Week Ahead

What to watch and watch for
March 18, 2007

FRIDAY 3/16
Hornets at Knicks
Could there actually be a meaningful game played at Madison Square Garden thislate in the season? The Knicks, who have already surpassed last season's wintotal (23), sit just a half game out of the final playoff spot in the East. Andthe Hornets are sniffing a postseason berth, too. They're a game and a half outof eighth in the West. Check listings 7:30 p.m.

U.S. Open
Snowboarding's richest prize—the men's and women's champs get $100,000—is onthe line in Vermont. The field includes Olympians Kelly Clark, Ross Powers andShaun White. The Flying Tomato (left) will try to bounce back from a goldlessperformance at the X Games. (He won a silver and a bronze.) NBC will air awrap-up on Sunday at 1 p.m.

SATURDAY 3/17
Ninja Warrior marathon
The title of this TV series—one of the most popular in Japan—is a bitmisleading. There are neither nunchucks nor ninja stars, just a wicked obstaclecourse for contestants to navigate. In the show's history, about 2,000 havetried and only two have succeeded. Among those to give it a shot during today's6 1/2-hour marathon: Olympic gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm. G4 9 a.m.

Juan ManuelMarquez vs. Marco Antonio Barrera
It's shaping up to be a good month for the Marquez clan. Two weeks ago RafaelMarquez captured the super bantamweight title with a knockout of IsraelVazquez; now it's big brother's turn. In his first fight as a superfeatherweight, Juan Manuel (46-3-1) will try to take the WBC belt from Barrera(63--4), who's had it since 2004. HBO 9 p.m.

SI PICK OF THEWEEK

SUNDAY 3/18
Swiss Streaker

Anothertournament, another chance to see Roger Federer break a record. Two weeks agohe topped Jimmy Connors's mark for consecutive weeks at No. 1. (Federer'sstreak stands at 162 weeks.) Now he's got a shot at Guillermo Vilas's 1977record of 46 straight match wins. Federer entered the Pacific Life Open inIndian Wells, Calif., with 41 in a row; if he wins today's final, he'd hit 47.How did Federer prepare? By beating up on a retired guy: Pete Sampras, who hadFederer over to his Los Angeles home to hit a few balls. Said Federer, "Iwas totally excited. He was one of my favorite players when I was growingup." ESPN2 3 p.m.

SUNDAY 3/18
Red Sox at Orioles
Does it exist? Last year a couple of geeks in Japan set out to invent anunhittable pitch on their computer. They came up with the "gyroball,"which spins clockwise and breaks down and in on righties when thrown by arighty. And now hitters are swearing Daisuke Matsuzaka (left) is using it.Boston's new ace, who takes the hill this afternoon, has been coy about thearrows in his quiver, but last week the Marlins sounded like believers. "Isaw the gyroball," marveled first baseman Jason Stokes. MLB.TV 1 p.m.

PHOTOSIMON BRUTY (FEDERER) PHOTOVICTOR BALDIZON/GETTY IMAGES (MATSUZAKA) PHOTOBEN LIEBENBERG/WIREIMAGE.COM (WHITE) PHOTOCOURTESY OF TOKYO BROADCASTING SYSTEM, INC. (NINJA WARRIOR)

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)