Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 22nd 2018 Contents sports A37
Thursday, March 22, 2018
moves on to
the Sweet 16
The opening weekend of the NCAA
Tournament was not madness. It
was straight bonkers.
A No 16 seed knocked off a No
1 for the first time in 136 tries. Two
No 1s failed to get through to the
Sweet 16 for the first time since
2004 and the fourth time overall.
Defending national champion
North Carolina, gone. Loyola-
Chicago and it super scout nun,
Sister Jean, in.
And that was just the beginning.
The regional round is up next.
Whatever’s crazier than bonkers,
that’s what we can probably expect.
Here’s what to look for:
Villanova – The No 1 Wildcats have
that look, the one they had winning
the 2016 title.
Kansas – The other No 1 still left
looks pretty good, too.
Duke – Blueblood Blue Devils are
back in the Sweet 16.
Michigan – The highest seed left
on the left side of the bracket, the
No 3 Wolverines are on a roll.
Gonzaga – Don’t count the Zags
out for another Final Four trip —
they’re playing that well and have
confident freshman Zach Norvell Jr
on their side.
West Virginia – Getting through
Press Virginia and Jevon Carter will
Texas A&M – The Aggies’ up-and-
down season is trending the right
direction at the right time.
Kentucky – The youngest team in
basketball is long, athletic and, as
usually is the case with Coach Cal’s
teams, playing its best basketball
late in the season.
Texas Tech – The Red Raiders are
in the Sweet 16 for the first time
since 2005 and may not be done.
Clemson – Shoot like they have
so far, it’s going to be tough to stop
these high-scoring Tigers.
Purdue – The Boilermakers found
a way to beat Butler without Isaac
Haas – Taking down Texas A&M
might be a little more difficult if he
can’t find a brace the NCAA is OK
Chicago-Loyola – The Ramblers
wrecked brackets across the country
and are rambling into the Sweet 16
with a 98-year-old nun on their side,
so don’t count them out.
Nevada – Coach Eric Musselman
has done a superb job his third
season in Reno and could spoil the
Syracuse – Those complaints
about the Orange getting into the
field of 68 dissipated quickly with
wins over TCU and Michigan State.
Kansas State – The Wildcats
County’s dance party and have two
NCAA Tournament wins despite
playing without All-Big 12 forward
Dean Wade (foot). He’s expected to
Florida State – Taking down No.
1 Xavier can’t be taken lightly and
neither can the Seminoles.
ROCKETS 115, TRAIL BLAZERS 111
TIMBERWOLVES 123, CLIPPERS 109
HAWKS 99, JAZZ 94
PELICANS 115, MAVERICKS 105
RAPTORS 93, MAGIC 86
PISTONS 115, SUNS 88
CELTICS 100, THUNDER 99
KEY BISCAYNE—Serena Williams lost
in the first round of the Miami
Open yesterday, still rusty in her
return from pregnancy and un-
able to overcome a tough draw
against Naomi Osaka, who won
The 20-year-old Osaka, who
earned her first career title Sun-
day at Indian Wells, showed no
signs of letup and overpowered
the erratic Williams. Osaka had
the stronger serve, and in rallies
wore down Williams working her
from side to side.
The matchup worthy of a final
came about because both players
are unseeded. Osaka is ranked a
career-best 22nd, while Williams’
ranking is 491st after her layoff of
more than a year.
Another new mother and
former No. 1, three-time Key
Biscayne champion Victoria Aza-
renka, defeated Catherine Bellis
Williams has endured a first-
round defeat only four other
times, most recently at the 2012
French Open. The latest loss came
at a tournament she has won a
record eight times and considers
her hometown event.
The match was the last for
Williams at Key Biscayne, 90
miles south of her home in Palm
Beach Gardens. The tournament
is moving next year to the Miami
Dolphins’ stadium, and Williams
helped with the ceremonial
After her defeat, she left with-
out speaking to the media.
Because of Williams’ ranking,
she entered the draw as a wild
card, and looked the part. She
was a step slow to balls in the
corners and often late with her
swing, while she put barely half
her first serves in play.
Osaka, who has both Ameri-
can and Japanese citizenship and
lives in Fort Lauderdale, was play-
ing her idol for the first time but
didn’t seem a bit fazed. She im-
proved to 14-4 this year.
Things may get tougher for her
in the second round, when she’ll
face No 4-seeded Elina Svitolina.
BAGHDAD—Iraqi football fans are
celebrating the lifting of Fifa’s
three-decade-long ban on their
country holding international
competitions as the southern
city of Basra prepared to host a
friendly match with Qatar yester-
The world football’s governing
body lifted the ban last Friday,
allowing Iraqi cities of Basra,
Karbala and Irbil to host full in-
ternational games and competi-
tions for the first time since the
1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Even while the ban was in
place, Iraq was still allowed,
since 2017, to host friendly
matches and tournaments — such
as three- nation face-off between
Iraq, Qatar and Syria slated to
begin Wednesday evening.
Basra, Karbala and Irbil are
considered the safest in Iraq. Fifa
did not permit games to be held
in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad,
which still sees frequent militant
Iraq’s minister of youth and
sports, Abdul-Hussein Abtan,
congratulated the Iraqi people on
Monday, following Fifa’s move,
and said it would change how
Iraq is viewed in the region and
Iraqi fans posted celebratory
videos to the minister’s Facebook
page, praising Fifa’s decision.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-
Abadi said the lifting of the ban
“was the result of stability, secu-
rity and successes achieved by
Iraq in all fields,” according to a
statement from his office on Fri-
Fifa’s 1990 ban was temporar-
ily lifted in 2011, but after a match
between Iraq and Jordan was dis-
rupted by a power outage, it was
Fifa’s decision also follows
Iraq’s declaration of victory over
the Islamic State group. (AP)
Alonso faces 5-year
MADRID—Spanish prosecutors are
seeking a five-year prison sen-
tence for former Real Madrid
player Xabi Alonso for alleged tax
Prosecutors accuse Alonso
of defrauding tax authorities of
about 2 million euros ($2.4 mil-
lion) from 2010-12. The retired
Spain midfielder played for Ma-
drid from 2009-14.
They also want Alonso to pay a
fine of 4 million euros ($4.9 mil-
lion), in addition to the amount
allegedly defrauded. The irregu-
larities are related to Alonso’s in-
come from image rights.
Prosecutors on Wednesday also
sought prison sentences, fines
and restitutions for Alonso’s tax
advisers at the time.
All those accused have denied
The case against Alonso had
initially been dismissed but was
reopened earlier this year.
Many players have been tar-
geted by Spanish tax authorities in
recent years, including Barcelona
forward Lionel Messi, who two
years ago was found guilty—along
with his father—of defrauding
authorities of 4.1 million euros.
Other players investigated in
Spain include Cristiano Ronaldo,
Luka Modric, Marcelo, Alexis
Sanchez, Ricardo Carvalho, Angel
Di Maria, Javier Mascherano, Rad-
amel Falcao and Fabio Coentrao.
Manchester United manager Jose
Mourinho is being investigated
for the time he worked at Real
Georgia Stanway, left
and Linkoping’s Filippa
Angeldahl battle for the
ball, during the Women’s
quarter final Football
Manchester City and
Linkoping, at the City
Football Academy, in
yesterday. PICTURE AP
Naomi Osaka, right, of Japan, shakes hands with Serena Williams after
winning their match at the Miami Open tennis tournament, yesterday in Key
Biscayne, Florida. Osaka won 6-3, 6-2.
Serena Williams loses in 1st round
Iraqi fans celebrate lifting of 3-decade Fifa ban
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