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Saves by Carter Hart during Flyers’ 3-1 triumph over Blackhawks

In the first Sixers Notebook of the season, Eric Fisher looks for opportunities for the Sixers to get their first victory. He also expresses concern about Nerlens Noel (pictured), wonders how Tony Wroten will adjust once Michael Carter-Williams returns and suggests the Sixers may eventually regret trading away point guard Elfrid Payton on draft day.

Rhys Hoskins (pictured) certainly appears to be a foundation for the Phillies’ future, but who else cemented his place as part of the Phillies’ future? In the final Phillies Notebook of the season, Eric Fisher examines what we learned about the Phillies’ future from the 2016 season.

Other than their top line, the Flyers aren’t getting enough contributions on offense from their forwards. Eric Fisher also revisits the Flyers Hall of Fame ceremony for Eric Lindros (pictured) and John LeClair, cites problems with the penalty killing and examines the Flyers’ upcoming road-heavy schedule.

First-and-10

A quick look at 10 sports stories in the news…

1. Wildcats fight past St. Mary’s Phil Booth scores 20 points as Villanova opens defense of its national championship with a 61-57 victory over St. Mary’s in South Region. 6th-seeded Wildcats, who trailed by 2 points at halftime, will face 3rd-seeded Purdue on Saturday (8:40 p.m.) in second round in Hartford, Ct. Eric Paschall, Jermaine Samuels add 14 and 12 points, respectively.

2. Hart, Flyers beat Blackhawks Carter Hart makes 40 saves as Flyers defeat host Blackhawks, 3-1. Flyers remaing 5 points behind Canadiens,, who shut out Islanders, 4-0, to move 1 point ahead of Blue Jackets and into position for final playoff berth in Eastern Conference.  There are 8 games remaining in regular season. Hart makes 27 saves while shutting out Blackhawks during final 2 period. Corban Knight scores his 1st goal as Flyer to tie score in 1st period. James van Riemsdyk provides game-winner 9:50 into 3rd period, then Sean Couturier, who assists on JVR’s goal, secures victory with empty-net goal. Couturier leads Flyers with 31 goals, matching career high he set last season. Flyers to host Islanders on Saturday (1 p.m.). NHL announces Flyers will open next season against Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic, on Oct. 4.

3. Murray St. pulls off 1st upset 12th-seeded Murray State pulls off first major upset of NCAA Tournament, defeating 5th-seeded Marquette in West Regional, 83-64, behind triple double (17 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds) by Ja Morant. Murray State to battle 4th-seeded Florida State, which erased 9-point deficit to defeat 13th-seeded Vermont, 76-69. West top seed Gonzaga breezes past Farleigh-Dickinson, 87-49, will face 9th-seeded Baylor, a 78-69 winner over 8th-seeded Syracuse. Michigan, No. 2 seed in West, beats 15th-seeded Montana, 74-55, will meet 10th-seeded Florida, a 70-61 winner over 7th-seeded Nevada. In Midwest Region, 5th-seeded Auburn had to sweat out final seconds to post 78-77 victory  over 12th-seeded New Mexico State, which misses 3-pointer at buzzer. Auburn advance to face 4th-seeded Kansas, an easy 87-53 win over 13th-seeded Northeastern. Also in Midwest, 7th-seeded Wofford shoots down 10th-seeded Seton, 84-68, to earn shot at 2nd-seeded Kentucky, a 79-44 winner over 15th-seeded Abilene Christian. In East Region, 6th-seeded Maryland squeaks out 79-77 win over 11th-seeded Belmont, which eliminated Temple in “first four” game. Maryland will face 3rd-seeded LSU,  which hangs on for 79-74 victory over Yale. Michigan State, seeded 2nd in East, fought off 15th-seeded Bradley, 76-65. Michigan State to battle Big Ten foe Minnesota, an 86-76 winner as a 10th seed over 7th-seeded Louisville.

4. Sixers defeat Celtics for 6th straight win Joel Embiid pours in 37 points, grabs 22 rebounds to lead Sixers past Celtics, 118-115. Sixers (46-25), who extend winning streak to 6 games, create cushion for 3rd spot in Eastern Conference, moving 2 1.2 games ahead of idle Pacers and 3 ahead of Celtics. Jimmy Butler scores 15 of his 22 points in 4th quarter as Sixers overtake Celtics. Sixers trailed by 11 points at halftime. Marcus Smart ejected in 1st minute of 2nd half after shoving Embiid from behind after Embiid knocked him down with pick. Tobias Harris adds 21 points for Sixers, who will visit Hawks on Saturday (7:30 p.m.).

5. Harper powers Phillies Bryce Harper hits 2 home runs to power Phillies in 13-6 triumph over Blue Jays in Grapefruit League game. Harper shits 2-run homer in 1st inning, solo shot in 6th. Andrew McCutchen, Andrew Knapp, J.T. Realmuto, Gift Ngoepe also homer for Phillies. Starter Vince Velasquez strikes out 9 in 3 1/3 innings, but allows 5 hits (including 2 homers), 3 walks, 3 runs. Phillies trim roster by sending players to Class AAA Lehigh Valley and releasing others. Among players sent to Lehigh Valley are outfielders Dylan Cozens and Adam Haseley, pitchers Drew Anderson and James Pazos.  Outfielder Roman Quinn, reliever Tommy Hunter to start season on 10-day injured list. Quinn sidelined by oblique strain. Hunter has flexor strain in right arm. Rhys Hoskins has sore left shoulder, but it expected to be ready by Opening Day. Manager Gabe Kapler says Andrew McCutchen will open season as leadoff batter. Phillies visit Yankees on Friday (6:30 p.m.).

6. Eagles bring back Curry Eagles solidify defensive line by signing DE Vinny Curry to 1-year contract. Curry, drafted by Eagles in 2nd round in 2012, spent 6 seasons with Birds before signing with Bucs before last season. Eagles continue to bolster secondary by signing veteran safety Andrew Sendejo, who spent last 8 seasons with Vikings, to 1-year contract. Eagles recently re-signed CB Ronald Darby to 1-year contract reportedly worth $8.5 million. Darby is Eagles’ top CB, but he has missed nearly half of last 2 seasons due to dislocated ankle (2017) and torn ACL (2018).

7. Saint Joseph’s fires Martelli Phil Martelli fired after 24 seasons as Saint Joseph’s head coach. Hawks have had 3 straight losing seasons. After winning opener in Atlantic 10 Tournament last week, Hawks were eliminated by Davidson. Martelli was national coach of year in 2004 after leading Hawks to undefeated regular season and Elite Eight of NCAA Tournament. His final record with Hawks is 444-328. Martelli, who spent 10 seasons with Hawks as assistant coach before becoming head coach, tells philly.com’s Mike Jensen that he was offered opportunity to retire or resign, but he refused. Martelli says he will coach again.

8. It’s all over for Dunphy, Owls Temple takes lead early in 2nd half, but Belmont rallies in 2nd half for 81-70 NCAA Tournament victory in Fran Dunphy’s final game as Owls head coach. Dunphy spent 17 seasons as Penn’s head coach before his 13 years at the helm at Temple. Shizz Alston Jr. paces the Owls with 21 points. Former Temple and 76ers player Aaron McKie, currently an assistant coach, will take over the program. American Athletic Conference, of which Temple is a member, agrees to 12-year deal with ESPN that is worth far more than its current deal, according to report in Orlando Sentinel. ESPN would pay AAC average of $83.3 million per year, which is more than 4 times higher than its current TV deal, according to Sports Business Journal. Each school’s annual payout would be $6.94 million, $5 million more than under current rights deal.

9. Shorthanded Union to host Crew BUnion to host Columbus on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) without several key players. Midfielder Marco Fabian, who sat out Sunday’s tie with Atlanta due to red card in previous game, to be suspended for Saturday’s game, according to philly.com report. Union also missing several players who have tryouts and practices with international teams.

10. Huskies get No. 2 seed The No. 1 seeds for NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament are defending-champion Notre Dame, Mississippi State, Baylor and Louisville. Connecticut is No. 2 seed, the first time Huskies haven’t been a top seed since 2006.

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WEEKEND RESULTS

Friday
Sixers 123, Kings 114
Toronto 7, Flyers 6
Phillies 3, Blue Jays 2
(
spring training)
Men’s Basketball
Big East Tournament
Semifinals
Villanova 71, Xavier 67 (OT)
(at Madison Square Garden)
Atlantic 10 Tournament
Quarterfinals
Davidson 70, St. Joseph’s 60
(at Barclays Center in Brooklyn)
American Athletic Conference

Quarterfinals
Wichita St. 80, Temple 74
(at Memphis)

Saturday
Astros 13, Phillies 5
(
spring training)
San Diego 13, Wings 11
Men’s Basketball
Big East Tournament

Championship game
Villanova 74, Seton Hall 72
(at Madison Square Garden)
Ivy League Tournament
Semifinals
Harvard 66, Penn 58
(at Yale)

Sunday
Sixers 130, Milwaukee 125
Flyers 2, Pittsburgh 1 (OT)
Union 1, Atlanta 1
Yankees 7, Phillies 3
(split squad, 
spring training)

LOCAL SCHEDULE

Monday
Cardinals 4, Phillies 1
(spring training)

Tuesday
Canadiens 3, Flyers 1
Sixers 118, Charlotte 114
Phillies at Astros, cncld.
(spring training)
Men’s Basketball
NCAA Tournament
First Four (play-in)
Belmont 81, Temple 70
(at Dayton, Ohio)

Wednesday
Sixers 118, Celtics 115
Tigers 3, Phillies 1
(spring training)

Thursday
Flyers 3, Chicago 1
Phillies 13, Blue Jays 6
(
spring training)
Men’s Basketball
NCAA Tournament
First round
Villanova 61, St. Mary’s 57
(at Hartford, Ct.)

Friday
Phillies at Yankees, 6:30 p.m.
(
spring training)

Saturday
Islanders at Flyers, 1 p.m.
Sixers at Hawks, 7:30 p.m.
Columbus at Union, 7:30 p.m.
Phillies at Pirates, 1 p.m.
(
split squad, spring training)
New England at Wings, 7 p.m.
Men’s Basketball
NCAA Tournament
Second round
Villanova vs. Purdue, 8:40 p.m.
(at Hartford, Ct.)

Sunday
Flyers at Washington, 12:30 p.m.
Union at Atlanta, 7 p.m.
Orioles at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(split squad, 
spring training)
Men’s Basketball
NCAA Tournament

FOR LEAGUE-WIDE SCORES AND STANDINGS, CLICK ON THE LINKS UNDER THE “STANDINGS” HEADING IN THE SIDEBAR TO THE RIGHT, OR IN THE HEADING AT THE UPPER-RIGHT OF THIS PAGE

A step in the Wright direction

Villanova had to remain patient with St. Mary's deliberate pace, but the Wildcats were able to pull out a difficult 61-57 first-round victory in the NCAA Tournament. ***** They don't give you style points in the NCAA Tournament. You just have to ...
A step in the Wright direction

Phillies expectations

With Bryce Harper added to all of the Phillies’ other offseason acquisitions, how far can they go? Will they win the National League East this season? Will they reach the World Series? Will we have a parade? Share your thoughts in Voice of the Phanatics.

Fisher takes early lead

Sparked by his selection of 12th-seeded Murray State to upset Marquette, Eric Fisher leads PhillyPhanatics.com’s Bracket Madness after the first full day. However, there is still a lot of basketball left to be played. Check back in this space for updates.

Fish ‘n Chips

Eric Fisher’s notes-style column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions about the Eagles’ offseason moves, how Bryce Harper’s spring training slump could become a problem and which Pennsylvania team has the best chance to repeat as NCAA national champion (it’s not Villanova).

Tournament runs

With its third national championship last season, Villanova earned another spot on PhillyPhanatics.com’s top 10 list of men’s college basketball postseason runs by local teams. How high does last year’s run rank? Check out the list to find out. Could the Wildcats earn another spot on the list this year?

Wildcats long shots to repeat as champions

March - 17 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

Phil Booth (pictured) and Villanova begin defense of their national championship as a sixth seed in the South Region. The Wildcats will face St. Mary’s on Thursday in the first round. Temple to battle Belmont on Tuesday in the “first four.”

Flyers Notebook: Tough road ahead

March - 12 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The Flyers and Jakub Voracek (pictured) have come a long way, but they still have work to do to get into position to secure one of the final playofff berths in the NHL. Eric Fisher also comments on Voracek’s 2-game suspension, Michael Raffl’s contributions and improved play from Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov.

Busy Eagles bring back Jackson

March - 11 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The Eagles agree to a trade with the Buccaneers that will bring wide receiver DeSean Jackson back to Philadelphia after a five-year absence. The Eagles also will sign former Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson, according to multiple reports.

Heel Turns: Fast Lane part of journey

March - 10 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The Greek God of Wrestling explains why WWE’s Fast Lane is a transition show — and that doesn’t mean it will be bad. Achilles Heel also explains what Ring of Honor must overcome on Friday’s anniversary show, congratulates Samoa Joe on winning the United States Championship and bids farewell to King Kong Bundy and The Destroyer.

Sixers Notebook: Long absence raises issues

March - 9 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The prolonged absence of center Joel Embiid due to soreness in his left knee, an absence that has lasted eight games, raises questions for both Embiid and the Sixers as they attempt to get ready for the postseason.

Fish ‘n Chips

March - 6 - 2019 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

Eric Fisher’s notes-style column about a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions on the frenzy surrounding Bryce Harper, the Eagles’ moves along their offensive and defensive lines and Temple legend Al Shrier, who died on Monday.

Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal