• UConn women not looking past opposition in Final Four

    Updated: 19 min ago

    TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Four No. 1 seeds are in the Final Four of the women's NCAA Tournament for only the third time, yet there's still a distinctive feel it's really two-time defending champion Connecticut's title to lose. Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland merely are a distant best of the rest. The coaches of the teams, beginning with UConn's Geno Auriemma, say that's simply not true. The Huskies (36-1) may be playing on college basketball's biggest stage for the eighth straight year and seeking a record 10th national title, but Auriemma said the best teams in the country are still standing, and all of them are capable of returning home with the championship trophy. "We're not going down there thinking that we're s

  • Former Louisville player released from home incarceration

    Updated: 24 min ago

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A judge has released former Louisville basketball player Chris Jones from home incarceration while he awaits proceedings on charges of rape and sodomy. The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1DqbWlg ) reported Jefferson County Circuit Judge Barry Willett freed Jones and two co-defendants on unsecured bonds Monday. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Cooke said the prosecutor's office didn't oppose the change because the case is complicated and the defendants have complied with terms of their release so far. Jones is charged with raping and sodomizing two women on Feb. 22 in university-related housing. He was dismissed from the team. ___ Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://w

  • Lamont Smith returns to coach alma mater San Diego

    Updated: 27 min ago

    SAN DIEGO (AP) — The University of San Diego went with a familiar face when it came to hiring a new basketball coach. Lamont Smith, a former player with the Toreros, was introduced Wednesday as Bill Grier's replacement. Smith is the school's fifth men's basketball coach since it became a Division I program in 1979. Smith, 39, was New Mexico's assistant head coach the past two seasons under Craig Neal. Smith, a first-time head coach, played for the Toreros from 1994-99 and was a two-time captain. He was twice named the team's defensive player of the year.

  • Deal elusive on clarification for religious objections law

    Updated: 46 min ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's Republican legislative leaders huddled behind closed doors for hours Wednesday with Gov. Mike Pence and business executives but couldn't reach an agreement on how to clarify the religious objections law in hopes of quashing concerns that it could allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. The leaders, who met with businesses and aides for more than two hours Wednesday afternoon before seeing Pence for a half-hour, said they hope to have language for lawmakers to vote on Thursday. "We're trying to bring policy makers and a lot of other people together," House Speaker Brian Bosma said. "Public negotiation will not be helpful on it at this point.

  • Will Indiana law force 2015 women's Final Four to relocate?

    Updated: 48 min ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — As pressure builds for repeal or revision of Indiana's new religious objection law, the NCAA faces a decision about whether to call for next year's women's Final Four to find a new venue. NCAA President Mark Emmert has indicated the Indianapolis-headquartered organization would consider relocating all types of college sports events out of state if the law doesn't change. But none on the calendar is quite as urgent as next year's women's championship. Indiana's capital city, which has built an economy and reputation as an attractive base for major sports events, is being watched carefully as fallout swells about the law, which opponents say amounts to legalized discrimination.

  • Kentucky's 5-9 Tyler Ulis coming up big in NCAA Tournament

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Being Kentucky's smallest player on the floor hasn't prevented 5-foot-9 point guard Tyler Ulis from repeatedly coming up big for the Wildcats. He'll likely need to do it again this weekend. Next up for Ulis and Kentucky to complete an unbeaten championship season is a Final Four rematch with Wisconsin. The Badgers (35-3) match up well with Kentucky (38-0), averaging nearly three fewer turnovers per game and shooting slightly better from 3-point range. So not only will the Wildcats have to work harder to create scoring opportunities, they must shoot better from the perimeter. Those challenges seem tailor-made for Ulis, a pesky defender and arguably Kentucky's best ballhandler.

  • Oklahoma State AD supports hoops coach Travis Ford

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder still has high hopes for Travis Ford as Oklahoma State's basketball coach. Holder sent out a statement Tuesday evening saying Ford would remain the coach amid reports and rumors that Ford's job was in jeopardy. Holder wouldn't say if replacing Ford was considered, but he said no boosters contacted him about contributing to a $9.6 million buyout. In 2009, Holder extended Ford's contract through the 2018-2019 season. Holder said Wednesday he wouldn't sign any coach to such a lengthy deal in the future. The 45-year-old Ford has a 143-91 record in seven years at Oklahoma State, but just one NCAA Tournament win. His Cowboys went 18-14 and lost in the rou

  • Duke's Mike Krzyzewski adapts to '1-and-done' world

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — There was a time when Duke's Mike Krzyzewski led Final Four teams built around players who stayed for years to grow into tournament-tested veterans. No longer, not in today's one-and-done world in which top players rarely stick around long. The Blue Devils enter this week's Final Four relying on more freshman starters than John Calipari at Kentucky's NBA factory. They have three freshmen players facing stay-or-go NBA decisions after the season. "What Coach K has done in my judgment, and I think Calipari has done the same thing, they've adapted to the landscape, and they are dealing with it in a positive way," said Jay Bilas, an ESPN analyst who played on Krzyzewski's first Final Four team in 1986.

  • Why Arkansas governor reversed his stand on religious freedom bill

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday had been expected to sign his state’s version of legislation billed as a religious freedom measure, despite complaints that it could lead to discrimination, especially against gays and lesbians. But all of that changed by Wednesday morning amid a fusillade of opposition that included Wal-Mart, the state’s biggest employer, and even the governor’s own son. The governor, who said he would not sign the bill and asked lawmakers to change it, acted with an eye on the furor that has rocked Indiana, where the governor and state lawmakers have been under sharp attack from business leaders and civil rights groups that say the state’s law allows businesses and others to deny services to g

  • Allegiant pilots plan Thursday strike, scrapping 250 flights

    Updated: 1 hr ago

    Pilots at discount carrier Allegiant Air are planning a strike Thursday which they say could ground 250 flights, affecting 33,000 customers. The Las Vegas-based airline has gone to federal court to block the strike, calling it illegal. The airline does not have enough replacement crews to fly its full schedule. If the strike goes into the weekend, Allegiant says as many as 186,000 travelers could be stranded. Thursday is one of Allegiant's busiest travel days. This week is especially popular with more people vacationing for Easter as well as heading to Las Vegas to watch the NCAA men's basketball championships. (The Final Four is in Indianapolis this year but fans gather in Vegas to watch.

  • Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre Jr. will enter NBA draft

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    LAWRENCE, Kan. — Like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid before him, Kansas’ Kelly Oubre Jr. will be one and done. Oubre, a 6-foot-7 small forward, announced his decision to enter the NBA draft on Wednesday morning, ending his college career after just one season at KU. The formal announcement came via news release and YouTube video, with Oubre speaking into a camera about his time at Kansas and desire to play in the NBA. “It’s always been a dream to play in the NBA,” Oubre said. “This is an opportunity to play against the best in the world and expand my game in hopes of someday becoming one of those great players.

  • Nation's leading scorer Tyler Harvey declares for NBA draft

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    CHENEY, Wash. (AP) — Eastern Washington guard Tyler Harvey, the nation's leading scorer this season, will skip his senior year and make himself available for the NBA draft. Harvey made the announcement Wednesday in Cheney, Washington. Harvey, a redshirt junior from Torrance, California, averaged 23.1 points per game and led the nation in 3-point shots made while helping the Eagles to a 26-9 record and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound Harvey is projected for the second round of the NBA draft.

  • AP Source: Kings to sign 1st NBA player of Indian descent

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    A person with knowledge of the deal says the Sacramento Kings are signing Sim Bhullar to a 10-day contract, making him the NBA's first player of Indian descent. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the Kings are not expected to announce Bhullar's deal until Thursday, when David Wear's 10-day contract expires and a roster spot opens up. Bhullar is being called up from the team's NBA Development League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, and will be on the roster Friday when the Kings host the New Orleans Pelicans. ESPN first reported Bhullar's call-up. The 7-foot-5, 360-pound Bhullar was born in Toronto to Indian-born parents and played two seasons at New Mexico State. He's averaging 10.3 points, 8.8 re

  • Mullin: Trying to turn around St John's an 'obligation'

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Mullin's old coach reached way back into history to describe the buzz from St. John's hiring its all-time leading scorer. "I'm not going to say that Mull got a lot of ink," Lou Carnesecca crowed from the podium in the arena bearing his name, "but President Eisenhower after winning World War II didn't get that much space in the paper." Mullin and his new bosses couldn't help but keep bringing up the past Wednesday as the Red Storm's new coach was introduced to several hundred adoring fans. The 51-year-old Mullin has never coached before, but he and St. John's are banking on the lessons he learned from Carnesecca and the many other basketball greats he played for and with during a Hall of Fame career.

  • Auriemma from fan perspective: Men’s college basketball is ‘a joke’

    Updated: 2 hr ago

    UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma told reporters on a national conference call Wednesday that he was recently talking basketball with friend Phil Martelli, the men’s basketball coach at St. Joseph’s. Auriemma said the conversation was about the state of the men’s game, which remains immensely popular. The NCAA Tournament attracts lots of viewers and is among the most popular sporting events of the year. But Auriemma had some things to say about the game. “I think the game’s a joke,” Auriemma said. “It really is. I don’t coach it, I don’t play it, so I don’t understand all the ins and outs of it, but as a spectator — forget that I’m a coach — as a spectator, watching it, it’s a jo

  • Kansas freshman Kelly Oubre Jr headed for NBA draft

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. announced Wednesday he is leaving for the NBA draft, skipping his final three seasons of eligibility after an up-and-down freshman year. Oubre revealed his intentions in a statement released by the school. The 6-foot-7 guard started 27 games this past season, helping the Jayhawks win their 11th straight Big 12 title. He averaged 9.3 points and five rebounds. His decision to leave for the NBA is based more on potential than productivity. Oubre often disappeared in games last season, but scouts fell in love with his athleticism, defense and touch. Oubre is expected to be among the first 20 players chosen in the June draft. Kansas had two of the top three picks

  • Longhorns look ahead after taking step forward this season

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    Look for Kelsey Lang and Imani McGee-Stafford down low, Ariel Atkins and Brianna Taylor on the baseline, Brady Sanders and Empress Davenport on the wings, and Brooke McCarty out on the perimeter. The band of Longhorns who reached the women's Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004 will be largely intact next basketball season. Collectively, Texas will return 88 percent of its scoring, 85.7 percent of its rebounding, 90.3 percent of its assists, 80 percent of its blocked shots and 85.5 percent of its steals. Despite a 105-54 loss to top-ranked UConn to end their season, the Longhorns (24-11) have made progress during Karen Aston's three years in Austin. After missing the NCAA Tournament in 2013, Texas won one game in the tourne

  • Indianapolis ups Final Four police presence amid law outcry

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis will increase police presence downtown during this weekend's Final Four amid protests over a new state law that critics say could allow discrimination against gays and lesbians. Department of Public Safety spokesman Al Larsen said Wednesday that the city will have a "noticeably higher" police presence and will designate an area immediately south of Lucas Oil Stadium for protesters to gather. The measure signed last week by Gov. Mike Pence prohibits any laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Critics contend it is designed to shield businesses and individuals who don't want to serve gays and lesbians.

  • Virginia assistant returns to Liberty as men's head coach

    Updated: 3 hr ago

    LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia associate head coach Ritchie McKay is returning to Liberty as the men's head coach. McKay, whose daughter Ellie is a sophomore at Liberty, was the Flames' coach in 2007-09 before leaving six years ago to join Tony Bennett's staff at Virginia. He compiled a 39-28 record over two seasons, including a 23-12 mark in his second season to tie the Flames' single season victories record. His .582 winning percentage still rates as the best in school history. McKay's career record is 204-186 and includes stops at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-00), Oregon State (2000-02) and New Mexico (2002-07).

  • Weisbrod released from UNO scholarship

    Updated: 4 hr ago

    Colton Weisbrod, the 2014 Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Class 4A Player of the Year, is planning to leave the University of New Orleans after his freshman season and hopes to resume his basketball career at either Lamar University or Lamar State College-Port Arthur. The 6-5, 215 Weisbrod, a graduate of Nederland High School, reported Tuesday he will no longer attend UNO after the current semester. He has been given a release by UNO which clears him to talk to coaches at other schools. NCAA rules require that players who transfer from one Division I school to another to sit out one season before becoming eligible. If the new school is in the same conference — Lamar and UNO are both in the Southland — the player m