It’s Louisville and Michigan, Knicks vs Thunder, Nascar, NFL + Saturday Recap: Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cards and Wolverines advance to Monday’s National Championship Game

The Louisville Cardinals survived a scare from Wichita State and Michigan turned back a furious second half rally by Syracuse to advance to Monday’s National Championship Game. The Cardinals were stuck 12 midway through the second half before wearing down the Shockers in the final seven minutes and advancing 72-68. Michigan led Syracuse by one inside of 30 seconds before icing things with a steal, a dunk and foul shots to win 61-56. Louisville opened as a consensus four-point favorite with the total set at 138 for Monday’s 9:00 PM EST tip.

Knicks put win streak on the line today at OKC

In today’s early feature NBA matchup, the Oklahoma City Thunder try to keep pace with San Antonio Spurs for the top-seed in the West when the entertain the red-hot New York Knicks today at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder are eight-point favorites in the 1:00 PM EST tip with the high/low dropping like a stone from the 199 opener to 195 1/2. The game also features the league’s two leading scorers with Kevin Durant (28.4 ppg) meeting Carmelo Anthony (28.3). Melo has been on a tear of late scoring 41-40-50 in his last three games. The Thunder need to win to draw even with the Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference. The Knicks need to win to maintain the two hole in the East and avoid meeting the Heat until the Eastern Conference finals.

Weaver vs Darvish in tonight’s MLB ESPN feature

Tonight’s ESPN Sunday night matchup features aces Jered Weaver of the Angels and Yu Darvish of the Rangers. Weaver opened the year with six innings of two-hit run-run ball in a 2-1 no-decision win at Cincinnati. Darvish took a perfect game into the ninth while striking out a career high 14 in his 7-0 whitewash of the Astros. At this writing, Texas is a -134 favorite with total 8.5 shaded 20 cents to the under. Weaver is 13-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 30 career starts vs Texas. Darvish is 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in six career starts vs. the Halos.

Jimmie Johnson starts from the pole at Martinsville

Nascar returns after its Easter break with the STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway at Ridgeway, Virginia. Jimmie Johnson will leave from the pole after a record breaking lap in qualifying. Marcos Ambrose, Brian Vickers, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, and Jeff Gordon complete the first three rows.
Dale Earnhardt Jr is the early leader in The Chase standing with 199 points, 12 better than defending champ Brad Keselowski.

Odds to Win the STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway

Jimmie Johnson #48 11/4

Jeff Gordon #24 6/1

Kyle Busch #18 8/1

Clint Bowyer #15 9/1

Brad Keselowski #2 10/1

Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 12/1

Kasey Kahne #5 14/1

Carl Edwards #99 16/1

Kevin Harvick #29 16/1

Joey Logano #22 20/1

Matt Kenseth #20 20/1

Brian Vickers #55 22/1

Ryan Newman #39 25/1

Tony Stewart #14 25/1

NFL News and Notes

New England Patriot TE Ron Gronkowski will have the plate in his surgically repaired broken left forearm removed to make sure that an infection previously found in January has been eradicated. The procedure could jeopardize Gronk’s readiness for the start of the 2013 season.

The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Joe Flacco will play Johnny Unitas in an upcoming film about the former Colt great. Flacco will not star in the movie but will play Unitas in the final action scenes which will depict the Colts 23-17 win over the New York Giants in the 1958 NFL Championship game.

Donte Stallworth talks about his near tragic hot air balloon ride last month

Free Play

(MLB) Angels (Weaver)/Rangers (Darvish) Under 8.5 (Sunday, April 7, 8:05 PM EST )