Monday's Sports In Brief - NBC Sports

Monday's Sports In Brief
March 18, 2014, 4:41 am

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) All season there has been a buzz around women's basketball about UConn and Notre Dame. Now. the stage is set for the former Big East rivals to meet in an historic national championship game.

The teams enter the NCAA tournament unbeaten - only the second time that's ever happened. They are on a collision course to meet in the national championship game. If they do both get to Nashville, the Irish will be all that stands between Geno Auriemma and a record ninth NCAA championship, breaking a tie with Tennessee.

Before the potential meeting of unbeatens, the two might have to go through SEC powers Tennessee and South Carolina, who also earned No. 1 seeds. While it's the 22nd time that the Lady Vols have earned a top spot, it's the first for the Gamecocks. The Huskies, Lady Vols and Gamecocks all could have to play on an opponent's home court with a trip to Nashville on the line. Stanford, Notre Dame, Louisville and Nebraska, who are all hosting regionals, were a combined 52-3 at home this season.

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - An annual study of the schools in the men's NCAA tournament shows a slight increase in teams that fall below graduation rate standards.

The University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport said in its report that eight teams that made the 2014 men's bracket fall below the NCAA-mandated Academic Progress Rate score of 930, equivalent to a 50 percent graduation rate. Last year six teams didn't reach that benchmark.

Study author Richard Lapchick said while academic reforms overall have led to positive change, he urged tougher measures. He would like to see the NCAA's four-year standard raised to a graduation rate equivalent to 60 percent.

This year 88 percent of the teams in the men's tournament currently graduate at least 60 percent of their players.

PRO BASKETBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Lance Stephenson scored 25 points and the Indiana Pacers rallied from an early deficit to beat Philadelphia 99-90, handing the 76ers their franchise-record 21st straight loss.

Paul George had 24 points for the Pacers, who staked the Sixers to a 15-6 lead before taking the lead and pulling away.

Thaddeus Young had 23 points to lead the Sixers, who tied the Detroit Pistons for the sixth-longest losing streak in NBA history. The Pistons lost 21 straight bridging the 1979-80 and 1980-81 seasons.

The Cleveland Cavaliers set the NBA record for consecutive losses with 26, in the 2010-11 season.

DENVER (AP) - Reserve J.J. Hickson had 21 points and Ty Lawson scored eight of his 19 in a late fourth-quarter run, helping the Denver Nuggets end the Los Angeles Clippers' 11-game winning streak with a 110-100 victory.

The Clippers' streak was tied for second-longest in franchise history. Their longest, 17 in a row last season, also was snapped by Denver at Pepsi Center.

Kenneth Faried added 18 points and 16 rebounds in a duel in the paint against Blake Griffin, who finished with 26 points and 12 boards.

PRO FOOTBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Colts owner Jim Irsay is known in NFL circles as a tough businessman and eccentric billionaire who enjoys interacting with fans about his beloved team and favorite songs from bands like the Beatles and the Grateful Dead.

He may end up adding convicted felon to the mix.

Irsay was pulled over near his home in suburban Carmel just before midnight Sunday by police who said they found multiple prescription drugs inside his vehicle. He was spotted driving slowly, stopping in the roadway and failing to use a turn signal, and police said Irsay failed several roadside field sobriety tests before he was arrested.

The drugs weren't associated with any of the pill bottles found inside, police said. Some weren't even in bottles.

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Raiders added a veteran presence to their young receiving group by signing free agent James Jones to a three-year contract.

Oakland also signed former New York Giants offensive lineman Kevin Boothe to a two-year deal. Boothe began his career with the Raiders in 2006 before spending the past seven seasons with the Giants, where he won two Super Bowl titles.

Jones, who turns 30 later this month, brings a playoff pedigree and proven pass-catching ability to a position whose most experienced player currently under contract is inconsistent three-year veteran Denarius Moore.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The New York Giants' secondary has gotten a lot stronger in the past couple of days, and so has their return game.

A year after missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Giants continued to be a player in free agency, signing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, formerly with Denver.

A person with knowledge of the deal also confirmed the Giants have reached an agreement with former Denver Broncos kick returner Trindon Holliday.

Holliday returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown in the Broncos 41-23 win over the Giants in the second week of last season.

The deals come just a day after the Giants confirmed the signing of former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond and Chiefs safety Quintin Demps.

GOLF

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The San Diego city council has unanimously approved a proposal that brings the U.S. Open back to Torrey Pines in 2021.

According to the proposal presented at a meeting, the USGA will pay the city $2.5 million in rent for the golf course and parking lots, up from a $500,000 fee that San Diego received from the 2008 U.S. Open. The city also would get 20 percent of corporate hospitality sales.

Among the costs to San Diego would be an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 to build player and practice facilities.

There was no dissenting comment at the one-hour meeting.

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