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BC-AP Sports Digest

March 26, 2019

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TOP STORIES

BBO--SALARIES

NEW YORK _ Even with huge new contracts for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado and Nolan Arenado, Major League Baseball’s average salary is on track to drop on opening day for an unprecedented second straight season, according to projections by the AP. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

BKN--ROCKETS-BUCKS

MILWAUKEE _ In a marquee showdown between MVP front-runners, Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and James Harden of the Houston Rockets square off in a game between division leaders. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

MICHAEL AVENATTI-ARREST-Q&A

The charges against Michael Avenatti came together at warp speed, taking the attorney from facing cameras to facing prison. A day later, he returns to form and comes out punching, accusing Nike of paying college basketball players. By Brian Melley and Jim Mustian. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

_ With:

_ MICHAEL AVENATTI-ARREST-THE LATEST _ Real-time updates throughout day.

_ MICHAEL AVENATTI-ARREST-GERAGOS _ Colin Kaepernick’s lawyer linked to Avenatti case. By Christopher Weber. SENT: 650 words.

FBN--NFL MEETINGS

PHOENIX _ NFL coaches are asked during league meetings about replay reviews. Few, if any, had a clue how owners might vote on the myriad of proposals to enhance video reviews, a fiercely debated subject after the NFC title game. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 8 p.m.

_ With:

_ FBN--OWNERS MEETINGS-THE LATEST _ Real-time updates throughout day.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

BKC--NCAA-TOURNAMENT MONEY

An NCAA Tournament bid or an early upset is like winning the lottery for mid-major schools. The infusion of money improves the conference’s chances of producing the next Cinderella. But an AP analysis finds those windfalls are becoming rarer, with power conferences hoarding tournament revenue. By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 1,550 words, photos. Abridged version: 850 words.

_ With:

_ BKC--NCAA-TOURNAMENT MONEY-HOW IT WORKS _ By Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 750 words, photos.

Data distribution: The APs is sharing more than 20 years’ worth of tournament payout data on data.world, which members can use to explore the amount a school’s wins have earned for its conference and the amount a school has received relative to its production. If your news organization is not yet licensed to access our data distribution, contact apdigitalsales@ap.org The data.world link: https://data.world/associatedpress/ncaa-conference-payouts

NCAA TOURNAMENT

Men:

BKC--NCAA TOURNAMENT MONEY-DEAL MAKERS

With Gonzaga courted by the Mountain West Conference, school leaders wanted to leverage their position. They cut a deal with their current league, the West Coast Conference, to earn NCAA shares according to the Zags’ tournament success. Most conferences go with an even split. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 900 words, photos.

BKC--DEFENSIVE STATE

EAST LANSING, Mich. _ Michigan State and Michigan reached the Sweet 16 on the strength of their defense. But the Spartans and Wolverines have different ways of shutting down opponents. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 4 p.m.

_ Also:

_ BKC--T25-NCAA-AUBURN’S RISE _ Auburn Arena, Bruce Pearl prove a potent combination for Sweet 16-bound Tigers. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.

Women:

BKW--NCAA WOMEN’S SWEET 16 SET

NEW YORK _ The Sweet 16 is set and Missouri State is crashing the party. The 11th-seeded Lady Bears last made it this far in 2001 when they reached the Final Four. They are the only double-digit seed to advance to the regional semifinals. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 550 words, photos.

_ Also:

_ BKW--GEORGIA TECH-JOSEPH FIRED _ Georgia Tech fires coach MaChelle Joseph. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 140 words, photos. UPCOMING: 450 words, photos by 5 p.m.

COMMENTARY

GLF--ON THE FRINGE-VETERANS

AUSTIN, Texas _ The move away from single elimination at the Match Play was to make sure the biggest names didn’t leave after one day. The result was getting some of the biggest names as champions. The problem that remains unsolved is making it interesting at the end. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m.

_ With:

_ GLF--GOLF NOTES _ By Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 1,200 words, photos by 4 p.m.

_ GLF--GOLF GLANCE _ SENT: 1,400 words.

BOX--TIM DAHLBERG-HEAVYWEIGHT MESS

Lennox Lewis was the last boxer to hold all the major heavyweight titles at the same time. The heavyweights are back in fashion, but they don’t seem nearly as eager to fight each other as Lewis did. And that makes for another mess in the division that matters most. By Sports Columnist Tim Dahlberg. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

OLY--JOHN LEICESTER-WEIGHTLIFTING’S WOES

PARIS _ High-tech screening reveals a grim picture for wrestling. The doping offenders include reigning Olympic champions. Clearly, some lifters aren’t getting the message. This is a sport on a slippery slope. By Sports Columnist John Leicester. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

_ With:

_ OLY--WEI-IOC-WEIGHTLIFTING _ IOC lifts threat to remove weightlifting from Paris Olympics. SENT: 150 words, photos.

BKN--ON BASKETBALL-INJURIES

Jusuf Nurkic’s season-ending and gruesome leg injury will strike fear into everyone in the NBA. Thing is, it’s not avoidable. And if the temptation is for teams to rest players, well, that’s not realistic this time of year. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 3 p.m.

BASEBALL

BBN--GIANTS-BAER SUSPENDED

SAN FRANCISCO _ Giants CEO Larry Baer is suspended without pay by MLB through July 1 after a video showed him in a physical dispute with his wife. Commissioner Rob Manfred calls Baer’s conduct “unacceptable,” and as team president must be held to a “higher standard.” By Josh Dubow. SENT: 600 words, photos.

BBO--ADJUSTING TO THE MAJORS

PEORIA, Ariz. _ The Mariners face a challenge with Yusei Kikuchi. The goal is to avoid the arm injuries that have felled Asian pitchers Shohei Ohtani, Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka. If Seattle is successful, this could be a blueprint for others. By Tim Booth. SENT: 950 words, photos.

_ Also:

_ BBN--METS-DEGROM _ Jacob deGrom, Mets agree to $137.5 million, five-year deal, the AP is told. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 300 words, photos.

_ BBN--ROCKIES-HOMETOWN HURLER _ Kyle Freeland, a big Rockies fan growing up in Denver, starts for Colorado on opening day. By Pat Graham. SENT: 750 words, photos.

_ BBA--ORIOLES-CASHNER _ Baltimore’s Andrew Cashner to start opener with Alex Cobb out. By David Ginsburg. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 6 p.m.

A paginated preview of the MLB season, with the first full day of regular-season games starting March 28, is available in AP Newsroom by searching for “Sports Extra” or “SE” under the Graphics tab. The pages look at some of the biggest players who have switched teams since last season as well as the top prospects and dates of note. For questions, contact Barry Bedlan at bbedlan@ap.org

UFC

MMA--MCGREGOR ANNOUNCEMENT

NEW YORK _ Conor McGregor is retiring from mixed martial arts. He announces his decision on Twitter, ready to devote himself to burgeoning liquor venture. The 30-year-old McGregor is the most famous fighter in UFC, but he hasn’t won a fight since November 2016. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 600 words, photos.

NBA

MIAMI _ The Orlando Magic, winners of five straight, play the Miami Heat in a critical game for two teams vying for Eastern Conference playoff spots. The loser will fall to No. 9 in the East race. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:40 p.m.

_ With:

_ BKN--HEAT-BOSH JERSEY _ Chris Bosh’s jersey retired by Miami three years after blood clots cut short his career. By Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 9 p.m.

GOLF

GLF--MATCH PLAY

AUSTIN, Texas _ Dustin Johnson didn’t know who was in his group at the Dell Technologies Match Play and didn’t much care. In a field that includes everyone from Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy to Justin Harding and Tom Lewis, two decades of this event has shown it really doesn’t matter. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 5 p.m.

_ Also:

_ GLF--AUGUSTA-TIRICO _ Mike Tirico, a man with many broadcasting hats at Masters. By Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 550 words, photo by 3 p.m.

AUTO RACING

CAR--NASCAR-2020 SCHEDULE

CHARLOTTE, N.C. _ NASCAR releases its 2020 schedule, with the season finale moving to Phoenix and Pocono hosting a double-header. But the schedule likely won’t include a midweek race, more short tracks, road courses or a dirt track _ all things fans want. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 700 words. Schedule released 4 p.m.

WNBA

BKL--WNBA PRESIDENT SEARCH

Mark Tatum hopes his time as WNBA interim president is ending soon. Training camps are set to begin in a little more than a month and the season opens May 24. The league, however, is still looking for a new president. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 600 words, photos.

TENNIS

TEN--MIAMI OPEN

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. _ Novak Djokovic plays Roberto Bautista Agut, and Roger Federer takes on Daniil Medvedev in the fourth round at the Miami Open. UPCOMING: 400 words by 7 p.m.

SOCCER

SOC--CHILE-US

HOUSTON _ The U.S., coming off a 1-0 victory over Ecuador, plays an exhibition against a Chilean team that like the Americans failed to qualify for last year’s World Cup. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter will experiment with his lineup in hopes of generating more of an attack. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 8:03 p.m.

_ Also:

_ SOC--EUROPEAN QUALIFYING ROUNDUP _ European Championship qualifying resumes, with Spain-Malta, Italy-Liechtenstein. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.

_ SOC--EUROPEAN CLUBS MEETING _ European clubs explore promotion-relegation for Champions League. By Mike Corder. SENT: 550 words, photos.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

_ FBC--DUKE-JONES _ Quarterback Daniel Jones could become just the second first-round NFL draft pick from Duke since 1992. By Joedy McCreary. UPCOMING: 500 words by 6 p.m.

_ FBC--UCONN-COACH’S SON _ Ethics board ends appeal of UConn nepotism ruling for coach Randy Edsall. SENT: 130 words.

SPORTS & ABUSE

_ SOC--MONTENEGRO-ENGLAND-RACISM _ Montenegro cited for racist abuse of England players during Euro qualifier. By Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris. SENT: 500 words, photos.

_ SOC--RUSSIA-RACISM _ Russian striker fined for remarks about black players on national team. SENT: 150 words, photos.

_ FBA--AUSTRALIAN RULES-RACISM _ Australian rules football club produces video featuring indigenous players to combat racism. SENT: 550 words.

_ SOC--FRANCE-HOMOPHOBIC CHANTS _ French soccer president clarifies her comments on anti-gay chants. By Samuel Petrequin. SENT: 400 words, photos.

LAW

_ BBO--HELTON-DUI _ Former All-Star first baseman Todd Helton cited on DUI charge, enters treatment center. SENT: 250 words.

_ TEN--KVITOVA ATTACK _ Man who stabbed tennis star Petra Kvitova gets eight-year prison term. SENT: 130 words, photos.

_ DOCTOR-SEXUAL ASSAULT _ Michigan police officer says he was fooled by Larry Nassar’s “lies” and didn’t send case to prosecutor. SENT: 150 words.

_ FOOTBALL PLAYER SLAIN _ Man charged in William & Mary football player’s death. SENT: 140 words.

OBITUARY

_ FBN--OBIT-DANIELS _ Clem Daniels, ex-Raider and AFL career rushing leader, dies at 83. SENT: 130 words, photos.

CAPSULES

_ BKN--NBA CAPSULES

_ HKN--NHL CAPSULES

___

Tuesday Time Schedule (EDT)

NBA

Boston at Cleveland, 7 p.m.

San Antonio at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

Chicago at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Orlando at Miami, 7:30 p.m.

Atlanta at New Orleans, 8 p.m.

Houston at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Sacramento at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Detroit at Denver, 9 p.m.

Washington at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

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

Carolina at Washington, 7 p.m.

Buffalo at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.

Florida at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

Los Angeles at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Chicago at Arizona, 10 p.m.

Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m.

NIT (Quarterfinals)

Wichita State at Indiana, 7 p.m.

TCU at Creighton, 9 p.m.

Exhibition Baseball

Detroit vs. Tampa Bay at St. Petersburg, Fla., 12:35 p.m.

Cincinnati at Atlanta, 1:10 p.m.

Colorado vs. Minnesota at Fort Myers, Fla., 2:05 p.m.

Cleveland at Texas, 2:05 p.m.

Pittsburgh at Houston, 2:10 p.m.

Boston vs. Chicago Cubs at Mesa, Ariz., 3:05 p.m.

Chicago White Sox at Arizona, 3:40 p.m.

San Diego at Seattle, 4:10 p.m.

Milwaukee vs. Toronto at Montreal, 7:05 p.m.

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

L.A. Angels at L.A. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.