The ninth annual ESPY Awards air live on ESPN Monday, with for the first time a live one-hour red carpet preshow featuring arrivals beginning at 8 p.m. EST.
An all-star lineup of celebrities is set to join returning host Samuel L. Jackson at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Joining this years telecast as presenters are Lara Flynn Boyle, Andy Garcia, Steve Harris, Orlando Jones, Matt LeBlanc and Gabrielle Reese and musical group Clarence Clemons and the Band of Faith will be the house band.
Additional presenters, celebrity attendees and musical performers will be announced.
Athletes scheduled to attend include Mike Piazza, Greg Maddux, Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Marion Jones, Sheryl Swoopes, Cynthia Cooper, Felix Trinidad, Buddy Lazier, Josh Heupel, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mia Hamm, Pete Sampras, Michael Johnson, Daunte Culpepper, Rulon Gardner, Andres Gallaraga, Dara Torres, Joe Torre, Antonio Freeman and Bobby Valentine.
They will join ESPY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jack Nicklaus, one of the finest golfers in the history of the game.
The ESPY Awards voting group has been expanded to include Hall of Fame athletes and coaches, national print and broadcast journalists, including baseballs Hank Aaron, basketballs Magic Johnson, footballs Joe Montana, hockeys Gordie Howe, auto racings Richard Petty, bowlings Dick Weber, boxings Sugar Ray Leonard, golfs Arnold Palmer, horse racings Willie Shoemaker, Olympian Mary Lou Retton, soccers Michele Akers, tennis Martina Navratilova, track and fields Bruce Jenner, coach Don Shula and journalists David Halberstam, Larry King, Al Michaels, Joe Buck Dave Kindred and Mike Lupica.
The ESPY Awards are presented annually for Excellence in Sports Performance, honoring the best performers and most memorable moments from the previous year in sports. The 34 categories are highlighted by 14 awards in which the best of the best in a variety of sports compete head to head including Male and Female Athlete-of-the-Year, Coach/Manager of the Year and Breakthrough Athlete of the Year.
The awards also honor Performer of the Year in professional and college sports. The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage goes to someone whose contributions transcend sports.
The ESPY Awards annually support The V Foundation for Cancer Research, established in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, basketball coach for North Carolina.
Are Final Four emerging?
The cold and flu season may have knocked Stanford from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the Cardinal still joins North Carolina, Duke and Michigan State as the four elite teams heading into February.
While these four would likely be the top seeds if the tournament began tomorrow, teams like Maryland, Kansas and Illinois can still earn the spots they covet in March. The Illini can begin that trek by taking down the Spartans at home Tuesday.
The Spartans have lost both games outright when favored by only single digits on the road, but covered all four other road favorite roles. The Illini is perfect in getting the money in all five conference home tries, 8-0 overall against the spread at home, going over in three of four home totals... ILLINOIS 78, Michigan State 76.
KENTUCKY 80, Florida 74 The Gators have come back with four straight covers, and unders in five of their last six outings. Theyve also covered three straight on the road, but went over in two of those games. The Wildcats are 1-3 against the number in conference at home, and went under in four of five at home.
Minnesota 64, NORTHWESTERN 62 Gophers are 2-4 straight up on the road and are on a four-game losing streak overall, covering once, and going over in five of seven posted totals in conference. The Wildcats are 0-9 straight-up and 1-8 against the number in conference, going over in eight of their last nine overall, but 6-5 straight-up overall at home.
Virginia 77, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 74 Cavs have covered five straight, but failed the earlier meeting at home in an eight-point win as a 9Â½ point choice and are 3-0 as a road favorite. The Wolfpack lost eight of their last 10 overall and failed four of their last five against the number, going under in all four conference home games.
Duke 97, CLEMSON 75 Devils won and covered the first meeting, a 41-point crushing, and beat Florida State on the road by 27. The Tigers have failed eight of 11 in conference, including three of four at home, losing to Virginia by 28 points at home.
WEST VIRGINIA 69, Pittsburgh 64 Given the Panthers inconsistent play, a good effort could be expected here, but Pitt is 1-3 against the number on the conference road, getting the money only in their upset at Georgetown. The Mountaineers failed in a similar role point choice.
Marquette 68, LOUISVILLE 67 The Golden Eagles have won and covered all three conference road games as dogs and went over in seven-straight overall. The Cardinals five-game spread winning streak ended Saturday when St. Louis routed them at home, but theyve covered two of three as a home choice and gone under in five-straight.
Stanford 85, OREGON 75 The Cardinal have failed three straight, going under in all three, but covered three of their last four on the conference road. The Ducks upset Arizona at home last Thursday, then got rocked at home by Arizona State Saturday. Theyve failed four straight on the board against Stanford, including a 24-point loss earlier at Palo Alto.
XAVIER 76, Temple 70 Owls have covered all four chances as a conference road favorite, and have gone over in four of their last five, including three straight on the road. The Musketeers covered eight of their last 10, are 5-3 as a home favorite, and have gone over in five of their last seven.
NORTH CAROLINA 83, Maryland 77 The Terps have covered three of their last four on the conference road, but lost 86-83 at home to UNC as a six-point chalk earlier this season. The top-ranked Tar Heels have covered three straight and gone over in seven of their last ten games.
SOUTHERN ILLINOIS 70, Creighton 68 Blue Jays rallied to get the upset victory at Indiana State last Sunday for their first conference road cover against five failures. The Salukis are 1-4 at home in conference and have gone under in four straight, including at 15-point loss at Creighton two weeks ago.
MIAMI, (Fla.) 72, St. Johns 71 The Red Storm entered the week having failed three of their last four and had gone under in five straight. The Hurricanes have covered five of their last six and gone over in six of their last seven games, covering in the earlier meeting with St. Johns, forcing overtime before losing as a 9Â½ point dog.
Ucla 79, DEPAUL 76 The Bruins have covered eight of their last ten, including the upset on No. 1 Stanford Saturday, but just two of four on the road, covering their only opportunity as a road favorite. The Blue Demons have failed seven of their last nine games and are 2-6 against the spread at home.
OREGON 76, California 75 The Bears have covered seven of their last ten and have won three of five conference road games, losing only at Stanford and Arizona. Given the Ducks inconsistent play, a loss wouldnt be out of the question here if they upset the Cardinal Thursday. Oregon had alternated going over and under in eight straight heading into the week.
John Bennetts Hoop Picks
Wednesday, Feb. 7
76ers by 6 over Rockets
Celtics by 2 over Bucks
Knicks by 5 over Mavericks
Cavaliers by 3 over Spurs
Magic by 10 over Wizards
Kings by 3 over Timberwolves
Trailblazers by 11 over Supersonics
Lakers by 9 over Suns
Jazz by 12 over Grizzlies
Warriors by 3 over Clippers
Thursday, Feb. 8
Raptors by 6 over Nuggets
Hornets by 3 over Hawks
Rockets by 4 over Pistons
Spurs by 7 over Nets
Sunday, Feb. 11
All-Star game at Washington D.C.
East 5 over West, over 240 points total.
Thursday, Feb. 8
Pittsburgh by 2 over West Virginia
Temple by 8 over Geo. Washington
Arizona by 17 over Washington
Louisville by 3 over Marquette
Boise St. by 10 over Fullerton State
California by 5 over Oregon State
UCLA by 7 over So. California
Saturday, Feb. 10
Temple by 5 over Xavier
UConn by 7 over Villanova
Florida by 12 over Arkansas
St. Josephs by 4 over St. Bonaventure
Northwestern by 3 over Iowa
St. Johns by 5 over Miami (Fla.)
UCLA by 8 over DePaul
So. Miss by 2 over Cincinnati
Illinois by 6 over Purdue
Mississippi by 4 over Tennessee
Oregon by 5 over California
Wyoming by 10 over Colorado St.
Seton Hall by 3 over Syracuse
Georgetown by 4 over Providence
Minnesota by 2 over Michigan St.
Vanderbilt by 6 over So. Carolina
LSU by 1 over Auburn
Georgia by 2 over Alabama
Sunday, Feb. 11
Rutgers by 5 over Pittsburgh
Indiana by 12 over Michigan
Marquette by 6 over St. Louis
Virginia by 4 over Georgia Tech
Notre Dame by 9 over West Virginia
Duke by 16 over No. Carolina St.
Get ready for St. Louis-Colorado
Tuesday, Feb. 6
Ottawa at Detroit: The Senators lead the Northeast Division with 66 points while the Red Wings are in second place in the Central Division with 68. This is the first meeting this season between these two clubs. Ottawa is 1-1-2 versus the Central Division while Detroit is 3-2-0 against the Northeast. Ottawa ranks sixth in goal scoring with 167. Detroit is 11th with 155. Ottawa has allowed only 127, which is 9th in the league while Detroit is 12th, allowing 139 goals against. Predicted score: Ottawa 3-2.
Wednesday, Feb. 7
Washington at Colorado: These two clubs have met once this season back in October. Colorado won that game in Washington 4-3 in overtime on a power play goal by Peter Forsberg. Colorado is 8-1-3 against Eastern opponents while Washington is only 8-15-3 on the road while Colorado has the leagues best home record at 20-3-4. Look for Colorado to continue to dominate at home. Predicted score: Colorado 4-2.
Thursday, Feb. 8
Tampa Bay at St. Louis: This is the mismatch of the week. The Lightning are 2-11-1 against the West while St. Louis is 11-2-1-1 versus the East and 4-0 against the Southeast Division. The Blues are fourth in the league in scoring with 174 goals while Tampa Bay is 23rd with 131. On the defensive ledger the Blues are numero uno in goals against at 113 while Tampa Bay is 29th allowing 184. St. Louis has the second best home record in the league at 21-3-3-2 while Tampa Bay has the worst road record at 4-20-2-3. Open up your wallets and collect your free money! Predicted score: St. Louis 6-1.
Friday, Feb. 9
Philadelphia at N.Y. Islanders: The Flyers are 2-0 against the Islanders this year winning 5-2 and 2-0. But both were in Philadelphia. The Flyers are 6-3-2-1 against opponents in the Atlantic Division while the Islanders are 3-4-2-1. Philadelphia has the eighth best road record at 13-9-6-1 while the Islanders have the worst home record at 9-17-1-1. In the scoring department, the Flyers are 10th with 156 goals while the Isles are 28th with 118. New York has allowed 164 goals which ranks 26th while Philadelphia is 14th allowing 141. Predicted score: Philadelphia 3-1.
Saturday, Feb. 10
New Jersey at Pittsburgh: This is the first game of the day and it will be televised on ESPN at 2 p.m.. Eastern Time (11 a.m. Pacific). The first meeting of the season between these two clubs took place in Pittsburgh in which the Devils crushed the Penguins 9-0 as John Madden and Randy McKay each scored four goals apiece. The second game was played in New Jersey as the Penguins bounced back to win 4-2. New Jersey leads the league in scoring with 177 goals while Pittsburgh is seventh with 166. Defensively, the Devils rank sixth in the league allowing 124 goals while the Penguins are 23rd having allowed 159 goals against. New Jersey has the fourth best road record in the league at 12-6-4-2 while Pittsburgh ranks 19th at home with a record of 13-12-1-0. There should be plenty of goals scored in this game. Predicted score: New Jersey 5-4.
Buffalo at Ottawa: These two clubs meet for the third time this season. Each team has won on their home ice. The first meeting was in Ottawa as the Senators prevailed 3-1 with 30 shots on goal. In Buffalo, Dominik Hasek (The Dominator) was outstanding as he turned away 34 shots to shut out the Senators 2-0. Ottawa is 8-3-1 against teams in its division, while Buffalo is 6-5-2. The Senators have the fourth best home record in the league at 16-5-3-1 while Buffalo ranks 20th on the road at 10-13-2-1. In the scoring department Ottawa ranks sixth with 167 goals and Buffalo is 24th as it has turned on the light 129 times. Defensive, however, is Buffalos strong point with Hasek in the net as Buffalo ranks third having only allowed 119 goals, compared to Ottawa, which has given up 127, ninth best in the league. The problem with Buffalo is that it doesnt get many shots. As the saying goes, "You cant score unless you shoot!" Predicted score: Ottawa 3-1.
St. Louis at Colorado: This is the second game of ESPN2s doubleheader action for the day and what a game this will be! Lets break this one down by the numbers: Colorado leads the league with 79 points. St. Louis is second with 75 points. Colorado has the leagues best home record at 20-3-4. St. Louis ranks fifth on the road with a record of 13-8-2. The Blues are fourth in the scoring department with 174 goals while Colorado is fifth with 173. St. Louis is the league leader in goals allowed with 113, however Colorado ranks second with 117. These two clubs have met once this season and that was in Colorado. After looking at the above numbers, it shouldnt surprise anyone that these two clubs skated to a 3-3 tie. Lets take a deeper look by comparison: Colorado has the best record in the league when facing the Central Division at 9-2-2-1. St. Louis, on the other hand, sports a nice 7-2-1 record against the Northwest Division. Overall against the Western Conference the Avalanche ranks second at 27-8-5-1. The Blues are third at 23-9-4-1. So with that in mind, St. Louis had more scoring opportunities and since it will be the underdog, we will take St. Louis to outlast Colorado in a high-scoring affair. Predicted score: St. Louis 5-4.