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In today's Sprint:
⚽  Olympic letdown
🏀  Sweetest 16
🥊  A new champ
Trivia: After this weekend, which college program has the highest winning percentage in March Madness (minimum 20 games)?
  1. Loyola-Chicago
  2. Duke
  3. UCLA
  4. Kentucky

OLYMPICS
The Americans...Are Not Coming
In what’s becoming a concerning trend, the US Men’s National Soccer team failed to qualify for another major tournament. The team lost 1-2 to Honduras in Olympic qualifiers.
  • 2012 Olympics: failed to qualify
  • 2014 World Cup: made it to the Round of 16 where Tim Howard put on a show with 16 saves (a World Cup record) in a loss to Belgium
  • 2016 Olympics: failed to qualify
  • 2018 World Cup: failed to qualify
  • 2021 Olympics: failed to qualify
The drama: The best Americans in the world - Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, and Sergino Dest - are all below the age of 23 (the age limit for Olympic soccer). Yet, they were playing a friendly against Northern Ireland with the senior team while the other U-23s tried to qualify for the Olympics.
The Olympics were a great opportunity for these young Americans to play meaningful international games leading up to World Cup qualifying this fall.
Zoom out: Despite the disappointment, the US team still has reason for hope. More young Americans are playing for Europe’s top teams - Barcelona, Chelsea, Juventus, and more - than ever before.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
Dancing On My Own
Michigan, the only remaining Big10 team of the nine that started the tournament, marched on after pounding Florida State. The other storylines:
  • Gonzaga became the third undefeated team in 40 years to reach the Elite 8
  • Houston advanced to its first Elite 8 since 1984
  • The Pac-12 claimed three spots in the Elite 8 - USC, Oregon State, and UCLA
#3 Arkansas 72 vs. #15 Oral Roberts 70
  • Oral Roberts’ epic run came this close to moving past Arkansas.
#1 Baylor 62 vs. #5 Villanova 51
  • Nova led by 7 at halftime and nearly pulled the upset by holding the nation’s best 3-point shooting team to just 15% from deep.
#11 UCLA 88 vs. #2 Alabama 78 - OT
  • Bama is, in fact, a football school. The Tide went 11-25 from the free throw line, the worst free throw percentage in a March Madness game with 25 attempts since Kansas lost to Syracuse in the 2003 national title game.
College Basketball - Women’s Sweet 16
#1 UConn 92 vs. #5 Iowa 72
  • Paige Bueckers (18 pts, 9 reb, 8 ast) outdueled fellow freshman phenom Caitlin Clark (21 pts, 5 ast). The game was much closer than the final score indicated.
#4 Indiana 73 vs. #1 NC State 70
  • NC State became the first #1 seed to fall after committing 17 turnovers to the Hoosiers.
#6 Texas 64 vs. #2 Maryland 61
  • With the game tied at 59 and less than one minute left, a breakaway steal and layup by Kyra Lambert gave Texas the lead.
NBA
(31-15) Brooklyn Nets 113 vs. (12-33) Detroit Pistons 111
  • Things got chippy between Blake Griffin and his former team, but another James Harden masterclass (44 pts, 14 reb, 8 ast) led to the Nets win.
(31-16) LA Clippers 122 vs. (32-14) Philadelphia 76ers 112
  • The Clippers got the best of their old coach Doc Rivers, who saw center Dwight Howard ejected for a second straight game.
FCS FOOTBALL
(3-0) Weber State 28 vs. (1-2) Northern Arizona 23
  • If you’re looking for the best Hail Mary since Kyler to DeAndre, look no further than this 50-yard bomb from Weber State’s Randall Johnson.
NHL
(13-16-4) New Jersey Devils 1 vs. (17-9-5) Boston Bruins 0
  • Devils’ goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 40 shots en route to his first shutout of the year.

MONDAY WATCHLIST
College Basketball - Men's Elite 8
#12 Oregon State (20-12) vs. #2 Houston (27-3) - 7:15 ET on CBS
#1 Baylor (25-2) vs. #3 Arkansas (25-6) - 9:57 ET on CBS
College Basketball - Women's Elite 8
#2 Baylor (28-2) vs #1 UConn (27-1) - 7:00 ET on ESPN
#4 Indiana (21-5) vs. #3 Arizona (19-5) - 9:00 ET on ESPN
NBA
Miami Heat (22-24) vs. New York Knicks (24-22) - 7:30 ET
Milwaukee Bucks (29-16) vs. LA Clippers (31-16) - 10:00 ET on NBATV
NHL
New York Islanders (22-9-4) vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (22-11-2) - 7:00 ET on NBCSN

WATER COOLER TALK
🏈  The Tampa Bay Bucs are the first defending Super Bowl champs to bring back all 22 starters since 1979.
⛳️  Michelle Wie West finished +11 through the first two rounds of the Kia Open and missed her first tournament cut in 2 years.
🏀  Bradley Beal gave his AAU team a very real speech about what it takes to reach the NBA.
🏀  Free agents Andre Drummond (Lakers) and LaMarcus Aldridge (Nets) signed with contenders after recent buyouts.
🏀  Aaron Gordon, the new Denver Nugget, switched to jersey number 50. Why? He’s received the most perfect 50s in NBA Dunk Contest history.
🥊  Francis Ngannou knocked out defending heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 to claim the title.

TRIVIA ANSWER
B. With a .750 winning percentage in March Madness history, Duke has a comfortable lead thanks to Loyola’s recent loss.
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