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Monmouth Wins NCAA Play-In Game (AP)
Monmouth head coach Dave Calloway clinches his fist as they build a lead against Hampton in the second half of the NCAA opening round basketball game, Tuesday, March 14, 2006, in Dayton, Ohio. Monmouth won 71-49. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)AP - A hot shooter and an imposing center won over a neutral crowd and helped Monmouth finally measure up in the NCAA tournament.


Culpepper, Brees Find New NFL Homes (AP)
Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice, left, quarterback Gus Frerotte, center, and quarterback Daunte Culpepper, right, talk during the game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005, in Landover, Md.The Minnesota Vikings traded disgruntled quarterback Daunte Culpepper to the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday March 14, 2006.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)AP - Two star quarterbacks found new homes on Tuesday and two talented but troublesome receivers went on the open market.


Mavs Rally to Give Avery Johnson Record (AP)
Dallas Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson yells instruction from the bench during second half NBA basketball action against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 9, 2006.  The Mavericks beat the Blazers 109-92.(AP Photo/Don Ryan)AP - On the night Avery Johnson moved into the NBA record book, the Dallas Mavericks made their defense-oriented coach proud with a little history of their own.


Japan Win Puts U.S. in Classic Jeopardy (AP)
Team Japan starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka winds up in the fifth innng against Team Mexico Tuesday, March 14, 2006, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. in the second round of the World Baseball Classic. Matsuzaka pitched five innings of one-hit shutout ball in the game. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)AP - Team USA will be cheering for South Korea to beat Japan on Wednesday night. American hopes of winning the inaugural World Baseball Classic could disappear if the Japanese prevail.


Dominicans Advance to Classic Semifinals (AP)
Team Dominican Republic's starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera, left, is greeted in the dugout in the second inning after a scoreless inning for Team Venezuela during the second round of the World Baseball Classic at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico Tuesday,  March 14, 2006.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)AP - Pitching for the Dominican Republic has brought out the best in Daniel Cabrera.


Brees a Saint As New Orleans Lands QB (AP)
San Diego Chargers quarterback Drew Brees smiles during training camp at the Charger's facility in San Diego, in this July 29, 2005 photo. Free-agent quarterback Drew Brees agreed to six-year contract Tuesday March 14, 2006 with the New Orleans Saints. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)AP - The New Orleans Saints decided to take their chances with Drew Brees' health rather than Matt Leinart's potential.


Mavs Shift Focus After Injuries (AP)
Dallas Mavericks injured players Josh Howard, left, and Devin Harris during NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers  Tuesday, March 14, 2006, in Dallas.  The Mavericks have been hampered by several late-season injuries.  (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)AP - The Dallas Mavericks are suddenly less concerned about earning the top seed in the Western Conference. Their focus now is on going into the playoffs healthy.


Blog: Vero Beach Is Real Fan-Friendly (AP)
Holman Stadium, spring training home for the Los Angeles Dodgers, as seen during a game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, March 12, 2006 in Vero Beach Fla. Since 1948, Dodgertown has been the starting point of each and every Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers season. Also in the photo, past right field is the 30,000 square-foot clubhouse that was built by the Dodgers in 2003. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)AP - Now that spring training is in full swing, AP sportswriters will be filing periodic, behind-the-scenes reports from Grapefruit and Cactus league sites:


Manchester City Advances to FA Quarters (AP)
Manchester City's Antoine Sibierski, left, keeps the ball from Aston Villa's Gavin McCann during their English FA Cup Fifth Round Replay soccer match at The City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester, England, Tuesday March 14, 2006. (AP Photo/Jon Super)AP - Darius Vassell helped eliminate Aston Villa from The Football Association Cup, scoring against his former club Tuesday night to lead Manchester City to a 2-1 victory and a berth in the quarterfinals.


Resurgent Islanders Thrash Devils 6-1 (AP)
New York Islanders' Alexei Yashin celebrates his goal as New Jersey Devils' Brad Lukowich (21) and goaltender Martin Brodeur, rear, react during second period NHL hockey Tuesday night, March 14, 2006 in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)AP - Don't tell Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders the Stanley Cup playoffs are out of reach.


Homecoming king
Daunte Culpepper's return to Florida will be a win-win situation for him and the improved Dolphins.

Vikings trade Culpepper to Dolphins (AP)
Daunte Culpepper's seven up-and-down seasons in Minnesota came to an end Tuesday. Just what the disgruntled quarterback wanted. The Vikings agreed to trade the three-time Pro Bowl selection to the Miami Dolphins for a second-round draft pick, less than a week after Culpepper -- who is still rehabbing his injured right knee -- said he wanted out.

Owens finally released by Eagles (AP)
Terrell Owens is free to play for any team willing to have him. The Philadelphia Eagles released the exiled Owens on Tuesday, ending a tumultuous, two-year relationship with the wide receiver. Owens was due a $5 million roster bonus on Wednesday, so the Eagles had to cut him or trade him before then to avoid paying him the money.

Brees, Saints agree on six-year deal (AP)
The New Orleans Saints decided to take their chances with Drew Brees' health rather than Matt Leinart's potential. The Saints and Brees agreed to a six-year deal Tuesday as the Miami Dolphins, who also had been courting Brees, traded instead for Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper. Barring unforeseen complications with Brees' shoulder rehabilitation, the Saints now have a proven replacement at...

Cowboys release WR Keyshawn Johnson (AP)
Keyshawn is gone. Could T.O. take his place? With timing and a storyline seemingly borrowed from daytime television, the Dallas Cowboys released leading receiver Keyshawn Johnson only hours after the division rival Philadelphia Eagles cut their tempestuous, talented receiver, Terrell Owens. The Eagles have long been wary about the Cowboys trying to land Owens, even asking the NFL to punish Dallas...

Titans get WR Givens, C Mawae (AP)
David Givens, one of Tom Brady's primary targets on two of New England's Super Bowl winners, signed a five-year, $24 million deal with the Tennessee Titans. "My opportunities here to flourish were a little bit better," Givens said Tuesday. Givens caught 59 passes for 738 yards and two touchdowns last year for New England.

Agent: Lions, Kitna reach agreement (AP)
The Lions and Jon Kitna have reached a tentative agreement that will bring the free-agent quarterback to Detroit, his agent said Tuesday. Kitna visited the Lions at their practice facility in suburban Detroit on Saturday and was "very impressed" with the organization, agent Mike Moye said. Kitna met with head coach Rod Marinelli, offensive coordinator Mike Martz and team president Matt Millen.

Shields agrees to contract with Chiefs (AP)
Right guard Will Shields, an 11-time All-Pro, has agreed to a four-year contract that will ensure his career ends with the Kansas City Chiefs. The 34-year-old Shields has started 207 games for the Chiefs, who drafted him in the third round out of Nebraska in 1993. Shields contemplated retirement for over a year because of chronic back pain.

From paupers to princes
Ron Artest has helped transform the Kings from a lottery team into a playoff-bound top-10 squad.

Avery Johnson sets record in Mavs win (AP)
On the night Avery Johnson moved into the NBA record book, the Dallas Mavericks made their defense-oriented coach proud with a little history of their own. The injury-depleted Mavs erased a 19-point deficit by holding the Cleveland Cavaliers to only eight points in the third quarter -- the fewest they've ever allowed in any quarter -- and kept rallying for a 91-87 victory Tuesday night, giving...

Barry sparks Spurs to 50th win (AP)
Brent Barry was nearly off the team. Now the San Antonio Spurs can't wait to get him off their bench. Barry made four 3-pointers and all six shots from the floor in a reserve role, and San Antonio beat the fading New Orleans Hornets 96-81 on Tuesday night. Barry was informed by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich before last month's trade deadline that it was possible he would be dealt.

Thomas, Bell lead Suns past SuperSonics (AP)
The two highest-scoring teams in the league again made defense an afterthought. Tim Thomas shot 10-for-11 and scored 23 points off the bench, Shawn Marion scored 24 points with 11 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns beat the Seattle SuperSonics 129-120 on Tuesday night. Raja Bell made 10 of 13 shots for 25 points as the Suns shot 56 percent.

Wade, Heat pound Jazz 121-83 (AP)
By the time most of the always-late-arriving Miami fans found their seats, the outcome was decided. Dwyane Wade and his Heat teammates saw to that. With an array of alley-oop dunks, acrobatic layups and positively stingy defense, the Heat built a 27-point lead after one quarter and easily beat the Utah Jazz 121-83 on Tuesday night for their 12th win in 13 games.

Artest, Kings push home win streak to 13 (AP)
Ron Artest scored 28 points while playing stellar defense on Kobe Bryant, and the revitalized Sacramento Kings rolled through the fourth quarter of their 13th straight home victory, 114-98 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. Mike Bibby had 29 points and seven assists for the Kings (33-31), who have won 14 of 18 to move past the Lakers (33-32) into seventh place in the Western Conference.

Isiah Thomas responds again to charges (AP)
Knicks president Isiah Thomas denies sexual harassment charges, saying a disgruntled former team executive who sued him brought groundless claims in a "meritless lawsuit" to harass him and extort money. In papers filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Thomas repeated denials he has made publicly since accusations were made in January by Anucha Browne Sanders, the Knicks' former senior...

Okafor out for season with ankle injury (AP)
Charlotte Bobcats forward Emeka Okafor will miss the rest of the season because of an ankle injury that has already cost him 36 games. Okafor, the reigning rookie of the year, sprained his right ankle twice and Charlotte doctors recently discovered the injury had led to severe tendinitis around the joint.

Jamison, Arenas, Butler lead Wizards (AP)
Playing in front of his mother, father and 18 other friends and family members, Antawn Jamison had one of his best games of the season. Jamison, who grew up in Charlotte, tied his season high with 35 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Washington Wizards to a 119-114 victory over the Bobcats on Tuesday night.

Tsakalidis' big game lifts Grizzlies (AP)
The Boston Celtics concentrated their defense on Memphis leading scorer Pau Gasol, and the Grizzlies' other 7-footer made them pay. Jake Tsakalidis scored a season-high 19 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds Tuesday night to lead the Grizzlies over the Celtics 93-76. "We left Tsakalidis alone.

Power rankings
A record number of trades went down Thursday, but will any shift the balance of power in the NHL?

Hurricanes set franchise wins record (AP)
Doug Weight is starting to look comfortable with his new team, and that's a welcome sight for the NHL-leading Carolina Hurricanes. Weight scored two goals and had an assist to help the Hurricanes set franchise records for victories, home wins and points in a season with a 5-3 victory over the slumping New York Rangers 5-3 on Tuesday night.

Senators win on Alfreddson's late goal (AP)
Whatever his intentions, Daniel Alfredsson reverted to white stick tape late in the game and he was able to sneak his blade onto the ice in the right place at the worst possible moment for John Grahame and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Alfredsson scored with 7 seconds left in the third period to give the Ottawa Senators a 4-3 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday night.

Predators shut out Canucks 5-0 (AP)
Tomas Vokoun and Nashville Predators made it look easy against the slumping Vancouver Canucks. Vokoun made 31 saves for his third shutout of the season and Dan Hamhuis and Scott Hartnell each had a goal and an assist in the Predators' 5-0 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday night. "It's a big win for us," Vokoun said.

Kotalik lifts Sabres to 7th straight win (AP)
Daniel Briere has five goals and 11 assists in eight games since returning from a sports hernia injury after the Olympic break. The Buffalo Sabres are 7-1 since the break. Their seven-game winning streak matches their longest of the season. Coincidence? Of course not. Briere had two goals and two assists Tuesday night in a 6-4 victory over the Washington Capitals, including an assist on Ales Kotalik's...

Oilers win 2-1 as Roloson beats old team (AP)
The Minnesota Wild were well aware of Dwayne Roloson's struggles because they started while he still played for them. Consistently generating shots inside the circles was important, to keep him from getting comfortable in the crease. But that didn't happen, and Roloson emerged with a victory he needed as badly as his old mates.

Leafs rally for 5-4 SO win over Bruins (AP)
With the playoffs on the line -- the Toronto Maple Leafs desperately needed the extra point that comes with winning the shootout. Darcy Tucker scored the only goal in a shootout and the Maple Leafs rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. Mats Sundin scored twice and had an assist, and Bryan McCabe also scored and had an assist to help Toronto win back-to-back games for...

Isles rout Devils 6-1, win 4th straight (AP)
Don't tell Rick DiPietro and the New York Islanders the Stanley Cup playoffs are out of reach. Rick DiPietro made 16 saves and the resurgent Islanders extended their winning streak to four games with a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night. DiPietro, honored Monday as the NHL defensive player of the week, won his seventh straight start and has allowed one goal or less in the last...

Flames back in first after win over Avs (AP)
Jarome Iginla and the Calgary Flames wasted little time reclaiming the Northwest Division lead from the Colorado Avalanche. A day after Calgary dropped a point behind Colorado with a loss in Denver, Iginla scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season and Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves to help the Flames beat the Avalanche 4-3 on Monday night.

Canucks' arena quarantined (AP)
A letter containing suspicious white powder triggered a quarantine for several hours at GM Place, home of the Vancouver Canucks. The substance was later determined to be not harmful. Police say the contents of the package leaked onto a desk when opened by Orca Bay staff Monday. None of the seven employees exposed to the material became ill.

Busting on Busch
LAS VEGAS – Everyone seems to be pointing fingers at Kyle Busch. Problem is, he might just deserve it.

American makes Formula One debut, but series still lags far behind NASCAR for U.S. attention (AP)
Half a world away from Jimmie Johnson's last-lap NASCAR victory in Las Vegas, another California native was making racing history without any fanfare. Scott Speed became the first American since 1993 to compete in a Formula One race, finishing a respectable 13th in the Bahrain Grand Prix. But did anyone even notice?

Johnson passes Kenseth for last-lap victory (AP)
So far this season, Jimmie Johnson is doing just about everything right.

Johnson wins NASCAR Nextel UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 (SportsTicker)

Engine, tires make a bad day for Newman (AP)
A day that started badly for Ryan Newman quickly got worse in the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400.

Team France wins inaugural A1 Grand Prix season title (AP)
MONTEREY, Calif. (AP)-- Team France, with 22-year-old Nicolas Lapierre behind the wheel, finished second to Team Mexico in the 30-minute Sprint race Sunday to wrap up the championship in the inaugural season of the A1 Grand Prix of Nations. Mexico's 20-year-old Salvador Duran made it a doubleheader sweep for his team in the Main race, benefiting from a mechanical failure that knocked France out of...

Kahne wins Busch Series Sam's Town 300 (SportsTicker)

Five spectators hospitalized after rally crash (AP)
Five spectators were hospitalized Sunday, three with serious injuries, after being struck by a rally car which took a wrong turn and rolled. A Motorsport New Zealand spokesman said the spectators were watching a Targa Club Rally stage at Waiuku, southwest of Auckland, when the accident occurred. "He had made a mistake," Motorsport New Zealand president Stephen Kennedy told National Radio.

Kahne holds off Kenseth for Busch win (AP)
Kasey Kahne held off Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick for 20 laps, then survived a two-lap shootout with Kenseth Saturday to win the Sam's Town 300 for his fourth NASCAR Busch Series victory.

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