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Teams (Gonzaga, S.Carolina) making their first appearances in the Final Four

The Greek god of wrestling praising Goldust and Stardust, WWE’s new tag team champions. Achilles Heel also reviews the highlights from Night of Champions, rips TNA for not announcing matches for Bound for Glory, and tells you where you can see WWE during the next 10 days.

Eric Fisher’s weekly column on a variety of topics. This week Eric serves up opinions about our second Eagles-Cowboys week, the Phillies making some noise at the winter meetings and Walter Payton.

It no longer matters whether NFL commissioner Roger Goodell personally saw the elevator video of Ray Rice knocking his fiancee unconscious. The NFL was either willfully negligent in its investigation or was involved in a cover-up. Either way, Goodell should resign.

First-and-10

A quick look at 10 sports stories in the news…

1. Flyers pounce on Penguins Flyers score 4 times during 3rd period, match season-high for goals in 6-2 triumph over host Penguins in final game of 4-game road trip.  Flyers, with just 7 games remaining, trail Bruins by 6 points in chase for final wild card berth in Eastern Conference, but must jump over Islanders, Lightning and Hurricanes as well. Jordan Weal, Shayne Gostisbehere each register goal, assist. Claude Giroux contributes 2 assists. Valtteri Filppula gives Flyers 2-1 lead with his 1st goal since his 1st game as Flyer. Steve Mason makes 21 saves. Flyers host Senators on Tuesday (7 p.m.).

2. Pacers slam Sixers Pacers take early lead, keep visiting Sixers at bay during 107-94 victory. Sergio Rodriguez paces Sixers with 16 points. Robert Covington contributes 15 points. Shawn Long (15 points, 12 rebounds), Richaun Holmes (11 points, 12 rebounds) register double-doubles. Dario Saric scores 9 points, ending his string of double-digit games at 22. Jahlil Okafor sits out again with knee soreness. Sixers wrap up road trip Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) against Nets.

3. Feels like the first time Seventh-seeded South Carolina defeats 4th-seeded Florida, 77-70, in East Regional final to earn program’s 1st trip to Final Four. Gamecocks will play West top seed Gonzaga, which reaches Final Four for 1st time by defeating 11th-seed Xavier, 83-59, next Saturday (6:09 p.m.). In Midwest Regional final, Tyler Dorsey pours in 27 points to lead 3rd-seeded Oregon past top-seeded Kansas, 74-60. Ducks, who reach Final Four for 1st time since 1939, will face South top seed North Carolina, which defeats 2nd-seeded Kentucky, 75-73, on Luke Maye’s jumper with .3 seconds remaining, next Saturday (8:49 p.m.). Tar Heels use 12-0 run late in game to make 2nd straight trip to Final Four.

4. Embiid has surgery Sixers center Joel Embiid has arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscus in left knee. Surgery was in Los Angeles, where Embiid will remain for “conservative” approach to rehabilitation, according to doctor who performed surgery in statement released by Sixers. Embiid played 31 games during rookie season, which is actually his 3rd season since being draft by Sixers. He did not play during first 2 seasons due to injuries.

5. Dallas Green dies Dallas Green, manager for 1980 Phillies team that won franchise’s 1st World Series title, dies of kidney disease at age 82. As Phillies farm director, Green helped build the team that excelled from 1975-83, including 1980 World Series win. Green began his professional baseball career as pitcher for Phillies. He later coached and managed in minor leagues, served as scout and adviser in Phillies organization. He left Phillies to become Cubs GM, then later managed Yankees and Mets before returning to Phillies organization.

6. Franco, Knapp power Phillies Maikel Franco, Andrew Knapp hit 2-run homers in 5-run 1st inning as Phillies power past Pirates, 6-3, in Grapefruit League game. Phillies starter Clay Buchholz allows 5 hits, 4 walks, 3 runs in 3 1/3 innings. Vince Velasquez scheduled to start Monday (6 p.m.) when Phillies visit Blue Jays.

7. Phillies add, lose reliever Releiver Hoby Milner, picked up by Indians in Rule 5 Draft, returned to Phillies. Phillies grant reliever Sean Burnett’s request to be released. Phillies send outfielder Tyler Goeddel, pitcher Jake Thompson to minors. Goeddel, who spent all of last season with Phillies, likely to end up with Class AA Reading due to logjam of outfielders at Class AAA Lehigh Valley. Thompson started 10 games for Phillies last season.

8. Eagles consider Kelly green Eagles withdraw all except 1 proposal to NFL for new rules. One of withdrawn proposals would have opened possibility of Eagles changing helmets to match Kelly green uniforms worn by Eagles before switch to current midnight green.

9. Top seeds fall Morgan William pours in 41 points to lift 2nd-seeded Mississippi State to 94-85 overtime triumph against top-seeded Baylor in Oklahoma City Region final to earn Final Four berth. Mississippi State will face winner of Monday’s Bridgeport Region final (7 p.m.) between unbeaten Connecticut, which has won 110 straight games, and 10th-seeded Oregon. In Lexington Region final, 2nd-seeded Stanford edges top-seeded Notre Dame, 76-75, to reach Final Four. Cardinal will face winner of Monday’s Stockton Region final (9 p.m.) between top-seeded South Carolina and 3rd-seeded Florida State.

10. ex-Penn State president Spanier convicted Jury convicts former Penn State president Graham Spanier of 1 misdemeanor count of child endangerment over handling of 2001 incident involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier acquitted of conspiracy and 2nd child endangerment charge. Spanier’s lawyer, who did not produce any defense witnesses, says Spanier will appeal verdict.

(To listen to past PhillyPhanatics.com’s Blog Talk Radio shows, please click here.)

WEEKEND RESULTS

Friday
Sixers 117, Chicago 107
Yankees 3, Phillies 2
(Spring training)

Saturday
Blue Jackets 1, Flyers 0
Phillies 3, Red Sox 3
(Spring training)

Sunday
Indiana 107, Sixers 94
Flyers 6, Pittsburgh 2
Phillies 6, Pirates 3
(Spring training)

LOCAL SCHEDULE

Monday
Phillies at Blue Jays, 6 p.m.
(Spring training)

Tuesday
Senators at Flyers, 7 p.m.
Sixers at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Blue Jays at Phillies, 6:30 p.m.
(Spring training)

Wednesday
Hawks at Sixers, 7 p.m.
Phillies at Tigers, 1 p.m.
Phillies at Pirates, 1 p.m.
(Spring training, split squad)

Thursday
Islanders at Flyers, 7 p.m.
Yankees at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(Spring training)

Friday
Sixers at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.
Rays at Phillies, 1 p.m.
(End of spring training)

Saturday
Devils at Flyers, 7 p.m.
Union at D.C. United, 7 p.m.

Sunday
Sixers at Toronto, 6 p.m.
Flyers at Rangers, 7:30 p.m.

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

Flyers Notebook: Couturier raises his game

Sean Couturier has clearly been the Flyers' best center during March, which demonstrates how valuable he is and why the Flyers shouldn't trade him. But the Flyers need Couturier to maintain that level next season. ***** Although he has faced a steady ...
Flyers Notebook: Couturier raises his game

Brauner hanging on

Jack Brauner remains in first place as we approach the Final Four. But Zach Fisher (Charlie Fischer) and Ron Opher will pass Jack next Saturday if Gonzaga (Charlie) or North Carolina (Ron) reaches the championship game.

Sixers Notebook

Dario Saric’s play has answered all of the questions about his game, and he should be named NBA Rookie of the Year. Eric Fisher also questions how “minor” Joel Embiid’s surgery was, praises Richaun Holmes and examines the Sixers’ draft lottery situation.

Green stood tall

Dallas Green was a baseball giant, both literally and figuratively. He will always have a special place in Philadelphia sports history for guiding the Phillies to their first World Series title. But he will also be remembered for his honesty, toughness and passion.

Best of WrestleMania

With WrestleMania 33 taking place Sunday in Orlando, our Top 10 list becomes a Top 33 as we present the best 33 matches in WrestleMania history. Did any matches from last year make the list? Check out the list to find out.

Cornering the market

March - 15 - 2017 Reporter: Gordon Glantz Respond

Gordon Glantz envisions the Eagles focusing on cornerbacks as he evaluates their needs in his first mock draft of the Birds’ selections in all seven round of the NFL Draft.

Two sides to offseason

March - 14 - 2017 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

Howie Roseman has done an admirable job of filling the holes on offense to support Carson Wentz, but he still has a lot of work to do this offseason in order to improve a sub-par defense.

Villanova is No. 1!

March - 12 - 2017 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

Villanova (31-3), the top overall seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, will open its defense of its national title Thursday against the winner of Tuesday’s game between Mt. St. Mary’s and New Orleans.

Sixers Notebook: Focusing on draft … again

March - 12 - 2017 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

In a strategy that is reminiscent of former GM Sam Hinkie, the Sixers seem to be tanking again as they pursue the best possible draft choice. Eric Fisher also touts Dario Saric’s rookie-of-the-year credentials, praises Shawn Long for his impressive Sixers debut, and bemoans the lack of stars in Saturday’s Warriors-Spurs showdown.

Flyers Notebook: Missed opportunity

March - 12 - 2017 Reporter: Eric Fisher Respond

The Flyers failed to take advantage of their opportunities to gain in the standings last week. On the other hand, Shayne Gostisbehere (pictured) played well, as did forward Jordan Weal and defenseman Radko Gudas.

Heel Turns: Hardys take control of their fate

March - 11 - 2017 Reporter: Achilles Heel Respond

The Greek God of Wrestling explains how the Hardys and other wrestlers are taking control of their careers. Achilles Heel also tells you who became Ring of Honor’s new world champion, wonders what’s next for Goldberg after winning the WWE Universal Championship, and marvels at the reaction Undertaker can generate without saying a word.

Jenkins' 3-pointer wins national title