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BC-AP Sports Digest

April 8, 2019

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AP Sports runs a weekly podcast looking at big moments and issues in sports. The podcast is sent every Tuesday, hosted by columnist Jim Litke. Guests include journalists, athletes and other newsmakers. Listen at podcastonesports.com, the podcastone app and apple podcasts. https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast

Jalen Hurts is bringing a bit of Nick Saban to Oklahoma. On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, George Schroeder of USA Today joins the AP’s Ralph Russo to talk about the quarterback’s transition from Alabama to the Sooners.

https://www.podcastone.com/AP-Top-25-College-Football-Podcast

TOP STORIES

BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-WHY THEY’LL WIN

MINNEAPOLIS _ Texas Tech and Virginia have reached the national championship game by leaning on stingy defenses, overlooked and underappreciated stars, and no shortage of nail-biting NCAA Tournament wins. So, what will it take for the Red Raiders to hoist their first basketball trophy _ and second NCAA title trophy in any sport? And what will it take Virginia to finally win its first hoops title? By Dave Skretta and Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 610 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-THINGS TO KNOW

MINNEAPOLIS _ The NCAA Tournament will take an ugly turn in its final or, depending on your perspective, be a masterpiece in defensive basketball. The national title game Monday night pits Virginia (34-3), the standard-bearer in lockdown basketball, against the new kids on the defensive block, the Texas Tech Red Raiders (31-6). The over/under for points is 118. The over/under on bruises may be higher. Here are a few things to know before watching what’s expected to be one of the lowest-scoring games in title game history. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 610 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKW--NCAA WOMEN-LOOKING AHEAD

TAMPA, Fla. _ Baylor and Notre Dame capped the women’s college basketball season with a thrilling championship game. The sport now has a fourth different school as champion in the past four years with the Lady Bears edging the Irish 82-81 on Sunday night to win their third title. It’s only the second time in the past two decades that there have been that many teams. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 440 words, photos by 3 a.m.

ATH--BOSTON MARATHON-PARA ATHLETES

BOSTON _ Retired Air Force Technical Sergeant Adam Popp will be running the Boston Marathon this year in pursuit of a personal best time and the hope that he will be an example for other para athletes who are looking for ways to satisfy their competitive urges. But Popp, who lost his right leg above the knee in Afghanistan, wants something more: A spot on the podium as a Boston Marathon champion. By Jimmy Golen. UPCOMING: 875 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BBM--NEW VEGAS BALLPARK

LAS VEGAS _ The Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators open at home Tuesday night in what might be the best ballpark in all of minor league baseball, a $150 million palace complete with swimming pool in right center, celebrity chefs overseeing the grills, and player comforts that rival the bigs. Las Vegas Ballpark is funded in part by an $80 million naming rights deal with Las Vegas tourism officials. The 10,000-seat ballpark replaces Cashman Field, which opened in 1983. By Tim Dahlberg. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKW--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP

TAMPA, Fla. _ Baylor lost a star player, then the rest of its 17-point lead. But the Lady Bears, led by the ever-poised Chloe Jackson, kept their composure. Jackson drove for a tiebreaking layup with 3.9 seconds left, and that put the game into the hands of another tournament hero. Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale missed the first of two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining, and Baylor held on for an 82-81 victory Sunday in the NCAA women’s basketball championship game. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

WITH:

_ BKW--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-NOTRE DAME. By Fred Goodall. SENT: 600 words, photos.

_ BKW--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-ATTENDANCE. By Doug Feinberg. SENT: 550 words. Stands as early to BKW--NCAA Championship.

BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-PREVIEW

MINNEAPOLIS _ Texas Tech and Virginia have spent a season making things difficult on just about every offense they’ve faced. Now they’re preparing to turn those defenses loose on one another, this time to determine who leaves Minneapolis as a first-time national champion. By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 750 words, photos.

BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-THE NBA GUYS

MINNEAPOLIS _ Monday’s national championship game features of a pair of potential NBA lottery prospects in Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter and Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver. They lack the one-and-done star power of a Zion Williamson or Deandre Ayton from the past two seasons, instead taking time to develop into stars for teams aiming to be first-time champions. By Aaron Beard. SENT: 750 words, photos.

WITH:

_ BKC--FINAL FOUR-SWITCHING BIG MEN. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. SENT: 700 words, photos.

_ BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-THE VIRGINIA CONNECTION. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 750 words, photos.

_ BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-GUY’S CONFIDENCE. By Aaron Beard. SENT: 500 words, photos.

_ BKC--NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP-CASH MOONEY. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 700 words, photos.

BKC--VIRGINIA TECH-COACH

BLACKSBURG, Va. _ Virginia Tech has hired former Wofford men’s basketball coach Mike Young to replace Buzz Williams. Young is scheduled to be formally introduced during a news conference Monday morning. SENT: 380 words, photo.

BKC--ARKANSAS-MUSSELMAN

Arkansas has hired Nevada’s Eric Musselman as its next men’s basketball coach. Razorbacks athletic director Hunter Yurachek announced Musselman’s hiring on Twitter. Musselman led Nevada to the NCAA Tournament three times in his four seasons in Reno. He will replace Mike Anderson. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. SENT: 550 words, photos.

PRO BASKETBALL

BKN--NBA PLAYOFF PICTURE

Golden State has clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, while Orlando and Brooklyn have ended their playoff droughts. There’s only one of the 16 playoff spots left unclaimed, and it’ll go to Detroit, Charlotte or Miami. And there’s now one certain first-round matchup, with Boston locked in to play Indiana. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 740 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKN--AROUND THE NBA

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo has the vote of AP Basketball Writers Brian Mahoney and Tim Reynolds as the NBA’s MVP this season. Reigning NBA MVP James Harden of the Houston Rockets has had a brilliant scoring season, but Antetokoumpo pushed the Bucks to the best record in the NBA. And in the minds of our voters, that was enough to push him over the top. By Basketball Writers Brian Mahoney and Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 810 words, photos.

BKN--SUNS-ROCKETS

HOUSTON _ James Harden scored 30 points in just three quarters as the Houston Rockets broke their NBA record by making 27 3-pointers in a 149-113 win over the Phoenix Suns. Eric Gordon led the 3-point brigade by tying a career high with eight, Harden added five, P.J. Tucker had four and Danuel House three. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 700 words, photos.

BKN--CLIPPERS-WARRIORS

OAKLAND, Calif. _ Steve Kerr sure would like to properly thank the loyal fans at Oracle Arena one more time. In June. With another championship in hand. Soaking in the franchise’s nostalgia of yesteryear, Stephen Curry scored 27 points and helped the Golden State Warriors clinch the Western Conference’s top seed with a win in their final regular-season game at Oracle Arena, beating the Los Angeles Clippers 131-104 on Sunday night for a fifth straight victory. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 900 words, photos.

HOCKEY

HKN--PLAYOFF PRIMER-GOALTENDING QUESTIONS

The Flames, Sharks, Jets and Maple Leafs are among the top contenders who have goaltending questions going into the playoffs. Calgary is confident in Mike Smith and David Rittich, San Jose is hoping for the best with Martin Jones, Winnipeg will ride with Connor Hellebuyck and Toronto needs Frederik Andersen to snap out of his funk. Any of those situations could derail those teams. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 725 words, photos by 3 a.m.

WITH:

_ HKN--PLAYOFF PRIMER. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 600 words, photos.

_ HKN--PLAYOFF PRIMER-CANADIAN DROUGHT. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 800 words, photos.

HKN--BLUES POWER

The Blues went from last in the NHL to third place and now look ready to make a run in the playoffs. St. Louis missed the playoffs by a point last season, added several players over the summer and fired its coach in November after a bad start. The coaching change, trade rumors and extended time on the road turned the Blues into the Stanley Cup contenders they were supposed to be. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 1,050 words, photos by 3 a.m.

HKN--GOLDEN KNIGHTS-FIREPOWER

LAS VEGAS _ The Vegas Golden Knights struggled to open the season and wound up in last place in the Western Conference at one point. But the addition of Mark Stone and the Knights’ four stacked lines now have the defending conference champions hitting their stride at the right time. Vegas opens the postseason Wednesday in San Jose, a rematch of the second-round series won by the Golden Knights in six games last season. By W.G. Ramirez. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 a.m.

_ Also:

_ HKN--PENGUINS-SID FOR SELKE. By Will Graves. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

_ HKN--CAPITALS-BEING TOM WILSON. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 800 words, photos.

_ HKN--BLUE JACKETS-BODACIOUS BOB. By Mitch Stacy. SENT: 600 words, photos.

_ HKN--SABRES-HOUSLEY. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 780 words, photos

_ HKN--PANTHERS-BOUGHNER. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 780 words.

_ HKN--KINGS-DESJARDINS. SENT: 315 words, photos.

BASEBALL

BBO--LEADING OFF

A look at what’s happening around the majors today: Mike Trout’s on a home run tear, the aftermath of the Reds-Pirates fracas, Justin Verlander takes on the homer-happy Yankees. UPCOMING: 380 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BBO--THIS WEEK IN BASEBALL

Normally, a hitting streak approaching 30 games would be big news. Whit Merrifield of the Royals is up to 28, but his run is a bit under the radar, since it started last year. By Baseball Writer Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BBN--REDS-PIRATES

PITTSBURGH _ A charged-up Yasiel Puig barreled into a bunch of Pirates during a bench-clearing fracas and was among five ejections in Pittsburgh’s 7-5 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. The trouble started in the fourth inning when Chris Archer threw his first pitch behind Derek Dietrich, who had admired a home run in his previous at-bat. The excitable Puig, in his first season with the Reds, grabbed Pirates bench coach Tom Prince and tried to put the 54-year-old former catcher in a headlock. By Alan Saunders. SENT: 715 words, photos.

_ Also:

_ BBA--ORIOLES-DAVIS. By Todd Karpovich. SENT: 340 words, photos.

GOLF

GLF--MASTERS

AUGUSTA, Ga. _ Nick Faldo took Masters rookie Matt Wallace around the front nine, then took a break to present trophies for the Drive, Chip and Putt competition. He emerged from the clubhouse in his green jacket, and Wallace walked over to him to touch the material. The Masters’ prize is among the most coveted in sport, and the race for it is wide open this year. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 700 words, photos.

GLF--VALERO TEXAS OPEN

SAN ANTONIO _ Corey Conners claimed his first PGA Tour victory and earned an invite to the Masters, winning the Valero Texas Open less than a week after qualifying. Conners only entered the tournament field Monday, and he’s the first golfer to win on the PGA Tour after qualifying on a Monday in nine years. He made three birdies in the final five holes, shooting a 6-under 66. He was 20-under for the tournament, winning by two shots over Charley Hoffman. By Tim Price. SENT: 600 words, photos.

GLF--LPGA TOUR

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. _ Jin Young Ko won the ANA Inspiration for her first major title, celebrated with the traditional winner’s leap into Poppie’s Pond and will jump to No. 1 in the world ranking. The woman who said this year that her goal was to be the happiest player on the course was thrilled about the first two. “I still can’t believe,” Ko said. “I’m really happy.” She wasn’t all that excited about the No. 1 spot in the world. By John Nicholson. SENT: 680 words, photos.

_ Also:

_ GLF--CHINA-PLAYER DEATH. SENT: 320 words, photo.

COMMENTARY

GLF--TIM DAHLBERG-MASTERS

The Masters enjoys special status as the enduring annual rite of spring, the place every duffer who has ever picked up a club dreams of hitting shots. The defending champion is rarely the focus and for the most part the big names in the game aren’t either. The course at Augusta National is the star, even when the real tournament begins — as is Masters lore — on the back nine on Sunday. By Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 950 words, photos.

AUTO RACING

CAR--NASCAR-BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn. _ Kyle Busch grabbed his third Cup win of the season, eighth overall at Bristol, and 10th this year spanning all three of NASCAR’s national series. The victory came at the expense of his older brother, who lined up right beside him on the final restart but couldn’t slow Busch’s steamrolling of the competition this year. The Busch Brothers finished 1-2 on a weekend spent celebrating Bristol’s all-time winningest driver, Darrell Waltrip. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

CAR--INDYCAR-ALABAMA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. _ Takuma Sato of Japan has won the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for his fourth career IndyCar victory. Sato, the 2017 Indianapolis 500 winner, became the fifth driver to win after starting on the pole at Barber Motorsports Park Sunday and was in control most of the way. By John Zenor. SENT: 720 words, photos.

TENNIS

TEN--CHARLESTON

CHARLESTON, S.C. _ American Madison Keys overpowered former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 (5), 6-3 to win the Volvo Car Open in Charleston. It was the eighth-seeded Keys’ fourth career WTA title. She used her fast serves and overwhelming forehands to outlast the fifth-seeded Wozniacki in the opening set before taking control down the stretch. The second set was more of a runaway Keys. She had lost her two previous career matches against Wozniacki before winning at the season’s first clay-court event. By Pete Iacobelli. SENT: 645 words.

WRESTLING

WRE--WWE-HART ATTACKED

NEW YORK _ Wrestler Bret “The Hitman” Hart had his WWE Hall of Fame ceremony speech interrupted when a man came into the ring and tackled him. The spectator who tackled the 61-year-old Hart at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was promptly subdued by several people who came to Hart’s defense Saturday. Several shocked onlookers posted footage of the tackle online. Hart continued his speech after the incident and is said to be OK. New York City Police arrested 26-year-old Zachary Madsen, of Lincoln, Nebraska. SENT: 350 words, photos.

SOCCER

SOC--ENGLISH ROUNDUP

LONDON _ Substitute Gerard Deulofeu sent Watford into the FA Cup final for the first time in 35 years, scoring twice as Wolverhampton’s two-goal lead was wiped out in a 3-2 victory for the Hornets. Watford will play Manchester City in the May 18 final. By Rob Harris. SENT: 500 words, photos.

_ Also:

_ SOC--SPANISH ROUNDUP. By Tales Azzoni. SENT: 610 words, photos.

_ SOC--FRENCH ROUNDUP. By Samuel Petrequin. SENT: 930 words, photos.

_ SOC--ITALIAN ROUNDUP. By Daniella Matar. SENT: 740 words, photos.

_ SOC--GERMAN ROUNDUP. By Ciaran Fahey. SENT: 250 words, photos.

SOC--BELGIUM-US

LOS ANGELES _ Carli Lloyd scored her first two goals of the year in the U.S. women’s national team’s 6-0 thrashing of Belgium in an exhibition. Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis added first-half goals on headers after the 2015 World Cup hero scored twice in the air. Alex Morgan also got a goal early in the second half as the Americans showcased their offensive potency in their first-ever meeting with Belgium. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 620 words, photos.

OTHER

_ FBC--NEBRASKA-MOOS ON A ROLL. By Eric Olson. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

_ HKW--WORLDS. SENT: 350 words.

_ BBC--OBIT-SHEPPARD. SENT: 250 words.

___

Monday Time Schedule (EDT)

NCAA BASKETBALL

Men’s National Championship (at Minneapolis)

Virginia vs. Texas Tech, 9 p.m.

BASEBALL

Tampa Bay at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m.

Oakland at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Washington at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees at Houston, 7:10 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers at St. Louis, 7:45 p.m.

Seattle at Kansas City, 8:15 p.m.

Atlanta at Colorado, 8:40 p.m.

San Diego at San Francisco, 9:45 p.m.

Milwaukee at L.A. Angels, 10:07 p.m.