NCAA Tournament Weekend
?MEN: CBS SAT 5:30 PM & MON 9 PM; WOMEN: ESPN SUN 9 PM
Every shining moment ( Wally Szczerbiak's 43-point game against Washington in the first round), swining moments ( Arkansas's 80 minutes of hell in a win over Siena and a loss to Iowa) and shiner moment (Se�or Najera, meet Mr. Cleaves) has been distilled into a struggle among four schools vying to display their scissors skills late on Monday night. Twenty years ago the men's Final Four featured Michigan State and Penn; this year's version comes close, with the Spartans and Ohio State's Scoonie Penn. If form holds, however, Monday night's championship game should be Penn-less and Big Ten-less, as Duke and Connecticut, who between them have held the top ranking all season, slug it out.
World Figure Skating Championships
?ABC 8 PM
Like Jeff Gordon, Michelle Kwan is guilty of athletic hegemony. Kwan, the three-time defending U.S. national champion and winner of three world tides in four years, is in the midst of a yawn-inducing reign as Ice Queen. Last month's U.S. nationals experienced a 47% ratings plunge from a year ago, prompting one yokel (O.K., me) to suggest that barrel jumping and ice-ax mumblety-peg be made part of the competition. Kwan's stiffest challenge tonight in Helsinki should come from Russia's Maria Butyrskaya, the current European champ.
Orioles vs. Cuban National Team
? ESPN NOON
Barring any last-minute strike-zone misunderstandings (is it top of the knees and two inches above the belt, or is it still the Bay of Pigs?), the most talked-about diamond summit between Yankees and Reds since the 1976 World Series takes place today in Havana. The Cubans, gold medal winners at the 1996 Olympics, will get a firsthand look at Baltimore's newest doomsday weapon, rightfielder Albert Belle. No word yet on whether Fidel Castro will throw out the first pitch...or the first dissident.
Nabisco Dinah Shore
?ABC 4 PM
Defending champion Pat Hurst, who's six months pregnant, knows that pro golfers in her condition rarely win tournaments, though a very pregnant Tammie Green did win a match in last year's Solheim Cup. However, Hurst should look on the bright side—at least she's not competing on the PGA Tour, where no pregnant golfer has ever won. Hurst, 25th on the 1999 money list, craves the honor of being the first back-to-back winner in this major's history. Australia's Karrie Webb, who leads the Tour in earnings ($419,063) and wins (three) this season, seeks her first major victory since being named rookie of the year in 1996.
Lakers at Suns
?TNT 8 PM
In honor of his return to network play-by-play after a nearly two-year absence, we give you The Ballad of Marv Albert.
Some dorsal mastication
Cost our man his reputation
And duplicity his gig, or so they sez.
But if kinkiness and lies
A career doth paralyze,
Then why's William
Jefferson still the Prez?
Astronomers say it is impossible to overshadow a Sun, but Albert's return to courtside is as newsworthy as the play of Phoenix point guard Jason Kidd.