National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Beginning of the end for Jeter starts in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) Derek Jeter is unsure how he will feel Tuesday when he begins his farewell season with the New York Yankees against the Houston Astros.

"I'm trying to treat it like any other opening day," he said, "and every opening day is special where you have butterflies and you have nerves and I think that's a good thing. I don't foresee this being any different."

To the rest of the sports world it certainly will be. Jeter announced in February that his 20th big league season will be his last. It will mark the end of an illustrious career in which the shortstop was a 13-time All-Star and helped the Yankees to five World Series titles.

He'll join fellow Core Four members Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera in retirement.

"Obviously we're going to miss him and I'm going to try to soak up as much of this as I can this year," manager Joe Girardi said before the Yankees worked out on Monday in Houston. "It's unfortunate, all good things do come to an end but it's been a nice journey and I've been a part of it and I'm thankful."

Houston manager Bo Porter had trouble putting into words what Jeter has meant to the sport.

"He is exactly what baseball stands for - professionalism, hard work, dedication, leadership, championships," Porter said. "He's about as good it gets."

Jeter returns to the field on opening day after missing all but 17 games last season after breaking his left ankle in the 2012 playoffs.

Injuries decimated the Yankees last season and they missed the postseason for just the second time in 19 years.

"I missed so many games last year it's almost like I missed the entire year anyway," Jeter said. "It's a different feeling. I was a part of the team obviously but I was away from the team for a long time. You want to get back to the playoffs. That's what you play for."

Jeter's return to the opening day lineup is far from the only change by the Yankees from a year ago. For the first time since 1947 and just the second time in team history, every position except pitcher will have a different player on opening day than it did in New York's previous opener.

The Yankees began 2013 with a loss to Boston. Kevin Youkilis was at first base, Robinson Cano at second, Eduardo Nunez at shortstop, Jayson Nix at third, Francisco Cervelli behind the plate, Vernon Wells in left, Brett Gardner in center and Ichiro Suzuki in right.

Gardner will start again on Tuesday, but he'll play left instead of center. He and Jeter will be joined in the starting lineup by Brian McCann at catcher, Carlos Beltran in right field, Mark Teixeira at first, Brian Roberts at second, Kelly Johnson at third and Jacoby Ellsbury in center.

C.C. Sabathia will make his sixth straight opening day start. He is coming off a subpar season where he had a career-worst 4.78 ERA.

"Last year I kind of had some doubts about going into the year, just not feeling strong, my elbow, just questions," he said. "This year it just feels great. I feel like I don't have anything to worry about and I can go out and focus on pitching and try to just be good."

He and the MLB's team will do it against a Houston club which is again the youngest in the majors. The Yankees have the second-highest payroll this season and the Astros remain the team with the lowest.

The Astros have eight players who are on an opening day roster for the first time and three of them, left fielder Robbie Grossman, right fielder L.J. Hoes and shortstop Jonathan Villar, are expected to start.

Houston added center fielder and leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler and opening day starter Scott Feldman as they try to improve after three straight 100-loss seasons.

"Every year is different, so hopefully we can get off to a good start this first month and just keep it going from there," Feldman said.

Jayhawks' Wiggins off to NBA after freshman season

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas freshman Andrew Wiggins made official Monday what he's been telling folks all along: He's headed to the NBA after his only season with the Jayhawks.

The 6-foot-8 forward, who was voted second-team All-America earlier in the day, is expected to go in the top three picks in the June draft. Many believe he could go first overall.

"It wasn't an easy decision because the fans showed me so much love here," said Wiggins, choking up briefly during a news conference at Allen Fieldhouse. "I just wish I had more time. College goes by so fast. I can see why people stay all four years."

Wiggins was the top-rated recruit when he arrived at Kansas, and his brief career was a bit of a roller coaster. He struggled early in the season, caught fire midway through, and then flamed out when it mattered most in an NCAA tournament loss to Stanford.

Wiggins only scored four points on 1-for-6 shooting in the third-round defeat. Afterward, he said despondently that he let his team down with his poor performance.

That ultimately didn't have any bearing on his decision, though. He announced he was going pro while joined by Kansas coach Bill Self, his parents - former NBA player Mitchell Wiggins and Olympic silver medalist Marita Payne Wiggins - his older brother Mitchell Jr., and several of his teammates, including fellow freshmen Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid.

Selden has already announced he's returning for his sophomore season. Embiid has not made a decision, even though he's also expected to be a top-five pick in the draft.

Wiggins certainly had a historic season at Kansas. The Canadian averaged a freshman-record 17.1 points and nearly six rebounds per game, and was voted the AP's Big 12 freshman of the year and first-team all-conference.

"Obviously this announcement needed to happen," said Self, who believes one of the biggest challenges Wiggins will face is realizing that basketball will suddenly become his job.

"It's not like this year. He came in with so much hype, and whether he knew it or not, everybody was salivating for a chance to go against a guy with that much hype," Self said. "And he's going to the next level with a lot of hype, but men are going to be saying, `Whoa, whoa, whoa, rook. I've been doing this a long time and you're going to have to earn your way."'

Wiggins simply flashed a smile when asked if he was ready for it.

"Just listening to him now," his father said, "I'm thinking about when he was that little bitty kid that was dirty, and not listening, and now? He's a young man that I think gets it. I think he's going to do very well."

He's also made it through his freshman season healthy. Unlike Embiid, Wiggins never had to deal with any nagging injuries, and his mother said that factored into his decision.

"The best thing is he's not injured. He's able to go ahead and complete part of his goals," she said. "Every day is a new day. He has no injuries and he's ready to go."

Self said Embiid is still wrestling with his stay-or-go decision.

The 7-footer from Cameroon was waylaid late in the season by a stress fracture in his back, and that could factor into Embiid's draft status, along with the fact that he's only been playing basketball for a few years.

Embiid slipped out of the room immediately after Wiggins had finished speaking Monday, but Self told a few reporters that he had not made his decision, despite a report last week that said Embiid would enter the draft.

"That doesn't mean he couldn't still do that, but that was gun-jumping," Self said. "It certainly upset him, because somebody that was a source obviously didn't have good information."

Self doesn't expect Embiid to make his intentions known anytime soon.

"The decision he needs to make is what's best for him," Self said, "whether to stay another year or to go, and I could see him do either one of them. And I think you could make a case that either one would be a good decision. He's not quite like Andrew who's been playing the game his whole life. He's only been playing three years. He's still trying to figure it out."

Sabres sticking with Nolan, who signs 3-year deal

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Sabres coach Ted Nolan will keep building what he started in Buffalo - minus the interim tag.

Nolan is staying on as the head coach beyond this season after signing a three-year contract extension Monday. The deal comes 4-1/2 months after Nolan returned to Buffalo for a second stint - this time, initially, on an interim basis. And it's a reward for Nolan, who has provided a spark to a young, patchwork lineup on a last-place team.

"I said back in November that it was a dream to be able to come back and coach the Sabres, and that's still true today," Nolan said. "I'm excited by the challenge facing our team and our organization. And I'm truly thankful to have this opportunity."

The extension was more of a formality than a surprise. The two sides established the framework of a contract about a month ago and agreed to the deal in principle last week.

Nolan took over in mid-November after coach Ron Rolston was fired along with general manager Darcy Regier after Buffalo got off to a franchise-worst 4-15-1 start.

The Sabres (20-45-9) haven't done much better at 16-30-8 under Nolan and are likely to finish in last place with only two weeks left in the season. Buffalo is 1-10-1 in its past 12 games in preparing to host New Jersey on Tuesday.

Record aside, rookie GM Tim Murray is impressed by the job Nolan has done during what he called "a trying situation."

"I don't know if there was one `Eureka moment,"' Murray said. "But I certainly got to the point where I knew I wanted him back, and I wanted him to be our head coach. And that wasn't yesterday or the day before."

The next step is providing Nolan more talent.

"We have to get him better players," Murray said. "It doesn't take a genius to figure that out."

The Sabres are a shell of the team that last made the playoffs in 2011, with Nolan the team's third coach in a little over a calendar year.

Regier began purging an over-priced and under-achieving roster last season. And Murray, who was hired in January, completed the overhaul in the days leading up to the NHL trade deadline on March 5. That's when Buffalo made four trades, including one that sent goalie Ryan Miller and captain Steve Ott to St. Louis.

The future looks promising with the team having stockpiled a series of first- and second-round draft picks over the next three years.

Nolan has a reputation as a motivator with a solid track record of developing young players.

This is Nolan's second stint in Buffalo. He went 73-72-19 in two seasons before leaving in the summer of 1997 because he was unhappy with the team's one-year contract offer after being selected the NHL's coach of the year. Nolan then spent two seasons coaching the New York Islanders and led them to the playoffs in 2006-07, before being fired after the following season.

Nolan also enjoyed a successful stint at the Sochi Games, where he coached Latvia to an eighth-place finish - the country's best in five Olympic appearances.

Sabres players greeted the news of Nolan's contract extension as an important first step toward establishing stability.

"He's a guy that I think is perfect for this type of rebuild as far as motivation and making sure the right guys are staying around," forward Drew Stafford said. "It's been a real challenging season, a lot of shake-ups, a lot of changes. To get that interim tag off is definitely some stability now."

Nolan is staying on even though Pat LaFontaine - the person who brought him on board - abruptly stepped down as Sabres president of hockey operations on March 1, after only 3-1/2 months on the job.

Thanking LaFontaine for the opportunity, Nolan said he's focused on the head coaching job.

"I'm really excited about going with the next step forward and helping shape this team into a very competitive team," Nolan said. "With Tim's knowledge in getting us the right players, hopefully, I can coach them good enough to win."

Doug McDermott leads AP All-America team

Doug McDermott spent his senior season passing a lot of big names on the career scoring list. He is now among some very select company.

The senior forward from Creighton was a unanimous choice for The Associated Press All-America team on Monday. He is the first three-time choice in 29 years and the 11th player overall.

McDermott, who led the nation in scoring at 26.9 points a game, joins Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor, Pete Maravich and Bill Walton among others. The last three-time All-Americas were Patrick Ewing of Georgetown and Wayman Tisdale of Oklahoma from 1982-85.

"Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine being with names of that caliber," McDermott said. "Truly an honor to be an All-American three straight years. It's hard to wrap my mind around being in the company of those guys."

McDermott was one of four seniors on this year's team, which included freshman Jabari Parker of Duke. The other seniors all came from the first-year American Athletic Conference: Russ Smith of Louisville, Shabazz Napier of Connecticut and Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati.

It's the first time one conference had three players picked since the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2001-02 with Duke's Shane Battier and Jason Williams and North Carolina's Joseph Forte.

McDermott received 65 first-team votes and 325 points from the same national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25.

Parker drew 55 first-team votes and was second with 303 points. Smith had 54 first-team votes and 298 points, 44 more than Napier, who got 37 first-team votes. Kilpatrick was a first-team pick 37 times and had 243 points.

The voting was done on Selection Sunday.

McDermott led Creighton to a successful first season in the Big East but the Bluejays lost by 30 points to Baylor in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

"You can't take away from what we did this year. We made some noise in the first year of the Big East, and we beat some great teams and got a three seed for the first time in school history," he said. "All that is very special, something we'll never forget."

The 6-foot-8 McDermott averaged 7.0 rebounds and shot 52.5 percent from the field and 45.4 percent from 3-point range. McDermott considered leaving for the NBA after last season.

"I've been blessed to coach him 33 more times this year than I thought I was going to," Greg McDermott, his father and coach, said before the NCAA tournament. "This year has been so much fun. It's been such a privilege as a father to be able to sit on the sideline and watch your son do what Doug's done over the course of this season. Arguably he had more expectations on him than any player in the country, and he was able to answer every critic in the world with his play and our team's play."

Parker was one of the heralded freshmen this season, and he was the one who crashed the seniors' All-America party. The 6-8 native of Chicago averaged 19.3 points and 8.8 rebounds, taking over the scoring load for the Blue Devils down the stretch of the season.

He is the first Duke first-teamer since Nolan Smith in 2010-11 and the first freshman since Anthony Davis of Kentucky two years ago.

"Being named AP All-American is as high an honor as you can get because it covers the whole country," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Jabari had a great year and for him to be recognized like that is quite an accomplishment for him and our program."

Smith brought the term "Russdiculous" into the national spotlight as he followed his national championship season with Louisville by averaging 18.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.1 steals while shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range. There was a lot of speculation that Smith was going to leave after his junior season.

"It's a lot of things in the back of your mind, as far as, will you get hurt, is it the right decision, will you get drafted, will you make money?" Smith said. "But at the end of the day, it was important for me to get my education and get my degree and finish out my senior year out on a good note."

Napier led Connecticut in scoring (17.4), rebounds (5.9) and assists (4.9) and it was his buzzer-beating jumper that gave the Huskies the win over Florida on Dec. 2, the Gators' last loss. Napier was the leader of a team that managed to reach the Final Four after being picked as a No. 7 seed.

"He's been great," Huskies coach Kevin Ollie said. "If it wasn't for him and his wining mindset we wouldn't be where we are. For him to share the spotlight with his teammates meant a lot to us all season."

He is the Huskies' first All-America since Kemba Walker in 2010-11. Napier and Walker are close friends, and Napier said it would "definitely be cool" to share the news with his mentor.

Kilpatrick, Cincinnati's first All-America since Steve Logan in 2001-02, averaged 20.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists for the Bearcats, who shared the American's regular-season title. Kilpatrick joined Oscar Robertson as the only Cincinnati players to score 2,000 points.

"When you have to mention such a Hall of Fame guy like Oscar Robertson and what he's done at the university, now you have to mention my name as well." he said. "I appreciate it a lot."

Nick Johnson of Arizona was the leading vote-getter on the second team and was joined by freshman Andrew Wiggins of Kansas, Nik Stauskas of Michigan, Melvin Ejim of Iowa State and T.J. Warren of North Carolina State.

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AP Sports Writers Eric Olson in Omaha, Neb.; Joedy McCreary in Raleigh, N.C.; Eddie Pells in Denver; and Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

MLB heats up with full slate of openers

After a brutal winter of arctic blasts and blustery snowstorms, baseball is ready to heat up Monday with its first full slate of games this season.

David Ortiz and the World Series champion Boston Red Sox begin their title defense in Baltimore against home run king Chris Davis and the AL East rival Orioles. Robinson Cano makes his Seattle Mariners debut, looking to live up to a huge contract - just like Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout.

Behind the scenes, umpires at all six replay stations in New York will be at the ready for the first time in baseball history.

"We recognize fully that last year is behind us, and everyone is looking forward to (Monday) and beyond," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.

The start of Derek Jeter's retirement tour will wait one more day. The New York Yankees, with baseball's oldest roster, will face the youngest on Tuesday night in Houston.

By the time Detroit's Justin Verlander throws a pitch at 1:08 p.m. EDT in the first of 13 games Monday, the Dodgers will already have played openers on two continents and put $215 million ace Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list.

Los Angeles swept a pair Down Under from the Diamondbacks on March 22-23, with Kershaw winning the first regular-season major league game in Australia before an upper back muscle acted up. The Dodgers then played at San Diego in the North American opener Sunday night.

Still, ballparks around country will be buzzing with optimistic fans and, other than in Oakland, sunny skies and seasonably warm temperatures are expected to provide a wonderful backdrop - what a relief! - for the days' festivities.

"Should be a pretty good day for a ballgame," said Richard Bann, a meteorologist at the Weather Prediction Center.

The Pittsburgh Pirates certainly will be celebrating their first winning season and trip to the playoffs since 1992, and they'll have help handing out some hardware from two key members of that team: Barry Bonds and Jim Leyland.

Bonds, the `92 NL MVP, will be on hand to honor 2013 MVP Andrew McCutchen. The recently retired Leyland, a two-time Manager of the Year with Pittsburgh, is going to present Clint Hurdle with his Manager of the Year award for guiding the Pirates to a 94-68 record and wild-card berth.

The son of Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who died in February, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Kiner will be honored in New York, too, where the Mets host Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals, a World Series favorite once again. Dillon Gee will make his first opening day start after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio throws out the ceremonial first pitch.

In Texas, Tanner Scheppers, a converted setup man, will be the first pitcher to make his first major league start in a season opener since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 for the Dodgers. Scheppers will have new slugger Prince Fielder at first base when the Rangers host Cliff Lee and the Philadelphia Phillies in an interleague game.

Scheppers got the nod because major league strikeout leader Yu Darvish is on the disabled list with a sore neck.

Atlanta's Kris Medlen, Oakland's Jarrod Parker and Arizona's Patrick Corbin are out, too. While Darvish may miss only one start, Medlen, Parker and Corbin are out for the season after having Tommy John surgery.

One pitcher who escaped serious injury is Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. He's sidelined at least a month more after being hit in the forehead by a line drive during spring training.

Not only will Cincinnati be without Chapman when it opens against NL Central rival St. Louis for just the second time in 20 years, the Reds have eight players on the DL - a major league high heading into the season. Texas is right behind with seven.

The Milwaukee Brewers get back star slugger Ryan Braun for their home opener against the Braves. Braun is returning from a 65-game suspension he accepted last season for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal.

Braun will take his position on the lush new grass at Miller Park, a field grown under heat lamps imported from Europe because the winter temperatures in Wisconsin were too cold - even with the roof closed.

"But regardless of what Mother Nature gave us here, we're going to have it ready for opening day," said Michael Boettcher, the team's director of grounds.

Blackhawks' Toews day to day after Orpik hit

PITTSBURGH (AP) Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is day to day with an upper-body injury after he absorbed a hard hit at Pittsburgh.

Toews was drilled by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik with 6:30 remaining in the second period on Sunday night. The two were going for a loose puck.

Toews got up slowly and was seen holding his left arm on the bench before heading down the runway.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville says he doesn't think the injury is serious, but the team would know more on Monday.

The Blackhawks, who clinched a playoff berth on Saturday, are already without star forward Patrick Kane, who is out for the rest of the regular season with a lower-body injury.

Toews has 28 goals and 68 points this season.

Fearsome Final Foursome headed to North Texas

The road to redemption goes through North Texas for a fearsome Final Four of power programs with something to prove.

Florida, the top overall seed, returns to the Final Four for the first time since winning consecutive titles in 2006-07, this time without all those first-round NBA picks.

Waiting for the Gators at Jerry Jones' billion-dollar stadium on Saturday will be Connecticut, back near the top of the bracket under Kevin Ollie after being barred a year ago for academic problems.

Wisconsin and coach Bo Ryan will be there, too, finally in the Final Four after so many near-misses. Bo knows the Final Four - even if his father won't be there to join him this time.

Facing the Badgers in the other national semifinal will be all those Kentucky kids, once written off as too young and inexperienced to play for a title before they head off to the NBA.

This Final Four contains no upstarts or mid-major party crashers, just big boys with big chips on their shoulders.

Donovan won a pair of national titles in Gainesville with Joakim Noah, Corey Brewer and Al Horford, all top-10 NBA picks in the 2007 NBA draft. After that second title, he accepted the head-coaching job with the NBA's Orlando Magic, then changed his mind after the introductory news conference.

Donovan continued to produce winning teams at Florida, but the biggest wins eluded the Gators. They lost in the regional final each of the past three seasons.

That changed when the ferocious Gators (36-2) rode their chomping defense through a 30-game winning streak capped by Saturday's 62-52 win over bracket darling Dayton.

"We didn't start off the exact way that we should have, but coach Donovan continued to remind us and humble us and help us see that, in order to get where we want to get to, the end goal, we have to continue to chase greatness every single day and stay in the moment," Florida forward Patric Young said.

To win another title, the Gators will have to go through the last two teams to beat them this season (UConn and Wisconsin) or their biggest SEC rival (Kentucky).

The Huskies won the 2011 national title with coach Jim Calhoun and one-man show Kemba Walker.

Things went sour in Storrs after that. Calhoun retired in 2012 and UConn was barred from the NCAA tournament last season for failing to meet the NCAA's academic progress measure.

UConn's upperclassmen decided to stick it out instead of transferring and put together another magical bracket run behind another do-it-all-player, former Walker understudy Napier. With their 60-54 win over Michigan State on Sunday, the Huskies (30-8) became the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

UConn beat Florida 65-64 way back on Dec. 2, the Gators' last loss this season.

"We play a great Florida team and we're going to be well prepared, because I know about these guys' heart, and that's what got us through," Ollie said.

Then there's Bo.

Wisconsin's tell-it-like-it-is coach had been a regular at the Final Four, taking his father, Butch, to every one since 1976 as a birthday gift.

Bo had a hard time getting there with his team, though, winning over 700 games, playing in the NCAA tournament 13 straight years and reaching the Sweet 16 six times - and not one trip to the Final Four.

Bo and Badgers (30-7) get their chance now after pulling out an emotional 64-63 win over top-seeded Arizona in the West Regional final on Saturday, which would have been Butch Ryan's 90th birthday.

"I can remember some of the great teams that he had of kids and their first championships and how they acted and just the joy," Ryan said. "These guys have had some others, but that's all I wanted to see."

Rounding out this foursome could be the most fearsome bunch of the bracket.

Kentucky won the 2012 national championship behind coach John Calipari's get-the-best-players-no-matter-how-long-they-stay philosophy. Cal brought in another heralded group of one-and-doners and they were touted as the team to beat, ranked No. 1 in the preseason.

After a string of losses, including three in five games, the kid Cats were out of the polls and supposedly out of contention.

Well, look at them now.

Showcasing their talent and depth, the Wildcats (28-10) are playing with a cohesiveness and confidence that wasn't there earlier in the season, racing into the Final Four after pulling out a last-second victory over Michigan.

"I can't believe it; we went through so much," said Kentucky's Aaron Harrison, who hit a 3-pointer with 2.3 seconds left in the 75-72 win over the Wolverines. "We went through a lot of ups and downs, and we're blessed to be going to the Final Four."

They are not alone.

Crosby scores 2 as Penguins beat Blackhawks

PITTSBURGH (AP) Sidney Crosby had two goals in the final five minutes, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-1 victory over the injury-riddled Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night.

Already playing without Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks lost captain Jonathan Toews to an upper-body injury in the second period. Toews was hit hard by Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik and was holding his left arm on the bench before heading down the runway.

James Neal and Lee Stempniak also scored for the Penguins, who won their second straight and snapped a three-game home losing streak.

Kansas sets news conference with Wiggins, Self

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) Kansas has scheduled a news conference Monday at Allen Fieldhouse with freshman star Andrew Wiggins and coach Bill Self.

Wiggins has already said he plans to enter the NBA draft, though Kansas would not say what the news will be.

The 6-foot-8 Wiggins led Kansas in scoring at 17.1 points per game and averaged 5.9 rebounds. The Canadian was the Big 12 freshman of the year and a first-team all-conference selection.

Wiggins is expected to be one of the top picks in the draft.

Fellow Kansas freshman Wayne Selden Jr. has already announced he will return to school. Freshman center Joel Embiid, who also has a chance to be the top overall pick, has yet to announce his plans.

Harrison lifts Wildcats to last-second win over Michigan

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Aaron Harrison made a 3-pointer from NBA range with 2.3 seconds left Sunday to lift Kentucky to a 75-72 win over Michigan and a trip to the Final Four.

Harrison, one of five freshmen on eighth-seeded Kentucky's starting lineup, elevated over Caris LeVert, and drained it. He scored all 12 of his points over the last 8:05.

Nik Stauskas missed a heave at the buzzer and the Wildcats (28-10) rushed off the bench and dogpiled Harrison at midcourt.

This will be Kentucky's 16th trip to the Final Four and it marks the first time an all-freshman starting lineup has made it there since the Fab Five took Michigan in 1992.

Kentucky plays Wisconsin Saturday in Texas.

Stauskas led the second-seeded Wolverines (28-9) with 24 points.

Durant has 31 points, leads Thunder past Jazz

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Kevin Durant had 31 points and nine assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Utah Jazz 116-96 on Sunday afternoon.

Durant scored at least 25 points for the 38th consecutive game, the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it in 40 straight games for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87 season.

Russell Westbrook scored 19 points, Serge Ibaka had 17 points and Caron Butler added 15 for the Thunder, who have won six of seven. Oklahoma City shot 55 percent from the field and made 11 of 18 3-pointers and 23 of 26 free throws.

Enes Kanter had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and Gordon Hayward added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz, who have lost four in a row.

Rangers put Darvish, Harrison on DL as expected

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish was put on the 15-day disabled list Sunday, the same day he threw a 32-pitch bullpen session without any issues.

Darvish had been set to be the Rangers starter in Monday's opener against Philadelphia before having neck stiffness during camp. He last pitched in a game two weeks ago and didn't resume throwing until consecutive sessions this weekend.

Texas also put left-hander Matt Harrison, last year's opening-day starter, on the 15-day disabled list while setting its 25-man roster for the start of the season.

Harrison, who made only two starts last season before twice having surgery on a herniated disk in his back, had a setback early in spring training, when he felt neck and back stiffness. He could return to the rotation before the end of April.

Darvish's move to the disabled list was retroactive to March 21, meaning he could be eligible to return next weekend. Harrison's move was retroactive to March 29. Left-hander Derek Holland was already on the 60-day disabled list and not expected back until at least June after surgery on his left knee, injured during the offseason when he was tripped by his dog on stairs in his home.

Texas said Darvish reported feeling strong after his bullpen session with pitching coach Mike Maddux on Sunday, a day after 30 throws off flat ground. Darvish, who last season led the majors with 277 strikeouts and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award voting, will get a day off from his throwing program before resuming Tuesday.

Texas also selected the contract of infielder Josh Wilson from Triple-A Round Rock, and he could start at second base. Infielder Adam Rosales was designated for assignment, giving the Rangers 10 days to trade him, release him or send him outright him to the minor leagues.

Second baseman Jurickson Profar (muscle tear in right shoulder) and catcher Geovany Soto (torn meniscus cartilage in right knee) are both expected to be out up to three months. Profar was put on the 15-day disabled list, and Soto on the 60-day list.

The opening 25-man roster includes only four starting pitchers: Tanner Scheppers, Martin Perez, Robbie Ross and Joe Saunders, the left-hander signed after camp opened and who earned an increase in his base salary from $500,000 to $1.5 million by being on the active roster for one day. The Rangers don't need a fifth starter until the second week of the season, and will make a move then.

Texas will start the season with seven relief pitchers and three catchers: J.P. Arencibia will start and be backed up by Robinson Chrinois and Chris Gimenez. The six outfielders include Mitch Moreland, who also is a first baseman and designated hitter.

Wilson likely will split time at second base with Donnie Murphy, claimed off waivers last week from the Chicago Cubs. The only other listed infielders are first baseman Prince Fielder, shortstop Elvis Andrus and third baseman Adrian Beltre.

UConn upsets Michigan State, back to Final Four

NEW YORK (AP) Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and UConn beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the NCAA tournament.

Napier hit three huge free throws with 37.6 seconds left in the East Regional final at Madison Square Garden to carry UConn to the Final Four just as Kemba Walker did in Napier's freshman year.

The Huskies (30-8) rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to become the first No. 7 seed to reach the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Fourth-seeded Michigan State's seniors become the first four-year players recruited by Tom Izzo to fail to reach the Final Four. Gary Harris led the Spartans (29-9) with 22 points.

Djokovic beats Nadal to win 4th Key Biscayne title

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. (AP) Novak Djokovic won his fourth Key Biscayne title, while Rafael Nadal failed again trying for his first.

Djokovic dominated from the start and closed out the victory by winning a remarkable exchange to beat Nadal 6-3, 6-3 Sunday in the final of the Sony Open.

Nadal fell to 0-4 in finals at Key Biscayne, one of just three ATP Masters 1000 events he has yet to win. Only six-time champion Andre Agassi has won the men's event more than Djokovic.

Djokovic erased the only break point he faced, committed just 15 unforced errors and won a scrambling, 30-shot rally on the final point.

He completed a March sweep after beating Roger Federer in the final at Indian Wells two weeks ago. Even so, Nadal will remain ranked No. 1 and Djokovic No. 2.

Bruins beat Flyers for 9th straight road win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Patrice Bergeron scored the go-ahead goal in the second period and also tallied in the shootout to help the Boston Bruins to a 4-3 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday.

The Bruins have won nine straight road games, a single-season club record.

Reilly Smith, the fifth Boston shooter, clinched the victory in the shootout for the Bruins, who improved to 15-0-1 in their last 16 games.

Vincent Lecavalier scored twice for the Flyers, including the game-tying goal with 25 seconds left in regulation. Lecavalier's first goal was the 400th of his career.

Kimmo Timonen scored for Philadelphia, which has lost three of four to remain in third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Andrej Meszaros and Zdeno Chara also scored for the Bruins, who ended March with a 15-1-1 mark.

Hamilton leads Mercedes 1-2 at Malaysian GP

SEPANG, Malaysia (AP) Lewis Hamilton broke his drought at Formula One's Malaysian Grand Prix and led a one-two finish for the Mercedes team on Sunday.

Hamilton beat teammate Nico Rosberg by 17.3 seconds at the Sepang International Circuit, with defending world champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull third.

It was the first one-two by the Mercedes factory team since 1955, when it was a dominant force in the embryonic days of F1.

Hamilton got away well from pole position and led throughout, making up for his retirement in the season-opening race in Australia and belatedly winning in Malaysia for the first time, at his eighth attempt.

"Incredibly happy, my first win here in my eighth year, so finally got that," Hamilton said. "To get a one-two is quite special, I haven't had many in my career."

The Briton was also quick to mention the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which took off from the Kuala Lumpur airport adjacent to the Sepang track earlier this month and is thought to have crashed, killing all 239 people aboard.

"After such a tragedy three weeks ago, I would like to dedicate this win to those people and their families," Hamilton said.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished fourth, ahead of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and McLaren's Jenson Button, while Felipe Massa held on for seventh ahead of Williams teammate Valtteri Bottas despite being told by his team to let Bottas through.

After the race, Massa insisted he had done the right thing in ignoring team orders, though there were likely to be internal repercussions as Bottas was adamant he could have passed Button.

Two rookies took the final two points positions, with McLaren's Kevin Magnussen ninth and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat tenth.

On a day when the threatened tropical rain held off, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen were the leading cars that suffered the worst luck.

Ricciardo was in fourth place with 15 laps to go when the team failed to properly attach a wheel during a pitstop, forcing him to stop halfway down the pitlane and be pushed back to have it replaced. Soon after, the Australian lost his front wing, got a stop-go penalty for an unsafe release from the pitstop and then retired.

To make matters worse, the unsafe release means he will also get a 10-place grid penalty at next weekend's race in Bahrain.

It was another tough day for Ricciardo, who finished second in his home race in Melbourne, only to be disqualified after the team was deemed to have exceeded the fuel-flow limit on his car.

Raikkonen was hit from behind by Magnussen on the opening lap, causing a puncture, dropping him to the back of the field. He finished 12th, behind Lotus' Romain Grosjean who did well to make it to the finish in his Lotus, which has been beset by engine failures in the early part of the season.

Rosberg's second place extended his early lead in the drivers' championship to 18 points ahead of Hamilton, and Mercedes already has a sizeable lead atop the constructors' championship, but the German was wary about how quickly Red Bull appears to be catching up.

"They were absolutely nowhere (after preseason testing) and now (Vettel) is right in the back of me, pushing me," Rosberg said. "They have ramped up their pace, very very impressive, so we need to keep on it to keep our advantage."

Vettel, who put a squeeze move on Rosberg in the run to the first corner that almost forced the Mercedes into the pit wall, was compromised in his attempt to catch the silver cars by high fuel consumption, and in the end settled for third place.

"We need to make quick steps because they are quite far ahead but I am happy with the steps we are making," Vettel said. "It's still a bloody good result to be finishing right behind them on the podium, and that is what we need to keep doing."

Dayton's future bright after Elite Eight run

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) After Dayton's best postseason run in 30 years, coach Archie Miller is confident it won't take the Flyers nearly as long to repeat that success.

No. 11 seed Dayton knocked off Ohio State, Syracuse and Stanford before falling to top seed Florida 62-52 Saturday night in the NCAA tournament's South Regional.

The scrappy team from the Atlantic 10 was the tournament's favorite underdog by the end of its run - blasting past big-name programs and all the way to the Elite Eight with a deep rotation that specialized in defense and energy.

The architect was Miller - an intense 35-year-old from Pennsylvania who comes from a coaching family. Older brother Sean guided Arizona to the same point in the NCAA tournament, exiting just hours after his sibling when the Wildcats lost to Wisconsin 64-63 in overtime.

"I think the blueprint is now set that we know how to do it, and we can do it," Archie Miller said after Saturday's loss. "That's going to be a credit to these guys who have taken us across the bridge, so to speak."

The Flyers' success also has made their coach a hot commodity. Dayton athletic director Tim Wabler announced earlier this week that Miller's contract had been extended through the 2018-19 season, though a bigger-name program could be interested in the coming weeks.

Dayton should be good again next season. The Flyers expect to return three starters, including sophomore Dyshawn Pierre, who scored 18 against the Gators. Five more from the bench who saw regular minutes also will be back.

One of the three departing seniors - guard Vee Sanford - said those who view Dayton as a small-time program are misinformed. Dayton was one of six teams from the Atlantic 10 that received an NCAA tournament bid this year.

"Nothing about the University of Dayton is Cinderella or small," Sanford said Friday when talking about the team's unexpected run. "We have the best facilities and we're on top of our things academically."

Junior Devin Oliver scored 12 points in Saturday's loss to Florida. He said Miller's work ethic has been crucial to the team's development.

"(He's) a guy who comes to work every day and that trickles down to his players," Oliver said. "He'll get in a drill and box you out - whatever it takes. He's just a guy that loves to win more than anything. He never wants to be looked over or anything like that. It's just a toughness and a passion that has trickled down to his team."

Miller said he appreciated the sacrifice his players made to play his style. The Flyers used 11 or 12 players on most nights and playing time could vary widely depending on who was being productive on a given night.

The approach has been successful, and the expectations for the program have risen exponentially.

"The vision will never change," Miller said. "We'll try to get back here and break through one day."

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Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Kershaw headed to DL for 1st time in career

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is headed to the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career because of a swollen muscle in his left upper back.

The 26-year-old left-hander, coming off his second Cy Young Award in three years, already had been scratched from his scheduled start in San Diego on Sunday after an MRI revealed the problem.

"I'm not going to get into specifics," Kershaw told reporters. "I can't pitch right now. It's frustrating. I've been hurt before where I knew when I'd be able to pitch. I'm getting better right now, just not fast enough. You don't feel like you're a part of the team when you're hurt. It's not a good feeling."

Kershaw was on a throwing program and was tossing the ball at different distances Saturday before the team's Freeway Series finale against the Angels when he experienced some discomfort on his 27th throw. The team said he will be placed on the DL on Sunday.

"He felt it, and that was the last straw," manager Don Mattingly said. "So at that point, we knew we couldn't have gone any farther and that it was a DL situation. It's a situation - not just for me, but for everyone - that we've got to save Clayton from Clayton at this point and be cautious. We can't allow him to try to keep pushing and go forward. If it was up to him, I'm sure he'd want to go farther. But we can't allow him to do that right now."

Kershaw, who signed a $215 million, seven-year contract on Jan. 15, won the Dodgers' season opener 3-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia last weekend.

The three-time All-Star was hoping to get back in the rotation for Friday's home opener against San Francisco, but instead it will be Hyun-Jin Ryu, who also will get the assignment Sunday in San Diego against Andrew Cashner. Ryu started and won the second game of the Australia trip, but tore a toenail while running the bases that day and wasn't sure he'd be able to fill in for Kershaw until after his side session Friday.

"I think that once Clayton felt something, he knew that he wasn't going to make his start on Friday," Mattingly said. "With his throwing progression, the fact that he stopped right away is all we've asked of him from the beginning: `If you feel it at all, you've got to stop.' And he stopped right away."

Kershaw has made 33 starts, struck out at least 229 batters and logged 227 2-3 innings or more in each of the last three seasons - including a career-high 236 innings last year, when he finished 16-9 with an NL-best 232 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA.

Kershaw led the majors in ERA for the third straight year, becoming the first pitcher to accomplish that feat since newly elected Hall of Famer Greg Maddux did it from 1993-95.

Mattingly wouldn't make any predictions about when Kershaw will return to the rotation. The Dodgers have five off days scheduled between now and April 15.

"This is not something that we say, `OK, we think he'll be ready by this date' - and if he doesn't get there, then it's like, `Oh, Clayton's had a setback,"' Mattingly said. "We should just let it do what it's supposed to do and let the medical staff do their work let them tell us what he could do.

"And because of all the days off we have and the schedule we have, it's really not worth pushing him."

Wisconsin beats Arizona 64-63 in OT in West Region

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) Wisconsin bumped and grinded its way into the Final Four.

Frank Kaminsky had 28 points and 11 rebounds for Wisconsin, rallying the Badgers to a 64-63 overtime victory against Arizona in the West Region final Saturday night.

The Badgers (30-7) advanced to their first Final Four appearance since 2000 on Saturday night, and first for 69-year-old coach Bo Ryan, who earned his 704th career victory.

Nick Johnson had the ball with a chance to win, but he missed a shot that came just after the buzzer for Arizona (33-5), the top-seeded team that has yet to win a West Region final in Anaheim in four tries. Johnson led the Wildcats with 16 points, and Aaron Gordon had 18 rebounds in the relentlessly physical game.

Clippers in playoffs with 118-107 win over Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Chris Paul had 30 points and 12 assists, Jamal Crawford added 22 points and the Los Angeles Clippers clinched their franchise-record third straight playoff appearance with a 118-107 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

The loss broke a five-game winning streak for Houston, which was without two of its starters as Dwight Howard and Pat Beverley sat out with injuries.

The Clippers trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before using two big runs to take the lead. Houston stuck around for most of the second half before consecutive 3s by Matt Barnes and Darren Collison made it 114-101 late in the fourth.

But it wasn't all good for Los Angeles, as Blake Griffin left in the first quarter with back spasms and didn't return, and Glen Davis missed the second half for disciplinary reasons after throwing a temper tantrum in the second quarter.

James Harden led the Rockets with 32 points, and Chandler Parsons had 28. DeAndre Jordan added 20 points with 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who are third in the Western Conference.

Crawford scored all of the Clippers' points in an 8-1 run to start the fourth quarter and leave them up 96-85. An 8-3 run by Houston cut the lead to 102-96 with five minutes remaining. Harden capped it with a free throw after a technical foul on Paul.

The Rockets scored the first five points of the third quarter to take a 63-61 lead. The teams exchanged the lead several times in that quarter before a layup by Ryan Hollins left Los Angeles up 88-84 entering the fourth quarter.

The first half was filled with drama for the Clippers, who lost Griffin in the first quarter before the incident with Davis in the second.

There appeared to be minimal contact between Griffin and Donatas Motiejunas before Griffin dropped to his hands and knees on his way to the bench after a timeout was called midway through the first quarter.

He was clutching his lower back and remained on the court for a couple of minutes before being helped to his feet. He was biting his jersey as he gingerly walked off the court and to the locker room.

Davis, whose nickname is "Big Baby," was apparently upset after being taken out in the second quarter and threw a temper tantrum at coach Doc Rivers. Rivers immediately sent him to the locker room and the team announced that he would not return after halftime.

Davis was 0-for-2 with a steal in less than four minutes in the first half.

With Griffin out, Houston used a 7-2 spurt to start the second quarter and extend its advantage to 40-25.

The Rockets were still up by 15 points a couple of minutes later when the Clippers used an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 44-37. Harden made three free throws before another run - this one 14-2 - gave Los Angeles a 51-49 lead. Paul, who had 17 points in the second quarter, scored the first 10 points in that span with two 3s and he dished an alley-oop to Jordan to cap it with a dunk.

Los Angeles led by a point soon after that before scoring six straight points to extend the lead to 61-54 Houston scored the last four points of the quarter to cut the lead to 61-58 at halftime.

NOTES: Jordan went to high school in Houston and college at nearby Texas A&M. ... Howard is day to day with a left ankle strain and Beverley has a torn meniscus in his right knee and is out indefinitely.

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