The Rundown for March 29, 2021

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 30,262,380 and the nation’s death toll stands at 549,395, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… A report released yesterday by the White House COVID-19 team warns of a rise in new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and instances of variants. The number of new people who tested positive was up 9 percent last week and there was a 2-percent increase in hospitalizations. The 8,337 cases of the British B.1.1.7 variant was up from 5,567 last week. The number of cases linked to the South African B.1.351 variant jumped from 180 to 266.

BIDEN PRESSES FOR GUN CONTROL BILL… President Joe Biden yesterday expressed confidence that the Senate would pass a “rational” gun control bill. “The only gun control legislation that’s ever passed is mine,” the president told reporters. “It’s going to happen again.” Biden was a Senator when Congress passed an assault weapons ban in 1994, but it expired in 2005. As president, Biden has unsuccessfully called on the Senate to pass two gun-control bills passed in the House and has considered taking executive action after two deadly mass shootings over the past two weeks left 18 people dead.

4 DEAD IN NASHVILLE FLOODING… Recovery efforts are underway in Nashville following a flash flood that killed at least four people and prompted the rescue of at least 130 others. The more than 7 inches of rain that fell on parts of the Nashville metro area was the city’s second-highest amount on record. Rain let up into yesterday morning but flood warnings remain in place for the Cumberland River at Nashville and other waterways in central and west Tennessee. Mayor John Cooper last night announced he had declared a state of emergency to help get local and federal resources to recover from the devastation.

ALASKA HELICOPTER CRASH KILLS 5… A helicopter crash at a glacier near Anchorage left five people and a survivor hospitalized in serious but stable condition. According to a statement issued yesterday by Alaska State Troopers, searchers had found the crash site and survivor late Saturday night after the chopper was reported overdue. The helicopter was ferrying skiers who had been on a backcountry tour, the statement said.

GAS PRICES UP A NICKEL… The average price for a gallon of regular-grade gas in the U.S. jumped a nickel over the past two weeks to $2.94, according to a nationwide survey of gas stations released yesterday. The Lundberg Survey noted that the price of gas is up 77 cents per gallon since November 20 and is at the highest point since May 2019. The most expensive gas was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it cost $3.94 a gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, had the cheapest gas at $2.54 a gallon.

ENTERTAINMENT
ALABAMA SHAKES DRUMMER ARRESTED
… The Limestone County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Alabama Shakes drummer Steve Johnson was arrested last on charges that include willful torture, willful abuse and cruelly beating or otherwise willfully maltreating a child under the age of 18. Arraignment was set for April 7. The 35-year-old Johnson is currently halfway serving two months probation for violating a protection order filed by his ex-wife. Johnson pleaded guilty through a misdemeanor charge. The Alabama Shakes’ 2012 debut album “Boys & Girls” produced the hit song “Hold On,” which earned three Grammy nominations. Their follow up album, 2015’s “Sound & Color,” won four Grammys. The band is on hiatus while lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard pursues a solo career.

JUSTIN BIEBER TOPS ALBUM CHART… Justin Bieber’s new release, “Justice,” sold 154,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Another newcomer, Lana Del Rey’s “Chemtrails Over the Country Club,” opened at No. 2 with 75,000 units sold. Morgan Wallen’s “Dangerous: The Double Album” sold 66,000 copies in dropping to third place after topping the chart for its first 10 weeks. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” slipped to No. 4 after selling 40,000 units. Dua Lipa’s “Future Nostalgia” fell two spots into fifth place with 36,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (Sweet 16; winners meet tomorrow in the Elite 8)…
(1) Gonzaga 83, (5) Creighton 65…
(6) USC 82, (7) Oregon 68

EAST REGION
(1) Michigan 76, (4) Florida State 58…
(11) UCLA 88, (2) Alabama 78 (OT)

TODAY’S NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (Elite 8)
WEST REGION
(2) Houston vs. (12) Oregon State, 7:15 p.m. ET…

SOUTH REGION
(1) Baylor vs. (3) Arkansas, 9:57 p.m. ET

NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCOREBOARD (third round; winners meet tomorrow in the quarterfinals)…
HEMISFAIR REGION
(1) South Carolina 76, (5) Georgia Tech 65…
(6) Texas 64, (2) Maryland 61

ALAMO REGION
(1) Stanford 89, (5) Missouri State 62…
(2) Louisville 60, (6) Oregon 42

TODAY’S WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE (quarterfinals)…
(1) Connecticut vs. (2) Baylor, 7 p.m. ET…
(3) Arizona vs. (4) Indiana, 9 p.m. ET

NBA SCOREBOARD
Phoenix 101 – CHARLOTTE 97 (OT)… Devin Booker scored a game-high 35 points as the Suns outlasted the Hornets in a back-and-forth contest. Deandre Ayton had 14 points and as many rebounds.

Portland 122 – TORONTO 117… CJ McCollum scored seven of his team-high 23 points in the final two minutes to lead the Trail Blazers past the Raptors. Damian Lillard added 22 points and dished off 11 assists. Five other players scored in double figures for Portland.

DENVER 126 – Atlanta 102… The Nuggets shook off a slow start to roll past the Hawks. Jamychal Green delivered 20 points off the bench to lead a balanced scoring attack.

L.A. LAKERS 96 – Orlando 93… The short-handed Lakers held on down the stretch to top the Magic. Dennis Schroder pumped in 24 points. Kyle Kuzma finished with 21 points and 11 boards.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Indiana is at Washington…
Boston hosts New Orleans…
Minnesota is at Brooklyn…
New York hosts Miami…
Toronto is at Detroit…
Houston hosts Memphis…
Dallas is at Oklahoma City…
San Antonio hosts Sacramento…
Cleveland is at Utah…
Golden State hosts Chicago…
Milwaukee is at the L.A. Clippers

NHL SCOREBOARD
WASHINGTON 5 – N.Y. Rangers 4… The Capitals scored the game’s first four goals and held on to edge the Rangers. Tom Wilson netted two second-period goals. T.J. Oshie scored the decisive goal and had two assists.

DETROIT 4 – Columbus 1… The Red Wings scored three unanswered goals in the third period to put away the Blue Jackets. Michael Rasmussen sparked the surge with a tie-breaking goal.

Anaheim 3 – ST. LOUIS 2 (OT)… The Ducks rallied past the Blues after spotting them a two-goal second-period lead. Josh Manson scored the game-winning goal at 1:42 of overtime. Max Jones had two assists.

New Jersey 1 – BOSTON 0… Goalie Mackenzie Blackwood stopped all 40 shots in his first shutout of the season and the Devils clipped the Bruins. Kyle Palmieri netted the game’s lone goal late in the first period.

Florida 4 – DALLAS 1… Jonathan Huberdeau found the net twice in the first period and had an assist as the Panthers skated past the Stars. Chris Driedger made 33 saves at goal.

Nashville 3 – CHICAGO 2… The Predators recovered to top the Blackhawks after blowing a two-goal third-period lead. Roman Josi scored the game-winner with 6:33 remaining. Viktor Arvidsson had a goal and an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Philadelphia is at Buffalo…
Pittsburgh hosts the N.Y. Islanders…
Edmonton is at Toronto…
Colorado hosts Anaheim…
Winnipeg is at Calgary…
Vegas hosts Los Angeles…
Minnesota is at San Jose

MLB SPRING TRAINING SCORES (opening day is Thursday)…
TAMPA BAY 16, Atlanta 5…
BOSTON 8, Minnesota 3…
PHILADELPHIA 6, N.Y. Yankees 2…
MIAMI 10, N.Y. Mets 2…
Pittsburgh 2, BALTIMORE 1…
WASHINGTON 11, St. Louis 3…
TORONTO 4, Detroit 4 (tie)…
TEXAS 12, Chi. Cubs 8…
MILWAUKEE 7, Cincinnati 1…
CHI. WHITE SOX 7, Arizona 4…
Oakland 9, SAN FRANCISCO 3…
CLEVELAND 3, San Diego 3 (tie)…
Kansas City 6, COLORADO 3…
L.A. ANGELS 6, L.A. Dodgers 5