Wizards Encourage Court-Side Courting

Times Staff Writer

The NBA’s attendance-challenged Washington Wizards, have decided that since they are not No. 1 in the hearts of D.C. fans, they will try to use the hearts of fans.

The Wizards held the first of five Singles Nights on Wednesday. A game yielded dates with Wizard center Brendan Haywood, Baltimore Raven safety Will Demps or a Wizard dancer. The $50 tickets also got fans into pregame and postgame parties.

No word on whether the Wizards will offer prizes for new relationships that last longer than the team’s one-game winning streak.


Still, the promotion apparently worked. The Wizards had an announced crowd of 15,042, about 5,000 more than their average this season.

Trivia time: Most remember Nebraska’s 1971 national championship football team, but the Huskers also won a share of the national title in 1970, going 11-0-1. Which team tied them?

Holtz would be proud: Georgia football Coach Mark Richt might have a future in politics, considering the way he spun the Bulldogs’ game today against third-ranked Auburn.

“To me, Auburn has a lot more riding on it,” Richt said in the Huntsville Times.

“They are undefeated. They have a legitimate shot at the national championship. I can’t say we have a legitimate shot at the national championship if we win it.”

Sounds like a tough season in Athens. Except that the Bulldogs are 8-1 and ranked eighth nationally.

An auto-matic choice: Oklahoma offensive tackle Jammal Brown, preparing to play Nebraska today, did his best to heat up the Husker-Sooner rivalry this week.

Brown said he’d considered going to Nebraska, but told reporters, “In Nebraska, it gets real cold and my car I had then didn’t work too well in the cold. Obviously, I believe I made the right choice.”

That the Sooners are 9-0 and ranked second nationally while the Cornhuskers are wallowing at 5-4 might be another indication.

Sure bet: Connecticut travels to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech today, marking the third time in history that the opponents who played for the NCAA basketball championship played in football the following season, according to STATS Inc.

History is not on the Huskies’ side.

Kansas beat Oklahoma for the basketball title in 1988, then was crushed by the Sooners in football the following fall, 63-14. Indiana beat Michigan in an All-Big Ten basketball final in 1976, then lost to the Wolverines in football, 35-0.

Trivia answer: USC, 21-21, at the Coliseum in the second week of the season.

And finally: San Francisco Chronicle columnist Scott Ostler on the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Latrell Sprewell citing the need to feed his family as a reason to renegotiate his contract:

“I’ve checked with financial experts and they tell me that if a player has made at least $30 million and hasn’t saved any of it to feed his family, an increase in pay wouldn’t help the situation because the athlete would be too stupid to find the nearest Safeway.”