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

black 1Yup, we’re sniffing out the NCAA women’s water polo championship.
Defending champion USC comes in as the No. 1 seed, having won it all last year in its home pool.
But you probably already know too much about this Trojans’ otherwise under-the-radar sports  program.
It’s marching forward without its esteemed head coach, fired in the wake of the nationwide admission scandal, and he’s already put his Rancho Palos Verdes house up for sale.
At this point, what would Aunt Becky pay to see her kid hoist a national championship trophy?
Interestingly, this is bracketed for another USC-UCLA head-to-head championship, a week after the Bruins trounced the Trojans in the women’s beach volleyball.
For this event at the Avery Aquatic Center at Stanford, USC (26-1), the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champ with an OT win over Stanford, gets to go back in as the top seed – just like in beach volleyball – and has a bye into the final eight. The Trojans’ quarterfinal match (Friday, noon) is against  either Wagner or UC San Diego. Third-seeded UCLA (23-6), an at-large choice, tangles with Michigan in an opposite-bracket quarterfinal (Friday, 5:15 p.m.). No. 2 seed Stanford (20-2), also at-large, could face the surprising Cal Lutheran (20-8), winners of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in a Friday at 3:30 p.m., quarterfinal, if the Lancers can get past Pacific in their Tuesday play-in game (1:45 p.m.). Cal has the fourth seed and faces Hawaii in a quarterfinal Friday (1:45 p.m.) to possibly play USC in the semifinals (Saturday, 3 p.m.), with a possible UCLA-Stanford semifinal following at 5 p.m. The title match: Sunday at 3 p.m.
More info: www.ncaa.com


black 2The best team in baseball* presents a week of scarfing out.
Tuesday is the sounds-fun, often-isn’t $1 Dodger Dog Night at Dodger Stadium. Where you miss four innings of the game while waiting in line to load up on grilled wieners in a bun that usually cost $6 – and in doing the math, you realize just how much you’ve overpaid over the last 25 years, so you order an extra five dogs in hopes of balancing the scales. Wait until you get home and actually step on the scale. There’s no justice.
Then, on Mother’s Day Sunday, the team has a scarf giveaway. We assume to everyone, not just mom. Or to the moms. By the way, the plural of scarf would be scarves. The plural of the NHL team in Toronto is Maple Leafs. Canada conjugates best. Explains their health care situation. No brain cramping necessary about spelling rules.

* – according to the latest ESPN power rankings, taking into consideration that Cody Bellinger slumped to 5-for-16 with no homers and two RBIs this past week.

This week for the Dodgers (22-14, first in the NL West)
= Vs. Atlanta, at Dodger Stadium, Monday (Walker Buehler vs. Max Fried), Tuesday (Hyun-Jin  Ryu vs. Mike Foltynewicz) and Wednesday (Clayton Kershaw vs. Kevin Gausman) at 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA
= Vs. Washington, at Dodger Stadium, Thursday (Rich Hill vs. Patrick Corbin) and Friday (Kenta Maeda vs. Anibal Sanchez) at 7:10 p.m., Saturday (Walker Buehler vs. Max Scherzer) at 6:10 p.m., Sunday (Hyun-Jin Ryu vs. Stephen Strasburg) at 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA

This week for the Angels (15-19, fourth in the AL West)*
= At Detroit, Tuesday (Griffin Canning vs. Daniel Norris) and Wednesday (Tyler Skaggs vs. Matthew Boyd) at 4:10 p.m., Thursday (Felix Pena vs. Tyson Ross) at 10:10 a.m., Fox Sports West
= At Baltimore, Friday (Trevor Cahill vs. Dan Straily) at 4:05 p.m., Saturday (Matt Harvey vs. Dylan Bundy) at 1:05 p.m., Sunday (Griffin Canning vs. John Means) at 10:05 a.m., Fox Sports West

* Ranked a tentative No. 21 in the latest ESPN poll, up from No. 23 in Week 4.


black 3For some reason, soccer fans in Los Angeles need to be ultra aware of the Columbus Crew. Screw that. Quick quiz: Eastern or Western Conference of the MLS? East, of course. Top six or bottom six in that bracket? Trick question. Right in the middle at 4-6-1 for 13 points, good enough (or not bad enough) for sixth, with just nine goals scored in 11 games.
Your LAFC (7-1-3, 24 points to lead the West) goes to Columbus, a city anxiously waiting to see if has a Stanley Cup finalist, for a Game on Saturday (4:30 p.m., YouTube TV, KVMD). But not before the Galaxy (7-2-1, 22 points, second in the West) visit Columbus on Wednesday (4:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet). The Galaxy then concerns itself with the New York City FC at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson (Saturday at 1 p.m., ESPN). The LAFC actually has gone two whole games without a win – a 1-1 draw at Seattle and a 0-0 draw at home vs. Chicago. The Galaxy comes off a strange loss at N.Y. Red Bulls.


black 4Pasadena is the end point to this year’s 14th version of the Tour of California bike ride, but that Stage 7 and 78.3 mile leg doesn’t happen until a Saturday this time, on May 18. This Sunday, we commence in Sacramento (2:15 p.m., NBCSN) for an 88.8 mile loop. We will provide more details about how this plays out from South Lake Tahoe to Stockton to Laguna Sega, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Ventura, Santa Clarita and Mt. Baldy. A year ago, it started flat in Long Beach, went into the Santa Barbara mountains and ended up circling around Sacramento. Colombia’s Egan Bernal won two stages and ended up as the overall champ, ahead of American Tejay van Garderen.
More info: www.amgentourofcalifornia.com


black 5This week in college baseball maintains its top-two-tier structure, even though No. 1 UCLA lost the last of a three-game series in Arizona State, albeit an 8-7 decision after scoring seven unanswered runs to overcome a 4-0 deficit. UCLA, which has not lost a weekend series all season, is top-ranked for the eighth week in a row, but you don’t see billboards around town congratulating the coach for that, do you? Stanford stays at No. 2 but Oregon State fell from No. 3 to No. 12 after a four-game losing skid. UC Irvine fell out of the Top 25 after losing three of four last week.
Three more weeks of regular-season games before the NCAA Regionals come up May 31-June 3:
UCLA (37-8, 16-5 Pac-12): vs. Long Beach State, at Jackie Robinson Stadium, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; at Washington State, Friday at 5 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at noon.
USC (20-24-1, 5-11-1 Pac-12): At Arizona State, Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at noon, Pac-12 Network
UC Irvine (29-13, 10-5 Big West): at San Diego, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; vs. Cal Poly at Anteater Ballpark, Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., ESPN3, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Cal State Northridge (19-26, 6-12 Big West): vs. Cal Baptist at Matador Field, Tuesday at 3 p.m.; at UC Davis, Friday at 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Long Beach State (11-34, 5-10 Big West): at UCLA, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; at UC Santa Barbara, Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Cal State Fullerton (19-24, 6-9 Big West): vs. Grand Canyon at Goodwin Field, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; at UC Riverside, Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
Loyola Marymount (27-20, 14-10 WCC): Off week.
Pepperdine (20-20, 11-10 WCC): At Cal Poly, Tuesday at 6 p.m.; at Portland, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.



* If you’re still following the NBA playoffs and looking for another four overtime contest, the Elite Eight take off this week from here:
Western Conference
= Golden State at Houston, Game 4: Monday at 6:30 p.m., TNT (Warriors lead 2-1)
= Portland at Denver, Game 5: Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., TNT (Series tied 2-2)
Eastern Conference
= Milwaukee at Boston, Game 4: Monday at 4 p.m., TNT (Bucks lead 2-1)
= Philadelphia at Toronto, Game 5: Tuesday at 5 p.m., TNT (Series tied 2-2)

* If you’re still following the NHL playoffs, these last six launch this week from here:
Western Conference
= St. Louis at Dallas, Game 6: Monday at 7 p.m., NBCSN (Sharks lead s3-2); if necessary: Game 7 at San Jose, Wednesday TBD
= Dallas at St. Louis, Game 7, Tuesday at 5 p.m., NBCSN (Series tied 3-3).
Eastern Conference
= Boston at Columbus, Game 6: Monday at 4 p.m., NBCSN (Bruins lead 3-2); if necessary: Game 7 at Boston, Wednesday, TBD
Winner vs. Carolina in conference final starting this weekend

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