Up to seven teams could be in the running for No. 1 seeds in the NCAA men's tournament, the chairman of the selection committee said Wednesday, providing a lot more uncertainty than a year ago.
Mike Bobinski, who is also the athletic director at Xavier, said the coveted seeds were more obvious in 2012, when the only suspense was who would get the last of the No. 1 spots.
"A year ago, I think the one line of the tournament and bracket was in pretty clear focus," said Bobinski, who is leaving Xavier to take over as Georgia Tech's AD after the tournament. "This year looks a little bit different. I anticipate there will be a number of teams we'll be considering and discussing for that one line of the bracket."
Not surprising, given a wide-open season where no team has established itself as clearly the class of the field.
Heat streak at 20: LeBron James scored 27 points and the Miami Heat became the fourth team to win at least 20 consecutive games in a season, rallying to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 98-94.
Only three teams have won at least 20 consecutive games in the same season: the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33), the 2007-08 Houston Rockets (22) and the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (20). The Washington Capitols also won 20 straight, spanning the end of the 1947-48 season and the start of the 1948-49 campaign.
Kobe hurt: The Lakers' push for the playoffs might be without Kobe Bryant for a while.
The Los Angeles star severely sprained his left ankle Wednesday night after missing a game-tying shot in the closing seconds of a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Lakers spokesman John Black said Bryant is out indefinitely, just as a team that underachieved much of the season is playing its best basketball. The 96-92 loss snapped a four-game winning streak and was just Los Angeles' third loss in the last 12 games.
MAC awards: Ohio point guard D.J. Cooper was named the Mid-American Conference's player of the year and Akron's Keith Dambrot is the league's top coach.
Cooper beat out Zips center Zeke Marshall for the award in voting by a media panel. Cooper averaged 14.2 points and 7.2 assists for the Bobcats. He's the first Ohio player to win the award since Gary Trent, a three-time player of the year.
Boesch released: The Detroit Tigers have released outfielder Brennan Boesch.
The 27-year-old tweaked an oblique muscle at the start of spring training and was hitting .188 (3 for 16).
Cabrera homers: Miguel Cabrera homered on the first pitch he saw since returning from the World Baseball Classic and the Detroit Tigers beat Florida Southern 11-0 on Wednesday.
Cabrera, who batted .333 with a homer for Venezuela in the WBC, arrived in camp on Tuesday and connected in his only at-bat against the D-II school.
Jimenez strong: Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez worked five solid innings against Chicago in a 5-2 victory Wednesday.
Jimenez did not walk a batter and struck out three. He is penciled in to be the Indians' No. 2 starter after Justin Masterson.
Vets square off: Barry Zito and Bronson Arroyo each left their starts thinking they have more work to do before the start of the season.
Zito allowed a run while pitching 31⁄3 innings and Arroyo gave up one earned run in four, and the San Francisco Giants beat the Cincinnati Reds 9-5.
Jackets make move: The Columbus Blue Jackets have added defenseman Cody Goloubef to the roster on emergency recall from their American Hockey League affiliate in Springfield, Mass.
The 23-year-old Goloubef has appeared in nine games with Columbus this season, recording his first and only NHL goal on Feb. 11 against San Jose.
Wants to lure Danica: Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone says he would like to lure Danica Patrick to the sport but acknowledges she would be unlikely to make the move.
As the pre-eminent female driver in motorsports, firstly in Indy Car and now in NASCAR, Patrick attracts a lot of new fans and sponsors.
Ecclestone told the F1 website on Wednesday that "she will hardly want to give up the exposure she has in the U.S. to come here and maybe not make it."