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After Kentucky, Teams Look to Sew Up No. 1 Seeds in NCAAs

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Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, fourth from left, celebrates with teammates during a ceremony marking the teams undefeated regular season after an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 67-50. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein, fourth from left, celebrates with teammates during a ceremony marking the teams undefeated regular season after an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, March 7, 2015, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 67-50. (AP Photo/James Crisp)

GENARO C. ARMAS, AP Sports Writer

Conference tournaments will give the nation’s best teams opportunities to boost their credentials to claim one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament.

There is one big, blue exception.

Unbeaten Kentucky has virtually locked up a top seed no matter what happens in the Southeastern Conference tourney this week in Nashville. The unanimous No. 1 team in the Top 25, the Wildcats are looking to become just the eighth squad to stay atop the poll wire to wire.

After Kentucky, ACC powers Virginia and Duke appear to be in good shape for top seeds, though an early slip in the conference tournament for either might cloud the outlook.

Much will depend on what happens with other contenders during this frenzied week in college basketball. Villanova, Arizona and Wisconsin are among teams that could improve their resumes for a top seed — even though some coaches aren’t ready to look ahead to Selection Sunday.

“I don’t know. I know Johnny Appleseed,” Badgers coach Bo Ryan said after his team’s 72-48 victory this weekend at Ohio State. “I don’t look at that. We always turned the channel at home when they start talking seeds.”

A No. 1 seed for Villanova could carry extra weight for the Big East, two years after a high-stakes shuffle left the league without marquee programs Connecticut, Louisville, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.

The Wildcats could make a league-wide statement by winning the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

“From my perspective, without question, I think they are deserving of a No. 1 seed,” Butler coach Chris Holtmann said Monday. “I think they would have earned the right to have that opportunity given how strong our league has performed out of conference.”

A look at candidates for No. 1 seeds:

BIG BLUE LOCK: Kentucky (31-0, 18-0). RPI, 1; Strength of schedule, 26: The only surprise here would be if the Wildcats are not the No. 1 overall seed come Sunday.

ACC POWERS:

Duke (28-3, 15-3). RPI, 5; Strength of schedule, 12: Winners of 11 straight, the Blue Devils could lock up a top seed by winning the ACC tournament.

Virginia (28-2, 16-2). RPI, 6; Strength of schedule, 22: See Duke, above. The Cavaliers and Blue Devils are 1-2 in the ACC tournament. If the bracket holds through Saturday’s championship game, it may be just a matter of which team ends up atop which NCAA region. The South region final is in Houston; the East region final is in Syracuse.

GO WEST

That leaves the West, where the regional final will be held in Los Angeles. Each contender likely needs to win its league tournament to have the best shot at a No. 1 seed. Teams listed in order of Top 25 ranking:

Villanova (29-2, 16-2). RPI, 3; Strength of schedule, 27: Wildcats could assure themselves of defining top seed by taking Big East tourney crown in New York. Unbeaten in six Top 25 games.

Arizona (28-3, 16-2 Pac-12). RPI, 7; Strength of schedule, 34: Getting to final in league tourney and beating third-seeded Utah, which has a better RPI and strength of schedule then second-seeded Oregon, would help.

Wisconsin (28-3, 16-2 Big Ten). RPI, 4; Strength of schedule, 11: Likely lock for No. 2 seed. If they don’t get a top seed, the Badgers could face being placed in the Midwest as the second seed to Kentucky. That could set up a potential rematch of last year’s Final Four game won by the Wildcats, 74-73, in a regional final to be played in Big Ten country.

Gonzaga (30-2, 17-1 West Coast). RPI, 8; Strength of schedule, 81: A loss to BYU on Feb. 28 left Gonzaga needing the most help among potential No. 1 seeds. Likely needs to win conference tourney and have other contenders lose early.

Kansas (24-7, 13-5 Big 12). RPI, 2, Strength of schedule, 1: Jayhawks are 3-3 since Feb. 16 going into the conference tourney as Big 12’s top seed. Like Gonzaga, Kansas needs help to move up a seed line in the NCAAs, though a tougher schedule may give Jayhawks more consideration.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Bay Area

Planning Commission to Hold Public Hearing on Oakland A’s Real Estate Project

The Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided.

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By Post Staff

The Oakland Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the Oakland A’s Stadium and Real Estate Development. It will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 3 p.m., according to a city media release.

“During the hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the Final EIR was completed in compliance with state law, represents the independent analysis of the city, and provides adequate information to decision-makers and the public on the potential adverse environmental effects of the proposed project, as well as ways in which those effects might be mitigated or avoided” according to the media release.

The 3,500-page report was released the week before Christmas 2021, leaving little time for community advocates to read and critique the report.

After the commission makes a recommendation, the Oakland City Council will consider certification of the Final EIR, likely in February. A “yes” vote by the council does not mean the project is approved but is a major first step toward approval.

Community advocates are asking the commission to postpone the meeting, so that the community has time to read and analyze the 3,500-page report in time to provide public comment. You can contact the commission at drarmstrong@oaklandca.gov or cpayne@oaklandca.gov.

The following are Planning Commission members:

• Clark Manus, Chair

• Jonathan Fearn, Vice-Chair

• Sahar Shiraz

• Tom Limon

• Vince Sugrue

• Jennifer Renk

• Leopold A Ray-Lynch

To read the Final EIR, go to:  https://bit.ly/32KZ3pT

 

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Black History

Oakland Natives’ We Ball Sports and HBCU’s League Pass to Deliver Negro League Apparel

With the mission of bridging HBCU baseball with its historic Negro Baseball League roots, We Ball Sports, headquartered in Atlanta, will design integrated apparel, and distribute via HBCU League Pass news, sports, shopping, and entertainment network based in Roanoke, Texas.

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Nehemiah Mitchell and Derrion Herring, co-founders of We Ball Sports.
Nehemiah Mitchell and Derrion Herring, co-founders of We Ball Sports.

By Carla Thomas

E-commerce company We Ball Sports, specializing in high-quality football gear and apparel, announced a new retail partnership with Urban Edge Networks, owner of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) League Pass.

With the mission of bridging HBCU baseball with its historic Negro Baseball League roots, We Ball Sports, headquartered in Atlanta, will design integrated apparel, and distribute via HBCU League Pass news, sports, shopping, and entertainment network based in Roanoke, Texas.

Just in time for baseball season, Nehemiah Mitchell, a co-founder of We Ball Sports, says the new partnership is the perfect blend of technology and fashion that invokes awareness and pride in African American culture.

“This is a significant partnership for us that has grown from the community we’ve built and the trust we’ve earned from athletes nationwide,” said Mitchell. “HBCU League Pass enables us to bring both of our communities together to further our reach and foster relationships between young athletes and the HBCU community.”

According to Mitchell, a native of Oakland, Weballsports.com, is the most visited, privately-owned e-commerce football equipment business globally, achieving 500,000 visitors by the end of July 2021. “This year we expect $1.5 million in sales by the end of December and 2022 should yield up to $5 million in sales,” said Mitchell.

“Nehemiah Mitchell, Brendan Royal, and Darreon Herring have their fingers on the pulse of Gen-Z and cultural trends,” said Hardy Pelt, chief financial officer at Urban Edge Networks which owns HBCU League Pass. “Their amazing growth over the past couple of years and genuine relationship with the youth sports community made them an easy selection and the perfect partner to support HBCU baseball.”

Urban Edge Networks, the owners of HBCU League Pass and entertainment network company in Las Vegas, vow to continue promoting the legacy of African Americans’ contributions to the sport of baseball through collaboration with the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri, and with various HBCU baseball teams.

We Ball Sports co-founders Royal, DaHerring, and Mitchell, all former D1 football players under 30, are thrilled to partner with HBCU League Pass.

They hope to accelerate the brand’s growth by branching out into other sports and providing additional apparel and equipment in their catalog. The company also plans to partner with NFL athletes while increasing their philanthropic activities in the community.

“We plan to generate even more interest and investment into HBCU sports from professional athletes and entertainers similar to NBA point guard Stephen Curry’s agreement to fund Howard University’s golf program for six years,” said Mitchell. “Also, Deon Sanders and Percy ‘Master P’ Miller, both retired professional athletes, are also encouraging nationally ranked high school players to attend HBCUs and join their athletic programs.”

For more information visit: http://www.weballsports.com and http://www.hbculeaguepass.com.

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Bay Area

IN MEMORIAM: John Madden, Oakland Raiders Super Bowl Winning Coach, Dies at 85

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

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John Madden.
John Madden.

By Bay City News

John Madden, who won a Super Bowl with the Oakland Raiders and went on to be a television commentator and namesake of a popular football video game series, has died at the age of 85, the National Football League announced on Dec. 28, 2021.

No other information about a cause of death was immediately released.

Madden, who grew up in Daly City, led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl victory in 1977, then went on to highly successful careers in TV and video games, and was recently the subject of a documentary titled “All Madden.”

“We all know him as the Hall of Fame coach of the Oakland Raiders and broadcaster who worked for every major network, but more than anything, he was a devoted husband, father and grandfather,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.

Madden’s death prompted widespread reactions on social media from those who knew or admired him.

The Raiders, who have since moved to Las Vegas, wrote “A brilliant coach. A loyal and trusted friend. A Raider.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom wrote, “Tonight we mourn John Madden — he redefined the role of a sports broadcaster — his voice as recognizable as anyone who ever did the job. He hoisted a Super Bowl trophy with CA’s own Oakland Raiders. Our thoughts are with his family as we mourn this incredible man.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrote, “I join all in mourning + honoring SuperBowl-winning coach John Madden. He was a great personality who truly loved #Oakland. When his grandson played at O’Dowd, John was as enthusiastic about the Dragons as any NFL team. We will miss him!”

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors president David Canepa wrote, “RIP John Madden. A 1954 graduate of Jefferson High School in Daly City and Super Bowl winning coach for the Oakland Raiders. He did so much for Daly City!”

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