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Text messages from press row . . .

Kevin Love and the UCLA basketball team, already honoring the school’s 100 NCAA championships with that unsightly yellow C (Roman numeral for 100) on their jerseys, might soon have another century mark to celebrate. . . .

Running the table to their 12th national title would give the Bruins 100 NCAA tournament victories, matching Kentucky’s record. . . .

Nearly half of UCLA’s 96 victories came under the direction of John Wooden, whose 47 wins rank the former coach third on the all-time list, tied with Roy Williams and trailing only Dean Smith and all-time leader Mike Krzyzewski. . . .

It has been 54 years since USC made its only appearance in the Final Four and, one demoralizing drought paralleling another, the same number of years since UCLA won its only national championship in football. . . .

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After Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim said the play of its guards would be Stanford’s undoing against Marquette on Saturday, junior Mitch Johnson played more like Magic Johnson and had nine points, a career-high 16 assists and only one turnover in the Cardinal’s second-round victory. . . .

Magic Johnson’s career high at Michigan State was 14 assists. . . .

The NCAA tournament record is 18, set by former Wilmington Banning High jitterbug Mark Wade of Nevada Las Vegas against Indiana in 1987. . . .

Wade, known as “The Disher” when he played for Jerry Tarkanian, unfortunately was in the news again this month after pleading guilty to embezzling more than $15,000 in his former job as an assistant coach at UC Riverside. . . .

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Manny Ramirez pocketed 1 million yen ($10,000) after slamming two two-run doubles and being selected hero of the game Tuesday in the Boston Red Sox’s season-opening victory over the Oakland Athletics at Tokyo. . . .

Said the slugger, hinting that perhaps even multimillionaires are feeling the sting of inflation, “That’s going to be some gas money. I love it.” . . .

If Kobe Bryant had opted for surgery on his right pinkie last month, he would still be a few days away from returning to the lineup after sitting out for nearly six weeks, and the Lakers probably would be out of the playoff picture. . . .

With him, they might wind up seeded No. 1 in the West. . . .

Wilt Chamberlain’s image deserves depiction on a commemorative U.S. postage stamp, an honor that would put the late Lakers center in the company of other sports luminaries such as Jesse Owens, Babe Ruth, Babe Zaharias and Jackie Robinson, writes Donald Hunt of the Philadelphia Tribune. . . .

You have to wonder what Bill Russell thinks of the idea. . . .

It’s hard to believe that, before Lamar Odom did it this week, no Laker had pulled down 20 rebounds in consecutive games since Vlade Divac in 1995. . . .

Shaquille O’Neal had 18 games of 20 or more rebounds during his eight seasons with the Lakers, according to Stats LLC, but never two in a row. . . .

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That may have required more diesel than Shaq was willing to expend. . . .

After watching wind wreak havoc with matches in the Pacific Life Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden last week, imagine how the breezy conditions might alter O’Neal’s free throws or Steve Nash’s jump shots when the Phoenix Suns play an outdoor exhibition there Oct. 11 against the Denver Nuggets. . . .

Says popular but still winless driver Danica Patrick, asked whether this could be the year she finally picks up victory No. 1, “I’m flattered that I still get asked that question because that means that everyone still believes it’s out there.” . . .

Say what? . . .

So much for the laughable notion that Tiger Woods might go unbeaten. . . .

Is it really necessary for baseball’s players union to launch an investigation into why no team has signed soon-to-be 44-year-old Barry Bonds? . . .

Two words: Excess baggage. . . .

Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers, a 270-pounder who last year became the youngest player in major league history to hit 50 home runs in a season, says he stopped eating meat over the winter after reading a book his wife left on the kitchen counter, “Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous.” . . .

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The 23-year-old vegetarian says the title caught his eye. . . .

No kidding.

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com


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