March 14, 2003
UCLA coach Steve Lavin:
Regular season?! Regular season?! With two more wins, he proves a couple timely Ws are all a team needs.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Nothing screws up a perfectly good Bubble like conference-tournament upsets. "At-large" contenders want it both ways: Upsets for themselves, chalk everywhere else. The Pac-10 ain't playing that way.

Indulge this fantasy: Overnight nationwide Cinderella sensation UCLA springboards from Thursday's monster upset over national No. 1 Arizona to win Pac-10 tournament title (and automatic Big Dance ticket) ...

'Zona clings to No. 1 seed (barely, he said begrudgingly -- read on) ...

Bruins' awful RPI (156 at last glance) justifies slotting UCLA into a No. 16 seed, where a Selection Committee with a sense of humor matches them up with, yes, Arizona (technically, intraleague matchups can't happen in the first two rounds, but let it go -- it's a fantasy) ...

Having proven they can do it a week earlier, the fearless, nothing-to-lose Bruins pull the first 16-over-1 upset ever ...

This is the crazy, pulse-quickening speculation that emerges in the wild 72 hours before the brackets come out.

Arizona No. 1?
Lute Olson, save it: Maybe your conference-tournament bashing was just a hedge in case your "No. 1" 'Cats would choke.

Common sense: A Big Dance No. 1 seed "lock" shouldn't lose in the conference quarterfinals. For clearing the bar for underperformance by a top-ranked team, Arizona should be smacked by the Selection Committee down to a 2 seed.

Buffs Miracle
March's wildest finish yet: Up two, Kansas State intercepted a last-second Colorado desperation heave, then started the traditional celebration run

1. Kings' MVP? Divac. W/o him, Sacto crushed by Suns
2. Calipari vs. Pitino today: Battle of bad NBA coaches
3. Anyone know who Jaromir Jagr has in his bracket?
1. MLB players in '04 Olympics: Bad timing
2. Minnesota's Bubble: Gotta love 'dog Northwestern
3. Where's Gene Bartow: UAB derails Marquette 'wagon
around the court, ball in hand. Too bad there was a second left on the clock. Thanks to the walking violation (see DQ'ed), the Buffs got a new shot, which turned into a you-didn't-call-bank 3 for the miracle win.

Bubble Wrap
Looking good: Indiana (crushed Penn State), Oregon (beat Arizona State) ... In a whole lot of hurt: Minnesota (lost to Northwestern), Alabama (lost to Vandy) ... Still in limbo: LSU (would help to beat Florida), Boston College (must beat Pitt), mid-majors (rooting against UCLA, USC).

Piazza Fallout
MLB's discipline czar said punishment from the Piazza-Mota melee would be dished out early next week. Stemming baseball's "macho complex" culture of retaliation will take more than a few suspensions.

But MLB has a more immediate issue on its hands: the Mets and Dodgers meet in Mexico City this weekend. (Mota ain't no dummy; he's staying stateside.)

If I was Bud Selig: I'd get the message to both teams that if there's even a sniff of a clash, offenders will sit for 30 days.

Uecker to Hall
In simpler, less scantily-clad times, before beer ads were about "Cat Fights," they were about catch phrases. The classic "I must be in the front row!" helped catapult Bob Uecker into the broadcasters' wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday.

And if you didn't know him for that: You knew him for "Juuuust a bit outside!" from the movie "Major League." Maybe baseball should create an "ads and movies" wing. (First class: Robert Redford, Kevin Costner).

Kansas State goat Pervic Pasco:
You hate to do this to a college kid, but he's the one who caught Colorado's long pass and traveled with it, setting up CU's miracle 3.
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IN: NFL rumors
Championship Week

Today's "Alt-Tab": Big Ten, SEC, ACC tourneys all afternoon. Plus, small-league madness: American vs. Holy Cross, SF Austin vs. Sam Houston St ...

You know it's March when: LeBron's team makes Ohio elite eight, no one cares ...

It's not the Lakers who must win in Minnesota tonight; the T'WOLVES must win to show they are a serious playoff team ...

Prediction: Kordell Stewart's Bears jersey will be the NFL's top seller this year ...

Say Ouch: Junior Seau says he's done in San Diego ...

C-Week Picks: Taking 'Zona and Marquette to win league tournaments (oops) underscores a key lesson for picking the Big Dance: Fortune favors the bold.

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