BC-AP Sports Digest
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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.
PHILADELPHIA _ Giannis Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee lock up the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the top overall seed for the NBA playoffs with another MVP-worthy performance. Antetokounmpo outdueled fellow MVP candidate Joel Embiid, finishing with 45 points and 13 rebounds and leading Milwaukee to a 128-122 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. SENT: 610 words, photos.
BKC--FINAL FOUR-MICHIGAN ST-IZZO
MINNEAPOLIS _ Michigan State’s Tom Izzo may have done the best coaching job of his Hall of Fame career this season. He reached his eighth Final Four with a short-handed team that lost two underclassmen to the NBA draft last year. By Larry Lage. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 3 a.m.
BKW--FINAL FOUR-UCONN-NOTRE DAME PREVIEW
TAMPA, Fla. _ There’s a different vibe around Geno Auriemma and his UConn Huskies at this year’s Final Four. Unlike the previous two years, they don’t have the burden of a record winning streak or an unbeaten season. One thing is familiar for the Huskies, however: They have to beat rival Notre Dame to reach the championship game. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 850 words, photos.
BKW--FINAL FOUR-OREGON-BAYLOR PREVIEW
TAMPA, Fla. _ Kim Mulkey rejects the notion that being the No. 1 overall seed makes Baylor the team to beat in the women’s Final Four. The Lady Bears face Final Four newcomer Oregon in Friday’s national semifinals. By Fred Goodall. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
HKN--LIGHTNING SUPERSTAR KUCHEROV
Nikita Kucherov would rather set up a goal than score himself and that mentality has turned him into one of the NHL’s biggest superstar. The Russian winger is the best player on the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning and should cruise to MVP honors. Kucherov leads the NHL in assists and points but is focused solely on winning the Stanley Cup. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 1,100 words, photos by 3 a.m.
FBN--JETS-CHANGING THE BRAND
NEW YORK - New colors, tweaked logos and flashy uniforms. The New York Jets are set to unveil a refreshed, revamped look Thursday night with a major rebranding that took nearly five years to go from a brainstorming session to a finished product. Now, what will the fans think? It’s a risky but sometimes rewarding creative process - with lots of behind-the-scenes meetings, seemingly endless tweaks and plenty of opinions - that NFL teams, as well as franchises in other professional leagues, have tried to varying degrees of success over the years. By Dennis Waszak Jr. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 a.m.
_ FBN--JETS-NEW UNIFORMS _ The Jets unveiled new uniforms and a tweaked team logo. It’s the first time the franchise has rebranded its uniforms, apparel and merchandise since 1998. SENT: 500 words, photos.
AUGUSTA, Ga. _ One thing that makes the Masters different from the other three majors is not only is it held at the same private club each year, it’s the only major run by a private club. Think of it as the ultimate invitational, and it creates an atmosphere unlike any other. Fans are on their best behavior and in most cases, so are the players. It’s rare to see a club thrown or broken in a fit of anger. “I think because there’s a no-nonsense policy there, people with a ticket treat us and the place with that much respect, and we do, too. We feel pretty special to be there,” Ian Poulter says. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos by 3 a.m.
_ GLF--MASTERS-TRIVIA QUIZ. By Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING by 3 a.m.
_ GLF--MASTERS-CAPSULES. By Doug Ferguson. A capsule look at 15 contenders for the Masters. UPCOMING: 1,500 words by 4 p.m. Friday.
_ GLF--MASTERS-HOLE BY HOLE _ By Doug Ferguson. SENT: 2,000 words.
_ GLF--MASTERS-FACTS & FIGURES. SENT: 450 words.
_ GLF--MASTERS _ The Masters should have been Rory McIlroy’s first major title. Now it’s the only one he’s missing. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 900 words, photos.
BKC--AP COACH OF THE YEAR
MINNEAPOLIS _ Chris Beard of Texas Tech had a cheering, boisterous audience as he took stage Thursday to accept the trophy as The Associated Press men’s college basketball coach of the year — his players and family filling the front row to celebrate his success as their own. He was happy to share a moment he said belonged to them, too. By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. SENT: 920 words, photos.
TAMPA, Fla. _ Megan Gustafson rewrote the women’s basketball record book at Iowa. The 6-foot-3 center led the nation in scoring for the second straight season, averaging 27.9 points, and became the fourth player to reach 1,000 points in a year. On Thursday, she won The Associated Press women’s college basketball player of the year award. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 600 words, photos.
MINNEAPOLIS _As legalized wagering on sports spreads, the NCAA remains adamant about prohibiting college athletes from betting. By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 780 words, photos.
BKC--FINAL FOUR-INJURED STARS
MINNEAPOLIS _ Michigan State’s Joshua Langford and Auburn’s Chuma Okeke won’t be playing in the Final Four, while still playing pivotal roles for their teams. By College Sports Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 880 words, photos by 3 a.m.
MINNEAPOLIS _ Few would argue Auburn’s Bruce Pearl and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo shouldn’t be at the Final Four. But some of the problems they’ve faced in their past offer sobering reminders about issues that can’t be erased by a magical run through March Madness. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 850 words, photos.
BKC--FINAL FOUR NUTRITION
MINNEAPOLIS _ Proper nutrition helps Final Four players fuel and recover for peak performance. Some schools have detailed meal plans, others recommendations of what to eat when. Sodas, energy drinks, fried and fast foods are all no-nos. By Basketball Writer John Marshall. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos by 3 a.m.
MINNEAPOLIS _ Tom Izzo certainly knows his way around the Final Four, even if the longtime Michigan State coach had never toured U.S. Bank Stadium until the Spartans arrived for practice Thursday.The rest of his coaching compatriots? They could probably use a road map. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 810 words, photos.
NEW YORK _Texas can hook its horns to an NIT championship. Dylan Osetkowski had 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Texas to the NIT championship with an 81-66 win over Lipscomb at Madison Square Garden. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 650 words, photos.
_ BKC--TEXAS A&M-WILLIAMS _ Texas A&M hired Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 530 words, photos.
BKW--FINAL FOUR-GOTTLIEB’S ANALYSIS
TAMPA, Fla. _ Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb faced three of the four women’s Final Four participants this season. Here, she breaks down the matchups for the NCAA Tournament semifinal games and says this might be the most competitive Final Four in many years with no clear-cut favorite. By Lindsay Gottlieb. UPCOMING: 960 words, photos by 3 a.m.
BKW--FINAL FOUR-IONESCU DECISION
TAMPA, Fla. _ At some point over the next few days, Sabrina Ionescu is going to have to decide whether she wants to come back for her senior season at Oregon or enter the WNBA draft. For now, the junior guard is soaking in the moment of playing in her first Final Four. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 780 words, photos.
BKW--FINAL FOUR-EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
TAMPA, Fla. _ Muffet McGraw says it’s time for more women in positions of power. And not just in women’s basketball. The Notre Dame coach is disappointed there aren’t more female leaders in all walks of life. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. SENT: 450 words, photos.
NEW YORK _ The most popular players in All-Star voting will be in the money _ at least enough to cover much of the season’s clubhouse tips. The highest vote-getter in both leagues in the first round of the new fan voting system will receive a $15,000 bonus, according to the AP. By Baseball Writer Ronald Blum. SENT: 500 words, photos.
CLEVELAND — Trevor Bauer never backs down from any challenge or debate. He accepted this call. Health mattered more than history. Bauer was pulled by manager Terry Francona after seven hitless innings and 117 pitches, and sat in the dugout watching as Toronto’s Freddy Galvis broke up Cleveland’s bid for a combined no-hitter with a leadoff single in the ninth inning of the Indians’ 4-1 win. By Tom Withers. SENT: 950 words, photos.
NEW YORK _Without much time to rest up for their home opener, the New York Mets were no match for Stephen Strasburg. By Baseball Writer Mike Fitzpatrick. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.
_ BBA--YANKEES-TULOWITZKI _ Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (calf) joins Yankees’ overflowing injury list. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 250 words, photos.
_ BBM--METS-TEBOW _Tim Tebow has gone hitless in his Triple-A debut for the Syracuse Mets. By John Kekis. SENT: 500 words, photos.
_ BBN--DODGERS-KERSHAW _ Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw gave up two runs and struck out six in 4 1/3 innings during his rehab assignment for Triple-A Oklahoma City. By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 470 words, photos.
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. _ Ally McDonald was the last player to finish the first round of the ANA Inspiration. It was worth the wait. The 26-year-old from Mississippi closed with a 5-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th in fading light Thursday to take the lead at 4-under 68 in the first major championship of the year. By John Nicholson. SENT: 900 words, photos.
GLF--AUGUSTA WOMEN’S AMATEUR
AUGUSTA, Ga. _ Jennifer Kupcho took care of the preliminaries in the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and now has a shot at a title that never seemed likely: A chance to become the first woman to win at the home of the Masters. Her only regret was that her one-shot lead was not bigger. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 800 words, photos.
_ GLF--VALERO TEXAS OPEN _Si Woo Kim birdied five of his final eight holes for a 6-under 66 and the first-round lead at the Valero Texas Open. SENT: 500 words, photos.
BKN--NBA PLAYOFF PICTURE
The Milwaukee Bucks have clinched the top overall seed for the NBA playoffs. Toronto will be the No. 2 seed behind the Bucks on the Eastern Conference postseason bracket, and after that everything remains uncertain. Out in the Western Conference, Golden State is closing in on the No. 1 seed. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 830 words, photos.
DENVER _The Washington Capitals won their division again. Perhaps more importantly, they clinched it with playoff-style hockey. SENT: 620 words, photos.
ESPOO, Finland _ The U.S. women open their bid for a fifth straight title by beating host Finland 6-2. Canada, Germany win openers. SENT: 400 words, photos.
_ SOC--AUSTRALIA-US _The U.S. women’s national team held on to beat Australia 5-3 in an exhibition. SENT: 750 words, photos.
_ SOC--PREMIER LEAGUE FINANCES _ Tottenham earns record profit for soccer team _ nearly $148 million. _ By Global Soccer Writer Rob Harris. SENT: 550 words, photos.
NEW YORK _ Claressa Shields and Christina Hammer mostly feinted trash talking, using a few long glares and verbal jabs ahead of their showdown. They’re the headline event for the undisputed middleweight championship on Showtime on April 13 in Atlantic City. By Melissa Murphy. UPCOMING: 920 words, photos by 3 a.m.
_ TEN--CHARLESTON _Top-seeded American Sloane Stephens, ranked eighth in the world, needed three sets to advance to the quarterfinals. SENT: 180 words.
_ BBO--BASEBALL CAPSULES
_ BKN--NBA CAPSULES
_ HKN--NHL CAPSULES
Friday Time Schedule (EDT)
Women’s NCAA Final Four
At Tampa, Fla.
Baylor vs. Oregon, 7 p.m.
UConn vs. Notre Dame, 9:30 p.m.
Seattle at Chicago White Sox, 2:10 p.m.
L.A. Dodgers at Colorado, 4:10 p.m.
San Diego at St. Louis, 4:15 p.m.
Tampa Bay at San Francisco, 4:35 p.m.
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, 7:05 p.m.
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 7:05 p.m.
Boston at Arizona, 7:10 p.m.
Toronto at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m.
Miami at Atlanta, 7:20 p.m.
Chicago Cubs at Milwaukee, 8:10 p.m.
Oakland at Houston, 8:10 p.m.
Texas at L.A. Angels, 10:07 p.m.
Atlanta at Orlando, 7 p.m.
San Antonio at Washington, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Charlotte, 7 p.m.
Boston at Indiana, 8 p.m.
Detroit at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m.
Miami at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
New York at Houston, 8 p.m.
Memphis at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Sacramento at Utah, 9 p.m.
New Orleans at Phoenix, 10 p.m.
Cleveland at Golden State, 10:30 p.m.
L.A. Lakers at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.
Portland at Denver, 10:30 p.m.
Columbus at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Dallas at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles at Anaheim, 10 p.m.