Feb. 26 (UPI) — The first games of 2021 MLB spring training, dozens of college and NBA basketball games and two NASCAR races headline this weekend’s sports schedule.
Canelo Alvarez also takes on Avni Yildirim on Saturday in a boxing title bout and the world’s best golfers are in action at the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship from Friday to Sunday at the Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla.
MLB starts spring training
Twenty-eight of MLB’s 30 teams make their spring debuts Sunday as half of the league starts preseason games in Florida and the other half plays games in Arizona.
Fourteen teams take the field at 1:05 p.m. EST Sunday. Another 10 teams play at 3:05 p.m. EST Sunday. The other four squads face off at 3:10 p.m. EST Sunday.
The New York Mets and Chicago Cubs are the only two teams that don’t play Sunday. They start their spring campaigns Monday. The 2021 spring training schedule ends March 30.
The regular season starts when the New York Yankees host the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. April 1 at Yankee Stadium.
Sunday’s early slate of games features: the Boston Red Sox vs. the Minnesota Twins; the Atlanta Braves vs. the Tampa Bay Rays; the Blue Jays vs. the Yankees; the Miami Marlins vs. the Houston Astros; the Washington Nationals vs. the St. Louis Cardinals; the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. the Baltimore Orioles; and the Philadelphia Phillies vs. the Detroit Tigers.
The Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox start spring training at 3:05 p.m. EST Sunday. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners start spring training at 3:10 p.m. EST Sunday.
Many of Sunday’s games will air on local channels and radio stations, but nationally-televised spring training games won’t air until next week. Sunday’s games also can be streamed off individual team websites and at MLB.TV.
Best basketball games
Jayson Tatum, LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry will be among the top NBA players to appear in nationally televised NBA games this weekend.
Tatum’s Boston Celtics host the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m. EST Friday on ESPN. James’ Los Angeles Lakers host Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers at 10 p.m. EST Friday on ESPN.
The Dallas Mavericks then battle the Brooklyn Nets at 8:30 p.m. EST Saturday on ABC. The Lakers host the Golden State Warriors at 8 p.m. EST Sunday on ESPN.
Several matchups between nationally-ranked college basketball teams take place this weekend on national TV. Texas — the No. 16 team in the coaches poll — faces No. 17 Texas Tech at noon EST Saturday on CBS. No. 4 Illinois battles No. 24 Wisconsin at 2 p.m. EST Saturday on ESPN.
No. 2 Baylor also faces No. 19 Kansas at 8 p.m. EST Saturday on ESPN. No. 5 Ohio State battles No. 12 Iowa at 4 p.m. EST Sunday on CBS.
NASCAR season continues
The third week of the NASCAR season takes place with Saturday and Sunday events in Homestead, Fla. Drivers in the motorsports company’s Xfinity Series lineup for the Contender Boats 250 at 4:30 p.m. EST Saturday on FS1.
The Cup Series takes over Homestead-Miami Speedway for the Dixie Vodka 400 at 3:30 p.m. EST Sunday. That race airs on Fox.
Cup Series standings leader Denny Hamlin will start first in Sunday’s race, followed by Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch in the 38-car field.
Bell won last Sunday’s road course race at Daytona. Michael McDowell, who opened the season with a win at the Daytona 500, will start sixth Sunday at Homestead.
Hamlin is favored to win the race, followed by 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott, Harvick, Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson.
WGC-Workday Championship: Second round from 1 to 6 p.m. EST on Golf Channel
Pacers at Celtics at 7:30 p.m. EST on ESPN
Trail Blazers at Lakers at 10 p.m. EST on ESPN
NASCAR Truck Series
BrakeBest Brake Pads 159 at Daytona at 7:30 p.m. EST on FS1.
Texas at Texas Tech at noon EST on CBS
Tennessee at Auburn at noon EST on ESPN
Illinois at Wisconsin at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN
LSU at Arkansas at 2 p.m. EST on ESPN2
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma at 3 p.m. EST on ABC
Washington at Arizona at 3 p.m. EST on CBS
Kansas State at West Virginia at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN2
Florida State at North Carolina at 4 p.m. EST on ESPN
Wake Forest at Virginia Tech at 4 p.m. EST on ACC Network
Boise State at San Diego State at 4 p.m. EST on CBSSN
Florida at Kentucky at 4 p.m. EST on CBS
Creighton at Xavier at 5 p.m. EST on Fox
Texas A&M at Missouri at 6 p.m. EST on SEC Network
Louisville at Duke at 6 p.m. EST on ESPN
Baylor at Kansas at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN
Alabama at Mississippi State at 8:30 p.m. EST on SEC Network
WGC-Workday Championship: Third round from noon to 2:30 p.m. EST on Golf Channel; 2:30 to 6 p.m. EST on NBC
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Contender Boats 250 at 4:30 p.m. EST on FS1
Mavericks at Nets at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC
Canelo Alvarez vs. Avni Yildirim at 10 p.m. EST on DAZN
WGC-Workday Championship: Final round from noon to 2:30 p.m. EST on Golf Channel; 2:30 to 6 p.m. EST on NBC
Villanova at Butler at noon EST on CBS
Memphis at Cincinnati at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN
Michigan State at Maryland at 2 p.m. EST on CBS
Iowa at Ohio State at 4 p.m. EST on CBS
Bruins at Rangers at noon EST on NBC
Red Wings at Blackhawks at 7 p.m. EST on NBCSN
MLB spring training
Phillies vs. Tigers at 1:05 p.m. EST on MLB.TV
Blue Jays vs. Yankees at 1:05 p.m. EST on MLB.TV
Reds vs. Indians at 3:05 p.m. EST on MLB.TV
Rangers at Royals at 3:05 p.m. EST on MLB.TV
Brewers vs. White Sox at 3:05 p.m. EST on MLB.TV
Padres vs. Mariners at 3:10 p.m. EST on MLB.TV
NASCAR Cup Series
Dixie Vodka 400 at 3:30 p.m. EST on Fox
Clippers at Bucks at 3:30 p.m. EST on ABC
Warriors at Lakers at 8 p.m. EST on ESPN
Moments from LeBron James’ career