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Top 5 Sports Stories

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Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for March 19, 2012 (the day the swallows return to Capistrano) from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.

1. Quick Hits

  • 16 teams remain in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his wrist and will have surgery today.
  • The San Francisco 49ers have signed Giants Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham. Is Peyton Manning next?
  • Green Bay's backup quarterback Matt Flynn signs with Seattle.
  • The Mets/Madoff trial begins today.
  • Furman Bisher, a good guy who wrote sports for the Atlanta Constitution for over half a century, is dead at the age of 93.

2. Sweet 16

So who had #10 Xavier, #11 North Carolina State and #13 Ohio in their Sweet 16? Out of 6.45 million brackets filled out at espn.com exactly three people correctly guessed all 16 teams. Four teams from the Big Ten and four teams from the Big East made it, then again there are hundreds of schools in those two conferences right? And we now know the capital of the basketball world. It's Ohio. A quarter of the Sweet 16 is from the Buckeye State.

3. Ballgame?

Today's the day. The trial begins as the Bernie Madoff trustee is going after Mets owners Fred Wilpon and Saul Katz to the tune of $303 million. From the very beginning I always felt that Mets fortunes were tied to the Madoff scandal. How could they not be? If suddenly the safety net of hundreds of millions of dollars is gone, it has to affect how you do business. You have to believe that the future of the Mets will be affected by what goes on in this courtroom. Then again, a long appeals process could leave Mets fans in some sort of baseball purgatory.

4. Moneyball

So Andy Pettitte passed on $10-$12 million because he wasn't sure he could make a comeback. He finally signed a minor league deal without incentives for $2.5 million. What's wrong with him? Not taking every last dollar? He's going to give athletes a good name.

5. Weekend Hangover

Last Friday I suggested my appropriate sports names for St. Patrick's Day:
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2. Patrick Ewing
3. Danica Patrick
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Any sports team from Bowling Green

You guys didn't disappoint.

L.F. How can you leave out Pumpsy Green!!

B.R. You forgot about Shaquille O'Neal that's Irish right?

M.B. Don't forget the late Ned Irish, my in my dreams girlfriend, Kathy Ireland, and my favorite Irish Defensive back, Lem Blarney.

Editor's Note: OK, it's Lem Barney, and he wrote it intentionally. So all you people (and you know who you are) who LOVE to catch mistakes in the Top 5, cool your keyboards.

Happy Birthday: Dodgers Cy Young winning pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 24.

Bonus Birthday: Actor Bruce Willis. 57.

Today in Sports: Michael Jordan returns from his baseball career to play for the Chicago Bulls. 1995.

Bonus Event: Willie Mosconi set a world record which still stands by running 526 consecutive balls during a pool exhibition in Springfield, Ohio. 1954.