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The Sports Report: UC Irvine Anteaters zot Kansas State in first round

The Sports Report: UC Irvine Anteaters zot Kansas State in first round
From left, Evan Leonard, Jonathan Galloway and Elston Jones of UC Irvine celebrate their win. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

Howdy everyone, my name is Houston Mitchell, proprietor of this here newsletter. I would like to announce that I also am not starting on opening day for the Dodgers.

March Madness

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UC Irvine provided the first big upset of the men’s tournament, though if you were paying attention, it wasn’t a big surprise because they were playing as well as any team in the country coming into the tournament.

The Anteaters set school records this season for most victories and longest winning streak. They had the best road record in the country. And now they are going into the second round of the tournament after defeating Kansas State, 70-64.

“You know, UC Irvine folks, I don’t know, live in the shadow, live like little brothers to UCLA and ’SC and maybe some others, Cal, Stanford, San Diego State,” coach Russell Turner said after the victory..

“Well, little brother has been in the weight room, getting better, getting ready for a chance like this. So I’m really happy for these players to be able to work so hard for something everybody can see and then accomplish it.

“I’m also really excited for the fans of our program who also seem to have endured feeling like little brothers,” Turner said. “You know, we need to stick our chests out a little bit right now, I believe.”

The Anteaters will play Oregon on Sunday in the second round.

Speaking of Anteaters, some of you have emailed me to ask how they came up with the name, which is a bit unusual for a sports program.

Well, the school opened in 1965 and figured out quickly that they needed a mascot. Water polo players Pat Glasgow and Bob Ernst were big fans of the comic strip “B.C.” which featured an anteater that ate ants with a “Zot!” sound effect. They convinced those running the school to put Anteater on a list of names that all the students would vote on. The results were announced on Nov. 30, 1965, and Anteater got 56% of the vote, easily outdistancing sea hawks, toros, unicorns, centaurs, bison and road runners.

Thanks to UC Irvine for the information. You can read more about it here.

A look at the first-round results and second-round schedule:

First Round

West Regional (read game stories here)

No. 3 Texas Tech 72, No. 14 Northern Kentucky 57

No. 6 Buffalo 91, No. 11 Arizona State 74

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South Regional (read game stories here)

No. 13 UC Irvine 70, No. 4 Kansas State 64 (Read this game story here)

No. 10 Iowa 79, No. 7 Cincinnati 72

No. 1 Virginia 71, No. 16 Gardner-Webb 56

No. 9 Oklahoma 95, No. 8 Ole Miss 72

No. 2 Tennessee 77, No. 15 Colgate 70

No. 12 Oregon 72, No. 5 Wisconsin 54

Midwest Regional (Read game stories here)

No. 9 Washington 78, No. 8 Utah State 61

No. 3 Houston 84, No. 14 Georgia State 55

No. 1 North Carolina 88, No. 16 Iona 73

No. 11 Ohio State 62, No. 6 Iowa State 59

East Regional (read game stories here)

No. 1 Duke 85, No. 16 North Dakota State 62

No. 12 Liberty 80, No. 5 Mississippi State 76

No. 9 UCF 73, No. 8 VCU 58

No. 13 Saint Louis vs. No. 4 Virginia Tech (San Jose), 6:57 p.m. -- truTV

Today’s second-round TV schedule

All Times Pacific

East Regional

No. 3 LSU vs. No. 6 Maryland, 9 a.m., CBS

No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 10 Minnesota, 4:45 p.m., CBS

Midwest Regional

No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 7 Wofford, 11:30 a.m., CBS

No. 4 Kansas vs. No. 5 Auburn, 6:30 p.m., TBS

West Regional

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 10 Florida, 2:15 p.m., CBS

No. 4 Florida State vs. No. 12 Murray State, 3 p.m., TNT

No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 9 Baylor, 4 p.m., TBS

South Regional

No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 6 Villanova, 5:30 p.m. TNT

Sunday’s second-round TV schedule

All Times Pacific

East Regional

No. 1 Duke vs. No. 9 Central Florida. 2:15 p.m., CBS

No. 4 Virginia Tech vs. No. 12 Liberty, 4 p.m., TBS

Midwest Regional

No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 9 Washington, 11 a.m., CBS

No. 3 Houston vs. No. 11 Ohio State, 5 p.m., TNT

West Regional

No. 3 Texas Tech vs. No. 6 Buffalo, 3 p.m., TNT

South Regional

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 10 Iowa, 9 a.m., CBS

No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 9 Oklahoma, 4:15 p.m., truTV

No. 12 Oregon vs. No. 13 UC Irvine, 6 p.m., TBS

Clippers

LZ Granderson makes the case for this being the best coaching job of Doc Rivers’ career. An excerpt:

“Before making the case for Doc Rivers as NBA coach of the year, let’s take a trip back in time, to the summer of 1999, and a little place we like to call Orlando.

“After another disappointing finish to the season, the Magic front office decides to trade its only starPenny Hardaway — with the goal of securing draft picks and hopefully signing a pair of top free agents the following summer.

“Once a star-studded franchise with great promise, the Magic began its rebuilding season with four starters who had not been drafted, led by an ex-player who had never coached before. Basically, the textbook definition of tanking if ever there was one.

“Thing is, someone forgot to tell that coach, Rivers.

“There are three paths to winning coach of the year: Meet high expectations; greatly exceed low ones, which is how Rivers won his first year in Orlando; or overcome adversity, the path that should take Rivers to his second.

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“Every team faces unforeseen circumstances, such as Nate McMillan losing Victor Oladipo, but what other coach is winning while the front office is actively trying to rebuild?

“The deadline trade of Tobias Harris, at the time the Clippers’ best player, for subs and picks wasn’t just about positioning financially to make a run at top free agents this summer. There was a lottery-protected 2019 first-round pick in play. If the Clippers miss the playoffs, there’s a slim chance the team lands Zion Williamson. Make it, and the pick likely goes to Boston.

“Rivers didn’t care. He kept his foot on the coaching pedal anyway. “I never got the instruction to lose,” Rivers said. “We knew winning would be hard, but management never told me we were tanking. And believe it or not, I still thought we could win. Even after trading our best player, I told everyone in the building we were still going to compete and win.

“Now when I said that, a lot of people rolled their eyes. And when you trade Tobias away, you’re probably not going to make the playoffs. But I was committed to making sure we were going to make an effort to try anyway, and the guys bought in. Look, I don’t care what players you have, if you don’t have buy-in, you’re not going to win. I was worried after the trade that the new guys would not buy in, but they did. That’s why we’ve been able to keep winning … guys believe in each other.”

“And they clearly believe in him.”

----

On the court Friday, the Clippers barely held off the Cleveland Cavaliers, 110-108. L.A. has now won nine of its last 10 games.

Trailing by two with 6.2 seconds remaining after Clippers guard Patrick Beverley missed the second of two free throws, Cleveland had a chance to win on the final possession. Out of a timeout, the Clippers failed to foul as instructed, and Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson attempted a three-pointer from 27 feet. It rimmed out and the Clippers “got lucky,” Rivers said.

“It was halfway in,” said Clarkson, who scored 20 points off the bench, “and just rolled out.”

The Western Conference standing after Friday’s games. Top eight teams make the playoffs:

1. Golden State, 49-22, —

2. Denver, 49-22, —

3. Houston, 46-27, 4 GB

4. Portland, 44-27, 5 GB

5. Oklahoma City, 43-30, 7 GB

6. Clippers, 43-30, 7 GB

7. Utah, 42-30, 7.5 GB

8. San Antonio, 42-31, 8 GB

9. Sacramento, 35-36, 14 GB

10. Minnesota, 32-40, 17.5 GB

11. Lakers, 31-41, 18.5 GB

12. New Orleans, 31-43, 19.5 GB

13. Memphis, 29-43, 20.5 GB

14. Dallas, 28-44, 21.5 GB

15. Phoenix, 17-56, 33 GB

Lakers

A bad year for Lonzo Ball got even worse Friday when he accused his father’s best friend, Gregory Alan Foster, of embezzling money from him.

Foster was accused by Ball’s financial planner, Humble Lukanga, of taking money from Big Baller Brand and general mismanagement of the Lakers point guard’s finances. ESPN reportedly has seen documentation that Foster took $1.5 million from Ball’s personal and business accounts and could not account for that money.

In a statement provided to The Times, Ball said he directed Lukanga, his manager Darren Moore and his agent Harrison Gaines to “pursue all options to recover the money that was taken from my accounts. This has been a very difficult decision as I have a great deal of love and respect for Alan. But the time has come for me to take responsibility for my own career.”

According to people familiar with the situation, Ball is considering legal action, but no decision has been made.

On the court Friday, the Lakers lost to the Brooklyn Nets, 111-106.

Odds and Ends

UCLA gymnast Katelyn Ohashi hopes to run the floor with her new Beyoncé-inspired routine…. UCLA's Michaela Onyenwere is making all the right moves on eve of NCAA women’s tournament…. Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu to start opening day after Rich Hill is sidelined by knee injury…. Dodgers clubhouse exudes a championship vibe that looks to defy history…. LAFC gets its long-awaited rematch with Real Salt Lake, with a few twists…. Arsenal will play Bayern Munich in preseason game in Carson this summer…. UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero says he's outraged by college admissions scandal…. Weldon Kirui aims to become first three-time winner at L.A. Marathon…. Kings' Ilya Kovalchuk feels like he didn't 'have a chance' after Willie Desjardins took over…. Angels’ moves signal roster close to being finalized as Opening Day nears…. The Ducks defeated San Jose in overtime, 4-3.

Sports Podcast

In the latest episode of the “Arrive Early, Leave Late” podcast, columnist Bill Plaschke discusses why he feels so strongly that USC needs to fire Lynn Swann following a second scandal that drew an FBI investigation under the athletic director’s watch.

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Plaschke also talks about LeBron James and the Lakers, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, Mike Trout and the Angels and more.

Today’s local major sports schedule (all times Pacific)

Dodgers vs. Chicago White Sox, noon, Sportsnet LA, AM 570

Angels vs. San Diego, 1 p.m., FSW, KLAA 830

Ducks at Kings, 7:30 p.m., FSW, PRIME

Real Salt Lake at LAFC, 7:30 p.m., YouTube TV, 710 ESPN

Born on this date

1929: Track star Roger Bannister, first to run a mile in under four minutes

1943: Former Laker Gail Goodrich

1954: NBA player Moses Malone

1973: NBA player Jason Kidd

And finally

That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me here. If you want to subscribe, click here.

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