Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NHL: Kings vs. Ducks, Honda Center, 7 p.m., FSW, KDOC:
More than a quarter into the season — 23 games — these two finally go head-to-head, the first of six meetings, and the first time Hall of Fame play-by-play man Bob Miller calls a Kings TV game in Anaheim. The Ducks can actually vault past the Kings in the Pacific Division standings with a win.
College basketball: USC at Texas Christian, 5 p.m.:
The BCS-ready football team has been the focus at TCU, but its basketball team is 4-2 so far, and 3-0 at home taking on a Trojans team coming off a two-point loss in Nebraska.
NFL: San Francisco at Arizona, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
Is it Tuesday yet? Two 3-7 teams tied for last in the NFL’s worst division are just two games out of the NFC West lead. That makes this one … unwatchable? “If you think it’s going to be a bad Monday night game, I wouldn’t watch,” San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis said in a conference call with Arizona reporters this week. “But for me, I think it is going to be a good Monday night game. I really don’t pay attention to who’s going to be watching.” The Denver Broncos will be watching — with their video crew.
NBA: Lakers at Memphis, 5 p.m., Channel 9:
Their most recent meeting in early November focused on Pau Gasol registering his third double-double of the season (21 points, 13 rebounds) and holding his brother, Marc Gasol, to two points after the first quarter (11 total, on 3-for-8 shooting) in the Lakers’ 19-point win. They also shot 60.9 from 3-point range (14-for-23) that day.
NBA: Lakers at Houston, 5:30 p.m., Channel 9:
A rematch of the season opener when the Lakers actually saw Yao Ming take the court (nine points in 24 minutes) and had to score 35 in the fourth to lock down a two-point win.
NBA: Clippers vs. San Antonio, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Who gets the tickets that Tony Parker usually leaves at will call for Eva Longoria? Maybe one-time Clipper Brent Barry. The Spurs (with a league-best 14-2 mark) are 7-0 on the road so far.
NHL: Ducks vs. Florida, Honda Center, 7 p.m., FSW:
Even in a 4-3 shootout win at Tampa Bay last Saturday, the Panthers went 0 for 4 on the power play and has failed to score in 37 straight opportunities. “The Panthers don’t simply have the worst power play in the NHL; they may have the worst power play in the world of hockey,” wrote Yahoo Sports’ Greg Wyshynski. To prove his point, he compared the Panthers’ 6.4 power-play percentage rate to those who have the worst rates in the American Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League, Central Hockey League — and Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League. Yup, it stinks.
College basketball: Duke vs. Michigan State, 6:30 p.m., ESPN:
The capper to the three-day ACC/Big Ten Challenge could have featured the nation’s No. 1 and 2 teams until the Spartans lost last week in Hawaii.
Golf: PGA Chevron World Challenge, first round, Sherwood Country Club, 1 p.m., Golf Channel:
“The idea of Tiger Woods doing social media (is) as absurd as John Daly doing ‘Project Runway’,” the New York Times’ Lynn Zinser wrote after a tweet from Woods — “What’s up everyone. Finally decided to try out twitter!” — suddenly landed in cyberspace nearly two weeks ago. A year after his world collapsed on him, he’s trying to make himself more user-friendly, writing opinion pieces in Newsweek, doing radio interviews (OK, just one) and perhaps even listening to PGA Tour commish Tim Finchem, who according to a report in Golf World is “under pressure to improve (TV) ratings before the Masters and is reaching out to Tiger Woods to play more than he normally does in the first quarter of the year.” Those running the show at Sherwood Country Club are just glad Woods has committed to showing up in Thousand Oaks for this one, after he bailed out a year ago. Ads claiming this $5 mil event has “the world’s greatest golfers” in the 18-man field seems only to be missing new No. 1 Lee Westwood and No. 4 Phil Mickelson. Woods, at No. 2 in the current world rankings but without a win this season, is joined by No. 3 Martin Kaymer, No. 5 Steve Stricker, No. 6 Jim Furyk, No. 7 Paul Casey, No. 8 Luke Donald, No. 9 Graeme McDowell, No. 10 Rory McIlroy, No. 11 Ian Poulter, No. 12 Matt Kuchar, No. 14 Dustin Johnson, No. 17 Hunter Mahan, No. 20 Zach Johnson, No. 24 Anthony Kim, No. 26 Bubba Watson, No. 32 Camilo Villegas, No. 39 Sean O’Hair and No. 46 Stewart Cink. But no John Daly. Golf Channel has the second round, while NBC has the final two Saturday and Sunday.
Golf: LPGA Championship, first round, 10:30 a.m., Golf Channel:
Yani Tseng, Ai Miyazato, Na Yeon Choi, Cristie Kerr and Jiyai Shin have a shot at becoming the 2010 Player of the Year coming into this final event of the year in Orlando, Fla. And you wonder why the LPGA doesn’t generate much media attention? Golf Channel carries all four rounds.
Soccer: FIFA 2018 and 2022 World Cup host country announcement, 7 a.m., Fox Soccer Channel, ESPN:
The U.S., led by honorary chairman Bill Clinton, will find out from FIFA president Sepp Blatter if it has the goods to host the 2022 World Cup (it is competing with bids from Japan, Australia, Korea and Qatar). The USA Bid Committee is quite eclectic: Board directors include soon-to-be-ex-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, comedian Drew Carey, former boxer Oscar De La Hoya, actors Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, director Spike Lee and former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger … oh, and soccer players Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm. Meanwhile, there are joint proposals by Spain and Portugal, plus Belgium and the Netherland, Russia and England to host the 2018 Games.
NBA: Miami at Cleveland, 5 p.m., TNT:
To ensure LeBron James’ safety, plenty of extra police officers, both uniformed and undercover, will be there to keep order, inside and outside the arena — and possibly next to the Miami Heat’s bench. “Honestly, I’m a little bit afraid,” one member of the Cavs organization said to ESPN.com. “Some people don’t care. Their mentality is ”I’ve got to get this off my chest.’ There’s so much negative energy around this game. People aren’t excited about the game itself. They’re just like, ”I can’t wait to do something.'”
NHL: Kings vs. Florida, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Kings have lost two in a row at home after that 8-0 start, but still have killed all 38 power plays at Staples Center this year. Last season, the Kings won in a shootout at Florida, 4-3, with Jack Johnson registering the only goal in the decisive penalty shots. The Panthers didn’t play their first OT game this season until last weekend.
College basketball: UCLA at Kansas, 8 p.m., ESPN:
As part of the Pac-10/Big 12 Hardwood Series, these two meet up in the glamor spot. The Bruins come off an 0-2 trip in New York at the NIT Tip-Off event, and would drop to .500 with a loss here.
NFL: Houston at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., NFL Network:
Wish we had Matt Leinart’s seat for this one.
NBA: Lakers vs. Sacramento, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
The Lakers only beat these Kings by 12 points back in early November. The Clippers just finished them off by nearly 20 points on Thanksgiving Day.
NBA: Clippers at Denver, 6 p.m., Prime:
Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith agreed the other night on TNT that Carmelo Anthony hasn’t been playing all out – even though he’s fourth in the league in scoring and on pace for career highs in rebounds and steals. “How can you say that?” Anthony told the Denver Post. “I don’t pay those guys no mind. I know what I’m doing.”
NHL: Ducks vs. Detroit, Honda Center, 7 p.m., KDOC:
The Red Wings’ 40-year-old Mike Modano, who signed with his hometown team after spending his entire career with the Dallas/Minnesota franchise, will miss a bunch of games after having a tendon in his right wrist severed from a skate blade in a recent game.
College football: USC at UCLA, Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
Neither team goes to a bowl game, win or lose. Both teams come off a disappointing performance the previous week — the Trojans had a wet blanket thrown over them by a mediocre Notre Dame squad, and the Bruins blew their 17-0 lead at Arizona State. Who’ll take their frustrations out on the other most? Maybe all you need to do is go back to last year’s game, when it looked like USC would just run the clock off with a 14-point win — and then Matt Barkley launches a long TD pass, Pete Carroll laughs it up, the Trojans sideline dances, and the Bruins players come out past midfield to scream at them. There’s still fight left in this crosstown feud.
Then again, of all the storylines to rehash this week, the shootout 20 years ago will have to come up. In that 1990 game at the Rose Bowl, USC’s Todd Marinovich hit Johnnie Morton with the 23-yard touchdown pass, 16 seconds left, in a 45-42 Trojans victory, where the Bruins’ Tommy Maddox set a school record by passing for 409 yards. Prime Ticket replays this game at noon on Friday, and today has a marathon of Trojan-Bruins games from ’93 (9:30 a.m.), ’96 (12:30 p.m.) and ’99 (1:30 p.m.). On ESPN Classic this week, they’re replaying the 2004 and ’05 games (Monday, 2 and 5 p.m.), the ’81 game (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) and the ’87 game (Wednesday, 10 p.m.).
College football: Oregon at Oregon State, Channel 7, 12:30 p.m.:
The Civil War battle is the last hurdle for the Ducks’ path to the BCS title game, and the unpredictable Beavers could keep everyone guessing.
College football: SEC title game: Auburn vs. South Carolina, 1 p.m., Channel 2; ACC title game: Virginia Tech vs. Florida State, 4:45 p.m., ESPN; Big 12 title game: Nebraska vs. Oklahoma, Channel 7, 5 p.m.:
Auburn wins, and its in. Next season, add a Big Ten and Pac-10 title game played on this day.
NHL: Kings vs. Detroit, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m. FSW:
The Red Wings sit second in the NHL with 3.45 goals a game, but their top scorer, Johan Frazen, is 25th in the league with 10 goals. “The key to our early success has been balanced scoring,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “We aren’t looking for the same people every night to do the scoring for us.”
NFL: Oakland at San Diego, Channel 2, 1 p.m.:
Security at Qualcomm Stadium will make new TSA procedures seem like foreplay.
College basketball: UCLA vs. Montana, Pauley Pavilion, 7 p.m., Prime; USC vs. Texas, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
This could have been a cool doubleheader at Staples Center.
NHL: Ducks vs. Phoenix, Honda Center, 5 p.m., Prime:
The Ducks handed the Pacific Division-leading Coyotes a 6-4 loss last week to end a six-game losing streak.
NBA: Clippers at Portland, 6 p.m., Prime:
Do the Clips regret giving Marcus Camby away to the Blazers last year? Greg Oden doesn’t seem to mind.