03.11.19: Five things you should plan for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance


black 1If you’re just tuning into college basketball’s 2018-19 because March has flipped over on the calendar, sure, there’s time to catch up. Especially if all you seem to care about it the annual ritual of filling out a bracket and all of the sudden realize Loyola of Chicago didn’t make it this time.
March can be more than the usual madness, fadness and even some haplessness. The sadness is for those who’ve failed to launch until the moment the 68-team men’s tournament is out Sunday (Channel 2, 3 p.m.).
As we start the week, the winners have already been determined in the Atlantic Sun (Liberty), Ohio Valley (Murray State), Big South (Gardner-Webb) and Missouri Valley (Bradley).
There’s more work to get done. Including:

* The Pac-12 Tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas:
If something completely sideways happens, USC and UCLA could meet in the conference final, starting out on opposite sides of the bracket Wednesday:
= No. 8 USC vs. No. 9 Arizona, noon, Pac-12 Network
= No. 12 Cal vs. No. 5 Colorado, 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= No. 7 UCLA vs. No. 10 Stanford, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 11 Washington State, 8:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Those feed in the Thursday quarterfinals where the top four teams from the regular season somehow earned byes:
= No. 1 Washington vs. USC/Arizona, noon, Pac-12 Network
= No. 4 Oregon State vs. Colorado/Cal, 2:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= No. 2 Arizona State vs. UCLA/Stanford, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= No. 3 Utah vs. Oregon/Washington State, 8:30 p.m., ESPN.
The semifinals are Friday at 6 p.m. (Pac-12 Net) and 8:30 p.m. (ESPN) The final is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (ESPN).
Dave Pasch and Bill Walton call the three ESPN telecasts.

* The Big West Tournament at the Honda Center in Anaheim:
Thursday’s quarterfinals (all streaming on ESPN3) go with:
= No. 2 UCSB vs. No. 7 Cal State Northridge, noon
= No. 3 Cal State Fullerton vs. No. 6 UC Davis, 2:30 p.m.
= No. 1 UC Irvine vs. No. 8 UC Riverside, 6 p.m.
= No. 4 Hawaii vs. No. 5 Long Beach State, 8:30 p.m.
The semifinals Friday pit the highest remaining seed against the lowest (6:30 p.m., EPSNU) with the other two quarterfinal winners (9 p.m., ESPN*). The final is Saturday at 9 p.m. (ESPN2)

* The West Coast Conference tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas:
As No. 1 overall Gonzaga watched the prelims take place, it finds  Pepperdine as its semifinal opponent (Monday, 6 p.m., ESPN, ahead of San Diego-Saint Mary’s, 8:30 p.m., ESPN2), with the winners playing for the title on Tuesday (6 p.m., ESPN).

The rest of the tournament championships:
* Monday: Metro Atlantic: 6 p.m., ESPN2; Southern: 4 p.m., ESPN
* Tuesday: Horizon: 4 p.m., ESPN; Colonial Athletic: 4 p.m., CBSSN; Northeast: 4 p.m., ESPN2; Summit: 6 p.m., ESPN2
* Wednesday: Patriot: 4:30 p.m., CBSSN
* Saturday: American East: 8 a.m., ESPN2; MEAC: 10 a.m., ESPN2; Big 12: 3 p.m., ESPN; Mountain West: 3 p.m., Channel 2; SWAC: 3 p.m., ESPNU; Big East: 3:30 p.m., Channel 11; MAC: 4:30 p.m., ESPN2; Big Sky: 5 p.m., ESPNU; ACC: 5:30 p.m., ESPN; C-USC: 5:30 p.m., CBSSN; Southland: 6:30 p.m., ESPN2; WAC: 7 p.m., ESPNU
* Sunday: Ivy League: 9 a.m., ESPN2; Atlantic 10: 10 a.m., Channel 2; SEC: 10 a.m., ESPN; Sun Belt: 11 a.m., ESPN2; American: 12:15 p.m., ESPN; Big Ten: 12:30 p.m., Channel 2



black 2The radio ads for NASCAR’s Auto Club 400 at Fontana on Sunday (Channel 11, 12:30 p.m.) makes it a point to note that “in the end, there’s 39 losers and only one winner.” We take that as a hint the legendary Ricky Bobby will be involved in some sort of pre-race ceremonial pep talk.
Last year, pole sitter Martin Truex Jr., not only finished with the most lead laps (125 of 200) but also won the race in the No. 78 Toyota. Truex led the final 31 laps and won by 11.685 seconds over Kyle Larson and three-time Auto Club Speedway champion Kyle Busch.
Busch won last week’s race at Phoenix Raceway, with teammate Truex finishing second. Busch leads the driver standings by six points over Joey Logano and 11 over Kevin Harvick.
This will be the 30th NASCAR Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway, second all-time among active California racetracks.
The weekend schedule includes:
* NASCAR Xfinity Racing Series Production Alliance Group 300 runs Saturday at Fontana (2 p.m., FS1)


black 3If all’s well that ends well at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Sunday, the age-old question of whether we’ve seen the last great gasps out of Roger Federer and the Williams sisters could come up again. The 37-year-old Federer, a fourth-seed this year who won his first singles title at this event in 2004 when he was 22, should stay in a healthy position as he meets up along with way potentially against top-seed Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.
Serena Williams, also 37, didn’t make it past Monday, coming out of her Sunday match against Garbine Muguruza because of an illness. Older sister Venus Williams, who’s 38, continues to trudge on, yet has defending champ and top-seed and recent U.S. Open and Wimbledon winner Naomi Osaka to contend with.
The final week schedule includes:
* Men’s and women’s final, Sunday from 1-to-6 p.m., ESPN2
* Men’s semifinals: Saturday at 11 a.m. on Channel 7 and 7 p.m. on Tennis Channel
* Women’s semifinals: Friday at 6:30 p.m on Tennis Channel and 9 p.m.. on ESPN2


black 4Is this what the Lakers look like now in NBA Lottery Tank Mode? LeBron James’ minutes are limited. Guys named Moe Wagner and Johnathan Williams are getting key minutes, and whatever fans leave their courtside seats in the fourth quarter take a chance that Rajon Rondo may be sitting in their place when they come back from the concession stand. After losing five in a row, the Lakers (30-36) are given a less than one percent chance of making the playoffs by ThirtyEight.com give them a less than one percent chance at a playoff spot, seeing as they are seven games out of the final Western Conference berth with 16 games to play. Four of them will be knocked out this week as they start a five-game road trip:
* At Chicago, Tuesday at 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
* At Toronto, Thursday at 5 p.m., TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
* At Detroit, Friday at 4 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
* At New York, Sunday at 9 a.m., Spectrum SportsNet

The playoff-polished Clippers (38-29), winners of four in a row and 19-12 at home, could climb from the No. 7 to the No. 3 spot if things fall right as they have six in a row at Staples Center starting with:
* Vs. Boston at Staples Center, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
* Vs. Portland at Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
*Vs. Chicago at Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
* Vs. Brooklyn at Staples Center, Sunday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket


black 5The first major golf event on the adjusted 2018-19 schedule has The Players Championship from TPC Sawgrass move first into the lineup at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., home of the island 17th hole. The first of two featured groups Thursday includes Tiger Woods with 2018 Masters winner Patrick Reed and defending Players Championship winner Webb Simpson. Woods has not played since a 10th-place finish at the WGC-Mexico Championship last month and skipped last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational because of a neck strain. Woods has won at TPC twice in his career, most recently in 2013. Woods has not made any official update on his status but plans a press conference Tuesday. Phil Mickelson has also not made a definitive decision about playing in this event.
The schedule:
* Thursday and Friday first and second rounds: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Golf Channel
* Saturday third round: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Channel 4
* Sunday final round: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Channel 4


  • UCLA’s womens gymnastics team has its final home meet at Pauley Pavilion under coach Val Kondos Field (vs. Utah State, Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
  • The Galaxy (1-1) are back at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson to face Minnesota (Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet) while LAFC makes its first road trip of the season, to Yankee Stadium to face New York City FC (Sunday at noon, FS1)
  • In college baseball, the 30-game Pac 12 schedule starts:
    * UCLA: At Long Beach State, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; vs. Oregon State at Jackie Robinson Stadium, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m. (Pac12 Net), Sunday at noon (Pac 12 Net).
    * USC: At Cal State Fullerton, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; at Cal, Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
    The 27-game WCC schedule starts:
    * Loyola Marymount: vs. Santa Clara at Page Stadium, Friday and Sunday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
    *Pepperdine: vs. Cal Poly at Malibu, Tuesday at 3 p.m.; at San Diego, Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
    * Cal State Northridge: vs. San Diego State at Matador Field, Tuesday at 3 p.m.; at Iowa, Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; Sunday at 11 a.m.
    * Long Beach State: vs. UCLA at Blair Field, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; vs. Minnesota at Blair Field, Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
    * Cal State Fullerton: vs. USC at Goodwin Field, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; vs. James Madison at Goodwin Field, Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
  • As for the NHL, the Kings have Nashville (Thursday at 7:30 p.m., FSW) and Florida (Saturday, 1 p.m., FSW) at Staples Center.
    The Ducks also have Nashville (Tuesday at 7 p.m., FSW) and Florida (Sunday, 6 p.m., Prime Ticket) at Honda Center, but also go to Arizona (Thursday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket) and Colorado (Friday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket).

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