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Down to 16 ... Gronk says time to move on ... Wyking Jones gets the ax, Ron Hunter leaves Georgia State

March 25, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — The NCAA Tournament field is down to 16 — and the top seeds are still at the top. The field has the top three seeds in each round in the Sweet 16 for only the second time (2009) since the bracket expanded in 1985. It’s tied with 2009 for the most top four seeds (14) in the Sweet 16. Sure, Virginia had to sweat out another tourney opener. And Duke was a tip-in away from being done. But it’s rare this many single-digit teams still have a shot at cutting down the nets.

BOSTON (AP) — Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will walk away from the NFL with three Super Bowl wins for New England. Just a few months shy of his 30th birthday, Gronkowski says, “it’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile.” Gronk has been dogged in recent seasons by back, knee, ankle and arm injuries that have limited his ability to stay on the field.

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — California has fired basketball coach Wyking Jones after winning just eight games in each of his first two seasons. Athletic director Jim Knowlton announced the decision days after reports emerged that Jones had been told he would return to Cal for a third season. Knowlton thanked Jones for his dedication to the program and called the firing a difficult decision.

ATLANTA (AP) — Ron Hunter is leaving Georgia State to become Tulane’s coach. Less than 48 hours after the Panthers were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Hunter told The Associated Press on Sunday that he’s moving on from the downtown Atlanta university where he coached the past eight seasons. The 54-year-old takes over a Tulane men’s basketball program that fired Mike Dunleavy after the Green Wave failed to win a game in the American Athletic Conference.

NEW YORK (AP) — Longtime baseball writer and Hall of Fame voter Marty Noble has died at age 70. Newsday and MLB.com. report that Noble died Sunday in Florida. His family hasn’t given a cause of death. Newsday says Noble covered the New York Yankees and Mets for the paper from 1981-2004. After that he moved to MLB.com, and retired in 2016. But the website says Noble could still be found at the ballpark some days, even making a visit to the Mets’ spring training facility this past Friday.