Experienced Heat, upstart Pacers ready to go
MIAMI (AP) - For LeBron James, it's a fifth trip to the Eastern Conference finals in seven years. For Dwyane Wade, it's a fifth trip in nine seasons to the NBA's penultimate round.
For the Indiana Pacers, this is pretty much uncharted waters.
Only one current Pacers player has appeared in a conference-final game, and that was Ian Mahinmi, who played exactly 71 seconds in one game of the 2011 West title series without so much as taking a shot.
So if experience means anything, then it's advantage Heat when this Indiana-Miami matchup opens Wednesday night. It should be no surprise that the Heat aren't saying that matters, especially after how the Pacers tested them big-time in last year's second-round series between the clubs and went 2-1 against them in this regular season.
Indy poised to make 2018 bid for Super Bowl
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indianapolis organizers appear poised to bid on hosting second Super Bowl.
Less than an hour after the league announced San Francisco would host the 50th Super Bowl in 2016 and Houston would host the game in 2017, Indiana Sports Corp. president Allison Melangton told reporters she would be "very surprised" if the city did not bid on the 2018 game.
New Orleans organizers have already said they will bid on that game. Denver also appears interested and Atlanta and Minnesota could join the bidding process with new stadiums by then. Miami, which lost out twice in the owners' votes Tuesday, also could be in the mix.
Interested cities must notify the NFL in August. Cities that are invited to bid will receive formal documents in October.
INDYCAR-INDY 500-PACE CAR
Jim Harbaugh to drive Indianapolis 500 pace car
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh will return to Indianapolis on Sunday to drive the Indianapolis 500 pace car.
Track officials made the later-than-usual announcement in a news release sent out early Wednesday morning.
In a statement released by track officials, the NFL coach called the opportunity a "tremendous thrill."
Harbaugh has strong ties to the Indianapolis area. He played four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, where he earned the nickname "Captain Comeback," and is a part-time owner of Indianapolis-based Panther Racing. JR Hildebrand, who starts 10th, and Townsend Bell, who starts 22nd, both drive for Panther.
Harbaugh led the 49ers to the NFC championship last season but lost in the Super Bowl to a Baltimore team coached by his brother, John. Harbaugh's brother-in-law is Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean.
IndyCar penalizes 3 cars for rules violations
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - IndyCar officials fined Graham Rahal's team $10,000, Ryan Briscoe's team $5,000 and Michel Jourdain Jr.'s team $1,000 Tuesday after they failed post-qualifying inspection.
IndyCar said Rahal's team failed to comply with cooling rules that apply to the car and the driver. It did not specify what the Rahal Letterman Laningan team did.
Rahal's teammate, Jourdain, was found to have violated a bodywork rule. The Mexican driver two qualifying attempts Saturday and never took a shot Sunday because his car was not fast enough to get in the 33-car starting field.
Briscoe's team was found to have been in violation of a rule dictated the trailing edge height of the rear-wings. Briscoe, the Australian who won the 2012 pole at Indy, now drives for Chip Ganassi.
ABC counting on story lines to sell Indy 500
(AP) - Television executives are hoping a robust bunch of story lines accompanying this year's Indianapolis 500 will help build interest in IndyCar beyond the signature race.
Rich Feinberg, ESPN's vice president in charge of motorsports production, acknowledged Tuesday that IndyCar ratings have been "challenged in certain areas." But Feinberg says the best way for ABC-ESPN to help build the sport is through compelling story-telling.
Helio Castroneves and Dario Franchitti are attempting to become 4-time winners on Sunday. A.J. Allmendinger is making his Indy 500 debut, there are four women in the field and the pole sitter, Ed Carpenter, is a local boy and part of a strong American contingent.
Feinberg believes those story lines can help build on the success of last year's race, the most watched since 2008.
Christian singer Patty to deliver Indy 500 anthem
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Christian music singer Sandi Patty will perform the national anthem at Sunday's Indianapolis 500 for a record sixth time.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Patty's selection Tuesday.
Patty is a 5-time Grammy Award winner and longtime resident of Anderson, Ind. She last sang the national anthem at the 500 in 1992. She also performed it in 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1991.
Patty says it's a "thrill" to return to Indiana and participate in the event that "showcases Indianapolis as 1 of the best cities in the world."
Patty has sold more than 11 million albums and is the most decorated female vocalist in contemporary Christian music.
Munoz, Daly follow different paths to Indy 500
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Carlos Munoz had a perfect May at Indianapolis. Conor Daly learned how miserable the month can be.
On Sunday, things could change for the 21-year-old rookies, the youngest starters in this year's Indianapolis 500.
Munoz of Colombia is chasing a dream. The fastest rookie qualifier, at 228.342 mph, will start second -- the same spot his racing idol, Juan Pablo Montoya, started from when he won 2000 race. Montoya was the last rookie to make Indy's coveted front row.
Daly grew up in suburban Indy and is the son of a former Formula One driver and Indy starter. But in less than a week, he lost his HANS device, crashed in practice and had to wave off his first qualifying attempt. So just getting in the race was a victory.
Carroll names Carson Cunningham men's hoops coach
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Carroll College athletic director Bruce Parker announced Tuesday that former Purdue basketball player and DePaul instructor Carson Cunningham has been named the men's basketball coach for the Fighting Saints.
Cunningham spent the past five years as head coach at Andrean High School in Merrillville, Indiana, where his teams won 43 of their last 50 games.
Parker says Cunningham has tremendous enthusiasm and knowledge of the game.
He has been a history and cinema and digital media instructor at DePaul University in Chicago since 2006. He has a doctorate in history and is finishing his master's degree in business this spring.
Cunningham played basketball at Oregon State as a freshman before transferring to Purdue, where he twice earned Academic All-America honors.
Cunningham says he'll stress the same things as Purdue coach Gene Keady: academics, upstanding behavior, personal responsibility and having a positive impact on the community.
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