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The Sports Report: Why UCLA might not get a No. 1 seeding in the tournament

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s go straight to the news.

From Ben Bolch: Ten consecutive wins and a runaway Pac-12 regular season championship have made UCLA a No. 1 seed in numerous anticipated NCAA tournaments.

It may not be enough to keep the Bruins there.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, one of the country’s leading bracket experts, told The Times on Monday that UCLA needed to win the Pac-12 tournament to secure a No. 1 spot on Selection Sunday.

According to Lunardi, the Bruins will battle with Purdue, Texas and Baylor for the final No. 1 seed behind Houston, Kansas and Alabama. Bracket Matrix, which tracks dozens of projected brackets, showed UCLA as the No. 1 seed in 35 of 85 brackets as of Monday.

Lunardi said he lifted UCLA to a No. 1 ranking in the West Region in his final series based on his cumulative body of work and strong finish to the regular season coupled with the fact that Purdue had lost four of its last eight games.

UCLA also rose to No. 2 in the Associated Press survey Monday, trailing only Houston. It is the highest ranking for the Bruins (27-4) this late in a season since they were ranked No. 2 in the coaches’ poll on March 17, 2008.

But the Bruins could lose a No. 1 seed if they stumble in the Pac-12 tournament and the other challengers have a better showing in their respective conference tournaments.

Read more here

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From Jack Harris: Dodgers pitcher Tony Gonsolin suffered a sprained left ankle Monday that will force him to miss his next spring training Wednesday, the Dodgers announced.

The team described his status as “day to day” but gave no further timeline.

Manager Dave Roberts said the team has “a good feeling” about Gonsolin’s status ahead of the start of the season, but that it will depend on how the pitcher develops in the coming days.

“I think where he’s built up, I don’t think that’s a concern at this point,” Roberts said.

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Even without that swing, Dodgers’ Miguel Vargas found ways to nurture his talent

Justin Turner gets 16 stitches after being hit in the face with pitch


From Dylan Hernández: The Clippers’ confusing incompetence in recent weeks has obscured an important development that unfolded in plain sight.

Kawhi Leonard has reclaimed his place as one of the best players in the NBA.

He has averaged 28.4 points in the 22 games he has played since January 8, converting 52.6% of his field goals, including 49.6% of his threes. Equally important, he missed just four games in that stretch, averaging nearly 37 minutes per game.

Leonard produced his most recent masterpiece on Sunday night as the Clippers ended a five-game losing streak. Leonard scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter of the Clippers’ 135-129 victory over a severely understaffed Memphis Grizzlies team.

However, this was not a blueprint for success or a roadmap to a championship. Leonard’s exploits were a bandage covering the Clippers’ wounds.

To be clear, the Clippers don’t have a Russell Westbrook problem. The Clippers have a Clippers problem.

They entered the season as projected title contenders, but here they are, one game over .500 and barely striving for a spot in the play-in tournament. What other franchise is so overwhelming, year after year?

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From Helene Elliott: The BNP Paribas Open kicks off this week as professional tennis is at a crossroads, heading into an uncertain future without the great rivalry between the “Big Three” of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the men’s side and without Serena Williams’ charisma and historic achievements set the standard for the women.

Stars appear, peak, fall. It’s the cycle of athletic life on the field, ice, field or field. But as the main draw kicks off at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden on Wednesday, the sport is facing the absence – permanent or temporary – of many of its most recognizable stars from one of its biggest stages.

Tennis desperately needs successful, magnetic players to fill the void as an exceptional generation dies out. Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, last year’s US Open men’s champion at age 19, and Iga Swiatek of Poland, who won the women’s titles at Indian Wells and the US Open last year, are leading the talk of the next generation, but have left their long longevity not proven. They would move the conversation forward significantly by winning at Indian Wells where each is No. 1.

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Mikey Anderson scored in the third period as the Kings defeated the Washington Capitals 4-2 for their fourth straight win. Adrian Kempe, Phillip Danault and Vladislav Gavrikov also scored, and Pheonix Copley made 20 saves as the Kings won their sixth straight game on home ice.

Alex Ovechkin had a power play goal and Rasmus Sandin had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who failed to win in California for a third straight. Darcy Kuemper had 37 saves.


1921 — Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators scores six goals in a 12-5 victory over the Hamilton Tigers.

1951 – Ezzard Charles wins a 15-round unanimous decision over Jersey Joe Walcott to retain the Detroit heavyweight title.

1954 – The Minneapolis Lakers and Milwaukee Hawks experiment with the baskets being raised from 10 feet to 10 feet during an exhibition game. George Mikan and the Lakers win 65-63.

1970 — Austin Carr achieves an NCAA tournament-record 61 points as Notre Dame defeats Ohio University 112-82. Carr scores 25 of 44 field goals and 11 of 14 free throws.

1974 – New Orleans gets an NBA franchise.

1977 – Anthony Roberts of Oral Roberts scores 65 points in a 90-89 loss to Oregon in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

1983 — Phil Mahre wins the Alpine World Cup championship for the third year in a row, becoming the third person to win three consecutive titles.

1987 — Thomas Hearns wins his third championship, the WBC light heavyweight title, with a 10-round TKO of Dennis Andries.

1996 – Magic Johnson becomes the second NBA player to reach 10,000 career assists, earning the milestone starting gun in Los Angeles’ 102–90 victory over Sacramento.

2012 — Lionel Messi becomes the first player to score five goals in a Champions League football match, helping defending champions Barcelona crush Bayer Leverkusen 7-1 to advance to the quarter-finals with a 10-2 aggregate victory.

2012 — Kikkan Randall adds a World Cup crystal globe to her stash and writes another piece of history for the US ski team. Randall is the first American in 30 years to win a cross country championship by taking the overall sprint title. Randall’s 11th-place finish at a race in Norway secures the championship with one race left in the season.

2014 — The U.S. women’s soccer team’s two-year undefeated streak ends at 43 games with a 1-0 loss to Sweden at the Algarve Cup in Albufiera, Portugal. The USA was 36-0-7 since a 1-0 loss to Japan at the Algarve Cup on March 5, 2012.

2015 – Kentucky (31-0) becomes the first major conference men’s basketball team to go undefeated in the regular season since Indiana in 1976. Wichita State of the Missouri Valley Conference went undefeated in the regular season in 2014.

2016 — Stephen Curry scores 41 points to become the first player in NBA history to make 300 3-pointers in a season, and the Golden State Warriors set another record by holding off the Orlando Magic 119-113 for their 45th home win in a row.

— Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally

Magic Johnson gets his 10,000th assist. Watch and listen here.

Until next time…

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement, or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter @latimeshouston. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, click here.