Men's college basketball: The Madness starts a little early this year, as two of the new First Four games kick off tonight. At 6:30 p.m. ET, the North Carolina-Asheville Bulldogs will take on the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans. The Bulldogs enters the contest having won six straight; the Trojans are coming off a buzzer-beating Sun Belt Conference tourney win. ... The night's second game features the Clemson Tigers and the UAB Blazers, tipping off at 9 p.m. The Tigers fell to UNC in the semifinals of the ACC tournament on Saturday, while the Blazers are coming off a loss to East Carolina in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament. Double check your brackets, as some groups are offering points for the First Four games. And speaking of brackets ... sign up to challenge me and the rest of the espnW staff in our men's and women's NCAA tournament groups.
NBA: The Bulls have been nipping at the heels of the Celtics for weeks and, with Boston's loss last night, they've moved into a tie atop the East. A win tonight over the Wizards would give the Bulls sole possession of first place and would stretch their home win streak to 12 games. ... Two days after falling to the Pacers in at home, the New York Knicks look to exact revenge in the second half of a home-and-home series. The Pacers have lost eight of their last 10 but looked solid against the Knicks Sunday. Tyler Hansbrough notched a career-high 29 points to help Indiana get the win.
NHL: The Capitals vie for a ninth straight win overall and a franchise record-tying sixth straight victory on the road when they visit the Canadiens tonight. The Caps are just a game back of the first-place Flyers in the East. Montreal sits in sixth with 83 points. ... The Stars can pull within two points of the Pacific-leading Sharks with a win tonight in Dallas. The Sharks are 1-2-2 in their last five games, and they've dropped four of their last five meetings with the Stars. ... The Coyotes and the Flames meet tonight with both teams battling to stay in the top eight in the West. Phoenix sits in sixth with 83 points, while the Flames are clinging to the eighth spot with 81.