VALPO PICKED FOR FIFTH IN HL: Valparaiso has been picked to finish fifth out of seven competing schools in the Horizon League in a preseason poll of the coaches.
Valparaiso received 16 points. Defending champion Green Bay received 35 points and six first-place votes. Cleveland State, last year's tournament champ, garnered one first-place vote and 32 overall points in the survey. Wright State (23) squeezed by Youngstown State (22) for third place in the poll. UIC and Detroit rounded out the ballot.
"It's really nice to get the recognition for our young players that have come in, but I believe they're underestimating the competitiveness of this young group," 27th-year Valpo coach Jim Daugherty said in a media release.
Valpo welcomes four freshmen who are rated the 36th-best recruiting class in the country per Tennis Recruiting Network.
ROSE OFF CRUTCHES: Bulls star Derrick Rose is off crutches, the next step as he recovers from his latest season-ending knee injury.
Coach Tom Thibodeau says the former MVP will probably start traveling with the team in the next few weeks.
Rose tore the meniscus in his right knee at Portland in November and was ruled out for the remainder of the season by the Bulls. He sat out last year while recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
In other injury news, Chicago's Jimmy Butler was back in the lineup against Washington on Monday after missing a game because of a left thigh injury.
AZARENKA, WOZNIACKI ADVANCE AS HEAT WAVE ARRIVES: Victoria Azarenka began her bid for a third consecutive Australian Open title with a 7-6 (2), 6-2 win over Johanna Larsson on Tuesday as the predicted heat wave arrived at Melbourne Park.
Conscious of the time and the temperature, former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and No. 11 Simona Halep raced to straight sets wins in their first-round matches on the other show courts.
Second-ranked Azarenka had a tougher time on Rod Laver Arena against Larsson, who twice had chances to serve for the first set but lost in a tiebreaker.
Temperatures topped 100 Fahrenheit early on the second day of the tournament and a hot, gusty breeze swirled across the venue.
TITANS HIRE KEN WHISENHUNT: The Tennessee Titans have wrapped up their coaching search by hiring San Diego offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as their new head coach and 17th in franchise history.
Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith called the hiring a big day in announcing the hiring Monday.
Whisenhunt, 51, will be introduced at a news conference today.
The Titans flew to San Diego on Friday and interviewed Whisenhunt, who started his coaching career in Nashville at Vanderbilt. He was the fourth person interviewed by the Titans, who fired Mike Munchak on Jan. 4.
GRETZKY WELCOMES NHL TO DODGER STADIUM: Wayne Gretzky and Luc Robitaille squinted into brilliant sunshine as the 18-wheel truck carrying the NHL's portable refrigeration units pulled up to the outfield entrance to Dodger Stadium.
In less than two weeks, their Los Angeles Kings and the rival Anaheim Ducks will stage the NHL's first warm-weather outdoor game in Chavez Ravine, which was 79 beautiful degrees Monday.
The game is a landmark for Southern California, but it also heralds the return of the league's career scoring leader to hockey prominence. Gretzky has mostly stayed out of the public spotlight for several years.
Gretzky says he is thrilled to see an outdoor game in the city where he played nearly eight NHL seasons. He thinks hockey has established deep roots in the Los Angeles area in the past quarter-century.
A-ROD SUES MLB, UNION TO OVERTURN SUSPENSION: Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball and its players' union Monday, seeking to overturn a season-long suspension imposed by an arbitrator who ruled there was "clear and convincing evidence" the New York Yankees star used three banned substances and twice tried to obstruct the sport's drug investigation.
As part of the complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, Rodriguez's lawyers made public Saturday's 34-page decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, who shortened a penalty originally set at 211 games last August by baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract.
Horowitz, a 65-year-old making his second decision as baseball's independent arbitrator, trimmed the discipline to 162 games, plus all postseason games in 2014.
"While this length of suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player, so is the misconduct he committed," Horowitz wrote.