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Duke tops AP poll, again...ESPN scoops it...Yankees’ Ellersby on the mend

March 18, 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — What a difference one player makes, especially if it’s Zion Williamson. Duke has a No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25 again to go with its top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Blue Devils jumped from fifth to first Monday after winning last week’s league tournament with the return of Williamson from a knee sprain that had sidelined him nearly six full games. Duke is followed by Virginia and North Carolina to give the Atlantic Coast Conference a 1-2-3 showing in the final AP Top 25 poll this season.

NEW YORK (AP) — ESPN is apologizing for mistakenly putting out the women’s NCAA Tournament bracket. It was to have been unveiled in a telecast tonight but instead wound up on social media hours early. Baylor, Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Louisville are the top seeds. Tennessee sneaked in to the field as an 11. The Lady Vols have been in every NCAA Tournament since the first one in 1982.

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Detroit Pistons are resting star forward Blake Griffin for at least one game this week to keep him as fresh as possible for their final postseason push. He’s not suited up for Monday’s game against the Cavaliers after scoring 25 points in 33 minutes in Sunday’s win over Toronto. Coach Dwane Casey doesn’t want to overload Griffin as the Pistons fight to hang on to a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jacoby Ellsbury expects to play again, but when that will be is not clear. Ellsbury reported more than a month late to the Yankees’ spring training due to a rehab program in Arizona for left hip surgery performed last August. He also had issues with plantar fasciitis in the right foot during the offseason.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson has earned reinstatement from the NHL as he enters the follow-up phase of the league’s substance abuse program. The league says Watson has been returned to available status. Watson began the season on suspension and was suspended again Jan. 29 as he entered the second stage of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.