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March 16, 2003
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King plans to return as Buc backup
The free-agent quarterback is ready to compete with Shane Matthews for the No. 2 spot.

QBs learn system in classroom
TAMPA -- Zebra Trojan, far west, right slot, X short, 200 jet smoke, X choice.

Mom's extravagance paid off in full
Aubrey Huff's mother invested all she had in his future after his dad's murder.

Piniella wants losing to sting
ST. PETERSBURG -- Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella started holding individual meetings with players Saturday and the message was direct: Let's see some passion.

LaMar is eager to deal
ST. PETERSBURG -- Lou Piniella and his hard-working staff are doing what they can to make the players better. General manager Chuck LaMar, meanwhile, is trying to find better players.

Playoffs get nearer after rally
LIGHTNING 2, CANADIENS 1: Tampa Bay continues its torrid pace and puts a pursuer farther back.

Extra fun on return home
MONTREAL -- How cool was Saturday for Lightning center Vinny Lecavalier and right wing Martin St. Louis?

Gary Shelton
You're invited
Well, sort of, as Gary Shelton takes a stab at picking what teams will come to Tampa for the first- and second-round games of the NCAA Tournament starting Thursday.

Hubert Mizell
Underachievers should note Bob Knight's gesture
Bob Knight took my call at a courtside phone. Texas Tech players were shooting around, preparing for their last chance -- the Big 12 Conference tournament -- to rescue a season of shortfall.

NFL Europe copes with possible war

Players put their faith in security measures while competing abroad.

Jags defense gets a lift with Douglas
JACKSONVILLE -- Hugh Douglas was looking for a team, and the Jaguars wanted impact players.

A's prepared to let Tejada walk

PHOENIX -- The Athletics will not offer Miguel Tejada a multiyear contract to remain with the team after this season, owner Steve Schott said Saturday, claiming the A's can't afford to keep the AL MVP.

Pals try to cheer McGraw
BRADENTON -- Tug McGraw was moved from Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater to the Moffitt Clinic at Tampa General Hospital on Friday night and doctors continued to evaluate the former relief pitcher's condition Saturday.

College football
The Florida four


Slapshots: Think before you speak

What was John Vanbiesbrouck thinking when he, as coach, general manager and part owner of the Ontario Hockey League's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, called one of his players the "N" word?

Hull into top five; Wings win
DETROIT -- Brett Hull reached another milestone Saturday and the defending Stanley Cup champions look ready to defend their title.

College basketball
Central Florida loses in Atlantic Sun final

ORLANDO -- The tradition of winning championships isn't very old at Georgia State, but it still means a lot to the Panthers.

Big East: Third time isthe charm for Pittsburgh
In their third consecutive title game, the Panthers run away from UConn in the second half for a 74-56 victory, their first league championship.

PAC-10: Ducks win first championship
Oregon is lowest seed to take the tournament, beating USC 74-66.

C-USA: MVP Whitehead carries Louisville
The junior forward's free throws give the Cardinals their first tournament title, 83-78 over UAB.

SEC: Wildcats give Tigersbad case of the blues
Kentucky loves playing in the Big Easy, and it shows in a 78-58 whipping of Auburn.

SEC: Mississippi State douses LSU's fire
Defending champion Bulldogs end Tigers improbable run 76-61.

Big 12: Missouri's motivation outlasts KU
DALLAS -- Missouri had plenty of motivation.

Big Ten: Freshman's lone point lifts OSU
CHICAGO -- Brent Darby heard the whistle and thought he was going to the free-throw line once more, a chance to win for Ohio State with six seconds left.

ACC: Wolfpack performance clearly not Hodgepodge
Finely tuned N.C. State surprises Wake Forest behind Julius Hodge.

ACC: Duke makes easy work of Tar Heels
Blue Devils avenge a week-old loss 75-63.

Empire Maker stakes claim as Derby factor

HALLANDALE BEACH -- Bobby Frankel has his real Kentucky Derby horse now.

Kentucky's a long way off for Tampa Bay contender
The trainer of Strength Within wants to test his horse, starting today at Tampa Bay Downs.

In brief
Construction delays hurt Pan-Am Games

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Construction delays could force the cancellation of swimming, volleyball, gymnastics and soccer events for the Pan-American Games.

Chalk up another victim to NCAA logic (the truest of all oxymorons)

Orlando's backup QB brings title experience

Connell Maynor, a former Storm player, can run, throw and fall back on his 4 championships.

McGrady's 34 helpstop hot Hornets

ORLANDO -- Playing four games in five nights takes a toll, so it was no surprise the Hornets didn't have the usual spring in their legs.

Experimental car has green power

SEBRING -- One car in the 12 Hours of Sebring was fueled by margaritas.

Kalitta gets third straight top spot
GAINESVILLE -- Doug Kalitta earned the No.1 qualifying position in Top Fuel on Saturday at the NHRA Gatornationals. Kalitta took the lead in the last qualifying session, .002 seconds ahead of first-day leader Brandon Bernstein, with a pass of 4.535 seconds at 326.08 mph.

Ex-NBA player a big man on track
Tom Hammonds, one of NHRA's few minority drivers, isn't dabbling; he wants to excel.

Team Joest wins Sebring
No.1 Audi R8 takes the lead after Champion driver develops cramps.

Love takes Honda Classic lead

PALM BEACH GARDENS -- After going more than two years without a win, Davis Love is in position for his second in less than two months.

A few runs will do for Lions

VALRICO -- In the second inning of Saturday's game between King and Bloomingdale, Marcus Causey opened the scoring for the Lions with a single to leftfield that scored Zach Grace.

A leader, teacher, champion
ALL-HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: For a team to be the best ever it needs a senior like Matt Juncal.

Cougar's desire overcomes all
ALL-PINELLAS COUNTY WRESTLER OF THE YEAR: Two severe knee injuries and tough competition can't keep Mike Flood from winning a state title.

Daily fishing report

Spring fever has hit anglers hard this year. But the long, cold, windy winter is behind us, and outdoor enthusiasts ache to do their favorite thing.

Urban fishing ponds face budget cutbacks
ST. PETERSBURG -- Growing up in suburban New Jersey, I was fortunate there was one small patch of the Garden State that hadn't been paved: Oak Tree Pond.

Your turn
I think John Romano's comparison between Pat Tillman and Toni Smith is absurd (Two athletes, one nation, with liberty, justice for all, March 7).

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