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March 23, 2003
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Rays
Curtain closes on Rays' Hit Show
Tampa Bay releases Greg Vaughn, the last member of the vaunted quartet, and eats the $9.25-million owed to him.

Release clears up lineup questions
ST. PETERSBURG -- With the release of Greg Vaughn on Saturday, the Devil Rays are closing in on an everyday lineup.

Rays sing a familiar refrain: low payroll
The best way to look at the Devil Rays' decision to release Greg Vaughn on Saturday might be this: It's the end of an error.

Lightning
Just one more point
LIGHTNING 4, COYOTES 0: That's all Tampa Bay needs thanks to Vinny Lecavalier (hat trick) and Nikolai Khabibulin.

Team ending Springfield affiliation
PHOENIX -- The Lightning is looking for a new American Hockey League affiliate.

Gary Shelton: Spartans are bruisers, and proud of it
photo
[Times photo: James Borchuck]
TAMPA -- There are only a few hours to go now. There is still much for Michigan State to do to prepare.
John Romano: Gators counter with speed, skill
TAMPA -- They, too, know how to snarl.

Hubert Mizell: Hall of Fame for Rose? Yes. In the dugout? No way
For 12 years, since he should have become Hall of Fame eligible, I've been saying Pete Rose belongs in Cooperstown.

College basketball: Eek, eek, eke for Arizona
ARIZONA 96, GONZAGA 95 (2OT): The top seed in the West advances by ousting the perennial Cinderella.

Hokies avoid upset in final second
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Carrie Mason drove the lane for an uncontested layup with one second to go, giving Virginia Tech a 61-59 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.

NCAA - West: Hot-shooting Irish take care of Illini
INDIANAPOLIS -- Dan Miller scored a career-high 23 as Notre Dame, behind a school tournament-record 13 3-pointers, moved into the Sweet 16 Saturday with a 68-60 victory over Illinois in the West Region.

NCAA - Midwest: Force with young Eagle
Freshman hits three 3s in overtime to lead Marquette past Missouri 101-92.

NCAA - South: Big two take over for Huskies
SPOKANE, Wash. -- At halftime, Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun challenged his two best players to be more aggressive. Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor answered the call and sent the Huskies to the South Region semifinals.

NCAA - East: Newcomers take stage for Sooners
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A couple of freshmen helped make sure Oklahoma senior Hollis Price gets to keep playing in the NCAA Tournament.

Tampa subregional: UF's small center comes up big
Behaving like the Energizer Bunny, David Lee sparks the team with a career-high 23 points.

Prosser provides higher education
Former high school teacher brings lessons to court for Demon Deacons.

Versatility is this Spartan's game
Alan Anderson isn't limited to one specialty or position, giving MSU an extra edge or two.

Affection only, not acrimony
Despite choosing UF over MSU, Anthony Roberson is still "our kid from Saginaw" to coach Tom Izzo.

Sense of deja vu for UF seniors in tonight's match
TAMPA -- It's all come full circle for Florida's seniors.

State ties, rivalry bind two guards
TAMPA -- Kelvin Torbert might not know much about Florida's team, but he is familiar with guard Anthony Roberson. Torbert, a sophomore guard from Flint, Mich., grew up down the road from Roberson, a freshman from Saginaw, Mich.

Deacons seeing double as they watch Daniels
TAMPA -- If Wake Forest is the Josh Howard show, Wake Forest against Auburn has the potential to be a two-spotlight stage.

Post players come up big for Auburn
Kyle Davis Marco Killingsworth, Kyle Davis and Marquis Daniels give Tigers a powerful inside presence.

Strengths balance out in this tossup
Given that Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has been to the Final Four three times, has a 26-10 record in the NCAA Tournament and has a national championship -- how can you call a Spartans victory an upset?

Florida: 5 keys to victory
1. MATT BONNER BOUNCING BACK: Bonner was slowed late in the season by a heel injury, and coach Billy Donovan doubted the senior could play back-to-back games in a tournament because of it. Bonner insists he will play. But if he's not at least 90 percent, Michigan State could have a field day inside.

Michigan State: 5 keys to victory
1. DON'T PANIC: This might as well be a home game for Florida, so Michigan State will have to block out the crowd. The Gators will go on scoring spurts and how the Spartans react will be crucial. If Michigan State gets rattled, it could get out of hand quickly.

Another win would prove Tigers' point
TAMPA -- It might seem a bit unfair to criticize Wake Forest.

Wake Forest: 5 keys to victory
1. POINTS BY HOWARD: While senior forward Josh Howard was no slouch, with 13 rebounds and 12 points against East Tennessee State on Friday, Wake Forest needs him to come out shooting stronger against Auburn. The Demon Deacons are 12-1 when Howard scores more than 20, and 13-0 when he shoots at least 50 percent.

Auburn: 5 keys to victory
1. CRASH THE GLASS: Wake Forest has an imposing front line, and the Demon Deacons have outrebounded opponents by at least 10 in 19 games. They do it on both ends, too, as evidenced by their 19 offensive rebounds against East Tennessee State. Josh Howard had 13 rebounds Friday.

Vitale gets the last word on Auburn coach
Dick Vitale has a message for Auburn coach Cliff Ellis: He did chase his hair that day.

Seasons change for Florida's fans
UF is known for its football, but the Rowdy Reptiles show it's okay to love basketball too.

Hoopla!
1981: 2nd-round stunners

What's a wager between family members?
Wake's Eric Williams has an ongoing challenge from Mom -- top her game-high rebounds (30).

Guest Analyst: Wake Forest-Auburn: This game will be won on the boards
Digger Phelps joined ESPN as a college basketball studio and game analyst in November 1993. He works in the studio each Monday and Tuesday, and calls select games. He also teams with Dick Vitale to provide studio and on-site analysis during Championship Week and the Final Four. Phelps served as a college basketball analyst for CBS for the 1992 and '93 NCAA championships, handling studio and game analysis. During his 20 seasons as coach at Notre Dame (1972-91), Phelps won more games (393) than any coach in Irish history. He spoke with Times TV/radio writer John C. Cotey and analyzed today's Wake Forest-Auburn game:

Guest Analyst: UF's playmakers vs. MSU's physicality
USF coach Seth Greenberg coached his Bulls against Michigan State and Florida this season. The Spartans defeated USF 65-56, and the Gators posted a 68-52 win. Greenberg spoke with Times TV/radio writer John C. Cotey and broke down today's Gators-Spartans game:

Mix of royals, dancers, lawyers
The NCAA Tournament has brought a lot of people to town, but it wasn't until Saturday that I discovered royalty had come to Tampa.

Kickin' back with Marquis Daniels: Daniels is down with T-Mac, but not Marines
This is Auburn star forward Marquis Daniels, an Orlando native and close friend of Magic star Tracy McGrady. He has a take or two on T-Mac, war, his game, Malcolm X, Tupac and the story of the Creation.

Golf: Mano-a-mano third round falls short
Tiger Woods takes a big step toward historic Bay Hill win, and Ernie Els stumbles.

Sorenstam breaks out of logjam
PHOENIX -- Annika Sorenstam's search for challenges goes beyond playing on the PGA Tour. Her former coaches in Sweden call it Vision 54, the one perfect round in which she makes nothing but birdies.

Eagle moves Huston up leaderboard
ORLANDO -- It was a long day but well worth it for John Huston.

NFL: Changes to OT likely to be nixed
Owners rarely approve rules quickly, but many players want a better way to decide ties.

Rant, Rave
RANT

Baseball: Myers solidifies spot in rotation
FORT MYERS -- The Phillies' starting rotation appeared to come into focus Saturday based on the news out of Clearwater and the performance by Brett Myers at City of Palms Park.

Neagle has pain-free workout
PHOENIX -- Colorado's Denny Neagle had no trouble with his sore left elbow in a bullpen session Saturday, but his status as opening-day starter remains unclear.

Equestrian: Jumping for a World Cup chance
Lauren Hough and her two mounts are top contenders this week in Tampa after starting the season strong.

NHL: Slapshots
Thank you for your support

Wings cement Central hold
ST. LOUIS -- Losing a two-goal edge didn't cause the Red Wings to lose their cool. Instead, Detroit responded to maintain its mastery over the Blues.

In brief: 31st wrestling title for Oklahoma State
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Johnny Thompson will end his college wrestling career with a meager 2-2 record against Minnesota's Ryan Lewis. In NCAA title matches, however, Thompson owns the rivalry, and his latest victory helped Oklahoma State win its 31st team championship Saturday.

Horses: Lane's End Stakes to New York Hero
FLORENCE, Ky. -- New York Hero outdueled Eugene's Third Son in the stretch and won by a neck in the Lane's End Stakes in Saturday's Kentucky Derby prep race at Turfway Park.

Arena: Lucas makes tough decision pay
After passing on Europe, the Storm lineman clears a path back to the NFL.

Internet: Indirect insights offered
You're looking for that last bit of karma entering today's games, that morsel of luck that might carry your team to the Sweet 16. We're here for you.

TV/Radio: Two like Spartans' chances
Rev up the Michigan State bandwagon. Oh, and save a seat for Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel.

NBA: Hawks' Ratliff blocks Indiana's shot at win
ATLANTA -- Theo Ratliff blocked a potential winning dunk by Jermaine O'Neal in the final seconds Saturday night to help the Hawks to a 92-89 victory over the Pacers, sending Indiana to its 11th consecutive road loss.

Motorsports: Harvick puts trouble behind him with win
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Kevin Harvick stayed out of trouble on and off the track Saturday and held off several challenges from Tony Raines to win the Channellock 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Bristol supplies moving action
Drivers say it's okay to bump someone out of the way with win on the line.

Preps: Panthers' four-run rally sends Lions to 6-5 loss
TAMPA -- Plant got off to a winning start in Saturday's opening round of the Saladino Tournament by staging a late rally to defeat King 6-5.

Saladino at Gaither
TAMPA -- The first round at Gaither offered a little bit of everything: a slugfest mixed with a load of errors followed by a well-played extra-inning affairand a blowout.

Dragons ride ace against Indians
TAMPA -- Jefferson coach Pop Cuesta wasn't positive a one-run lead would stand up against East Bay, but with ace Brian Chambers on the mound, he liked his chances.

Jesuit gets help in wins
TAMPA -- With more than a little help from Tampa Catholic and Tampa Bay Tech, Jesuit went 2-0 on its own field in the first day of the Saladino Tournament.

Falcons get back on track
DUNEDIN -- Tim Bascom wasn't about to let River Ridge spoil Dunedin's first game in its own tournament. For that matter, the Falcon pitcher also wasn't about to let the Royal Knights spoil his perfect season.

Warhawks' leadership right on time
SEMINOLE -- Coach Rick Masi told Corey Ahern to be a silent leader. It was a strange charge for the player he nicknamed "Sweetlips" because of how much he talked.

Impressive loss for Knights
River Ridge doesn't back down against powerhouse Dunedin in 2-0 defeat.

Letters: Your turn
Father knows best about Andreychuk column

 

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