sports

Aundrea Murray / WNPR

A Connecticut journalism professor who took students to London, England allowed the group to attend a soccer match as an opportunity to examine racism, discrimination, and hooliganism at sporting events.

Wally Gobetz / Creative Commons

Patriots' Day is a time for celebration in Boston and across the nation. The biggest event held on this day every year is the Boston Marathon, which has turned it into a day for remembrance as well. The second race since the 2013 bombings is underway and this hour, we check-in with a public radio reporter at the finish line.

Also, the UConn Foundation has been under increased scrutiny both in the media and at the state capitol where a bill that would open up the non-profit to the state's Freedom of Information laws, was defeated.

Finally, we talk Star Wars with someone who actually took a ride in a X-Wing! Really. Ok - kind of really.

A string of insults aimed at a woman who works at a towing company were recorded by a surveillance camera. Now they've come back to sting sports reporter Britt McHenry. After the video emerged of McHenry, 28, dishing out profane verbal abuse, ESPN announced she'll be punished.

"Britt McHenry has been suspended for one week effectively immediately," the media company said.

The UConn women's basketball team won its tenth national championship on Tuesday night. The Huskies were dominant throughout this year's tournament, beating opponents by an average of more than 37 points.

So with UConn winning over Notre Dame by only 10 points, it was a more even match -- and an exciting one to watch. 

In a rematch of the 2014 final, the University of Connecticut will face off against Notre Dame in the NCAA women's basketball final Tuesday night. UConn's Huskies will be trying for their third consecutive title.

The championship game will start at 8:30 p.m. ET; it'll air on ESPN.

For Notre Dame, tonight brings a chance to overcome years of frustration. In three of the past four years, the team has lost in the championship game. The Irish last won it all in 2001.

In 204 days, two teams will face off in the World Series. Until then, fans can dream about their team winning it all, as Major League Baseball's regular season gets going. St. Louis and Chicago played the first game Sunday night; the Cubs lost, 3-0.

Along with that loss, Chicago's fans also endured restroom wait times of up to 30 minutes. Blaming the problem on at least two bathrooms being closed, the club has apologized, Chicago news TV WGN says.

Drew Bennett / Creative Commons

The stage is set for the national championship in men's Division I college basketball. Sure, your team might not be there, but you know who to root against in Monday night's game: Duke. Why? This hour, we ask that question of a filmmaker who produced a film on one of Duke's biggest villains.

Also, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is everywhere on the cable news circuit lately. Is his national star rising, or does it just seem that way in Connecticut?

Finally, what are the takeaways from a review of a retracted Rolling Stone report on campus sexual assault?

Not since the World War II era has Wisconsin vied for the NCAA's top men's basketball championship. They'll do it tonight against Duke, in a game that pits two balanced teams — and two talented big men — against each other.

For Wisconsin, a win will bring its first title since 1941. Perennial power Duke last won it all in 2010. Tipoff at 9:18 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on CBS or at the NCAA website.

The University of Connecticut continues to dominate women's college basketball: The Huskies plowed past the University of Maryland and are headed to the NCAA women's basketball championship game, where they'll meet Notre Dame.

The Terrapins faced a daunting task heading into the game. Connecticut, the overall top seed for the tournament, stands far above the competition.

"The Huskies have won the last two titles and obliterated opponents in this tournament by an average margin of 41 points a game," NPR's Tom Goldman noted to our Newscast unit.

Sarah Thomas has officiated football games in the NCAA and for the NFL's preseason and training camps. For the 2015 NFL season, she'll reportedly be a full-time official.

The news was broken this morning by Baltimore Sun reporter Aaron Wilson, who called it "a ground-breaking move." Thomas, 42, is a Mississippi native who has been widely regarded as a contender for a regular NFL contract.

Boston 2024

A public meeting in Springfield on Thursday heard ideas on the role that western Massachusetts might play as Boston continues its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. 

Some state lawmakers have said there should be sports venues located outside the Boston area. Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, is working on the proposal to officials with Boston 2024. 

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Back in 1996, Connecticut hosted one of the original teams of the first American women's professional basketball league, the American Basketball League. Now, Connecticut will be home to one of the four inaugural teams in the first women's professional ice hockey League in the U.S., the NWHL.

We've got a Final Four.

Michigan State and Duke will join Kentucky and Wisconsin in Indianapolis next Saturday night.

In Syracuse, N.Y., Michigan State and Louisville traded leads all game. As the clock wound down, the Spartans led by one point, 65-64. But they missed their chance to extend the lead when freshman Marvin Clark Jr. missed two free throws with 22 seconds to go.

But just seconds later, they fouled Louisville forward Mangok Mathiang, who made one free throw to tie the game, but couldn't hit the second.

State Representative Patricia Morgan (R-West Warwick) says she plans to introduce a bill Wednesday that would allow voters to decide if the new owners of the PawSox can use public financing or tax relief to build their envisioned ballpark on former I-195 land in Providence.

    

Mathew Wilson / Creative Commons

Hartford's new minor league baseball team will be the Yard Goats. Team and city officials announced the name Wednesday, complete with two goats, after a contest to rebrand the former New Britain Rock Cats. 

President Barack Obama didn't exactly go out on a limb with his college-basketball picks this year.

Like most people, he picked Kentucky to run the table, go 40-0, and win the NCAA Tournament. He also picked three No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 to make it to the Final Four.

"I don't think you can play a perfect basketball game anymore than you can do anything perfectly," the president said of Kentucky, "but these guys are coming pretty close."

The president did mix in a little politics.

Ole Miss scored 62 points in the second half last night to dig its way out of a hole and into the big bracket, on the first day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. At the half, the Rebels were 17 points behind BYU — which had pulled off its own miracle comeback just three years ago.

BYU suffered the loss in Dayton, where it had made a historic 25-point comeback in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

It's the venerable custom in tennis and golf for the crowd to be still and quiet when players hit their shots.

Now, since even ordinary baseball batters have some success hitting against 98 mph fastballs with 40,000 fans standing and screaming, do you really believe that great athletes like Novak Djokovic or Rory McIlroy couldn't serve or putt with a few thousand fans hollering? If they'd grown up playing tennis or golf that way, that is. When disorder is a sustaining part of the game, players, in effect, put it out of their minds. Hear no evil, see no evil.

Mallory ODonoghue

As March Madness tips off on Tuesday, excitement over college basketball can be seen everywhere on UConn's Storrs campus.

Nowhere is the creative energy around basketball culture more apparent on campus than at the exhibit “In the Paint: Basketball in Contemporary Art” at the William Benton Museum of Art.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's that time of year again when productivity slides, sleep is lost and frustration runs high. No, there's not another financial crisis - just March Madness! Join our favorite bracket watching team of Julia Pistell and Bill Curry, as they share their top-secret strategies to pick the winning NCAA bracket, the logic of which stuns even seasoned sports reporter Mike Pesca.

Concerns about possibly incurring brain injuries have prompted Chris Borland to end his NFL career after just one season, during which he emerged as a star on the San Francisco 49ers' vaunted defense. Borland, 24, said, "I just honestly want to do what's best for my health."

Saying that he had consulted with other players, medical experts and his family, Borland stated, "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

Marle Hale / Creative Commons

On Wednesday we find out the finalists for Hartford's new minor league baseball team. Will it be the Hartford Blue Frogs? How about the Hartford Honey Badgers? Do you like the Hartford Yard Goats better? I got it! How about the Hartford Huckleberries! What do you mean it's not on the list? 

This hour, lots of people call and tweet with their favorites. Take a listen. 

Towns Oppose "Open Space" Designation of Golf Courses

Mar 3, 2015
Tord Sollie / Creative Commons

Several first selectmen of the Connecticut State Legislature and other chief elected officials are opposed to a measure in the legislature to designate golf courses as open space, an act that would reduce town assessments and taxes.

Ryan King / WNPR

Some of the best professional duckpin bowlers on the east coast gather this weekend for the Eastern Duckpin Classic in Mansfield.

In the 1920s and '30s, Connecticut residents Frank Barber and George Iseman arranged bowling tournaments between Connecticut duckpin bowlers, and some of the best bowlers from Washington, D.C. and Maryland, where the sport originated.

One way to test your mettle in winter is to take one of those quick penguin plunges in icy water. But some stoic swimmers actually carve pools out of frozen lakes and race each other.

The sport of winter swimming is popular abroad, especially in Russia, Scandinavia and China. But last weekend, a newly formed organization to promote winter swimming in the United States held its first national competition on the Vermont-Quebec border.

Coventry Regional Farmers' Market

I totally get the case against the Oscars and I look forward to hearing our friend Steve Almond make it on the show today. The case is that the creative arts and zero-sum games to not belong together because art is fluid and not hierarchical.  How can one performance or movie lose when another wins? It's absurd right? Wrong.

For example, we all know it was appalling in 1995 when "Forrest Gump" won Best Picture over "Pulp Fiction," "Quiz Show," and "Shawshank Redemption." Or, in 1981 when "Ordinary People" bested "Raging Bull." Whether we want to cop to it or not, we have internal standards and we know when they've been violated. This hour on the Scramble, Almond and I will debate that. 

Men's basketball coach Dean Smith, who coached the University of North Carolina Tar Heels for more than 35 years, taking them to two national titles, has died at age 83.

The Hall of Famer died Saturday night at his home, his family said in a statement released today.

"We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public. Thank you," the statement said.

They promised that Super Bowl XLIX would be a close contest, and we got what was promised. The final score was 28-24.

At halftime, it was two touchdowns each. It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter that New England caught a decisive momentum that set the stage for the rest of the game.

In the end, it was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman late in the fourth — and Seattle's stumble, allowing an interception with seconds remaining — that pushed the game decisively New England's way.

Another day, another controversy.

It's been that kind of a year for the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell talked about it all on Friday at his annual State-of-the-League address in downtown Phoenix.

Deb West / Flickr Creative Commons

On the Nose this hour: pre-watching Super Bowl ads.

Super Bowl advertisers have forced us (conned us?) to live in their world, not just for Sunday, but for days spreading in either direction. This piece explains how, in 2011, a VW ad was released on the YouTube's days in advance of the game and went viral, setting the stage for what we have now: a protracted debate about various ads. You probably have to, on YouTube, sometimes watch an ad so you can watch an ad.

Today, that 2011 ad has 61 million views on YT. Those are people volunteering to watch it, as opposed to people waiting for the game to resume.

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