Sports preview: NCAA Final Four and Phillies Opening Day

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Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, right, hands a bat back to a fan while signing autographs before a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla., on March 5. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Hour 2

With snow in the forecast, it feels more like winter than spring. But at 1:05 this afternoon, the Boys of Summer return to the baseball diamond at Citizens Bank Park, when the Phillies host the Houston Astros in the season opener. After the offseason acquisition of a fourth ace – free agent pitcher Cliff Lee snubbed the millions offered by the New York Yankees to return to Philadelphia’s rotation – many have picked the Phillies to win another World Series this season. But the Phils will have to overcome key injuries to All-Star second baseman Chase Utley and closer Brad Lidge, as well as the loss of rightfielder Jayson Werth to free-agent millions with the Washington Nationals. Joining us in studio to talk about the Phillies is JOSH BARNETT, executive sports editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. Then, we’ll talk about the NCAA Final Four in men’s and women’s college basketball. The men’s tournament features a pair of Cinderella stories – Virginia Commonwealth (VCU) & Butler – and a pair of perennial contenders – Kentucky and Connecticut. UConn is the big favorite in the women’s bracket, having won the past two national championships, and they’re joined by Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M in the women’s Final Four. Joining us to talk college hoops is NPR’s TOM GOLDMAN.

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[audio: 040111_110630.mp3]

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