☀️ Happy Friday! The Bucks beat the 76ers last night to clinch the NBA's best record for the first time since 1974, when they were led by league MVP Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Joe DiMaggio kissing his ash bat. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
In the early days of baseball, bats were made from a wide range of woods. Shoeless Joe Jackson's famous "Black Betsy" was made from hickory, for example. Willow and oak were also commonly used.
1996: While drinking at a bar in Ottawa, Rockies scout Bill MacKenzie mentioned to local carpenter Sam Holman that ash bats kept breaking. Was there anything Holman could do?
1998: While finishing his career with the Giants, Carter convinced Barry Bonds to try a maple bat. The rest, my friends, is history — with an asterisk next to it, of course.
2018: Birch is a relatively new wood for bats that surpassed ash in popularity for the first time last season, per FanGraphs.
The end. You are now a bat expert.
L to R: Auburn coach Bruce Pearl, Auburn guard Jared Harper, Virginia guard Kyle Guy, Virginia coach Tony Bennett. Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Best backcourt: Auburn's Jared Harper (17.5 ppg in the tournament) and Bryce Brown (18.2) combined for 50 of Auburn's 77 points in their upset win over Kentucky. They're both lightning fast and unafraid to let it fly.
Best reason to root for UVA: The state of Virginia has never won a national title in basketball or football. Poor Virginians.
Best storyline: Auburn's pesky defense versus Virginia's slow, methodical offense.
Best surprise freshman: 5-foot-9-inch Kihei Clark was the 393rd-ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 and originally committed to play at UC Davis.
L to R: Texas Tech coach Chris Beard, Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver, Michigan State guard Cassius Winston, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Best coach: Tom Izzo has been dominating college basketball for decades, but there was no better coach in America this year than Chris Beard, who was just named — you guessed it — AP Coach of the Year.
Best NBA prospect: Texas Tech's sophomore shooting guard Jarrett Culver is No. 5 on ESPN's latest draft board.
Best emerging storyline: In two weeks, the NCAA's primary legislative body will vote on a rule change that could "severely restrict graduate transfers," the NY Times' Billy Witz reports.
Best point guard: Through four tourney games, Michigan State's junior point guard Cassius Winston is averaging 19 points and 7.8 assists.
Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
It's no secret that Aaron Rodgers and former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy weren't the best of friends during their 13 seasons together, but now we have new details, courtesy of Bleacher Report's Tyler Dunne.
The bottom line: I came away from this feeling like Rodgers and McCarthy were equally responsible for undermining what should have been a much more successful era in Green Bay. I also came away more confident than ever that ego is the enemy.
Sabrina Ionescu and Oregon are hoping to become the first West Coast team to win it all since Stanford in 1992. Photo: Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The women's Final Four tips off tonight in Tampa, Florida. Unlike years past, there's no clear-cut favorite going in, so any of these four teams could be cutting down the nets on Sunday.
No. 2 Oregon (33-4) vs. No. 1 Baylor (35-1): This is Oregon's first ever Final Four, but they have the best player on the court. Will that be enough against a Baylor squad that has beaten its tournament opponents by an average margin of 38.2 points?
No. 2 UConn (35-2) vs. No. 1 Notre Dame (34-3): These two heavyweights will meet for the 50th time and eighth time in the Final Four. UConn leads the series 37-12, but Notre Dame has the edge at the Final Four, 4-3.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shaking hands with Wilt Chamberlain. Photo: Bettman/Getty Images
35 years ago today, Abdul-Jabbar scored his 31,421st career point against the Utah Jazz to pass Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA's all-time leader scorer.
Top 5 scorers:
The Carolina Hurricanes clinched a playoff berth for the first time in 10 years last night, snapping the NHL's longest postseason drought.
Answer at the bottom.
Can Chase Outlaw keep riding at the top? Photo: Chris Elise/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
From Mike Sykes: Entering this weekend's Professional Bull Riders event in Sioux Falls, North Dakota, Chase Outlaw sits atop the world standings by a comfortable 130-point margin.
Details: Outlaw is the story of the year in PBR. Nine months ago, the 26-year-old suffered injuries so bad he thought he'd never ride again. Now, he's in the lead.
Go deeper: Watch this weekend's event on CBS Sports Network starting Saturday at 8pm ET.
Major League Baseball has a database of every player's walk-up music. It's sorted by team so it's super easy to navigate.
🎰 Play now: Today's contest will be held within The Action Network app. Click here to play/download the app.
Yesterday's results: 95% correctly predicted that the Canadiens and Capitals would combine for under 9.5 goals. The Caps won 2-1 ... 31.3% correctly predicted that Joel Embiid would put up over 50 combined points, rebounds, assists and blocks. He put up 34, 13, 13 and 3 (63) ... 74% correctly predicted that Texas (-1.5) would cover the spread against Lipscomb. They won 81-66.
Kendall "Certified baseball bat expert" Baker
Trivia answer: Buffalo Sabres