02.24.20: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

Before we get into the numbers, we start, and end, a week where the basketball world is trying to celebrate a person instead of grieve a loss:

== The Kobe Bryant public memorial from Staples Center — Monday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – will be produced by Spectrum News 1 and Lakers cable TV partner Spectrum SportsNet and air on both services (with repeats through the day).
We have heard it will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with performances by Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera.
Others who have committed to airing the coverage (with how it is listed on their programming menu):
= KCBS-Channel 2: “Celebration of Life for Kobe and Giana Bryant” (with coverage starting at 9 a.m.)
= KNBC-Channel 4
= KTLA-Channel 5: “KTLA 5 News Special Edition: Kobe & Gianna Bryant Memorial” (with news coverage starting at 4 a.m.)
= KABC-Channel 7: “Eyewitness News Special Report: Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial)
= KCAL-Channel 9: “Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant”
(with coverage starting at 9 a.m.)
= KTTV-Channel 11: “Kobe Memorial Service” (with “GoodDay LA starting at 4 a.m.)
= KEVA-Channel 52 Spanish: “Kobe Bryant Memorial Service”
= ESPN: “A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant”
= NBA TV: “Kobe Bryant Memorial Service”
= CNN: “Kobe Bryant Memorial Service)
= E!: “E! News: Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant
= BET: “BET Remembers: Kobe Bryant”
= ESPN Deportes: “SportsCenter Especial”
Streaming will also be on LATimes.com, NBCNewsNOW.com, ETLive.com, Yahoo Sports and Facebook Watch. Radio coverage will be on the Lakers’ KSPN-AM (710) flagship station.

== A statue for Hank Gathers, the Loyola Marymount University star who died in 1990 during a conference playoff game at the age of 23, will be dedicated outside Gersten Pavilion on Saturday at 4 p.m. prior to the Lions’ final regular-season home game against San Francisco. It’s the 30th anniversary of LMU’s run to the Elite Eight in the weeks after Gathers’ death, collapsing on the court during the West Coast Conference tournament. Gersten Pavilion became known as “Hank’s House.” Former LMU coach Paul Westhead and members of the 1989-90 team will be on campus for the ceremony and game. The team will be recognized at center court at halftime.
The statue was created by the Fine Art Studio of Rotblatt-Amrany, which designed notable sports pieces including statues at the Staples Center and the Michael Jordan statue in Chicago.
The Gathers family was invited to preview the statue in progress, and LMU captured his mother, Lucille, with her first impressions in this touching video:

Donations are being accepted to help fund the statue, including the opportunity for donor’s names to be etched on the statue’s base.
For more information visit www.Hank44.lmu.edu


NUMBER 1What we know about the NBA coming up:
== In case you weren’t aware of how it works, a New York Times sportswriter is explaining to us – well, we doubt L.A. is the main audience for this – what the Lakers and Clippers rivalry means these days.
OK, we’re good.

How the rest of the week unfolds for the Lakers (43-12, winners of five in a row, 5 1/2 games ahead of Denver and 6 1/2 games ahead of the Clippers in the Western Conference standings, with Memphis currently in the No. 8 position)
= Vs. New Orleans, Staples Center, Tuesday at 7 p.m., TNT
= At Golden State, Thursday at 7:30 p.m., TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
= At Memphis, Saturday at 5 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
How the rest of the week unfolds for the Clippers (37-19, losers of three in a row)
= Vs. Memphis, Staples Center, Monday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket
= At Phoenix, Wednesday at 6 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Denver, Staples Center, Friday at 7:30 p.m., Prime Ticket, ESPN
= Vs. Philadelphia, Staples Center, Sunday at 12:30 p.m.


NUMBER 2What else we know about the college basketball season a week away from the post-season tournaments:
== Even in a week where No. 1 Baylor (24-2, 13-1 Big 12) loses to No. 3 Kansas (24-3, 13-1), plus No. 2 Gonzaga (27-2), No. 4 San Diego State (26-1) and No. 6 Duke (24-3) also fall, the Monday AP Top 25 didn’t really get all that much of a makeover. Sure, Kansas moves up to the new No. 1 — how temporary has that been for others? Only Creighton (22-6) made a decent leap five spots up to No. 10. It doesn’t really mess up any of the potential top seeds in the projected regional sections, with Kansas, Baylor, Gonzaga and San Diego State expected to get those top seeds, with Dayton, Maryland, Duke and Florida State as No. 2 seeds.
Among the Pac-12 schools, Oregon (21-7) stays at No. 14, Colorado (21-7) drops three spots to No. 21, while Pac-12 leader Arizona State (19-8, 10-4)  misses the Top 25, but getting the most votes from the “others” list, along with Arizona (19-8, 9-5).
And UCLA got its first vote.
== UCLA (17-11, 10-5) is figuring things out. The Bruins’ 70-63 come-from-behind triumph on national TV at No. 18 Colorado, their fifth victory in a row and ninth in the last 11, isn’t too little or too late with two more weeks to go before the Pac-12 Tournament comes up.
== USC (19-9, 8-7) failed twice in the last week to get its 20th win of the season and as a result keeps waffling in the middle of the Pac-12 standings, having been passed up by UCLA. In the latest ESPN bracket projection, USC has fallen into a play-in game for a No. 12 seed. USC is 0-4 now against AP Top 25 teams having lost to Colorado last week, but the Trojans are 11-2 at home when Arizona and Pac-12 leader ASU come up this week. Their last meetings: USC lost by five at Arizona and by two at ASU three weeks ago.

How the week plays out for UCLA (17-11, 10-5 in the Pac-12)
= Vs. Arizona State, Pauley Pavilion, Thursday at 8 p.m., Pac-12 Network
= Vs. Arizona, Pauley Pavilion, Saturday at 7 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2
How the week plays out for USC (19-9, 8-7 in the Pac-12)
= Vs. Arizona, Galen Center, Thursday at 7 p.m., ESPN
= Vs. Arizona State, Galen Center, Saturday at 5 p.m., ESPN2/ESPNU

How the week plays out for Cal State Northridge (11-17, 6-6 in the Big West)
= At Long Beach State, Wednesday at 7 p.m., ESPN3
= Vs. Cal State Fullerton, Matadome, Saturday at 7 p.m.
How the week plays out for Long Beach State (10-18, 5-7 in the Big West)
= Vs. Cal State Northridge, Walter Pyramid, Wednesday at 7 p.m., ESPN3
= At UC Davis, Saturday at 7 p.m.

How the week plays out for Loyola Marymount (10-18, 4-10 in the West Coast Conference)
= Vs. University of the Pacific, Gersten Pavilion, Thursday at 7 p.m.
= Vs. University of San Francisco, Gersten Pavilion, Saturday at 5 p.m.
How the week plays out for Pepperdine (15-14, 8-7 in the West Coast Conference)
= Vs. BYU, Firestone Fieldhouse, Saturday at 3 p.m., CBSSN

Games of national interest this week include:
Louisville at Florida State, 4 p.m., ESPN
Oklahoma State at Kansas, 6 p.m., ESPN
Dayton at George Mason, 4 p.m.
Duke at Wake Forest, 4 p.m., ACC Network
Kentucky at Texas A&M, 4 p.m., ESPN
Iowa at Michigan State, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Kansas State at Baylor, 5 p.m., ESPN+
Colorado State at San Diego State, 8 p.m., CBSSN
St. John’s at Villanova, 3 p.m., FS1
Georgetown at Marquette, 5:30 p.m., FS1
Utah at Stanford, 7 p.m.
Colorado at Cal, 6 p.m., Pac 12 Net
Oregon State at Oregon, 8 p.m., ESPN2
Davidson at Dayton, 4 p.m., ESPN2
Washington State at Washington, 6 p.m., FS1
Penn State at Iowa, 9 a.m., Big Ten Net
Providence at Villanova, 9 a.m., Channel 11
Kansas at Kansas State, 10:30 a.m., Channel 2
Baylor at TCU, 11 a.m.
Seton Hall at Marquette, 11:30 a.m., Channel 11
Auburn at Kentucky, 12:45 p.m., Channel 2
Duke at Virginia, 3 p.m., ESPN
Utah at Cal, 3 p.m., Pac-12 Network
DePaul at Butler, 3:30 p.m., FS1
San Diego State at Nevada, 5 p.m.
Creighton at St. John’s, 9 a.m. FS1
Xavier at Georgetown, 11 a.m., Channel 2
Michigan at Ohio State, 1 p.m., Channel 2
Colorado at Stanford, 3 p.m., ESPNU


NUMBER 3The final race for Jimmie Johnson on his “home track” is how they’re framing the next NASCAR Auto Club 400 (Sunday, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11), an event that was once 500 miles and held in February during the weekend after Daytona, but now a days tries to stay in its lane and survive at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Johnson, the 44-year-old seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champ from El Cajon, pulls his Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 onto the track for the last time before his “Celebrate 48” retirement tour (which, at Fontana, includes a bunch of $48 ticket specials). With more than 25 starts at Auto Club Speedway, Johnson has a record six wins, going back to 2002. His last trip to victory lane was in 2016. Add in there 13 top-five finishes and 17 top 10 finishes.
In the 2019 race, which was the fifth of the NASCAR slate, Kyle Bush brought his No. 18 Toyota from the No. 4 starting position to win all three stages for Joe Gibbs Racing, his 200th win across all three NASCAR national division.
No word yet if Ryan Newman will be pick this as the race for his return after his Daytona 500 accident.
The weekend schedule:
Friday: (Gates open at 11:30 a.m.) Cup practice, 1:05 p.m. to 1:55 p.m. and 2:35 p.m. to 3:25 p.m.; NXS practice, 12:05 p.m. to 12:55 p.m. and 2:02 p.m. to 2:27 p.m.
Saturday: (Gates open at 9:30 a.m.) Xfinity Series qualifying at 10:05 a.m., Xfinity Production Alliance Group 300 starts at 1 p.m.; Cup series qualifying at 11:35 a.m.
Sunday: (Gates open at 7 a.m.) Pre-race ceremonies at 11:50 a.m.; Auto Club 400 starts at 12:30 p.m.
More info: www.autoclubspeedway.com


NUMBER 4The 25th Major League Soccer season, expanded to 26 teams with the addition of Miami and Nashville, starts on the last Saturday of February and runs through the first Sunday in October with LAFC and the Galaxy each getting 34 regular contests before the playoffs.
The Galaxy, opening at Houston (Saturday, 12:30 p.m., Univision, Twitter, MLS Live on DAZN), is minus Zlatan Ibrahminvic (the 38-year-old can be found with Serie A club Milan) and plus Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez (the 31-year-old striker from Guadalajara who is the all-time leading scorer in Mexican national team history) joining Jonathan dos Santos and Cristian Pavon.
LAFC, opening at Banc of California Stadium against David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF (Sunday, 2:30 p.m., ESPN), comes off winning the 2019 Supporters’ Shield with a single-season record of 72 points and tied for the most goals all time with 85. Their 21-4-9 record included 13-1-3 at home, but a 3-1 loss to eventual MLS champion Seattle in the Western Conference final at Banc of California Stadium on Oct. 29.
Also this week for LAFC: Leg 2 of the CONCACAF Champions League Tournament Round of 16 vs. vs. Club Leon of Mexico, at Banc of California Stadium, Thursday at 7 p.m., FS1. LAFC lost 2-0 in the first leg and needs to outscore Leon by three goals to advance to next month’s tournament quarterfinals.


NUMBER 5The NHL trade deadline is Sunday at noon.
What more, or less, can the Kings do?

Also this week for the Kings (22-34-6, last in the Western Conference)
= Vs. Pittsburgh, Staples Center, Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
= Vs. New Jersey, Staples Center, Saturday at 1 p.m., Fox Sports West
= At Vegas, Sunday at 7:30 p.m., NBCSN
Also this week for the Ducks (24-30-7, next to last in the Western Conference)
= Vs. Edmonton, Honda Center, Tuesday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. Pittsburgh, Staples Center, Friday at 7 p.m., Prime Ticket
= Vs. New Jersey, Honda Center, Sunday at 5 p.m., Prime Ticket


*Prior to the April 23 NFL Draft in Las Vegas, there are 337 invites to the NFL Scouting Combine at Indianapolis, which started Sunday and runs through Monday, March 2. The on-field workouts carried by the NFL Network include quarterbacks, tight ends and receiver (Thursday, 1-8 p.m.); running backs, offensive linemen, place kickers and special teams (Friday, 1-8 p.m.); defensive linemen and linebackers (Saturday, 1-8 p.m.), defensive backs (Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

*This week in college baseball:
How the week plays out for UCLA (7-0)
= Vs. Keio University, Jackie Robinson Stadium, Tuesday at 4 p.m. (exhibition)
= Vs. Pepperdine, Jackie Robinson Stadium Wednesday at 6 p.m.
At the Frisco College Classic in Frisco, Texas:
= Vs. Oklahoma State, Friday at 1 p.m.
= Vs. Texas A&M, Saturday at 4 p.m.
= Vs. Illinois, Sunday at 9 a.m.
How the week plays out for USC (3-2)
= At Cal State Fullerton, Tuesday at 6 p.m.
= Vs. Keio University, Dedeaux Field, Wednesday at 6 p.m. (exhibition)
= Vs. Seton Hall, Dedeaux Field, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 2 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
How the week plays out for Long Beach State (5-2)
= Vs. University of San Diego, Blair Field, Tuesday at 6 p.m.
= Vs. Mississippi State, Blair Field, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m.
How the week plays out for Cal State Northridge (7-0)
= At University of Central Florida in Orlando, Fla.: Friday at 3 p.m., Saturday doubleheader at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Sunday at 10 a.m.
How the week plays out for Cal State Fullerton (3-3)
= Vs. USC, Goodwin Field, Tuesday at 6 p.m.
= Vs. University of San Francisco, Goodwin Field, Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 1 p.m.
How the week plays out for Loyola Marymount (3-5)
= Vs. UC Santa Barbara, Page Stadium, Tuesday at 6 p.m.
= At UC Davis, Friday at 2:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.
How the week plays out for Pepperdine (7-0)
= At UCLA, Wednesday at 6 p.m.
= At Florida International in Miami: Friday at 4 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m., Sunday at 9 a.m.

*U.S. Olympic trials for the marathon at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Saturday at 9 a.m., Channel 4

*The XFL Week 4:
L.A. Wildcats at N.Y. Guardians, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Saturday at 11 a.m., Channel 7
Also this weekend:
= Seattle at St. Louis, Saturday at 2 p.m., Channel 11
= Houston at Dallas, Sunday at 1 p.m., FS1
= D.C. at Tampa Bay, Sunday at 4 p.m., ESPN2

*Mater Dei (25-6) faces Sierra Canyon (27-4) in the CIF Southern Section Open Division boys basketball championship Friday at the Pyramid at Long Beach State at 8:30 p.m.
*Fairfax (26-4) faces Westchester (21-8) in the CIF L.A. City Section Open Division final Saturday at LA Southwest College at 7:30 p.m.

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