Lineup

January 30, 2006

FEATURES

PRO BASKETBALL
56 Eighty-one
After Kobe Bryant's epic scoring outburst, the question is: Can he hit 100?
by Jack McCallum

PRO FOOTBALL
60 XL Expectations
All signs point to an emotional Super Bowl battle between Seattle and Pittsburgh
by Paul Zimmerman

63 Shock Value
Rookie linebacker Lofa Tatupu may bring the Seahawks their first title
by Michael Silver

66 Kings of the Road
The blitz-happy, ultrafocused Steelers have won five straight away from home
by Peter King

HOCKEY

68 He Changed Hockey
Detroit's Brendan Shanahan helped rewrite the rules and revive the NHL
by Michael Farber

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

72 Get Pittsnogled
Tattooed, 6'11" Kevin Pittsnogle is West Virginia's most valuable natural resource
by Grant Wahl

THE NBA
Steve Nash doesn't fit any NBA mold, yet the Canadian Kid is following up his MVP season with an even better one
By Jack McCallum
PAGE 78

Departments

6 Leading Off

17 Letters

21 Air and Space
A new rite of winter in Minneapolis: Welcome to the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships by Steve Rushin

22 Scorecard
• Theo Epstein back in Red Sox' fold
• A rough time for Sidney Crosby
• Tennis pros: It's all in the genes

32 Faces in the Crowd

36 Players

96 Life of Reilly
A ride on an F-14 provided a lifetime of thrills in 20 minutes. Alas, it lasted 80 by Rick Reilly

Inside ...

91 Tennis
• Martina Hingis's smashing return

92 College Basketball
• New coach fires up Tennessee

94 The NBA
• Chris Bosh is content in Toronto

Cover

PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROBERT BECK (ALEXANDER); DAMIAN STROHMEYER (BETTIS)

INSET PHOTO: Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images (Bryant)

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• Let the XL media blitz begin. With the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl ever, the Steelers in their first since 1996 and Seattle fullback Mack Strong (below) ready to do his first turn on the big stage after 13 NFL seasons, story lines abound. Starting on Monday, get daily reports from Peter King and Don Banks at SI.com/NFL, and don't miss Dr. Z's position-by-position breakdown or SI.com's Super Bowl photo galleries, including the 10 Biggest Blunders in the game's history.

• Lindsay Davenport (left) and other heavy hitters were still around after Week 1 of the Australian Open. Who will be crowned champions? Visit SI.com/tennis for daily results from Down Under and commentary from Jon Wertheim and ATP pro Justin Gimelstob.

• With national signing day approaching, Stewart Mandel analyzes how the No. 1 recruiting classes from 1999 to 2003 panned out and which schools really had the top class in those years. For his column and recruiting news and rankings, go to SI.com/collegefootball.

• Which NHL teams will be buyers and which will be sellers as teams juggle their rosters for the second half of the season? Allan Muir explores the possibilities at SI.com/NHL.

• Now that he has scored 81 points in a game, can Kobe Bryant (below) match Wilt Chamberlain's league-record 100? Arash Markazi weighs in on the subject at SI.com/NBA while Marty Burns explains how the NBA rule against hand checking has opened the door for scorers.

PHOTODAMIAN STROHMEYER (STEELERS)  66 STEEL BAND After a touchdown run, Jerome Bettis (36) celebrated with his mates in Pittsburgh's 34-17 AFC Championship Game win over Denver. PHOTOJOHN W. MCDONOUGH (NASH) TWO PHOTOSThis week SI has covers of each Super Bowl team. PHOTOLYNNE SLADKY/AP (LATTA  92 LATTA DESIRE Junior point guard Ivory Latta--the ACC's answer to Allen Iverson--has the Tar Heels off to an 18-0 start. THREE PHOTOSLARRY MAURER/WIREIMAGE.COM (STRONG); DAVID CALLOW (DAVENPORT); JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BRYANT)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)