04/01/2013 10:27 am ET Updated Jun 01, 2013

Top 5 Sports Stories

Happy Monday everyone, here's my Top 5 for April 1, 2013 from Len Berman at

1. Quick Hits

  • And the Final Four next weekend in Atlanta will have: Syracuse vs. Michigan and Louisville vs. Wichita State. Louisville is the favorite to win it all.
  • Louisville's Kevin Ware underwent surgery after breaking his leg in two places during the game against Duke.
  • In the women's tournament, defending champ Baylor got upset by Louisville. Baylor coach Kim Mulkey ripped the officials.
  • The baseball season began last night with the Houston Astros winning their American league debut, 8-2 over Texas. There are 12 more openers today.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins have won 15 straight but they've lost their star Sidney Crosby indefinitely with a broken jaw.

2. The Final Four

So did anybody correctly pick this Final Four? Absolutely. Out of the 8.15 million entries into the ESPN contest, a whole 47 people got it right. It does make you wonder about the seedings. Here we have a Final Four with a #9, two #4s and a #1. Only once have all four #1 seeds made it, 2008 when Kansas won it all. Actually, what do the seedings really matter? The team that wins it all should be able to beat anybody at any time.

3. What Contract?

On March 20 Steve Alford signed a 10-year extension to remain the basketball coach at New Mexico. He got a hefty raise and some nice incentives. He was thrilled, saying "There is no other place I would rather coach than at New Mexico, representing the best fans in the country." Ten days later he left to coach UCLA. I'm guessing he'll now say that UCLA has the best fans in the country. Just business as usual in the NCAA where players are bound by their scholarships and coaches do whatever they please, even if it involves being disingenuous.

4. Dollar$ and $en$e

A couple of deals made it a very Good Friday for a couple of Major League stars. Detroit pitcher Justin Verlander signed a 7-year $180 million dollar deal (which could eventually be worth over $200 million) making him the highest paid pitcher in baseball history. San Francisco catcher Buster Posey signed a nine-year deal that could be worth as much as $186 million. By comparison, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo seems like a bargain, a six-year extension worth $108 million. But all that baseball money being thrown around in one season by teams not named the New York Yankees. How times have changed.

5. Bracketology

And in the hotly contested Top 5 challenge, here's how it stacks up.
If it's Louisville vs. Syracuse in the final game, three of you win hats.
If it's Louisville vs. Michigan there are also three winners.
If it's Wichita State in the final, there are no winners. But I'll figure something out with consolation prizes.

Happy Birthday: Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson. 48.

Bonus Birthday: Singer/actress Debbie Reynolds. 81.

Today in Sports: Maybe the greatest upset in NCAA history, Villanova stuns Georgetown. 1985.

Bonus Event: Winston takes good like a cigarette should... oh forget it. Cigarette advertising is banned from the airwaves. 1970.

To sign up for Len's free daily Top 5 email click here.