNC fan during halftime of North Carolina’s 74-63 win over his team Wednesday night.

As Pitino walked to the locker room tunnel, a fan reportedly yelled “Pitino, you suck!” at him.

He “got in my face and said something I didn’t like,” Pitino said afterward.

Pitino had to be restrained by his coaching staff and the fan was ejected.

“I take it from the students all the time; you expect it from the students. But from an adult? And then to turn his back on me like he’s a coward?” Pitino said. “And he is a coward, but North Carolina is a classy place and he doesn’t speak for the rest of the people.”

“I’ve always said this is the classiest place in college basketball, until I met a fan on the way out,” Pitino then said. “It always reminded me of a class place, but they’re getting just like some of the other places now.”

North Carolina coach Roy Williams apologized to Pitino after the game.

“I don’t like that. We’re North Carolina. We don’t have to be like everybody else,” Williams said. “You can raise Cain, you can boo, but you don’t have to say stuff that we as coaches have to put up with on the road. I hope that never happens again at North Carolina.”

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Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Rick Pitino,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Louisville argues for leniency for Rick Pitino in stripper scandal; Dwayne Wade rips teammates after Bulls loss to Hawks 01.26.17 at 7:56 am ET
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Good morning, here is your Thursday Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories and scores from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Pittsburgh at Boston, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: St. Louis at Minnesota, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA: Dallas at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: LA Lakers at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
Women’s college basketball: Nebraska at Purdue, 6 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Women’s college basketball: North Carolina at Miami, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Campbell at Radford, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Robert Morris at Mount St. Mary’s, 7 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: North Carolina at Miami, 7 p.m. (NESN Plus)
College basketball: Xavier at Cincinnati, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Nebraska at Northwestern, 8 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
College basketball: Virginia Tech at North Carolina, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Oregon State at Colorado, 8:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Indiana at Michigan, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: UT Martin at Austin Peay, 9 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Oregon at Utah, 10:30 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: BYU at Santa Clara, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB: 

— On Wednesday, Louisville released their response to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations for the stripper scandal involving men’s basketball team staff member, Andre McGee. The school argues the team’s coach Rick Pitino should not be charged with a major violation of NCAA rules from the incident.

In October, the NCAA claimed the school had four major violations, one of which was Pitino’s failure to monitor McGee while he spent $5,400 over four years on strippers and escorts for players, recruits, AAU coaches, and others.

The NCAA ruled Pitino was “presumed responsible” for McGee’s behavior because he failed to “frequently spot-check the program to uncover potential or existing compliance problems” according to NCAA rules.

“The University believes Coach Pitino fostered a culture of NCAA compliance within the basketball program and exercised appropriate supervisory oversight of McGee,” read Louisville’s response. “McGee’s furtive conduct was not detectable by reasonable monitoring practices, as McGee purposefully intended to avoid detection.”

If it is ruled Pitino committed a major violation, he could face a multi-game suspension during the 2017-2018 season.

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Read More: Dwyane Wade, Rick Pitino,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony ‘wouldn’t accept’ Phil Jackson coaching Knicks home games next season 03.16.16 at 7:50 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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Thunder at Celtics, 7 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN)
NBA: Clippers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Holy Cross vs. Southern, 6:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA Tournament, Michigan vs. Tulsa, 9:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NIT, Belmont at Georgia, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, Princeton at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NIT, Houston at Georgia Tech, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: NIT, UAB at BYU, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Flyers at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB preseason: Red Sox at Twins, 7:05 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB preseason: Tigers at Astros, 1:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: White Sox at Brewers, 4:05 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Reds at Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. (MLB Network)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal vs. Barcelona, 3:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

— There have been rumors in New York that Knicks president Phil Jackson might consider returning to the sideline as coach — perhaps only for home games, leaving current interim coach Kurt Rambis to handle away games. Carmelo Anthony, however, said that won’t be the case.

“Nah, nah, nah. I don’t think that should be accepted,” Anthony said Tuesday. “I wouldn’t accept that if that was the case. Phil is cool, man. He doesn’t need to be on the sidelines no more. He put so many years into this game. He’s cool. He doesn’t need to be on the sideline. I don’t think he’s thinking about coming back down on the sideline. I hope not. Let him ride on out. Let him sit out and be the president.”

Added Anthony: “Phil ain’t coaching no more, man. So let’s [kill] that rumor. Phil ain’t coaching no more.”

Last week Jackson hinted Rambis might be promoted to permanent coach. Anthony also had something less than enthusiastic to say about that.

“I think you still have to at least listen to other candidates out there,” Anthony said.

Anthony did not dismiss Rambis as an option, although Rambis’ 5-9 record since taking over for Derek Fisher last month — and his 32-132 record in his previous stint with the Timberwolves — isn’t blowing anyone away.

“I think you consider Kurt at that job,” Anthony said. “[Jackson] brought Kurt here for that reason if anything was to happen and the situation is here for him now. I think it’s just more of seeing how Kurt handles the situation right now, how the team does, how the team responds to Kurt.”

— Louisville coach Rick Pitino continues to profess ignorance to claims that an assistant coach paid strippers to perform for players and recruits during parties at a campus dormitory.

Speaking on ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike,” Pitino said he hopes the NCAA investigation “comes up with the right answers, because it’s puzzling to all of us.”

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Mateen Cleaves, Phil Jackson, Rick Pitino
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Louisville coach Rick Pitino ‘will not resign,’ gets support from Muhammad Ali 10.23.15 at 7:49 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’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.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB playoffs: Blue Jays at Royals, 8:07 p.m. (FS1; WEEI-AM)
NHL: Bruins at Islanders, 7:30 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Canadiens at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA preseason: 76ers vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Rockets at Spurs, 8:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
College football: Yale at Penn, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
College football: Memphis at Tulsa, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Utah State at San Diego State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

AROUND THE WEB:

Rick Pitino is determined to remain as Louisville coach despite calls for him to step down.  (Elsa/Getty Images)

Rick Pitino is determined to remain as Louisville coach despite calls for him to step down. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Rick Pitino, in a message on Louisville‘s website, apologized to fans for having to “endure the pain” caused by the team’s sex scandal, but he said he “will not resign and let you down” despite the heavy criticism he has endured.

Katina Powell, an escort who wrote a book about her alleged sexual services provided to Louisville recruits and players, said Pitino had to be aware of what was going on in the basketball players’ dorm from 2010-14, but the 63-year-old coach has staunchly denied it.

Pitino said he will ignore the issues — something he claims he could not have done when he was younger — and “let the investigators do their job and we will play basketball.”

Said Pitino: “Someday I will walk away in celebration of many memorable years, but that time is not now. I do not fight these accusations by others, but rather turn the other cheek.”

Pitino received support from boxing legend (and Louisville native) Muhammad Ali, as the 73-year-old tweeted: From one champion to another, I will always stand behind and support UofL. Go Cards! #UniteLouisville.

— Mets fans better have deep pockets if they want to see the Amazin’s appear in the World Series for the first time in 15 years. According to a New York Daily News survey of ticket resellers, the average price for tickets to Games 3, 4 and 5 and Citi Field is $1,667.82, the highest in baseball history.

“The are slightly more expensive than the Red Sox in 2013,” Chris Matcovich, vice president with ticket aggregator TiqIQ, told the Daily News. “The biggest reasons, I’d say, are the 15 years since their last appearance and the New York market.”

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Read More: Marcus Mariota, Muhammad Ali, Olivier Vernon, Rick Pitino
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Ray Lewis continues bizarre defense of role in 2000 brawl that ended with 2 dead 10.22.15 at 8:07 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Seahawks at 49ers, 8:25 p.m. (CBS, NFL Network)
College football: Temple at East Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Georgia Southern at Appalachian State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: California at UCLA, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA preseason: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Warriors at Lakers, 10 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Borussia Dortmund at Qabala, 10:50 a.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Tottenham at Anderlecht, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Rubin Kazan at Liverpool, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Ray Lewis finally is talking about the 2000 brawl in Atlanta that ended with two men dead and the then-Ravens linebacker arrested — later to cut a deal and plead guilty to obstruction of justice, and settle with the victims’ families.

Lewis has been mostly quiet about the incident, and perhaps now we’re seeing why. Because his claims as to why he wasn’t involved in the fight are strange, to say the least.

It was reported Tuesday that in his forthcoming book, “I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game and Glory,” Lewis insists he wouldn’t have fought because he was dressed too nice (clothes that he apparently discarded and have never been found).

“Remember, I was dressed out, had my jewelry on, my fine mink coat,” Lewis writes (via TMZ.com). “I wasn’t about to start mixing it up looking like that. That’s the general rule of thumb when you’re doing the town and looking good. The nicer you’re dressed, the less inclined you are to get in a fight — that is, if you’re even inclined in that way to begin with.”

On Wednesday, in an interview with ESPN, Lewis again asserted his innocence in the brawl, saying he had too much of a height advantage to mix it up with the “gangbangers” who approached his entourage.

“First of all, they’re 4 or 5 freaking inches shorter than me, right? Why would I fight somebody anyway,” the 6-foot-1 Lewis asked.

Lewis also claims the fallout after the killings had “nothing to do with me, but everything to do with my skin color and everything to do with my name.”

Lewis spent one night in prison — a night in which he said he cried at length and spoke to God. He also said guilt was not what drove him to enter into a settlement with the victims’ families.

“Guilt is only when you feel guilty and you say, ‘Listen, I’m gonna slide this to you because I really feel bad,’ ” he said. “I don’t feel bad about that because I sat there and spoke to both families and I said, ‘Listen, what I’m doing, this ain’t about me. This is about because you let somebody confuse my name.’ ”

— Minnesota coach Richard Pitino spoke out in support of his father Wednesday, insisting Rick Pitino had “zero knowledge” that a former Louisville staffer paid women to have sex with recruits and players in a school dorm.

“I know, and I told him this, ‘Put your head on the pillow at night and know that you did nothing wrong and that you certainly had no knowledge of this,’ ” Richard Pitino said Wednesday. “That’s the biggest thing that I’ve told him and tried to comfort him with.”

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Read More: John Tortorella, Ray Lewis, Rick Pitino,
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Ex-NBA star Lamar Odom found unresponsive at Nevada brothel 10.14.15 at 7:44 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.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Bruins at Avalanche, 10 p.m. (NESN)
NHL: Blackhawks at Flyers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA preseason: Celtics at Nets, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA preseason: Hornets at Clippers, 8 a.m. (NBA TV)
NBA preseason: Spurs at Hawks, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
WNBA Finals: Fever at Lynx, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
MLB playoffs: Rangers at Blue Jays, 4:07 p.m. (FS1)
MLB playoffs: Astros at Royals, 8:07 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom

— Former Lakers star Lamar Odom spent Tuesday night in a Las Vegas hospital after being found unresponsive at a legal Nevada brothel, authorities said.

Odom, who won NBA titles with the Lakers in 2009 and ’10 but crashed out of the league in 2013 — the same year his reality-star wife, Khloe Kardashian filed for divorce — checked into Love Ranch in Crystal, Nevada, on Saturday, the facility’s owner told The Associated Press.

“He just wanted to get away, have a good time and relax,” Dennis Hof said.

Hof said Odom was discovered face down and unconscious on Tuesday afternoon. When turned on his side, Odom threw up. Hof said Odom had taken excessive amounts of herbal Viagra and drunk part of a bottle of Cognac, but no one saw him use any drugs.

Current and former Lakers expressed their concern for Odom upon learning of his illness.

“Obviously, our hearts and our thoughts and our prayers are with Lamar and his family,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said before Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Kings. “It’s obviously something that you don’t want to hear before the game because I think the people that knew about it, we were all thinking about it. . . . I obviously feel for him and hope that he’ll be OK.”

Said a distraught Metta Word Peace: “I don’t even know what to say. There’s not one word that I can say right now that’s going to make sense. I don’t know what to say right now.”

Odom played one season at Rhode Island before being drafted fourth overall by the Clippers in 1999. He was suspended during the 2000-01 season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy for the second time in eight months.

— An autopsy revealed that former Giants safety Tyler Sash died from an “accidental mixed drug toxicity involving methadone and hydrocodone,” a medical examiner announced Tuesday.

Sash, who was a rookie on the Giants team that beat the Patriots in the 2012 Super Bowl, was found dead Sept. 8 at his Iowa home. The autopsy revealed the presence of the two powerful pain medications that are highly addictive.

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Read More: Lamar Odom, Rick Pitino, Tyler Sash,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Manhattan places basketball coach Steve Masiello on leave after resume flap 03.27.14 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Blackhawks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN, NHL Network)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Dayton vs. Stanford, 7:15 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Baylor vs. Wisconsin, 7:47 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, UCLA vs. Florida, 9:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, San Diego State vs. Arizona, 10:17 p.m. (TBS)
MLB preseason: Twins at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (WEEI-FM)
MLB preseason: Nationals at Mets, noon (ESPN)
MLB preseason: Reds at Brewers, 3 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: White Sox at Cubs, 7:05 p.m. (WGN)
MLB preseason: Athletics at Giants, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: Missouri at Auburn, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Manhattan basketball coach Steve Masiello, who lost his $5 million deal with South Florida after USF discovered he never graduated from Kentucky as he indicated, was put on leave by Manhattan administrators as the school examines the “question of validity.”

Masiello, a protege of Louisville coach Rick Pitino, was a communications major at Kentucky in the late 1990s but apparently never completed his studies. Nonetheless, he became an assistant to Pitino and was hired by Manhattan three years ago. After leading the Jaspers to a 60-39 record over three seasons, including the team’s first NCAA tournament appearance in a decade (and a close loss to Pitino’s Cardinals last week), Masiello was headed to South Florida until the resume issue surfaced.

“Through the verification process it was determined the candidate’s credentials could not be substantiated and therefore he did not meet the requirements for the position,” South Florida said in a statement.

Masiello laid low Wednesday as the controversy swirled around him and his future hung in the balance.

“I was actually watching the Manhattan and Iona game, and he’€™s done a terrific job over there,” former UConn coach Jim Calhoun told the New York Daily News. “He has a bright coaching future, but it’€™s an awful thing. Obviously, in this day and age, anything that you put down, you have to make sure 100 percent it’€™s there because we’€™re so inundated with all kinds of media, Twitter and Facebook. But trust me, he can coach.”

— A goalie’s walkout during an Ontario Hockey League playoff game and the coach’s handling of the situation have led to a discussion about the mental health of athletes.

Part of the reason for concern is the recent death of Saginaw Spirit player Terry Trafford, who took his own life after being sent home for a violation of team rules.

Dalen Kuchmey left the Windsor Spitfires’ 10-2 loss to the London Knights on Tuesday night after his team fell behind 8-1 in the second period. The 19-year-old netminder, who appeared to motion to the bench that he wanted to be replaced earlier in the period but was left in because starter Alex Fotinos was sick, skated off the ice, changed in the locker room and left the arena.

Windsor coach Bob Boughner reacted angrily after the game, telling reporters Kuchmey “quit on our team, quit on his teammates.”

Kuchmey later tweeted: Nobody knows what happens behind the scenes.

After speaking with the league commissioner, Boughner softened his stance, acknowledging in a statement, “Emotions were high and I should have chosen my words more carefully. Having spent my career in hockey, playing my fair share of challenging games and coaching under some difficult situations, I would never embarrass a player.”

Boughner said team officials, “myself included,” have reached out to Kuchmey’s family to offer assistance.

— The Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews will vote in September whether to allow women to join for the first time in its 260-year history.

“It’s an exciting day for the club,” R&A club secretary Peter Dawson said Wednesday. “There will be quite a bit of internal discussion between now and the September vote. It’s a matter for the members to determine. All indications are very supportive.”

The club, which has 2,400 members from around the world, has an official policy banning women. Dawson said R&A is not feeling pressure from corporate sponsors, despite it being a much-discussed issue at the British Open.

Said Dawson: “You can always ask that question: ‘Why now? Why not 10 years ago?’ The R&A have been considering this. It’s been on our agenda, on our radar, for quite some time. The feeling is as society changes, as sport changes, as golf changes, it’s something the R&A needs to do, and is doing now as being forward-looking as we can.”

Members actually belong to a club, not a golf course. The seven courses at St. Andrews are open to the public.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 27, 1984, which Bruin scored a goal in a 6-4 victory over the Quebec Nordiques to give him 100 points on the season?

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Read More: Dalen Kuchmey, Rick Pitino, Royal & Ancient Golf Club, Steve Masiello
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Providence basketball team vows that sexual-assault accusation won’t be a distraction on eve of NCAAs 03.20.14 at 8:08 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’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.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB preseason: Yankees at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB preseason: Braves at Mets, 1 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Angels at Royals, 4 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB preseason: Giants at Padres, 10 p.m. (MLB Network)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Harvard vs. Cincinnati, 2:10 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Dayton vs. Ohio State, 12:15 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, American vs. Wisconsin, 12:40 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Pittsburgh vs. Colorado, 1:40 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Western Michigan vs. Syracuse, 2:45 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, BYU vs. Oregon, 3:10 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Albany vs. Florida, 4:10 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Delaware vs. Michigan State, 4:40 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Saint Joseph’s vs. UConn, 6:55 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Wofford vs. Michigan, 7:10 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, N.C. State vs. Saint Louis, 7:20 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, North Dakota State vs. Oklahoma, 7:27 p.m. (truTV)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Milwaukee vs. Villanova, 9:25 p.m. (TBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Arizona State vs. Texas, 9:40 p.m. (CBS)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, Manhattan vs. Louisville, 9:50 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: NCAA tournament, New Mexico State vs. San Diego State, 9:57 p.m. (truTV)
NHL: Penguins at Red Wings, 7:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Benfica vs. Tottenham, 2 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Porto at Napoli, 4 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— There’s excitement at Providence College as the Friars prepare for Friday’s NCAA tournament opener against North Carolina after winning the Big East tournament on Saturday for the first time in 20 years, but the news out of Rhode Island Wednesday was not positive.

Police confirmed to the media that they are investigating after a female student filed a complaint two weeks ago alleging that two freshmen basketball players sexually assaulted her in November. A defense lawyer revealed that the accusations named Rodney Bullock and Brandon Austin, who were suspended from playing in games in the fall for “not upholding their responsibilities as student-athletes.” The school announced in December that neither player would be allowed to play this season. Austin now is at the University of Oregon. Bullock has remained with the Friars and accompanied the team to San Antonio for the NCAAs.

“The school did an exhaustive review, interviewed all the parties including the two male students, who voluntarily participated in the process,” Bullock’s lawyer Bill Lynch said. “There was never a finding against either of the students that there was a sexual assault.”

Lynch said his client would cooperate if contacted by police “100 percent voluntarily.” He also questioned the timing of the complaint.

“Suddenly, a feel before Providence is playing in the NCAA tournament, there’s a complaint filed? I’m getting too old to believe in coincidences,” he said.

Coach Ed Cooley said the team doesn’t plan to let the news be a distraction.

“We have faced adversity all year. This is just another bump,” he said (via the Providence Journal). “It’s old news and we’re going to move on from there. I don’t think it’s going to bother our guys at all.”

Louisville coach Rick Pitino claims he isn’t upset that his team received a 4 seed for the NCAA tournament despite his prediction of a 1 seed. However, he is unhappy that the Cardinals open the tournament with a game against Manhattan and his former player and assistant coach, Steve Masiello.

“I think the pairings sometimes lack common sense,” Pitino said Wednesday. “I don’t think they would put somewhere down the road Duke-North Carolina, so ‘€¦ the matchups don’t make sense to me. I’m OK with the seedings. I’m not OK with the matchups.

“But the selection committee is very fair, very honorable, very honest people, so I can’t protest too much because they’re doing the best job that they can do. Maybe they’re a bunch of soccer ADs, I don’t know.”

Masiello, who was a ball boy for the Knicks when Pitino coached them, played for Pitino at Kentucky in 1996-97 then was an assistant at Louisville from 2005-11. He has modeled his Manhattan program to be like Louisville. That’s part of the reason why Pitino is disappointed.

“We press like him, we trap like him, his offensive sets are just like ours,” Pitino said. “That’s why I don’t like the game. I don’t think it’s fair. I don’t like it. I don’t know why they would do it. I just don’t like the game at all for either one of us. We won the national championship and obviously we’re more heralded, but this is anybody’s game. This is not a 1-16.”

Said Masiello: “To see them come up and then see us come up against them, it takes a little fun out of it. It’s just, that’s not fun for me going against someone that I have to now try to beat, and almost in my mind, think negatively about. It’s hard for me to do that.”

Sam Tageson, a Californian teenager who has a life-threatening heart condition, signed a one-day contract with the Sharks and participated in warmups before Tuesday’s game as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“No way to top today,” Tageson told the San Jose Mercury News after practicing with the team in the morning, before taking the ice prior to the start of the game and standing on the blue line for the national anthem.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 20, 1957, the movie “Fear Strikes Out” made its premiere. Which Red Sox player was profiled in the film?

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Rick Pitino heads class of 2013 for Basketball Hall of Fame 04.08.13 at 2:03 pm ET
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University of Louisville coach Rick Pitino on Monday was officially announced as part of the class of 2013 elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield.

Pitino, a one-time Celtics coach who is coaching the Cardinals in Monday’s NCAA championship game against Michigan, will join ex-NBA stars Bernard King and Gary Payton, former college coaches Jerry Tarkanian and Guy Lewis, former University of Virginia women’s star Dawn Staley and current North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell for the September induction ceremony.

Inductees announced previously include E.B. Henderson, Roger Brown, Oscar Schmidt Richie Guerin and Russ Granik.

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Rick Pitino reportedly will be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame 04.05.13 at 2:02 pm ET
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Regardless of how his Cardinals fare in the Final Four, Louisville coach Rick Pitino will have something to be proud of next week: He will be introduced as part of the 2013 Basketball Hall of Fame class on Monday, according to ESPN.

Pitino is the only coach to have officially taken three schools to the Final Four. He took Providence in 1987 and won the national championship with Kentucky in 1996, and this is his seventh Final Four appearance. His all-time collegiate coaching record is 662-239.

“It would mean a lot to me and my family,” Pitino said recently of a possible induction, “but it really exemplifies what I’ve done for athletes and coaches. And if that day comes, it would mean a lot to share with them. So it’s not something I think about, but it’s something I would be very, very proud of.”

Pitino would also be coaching in the national championship Monday if Louisville beats Wichita State on Saturday. The winner of that game will face the winner of the Syracuse-Michigan semifinal.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremonies will be held in September. ESPN reports that Gary Payton, a nine-time NBA All-Star renowned for his defense, will also be inducted, as will Guy Lewis, who coached at the University of Houston for 30 years.

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