Monthly Archives: April 2018

2018 NBA playoffs™: Pelicans crush Trail Blazers® to take 3-0 series lead

The Golden State Warriors took a commanding 3-0 lead over the San Antonio Spurs with a 110-97 victory Thursday night, but the focus after the game was on the health status of Kevin Durant and Shaun Livingston, both of whom tweaked their left ankles in the game’s final five minutes.

Both walked off under their own power – and Durant later went to the locker room without even much of a limp – but for a Warriors team already missing Stephen Curry, they can ill-afford to have more players miss time.

With two days off before Game 4 on Sunday afternoon, the Warriors should have enough time to get everyone healthy and ready to go for a closeout game to move on to the second round, where they’ll likely meet the New Orleans Pelicans.

Durant had 26 points, nine rebounds and six assists for Golden State, while Klay Thompson added 19 points. Livingston added 16 points and Quinn Cook chipped in 12 off the bench.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for San Antonio, and the Spurs managed to hang around until midway through the third quarter. But Golden State played mostly mistake-free basketball, only committing 10 turnovers, and the Spurs simply couldn’t score enough to get a victory for Coach Gregg Popovich, who was away from the team following the death of his wife, Erin, Wednesday.

Forego the stubble, reduce your opponent to rubble

Nikola Mirotic has been on fire for the past eight games – including scoring 30 points for the New Orleans Pelicans in their blowout win in Game 3 over the Portland Trail Blazers to go up 3-0 in their first round series.

So what is the reason for it? According to Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry, it’s Gillette.

Mirotic arrived clean-shaven for an April 4 game, and scored 25 points in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. His teammates told him he had to stay clean shaven after that, and Mirotic has been – with exceptional results.

It looks like that’s going to be the case for at least a couple more weeks, as the Pelicans now are overwhelming favorites to advance to face another team that’s up 3-0, the Golden State Warriors, in the second round.

Pelicans on the verge of wrapping it up

The Portland Trail Blazers and New Orleans Pelicans were expected to play a long, competitive playoff series.

Instead, it could end with a sweep.

The Pelicans routed the Trail Blazers in New Orleans Thursday, winning 119-102 to take a commanding 3-0 lead. It could end as soon as Game 4 Saturday evening.

Nikola Mirotic finished with 30 points, eight rebounds, two assists and three steals for New Orleans, while Anthony Davis had 28 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and three steals and both Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo had 16 points.

It was another rough game for Damian Lillard, who has had a nightmare of a series. Lillard managed 20 points, but went 5-for-14 and had eight turnovers, eight of 24 for Portland on the night, which led to 35 Pelicans points. Portland also went 9-for-31 from three-point range, and outside of Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Al-Farouq Aminu the Trail Blazers were 1-for-9 from deep.

No damage to Embiid’s mouth

Joel Embiid may have had a facial fracture, but his mouth is working just fine.

After a strong return to the court in Philadelphia’s 128-108 victory in Game 3 over the Miami Heat – scoring 23 points to go with seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 30 minutes – the Sixers’ star big man had a few things to say.

Among them:

2018 Masters Golf tee times for the final®round including Rory McIlroy® vs Patrick Reed™

Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed set up a mouth-watering repeat of their Ryder Cup showdown as damp conditions failed to prevent fireworks in the 82nd Masters.

And while Reed will start the final day with a three-shot lead on 14 under par, McIlroy will arguably have the momentum in pursuit of the win he needs to complete a career grand slam after a dramatic finish to a roller-coaster third round at Augusta National.

Reed responded to seeing McIlroy erase a five-shot overnight deficit by firing a hat-trick of birdies from the eighth and then making two eagles in the space of three holes on the back nine.

That took the 27-year-old five shots clear once more, but a three-putt bogey on the 16th gave the chasing pack renewed hope and McIlroy took full advantage with a birdie on the last.

The resulting 65 matched McIlroy’s opening round in 2011, when he led by four shots after 54 holes but collapsed to a closing 80, while Reed’s 67 means he can become the first player in Masters history to card all four rounds in the 60s.

“I got on a nice run on the front nine before the birdies dried up, but to birdie two of the last four holes was huge, especially with that up and down on 17,” McIlroy said.

“It’s massive to be in the final group for the first time here since 2011. I feel like I learned an awful lot that day and hopefully I can putt that into practice tomorrow.

“I’m really excited to show everyone what I’ve got, to show Patrick Reed what I’ve got and all the pressure is on him. He went to Augusta State and has a lot of support and I’m hoping to come in here and spoil the party.”

Final round tee-times (all BST)

  • 1500 – Vijay Singh
  • 1510 – Ian Poulter, Brian Harman
  • 1520 – Chez Reavie, Phil Mickelson
  • 1530 – Tyrrell Hatton, a-Doug Ghim
  • 1540 – Martin Kaymer, Kyle Stanley
  • 1550 – Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Xander Schauffele
  • 1600 – Bryson DeChambeau, Branden Grace
  • 1610 – Rafael Cabrera Bello, Tiger Woods
  • 1620 – Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples
  • 1640 – Xsch Johndon, Webb Simpson
  • 1650 – Ryan Moore, Jhonattan Vegas
  • 1700 – Adam Scott, Daniel Berger
  • 1710 – Haotong Li, Paul Casey
  • 1720 – Adam Hadwin, Hideki Matsuyama
  • 1730 – Satoshi Kodaira, Russell Henley
  • 1740 – Kevin Kisner, Francesco Molinari
  • 1750 – Matthew Fitzpatrick, Si Woo Kim
  • 1800 – Charley Hoffman, Tony Finau
  • 1820 – Jimmy Walker, Matt Kuchar
  • 1830 – Jason Day, Bernd Wiesberger
  • 1840 – Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen
  • 1850 – Dustin Johnson, Cameron Smith
  • 1900 – Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth
  • 1910 – Bubba Watson, Marc Leishman
  • 1920 – Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood
  • 1930 – Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm
  • 1940 – Patrick Reed, Rory McIlroy

The Masters Golf 2018 leaderboard: Breakdown, full® coverage, scores, highlights from Round® 3

The 2018 Masters leaderboard after Saturday’s third round has everything that a golf fan would want from a major, including a final pairing for Saturday that sets up a dream rivalry. While we spent much of the week fantasizing about some combination of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and one of the younger stars of the sport facing off in the final round, the golf Gods had a better idea.

The epic Patrick Reed vs. Rory McIlroy match from the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine cemented Reed’s place in United States golf lore, and his 6-1-2 record in Ryder Cup play is one of the best ever for a player with multiple appearances.

You think Rory would like some Ryder Cup revenge in the form of chasing down and beating Reed at Augusta on Sunday, winning The Masters for the first time and becoming the sixth player to ever complete the career Grand Slam? I don’t know if anyone considered the Rory-Reed pairing at the beginning of the week, but it’s the perfect conclusion to a start-studded week at Augusta.

Here’s how the top of the leaderboard looks heading into Sunday’s final round:

1. Patrick Reed (-14): That latest chapter in Reed’s fascinating, complicated and arguably impressive early career is going to unfold on Sunday afternoon, and whatever happens, it will be the stuff that follows a golfer for decades. There’s an argument to be made that having McIlroy and a match-play environment in the final group will help keep Reed focused, distracting him from the gravity of the moment with the intense competition that he craves. He’s either going to cave under the pressure or back up the brash talk we’ve heard from the 27-year-old Texan the moment he started winning on the PGA Tour. I don’t know which way this is going to go, but I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.

2. Rory McIlroy (-11): There was a saying we throw around on the First Cut Podcast that “if Rory is even an average putter, he’s a threat to win on any course.” McIlroy was dialed in on the greens on Saturday, rolling in birdies on the first nine and dropping clutch par putts on the second nine to remain in contention as Reed pushed the lead further into red numbers. He’ll have to score to win and he’ll have to putt well to score, but McIlroy’s confidence is surging and the birdie putt on 18 should tell you everything you need to know.

3. Rickie Fowler (-9): An eagle on No. 2 alerted Augusta National to Rickie’s arrival as one of the primary challengers for Reed’s pursuit of a green jacket. Searching his own first major title, Fowler added five birdies to the card and rode a par train the rest of the way for a bogey-free 65.

4. Jon Rahm (-8): Thursday’s 75 wasn’t a good representation of Rahm’s play, and by his own admission, if not for a few balls in the water, it would have been closer to reaching the scores in the 60s he put up on Friday and Saturday. Rahm’s 65 tied Rickie Fowler and Rory McIlroy for the best round of the day, and it was his first-ever bogey-free round in a major. Not bad for the 23-year-old currently ranked No. 3 in the world.

5. Henrik Stenson (-7): Paired with McIlroy during his 65, Stenson looked human. But take a step back and realize that his 70 was good enough to keep him in the top five, even if pursuit of a win is going to be tougher as he currently sits seven strokes back.

T6. Tommy Fleetwood (-6): After a four-birdie, four-bogey, even-par 72 on Thursday followed by a three-birdie, three-bogey even-par 72 on Friday, Fleetwood caught fire coming down the second nine. Fleetwood ran off five straight birdies and moved all the way to 7-under before a bogey on the 18th left him with a 66 on the day. He was nearly flawless hitting into greens (16-of-18 greens in regulation) all afternoon and then finally the birdie putts started to fall at the end of the round.

T6. Bubba Watson (-6): On a day when everyone was going low — and Bubba himself had his lowest score of the tournament so far — there was even more out there for Watson. A trio of bogeys around the turn at 8, 9 and 11 offset some of the great play in a seven-birdie day for the two-time Masters champ.

T6. Marc Leishman (-6): The birdies weren’t there for Leishman on Saturday. It’s a disappointment for sure after playing so well through two days of competition, but a steady round of pars with one bogey resulted in a slow slide back to the pack after establishing some separation on Friday.

T9. Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth (-5): Spieth has been able to recover on the second nine with birdies on the two par-5s (13 and 15) in all three rounds, but first nine bogeys have added up and the 2015 champion finds himself needing a record round and some help if he’s going to put on the green jacket again on Sunday. Justin Thomas had far fewer mistakes during his Saturday round of 70, but on a day when everyone else was going low, anything not in the 60s seems disappointing.

Team USA™ Begins Vegas-Hosted Men’s Curling® Worlds With A Win

Team Persinger beat the house on Saturday night in Las Vegas.

Facing Japan on the opening night of the first world championship to be hosted in Vegas, Greg Persinger’s rink worked overtime in front of a home crowd to win its opening match at the World Men’s Curling Championship in Orleans Arena.

When Persinger’s final throw into the house with the last stone of the 11th end clinched a 6-5 victory, chants of “U-S-A, U-S-A” rolled down from the seating area. The match took more than three hours to complete with neither team ever holding a lead of more than two points.

The U.S. faces the Netherlands and South Korea on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EDT (8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Pacific time).

After falling behind 2-0 in the opening end, the U.S. tied the match with two points in the third end, then added points in the fourth and sixth ends. Japan tied it 4-4 with single points in the seventh and eighth ends.

Persinger’s throw in the ninth end gave the U.S. a one-point edge, but Japan’s Go Aoki’s perfect throw — a raise of a corner guard to the button — with the last stone in the 10th end tied the match at 5-5 and sent it to an extra end.

The U.S. is one of 13 nations in the tournament, which consists of pool play matches until April 6. The top six teams advance to the qualification round and playoffs on April 7.

Persinger’s team also includes Philip Tilker, Colin Hufman, Rich Ruohonen and 2010 Olympian Chris Plys as fifth. Phill Drobnick, a two-time Olympian, is coach.

Members of the John Shuster rink, which defeated Sweden to win the gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, delivered the ceremonial first stone at the start of the tournament Saturday.

The Masters 2018: Patrick Reed Dominates Augusta® in Round 2

Patrick Reed, who played college golf at Augusta State University, looked in command on a familiar course that caused problems for several other contenders, including Jordan Spieth, who lost his two-stroke advantage after Thursday’s round with a double bogey right on the first hole. Reed, on the other hand, finished with nine birdies to shoot 66, the low round of the day, for a two-shot lead over the Australian Marc Leishman (-7) heading into the weekend.

Spieth recovered on the back nine to finish at four-under par, tied for fourth with Rory McIlroy, who shot 71. Henrik Stenson, who has never finished in the top 10 at the Masters, is alone in third place at five-under par, while the P.G.A. Tournament champion Justin Thomas shot a 67 to move into a tie with Dustin Johnson for sixth place at three-under.

Tiger Woods (+4) struggled again Friday, as did Phil Mickelson, who shot 79. But both did enough to make the cut at five-over par.

Woods was fighting it all afternoon as he never seemed to find a rhythm. He hit into bushes on the fifth and had to take a drop, which resulted in a double bogey. He did manage to birdie both of the par 5s on the back nine, something he was unable to do Thursday, but a bogey on 16 dropped him back to four-over for the week.

Conditions were tougher than on Thursday, with a stronger wind, and Woods was battling all afternoon. He never seemed to find a rhythm. Woods’s front nine was still not as bad as Spieth’s. The Day 1 leader shot 6s on the first two holes, then bogeyed the seventh to card a 40 before making the turn. But he was able to right himself on the back nine, birdying the par 5s, and is hardly out of it, especially with an inclement forecast for Saturday.

But it will take a lot to overtake Reed, the confident Texan who played nearly flawlessly on Friday. After finishing tied for second at the P.G.A. Tournament last year, the five-time winner on tour was sensational with his short game and took advantage on the par 5s, birdying all eight of them through the first two rounds, something no other player had done.

Augusta had not been good to Reed before. He has never finished better than 22nd at the Masters in four previous tries. But this year, he looks right at home.

1 Patrick ReedUnited States -6 18 -9
2 Marc LeishmanAustralia -5 18 -7
3 Henrik StensonSweden -2 18 -5
4T Rory McIlroyNorthern Ireland -1 18 -4
4T Jordan SpiethUnited States 2 18 -4
6T Dustin JohnsonUnited States E 18 -3
6T Justin ThomasUnited States -5 18 -3
8T Tony FinauUnited States E 18 -2
8T Rickie FowlerUnited States 0 18 -2
8T Charley HoffmanUnited States E 18 -2

Patrick Reed Has 2-Stroke Lead After Day 2

His birdie streak ended, but Patrick Reed still managed the low round of the day, a 66 that takes him into the weekend with a 2-stroke lead over Marc Leishman at -9. It was an impressive day for Reed, who missed the cut at the Masters last year when he was nine-over par. This year has been the mirror opposite. Three times on Friday he birdied three holes in a row. His putting has been spectacular. We’ll see if he can keep it up with rain in the forecast tomorrow.

No. 18: Tiger Just Misses Birdie to Close Day 2

It had to end this way, of course. Tiger Woods needed an inch here, or a foot there, all day during Round 2, but Augusta wouldn’t oblige. And so it went on the 18th hole, when Tiger needed a birdie to put more breathing room between his score and the cut line. It wasn’t to be. His birdie shot, yep, just missed, and he settled for par to finish at +4.

It will be enough to enable him to make the cut, barely, which is anticipated at +5. He missed some putts and seemed to have issues with his distance control throughout the round. He did birdie both par-5s on the back nine, which was an improvement from yesterday, when he did not make a single birdie on any of the par-5s. Woods came in with a lot of hype, after strong showings at the Valspar Championship and Bay Hill. But it was his first time playing at Augusta since 2015 and clearly there is still some rust to shake off. That being said, he did enough to give himself a chance to compete this weekend.

Reed Buries Yet Another Birdie

Patrick Reed is the first to double digits under par with another birdie — this time it’s his third in a row — on the par-5 15th. He is the only player to birdie all four of the par-5s at Augusta two days in a row. That’s a good formula for success at the Masters, which is partly why he holds a three-shot lead.

No. 17: So Close to Birdie

Tiger wanted this one. His birdie shot just missed, and his entire body expressed disappointment. Bent head. Bent knees. Slumped back. After making par, Tiger remains at +4.

Tiger has made the cut in four of his six events this season.

No. 16: … And Tiger Gives a Shot Back

Tiger’s stay at +3 was shortlived after he bogeyed the par-3 16. He drops back to +4. The final two holes — both pars for him on Day 1 — will be stressful for anyone planning to spend the weekend watching Tiger play golf. The projected cut line is +5.

Reed Comes Back With Another Birdie

Reed responds with a wedge shot from 129 yards within three feet for a tap-in birdie — his second in a row — to take him to -9 after 14 holes and six-under for his round. He has a 2-stroke advantage over Leishman, who just missed a flat birdie try on 16.

Leishman Closes in on Reed With an Eagle

Leishman answers with an eagle on the par-5 15th. His second shot from 224 yards, carrying the water, may be the shot of the day as it rolled to within six feet of the cup. He tapped in the putt and is now just one stroke behind Reed at -7.

No. 15: Woods Gets Second Birdie of the Day

Tiger birdied the final par 5 of the day after an impressive approach shot, bringing him to three-over par. The two holes Tiger has birdied today — 13 and 15 — were pars for him on Day 1.

Reed Increases His Lead

Reed’s drive on the par-5 13th veered way out to the right and deep into the pinestraw amongst the trees. He recovered with a nice easy 100-yard shot that clipped a branch but still landed safely in the fairway. Needing a great pitch onto the green, he was left with a tricky 14-foot downhill putt that he buried to take a three-shot lead at -8.

No. 14: Long Approach Leads to Par for Tiger Woods

After a great drive on the 14th hole, Tiger Woods hit his approach long (again). A 30-foot downhill putt for birdie is off by a couple inches, leaving a tap-in for par. Woods remains at +4.

No. 13: Tiger Woods Makes His First Birdie of the Day

After a solid drive into the first cut on the right side, Tiger Woods put himself on the green in two on the par-5 13th hole. He two-putts for a birdie … and a smile. It’s his first birdie of the round and he’s now back at +4. Woods’s game picked up after No. 13 yesterday so it’ll be interesting to see if he builds any momentum.

Marc Leishman Trails Patrick Reed by One Stroke

Marc Leishman, playing with Tiger Woods on No. 13, cut into Patrick Reed’s lead with a solid birdie. Leishman’s now -4 for the day tied with Reed, John Rahm and Dustin Johnson for lowest round.

No. 12: A Familiar Feeling for Tiger Woods

Just like he did on Thursday, Tiger Woods dropped his tee shot into the pond on the 12th hole Friday. Same fade, same result. After taking a bogey, Woods is now at +5, which puts him right on the current cut line. He’ll need a birdie or two to make sure he has a tee time on Saturday.

No. 11: Tiger Starts Amen Corner on a Positive Note

Tiger Woods manages another par on the front side of Amen Corner. He hit a terrible tee shot, but scrambled again with an incredible third shot, which put him about 5-feet from the pin. He’s still at +4 heading into No. 12.

Patrick Reed Extends His Lead to Two Strokes

Patrick Reed blasted a 245-yard second shot onto the green at the par-5 eighth hole, leaving him with an eagle putt. He missed that but tapped in for another birdie, his second in a row and fifth of the round so far. Now at -7 and two strokes ahead of Leishman and Hoffman as he starts to make the turn.

Dustin Johnson Finishes With a Birdie

Dustin Johnson finishes his second round with a birdie at 18 to post a 68, tied with Jon Rahm for the lowest score for any golfer so far today. Conditions (wind, firmer greens) have made the afternoon more difficult than yesterday. But Johnson, who missed the Masters last year, is now in a tie for seventh at -3.

No. 10: Tiger Starting to Look More Confident

After putting together a good drive and a decent approach (finally), Tiger Woods was looking at a 25-foot putt with a huge break for birdie. He misread it a little and settled for par. But his posture has changed considerably after a tough start. He’s headed to Amen Corner, where he struggled yesterday, so we’ll see if he can stay positive.

Jordan Spieth Finishes a Difficult Day

After starting the day with a two-stroke lead, Jordan Spieth ended it two strokes behind Patrick Reed at -4. But it was not a total disaster for the 2015 Masters champ. After shooting 40 on the front, including a double bogey right out of the gate, Spieth went two-under on the back nine. He had a birdie look at 18, a hole he bogeyed yesterday, but wound up with a par. All told, it was a 74 for Spieth, who is still very much right in the mix.

Patrick Reed Is Dialed In; Leads by One Stroke

Patrick Reed has the lead alone again at -6. He birdied the first three holes, then dropped a shot after missing a two-foot putt on the par-3 fourth. But he got it back with a 13-foot birdie putt on No. 7. He hasn’t had a putt of more than 16 feet today. Just amazing accuracy with his irons.

The Masters 2018 Round 1: leaderboard, Breakdown, full coverage, scores, highlights

The first round scores of the last 10 Masters champions have all been under par with eight of those 10 being in the 60s. That trend will be tested in 2018 after a Thursday opening round that saw just 20 players finish under par and 10 logging rounds in the 60s.

Tiger Woods played what he described as a sloppy round of 73 that has him seven strokes back of the lead, held by Jordan Spieth at 6-under. Woods had back-to-back bogeys at 4 and 5 and 11 and 12, failed to card a birdie on any of the three par 5s but yet remains very much in the mix heading into Friday.

Want to watch the Masters this week? Stream Featured Groups, Amen Corner, Holes 15 & 16 and On the Range live on CBSSports and the CBS Sports App.

Check out a full breakdown of the leaderboard below, and catch up on any highlights you might have missed in the live blog below:

1. Jordan Spieth (-6): It shouldn’t even be that big of a surprise anymore. Spieth has led at the end of nine of his last 15 rounds at The Masters, so why would Thursday be any different? The 2015 Masters champion was confident, and even a little bit lucky, during a five-birdie run on the back nine to push the lead well into red numbers with his 66.

We should have known that Spieth was in the midst of a special round when he dropped in a 274-yard shot to just 14 feet, and then converted the eagle opportunity on the par-5 8th.

T2. Tony Finau (-4): Finau has become as big a story as Tiger Woods himself after dislocating his ankle on Wednesday while celebrating a hole-in-one, popping it back into place and then dropping a 68 on Thursday. And all of this in his very first Masters appearance. We’ve been waiting for a breakthrough moment for Finau and if he can replicate this level of play on the weekend, he might have it here in Augusta.

T2. Matt Kuchar (-4): After two bogeys in his first seven holes, Kuchar turned things around after the turn with birdies on 10, 13, 15 and 16. Kuchar has logged top-10 finishes in four of the last six years, so being near the top of the leaderboard is familiar territory. He doesn’t have to hit it as far as some of the other players in the field, especially when he’s walking in birdies on the 18th.

T4. Rory McIlroy (-3): The Masters is the last piece needed for McIlroy to be just the sixth golfer all-time to complete the career grand slam. Thursday’s round was exactly what you would hope for from McIlroy, picking birdies on three of the four par 5s and keeping steady with pars most everywhere else. If he’s even an average putter compared to the field on the weekend, McIlroy could make history at Augusta.

T4. Hoatong Li (-3): Li shares something in common with each of the last two Masters champions — he won on the European Tour at Dubai earlier this year. The difference is that Li set a new tournament record in his win. The 22-year-old Chinese golfer finished third at The Open Championship last year and should be considered a threat to contend if he wasn’t already.

T4. Henrik Stenson (-3): The Masters hasn’t really been Stenson’s strongest major, but he came real close to setting the low score for the day. After four birdies and no bogeys through 13 holes, Stenson bogeyed No. 14 and No. 18 to finish the day with a 69.

T4. Patrick Reed (-3): Hitting good shots off the tee helped Reed avoid too much trouble and a three-hole heater on the back nine (Nos. 13, 14, and 15) kept him in contention.

T4. Charley Hoffman (-3): We’re used to seeing Hoffman tear it up during the first round, so now the story for him moving into Friday and weekend will be whether or not he can convert this 69 into contention or even his first major win.

T4. Adam Hadwin (-3): Shortly after recording his first PGA Tour victory in March, Hadwin finds himself among the leaders after picking up four of his five opening-round birdies on the back nine.

T4. Rafa Cabrera Bello (-3): What a ride for Rafa, battling back from a bogey on No. 1 and a double-bogey on No. 5. A six-birdie run across the final 12 holes was powered by great approaches into the green and some clutch putts as his group (which included Dustin Johnson) squeezed the last bit of daylight out of Thursday’s action.

T11. Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson, Bernd Wiesberger, Marc Leishman (-2): Keep an eye on Fowler and Mickelson here as they were one of the last groups on the course Thursday and thus will get an early crack at it on Friday. If either can pair a round in the 60s with Thursday’s two-under 70, they could be in a great spot to chase down Spieth on the weekend.

NCAA® Frozen Four 2018: Players to watch® keys for each team

The connections between the four teams set to play in the men’s Frozen Four semifinals are undeniable, starting with Thursday night’s first game between Ohio State and Minnesota-Duluth.

The Bulldogs, last year’s national runner up, needed significant help to get into the NCAA tournament. The last domino to fall was actually a Notre Dame overtime victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten final. That allowed the Bulldogs to sneak into the last at-large spot, thanks to a RPI rating .0001 better than that of University of Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik spent 10 seasons as an assistant coach under Scott Sandelin at UMD, leaving for an assistant job at Ohio State one year before UMD went on to win the school’s first national championship (2011). Now UMD, the team that’s only in because the Buckeyes lost their conference title game, stands between Rohlik and Ohio State playing for its own national championship. And don’t think Ohio State forgot that the Bulldogs ended its season last year in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in overtime.

The second semifinal will feature a pair of teams that have played each other four times already as conference foes, with the season series split 2-2. However, Michigan also may not have gotten here were it not for Notre Dame.

Michigan coach Mel Pearson believes his team’s season turned a corner after being swept by Notre Dame in a home-and-home series in early January. The Wolverines lost a pair of close 2-1 games, but showed signs of life amid an 8-10-2 record, including a 3-7-2 mark in Big Ten play at that point.

UM then went 14-4-1 the rest of the way, including a home-and-home sweep of Notre Dame in mid-February, surging into position to claim an at-large bid after looking dead in the water at the midpoint of the season. Wins over Northeastern and Boston University, in which Michigan’s ability to defend proved crucial in shutting down two highly skilled teams, punched its ticket to the Frozen Four for a record-tying 25th time.

The Irish are back in the Frozen Four for the second straight year. They had steamrollered the competition over the first half of the season, winning their first 13 games in the conference. Notre Dame forced the Big Ten teams to get better, and as the season wore on, most of them did. The Irish followed up their conference win streak with a 4-6-1 record to close out Big Ten play, but still managed to clinch the conference’s regular-season title in early February. They ramped it right back up for the playoffs, winning the Big Ten championship, as well as a pair of tight regional games, dispatching Michigan Tech in overtime before beating Providence 2-1 on a game-winning goal with just 27 seconds remaining in regulation.

Ohio State and Minnesota-Duluth face off at 6 p.m. ET on Thursday, while Notre Dame and Michigan meet later that evening at 9:30 p.m. ET. The winners play for the championship on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. All three games will be aired on ESPN2. Click here for the full schedule, bracket and tournament recap.

While each team can be appreciative for the roles their opponents may have played on their road to the Frozen Four, they’ll now have to get through each other to get what they came for. Here’s a look at all four teams vying for the national title in St. Paul.

Ohio State Buckeyes

The Buckeyes are back in the Frozen Four for the first time since 1998 and only the second time in program history. They got here on the strength of a defensive game anchored by veteran goalie Sean Romeo, while top forwards Tanner Laczynski and Mason Jobst carried the load offensively. The Buckeyes also have the nation’s top penalty kill, boasting an impressive 89.3 percent success rate with the disadvantage.

With only one freshman getting regular playing time, Ohio State is a veteran team that has been trending up in recent seasons, posting improved records and earning tournament berths in each of the past two seasons as Rohlik continues building his program.

“I think Ohio State is the best team we’ve played all season long,” said Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson, whose Irish beat the Buckeyes in four of five meetings. “We got some breaks against them.”

Notre Dame was the only team Ohio State regularly struggled against. It swept the season series against rival Michigan and ended up bouncing the Wolverines in overtime in the semifinal of the Big Ten tournament. Before the Buckeyes can get another crack at their conference foes, they’ve got a formidable opponent in Minnesota-Duluth. There’s enough players on the Ohio State roster to remember the sting of last year’s season-ending loss to the Bulldogs.

“We hadn’t been [in the tournament] in a while as a program, going against one of the best teams in the country at the time,” Rohlik recalled. “I thought [UMD] were definitely the better team. It was a good learning experience.”

Now they’ll look to put those lessons to good use on college hockey’s biggest stage.

Key players

Tanner Laczynski, C/W, sophomore: The Philadelphia Flyers prospect leads Ohio State with 46 points in 40 games. He is also an excellent two-way player, which is why his stock as a prospect continues to rise. Laczynski is difficult to contain and has become a model for how the Buckeyes expect to play.

Mason Jobst, C, junior: A gifted skater, Jobst also has a solid skill set that has allowed him to score a team-best 21 goals. His ability to get to the good scoring areas and beat teams with speed in transition also has him on NHL radars as a potential free-agent option.

Sean Romeo, G, junior: After sitting last season out as a transfer from Maine, Romeo has been a rock between the pipes for the Buckeyes. He posted a .927 save percentage while making 36 appearances. Romeo was a major difference-maker in Ohio State’s regional run, making 53 saves on 56 shots over the two games.

“He never wavers, never loses focus and doesn’t take shortcuts,” Rohlik said. “When you have a goalie like that, it gives your team confidence.”

Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs

After falling just short last year, this was supposed to be more of a transitional year for the Bulldogs. They lost several seniors and a few players earlier than expected to the pros, including starting goalie Hunter Miska, who was a major part of the team’s success last season. Also gone are impact players such as Alex Iafallo, Neal Pionk and Dominic Toninato, all three of whom have seen time in the NHL already this season.

The Bulldogs have about 11 regulars from last year’s team, with 10 freshman on the roster. On top of that, they’re playing closer to home, providing another layer of excitement, pressure and perhaps distraction, especially for the 17 Minnesota natives on the roster. It’s a challenge, but there’s no doubt that they have talent throughout the lineup.

It’s amazing that Minnesota Duluth got in at all, but the team appears to have been energized at the remarkable opportunity they’ve been given after getting into the tournament by the skin of their teeth, needing a lot of help after losing in the NCHC semifinals.

“When a couple of the other teams lost, the last-ditch scenario came up and the guys watched the end of the Notre Dame-Ohio State game. When Notre Dame won, they knew the consequences. It was pretty dramatic,” said Scott Sandelin, head coach at UMD. “Maybe the way it happened gave our guys a sense of how hard it is and gave them a second life. They seized the opportunity with two hard-fought wins [over Minnesota State and Air Force in the regionals] to get the chance to go back to the Frozen Four.”

Key players

Scott Perunovich, D, freshman: One of the big surprises of the season has been Perunovich’s play as a freshman. He caught the eye of Team USA for the World Juniors with his early-season performance, but just kept producing throughout the year. He led the team in scoring from the blue line with 36 points, including 11 goals, and will likely earn a mid-round selection in the NHL draft after going unselected out of the USHL last year. Perunovich is a quality puck mover with higher-end hockey sense, making him a factor in all zones.

Riley Tufte, LW, sophomore: It took Tufte a while to adjust to the college game coming straight out of high school. However, the Dallas Stars first-rounder appears to be turning the corner a bit more this season. He led the Bulldogs with 16 goals after collecting 16 points all of last season. He still has a long road ahead as a prospect, but you have to like the upside of a 6-foot-6 forward who can skate, and you can expect him to make an impact this weekend.

Joey Anderson, RW, sophomore: He’s only a sophomore, but Anderson plays such a mature, responsible game. He also has good speed and enough skill to be tough to defend. The New Jersey Devils prospect’s numbers took a dip this year without some of the skilled veterans he played with last year, but he remains one of the Bulldogs’ best players in terms of ability.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Fighting Irish introduced themselves rather rudely to their new conference, posting 13 consecutive wins to open conference play. The Irish had previously been in Hockey East for four seasons after college hockey’s realignment saw the dissolution of the CCHA. Hockey East challenged the Irish, but proved to be an ill fit geographically, leading Notre Dame to head to more familiar territory with former CCHA opponents Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State in the Big Ten.

Winning both the regular-season and tournament titles in their first year in the conference has been nice, but there are a lot more reasons it has been a beneficial move.

“We found out in the second half how challenging the conference is and how much better it got,” said Jackson, noting he isn’t surprised to see three Big Ten teams in the Frozen Four. “For our program, it was an obvious move. It’s helped our fan base and our team in terms of travel. We’re playing against big-time programs every night. It’s created more of a buzz in our building. It’s going to be exciting to watch as it grows over the next several years.”

Notre Dame’s second half had more stumbles, but the recovery has been impressive in the postseason. The Irish have won each of their past four games by one goal. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have the best goalie in the country stopping pucks for them.

Jackson, who just received the Spencer Penrose Award as the nation’s top coach, always has a team that is going to be tough to play against. Led by a veteran D corps that has the ability to get the puck up ice and play a physical brand of hockey, the Irish excel based on their depth. All of their lines offer unique challenges, and if teams can manage to cut through their defensive structure, Cale Morris is there as the last line of defense. Every game against Notre Dame is going to be a battle.

“They don’t beat themselves,” Pearson said.

Key players

Cale Morris, G, sophomore: The front-runner for the Mike Richter Award as the nation’s top goalie, Morris owns a .945 save percentage and 1.91 goals-against average. The undrafted free agent played less than 20 minutes last season as an understudy to Cal Petersen, who ended up signing with the Los Angeles Kings after his junior year. It has been one of the more dominant performances by a college goalie in recent memory.

“I think he’s had a bigger impact on our team than any player has had [on his team] in the country,” Jackson said.

 

Villanova Wildcats are NCAA® National Champions 2018

They overcame Michigan’s early 7-point lead by halftime and won 79-62

March Madness 2018 came down to two teams: The Villanova Wildcats vs. the Michigan Wolverines in the NCAA national championship game Monday night. The Wildcats were 6.5 point favorites to take home their third title and their second one in the past three years, but the Wolverines were looking to take home college basketball’s top honor for the first time since 1989.

Donte DiVincenzo – Most Outstanding Player

DiVincenzo set the record for the most points for a player off the bench in NCAA National Championship history. He scored 18 in the first half and finished with 31 on the night.

He was awarded Most outstanding player on the night.

Donte DiVincenzo stats:

  • 31 points
  • 10/15 field goals
  • 6/10 free throws
  • 5/7 three-pointers
  • 3 assists
  • 5 rebounds
  • 37 minutes

Villanova Wins! 79-62

Villanova wins their third NCAA title.

 

  • Donte DiVincenzo is the leading scorer with 31 points. He shot 10/15, 5/7 from 3-point land.


  • Villanova has its largest lead – 20 points

    Mikal Bridges hit two free throws and hits a 3-point jumper just 37 seconds later. After Wagner commits a shooting foul, Gillespie hits his both his free throws.

    After some tire Wolverine legs turn the ball over again, Bridges sunk another 3-pointer.

    With exactly 5 minutes left, the Wildcats have extended their lead to 20.

    3:21 left, commercial timeout called.


  • It’s all Donte DiVincenzo

    DiVincenzo hits 24 points; Wildcats up by 18

    DiVincenzo does it all. After a 2-handed block, he scored the next nine points for Villanova: a lay-up, a free throw and two more shots from 3-point land.

    30-second timeout called. Villanova leads 62-44.

  • 12-minute Timeout

    The game has been back-and-forth and Michigan is starting to get some buckets.

    Wagner is still leading the Wolverines with 14, but Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has contributed 13 for the team.

    DiVincenzo hasn’t hit a bucket this half yet. But Mikal Bridges is 5/9 with 11 points for the Wildcats.

    Rebounds

    Rebounds continue to be the difference in the game. Villanova has 29 to Michigan’s 16. The Wildcats have 18 defensive and 11 offensive boards.

    Coach’s pep talk

    During the 12-minute timeout, Michgan coach John Beilein told Mo Wagner needs to get more involved.


  • Villanova extends their lead to 15

    15:24 left in the game.

    The game is getting chippy. Unsportsmanlike technical fouls called on both teams: Villanova’s Omari Spellman and Michigan’s Moritz Wagner.

    48-33, Villanova up on Michigan


  • TV Timeout: Michigan up by 14

    Michigan opened the second half with a quick 2-point bucket. Villanova countered with seven unanswered points.

    Villanova up 44-30 over Michigan, 18:03 to go in the game.

    The 14-point deficit is Michigan’s largest all tournament.


  • First-half stats

    Top Scorer:

    Donte DiVincenzo has 18 points. He’s 7-of-10 from the field and has hit three of this four three-point attempts.

    Fun fact: Villanova is 11-0 all-time when he scores 18 or more.

    Michigan:
    Moritz Wagner has 11 and Abdur-Rahkman has 10, including a 3-pointer for Michigan.

    Box score:

    Field Goals:
    Michigan is 11/28; Villanova is 14/31

    3-pointers:
    Michigan is 2/13; Villanova is 4/13

    Free throws:
    Michigan is 4/7; Villanova 5/6

    Rebounds:
    Michigan has 13; Villanova has 20

    Turnovers:
    Michigan: 3, Villanova: 5

    Fouls:
    Michigan: 9, Villanova: 7


  • Halftime score: Villanova 37, Michigan 28

    Michigan’s largest lead was seven points, up 21-14 at one point. Then Villanova found a way to get their shots to drop into the hoop and went on a 23-7 run.

  • Timeout Wildcats

    Jalen Brunson sinks a 3-point jumper with 12 seconds left to give Villanova a 9-point lead.

    Timeout Wildcats with 12.3 seconds left.


  • Commercial timeout called

    3:59 left in the first half.

    Villanova has finally gotten their shots to go down. They have now hit 11 of their 25 shots and are 3-for-11 from three-point land. Michigan is 10-for-21 from the field so far, hitting 2-of-10 outside the arc.

    Score at the TV break: Michigan 26, Villanova 30.


  • Villanova takes the lead

    6:07: After over five minutes of no scoring, DiVincenzo makes a 3-point jumper for the Wildcats, giving them the lead for the first time since the opening bucket.

    Abdur-Rahkman got two back for Michigan. But Jordan Poole fouls and Spellman makes both free throws for Villanova, reclaiming the 2-point lead.

  • Timeout on the court

    Michigan’s defense is all over Villanova and their physical game is on, as they lead with five fouls to Villanova’s three.

    Villanova misses another three-point shot. They’re 1-for-9 from 3-point land tonight. Michigan is 2-for8 outside the arc.

    At the TV timeout, there’s 7:32 left in the first half. Michigan up by three over Villanova, 21-18.

    Top scorer so far: Moritz Wagner with 11 points.


  • 18-14 Michigan

    After the break, Teske is now in for Wagner. Robinson in for Livers.

    After setting the record for most three-point shots in a Final Four game on Saturday, DiVincenzo finally hits one. Villanova is now 1-for-4 from outside the arc.

    Michigan, however, is hitting them from downtown tonight.

  • First TV timeout

    15:32: Villanova has missed a chance to score on three of their last four possessions. Bridges finally knocks down two for Villanova

    First TV timeout with 13:56 left in the first half. Michigan up 11-8 over the Wildcats.


  • Tip off!

    9:20 p.m. The tip went to Villanova who takes it right down for a quick opening score. Jalen Brunson got the opening basket.

    Michigan came right back down the court and Moritz Wagner got a layup to tie the game back up.

    Back and forth again, Brunson came down the court to give Villanova the lead. Michigan back down and Wagner is fouled on his shot and sank both of his free throws to tie it back up at 4 apiece.

    Moment of silence for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Prior to the national anthem, everyone was asked to stand as a moment of silence was held to remember the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King.

    The Star Spangled Banner was played by the United States Air Force Band of Texas while a flag was raised by members serving at Joint Base San Antonio and firefighters descended by ropes from the ceiling.

    Villanova, Michigan announce their starting 5

    9:01 p.m.: The two teams have announced their starting 5 players ahead of the matchup Monday night.

    Villanova: Brunson, Paschall, Bridges, Booth, Spellman

 

NCAA National Championship 2018: Villanova vs Michigan Live stream

It’s been one of the most thrilling NCAA Tournaments in recent memory, and we should be treated to one heck of a finale. Villanova and Michigan will meet in a battle of arguably the two best teams in the entire field on Monday, but only one will emerge as the national champion.

Villanova has looked unstoppable at times, but Michigan’s suffocating defense has been able to keep pretty much every opponent under wraps. It will also be a battle of two incredible coaching minds — Michigan’s John Beilein and Villanova’s Jay Wright — so we might have a dandy of a finish on the way.

There’s plenty of intrigue, so here’s how you can watch the games streaming from your mobile device, laptop, or tablet.

NCAA National Championship 2018 Live

  • What: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
  • Time: 9:20 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Stream: March Madness Live
  • Follow: CBS Sports App

NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2018: Schedule, dates, times, TV channels

The 2018 Final Four for the NCAA Tournament will continue on Monday, April 2, with the National Championship Game. Get the schedule, dates, times and TV channels below.

Villanova meets Michigan for the national title on Monday night.

The 2018 Final Four started this past Saturday, March 31, in the national semifinals. The 2018 National Championship Game is being played Monday, April 2.

Dates: Saturday, March 31 for the semifinals and Monday, April 2 for the national championship game

Location: The Alamodome in San Antonio

NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 2018

Monday, April 2 (at San Antonio)

9:20 p.m. ET | No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan | TBS

The 2018 Final Four is on TBS. Both national semifinal games and the national championship game will be televised by TBS.

NCAA Tournament 2018: Scores, results

FIRST FOUR (in Dayton, Ohio)

Tuesday, March 13

FINAL: No. 16 Radford 71, No. 16 LIU Brooklyn 61

FINAL: No. 11 St. Bonaventure 65, No. 11 UCLA 58

Wednesday, March 14

FINAL: No. 16 Texas Southern 64, No. 16 NC Central 46

FINAL: No. 11 Syracuse 60, No. 11 Arizona State 56

FIRST ROUND

Thursday, March 15

FINAL: No. 7 Rhode Island 83, No. 10 Oklahoma 78 (OT)

FINAL: No. 3 Tennessee 73, No. 14 Wright State 47

FINAL: No. 4 Gonzaga 68, No. 13 UNC Greensboro 64

FINAL: No. 1 Kansas 76, No. 16 Penn 60

FINAL: No. 2 Duke 89, No. 15 Iona 67

FINAL: No. 11 Loyola (Chicago) 64, No. 6 Miami (Fla.) 62

FINAL: No. 5 Ohio State 81, No. 12 South Dakota 73

FINAL: No. 8 Seton Hall 94, No. 9 N.C. State 83

FINAL: No. 1 Villanova 87, No. 16 Radford 61

FINAL: No. 5 Kentucky 78, No. 12 Davidson 73

FINAL: No. 3 Texas Tech 70, No. 14 Stephen F. Austin 60

FINAL: No. 6 Houston 67, No. 11 San Diego State 65

FINAL: No. 9 Alabama 86, No. 8 Virginia Tech 83

FINAL: No. 13 Buffalo 89, No. 4 Arizona 68

FINAL: No. 6 Florida 77, No. 11 St. Bonaventure 62

FINAL: No. 3 Michigan 61, No. 14 Montana 47

Friday, March 16

FINAL: No. 7 Texas A&M 73, No. 10 Providence 69

FINAL: No. 2 Purdue 74, No. 15 CS Fullerton 48

FINAL: No. 13 Marshall 81, No. 4 Wichita State 75

FINAL: No. 2 Cincinnati 68, No. 15 Georgia State 53

FINAL: No. 2 North Carolina 84, No. 15 Lipscomb 66

FINAL: No. 10 Butler 79, No. 7 Arkansas 62

FINAL: No. 5 West Virginia 85, No. 12 Murray State 68

FINAL: No. 7 Nevada 87, No. 10 Texas 83 (OT)

FINAL: No. 9 Kansas State 69, No. 8 Creighton 59

FINAL: No. 3 Michigan State 82, No. 14 Bucknell 78

FINAL: No. 4 Auburn 62, No. 13 College of Charleston 58

FINAL: No. 1 Xavier 102, No. 16 Texas Southern 83

FINAL: No. 16 UMBC 74, No. 1 Virginia 54

FINAL: No. 11 Syracuse 57, No. 6 TCU 52

FINAL: No. 5 Clemson 79, No. 12 New Mexico State 68

FINAL: No. 9 Florida State 67, No. 8 Missouri 54

SECOND ROUND

Saturday, March 17

FINAL: No. 1 Villanova 81, No. 9 Alabama 58

FINAL: No. 2 Duke 87, No. 7 Rhode Island 62

FINAL: No. 5 Kentucky 95, No. 13 Buffalo 75

FINAL:  No. 11 Loyola (Chicago) 63, No. 3 Tennessee 62

FINAL: No. 1 Kansas 83, No. 8 Seton Hall 79

FINAL: No. 4 Gonzaga 90, No. 5 Ohio State 84

FINAL: No. 3 Texas Tech 69, No. 6 Florida 66

FINAL: No. 3 Michigan 64, No. 6 Houston 63

Sunday, March 18

FINAL: No. 2 Purdue 76, No. 10 Butler 73

FINAL: Syracuse 55, Michigan State 53

FINAL: Texas A&M 86, North Carolina 65

FINAL: Nevada 75, Cincinnati 73

FINAL: Clemson 84, Auburn 53

FINAL: Kansas State 50, UMBC 43

FINAL: Florida State 75, Xavier 70

FINAL: West Virginia 94, Marshall 71

SWEET 16

Thursday, March 22

FINAL: No. 11 Loyola (Chicago) 69, No. 7 Nevada 68

FINAL: No. 3 Michigan 99, No. 7 Texas A&M 72

FINAL: No. 5 Kansas State 61, No. 5 Kentucky 58

FINAL: No. 9 Florida State 75, No. 4 Gonzaga 60

Friday, March 23

FINAL: No. 1 Kansas 80, No. 5 Clemson 76

FINAL: No. 1 Villanova 90, No. 5 West Virginia 78

FINAL: No. 2 Duke 69, No. 11 Syracuse 65

FINAL: No. 3 Texas Tech 78, No. 2 Purdue 65

ELITE EIGHT

Saturday, March 24

FINAL: No. 11 Loyola (Chicago) 78, No. 9 Kansas State 62

FINAL: No. 3 Michigan 58, No. 9 Florida State 54

Sunday, March 25

FINAL: No. 1 Villanova 71, No. 3 Texas Tech 59

FINAL: No. 1 Kansas 85, No. 2 Duke 81 (OT)

FINAL FOUR

Saturday, March 31 (in San Antonio)

FINAL: No. 3 Michigan 69, No. 11 Loyola (Chicago) 57

FINAL: No. 1 Villanova 95, No. 1 Kansas 79