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John Urschel is an offensive lineman for the NFL Baltimore Ravens whose Twitter handle is @MathMeetsFball. He has bachelor's and master's degrees in math, both with a 4.0 grade-point average. And this week he tweeted:

Now, journalists are notoriously poor at math (or at least this one is), so we'll provide a link to the paper. And for those of you who are mathematically inclined, here's the abstract:

March Madness 2015: Winners And Losers

9 hours ago
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Craig Mitchell is a judge in Los Angeles' criminal court, but he has an unusual sideline gig. He's one of the last people anyone would expect to find hanging out in Skid Row, known as a hub for LA's homeless community. But about four years ago, a man he once sent to state prison called him up and asked him to come down.

It's not a quiet place, even at six in the morning. People shuffle in and out of makeshift tents that line the sidewalks. A few yards away, about a half dozen men pass by doing something that would look perfectly normal almost anywhere else in LA: jogging.

100 Issues Of 'Who's Who In Baseball'

Mar 19, 2015
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A private university in Nashville, Tenn., may have one of the smartest teams in this year's NCAA tournament. This is Belmont University's seventh appearance in the tournament, but off the court, they lead the NCAA in academic rankings.

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Soccer's governing body says the final of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar will be played on Dec. 18, the Arab country's national day.

FIFA's executive committee also agreed that the 2022 World Cup, whose venue and schedule have been the focus of controversy, will be played over "a reduced timeframe, for instance 28 days."

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Dallas Seavey Wins 3rd Iditarod In 4 Years

Mar 18, 2015

Dallas Seavey won his third Iditarod in four years, crossing under the burled arch in Nome on Wednesday morning.

Seavey finished the 1,100-mile sled dog race in eight days, 18 hours, 13 minutes, and six seconds.

Emily Schwing of Alaska Public Media reports that Seavey "made the 22-mile run from Safety, the Iditarod's final stop before the finish line in Nome, in three hours. He finished the race with 10 dogs."

President Barack Obama didn't exactly go out on a limb with his college-basketball picks this year.

Like most people, he picked Kentucky to run the table, go 40-0, and win the NCAA Tournament. He also picked three No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 to make it to the Final Four.

"I don't think you can play a perfect basketball game anymore than you can do anything perfectly," the president said of Kentucky, "but these guys are coming pretty close."

The president did mix in a little politics.

Ole Miss scored 62 points in the second half last night to dig its way out of a hole and into the big bracket, on the first day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. At the half, the Rebels were 17 points behind BYU — which had pulled off its own miracle comeback just three years ago.

BYU suffered the loss in Dayton, where it had made a historic 25-point comeback in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

It's the venerable custom in tennis and golf for the crowd to be still and quiet when players hit their shots.

Now, since even ordinary baseball batters have some success hitting against 98 mph fastballs with 40,000 fans standing and screaming, do you really believe that great athletes like Novak Djokovic or Rory McIlroy couldn't serve or putt with a few thousand fans hollering? If they'd grown up playing tennis or golf that way, that is. When disorder is a sustaining part of the game, players, in effect, put it out of their minds. Hear no evil, see no evil.

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Bhutan, the world's lowest-ranked soccer team, shocked the world on Tuesday when they beat Sri Lanka in a 2018 World Cup qualifier. NPR's Melissa Block speaks with Bhutanese journalist Namgay Zam in Thimphu, Bhutan, about the win.

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Citing both potential harm to society and the Computer Crimes Act, Thailand's Culture Ministry is urging women to resist what it says is a new trend of taking photos that focus on the midriff and the lower portion of their breasts.

The warning was issued Monday — and a ministry official acknowledged that in speaking out against an online trend, the agency ran the risk of drawing more attention to it.

They started the game ranked 209th out of 209 national teams — but Bhutan will progress to the second round of World Cup Qualifying after beating Sri Lanka in consecutive matches. The 2-1 victory comes less than a week after its historic first win in a World Cup qualifier.

The win puts Bhutan into the Asian group stage, where they'll gain more international experience as they play for a chance to move another step closer to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Concerns about possibly incurring brain injuries have prompted Chris Borland to end his NFL career after just one season, during which he emerged as a star on the San Francisco 49ers' vaunted defense. Borland, 24, said, "I just honestly want to do what's best for my health."

Saying that he had consulted with other players, medical experts and his family, Borland stated, "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk."

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The NCAA has announced the women's basketball bracket for 2015. UConn (32-1), Notre Dame (31-2), South Carolina (30-2) and Maryland (30-2) have all earned No. 1 seeds.

The NCAA also says five schools are making their first appearances in the tournament this century: New Mexico State, Ohio, Seton Hall, Tennessee State and Northwestern.

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Baseball fans endure the long winter in part because they know, come March, the game will again come alive. They can't wait for their radio, TV, computer screen or smartphone to come alive with scenes from warm climates featuring men in crisp uniforms pitching and catching.

Major League Baseball's spring training is underway, but at this stage, wins and losses aren't really important. It's all about fundamentals: getting ready for the regular season and hopefully the playoffs.

March Madness has begun: The NCAA has announced the seeds for the 2015 men's basketball tournament.

As expected, Kentucky is seeded first in the Midwest Region, and is also the top seed overall. If the thus-far undefeated team wins the tournament, they'll be the first undefeated men's basketball team in nearly four decades.

In the East, Villanova won the top spot; in the South, that went to Duke, and in the West, Wisconsin was seeded No. 1.

On Sunday, the top 68 collegiate teams will be selected to play in the annual NCAA basketball tournament. Brackets will be filled, hashtags worn out and betting money will be (illegally) lost.

But the "March Madness" phenomenon has evolved quickly and into a different format than it originated. All along though, it's the fans who've charged the tradition.

Where It All Began

In 2001, Serena Williams was heckled by the crowd at Indian Wells, Calif., as she defeated Kim Clijsters in the final to claim her second title. She vowed never to play there again. But on Friday, in her first match at Indian Wells since that day, Williams was welcomed with a standing ovation.

$24B TV Deal Puts Cash In NBA Pockets

Mar 14, 2015
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And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: No need to take in any NBA stars - a new TV contract will raise the team's salary cap before players have to start bussing tables at Applebee's. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us from Portlandia.

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There's some disagreement — even between the match's promoters — on where the upcoming mega-fight will rank in the greatest bouts of all time.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. and Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao — two of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world — meet May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in a welterweight world championship unification bout.

Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, calls it "the biggest event in the history of boxing."

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