Sports Minute: Here is the latest Illinois sports news from The - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Sports Minute: Here is the latest Illinois sports news from The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Cubs are looking for a fast start in 2018 after they struggled for the first part of last year. With one of the majors' best rotations and a deep lineup, they have all the pieces in place for a second World Series championship in three years. Yu Darvish and Jon Lester are among the top pitchers and Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant anchor the batting order. The Cubs open the season March 29 at Miami.

CHICAGO (AP) - For a franchise with five straight losing seasons and one playoff appearance since the 2005 World Series championship, the Chicago White Sox are an optimistic bunch. They come into the year with a long line of promising prospects. The White Sox believe they are ready to make a big jump in the standings. Chicago opens the season March 29 at Kansas City.

NEW YORK (AP) - While tanking is easy to spot, the NBA is finding it's not so easy to stop. It's definitely a problem for the league office, which has fined owners, chastised teams and sent out league-wide memos on the topic. And with big brother watching, teams are abiding by the letter of the law, but arguably not the spirit of its intent. There are several stops around the NBA where currently winning really doesn't seem to be everything.

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - Chicago Cubs newcomer Yu Darvish limited his former team to three hits over six innings in a spring training win against the Texas Rangers. Darvish had spent his entire big league career with Texas before getting traded to the Dodgers last summer. Darvish joined the Cubs as a free agent during the winter.

CHICAGO (AP) - With a run to the Sweet 16, Loyola of Chicago is shining a light on the team that played a landmark game during the Civil Rights era 55 years ago. With four black starters, Loyola won what remains the only NCAA Division I championship by an Illinois school. And for the players who were there, the current run is bringing back all sorts of memories. They face Nevada on Thursday night.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Loyola-Chicago's run to the Sweet 16 is resurfacing memories of its culturally significant game in 1963 against Mississippi State. Mississippi State played the game despite an informal state law barring schools from playing against racially integrated teams. The matchup became known as the "Game of Change."

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