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BC-AP Sports Digest

April 6, 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--FINAL FOUR-AUBURN-VIRGINIA PREVIEW

MINNEAPOLIS _ Virginia and Auburn meet at the Final Four in the latest installment of a long-running competition in basketball: Slow and steady vs. fast and furious. By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 810 words, photos.

BKC--FINAL FOUR-TEXAS TECH-MICHIGAN ST PREVIEW

MINNEAPOLIS _ Hunker down for this one. The second semifinal features Texas Tech, the team with the best defense in a generation, against Michigan State, the nose-in-the-dirt team whose coach used to put helmets and shoulder pads on his players for practice. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 740 words, photos.

BKC--FINAL FOUR-THINGS TO KNOW

MINNEAPOLIS _ Following an epic Elite Eight and a week of buildup, the Final Four is finally here. Michigan State is the regular, making its eighth appearance in the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament under Tom Izzo. The Spartans will face Final Four newbie Texas Tech and its oxygen-sucking defense. Virginia, the only No. 1 seed left in the bracket, will try to stop the volume-shooting Auburn Tigers. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 530 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKW--CHAMPIONSHIP GAME LOOKAHEAD

TAMPA, Fla. — Notre Dame will be looking to join UConn, Tennessee and Southern Cal in winning consecutive national championships during the NCAA era in Sunday night’s title game against Baylor. It will also be the first championship game since 2012 when both coaches — Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw and Baylor’s Kim Mulkey — are women. By Mark Didtler. SENT: 600 words, photos.

BKW--FINAL FOUR-OREGON-BAYLOR

TAMPA, Fla. _ Locked in a close game for the first time in weeks, Baylor never flinched. Kalani Brown scored 22 points and Lauren Cox added 21 as the Lady Bears (36-1) held off Final Four newcomer Oregon 72-67 Friday night to reach the women’s championship game for the first time since 2012. By Fred Goodall. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

BKW--FINAL FOUR-UCONN-NOTRE DAME

TAMPA, Fla. _ This time, Notre Dame needed Arike Ogunbowale a lot earlier. A year after Ogunbowale hit an amazing pair of buzzer beaters in the Final Four, the Irish star rushed to the rescue early in the fourth quarter. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

BKC--AP PLAYER OF THE YEAR

MINNEAPOLIS _ Duke freshman Zion Williamson is the runaway choice for men’s college basketball player of the year by The Associated Press. The 6-foot-7, 285-pounder made headlines with his overpowering play and thundering dunks. By College Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. SENT: 800 words, photos.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

GLF--MASTERS-MAGNOLIA

AUGUSTA, Ga. _ Tucked away on the far end of Augusta National is the par-4 fifth hole named “Magnolia,” known best for where Jack Nicklaus once made two eagles in one tournament, and where everyone else is happy to take par and move on. The toughest par 4 just became a little harder with a new tee 40 yards back that now stretches it to 495 yards. It’s the first significant change to the hole in 15 years. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 3 a.m.

With:

_ GLF--MASTERS-ANNIVERSARIES _ A capsule look at key moments over the years at the Masters. By Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m.

FINAL FOUR

Men:

BKC--FINAL FOUR-SHINY PEARL

MINNEAPOLIS _ There is a sheen that accompanies Auburn coach Bruce Pearl because, well, he sweats during games. Quite a lot. But while his detractors would call it the sheen of slime from all his run-ins with the NCAA, those closest to him insist it’s the shimmer of success. By Dave Skretta. UPCOMING: 940 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKC--FINAL FOUR-DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS

MINNEAPOLIS _ Turns out, defense really does win championships. This year’s Final Four is dominated by defense. Three of the four teams are in the top 10. By National Writer Eddie Pells. UPCOMING: 960 words, photos.

_ With:

_ BKC--FINAL FOUR-DEFENSES-HOW THEY WORK _ Virginia, Texas Tech bring tough-edged feel to Final Four. By Aaron Beard. SENT: 820 words, photos.

BKC--FINAL FOUR-DIAKITE’S SHOT

CONAKRY, Guinea _ Mamadi Diakite’s road from West Africa to Virginia began with some instructions: Listen to his father, stop kicking a soccer ball, watch old tapes of Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon. Now, thanks to big shot by Diakite, the Cavaliers are in the Final Four. By Boubacar Diallo. SENT: 900 words, photos.

BKC--FINAL FOUR-BIG TEN BLUEPRINT

MINNEAPOLIS _ It’s been nearly two decades since the Big Ten won a national title. But even if Michigan State does not end the drought, the team that emerges will have a coach who followed the fierce Big Ten blueprint _ play like it’s November on the gridiron. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 800 words, photos.

_ Coaches:

_ BKC--VANDERBILT-STACKHOUSE _ Vanderbilt, winless in SEC, hires Grizzlies assistant, ex-NBA star Jerry Stackhouse as coach. Teresa M. Walker. SENT: 860 words, photos.

_ BKC--GEORGIA STATE-LANIER _ Georgia State hires Tennessee assistant Rob Lanier as coach. SENT: 250 words, photos.

Women:

BKW--FINAL FOUR-DAVENPORT-MOVING FORWARD

TAMPA, Fla. _ Alabama high school basketball player Maori Davenport is back playing with USA Basketball. She drew national attention when she was suspended by state officials for accidentally accepting a check from the governing body that her family repaid. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 600 words, photos.

BASEBALL

BBA--MARINERS-WHITE SOX

CHICAGO _ Yoan Moncada has a more aggressive approach at the plate, a new position in the field and a strong belief that games like this are going to be the norm for him. Moncada hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning and the Chicago White Sox won a wild home opener, beating the Seattle Mariners 10-8 on Friday. By Andrew Seligman. SENT: 810 words, photos.

BBO--RED SOX-DIAMONDBACKS

PHOENIX _ Adam Jones wanted to make one thing perfectly clear. “I’m not replacing Paul (Goldschmidt), by any stretch,” Jones said after hitting his fourth homer of the season Friday. So far, Jones and the rest of the Diamondbacks are doing a pretty good impression. SENT: 990 words, photos.

BBN--DODGERS-ROCKIES

DENVER — Cody Bellinger couldn’t offer up a deep explanation on why the Los Angeles Dodgers are going deep so often. Bellinger, Max Muncy and Russell Martin homered as the Dodgers kept up their long-ball barrage, beating Colorado 10-6 in the Rockies’ home opener. By Pat Graham. SENT: 800 words, photos.

GOLF

GLF--LPGA TOUR

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. _ Seven years after missing a 1-foot putt on the final hole of regulation and losing a playoff, In-Kyung Kim was back on top at the ANA Inspiration. By John Nicholson. UPCOMING: 760 words, photos.

GLF--AUGUSTA WOMEN’S AMATEUR

AUGUSTA, Ga. _ Augusta National has never been this busy on a Friday leading into Masters week. The 72 players at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur_ even the 42 players who failed to make the cut _ were on the course preparing for the final round. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 830 words, photos.

_ Also:

_ GLF--VALERO TEXAS OPEN _First-round leader Si Woo Kim used a late-round hole-in-one to build a four-shot lead at the halfway point of the PGA Tour’s last stop before the Masters. SENT: 630 words, photos.

NBA

BKN--NBA PLAYOFF PICTURE

The Orlando Magic have turned their season around, and a playoff berth is now within their grasp. Orlando is now up to the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference race, while Golden State’s magic number to clinch the No. 1 seed out West is down to one. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 620 words, photos by 3 a.m.

BKN--CELTICS-PACERS

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gordon Hayward executed the game plan perfectly for Boston. He made all nine of his shots. He made all three of his free throws. And, he gave the Celtics the clear edge for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, too. By Michael Marot. SENT: 840 words, photos.

BKN--TRAIL BLAZERS-NUGGETS

DENVER _Nikola Jokic scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Paul Millsap finished with 25 points, and the Denver Nuggets clinched the Northwest Division title with a 119-110 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. SENT: 700 words, photos.

NHL

HKN--BLUE JACKETS-RANGERS

NEW YORK — The Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t get discouraged after giving up the tying goal in the closing seconds of regulation. They kept their focus and won in a shootout to clinch the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 900 words, photos.

HKN--PLAYOFF-PENGUINS

PITTSBURGH _ Erik Gudbranson didn’t want to be “that guy,” the one who whooped it up after the Pittsburgh Penguins locked down a playoff spot for the 13th straight year with a win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. By Will Graves. SENT: 900 words, photos.

HORSE RACING

RAC--SANTA ANITA

ARCADIA, Calif. _ Santa Anita is facing enormous scrutiny, and not just because this weekend is the biggest race day of the year. The venerable track where superstars Seabiscuit and Zenyatta once thrilled fans is fighting for its future a month before the Kentucky Derby, with track officials struggling to answer for the deaths of 23 horses amid escalating criticism from inside and outside the sport. By Racing Writer Beth Harris. SENT: 670 words, photos.

AUTO RACING

CAR--NASCAR-BRISTOL

BRISTOL, Tenn. _ Chase Elliott positioned himself to give Hendrick Motorsports a shot at its first victory of the season with a pole-winning run at Bristol Motor Speedway. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 620 words, photos.

Also:

CAR--NASCAR-WALTRIP RETIRES _ Darrell Waltrip officially launched the second victory lap of his second NASCAR career. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 850 words, photos.

CAR--INDYCAR-ALABAMA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. _ Colton Herta hasn’t won since he was 18, so he’s eager for another taste of success. OK, it’s only been two weeks since the IndyCar rookie became the youngest driver to win in series history, but that victory lap was packed with appearances, media interviews and the New York Yankees’ opening day game. By John Zenor. SENT: 610 words, photos.

NFL

FBN--COWBOYS-LAWRENCE CONTRACT

DALLAS — DeMarcus Lawrence has the long-term contract he felt he deserved after the star defensive end for the Dallas Cowboys played one season under the franchise tag. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 500 words, photos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--MISSISSIPPI-COORDINATOR MAKEOVER

OXFORD, Miss. _ Mississippi’s third-year coach Matt Luke is trying to rebuild the program with the help of a few veteran coordinators. The Rebels hired offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez and defensive coordinator Mike MacIntyre during the offseason after a 5-7 record in 2018. Rodriguez and MacIntyre have more than two decades of Division I head coaching experience between them. By David Brandt. UPCOMING: 790 words, photos by 3 a.m.

SOCCER

_ SOC--SOUTHAMPTON-LIVERPOOL _ Mohamed Salah helped to lift Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Southampton. SENT: 590 words, photos.

OTHER

_ TEN--CHARLESTON _ Madison Keys rallied late to down top-seeded Sloane Stephens for the first time in four career meetings to reach the Volvo Car Open semifinals. SENT: 200 words, photos.

_ FBN--BROWNS-SIGNINGS _ Browns address hole in secondary, sign former Packer, Steelers safety Morgan Burnett. By Tom Withers. SENT: 350 words, photos.

_ HKW--WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS _ Russia defeated Switzerland and Czech Republic beat France in preliminary round of women’s hockey worlds in Finland. SENT: 180 words.

_ RADIO HOST ARRESTED _ Former New York sports radio host Craig Carton gets 3½ years in prison in ticket scam. SENT: 650 words, photos.

CAPSULES

_ BBO--BASEBALL CAPSULES

_ BKN--NBA CAPSULES

_ HKN--NHL CAPSULES

___

Saturday Time Schedule (EDT)

Men’s Final Four

At Minneapolis

Virginia vs. Auburn, 6:09 p.m.

Michigan State vs. Texas Tech, 8:49 p.m.

BASEBALL

Washington at N.Y. Mets, 1:10 p.m.

Kansas City at Detroit, 1:10 p.m.

Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 1:35 p.m.

Minnesota at Philadelphia, 2:05 p.m.

Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.

San Diego at St. Louis, 2:15 p.m.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.

Texas at L.A. Angels, 4:05 p.m.

Toronto at Cleveland, 4:10 p.m.

N.Y. Yankees at Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.

Oakland at Houston, 7:10 p.m.

Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m.

Miami at Atlanta, 7:20 p.m.

Boston at Arizona, 8:10 p.m.

L.A. Dodgers at Colorado, 8:10 p.m.

NBA

Brooklyn at Milwaukee, 5 p.m.

Philadelphia at Chicago, 8 p.m.

NHL

Tampa Bay at Boston, 1 p.m.

Vancouver at St. Louis, 4 p.m.

Toronto at Montreal, 7 p.m.

Columbus at Ottawa, 7 p.m.

Buffalo at Detroit, 7 p.m.

New Jersey at Florida, 7 p.m.

Carolina at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

N.Y. Rangers at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m.

N.Y. Islanders at Washington, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at Dallas, 8 p.m.

Winnipeg at Arizona, 10 p.m.

Edmonton at Calgary, 10 p.m.

Vegas at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

Colorado at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.

MLS

Montreal at New York City FC, 1 p.m.

Chicago at Toronto FC, 3 p.m.

Los Angeles FC at D.C. United, 3 p.m.

Minnesota United at New York, 7 p.m.

Colorado at Orlando City, 7:30 p.m.

FC Dallas at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m.

New England at Columbus, 7:30 p.m.

Portland at San Jose, 8 p.m.

Real Salt Lake at Seattle, 10 p.m.