Today in the Daily Sports Roundup: The NCAA Tournament determines its last two Final Four teams, and the Sprint Cup Series takes to the track at Martinsville.
Final 4 odds…
As soon as it’s available, the college basketball odds for the 2009 Final 4 matchups will be posted.
Tipping off on the hardwood . . .
San Antonio will be in New Orleans on Sunday night in just one of the notable matchups on the NBA schedule. The Spurs and Hornets last met on January 31, with San Antonio rolling to a 106-93 home win as a 7.5-point favorite. Tony Parker had 25 points for the Spurs in that contest, while Manu Ginobili picked up 22 points. Chris Paul had a big game for the Hornets with a game-high 38 points.
The other two marquee contests on the Sunday NBA slate are Dallas at Cleveland and the Lakers at Atlanta, while the Celtics will be gunning for an easy victory when they play host to Oklahoma City. Rounding out the schedule: New Jersey at Minnesota, Philadelphia at Detroit, Phoenix at Sacramento, and Washington at Indiana. The Wizards edged the Pacers 119-117 on February 8.
Today’s best picks against the spread…
It’s a run of historical nature. A service out of Las Vegas is easily the No. 1 in the world in March. Their “Absolute Picks” are now 27-6 overall and 21-3 in NCAAB excluding pushes since Feb. 25. Sunday it was Siena and Oklahoma State. Monday, Oakland cashes in. Thursday it was Xavier and Connecticut. Friday, the Knicks won and Saturday they had none. Michigan State/Louisville side. Click now to purchase sports betting picks from the top sports services or you can get more information and a free sports pick from power of 620 sports services behind every selection.
On the road to the Final Four . . .
It’ll be No. 2 Michigan State vs. No. 1 Louisville at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in the first of two Elite Eight matchups at the NCAA Tournament on Sunday afternoon. The Spartans came back to defeat No. 3 Kansas 67-62 in their Sweet 16 game on Friday night, with Goran Suton picking up 20 points. Top-seeded Louisville had an easier time with No. 12 Arizona, winning 103-64.
Meanwhile, No. 2 Oklahoma will take on No.1 North Carolina at FedExForum in Memphis later on Sunday to complete the Elite Eight. Blake Griffin poured in 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds on Friday night to lead the Sooners to an 84-71 win over No. 3 Syracuse. The Tar Heels had no trouble with No. 4 Gonzaga, getting 24 points from Tyler Hansbrough as they rolled to a 98-77 victory Friday.
Taking a trip around the rink . . .
Two of the Eastern Conference’s top clubs will hit the ice in Philadelphia on Sunday night when the Flyers host the Bruins. Those two teams met in Boston on March 3, with Philly pulling out a 4-2 road win. Simon Gagne scored twice for the Flyers in that victory, while Mike Knuble had a goal and two assists. Patrice Bergeron and Stephane Yelle had the markers for the Bruins in that losing cause.
Nashville will be in Detroit for one of the six other games on the NHL’s schedule for Sunday, with St. Louis at Columbus, Ottawa at Tampa Bay, Vancouver at Chicago, Colorado at Anaheim, and Minnesota at Edmonton. The division rival Wild and Oilers both need to get some points on Sunday to stay in the thick of the Western playoff hunt. Minnesota blanked Edmonton 3-0 back on March 22.
Rounding out the Roundup . . .
Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch are the 5/1 co-favorites to win Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series event, the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Johnson has won four of the past five races at Martinsville, including the Goody’s Cool Orange 500 in 2007. Denny Hamlin is the defending champion at the annual spring race at Martinsville, and he’s next at 7/1 odds to win this weekend.
Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are both sitting at 8/1 odds to visit victory lane at Martinsville. Gordon holds a 76-point lead on Kurt Busch in the current driver standings, and he’s 79 points up on third-place Clint Bowyer. Kurt Busch is back at 15/1 odds to win on Sunday, where he’s tied with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Tony Stewart. Bowyer is farther behind at 30/1 odds to get the win.