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NBA still sorting out playoff questions...Final Four is here...Zion player of the year

April 6, 2019

UNDATED (AP) — The bottom half of the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoff lineup is still muddled. Miami, Brooklyn, Detroit and Orlando can get in if they win out. Charlotte is still alive but needs help. In the West, there still isn’t a single seed clinched but the picture is starting to get clear. Golden State beat Cleveland to cut its magic number for the top seed to one. Denver, currently No. 2 in the West standings, cannot fall past the fourth spot no matter what.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Following an epic Elite Eight and a week of buildup, the men’s basketball Final Four is finally here. Michigan State is the regular, making its eighth appearance in the national semifinals of the NCAA Tournament under coach 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 test its impenetrable pack-line defense against the volume-shooting Auburn Tigers, who have poured in 3-pointers throughout the tournament.

UNDATED (AP) — Even though his team just missed the Final Fur, Duke freshman Zion Williamson is The Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Williamson was the runaway choice, claiming 59 of 64 votes from AP Top 25 voters in ballots submitted before the NCAA Tournament in results released Friday.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — It’s been a few years, 2012 to be exact, since both teams in the NCAA Women’s basketball championship had women as head coaches. That changes Sunday when Notre Dame takes on Baylor. Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw is excited about that but says she’s focused on the task at hand. McGraw, during her Thursday’s news conference, said it’s time for more women in positions of power in all walks of life.

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth are successfully fine-tuning their preparations for the Masters. However, they haven’t been able to match Si Woo Kim so far at the Valero Texas Open. First-round leader Kim takes a four-shot lead into Saturday’s third round thanks to a late-round hole-in-one Friday in the PGA Tour’s last stop before the Masters. Kim is 12 under through 36 holes. He leads six players at 8 under, including Fowler and Spieth.