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Sports Brief: Week of March 26 – April 1

College Hoops: Final Four

March Madness’ Final Four table is set—Auburn University will battle the University of Virginia, and Texas Tech University will play Michigan State University April 6.

Auburn is coming off of consecutive upsets, defeating both the University of North Carolina and the University of Kentucky. The talented roster of the Tigers displays tremendous depth, despite the loss of Chuma Okeke, who tore his ACL in their win against the Tarheels on Friday, March 29.

The last No. 1 -seeded team remaining, Virginia, displays a dynamic backcourt which features Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy, two highly-touted prospects in the 2016 recruiting class. Freshman guard Kihei Clark has also served as a consistent spark plug for the offense during tournament play.The Cavaliers, who had an early exit in last year’s tournament, were the first No. 1-ranked team to fall at the hands of a No. 16 seed in tournament history.

Texas Tech, following the same unorthodox fashion of head coach Chris Beard, exhibits a combination of leftovers from Tubby Smith’s squad, including graduate and junior college transfers, players from overseas and freshmen. The Red Raiders triumphed over the two seasoned rosters of Michigan and Gonzaga and have displayed the ability to play with high energy behind guard Jarrett Culver.

Coming off a remarkable upset over the freshman class of Duke University, Michigan State has showcased their talented crew and ability to win despite injury. Head coach Tom Izzo has put four consecutive recruiting classes ranked in the top 20 together, magnifying the depth of the Spartans. Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman orchestrate a versatile two-man game as they look to clinch a spot to the National Championship game.

Auburn and Virginia will tip off Saturday, April 6, at 5:10 p.m., and Texas Tech and Michigan State will start at 7:50 p.m.

NBA: Porzingis investigation, Nipsey Hussle, LeBron shut down, Thunder recap

Former New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis has been under investigation by the NYPD for recent rape allegations. The woman, who remains anonymous, stated she was invited to Porzingis’ house the night the star center tore his ACL. The accuser has admitted to the police department she discussed a $68,000 payment to remain quiet about the topic. New reports state the woman tried to shake the team’s legal department for money prior to reporting the crime.

Ermias Davidson Asghedom, famously known as Nipsey Hussle, was fatally shot outside of his clothing store, Marathon Clothing, near the Hyde Park neighborhood in Los Angeles. Two other individuals were wounded in the shooting. The NBA and entertainment communities have expressed their condolences for the loss.

The Los Angeles Lakers front office announced Sunday, March 31, forward LeBron James will be benched for the remainder of the season to ensure his safety. The Lakers, whose playoff hopes were extinguished after a 111-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets March 22, have six games left on their schedule. James finished the season averaging 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in his 55 games played.

The Oklahoma City Thunder fell short in a 106-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks Sunday, March 31. The Mavericks, who are 17-games below .500, have won the season series against Oklahoma City 3-1.

The Thunder will play the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at 7 p.m.

MLB: Harper displays his power in Philly, Bogaerts resigns with the Sox

Recently acquired outfielder Bryce Harper put on a clinic for the Philadelphia faithful, going deep in two consecutive games in his debut series as a Phillie. The All-Star outfielder, who signed a 13-year, $330 million contract this offseason, led his new roster to a three-game sweep over the Atlanta Braves. The Phillies will play the Washington Nationals tonight, starting at 6:05 p.m.

Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has finalized a seven-year, $132 million contract extension. The deal includes an opt-out clause which gives Bogaerts the ability to take his talents to another organization after the 2022 season.

Golf: Tiger defeats Rory

Two of golf’s premiere athletes, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, faced off in the WCG-Match Play Championship in Austin, TX, on Saturday, March 30. Woods bested McIlroy two to one and will advance to the final eight of the tournament.

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