Yahoo Sports AM: Mini World Cup

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🚨 Headlines

🏀 Monty out in Detroit: The Pistons fired head coach Monty Williams one year into his record $78.5 million contract.

🇺🇸 USA Swimming roundup: Regan Smith shattered the world record in the women's 100m backstroke, gold medalists Simone Manuel and Caeleb Dressel returned from lengthy layoffs to qualify for their third Olympics, and Katie Ledecky dominated the 1500m free.

⚾️ TJ for Bradish: Orioles starter Kyle Bradish, who finished fourth for the AL Cy Young last year and had a 2.75 ERA in eight starts this season, underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday in a huge blow for the Birds.

🏀 Brink tears ACL: Sparks rookie and No. 2 pick Cameron Brink, who was set to play for Team USA's 3x3 basketball team at the Olympics, tore her ACL on Tuesday.

⛳️ Charlie wins qualifier: Tiger Woods' son Charlie, 15, won a USGA qualifier to earn a spot in next month's U.S. Junior Amateur.

⚽️ Copa América has arrived

The 2024 Copa América, a mini World Cup for the Western Hemisphere, kicks off tonight in Atlanta with Argentina vs. Canada (8pm ET, FS1).

Expanded field: Copa América is a century-old competition among South America's 10 national teams. But this year, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica and Jamaica will also be competing.


Group A: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Peru

Group B: Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela

Group C: Bolivia, Panama, USA, Uruguay

Group D: Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay

Venues: Matches will be played in 14 U.S. stadiums, five of which are home to MLS clubs. The final will be held July 14 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

To set the stage:Here's Yahoo Sports' Henry Bushnell…

For nearly a quarter-century, the story of Copa América was a tale of two constants: Brazil, and an entire continent's soccer obsession.

From 1997 through 2019, the South American championship was played nine times; and nine different nations — eight of CONMEBOL's 10 members, plus an invitee, Mexico — made at least one final. Dating back to 1967, eight of the 10 have won it.

Cadences and formats have varied. Chaos has regularly reigned. But for decades, unless Brazil was romping to a title, the tournament would always showcase South American soccer's breadth of passion and talent.

Even teams who failed to qualify for World Cups could — and did — win Copa América. Such was the depth of the field, and the unpredictability of a sport that can be so volatile when so hotly contested.

But here, in 2024, at the 48th Copa América, the story feels different. The superpower, Brazil, has fallen; and depth has dried up. The declines of Chile, Paraguay and Peru — not to mention Mexico — have shaped a top-heavy field that looks more predictable than usual.

Power rankings:
















Costa Rica

Good read:How Copa América changed Lionel Messi forever

🏀 March Madness expansion talks heat up

College basketball moved one step closer this week to an expanded NCAA men's basketball tournament.

From Yahoo Sports' Ross Dellenger:

NCAA officials on Wednesday presented to Division I conference commissioners at least two models of an expanded field, one with an additional four teams and another with an additional eight teams, commissioners told Yahoo Sports. Officials declined to speak publicly about the models.

The models would expand the 68-team field to 72 or 76 teams, with additional at-large selections as well as at least one additional First Four site. Any expansion would begin, at earliest, in the 2025-26 season. If the men's event expands, the women's tournament is likely to undergo a similar expansion.

Officials are planning to retain the current 64-team bracket. With play-in game winners needing a spot in that structure, space has to be made. More 10-12 seeds, originally in the 64-team bracket, could find themselves having to win play-in games on that Tuesday or Wednesday to advance to the first round on Thursday or Friday.

🏒 We are witnessing greatness

Connor McDavid (2 goals, 2 assists) led the Oilers past the Panthers, 5-3, on Tuesday to keep their season alive and force Game 6 tomorrow back in Edmonton.

Historic performance: McDavid, who had a goal and three assists in Game 4, is the first player in Stanley Cup Final history with back-to-back four point performances.

Points per game: The Oilers captain now owns the second-highest career points per game in the playoffs, trailing only Wayne Gretzky.

Gretzky (1.84)

McDavid (1.63)

Mario Lemieux (1.61)

Barry Pederson (1.53)

Leon Draisaitl (1.49)

Season for the ages: McDavid's 174 points in 2023-24 (regular season and playoffs combined) are the most since Lemieux had 188 points during the 1995-96 campaign.

🌎 The world in photos

Omaha — Texas A&M beat Florida and Tennessee beat Florida State to advance to this weekend's CWS Final, which will be an all-SEC affair for the third time in the past four years. The Aggies and Vols are both seeking their first national titles.

Denver — Shohei Ohtani unleashed a 476-foot bomb on Tuesday at Coors Field, the longest home run in the majors this season.

Dortmund, Germany — Arda Güler, the "Turkish Messi," scored a spectacular goal in Turkey's 3-1 win over Georgia, breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's record as the youngest player to score in their Euros debut (19 years, 114 days).

Antigua and Barbuda — Team USA fell to South Africa in their Super 8 opener on Wednesday, but the Americans still have two matches left to try to advance to the T20 Cricket World Cup semifinals.

📆 June 20, 2004: Griffey joins 500 HR club

20 years ago today, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 500th home run, becoming the 20th member of that exclusive club*. He'd end his career with 630 long balls, good for seventh on the all-time list.

Like father, like son: The historic home run was extra special for Griffey, who hit it on Father's Day with his dad, Ken Griffey Sr., in the stands. And as fate would have it, the blast doubled as his 2,143rd career hit, matching his father's career hit total exactly.

More on this day:

🏀 1993: The Bulls completed the first of their two three-peats, and the first in the NBA in 27 years.

⛳️ 1999: Payne Stewart won the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Four months later, he died in a plane crash.

*500 HR club: Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714), Albert Pujols (703), Alex Rodriguez (696), Willie Mays (660), Griffey (630), Jim Thome (612), Sammy Sosa (609), Frank Robinson (586), Mark McGwire (583), Harmon Killebrew (573), Rafael Palmeiro (569), Reggie Jackson (563), Manny Ramirez (555), Mike Schmidt (548), David Ortiz (541), Mickey Mantle (536), Jimmie Foxx (534), Ted Williams (521), Willie McCovey (521), Frank Thomas (521), Ernie Banks (512), Eddie Mathews (512), Mel Ott (511), Miguel Cabrera (511), Gary Sheffield (509), Eddie Murray (504).

📺 Watchlist: MLB at Rickwood Field

The Giants and Cardinals play tonight(7:15pm ET, Fox) at historic Rickwood Field*, the longtime home of the Negro Leagues' Birmingham Black Barons.

A tribute to the Negro Leagues: 60 living Negro Leaguers will attend tonight's game, which will double as a memorial for the late Willie Mays, who began his career with the Black Barons at this very field.

More to watch:

⚽️ Euros: Slovenia vs. Serbia (9am, FS1); Denmark vs. England (12pm, FS1); Spain vs. Italy (3pm, Fox)

⚽️ Copa América: Argentina vs. Canada (8pm, FS1)

⛳️ LPGA: Women's PGA Championship (4pm, Peacock; 6pm, Golf) … The season's third major tees off at Sahalee Country Club in Washington.

⛳️ PGA: Travelers Championship (8am, ESPN+; 3pm, Golf) … The final signature event of the season tees off at TPC River Highlands in Connecticut.

🇺🇸 Swimming/Diving: U.S. Olympic Trials (8pm, NBC)

🏀 WNBA: Sparks at Liberty (7pm, Prime)

*Hallowed ground: Rickwood is America's oldest professional ballpark (1910), and 181 Hall of Fame players, managers and umpires passed through over the years. They include: Josh Gibson, Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Jackie Robinson, Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb.

🏀 NBA trivia

Al Horford was the active record-holder for most playoff games without a championship (186) before winning his first on Monday.

Question: Who is the new active record-holder with 166 playoff games without a title?

Hint: He played in the 2012 NBA Finals.

Answer at the bottom.

🎾 This is an amazing ad

Well played, Prime Video. To promote their new Roger Federer documentary (out today!), they've got Fed hitting against his younger self on London's Tower Bridge.

Now streaming:"Federer: Twelve Final Days"

Trivia answer: James Harden

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

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