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Maryland hoping to make noise in NCAAs (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070301/ap_on_sp_co_ga_su/bkc_t25_maryland_duke"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070301/capt.ncsd10703010311.maryland_duke_basketball_ncsd107.jpg?x=89&y=130&sig=WKUyXd_UoHGfm3ODzMlbzQ--" align="left" height="130" width="89" alt="Maryland's Ekene Ibekwe (25) reacts to a teammates dunk over Duke in the first half of a basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Sara D. Davis)" border="0" /></a>AP - Maryland is suddenly looking like a team that nobody wants to play in DURHAM, N.C. (AP) &#151; Maryland is suddenly looking like a team that nobody wants to play in March.</p><br clear="all"/>

Suns can't go perfect against East (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070301/ap_on_sp_bk_ga_su/bkn_suns76ers"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070301/capt.pagw10103010141.suns_76ers_basketball_pagw101.jpg?x=96&y=130&sig=NpkQvLu1o3IjQzpsdcQurA--" align="left" height="130" width="96" alt="Philadelphia 76ers' Willie Green (33) gets past Phoenix Suns' Steve Nash (13) and Amare Stoudemire (1) during the first half of their NBA basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/George Widman)" border="0" /></a>AP - The Phoenix Suns' drive toward a perfect road record against the East came to an unexpected end. Andre Iguodala scored 24 points, Willie Green had 20 and the Philadelphia 76ers never trailed Wednesday night in a 99-94 win over the Phoenix Suns, who lost on the road to an Eastern Conference team for the first time this season.</p><br clear="all"/>

Steroid scandal shifts to east coast (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070301/ap_on_sp_ot/steroid_raid"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070228/capt.azrf10402282047.steroid_raid_baseball__azrf104.jpg?x=86&y=130&sig=Q8XEipUgaZ.G8qD7YEU9AA--" align="left" height="130" width="86" alt="Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., watches a ball he hit in batting practice during a spring training workout, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007, in Tempe, Ariz. Athletes were involved as customers in an illicit steroid distribution network that led authorities to raid two Orlando pharmacies and arrest four company officials, a New York prosecutor said. Customers allegedly include Los Angeles Angels outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., according to the Times Union of Albany, which first disclosed the investigation, citing unidentified sources. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)" border="0" /></a>AP - Testing for performance-enhancing drugs can only go so far &#151; and nab so many people. Bring state and federal law-enforcement officials in, and it could change the landscape of the anti-doping fight.</p><br clear="all"/>

Predators spoil Guerin's Sharks' debut (AP)
AP - Bill Guerin saw plenty of reasons to be excited about his late-season trade to the San Jose Sharks. He also saw why the Nashville Predators might be the team to beat this spring.

Australian jockey convicted in tips scam (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070301/ap_on_sp_ot/rac_hong_kong_munce_trial"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070301/capt.xkc10203010221.hong_kong_munce_trial_xkc102.jpg?x=88&y=130&sig=nYw3hVUDmLgGaTyWZaMSyg--" align="left" height="130" width="88" alt="Australian jockey Chris Munce, bottom, accompanied by an unidentified woman arrives at a court in Hong Kong Thursday, March 1, 2007. A verdict for Munce, accused of offering a local businessman racing tips in exchange for placing bets on his behalf, is expected on Thursday. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)" border="0" /></a>AP - Australian jockey Chris Munce was convicted Thursday of taking bribes in exchange for racing tips and sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, casting a shadow over an illustrious racing career highlighted by a 1998 Melbourne Cup victory.</p><br clear="all"/>

Backed by ESPN, 19-team AFL kicks off (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070301/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_arena_football_opens"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070228/capt.ny15902282022.arena_football_opens_ny159.jpg?x=121&y=130&sig=VroLK_udQSFxUrnsUasNDw--" align="left" height="130" width="121" alt="Georgia Force defensive safety Rob Carey loses his helmet while tackling Colorado Crush offensive safety Damian Harrell during the second quarter of Arena Bowl XIX in Las Vegas in this June 12, 2005 file photo. The Arena Football League enters its third decade with a new broadcast partner that just so happens to own a portion of the 19-team organization. ESPN signed a five-year deal to telecast games, including a Monday night package. The widespread television network also will provide expanded multimedia coverage. (AP Photo/R. Marsh Starks)" border="0" /></a>AP - The Arena Football League enters its third decade with a new broadcast partner that happens to own a portion of the 19-team organization.</p><br clear="all"/>

Sixers eclipse Suns to spoil road sweep bid (Reuters)
Reuters - The Phoenix Suns lost a road game to an Eastern Conference opponent for the first time this season, dropping a 99-94 decision to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Wainwright starts conversion to rotation (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070301/ap_on_sp_ba_ga_su/bbo_spring_training_rdp"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070228/capt.flrb20502282129.marlins_cardinals_spring_baseball_flrb205.jpg?x=117&y=130&sig=walRvrF9y7KaxN6FGc99Cg--" align="left" height="130" width="117" alt="St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright throws against the Florida Marlins in the first inning during a baseball spring training game Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)" border="0" /></a>AP - Adam Wainwright threw the final pitch of last season and one of the first at spring training this year.</p><br clear="all"/>

Blackburn beats Arsenal to advance (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070228/ap_on_sp_so_ga_su/soc_euro_rdp"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070228/capt.mdt10802282226.britain_soccer_fa_cup_mdt108.jpg?x=130&y=99&sig=eyY0lheq7Dgff6H80thwDw--" align="left" height="99" width="130" alt="Benni McCarthy of Blackburn Rovers celebrates scoring the only goal of the game against Arsenal during their FA Cup 5th round replay soccer match at Ewood Park, Blackburn, England, Wednesday Feb. 28, 2007. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)" border="0" /></a>AP - Benni McCarthy scored with four minutes remaining to give Blackburn a 1-0 victory over Arsenal on Wednesday night and a berth in the FA Cup quarterfinals.</p><br clear="all"/>

Iginla sparks Flames to shootout win (AP)
AP - Jarome Iginla scored in the shootout to give the Calgary Flames a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night.

On the fast track to stardom

Bears sign Smith to four-year extension (AP)
Lovie Smith got a contract extension and a raise, nearly a month after a Super Bowl appearance and a week after his agent said negotiations were so stalled the Chicago Bears coach would probably leave after the 2007 season. After meeting Wednesday with team president Ted Phillips, Smith signed a four-year contract extension through 2011.

Ravens cut Jamal Lewis, may re-sign him (AP)
Running back Jamal Lewis, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2003, was cut by the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday. General manager Ozzie Newsome said the team still hoped to re-sign him. Lewis ran for 2,066 yards in 2003, the second-highest total in NFL history. His numbers slipped after that -- his 1,132 yards last season were his most since then, although he averaged just 3.6 yards per carry...

Report: "Pacman" to appear in Ga. court (AP)
Tennessee cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones is scheduled to appear in court in Georgia later this month on obstruction charges from an incident with police last year, The Tennessean reported Wednesday night. Jones, who has been staying with family and friends near his hometown of Atlanta, was recently accused of being involved in a fight at a Las Vegas strip club that ended in the shootings of two...

Vikings release veteran QB Brad Johnson (AP)
In a long-expected move, the Minnesota Vikings released quarterback Brad Johnson on Wednesday and made the 15-year veteran an unrestricted free agent. Tarvaris Jackson, who started the final two games of last season as a rookie, and Brooks Bollinger are the only quarterbacks remaining on the roster. After the Vikings had recurring problems on offense and finished 6-10, coach Brad Childress ruled...

Steelers give DE Aaron Smith $25M deal (AP)
Defensive end Aaron Smith, who was entering the last year of his contract, has signed a four-year extension with Pittsburgh. The deal, which runs through the 2011 season, is for roughly $25 million and rewrites the final year the 31-year-old Smith's current contract, under which he was due a $1 million roster bonus and a salary of $3.5 million.

Texans cut Moulds, Payne, Weigert (AP)
The Texans released receiver Eric Moulds after one season Wednesday and also dropped defensive tackle Seth Payne and offensive lineman Zach Weigert. Moulds had 557 yards and one touchdown last season after joining Houston in a trade with Buffalo. He had spent 10 years with the Bills. Payne, a 10-year veteran, played in only five games last year after tearing a ligament in his right knee.

'Skins rework Brunell's deal, cut Fauria (AP)
The Washington Redskins finished restructuring Mark Brunell's contract Wednesday, creating more space under the salary cap while ensuring he will return to the team next season. The team also re-signed offensive lineman Mike Pucillo and released tight end Christian Fauria. The moves were part of a furious final push to prepare the Redskins for the start of free agency Friday, when the team is...

Age defiance
Shaun Livingston's knee injury brings to light the folly of denying younger players the freedom to access NBA riches.

Suns denied unprecedented road sweep (AP)
The Phoenix Suns' drive toward a perfect road record against the East came to an unexpected end. Andre Iguodala scored 24 points, Willie Green had 20 and the Philadelphia 76ers never trailed Wednesday night in a 99-94 win over the Phoenix Suns, who lost on the road to an Eastern Conference team for the first time this season.

O'Neal, Heat beat short-handed Wizards (AP)
With less than a week to go before his 35th birthday, Shaquille O'Neal took command of the game and could not be stopped. Woe unto the Washington Wizards, who tried to stop the big man one-on-one. Just like old times, O'Neal assumed control when it mattered most Wednesday night. He scored all 12 of his team's points over a 13-minute span late in the third quarter and most of the fourth, finishing...

Celtics' Maxwell sorry for sexist remark (AP)
Boston Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell apologized on the air Wednesday night for saying that a female referee should "go back to the kitchen" after he disagreed with one of her calls. Maxwell made the comment during the Celtics' 77-72 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday. He subsequently said "Go in there and make me some bacon and eggs, would you?" in reference to referee Violet Palmer.

Rookies lift Bulls in rout of Warriors (AP)
Ben Gordon did his scoring in the first quarter, then watched the rookies take over from there. Gordon scored 16 of his 22 points in the first 12 minutes, rookie Tyrus Thomas tied a career high with 14 points, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Golden State Warriors 113-83 on Wednesday night. Rookie Thabo Sefolosha scored a career-high 19 points and reserve Adrian Griffin added a season-high 17 for the...

McGrady may skip All-Star game in N.O. (AP)
Houston Rockets star Tracy McGrady said Wednesday he would consider skipping next year's All-Star game if he felt he wouldn't be safe in New Orleans. "When they first mentioned to me that the All-Star game was going to be in New Orleans, the first thing I thought about is how much security they are going to have for the players and everybody there," McGrady said.

A.I., Carmelo get Nuggets past Magic (AP)
Nuggets forward Eduardo Najera was bragging in practice about how at age 30 he still could leap out of the gym. Allen Iverson called him on it. Najera may be able to get up in practice, but Iverson wanted to see it in live action. So Najera showed Iverson -- and everyone else -- his leaping prowess when he dunked over Orlando's Darko Milicic in the Denver Nuggets' 111-101 win over the Magic on...

Celtics waste huge lead, rally by Knicks (AP)
Gerald Green brought his brand new slam dunk trophy back to Boston, then showed the New York Knicks that there was more to his game than flash and smash. Green scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Celtics to a 102-94 victory over the Knicks on Wednesday night. He scored seven straight -- on a 3-pointer, a pair of free throws and a 19-footer -- to take back the lead after...

Raptors start quick, defeat Rockets (AP)
After a 16-point loss in their last game, the Toronto Raptors talked about improving their passing. That fundamental translated into some excellent shooting Wednesday night as the Raptors used a strong first half to build a 20-point lead and beat the Houston Rockets 106-90. Andrea Bargnani scored 20 points and T.J.

Celtics pay tribute to Dennis Johnson (AP)
Even Isiah Thomas paid tribute to Dennis Johnson on Wednesday night, wearing a pin in honor of the late Celtics great whose career highlight came at Thomas' expense. In Boston's first home game since Johnson died of an apparent heart attack last Thursday, the Boston Celtics honored the five-time All-Star during their game against the New York Knicks.

Preds spoil Guerin's debut with Sharks (AP)
Bill Guerin saw plenty of reasons to be excited about his late-season trade to the San Jose Sharks. He also saw why the Nashville Predators might be the team to beat this spring. J.P. Dumont scored in the fourth round of the shootout to end the Predators' 4-3 victory Wednesday night, spoiling Guerin's debut in teal.

Flames top Wild for first shootout win (AP)
Miikka Kiprusoff and the Calgary Flames broke their shootout shutout. The Calgary goalie turned aside all three shooters he faced, including a game-ending stop of Pierre-Marc Bouchard, to give the Flames a 2-1 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night and their first shootout win of the season. Jarome Iginla scored the only goal in the shootout for Calgary, which moved one point ahead of Minnesota...

Zubrus looking to fit in with Sabres (AP)
Dainius Zubrus politely declined when new Sabres teammate Derek Roy offered to give up his No. 9 jersey. "He said, 'If you want to take it, take it," Zubrus said Wednesday, a day after Buffalo acquired him in a deal with Washington. "I said, 'Are you kidding me? ... No way."' With that, Zubrus -- who wore No.

Emery, Senators defeat Hurricanes 2-0 (AP)
Jason Spezza scored a late goal to give Ray Emery some room for error -- not that the Senators' goalie needed it. Emery made 27 saves in his fifth shutout and the Ottawa Senators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 on Wednesday night to complete and a home-and-home sweep of the Stanley Cup champions.

Red Wings acquire Bertuzzi from Panthers (AP)
The Detroit Red Wings wanted to add toughness and depth up front, and they seemed to accomplish both goals just before the NHL's trading deadline. Detroit acquired Todd Bertuzzi from Florida on Tuesday, a day after picking up forward Kyle Calder in a three-team trade. "We've added some size, grit, skill and depth," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

Islanders acquire F Smyth from Oilers (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers couldn't reach a new deal with Ryan Smyth so they dealt the star forward to the New York Islanders just before Tuesday's NHL trade deadline. The Oilers received prospects Robert Nilsson and Ryan O'Marra -- both first-round draft picks -- and a first-round selection in this year's draft for Smyth.

Oilers honor Messier, lose to Coyotes (AP)
The Edmonton Oilers played their first game of the post-Ryan Smyth era and they looked as if they could have used their leading scorer back -- or maybe the guy whose number they retired. Curtis Joseph made 26 saves and the Phoenix Coyotes defeated Edmonton 3-0 on Tuesday after the Oilers retired Mark Messier's No.

Brodeur records 12th shutout of season (AP)
The 13th season of Martin Brodeur's remarkable career just might turn out to be his best. Brodeur set a career high with his 12th shutout of the season, stopping 31 shots in the New Jersey Devils' 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. "Some games you have a feeling that there's not going to be many goals scored, just by the way the game is played," said Brodeur, who has twice...

Blues F Rucinsky out after hip surgery (AP)
Blues forward Martin Rucinsky is out indefinitely following hip surgery. The St. Louis forward, who missed eight games because of the injury, had a torn labrum in his left hip repaired. Rucinsky, injured Feb. 6 against Toronto, will be evaluated again in the next week. Rucinsky, 35, has 12 goals and 21 assists in 52 games this season.

Coyotes F Roenick mulling retirement (AP)
Jeremy Roenick is thinking about calling it quits after 18 NHL seasons. The Phoenix Coyotes veteran forward had hoped to be dealt to a team in a playoff position, but wasn't moved before the trade deadline Tuesday. Now that "I've got 19 games left and I'm enjoying myself because chances are it will be the end," he said, following Phoenix's 3-0 win over Edmonton.

In the pits
A driver can gain or lose plenty of track positions during pit stops. Just ask Tony Stewart.

Reiser, Francis get brief respite from suspensions (AP)
Robbie Reiser was so anxious to get back to the track, he struggled to fall asleep. Kenny Francis battled a bit of nervousness.

NASCAR may move COT to full schedule in 2008 (AP)
NASCAR wants to speed up implementation of its Car of Tomorrow to have it in use full-time by 2008, officials said Wednesday.

Montoya concerned about new NASCAR vehicle (AFP)

Kahne, Montoya sound off on COT after Bristol test (PA SportsTicker)
By Jim Ralabate PA SportsTicker Auto Racing Editor

Reutimann sore after wreck, heading to Bristol for CoT test (AP)
Nextel Cup rookie David Reutimann's crash at California Speedway left him so sore that ``everything hurts, down to my eyeballs and my teeth.''

Points leader Martin might have hard time scaling back (AP)
Mark Martin spent the past two years waffling on his future in racing. Now that he's found the perfect situation, he really doesn't want to change his mind again.

NASCAR fines three more crew chiefs for Daytona misdeeds (PA SportsTicker)
NASCAR continued its crackdown on cheating Monday, fining three more crew chiefs for violations committed in the days leading up to the Daytona 500.

Kenseth bounces back with California win (AP)
Matt Kenseth and his team started the new season 50 points in the hole and with crew chief Robbie Reiser on suspension for the first four races.

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