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Happy Monday morning, all!

Let's get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to...


Heartbreak is no more for South Carolina. For the second time ever, the Gamecocks are national champions after a wire-to-wire 64-49 win over UConn in the final of the NCAA women's tournament.

  • South Carolina outrebounded UConn 49-24 and held a 22-5 edge in second-chance points.
  • Destanni Henderson had a career-high 26 points, and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Aliyah Boston had 11 points and 16 rebounds
  • It's the first time UConn and head coach Geno Auriemma have lost a championship game. They had been 11-0.

While Henderson was the star offensively, the South Carolina defense was outstanding. UConn star Paige Bueckers (14 points) was the only Husky to reach double digits, and UConn's 49 points were its second-fewest ever in an NCAA Tournament game.

South Carolina was No. 1 in the AP Poll all season, but considering how the last two seasons ended, the Gamecocks took nothing for granted. In 2019-20, they were 32-1 and looked like a favorite to win it all before COVID-19 ended the season. Last year, Boston missed a short shot at the buzzer in a 66-65 Final Four loss to Stanford.

After ending last season in tears, Boston ended this one the same way. This time, though, they were happy tears. Her consistency, and, in turn, South Carolina's consistency, carried all the way through to the title, and this year's team joins the 2016-17 squad as champions.



After three weeks of madness, the men's national championship is set: North Carolina vs Kansas. Let's start with the Tar Heels, who beat Duke, 81-77, and sent Mike Krzyzewski into retirement (more on that in a minute):

  • Caleb Love scored a game-high 28 points -- 22 in the second half -- and hit a massive 3-pointer late.
  • Armando Bacot had 11 points and 21(!) rebounds, the most in a Final Four game in nearly 40 years.
  • North Carolina's starters scored 79 of the 81 points.

Listen, it's always a great morning when you wake up with the chance to win a championship, but when you do it after beating your archrival and sending their legendary coach into retirement, it's extra special. North Carolina ruined Krzyzewski's final home game (a win that, Saturday proved, was no fluke) and then ended his career in a game fit for the sport's best rivalry, writes college basketball reporter Matt Norlander.

  • Norlander: "North Carolina, you just achieved the biggest rivalry victory American sports has ever seen. And there's still a national title game against Kansas to be played on Monday night. That might feel like a scrimmage in comparison to the weeklong buildup and world-squeezing anticipation of Blue Devils vs. Tar Heels. Saturday night provided enough stakes to burn this feud for another few decades."

A month and a half ago, North Carolina was on the bubble after a home loss to Pittsburgh. Now, it's in the national championship game. As for who the Tar Heels will meet there, Kansas is playing its best basketball at the best time after dispatching Villanova 81-65.

  • David McCormack had a season-high 25 points and added nine rebounds.
  • Ochai Agbaji had 21 points and nailed six 3-pointers. (more on Agbaji here)
  • Kansas led by as much as 19.

So here we are, with Kansas and North Carolina in the championship game. It should be a blast, and I really enjoyed college basketball expert Kevin Flaherty's breakdown of every matchup from starters to benches to coaches. I'll keep a keen eye on the big man battle:

As for all the other preview content you need:

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...



Mike Krzyzewski's career will never be matched.

  • 1,202 career wins, most all-time (including 1,129 at Duke)
  • 13 Final Fours, most all-time
  • 101 NCAA Tournament wins, most all-time
  • 5 national titles, second-most all-time
  • 2 losses to his biggest rival in two of his biggest moments

But It will also never get the fairytale ending that seemed more and more likely in the last few weeks. Instead, it will be marred by losses in the biggest rivalry in college basketball.

In early March, Krzyzewski said his team's loss to North Carolina was "unacceptable" and reminded fans that the season wasn't over. But now Krzyzewski -- and Blue Devils faithful -- will have to accept not only that the season is over, but that his career is over, too. And there's nothing much they can do about it, writes our college basketball reporter Dennis Dodd.

  • Dodd: "It transcended the arguments. It might have transcended sports. Given the stakes, the circumstances and the 40-plus coaching career of a 75-year old giant that painfully, gloriously, improbably ended, it is bigger than what the experts tell us. ... Two wins vs. Duke in less than a month including the one that sent Coach K packing? What happened in the last month will sustain every Carolina fan, forever. Duke can only live it down if … well, can it? Ever?"

North Carolina handed Krzyzewski his first loss at Duke, back in 1980. The Tar Heels handed him his most awkward loss, in his last Duke home game. And now they've handed him his final loss as well, a fact that will gnaw at Krzyzewski -- and that Carolina fans will keep handy -- forever.

Not so honorable mentions

Tiger Woods a 'game-time decision' for the Masters 🐯


Masters Week has arrived, and the lead up to this year's tournament has an added buzz of the highest magnitude: Tiger Woods says he'll be a "game-time decision" to return to competitive golf at the tournament.

Woods has not competed in an official event since November 2020. He had back surgery in December 2020 and then was in a serious car accident in February 2021. Woods played in the 2021 PNC Championship with his son, Charlie, but used a cart for much of the event.

Woods' five green jackets are second all-time, only behind Jack Nicklaus' six. But it's important to appreciate Woods' potential return regardless of result, writes our golf insider Kyle Porter.

  • Porter: "Because Woods knows that he likely won't be super competitive at this year's Masters, playing at all represents a shift for him from past comebacks. He would be playing because he wants to play, not because he has a realistic chance of winning the golf tournament. That actually would be a delight to see and a celebratory moment both for him and for the sport."

Carlos Beltrán opens up on Astros' cheating scandal ⚾

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We haven't heard much from Carlos Beltrán since he was let go as Mets manager in early 2020 -- before ever getting to manage a game --in the aftermath of the Astros' cheating scandal.

Now, though, Beltrán has opened up on that very scandal after joining the YES Network as an analyst. In an interview over the weekend, Beltrán said...

  • There is a stain on the Astros' 2017 title.
  • The front office never put an end to it, nor did it share the message it received from MLB in 2017.
  • He's frustrated he was the only player mentioned by name.

The other two managers fired in the aftermath -- A.J. Hinch and Alex Cora -- have since found managerial positions. Beltrán hasn't even interviewed for one since the Mets dismissed him as a result of the scandal.

What we're watching Monday 📺

Duh ... 

🏀 North Carolina vs Kansas (-4), 9:20 p.m. on TBS