Down went 2-seeds, down went 3s, but amid all the NCAA tournament upsets (page 58), the top dogs in each regional--Duke, Illinois, North Carolina and Washington--all rolled into the Sweet 16, winning their eight games by an average of 16 points. The Illini, the nation's No. 1 overall, have it extra sweet: They play a 12 seed (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) on Thursday in their home state.
"Whoever wants that backside spanking, come on down," says Heat center Shaquille O'Neal to all potential playoff opponents. Shaq and his streaking (12 straight wins) teammates are also whupping foes as action heroes in a comic book sold in Publix stores; meantime Miami native and ex-Dolphins cheerleader Nadia Turner is among 11 American Idol finalists.
No hemming or hawing, no contradictions, no refusal to look into the past. At last week's congressional hearings, the dapper Baltimore slugger stood out from his peers (and bosses) as well-spoken and forceful, unequivocally denying he's ever used steroids and punctuating the denial with a now-famous finger-pointing.
BC Men's Hockey
Less than 24 hours after defeating New Hampshire in the Hockey East final--"Everyone needed to pick it up, and everyone did," BC's 6'7" center Brian Boyle told the Boston Herald--Eagles got No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and will play in Worcester, Mass. BC hasn't lost in eight games.
He swung and he chipped and he whacked away, but Big John could not get his golf ball out of the rocks at the 18th hole at Bay Hill (in a Tin Cup moment he refused to take a drop until he'd hacked four times). Daly had an 11 on the hole and finished the invitational dead last--his first last-place finish since the summer of 2002. As playing partner Billy Andrade said, "The legend grows."
"I'm not sure where we're headed," said Magic guard Steve Francis (left) of his struggling team. That was before Francis headed to the suspended list for kicking a courtside photographer and before coach Johnny Davis headed out of the arena after being fired. Ex-Orlando guard Tracy McGrady made news too, ripping Magic G.M. John Weisbrod.
He had a rougher week than Mark McGwire. On the day of the hearings Bonds had right-knee surgery (likely shelving him for Opening Day), and his alleged former mistress Kimberly Bell testified in the BALCO case that Bonds had admitted using steroids and had also given her $80,000 in cash he picked up selling memorabilia--allegations that could lead to him being charged with perjury and tax evasion.
BC Men's Basketball
First came the Jermaine Watson mess--the BC guard got minor injuries after, he says, intruders forced him to jump out his apartment window days before the NCAA tournament; Penn fans taunted him mercilessly in round 1--then the Eagles capped their late season swoon by bowing feebly in the second round. "They wanted it more than we did," said BC's 6'7" forward Craig Smith after losing to Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The once 20-0 Eagles went 3-4 in their last seven games.