Syracuse and Wichita advance to Final Four, Mega Extensions, Football News and Notes + Saturday Recap: Sunday, March 31, 2013

Orange and Shockers advance to Atlanta

The first two teams are through to the Final Four as Syracuse proves best in the East and Wichita is best in the West. Syracuse easily avenged its regular season loss to Marquette with an easy 55-39 win in DC. The Shockers roared out to an 18-point lead early in the second half and then held on to beat Ohio State 70-66. The Midwest and South regional finals will be played today with Louisville (-3.5, 137) taking on Duke in Indianapolis and Florida (-3, 132 1/2) meeting Michigan in Arlington, Texas.

The No.9 Wichita State Shockers take done No.2 Ohio State in the West

UCLA gets Alford on seven-year deal

UCLA came up short in trying to hire Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens but they were able to pry away Steve Alford away from New Mexico on a seven-year $18.2 million dollar deal. Alford leaves behind a Lobos team that returns all five starters from a team that went 29-6 and won both the Mountain West regular season and tournament titles. Alford’s son Bryce, an incoming freshman who is the leading scorer in New Mexico HS history, will follow Alford to UCLA.

Lakers win, Kobe passes Wilt

Kobe Bryant did it all on Saturday night as the Lakers recovered from a 37-25 first quarter deficit to defeat the Sacramento Kings 103-98 at the Arco. Kobe had a 19-9-14 game line with a season high in assists. Bryant also passed Wilt Chamberlain for fourth place on the All-Time scoring list with 31,419 points. He trails only Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).

Weekend mega-contracts

Several mega-deal were signed during the last 48 hours including …..

Justin Verlander is now the highest paid pitcher in baseball after agreeing to a seven-year $175 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Tony Romo will remain a Cowboy for the next six-years after agreeing to six-year $108 million dollar deal, $55 million (more than Joe Flacco) of which is guaranteed.

The Giants have locked up Buster Posey for a while. The MVP catcher and San Francisco inked a nine-year $167 million dollar deal. This was a preemptive strike by the Giants as Posey would not have become an unrestricted free agent until 2016.

Stay tuned for more big money deals this week as the Packer’s Aaron Rodgers and the Dodger’s Clayton Kershaw are reportedly ready to break the bank sometime this week.

Pens win 15th straight, Sid loses teeth

The Penguins won their 15th straight game on Saturday, blanking the New York Islanders 2-0 despite losing leading scorer Stanley Crosby in the first 90 seconds. Crosby was hit in directly in the mouth by a slap-shot from the point and did not return. Crosby needed oral surgery after the game for some missing teeth and his status is unknown at this time.

NFL News and Notes

The Buffalo Bills have agreed to terms with ex-Eagle/Cardinal quarterback Kevin Kolb. The deal is said to be for two years and in the $13 million dollar range. Buffalo is thought to also be seriously considering taking USC’s Matt Barkley with the No.8 overall pick in the April draft. Tavaris Jackson and Aaron Carp are the only other two quarterbacks on the Bills roster.

Revolutionary and Orb win Derby Preps

The Kentucky Derby is just five weeks away and two horses firmly established themselves as contenders with Saturday wins in the two major prep races. Revolutionary stalked the leaders up the backside, swooped the field in the turn, and then bravely held off Mylute in the stretch dual to win by a neck and pay $6.80 as the favorite of the Louisiana Derby. At Gulfstream, Orb was much the best beating race favorite Itsmyluckyday by almost three lengths. Orb paid $7.80 as second choice and figures to be an early choice as favorite for the May 4th Run for the Roses. Keep it right here at SB3 for the latest horse racing news.

Animal Kingdom wins the $10 million dollar Dubai Cup

2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom represented for the US with a win in the $10 million dollar Dubai Cup. It was Animal Kingdom’s first stake win since the Derby and the first win ever for an American horse in the world’s richest race. Animal Kingdom was placed near the lead throughout before taking an open length lead at the top of the 400 meter stretch and cruising to a 2 3/4 length win. AK paid $7.40 as the favorite. Defending champion and pre-race choice Monterosso scratched lame before the race. Watch the Dubai Cup here.

Free Play

(NBA) Miami +1.5 over San Antonio (Sunday, March 31, 7:05 PM EST )