UNC, MSU final two regional survivors

AUSTIN, Texas — A 3-point prayer, answered. One overtime, then another. And when the dust settled on the breathtaking finish to an astonishing weekend, Michigan State was holding the last ticket to the Final Four.

Patrick Sparks’ desperation 3-pointer at the end of regulation danced oh-so softly on the rim, bouncing four times before falling through for Kentucky. But wait. Was his right toe on the line?

McCants trades personal glory for team success

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — No one sacrificed more than Rashad McCants to make sure North Carolina got back to the Final Four. So it was only fitting that he made the plays when the Tar Heels needed him most.

The star guard, no longer the team’s leading scorer this year while accepting a more team-oriented role, swished a clutch 3-pointer and had two huge defensive stops down the stretch, leading top-seed North Carolina past Wisconsin 88-82 on Sunday in the final of the Syracuse Regional.

Tigers sweep KSU

The Missouri baseball team won 3-1 against Kansas State on Sunday, sweeping the three-game series in Manhattan.

Junior Doug Mathis gave up one run on three hits and struck out five in seven innings to earn the win and improve to 2-2.

Making Himself Heard

Where was he?

He should have been here by now.

It’s the second inning of a Friday night Missouri baseball game against North Dakota State and there is no sign of super fan Larry Wyatt II.

Usually wearing a Missouri hat and dressed in a black-and-gold sweat top and black khaki pants, he is known to most as just “Larry.”

He is an unmistakable presence at Taylor Stadium.

Tigers edge Kansas St. in baseball

Missouri extended its winning streak to 11 games and secured a victory in its first Big 12 series of the season, defeating Kansas State 6-5 on Saturday. Derek Chambers went 2-for-5 with two RBIs to stretch his hitting streak to eight games and sparked an eighth inning rally to help Missouri overcome the Wildcats and four unearned runs scored off starter Nathan Culp, who got a no decision. Andrew Johnston (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

On Friday, Max Scherzer (5-1) pitched seven innings of three-hit ball to win his fifth straight start. Hunter Mense had the Tigers' lone RBI and scored a run as Missouri (19-4) scored a season-low three runs on three hits, but managed to win its Big 12 opener.

Extra Points: MU Softball

Missouri (27-3) split a doubleheader Friday with Oklahoma State to open conference play. In Game One, the Tigers fell 6-5 in 10 innings. In a seesaw game, the Tigers took the lead in tops of the ninth and 10th innings, only to see Oklahoma State answer immediately in the bottom half. Sophomore catcher Kathy Masterson went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two strikeouts in the loss.

Extra Points: MU Diving

Evan Watters finished 21st in the 3-meter springboard event at the NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championships in Minneapolis. He was the only Tiger to qualify for the national meet.

Extra Points: MU Track and Field

Missouri took first place in four events at the Tulsa Invitational this weekend, led by senior Lindsey Markworth, who won the women’s shot put and discus. Jennifer Bennett won the women's pole vault, clearing a height of 12 feet, while Jesse Sims won the men’s high jump with a leap of 6 feet, 10.75 inches.

Extra Points: MU Gymnastics

The Tigers placed fourth at the Big 12 Championships in Norman, Okla. with a score of 194.875. Nebraska won its seventh title in the ninth year of the competition.

Senior Alisha Robinson won the conference vault title for the second straight season, scoring a 9.925 in the event.

Priday lifts Missouri’s run total

Each time Missouri outfielder Jacob Priday comes to bat at Taylor Stadium, the loudspeaker plays Blake Shelton’s country song “Heavy Lifting.”

“I hit the ground runnin’ with the mornin’ sun. When a job needs doin’, I get it done.”

Missouri rises in rankings for Directors’ Cup standings

Missouri’s athletic program jumped 12 spots to 36th in the United States Sports Academy Directors’ Cup standings, released Thursday.

The rankings, which include Missouri finishes for fall and winter sports, are released 11 times during the Division I school year.

Cards’ Eckstein eager for opener

JUPITER, Fla. — David Eckstein can hardly wait for his first regular-season game with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Eckstein had a hit and two walks Thursday to raise his spring average to .416. Rick Ankiel had his first hit since giving up on pitching and trying to make it as an outfielder and the Cardinals beat the Nationals 5-1.

Coastal powers meet in Missouri

Associated Press

For years it lurked as a potential rivalry that hasn’t happened. Stanford on the West Coast, Connecticut in the East, each the dominant program in its region.

Caravan brings Tigers coaches to fans

Face-to-face conversations with the Missouri athletic director are rare for Tigers fans.

But the Mizzou Caravan, a promotional tour featuring Missouri athletic officials and student-athletes, offers such a situation on an annual basis.

Kansas upset loss still haunts coach

KANSAS CITY — Kansas coach Bill Self said Wednesday he called Bucknell coach Pat Flannery to apologize for his players not shaking hands after the Jayhawks’ unexpected loss in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Only a handful of Kansas players stayed around for the traditional handshake last week when the 14th-seeded Bisons shocked the No. 3 seed Jayhawks 64-63. The Jayhawks first opening-round loss since 1978 brought a bitter end to the careers of four seniors and some upset fans called it the worst defeat in school history.

All-American Wecker leaves void at Kansas State

KANSAS CITY — Kansas State had hoped to play in this weekend’s NCAA regional in Kansas City, just 120 miles from campus and well within driving distance for the Wildcats’ loyal fan base.

Instead, the college careers of All-American forward Kendra Wecker and 3-point shooting star Laurie Koehn ended in Seattle, with a 63-60 loss to Vanderbilt in the second round. That continued a pattern of disappointment for the Wildcats, who have risen to national prominence in recent years but still haven’t cracked the Final Four.

Finding success off the mat

As a redshirt freshman in 2002, Missouri senior Tyron Woodley was an NCAA qualifier. The next season, Woodley was a Big 12 Conference champion and an All-American in the 165-pound class.

With lofty expectations, Woodley finished his junior campaign in 2003-04 with a 21-10 record, missing out on attending the NCAA championships in St. Louis.

Cards apologize for comments by broadcaster

DENVER — St. Louis Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty has apologized to the Colorado Rockies for comments by radio broadcaster Wayne Hagin suggesting Colorado first baseman Todd Helton used steroids.

“He said on behalf of their organization that he was sorry, and that Todd Helton is one of the finest people in baseball,” Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd said after a conversation with Jocketty on Monday.

Scott, Mabry shine in California tournament

The Missouri men’s golf team finished fourth out of 14 teams at the Stevinson Ranch Invitational in Stevinson Ranch, Calif.

Juniors Ben Scott and Chris Mabry tied for eighth place among individual finishers. Both shot a 3-over par 219 at the two-day event.

Snyder focuses on next year

No television cameras filmed the reaction of the Missouri men’s basketball team when the NCAA Tournament brackets were revealed March 13.

There was no need.