1. USA’s Men’s Soccer team looks to climb out of Hex cellar
In their first meaningful game since firing manager Jurgen Klinsmann in November, a shorthanded Team USA will host Honduras in San Jose tonight, in desperate need of a win. After dropping their first two games of “the Hex” to Mexico (2-1) and Costa Rica (4-0), the United States sits dead last in the six team group. The top three teams advance to the World Cup, while fourth place has a play-in game against the Asian Confederation’s fifth-best team.
With eight games remaining in group play, it won’t be easy for USA to begin their ascent, entering tonight’s game without starters Bobby Wood, Timothy Chandler, Jermaine Jones, and Fabian Johnson due to injuries and suspensions. The States are 3-1-1 in their last five against Honduras, so they are still the favorites (-220). But considering how many holes in the midfield they have to plug, I think a draw is likely (+320).
2. Xavier closing in on history
The Musketeers march continued with their most shocking upset yet, taking down the heavily favored Arizona Wildcats on Sean O’Mara’s late basket, to edge out a 73-71 win. Trevon Bluiett put forth a convincing case for Most Outstanding Player, pacing Xavier’s offence with 25 points. Despite losing six of their last seven regular season games and facing a rash of injuries late in the year, Xavier is just one more win away from becoming the fourth 11-seed team to make a Final Four. Two more wins will make them the first double-digit seed to play for a championship.
Standing in their way is a Gonzaga team desperate to make their first Final Four in program history: all the pressure is on them. The early line has the Bulldogs as 8.5-point favorites, but the Zags still haven’t covered a game this tourney, while Xavier is a perfect 3-0 ATS. You catch my drift?
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