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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Kansas City Royals almost won the World Series last year. Really, they were the underdog darlings of baseball.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

March Madness has begun: The NCAA has announced the seeds for the 2015 men's basketball tournament.

As expected, Kentucky is seeded first in the Midwest Region, and is also the top seed overall. If the thus-far undefeated team wins the tournament, they'll be the first undefeated men's basketball team in nearly four decades.

In the East, Villanova won the top spot; in the South, that went to Duke, and in the West, Wisconsin was seeded No. 1.

On Sunday, the top 68 collegiate teams will be selected to play in the annual NCAA basketball tournament. Brackets will be filled, hashtags worn out and betting money will be (illegally) lost.

But the "March Madness" phenomenon has evolved quickly and into a different format than it originated. All along though, it's the fans who've charged the tradition.

Where It All Began

In 2001, Serena Williams was heckled by the crowd at Indian Wells, Calif., as she defeated Kim Clijsters in the final to claim her second title. She vowed never to play there again. But on Friday, in her first match at Indian Wells since that day, Williams was welcomed with a standing ovation.

$24B TV Deal Puts Cash In NBA Pockets

Mar 14, 2015
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: No need to take in any NBA stars - a new TV contract will raise the team's salary cap before players have to start bussing tables at Applebee's. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us from Portlandia.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There's some disagreement — even between the match's promoters — on where the upcoming mega-fight will rank in the greatest bouts of all time.

Floyd "Money" Mayweather Jr. and Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao — two of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world — meet May 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in a welterweight world championship unification bout.

Leonard Ellerbe, chief executive of Mayweather Promotions, calls it "the biggest event in the history of boxing."

If you're ever standing near Byron Jones when he jumps, you might want to stand well back. At Monday's NFL scouting combine, the cornerback from the University of Connecticut nearly flew off the grid that measures the standing broad jump. He landed more than 12 feet away.

Jones recorded 12 feet 3 inches in the broad jump, a discipline that was once in the Olympics. No other player came close to Jones' mark at the combine, the scouting event for players who want to be considered in pro football's draft.

NASCAR has decided to suspend Kurt Busch for an indefinite period of time, after a family court judge ruled that "it is more likely than not" that Busch physically abused his ex-girlfriend.

NASCAR said it was punishing Busch for "actions detrimental to stock car racing."

Concerned by game times that have bloated beyond three hours, Major League Baseball is putting baseball on a diet for the 2015 season. In upcoming games, timers will regulate the pause between innings, and hitters must now keep one foot in the batter's box nearly all the time.

Famous for his ever-present white towel and what seemed to be a perpetually worried expression, former college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian has died. He had been hospitalized in Las Vegas after fighting a string of ailments in the past year.

The coach's son, Danny Tarkanian, announced on Twitter Wednesday that his father had died.

Ed Sabol's first film for the NFL was of the 1962 championship game between the Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants. He opened with panoramic views, planes flying by and trains rolling on the tracks.

Sabol's crew filmed in 15 degree weather with frozen cameras. They weren't just filming football. They were making cinema. Just a few years later, Ed Sabol became head of NFL Films. And then he and his son, Steve, revolutionized the way we watch sports.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Super Bowl is over, but there's still plenty of sports to discuss involving balls of other shapes - in particular, basketball. To do that, we are joined as ever by Mike Pesca. He is the host of The Gist podcast from slate.com. Good morning, Sir.

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

It is time now for sports. We are joined, as ever, by Mike Pesca. He's the host of The Gist podcast from Slate.com. Good morning, Mike.

MIKE PESCA: Hello.

Golf And College Hoops: The Week In Sports

Feb 7, 2015
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And time now for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

He started out in golf as a caddy, earning handfuls of change as a boy. Decades later, Charlie Sifford was named to the World Golf Hall of Fame, after a career marked by talent, character and the drive to change his sport. Sifford, the first black golfer to hold a PGA Tour card, has died at age 92.

When Fred Astaire was 69, he gave up dancing, explaining: "At my age, I don't want to disappoint anyone, including myself." All great athletes should keep that quotation up on their bathroom mirror.

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