Saturday 3/1

Skate International Champions Finals

In the week after Tara Lipinski, 14, won the U.S. ladies' figure
skating title, she appeared on three national talk shows, while
her new official Web site received more than 5,000 visitors.
Tonight Lipinski (right) renews her rivalry with dethroned U.S.
champ Michelle Kwan in the last important competition before the
world championships (March 16 to 23). Congratulations,
condolences and/or virtual bouquets can be sent to:

Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Hector Camacho

The easy part: IBC middleweight champion Camacho, playing the
role of Caesar, will ride into the ring on an 18-foot litter
carried by eight "centurions" (an honor that Caesars Atlantic
City, sponsor of the bout, normally reserves for such luminaries
as Buddy Hackett). Then comes the hard part: Camacho (63-3-1, 31
KOs) actually has to fight. Can the 40-year-old Leonard (page
60), playing a would-be Brutus, shake off six years of ring rust
and jab Caesar into submission?

Monday 3/3

1976 ABA All-Star Game

Watching the first pro slam-dunk contest, staged at halftime, is
like viewing footage of the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.
There's a succession of ground-bound failures. (Artis Gilmore,
the Wrong Brother for this contest, is particularly awful.) But
when New York Net Julius Erving (right) takes off from the foul
line, one sees the future of flight. In a week featuring
forgettable national NBA telecasts, Classic is showcasing Dr.
J's career and its apotheosis--which includes Game 6 of the
Philadelphia 76ers-Portland Trail Blazers '77 NBA Finals
(Thursday, 9 p.m.) and the Sixers-Los Angeles Lakers '83 Finals
(Sunday, March 9, 11 p.m.)--as a welcome alternative.

Wednesday 3/5

Big East Tournament

With only one team from this once proud conference in the Top 25
at week's end (Villanova, at No. 19), the main story line in New
York is the plight of the Big East's NCAA tournament bubble
teams, such as 15-10 Miami. The Hurricanes, led by forward Tim
James (right), need at least two wins here to make the NCAA
selection committee take notice. What this event lacks in star
power, it makes up for with sheer volume: a dozen games in four
days, culminating in the final on Saturday, March 8, on ESPN at
8 p.m.
ESPN2, 11 AM, 7:30 PM, 9:30 PM
ESPN, 1 PM, 3 PM

Friday 3/7

ACC Tournament

Wake Forest tries to become only the third school to win three
consecutive ACC tournament titles, but this hoops trinity is
hardly a holy one. The two teams that have performed the feat
(North Carolina State, from 1954 to '56, and North Carolina,
from '67 to '69) didn't win the NCAA championship in any of
those years, and in the past two seasons Wake hasn't advanced
past the NCAA round of eight. With a field that features five
Top 15 teams, this year's tournament (whose quarterfinals are
today and which continues through the weekend with the final on
Sunday, March 9, at 1 p.m. on ESPN) may be Clemson's coming-out
party. The Tigers, who were 20-7 at week's end, are the only
original ACC team not to have won the event since its inception
in '54.


Tiger Woods at No. 7 on the leader board, behind Friends geek
Matthew Perry? So says host Downtown Julie Brown on World's
Coolest Bachelors (E!, Sunday, 8 p.m.) We visit Detroit Red
Wings forward Brendan Shanahan (No. 12 on the list) at his
favorite pub where, coos Brown, "a cozy fire melts away the
day's testosterone and reveals a different Brendan." While the
image of Shanahan next to a steaming pool of male hormone might
fascinate, did we really want to see this side of the "Red Wing
Romeo" in the first place?

All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.

COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES [Tara Lipinski] B/W PHOTO: CARL IWASAKI[Julius Erving dunking basketball] COLOR PHOTO: ALLEN KEE/BRSP [Tim James in game] COLOR PHOTO: DAVID E. KLUTHO [Brendan Shanahan]