Virginia, Villanova, Kansas, Xavier are No. 1 seeds
UNDATED (AP) — Top-ranked Virginia has received the first overall seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, which begins with first-round games Tuesday in Dayton, Ohio.
The Cavaliers has the No. 1 seed in the South Region after going 31-2 while winning the ACC regular-season and tournament championships. Virginia will open against UMBC on Friday.
Cincinnati is the No. 2 team in the South, followed by Tennessee and Arizona. The Volunteers are the only top-4 seed in the South to lose in the conference tournaments.
The East is led by Villanova, the Big East champions and 2016 national champs. Second seed Purdue, third seed Texas Tech and No. 4 Wichita State failed to win their conference tourneys.
Conversely, the Midwest Region looks like the bracket of death with No. 1 seed Kansas opening up in Wichita. The No. 2 seed is Duke, with Michigan State at No. 3 and Auburn fourth. The Jayhawks, Blue Devils and Spartans have combined for 39 Final Four appearances.
Xavier’s loss in the Big East semifinals didn’t stop the Musketeers from landing the top seed in the West. ACC tournament finalist North Carolina is No. 2, Big Ten champion Michigan is third and West Coast Conference winner Gonzaga is fourth.
Providence received a No 10 seed in the West after its stunning run to the Big East finals. Other bubble teams to make the NCAA Tournament are Arizona State, Oklahoma, Syracuse.
Notre Dame and Louisville were left out of 68-team field, as were Southern California, Baylor and Saint Mary’s.
MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL-TOURNAMENT FINALS
Bearcats and two Wildcats win conference tournaments
UNDATED (AP) — Cincinnati and a pair of unranked Wildcats were able to grab the last three automatic berths in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament by capturing their conference tourneys.
Gary Clark’s free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining allowed the eighth-ranked Bearcats to escape with a 56-55 triumph over No. 25 Houston in the American Athletic Conference title game. Clark finished with 20 points for Cincinnati, which rallied by holding the Cougars to 20 percent shooting and 18 points in the second half.
The Bearcats hadn’t won a conference tournament championship since gaining the Conference USA crown in 2004.
The other automatic bids went to Kentucky and Davidson.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 29 points to lead Kentucky to its fourth straight SEC tournament crown, 77-72 over No. 13 Tennessee. Gilgeous-Alexander was 10 of 16 from the field and added seven rebounds to help the Wildcats claim their 31st conference tournament title.
Kevin Knox added 18 points and Quade Green had 10 for Kentucky.
Davidson is the Atlantic 10 tournament champion after beating 25th-ranked Rhode Island, 58-57 behind Kellan Grady’s 17 points. Conference co-player of the year Peyton Aldridge added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, who were in serious danger of missing the tournament before improving to 21-11.
E.C. Matthews led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds for Rhode Island, which was trying to win a second consecutive conference tournament title.
Wolves outlast Warriors
UNDATED (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have ended their longest losing streak of the season by downing the defending NBA champions.
The Wolves had dropped three in a row before Karl-Anthony Towns delivered 31 points and 16 rebounds in a 109-103 win over the visiting Warriors. Towns had 14 points in the fourth quarter, including three big baskets over the final 2 1/2 minutes.
Andrew Wiggins added 23 points for the Timberwolves, who lost twice on the road to the defending champion Warriors earlier this season by a combined 37 points.
Golden State dropped its second straight despite Kevin Durant’s 39 points and 12 boards.
The Warriors played without Steph Curry, who was kept off the team’s road trip to rest his injured right ankle.
Golden State’s latest loss gives the Houston Rockets a 1 ½-game lead as the two teams battle for the NBA’s best record.
The Rockets were able to rest James Harden in a 105-82 thumping of the Mavericks. Eric Gordon dropped in 26 points and Chris Paul added 24 with 12 assists to help Houston bounce back from Friday’s loss, which ended a 17-game winning streak.
The Rockets finished 17-for-45 from beyond the arc and hit six straight during a 22-10 run in the third quarter.
Harden sat out with a sore left knee.
Checking out Sunday’s other NBA action:
— The Raptors won their eighth in a row as Jonas Valanciunas (YOH’-nuhs val-ehn-CHOO’-nuhs) scored 17 points and Kyle Lowry had 16 in a 132-106 rout of the Knicks. Toronto picked up its 15th victory in 16 games despite just nine points from All-Star DeMar DeRozan on 4 of 16 shooting.
— The Pacers’ 99-97 win at Boston puts the Celtics 3 ½ games behind the Raptors for first place in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division races. Victor Oladipo scored 27 points and Myles Turner added 19 with a team-high 10 rebounds in Indiana’s fifth win in six games. Boston led by 10 at halftime before point guard Kyrie Irving left the game with a sore left knee.
— The Pacers are a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the Central Division lead after Julius Randle hit for 36 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the Lakers’ 127-113 downing of the sputtering Cavaliers. Brook Lopez finished with 22 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 20 as Los Angeles sent the Cavs to their fourth loss in six games.
— Ricky Rubio’s 30 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists keyed Utah’s 116-99 win against the Pelicans. Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points as the Jazz won their sixth in a row. Anthony Davis had 25 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 blocks in his return from a sprained left ankle that sidelined him for one game.
— Nikola Jokic recorded his seventh triple-double of the season by providing 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Nuggets’ 130-104 laugher over the Kings. Gary Harris added 21 points in a victory that puts Denver in a virtual three-way tie with Utah and the Clippers for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
— The 76ers rolled over the Nets, 120-97 as Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) furnished a team-high 21 points to lead a balanced attack. Robert Covington finished with 19 points, Dario Saric added 18 and Ben Simmons chipped in 11 with six assists and six boards.
— Zach LaVine (lah-VEEN’) nailed four free throws in the final 17 seconds to help the Bulls secure a 129-122 win over the Hawks. LaVine and Bobby Portis scored 21 points apiece as Chicago overcame a career-high 38-point performance by Taurean Prince.
Jennings back with Bucks
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brandon Jennings is back with the Milwaukee Bucks, nine years after being selected by the team with the 10th overall pick in the NBA draft. The Bucks have signed him to a 10-day contract.
Jennings just finished a seven-game stint with the Bucks’ G League team at Wisconsin, where he averaged 21.4 points, 7.6 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
The 6-foot-1 Jennings appeared in 291 games with Milwaukee over four seasons, providing 17 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
Hawks end Bruins’ win streak
UNDATED (AP) — The Boston Bruins were unable to gain ground on the idle Tampa Bay Lightning as the two teams battle for the NHL’s Atlantic Division title.
Patrick Kane scored a tiebreaking, power-play goal with 3:16 left and had an assist in sending the Blackhawks past Boston, 3-1. Artem Anisimov (ahr-TEHM ah-NEE’-see-mahv) also had a power-play goal against the Bruins, who went 4-for-6 with the man advantage in Saturday’s 7-4 dismantling of Chicago.
B’s defenseman Zdeno Chara (zuh-DAY’-noh CHAH’-rah) tied it in the third period, but his double-minor contributed to Kane’s game-winner.
The Bruins ended a six-game winning streak to stay six points behind the division-leading Lightning.
Elsewhere on NHL ice:
— The Penguins regained the Metropolitan Division lead as Evgeni Malkin scored his 39th goal and had an assist in a 3-1 decision over the Stars. Patric Hornqvist and Jamie Olesiak also tallied for the Pens, who won for the fourth time in five games to slide one point ahead of the Capitals. Dallas remains three points behind third-place Minnesota in the Central Division, and two ahead of Colorado for the first wild-card berth in the West.
— The Islanders’ eight-game losing streak is over after defensemen Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk scored 18 seconds apart to give New York a 2-0 lead just 2 ½ minutes into a 5-2 victory at Calgary. Boychuk also had two assists and Anders Lee netted his 32nd and 33rd goals as the Isles prevented the Flames from pulling into a third-place tie with Anaheim in the Pacific Division.
— Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s power-play tally in the second period was the only scoring in the Coyotes’ 1-0 win over the Canucks. Darcy Kuemper (KEHM’-pur) turned back 26 shots in his fourth shutout of the season and 11th of his career.
AP sources: Arrieta, Phillies reach 3-yr deal
UNDATED (AP) — Two people familiar with the deal tell The Associated Press that free agent ace Jake Arrieta and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a three-year deal. The package is worth a reported $75 million.
The 32-year-old righty was among several top free agents didn’t get a deal for six or seven years in a changing free-agent market. Arrieta won the 2015 NL Cy Young Award with the Cubs and helped them win the World Series the next season. He was 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA last year.
In other baseball news:
— Anthony DeSclafani has a strained left oblique, the third year in a row that the Reds starter has been hurt during spring training. Manager Bryan Price said DeScalfani felt discomfort during his last spring appearance and an exam found the problem. It’s unclear how long the right-hander might be sidelined. DeSclafani also suffered a strained left oblique before the 2016 season and was sidelined until June. He missed all of last season with a sprained elbow.
— The Twins have unconditionally released right-hander Anibal Sanchez after a three-week stint with the club. The Twins, according to multiple reports Saturday, agreed to terms on a one-year, $12 million contract with free agent right-hander Lance Lynn to further upgrade their rotation.
Sherman signs with 49ers
UNDATED (AP) — Star cornerback Richard Sherman has signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers, two days after being released by the rival Seattle Seahawks. The deal reportedly is worth up to $39.15 million.
Sherman played an integral role in the fierce NFC West rivalry between Seattle and San Francisco earlier this decade. With the Seahawks retooling their defense, he became expendable.
In other NFL news:
— The New York Giants have formally cut veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie after the two sides were unable to rework his contract. The 10-year pro was due to make $6.5 million in salary, with a cap hit of $8.5 million. The 2017 season was a difficult one for the 31-year-old Cromartie, who didn’t have an interception and was suspended for one game by then-coach Ben McAdoo for leaving practice without permission.
Casey wins as Woods comes up short
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — Paul Casey got between Tiger Woods and his first PGA victory in five years.
Casey fired a 6-under 65 to close out a one-stroke win over Woods and Patrick Reed in the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook. Casey ran off three straight birdies early on the back nine to take the lead before closing with tough pars for a 10-under total. It’s his first PGA victory since the 2009 Houston Open.
Woods charged up the record crowd with a birdie putt from just inside 45 feet on the 17th hole to get within one shot, but his long birdie attempt on 18 was 2 feet short.
Patrick Reed squandered a chance to force a playoff when a long birdie putt rolled 45 feet back to his feet and he three-putted for bogey.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS
Singh wins at Newport Beach
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Vijay Singh has earned his first PGA Tour Champions victory by taking the Toshiba Classic in California. Singh birdied the final hole for a 5-under 66 and an 11-under total, one shot ahead of Tommy Tolles, Tom Pernice Jr. and Scott McCarron.
The 55-year-old Hall of Famer has played a limited schedule on the 50-and-over tour while continuing to compete on the PGA Tour, where he has 34 career victories.
Harvick gets third straight Cup win
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kevin Harvick is looking like the early favorite to win NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driving championship.
He earned his third consecutive Cup Series victory by holding off Kyle Busch for his record-extending ninth win at ISM Raceway near Phoenix. Harvick is the first driver to win three straight Cup races since Joey Logano in 2015.
Harvick took the lead with 22 laps left and got in front of Busch on the last series of pit stops on the mile oval.
Chase Elliott was third, followed by Denny Hamlin and pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr.