USC moves into CFP Top 4
No. 4 USC must avenge lone loss to No. 11 Utah in Pac-12 Championship Game to seal CFP bid.
Good morning and welcome to The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune. Please subscribe if you haven’t done so already. It’s free and will be delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. OK, let’s get to it!
1. USC moves into CFP Top 4
USC moves into the College Football Playoff Top 4 but must avenge its lone loss of the season to No. 11 Utah in Pac-12 Championship Game to seal the program’s first-ever playoff bid. The Sporting Tribune has more.
The Pac-12 Conference championship game on Friday in Las Vegas offers no shortage of stakes. No. 4 Southern California is looking both to avenge its lone loss of 2022 and remain in contention for the College Football Playoff, while No. 11 Utah seeks a second straight league title and a shot at Rose Bowl redemption. USC (11-1) completed its best regular season since 2008 with a 38-27 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.
2. Better days ahead in Anaheim
Despite a difficult start, the future remains bright for the Anaheim Ducks. The Sporting Tribune’s Felix Sicard explains why Ducks fans should be optimistic about the team’s future.
The Anaheim Ducks needed all of their initial 20 games to register their first regulation win. The game of hockey is so prone to variance and bad luck that a win-loss record can often deceive. Yet, for these Ducks, the 6-15-2 record they have amassed through 23 games is indeed reflective of their on-ice play. Anaheim is getting its just deserts, having been one of the National Hockey League’s worst clubs both at five-on-five and on special teams. There have been moments of encouragement as well, but how the franchise reacts to a largely dismal start could have significant long-term ramifications.
3. Welcome to the Zubac Show
The Sporting Tribune’s Joey Linn breaks down the injuries of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Luke Kennard, while also going in depth on what Ivica Zubac has meant to this team following his monster performance against the Indiana Pacers in this week’s episode of Clips Convos. Listen here.
4. Kraken outlast Kings for wild 9-8 OT win
Andre Burakovsky scored a power-play goal at 2:08 of overtime as the Seattle Kraken defeated the LA Kings 9-8 Tuesday night, the highest-scoring game of the NHL season. The Sporting Tribune has more.
Andre Burakovsky, Matty Beniers and Jared McCann each scored twice for the Kraken, who broke a franchise record with their sixth consecutive victory. Alex Wennberg added a goal and two assists and Daniel Sprong had one of each for Seattle. Oliver Bjorkstrand also scored, Jordan Eberle had four assists and Justin Schultz had three. Martin Jones stopped just 27 of Los Angeles' 35 shots but still got the victory. Burakovsky's winner, on a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle off a pass from Eberle, came after the Kings received a bench minor for too many men on the ice.
5. Norman Powell, Clippers overtake Blazers in 4th quarter
Norman Powell scored 22 of his season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter to help the injury-ravaged Clippers rally to a 118-112 victory over the host Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night. The Sporting Tribune has more.
Reggie Jackson recorded 24 points and 12 assists and Robert Covington scored 15 points as the Clippers won for the fifth time in the past seven games. Ivica Zubac contributed 12 points and 13 rebounds and Terance Mann had 11 points for Los Angeles, which trailed by 18 points in the third quarter.
6. Finally back on ice, Predators dump Ducks in OT
Roman Josi scored at 3:50 of overtime to give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 win against the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. The Sporting Tribune has more.
Juuse Saros made 34 saves for the Predators, who had to postpone their previous two games because a broken water main flooded Bridgestone Arena. Nashville had not played since a 3-0 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. Troy Terry scored, and John Gibson made 39 saves for the Ducks, who have lost six of their past seven. At 7:15 of the second period, the Ducks had a two-on-zero break with two of their best offensive players, Terry and Trevor Zegras, but Saros turned away Zegras to keep the game scoreless.
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers: $40
9. On the Air presented by Pirnia Law
Here are the game times and television channels for professional teams in the region:
6:00 p.m. – LA Clippers at Utah Jazz – Bally Sports SoCal
7:30 p.m. – Portland Trail Blazers at Los Angeles Lakers – Spectrum SportsNet
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
On Tuesday’s show, the crew talked about the Lakers blowing a 17-point fourth quarter lead and the Kings underachieving this season and needing to find a locker room leader with The Sporting Tribune’s Russell Morgan.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Fan in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
Thank you for reading. Please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column presented by The Sporting Tribune. It’s totally free and will be delivered to your inbox every morning.
That’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow!