Monday's Morning Mashup: Harvard, Northeastern draw legendary opponents in NCAA Tournament

March 16, 2015 - 4:02 am

Welcome to Monday's Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire. MONDAY'S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS: NBA: 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE) NBA: Cavaliers at Heat, 8 p.m. (ESPN) NBA: Lakers at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN) NHL: Capitals at Sabres, 7 p.m. (NBCSN) MLB exhibition: Tigers at Cardinals, 1 p.m. (MLB Network) MLB exhibition: Cubs at Padres, 4 p.m. (MLB Network) Soccer: Premier League, Liverpool at Swansea City, 3:55 p.m. (NBCSN) AROUND THE WEB: -- As a former Duke player, Harvard coach Tommy Amaker knows well the challenge of playing North Carolina. That's the team his Crimson drew for its opening opponent in the NCAA Tournament. "What a program they have had through the years with great teams and great players and great coaches that have been as good as any," Amaker said Sunday, adding: "We'€™re excited to keep going, and I think these guys are going to be excited to get ready for an incredible program and team that has done amazing things through the years." The teams play Thursday night in Jacksonville, Florida, in a West Regional matchup of 4 vs. 13 seeds. Northeastern, making its first tournament appearance since 1991, is a 14 seed in the Midwest and will meet another legendary program in Notre Dame on Thursday afternoon in Pittsburgh. The third-seeded Irish are coming off a victory over UNC in the ACC championship game. "You don't really believe it until you see it, but I'm very excited for our guys to see our name pop up and get to compete against such a great program as Notre Dame," NU coach Bill Coen said. "We couldn't be more excited." Providence is the only other New England team in the field of 68. The Friars, seeded sixth in the East, will play the winner of Wednesday's Boise State-Dayton play-in game on Friday night in Columbus, Ohio. Undefeated Kentucky is the overall top seed and the overwhelming favorite in the tourney field. "I think I have the best team and the best players," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "Does that mean we'll win? No, it doesn't." -- Georgia State punched its NCAA ticket with a 38-36 victory over Georgia Southern in Sunday's Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship game, but coach Ron Hunter paid the price for leaping into his son's arms in the postgame celebration. "I tore my achilles on the right side years ago playing basketball," Hunter said. "This was the exact same feeling and I knew when I jumped up. ... I knew when I came down that I had done it [again], but instead of stopping right there, I wanted to go celebrate with my team. More importantly I wanted to go celebrate with my son. You don't get many opportunities like that." Hunter's son, R.J., made the deciding free throws with 21 seconds remaining, as Georgia State won the lowest-scoring Sun Belt final since 1978. The Panthers, making their third NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2001, were seeded 14th in the West and will play third-seeded Baylor on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. -- DeMaurice Smith was re-elected as executive director of the NFL Players Association on Sunday, voted in by player representatives for his third three-year term. Smith beat out former NFL players Jason Belser, Sean Gilbert and Robert Griffith, along with James Acho, Arthur McAfee, Rob London, Andrew Smith and John Stufflebeem. Saying he is "proud to represent the best athletes in the world," Smith took a shot at those who levied what he considered to be unfair criticism during the election. "There will always be those who will sacrifice their dignity in a race to the bottom so that they can climb over others to get to the top," he said. "I will not join them, and no human should." Gilbert was one of Smith's most vocal critics, referring to the 10-year collective bargaining agreement as a "$10 billion problem." ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On March 16, 1960, the Red Sox made a trade with the Indians, sending which catcher who chose to retire instead, negating the deal? QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I didn't think I played well. I was out of rhythm -- way too many turnovers. I didn't put us in a position to win. I've got to be better. The elbow was a little sore, more so toward the end, but we expected that. It was nothing out of the ordinary." -- Clippers star Blake Griffin, who missed 15 games after having surgery to remove a staph infection in his right elbow, on his return in Sunday's 100-98 loss to the Rockets STAT OF THE DAY: 0-4-2 -- Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask's record this season when playing in the second of back-to-back games, following Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Capitals 'NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Clippers forward Glen Davis bats a rebound high in the air and into the net, then shows off his "mean mug." A driving Suns guard Alexey Shved gets fouled and tosses up a no-look, over-the-head shot that banks in against the Knicks. TRIVIA ANSWER: Sammy White, who returned to baseball a year later for one-year stints with the Milwaukee Braves and Phillies SOOTHING SOUNDS: Nancy Wilson of Heart was born on this day in 1954.