National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias out 4 to 6 months

VIERA, Fla. (AP) Jose Iglesias will be out four to six months because of stress fractures in both legs.

The Detroit Tigers shortstop was examined by Dr. Thomas Clanton, a foot and ankle specialist on Tuesday, and is scheduled to be reevaluated in four months.

Speaking before the Tigers played the Washington Nationals in Viera on Thursday, general manager Dave Dombrowski indicated the team is preparing to play the season without Iglesias.

"(He could) perhaps be back later in the year, but in my thought process that's more unlikely than likely at this point," Dombrowski said, adding he has been assured Iglesias will be ready to play next season.

Iglesias will be relegated to non-weight bearing exercises and upper-body conditioning for four to six months. He is also undergoing more tests to help determine why the stress fractures did not heal during the offseason.

Dombrowski said Iglesias played with the condition last year while he was with Boston and has X-rays, MRIs and even bone scans. They all showed he was having a stress reaction.

"This is a very rare situation for somebody at any age, but particularly a young individual," Dombrowski said.

The smooth-fielding Iglesias hit .303 for Boston and Detroit last season. The Tigers acquired him last July from the Red Sox in a three-team trade shortly before shortstop Jhonny Peralta was suspended. Detroit didn't re-sign Peralta and he signed with St. Louis as a free agent.

"It certainly hurts," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said of the loss of Iglesias. "We were hoping that Jose would be able to flash his glove for 150 games or so, but plans have changed. The important thing is for him to take care of his stress fracture issue and get back as soon as he can. We'll try to fill the gap in the meantime."

Detroit could try to sign free agent Stephen Drew to replace the 24-year-old Iglesias if the championship-contending franchise isn't comfortable starting someone such as Danny Worth at the important position. Other candidates are prospects Eugenio Suarez ad Hernan Perez.

"Right now, we're looking at internal candidates," Dombrowski said. "Right now, that's the way we're leaning on going."

Louisville's Pitino criticizes NCAA for matchup

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Louisville coach Rick Pitino had no problem with his team's NCAA tournament seeding. It was the pairing that drew his ire.

Pitino criticized the selection committee Wednesday for pitting his fourth-seeded and defending national champion Cardinals against 13th-seeded Manhattan, which is coached by Pitino's former assistant, Steve Masiello. Louisville and Manhattan open tournament play Thursday night in the Midwest Region.

"I think the pairings sometimes lack common sense," Pitino said. "I don't think they would put somewhere down the road Duke-North Carolina so ... the matchups don't make sense to me. I'm OK with the seedings. I'm not OK with the matchups.

"But the selection committee is very fair, very honorable, very honest people, so I can't protest too much because they're doing the best job that they can do. Maybe they're a bunch of soccer ADs, I don't know."

Masiello served as Pitino's ball boy with the NBA's New York Knicks in the 1980s, played for him at Kentucky (1996-1997) and then spent another six years coaching alongside him at Louisville (2005-11). They know each other inside and out, with Masiello molding Manhattan to mirror the Cardinals.

Pitino said the matchup is tougher than when Louisville got paired against Florida and coach Billy Donovan, who also played and coached for Pitino, in a 2012 regional final.

"We press like him, we trap like him, his offensive sets are just like ours," Pitino said. "That's why I don't like the game. I don't think it's fair. I don't like it. I don't know why they would do it. I just don't like the game at all for either one of us. We won the national championship and obviously we're more heralded, but this is anybody's game. This is not a 1-16."

Masiello was equally disappointed in the pairing.

"To see them come up and then see us come up against them, it takes a little fun out of it," Masiello said. "It's just, that's not fun for me going against someone that I have to now try to beat, and almost in my mind, think negatively about. It's hard for me to do that."

Aside from the student-teacher matchup, here are five things to know about Manhattan and Louisville:

SEEDING SURPRISE: The Cardinals insisted they weren't surprised by getting a No. 4 seed, which was widely panned as being too low for the defending national champs.

Nonetheless, guard Russ Smith said he understood why outsiders raised eyebrows when the brackets were announced. "Not beating around the bush, but we've dominated our last few weeks of basketball since the loss to Memphis," Smith said. "We've been winning by a good margin. When you initially look at the University of Louisville, you see they've been winning by 20 or 30 or 50, they should be a 1 or 2 seed. But as an overall whole, we understood what our body of work was like."

MIRROR IMAGES: Having watched Louisville win the national title last year, the Jaspers noticed a thing or two about their style of play. And it looked really familiar.

"Our philosophy is based after Louisville," guard Michael Alvarado said. "We're like them, but they're on steroids pretty much. We both press, we both have similar philosophies and the better team is going to win."

Manhattan guard George Beamon called Louisville their "big brother," adding that "we pride ourselves on being a mirror image of them."

ONE DIFFERENCE: There was one major difference that Pitino pointed out between himself and his protege, Masiello: "He wears ridiculous suits. Outside of that, we're one and the same. He must go to Madison Avenue and just come out with the newest things all the time. I don't know where he gets the tuxedo look with the roundabout lapels and everything. He's hanging around Little Italy too much."

BIG APPLE: Having grown up in New York City, Masiello is a proud New Yorker, and nothing would please him more than to keep a team from the Big Apple in the Big Dance.

"We're representing the greatest city in the world in the greatest sports event, which is March Madness, in the world," he said. "We have a lot of Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island kids, so our makeup is New York kids, and now we have a chance to represent that and kind of have the city on our back. That's awesome."

LAST MEETING: It's been 16 months since Manhattan and Louisville last played. The Jaspers can only hope to have more success this time around. The Cardinals thumped Manhattan 79-51 in Louisville on Nov. 11, 2012. Each team has seven players and three starters remaining from that matchup, which Louisville dominated from start to finish. Smith finished with 23 points and five steals.

Stars say Peverley has successful heart surgery

Rich Peverley has been released from an Ohio hospital after undergoing successful surgery to correct an abnormal heart rhythm, just more than a week after the Dallas Stars forward collapsed on the bench during a game.

Stars general manager Jim Nill said Peverley was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday. The surgery was Monday.

Peverley, who is out for the season, is expected to return Thursday to Dallas. He will be monitored closely and may require further treatment.

"There is no decision being made at this time on his ability to return to hockey participation," Nill said.

The 31-year-old Peverley was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation before training camp in September and opted for less invasive treatment and medication so he could return sooner.

Peverley was out through the first game of the regular season before playing in 60 consecutive games. A week before he collapsed, he sat out a game in Columbus because he wasn't feeling well.

Doctors said they changed Peverley's medication, and he returned for two more games before collapsing early in the first period against Columbus on March 10. He was released from a Dallas hospital two days later.

The game against the Blue Jackets was postponed with Columbus leading 1-0. It will be replayed April 9 from the beginning with the same score.

Michigan State ready for life as a favorite

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Scouring through the game film, the roster and the tea leaves in search of any advantage his team might have over Michigan State, Monte Ross finally found it.

"Coach Izzo's lack of tournament experience," he said.

Cue the rim shot. But, seriously, over the past few days, laughing is about the only thing the Delaware coach can do to keep from crying.

This particularly unlucky No. 13 seed drew a matchup Thursday against Tom Izzo and the Spartans, who were seeded fourth in the East but have been a trendy title pick from Las Vegas to Washington.

Yes, President Barack Obama has the Spartans winning it all. The Delaware coach finds very little room to disagree.

"In watching them, they just keep getting better and better," Ross said. "So I think I'm just going to do myself a service and stop watching them."

What he'll be missing is a team that has gotten healthy, is peaking at the right time and has a coach who pushes the buttons the best when March rolls around.

Izzo himself has no problem putting this team in the echelon of some of his six previous Final Four teams, the last of which fell to Butler in the semifinals in 2010.

"You look at some of the programs that have done it with consistency, and they've had to deal with pressure and they have to handle it," he said.

The talent has never been in question. The Spartans were ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll for three weeks starting in November.

But injuries and illnesses hit hard. Gary Harris, Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Branden Dawson, the Big Ten tournament's most valuable player, all missed time. And that was just in Michigan State's starting lineup.

Dawson returned March 1 after missing nine games with a broken right hand, which gave Izzo his full complement of players for the first time in about two months. Less than two weeks later, the Spartans (26-8) were cutting down nets in Indianapolis.

"I thought we got some of our identity back," Izzo said. "And that's what you need if you're going to make a run of any kind in the tournament."

So, while the Spartans start on what some believe will be a championship march, the Blue Hens (25-9) come in knowing they only have to be the better team for a couple hours.

"I just told the guys, if we are able to play the way I expect us to play, I'll probably get a call from Warren Buffett, because he'll be the happiest person in the world," Ross said. "We'll break up everybody's bracket and there will be no billion-dollar payout."

Five things to look for when Delaware plays Michigan State:

DEALING WITH EXPECTATIONS: Izzo said he held a meeting with his team to discuss all the great things people are saying about them. Two weeks ago, the Spartans were being ripped left and right. This week, they're being picked by the President. "I was a little worried about, how do your kids handle getting barbed on the Internet two weeks ago, and then some of the top people in sports and the No. 1 person in the United States is picking you?" he said.

NERVES: Well, it is the first game of the tournament for the Spartans and they must feel some pressure, too, right? Ross is hoping that might work in favor of his team, which was saddled with few expectations when it won the Colonial Athletic Association to earn its first trip to the tournament since 1999 - and even fewer once the pairings came out. "Who settles in first, who makes their first shot and sees that ball go in the rim, is going to be a big deal," Ross said.

REBOUNDING: It's the hallmark of any good Michigan State team. The Spartans averaged 11.1 offensive rebounds a game over the season, which was only sixth in the Big Ten. In the tournament, though, they increased that to 13 a game.

WHO TO GUARD: All five Delaware starters average in double figures. None has as good a chance to go off as Davon Usher, who went for 25 or more in eight of his team's 34 games. Usher needs 17 points to set the Delaware single-season scoring record.

JUD'S HOUSE: After Jud Heathcoate retired from Michigan State in 1995, he pushed hard to have Izzo succeed him. Then, Heathcoate moved to Spokane. The 86-year-old patriarch of Michigan State hoops will be on hand to watch his protege Thursday. "I value his knowledge, I value his friendship, and he taught me more than anybody about the game of basketball," Izzo said.

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Follow Eddie Pells at http://twitter.com/epells

Panthers say Newton's ankle surgery successful

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Panthers say Cam Newton had successful surgery on his left ankle and the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback will be sidelined for four months.

Panthers team physician Robert Anderson performed the surgery on Wednesday in Charlotte.

Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion says in a release that "Dr. Anderson did not find anything unexpected in the procedure and the surgery went well."

Newton first tweaked the ankle in a regular season game against New Orleans late in the season and then experienced some additional problems in Carolina's playoff loss to San Francisco on Jan. 12.

The team had hoped the ankle would heal on its own but after two months Newton was still experiencing discomfort.

Newton is expected to be ready in time for training camp.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

UCF coach: Bortles does 'great job' at pro day

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) With a line of NFL scouts and coaches watching his every move and reports swirling that Blake Bortles could be the No. 1 overall pick in May's NFL draft, the UCF quarterback just did what he's done all year.

He focused on completing the next pass.

And Bortles hit enough of them at UCF's Pro Day on Wednesday to keep the discussion going on whether he should be the No. 1 pick - though he says he's not worried about that.

"I don't worry about any of the stuff I can't control," said Bortles, who worked out with a handful of his senior teammates at the team's practice facility. "I knew this was something on the list of things that I can control, and the last thing before this was the (NFL) combine. Those were the two things that I could control, and that's what I focused on."

Bortles, 22, threw a heavily scripted 65 passes Wednesday under the guidance of Chicago Bears quarterback Jordan Palmer, with a handful of overthrows on deep passes and a few more drops.

The response, at least from the many analysts in the room, was very positive, especially coming two days after a mildly received workout from fellow top quarterback prospect Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville.

"I don't care how many catches or drops or anything like that, I see a guy that clearly has raw physical tools present and is progressing towards a more finished product than what I saw from Bridgewater earlier this week," said ESPN analyst Todd McShay. "If I'm absolutely taking a quarterback, I'm taking Blake Bortles."

It remains to be seen whether the 27 NFL teams represented were as impressed, a crowd which included Texans coach Bill O'Brien, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith.

It's been a rapid ascent for the 6-foot-5, 229-pound Bortles, a native of nearby Oviedo, Fla., who wasn't on many radars entering the year.

"I didn't know much about him coming into September," said McShay, who didn't even have Bortles listed among the 40-plus players on his to-watch list entering the season. "As late in the process as this is, was the first time I've seen it that late for a potential No. 1 overall pick."

Also working out Wednesday were seven UCF seniors, including running back Storm Johnson, who pulled a hamstring on his first 40-yard dash attempt. But the main attraction was obviously Bortles, who followed a private measurement session with his passing display.

Bortles' goal there was to show off the work he has put in the last two months with Palmer on his mechanics, a frequently mentioned sore spot in his game.

Even Bortles' deep misses of teammate Jeff Godfrey and workout partner Brett Swain seemed to raise few eyebrows, which was by design.

"I threw a couple balls short during the year on deep balls, trying to aim it, trying to be perfect," Bortles said. "I had the mindset of, if I'm going to miss a deep ball, I'm going to throw it behind them."

It was another big step forward during a junior season in which Bortles threw 25 touchdowns on the way to leading the Knights to a dream season that climaxed with a Fiesta Bowl victory over Baylor. He followed that performance on the field with a strong offseason, including a solid showing at the combine.

Through it all, Bortles has shown little signs of the ego that might accompany a speedy rise to top NFL quarterback prospect.

"I thought he handled it very well," said UCF coach George O'Leary. "It's a lot of pressure on a kid when everybody's there to look at you and see how you perform, and some of the top coaches in the country are here, and some of the top GMs. He did a great job, and kept his composure, just like he plays. That's the way he plays. He keeps great composure, and never gets too high or too low."

That composure was in full effect Wednesday, at least outwardly. Not to say the attention made no impression on the quarterback who seems to be drawing more closely to his NFL dream with each day - and each pass.

"It's all very surreal," Bortles said. "In my mind, it hasn't really hit me. I'm still in my mind just a UCF football player walking around, not involved with football practice anymore. That's who I am in my mindset, and I'm trying to capture my NFL dream now. It's awesome."

Palmer says age not only obstacle for Woods

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Arnold Palmer believes age will be an issue as 38-year-old Tiger Woods tries to break the major championship record.

The standard all along for Woods has been the 18 professional majors Jack Nicklaus won over 25 seasons. Woods reached his 14th major when he was 32, but he has not won another since that 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. And now the world's No. 1 player is coping with an ailing back.

"I don't think 38 years is the ultimate stopping point for his quest to do what Jack did," Palmer said Wednesday at Bay Hill. "I think it lessens the possibility of that happening. It's going to be tough. It's going to be tough to keep the concentration and the type of the game that is necessary to win majors."

Nicklaus won four of his majors after turning 38. Ben Hogan, with battered legs from a car accident, won five majors after turning 38.

Palmer, however, believes more than age is at stake for Woods.

"These young guys are tough, and they're strong," Palmer said. "And if they continue to play as well as they've been playing, it's going to be tough for anybody - whether it be Nicklaus or Tiger or whomever it would be - to continue to win major championships. And we're talking about guys that are playing good and coming on."

He also alluded to Woods' mystique that appears to have eroded.

"And the fear of a player being so good that they back off, I don't think that's the case anymore," he said. "I think that the players that are going to win, and win major championships, have to be physically fit, mentally fit and they're going to continue to be tough to beat."

Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell also said the strength of the field is as much an obstacle for Woods as his own health.

"I would say the field is probably the biggest issue he's got, maybe 70-30 - 70 being field, 30 being body," McDowell said. "It's tough to say. He never ceases to amaze us. ... You'd never put anything past him. He could prove us all wrong and show up at Augusta, win by 10, and you guys will be back to the keyboards and waxing lyrical and away we go again. Who knows?"

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TO MEET A KING: Adam Scott was a 21-year-old from Australia in his second year a pro when he received a sponsor's exemption to play at Bay Hill.

Walking off the first green, he saw tournament host Arnold Palmer sitting in a golf cart while greeting players.

"And he came over to me and he said, `Adam it's great to have you here.' And I couldn't even believe he knew who I was," Scott said. "His level of involvement in the game - and this was 10 years ago or more - is incredible. And he's in touch with it and he's relevant and he's been a great leader for professional golf."

Scott said players of his generation now have a responsibility to make younger players understand why Palmer is known as The King.

"I'm not going to say I'm an older guy yet, but eventually I'll be telling some younger guys about everything he did for the game, putting us in the media and on the map and making golf what it is today," Scott said.

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TOP FIVE: Patrick Reed's brash comments after he won the Cadillac Championship at Doral continues to resonate with players, even those who no longer play.

Palmer was asked if the young players who are winning - eight players under 25 are among the top 50 in the world - were any more cocky than the young players of his era. He didn't mention Reed by name, though it was clear he was speaking of the 23-year-old when he talked about being "surprised recently" with some of the comments.

"As my father taught me, and he drove home that point, he said, `Just remember something. You don't need to tell anybody how good you are. You show them how good you are. And he drove that home with me," Palmer said. "So I learned early not to brag about how good I was or what I could do but let my game take that away and show them that I could play well enough."

Palmer said Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods lived by that credo.

"I never heard Jack Nicklaus say, `I'm a great player,' or Tiger Woods, as a matter of fact," he said. "They just get out and do it. And I think that's far more appealing ... than talking about how good you are."

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FLORIDA SWING: Graeme McDowell has only one score under par in his last two tournaments, though it's hard to tell by the results. He tied for 46th in the Honda Classic and was in the hunt at the Cadillac Championship until he tied for ninth.

Attribute the scores to the Florida Swing. It's been tough in the Sunshine State.

For the first time, the winning score from the opening three stops in Florida were all single-digit under par. Russell Henley won a playoff at the Honda Classic at 8-under par. Patrick Reed won Doral at 4-under par. John Senden was 7-under par in winning at Innisbrook.

"It's no longer sunshine, resort golf courses. It's a tough test of golf," McDowell said. "And that's great. I enjoy the Florida swing, and even more so now because of how tough it is."

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CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER?: So what's it like to be Arnold Palmer and to hear someone order an Arnold Palmer?

Palmer has a drink named after him, the popular combination of iced tea and lemonade.

"I'm a little embarrassed," Palmer said. "I'm happy they're ordering it, but I don't think about it as something. I just think that maybe I've created something that is fun. And it was fun for me. ... Like the guy says, `I'll have a Palmer.' I don't think about it in first person. I think about, `Hey, thank you. Have a couple."'

NFL to discuss expanded playoffs

NEW YORK (AP) NFL owners likely will consider expanding the playoffs by two teams, beginning in 2015, when they hold their spring meetings in Orlando next week, but a vote on the subject is uncertain.

A groundswell for raising the number of playoff qualifiers to seven in each conference figures to get plenty of support from the 32 owners. Most notably, Arizona's Bill Bidwill, who saw his Cardinals go 10-6 and not get in, while Green Bay (8-7-1) qualified by winning the NFC North.

The current format of four division winners and two wild-card teams has existed since 2002, when Houston joined the league as an expansion team, bringing the membership to 32.

"There will be a report on the potential of expanded playoffs," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Wednesday. "We don't know if there will be any vote at this meeting."

Also on the agenda will be alterations to extra points, changing who oversees video replay reviews, and further clamping down on the use of racial slurs by players during games.

A change in the playoff structure would be needed if 14 teams qualify, with the top seed in each conference still getting a first-round bye. The next six teams would play in what is now the wild-card round, with the second seed facing No. 7, the third seed taking on No. 6 and the fourth and fifth seeds playing each other.

But the NFL's influential competition committee is not presenting a proposal to the owners.

One reason the league is looking at more playoff teams is a stalemate in talks with the players union about expanding the regular season from 16 games. Another is the added revenue stream two more postseason games would provide, with those matches up for bidding among the current network partners - Fox, NBC, ESPN and CBS, which just grabbed an eight-week Thursday night package - and potential new broadcasters such as Turner Sports.

Scheduling of the extra wild-card games also would be dicey, although Monday night would seem logical for one of them.

Of course, adding two more playoff teams enhances the chances for teams with .500 or losing records to get in.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has suggested a change to the one-point kick on extra points might be needed because they have become so automatic. New England has proposed moving the line of scrimmage to the 25 for a one-point try, but leaving it at the 2-yard line for a 2-point conversion.

"There are a lot of different views in respect to the extra point," said Falcons President Rich McKay, co-chairman of the competition committee. "There were 1,267 tried and 1,262 made (in 2013), and so there is that thought with the extra point maybe we need to add little more skill, and one of the ways to do it might be the way New England proposed."

But it's a long shot that anything will be done next week, except perhaps experimenting with longer kicks for one week of the preseason.

The Patriots also proposed extending the height of the goal posts 5 feet to make it easier to determine whether a kick is good.

New England also suggested allowing coaches challenges on everything except scoring plays, which are automatically reviewed.

Replay as an officiating tool always is in the news, and owners are expected to discuss having the NFL's director of officiating, Dean Blandino and his staff at the league offices be involved in some review decisions. The league saw several inexplicable replay decisions made by referees last season, although McKay and Rams coach Jeff Fisher, the committee's other co-chairman, praised the overall quality of officiating.

As for the use of racial slurs and verbal abuse, there already are rules on the books to deal with the issue. But an emphasis on stronger discipline will be discussed by the owners, and McKay noted that taunting fouls went up significantly from 2012 to 2013.

"We are going beyond the field of play, we are going to the workplace," Fisher said of trying to eliminate such language. "This is going to be a very significant point of emphasis."

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

MLB draws a crowd of sporting stars in Sydney

SYDNEY (AP) The Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks are expected to sell out Sydney Cricket Stadium twice this weekend for their season-opening series.

They're also pulling quite a crowd of sports stars ahead of the games.

In between team workouts Wednesday, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt kicked around rugby league, Australian Rules football and soccer balls with former Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero (soccer's Sydney FC), Sonny Bill Williams (rugby league's Sydney Roosters) and Adam Goodes of the Australian Football League's Sydney Swans.

There were plenty of millionaire salaries in the photo op, led by first-game starter Kershaw, who signed a seven-year, $215 million contract with the Dodgers in January. Celebrating his 26th birthday Wednesday, he also was presented with a cake.

NC State, Albany open NCAA First Four with wins

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) In his second try, T.J. Warren became an NCAA tournament star.

The ACC's player of the year put on a show Tuesday night, scoring 16 of his 25 points in the second half of North Carolina State's 74-59 victory over Xavier on the opening day of the NCAA's First Four.

Then, it was off to the airport and a two-hour flight to Orlando, Fla., where the fast-closing Wolfpack (22-12) will play on Thursday against fifth-seeded St. Louis in the Midwest Regional.

Warren was the main reason N.C. State got another flight to somewhere other than home. He made up for his forgettable tournament showing a year earlier on the same floor and prevented Xavier (21-14) from getting any traction in the second half.

"I just wanted to come out and be aggressive," said Warren, who was 10 of 18 from the field. "My shots wouldn't fall in the first half, but my teammates did a great job of finding me."

No surprise there.

"Eventually in a 40-minute game, he's going to find a way," coach Mark Gottfried said.

Center Matt Stainbrook led Xavier with 19 points and nine rebounds despite an injured left knee. Leading scorer Semaj Christon was limited to 14 points, and Xavier made only 2 of 14 shots from beyond the arc.

Xavier's biggest disappointment was its inability to slow down the Wolfpack in the second half, when N.C. State shot 61.5 percent from the field.

"We weren't ourselves today on defense," Stainbrook said. "We build our identity on defense. When we can't get stops, it ruins everything else. Overall, it was just a shambles."

Xavier was playing in a familiar arena less than an hour from campus. Familiar, but not entirely friendly. Fans of the Dayton Flyers - a long-time rival - booed loudly as they took the court, making for a mixed welcome with a lot of Musketeer fans in the stands as well.

Warren made it all a moot point, helping N.C. State take all the drama out of the game over the final 11 minutes.

The Wolfpack went six years between NCAA appearances before coach Mark Gottfried got them there three years in a row. This was his youngest and least-experienced team: Only two players with tournament experience. They got one of the final at-large bids with a strong closing run, winning five of their last six games, including an upset of Syracuse in the ACC tournament.

Warren was the key. And he really wanted a second chance at the NCAA tournament.

As a freshman last year, he managed only four points as N.C. State lost to Temple 76-72 at the University of Dayton Arena in its opening game. He's grown a lot in one year, leading the ACC with 24.8 points per game this season and hitting the 40-point mark twice.

"Eventually in a 40-minute game, he's going to find a way," Gottfried said.

In the opening game on Tuesday, Albany got its first NCAA tournament victory, holding on for a 71-64 win over Mount St. Mary's. D.J. Evans scored 22 points and hit two clinching free throws with 12.6 seconds left.

The Great Danes (19-14) earned a shot against overall No. 1 seed and top-ranked Florida in Orlando on Thursday.

The game provided a wild start to the tournament. Albany scored the first 13 points and led 21-2 after the opening 8 1/2 minutes, only to have Mount St. Mary's (16-17) respond with a 21-2 run of its own to draw even.

Adelaide, Australia native Peter Hooley hit two free throws and, the next time down court, scored on a driving layup over a defender for a 67-64 lead. Mount St. Mary's, which hit 12 of 37 3-pointers, missed two of them in the final 68 seconds.

"We had to go on a little run of our own, and we did," said Hooley, who had 20 points. "They went on another run, and then we had to fight back and make another run. That's what we pride ourselves on, being resilient. The fact that we managed to pull it out is a great thing."

Albany got its first NCAA win on its fourth try.

"Our goal coming into this game was to stay big, play big, be strong," said Great Danes coach Will Brown. "I'm proud of my guys. We weathered the storm, we stayed the course, and we made plays down the stretch."

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AP Sports Writer Rusty Miller in Dayton contributed to this report.

Jackson has control of the Knicks and plenty to do

NEW YORK (AP) Phil Jackson has control of the New York Knicks, along with complete power to do what is necessary to fix them.

His work starts Wednesday, when he visits his new players and coaches and watches them host the Indiana Pacers, the type of franchise he might like the Knicks to become.

Indiana has the best record in the Eastern Conference, a roster that was intelligently assembled free of ownership interference, and carries real championship hopes.

The Knicks are just trying to make the playoffs while Jackson evaluates who he thinks can be part of their future.

"Who wants to play together, who looks like they can play together and how can we build on that?" Jackson said.

He didn't provide all the answers at his press conference Tuesday, which was a celebratory homecoming for a link to the Knicks' championship past.

Jackson was a member of the Knicks' title teams in 1970 and 1973, and they haven't won since. He went on to win 11 championships as a head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls.

The Knicks announced his hiring in the lobby of Madison Square Garden, with a giant "Welcome Home Phil" sign overhead and racks of his old No. 18 jersey on sale.

But there were some hints about how the Knicks will look and operate under Jackson, who signed a five-year contract that reportedly will pay at least $12 million annually.

- On Carmelo Anthony: The All-Star forward can become a free agent this summer and Jackson indicated the Knicks will want to keep him.

"I have no problems with committing to saying Carmelo is in the future plans," Jackson said.

- On Mike Woodson: Given that Dolan's first discussions with Jackson in late 2013 involved him coaching the team, Woodson might already be gone if Jackson wanted to return to the bench. Instead, he'll decide how long Woodson, who he called a "very good basketball coach," would be on it.

"We'll have discussions at the end of the season with Mike considering going forward," Jackson said.

- On where he will live: Jackson joked about the cold temperatures in New York and said he will continue to spend time in California, where his children and most of his grandchildren live. But from the moment he began discussing the job with MSG chairman James Dolan, he knew it had to be done in New York to be done properly.

"I said if I want to make this change and I think I can make the change, I have to jump in with both feet," Jackson said. "I've got to move to New York and I've got to do this job the right way."

- On Dolan's involvement: The owner has often involved himself in the basketball business, most notably when the Knicks were trying to trade for Anthony in 2011. But Jackson made it clear he had authority, and Dolan said he was "willingly and gratefully" granting it.

"I am no by no means an expert in basketball. A fan, but my expertise lies in managing companies and businesses," Dolan said. "So I think I'm a little out of my element when it comes to the team. I found myself in a position where I needed to be more a part of the decision making for a while."

- On his accessibility: Jackson said some of the Knicks' struggles were due to the media restrictions and general paranoia around MSG, saying "this organization has suffered in the past few years from things I think have just been created, by press, by lack of continuity, by lack of solidarity."

He said he would "try to monitor my blabbermouth, as my fiancee Jeannie Buss says," adding that "I really will hopefully have an open attitude towards speaking."

It will be tough for Jackson to make big changes quickly, with the Knicks facing salary cap problems. Amare Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler and Andrea Bargnani will all be in the final year of expensive contracts, making them difficult to unload. And they traded this year's first-round pick to Denver in 2011 to acquire Anthony.

Jackson alluded to that, saying the Knicks "were going to have to go out and work the bushes for players this next year."

He doesn't know how much day-to-day work he would handle. After five knee and hip surgeries, Jackson is "not easily able to move around" on commercial airlines or scout at small gyms.

That ruled out coaching, the job that Knicks would have loved him to do. But the work needed from the front office might ultimately be more important.

"Now to come back to where I've started in basketball, it's a great feeling," Jackson said.

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Follow Brian Mahoney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Briancmahoney

Dodgers, Diamondbacks arrive Down Under

SYDNEY (AP) The Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers arrived to a very low-key welcome in Australia on Tuesday for their Major League Baseball season-opening series this weekend after 15-hour flights from the U.S. west coast.

The Diamondbacks arrived first at Sydney airport about 6 a.m. local time Tuesday, followed about four hours later by the Dodgers.

"It's great to be here," said Dodgers' veteran announcer Vin Scully.

There were only a few autograph seekers to meet both teams, unlike recent opening-day series in Tokyo where arriving teams were mobbed by fans. Several airport travelers Tuesday asked the media who the high-profile looking arrivals were.

Within six hours of arriving, the Diamondbacks held their first light workout at Sydney Cricket Ground, where Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers in Saturday's season opener and left-hander Wade Miley replaces Patrick Corbin, who has a left elbow injury, as the Diamondbacks starter.

They'll close out the two-game series Sunday when the Dodgers' Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start against Arizona's Trevor Cahill.

Under sunny skies, Arizona first base coach Dave McKay was one of the first to survey the SCG diamond - 328 feet down the foul lines, 400 feet to straightaway center field.

"Looks all great," said McKay. "Although I can't believe the distance from home plate to the seats in foul territory. There's quite a bit of room there."

Manager Kirk Gibson watched the team stretch and take infield practice. Other coaches hit popups to the outfield and let them hit hard on the natural turf to determine the amount of bounce: the verdict was that there was a lot of it.

The infield dirt and sand combination was also tested, but there shouldn't be anything unfamiliar in it: the MLB-certified dirt was imported from the United States in nearly 20 shipping containers.

The Dodgers will play Team Australia in an exhibition game Thursday, with the Diamondbacks to play Australia on Friday.

The series marks the first regular-season games in Australia. Previous MLB season openers were held in Monterrey, Mexico (1999), San Juan, Puerto Rico (2001) and four times in Tokyo, most recently in 2012.

The weekend games will mark the 100th anniversary of an exhibition game played by the Chicago White Sox and the New York Giants at the Sydney Cricket Ground, won 5-4 by the White Sox before 10,000 fans on Jan. 3, 1914.

Capacity crowds of about 40,000 are expected for both games.

Huskies, Irish, Lady Vols, Gamecocks earn No. 1 seeds

All season there has been a buzz around women's basketball about UConn and Notre Dame.

Now the stage is set for the former Big East rivals to meet in an historic national championship game.

The teams enter the NCAA tournament unbeaten - only the second time that's ever happened. They are on a collision course to meet in the national championship game. If they do both get to Nashville, the Irish will be all that stands between Geno Auriemma and a record ninth NCAA championship, breaking a tie with Tennessee.

"We really haven't talked, I bet hardly at all, about this national championship or what number it is or any of that," Auriemma said.

Despite being the 13th women's team to go unbeaten during the regular season, the Irish have felt almost unappreciated with most of the talk centered on the Huskies. Coach Muffet McGraw doesn't seem to mind.

"I like it because we can get a chip on our shoulder and head into the tournament with a bit of chip," she said.

Even though UConn and Notre Dame didn't play this season, the two teams know plenty about each other having met 12 times over the previous three seasons. Notre Dame isn't intimidated by Connecticut; the Irish have won seven of the past nine meetings with the Huskies.

"It was very unusual to go through a whole season without playing them, we're so used to it, three times every year," McGraw said. "We've gotten pretty good at beating them the last couple of years."

Before the potential meeting of unbeatens, the two might have to go through SEC powers Tennessee and South Carolina, who also earned No. 1 seeds. While it's the 22nd time that the Lady Vols have earned a top spot, it's the first for the Gamecocks. The Huskies, Lady Vols and Gamecocks all could have to play on an opponent's home court with a trip to Nashville on the line. Stanford, Notre Dame, Louisville and Nebraska, who are all hosting regionals, were a combined 52-3 at home this season.

The Lady Vols, who won the SEC tournament championship, are the top seed in the Louisville Regional and would also like nothing more than to break the tie with Connecticut and win their ninth NCAA title. They open up against Northwestern State and will be trying to end a five-year drought of not making the Final Four. The Lady Vols won't have an easy path. West Virginia is the second seed. Host Louisville is the three seed and Maryland is the four.

Tennessee was involved in the only other meeting between unbeaten. The Lady Vols routed Liberty in the opener of the 1998 tournament when both were undefeated.

Like their SEC rivals, South Carolina doesn't have an easy road to the Final Four. The Gamecocks could face an inspired young North Carolina team in the regional semifinals before potentially playing host Stanford.

The Tar Heels and their stellar freshman class, led by Diamond Deshields, beat the Gamecocks in December. The Tar Heels also could have coach Sylvia Hatchell back on the sidelines at that point. The Hall of Famer battled leukemia during the regular season.

While Hatchell's status is unknown for the tournament, Baylor will be missing coach Kim Mulkey for the first game. She is suspended for the first round game against Western Kentucky for comments she made last season after losing to Louisville in the regional semifinals.

"I haven't talked to the team in depth about me not coaching in the first game," Mulkey said. "I'll watch it on television at home. ... I always tell the team something could happen to me on that sideline and you should be able to coach yourself."

Connecticut could have to beat host Nebraska in the regional semifinals if both teams make it that far. The Huskies have made it to the Final Four in a record six straight seasons. They hope to make it to Nashville to keep that streak alive.

If the Huskies do win the national championship it would be the fifth time they went undefeated in a season. This would be the first time that they won 40 games, joining Baylor as the only teams ever to accomplish that feat.

The defending national champions have won games by an average of 36 points. They open up at home against Prairie View A&M on Sunday night. The Lady Panthers became the ninth team to reach the NCAA tournament with a losing record when they won the Southwestern Conference championship.

Tennessee will be making its 33rd straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, getting into the field ever year. Five teams will be making their first trip - Akron, North Dakota, South Dakota, Winthrop and Wright State.

While those schools will be getting their first taste of the NCAAs, Chattanooga's Jim Foster became the first coach to take four different teams to the NCAA tournament.

Buckle up for a wild ride, and fill those brackets

College basketball fans, start your brackets.

March Madness kicks into high gear this week with the start of the NCAA tournament, the time hoop heads circle the calendar like it's Christmas.

This year's run through the field of 68 should be a blast - an undefeated team in the bracket, a wide-open field and a heavy dose of great players.

So stock up the fridge, work on that fake cough to call in sick and dig the remote from under the couch cushions. It's time to roll.

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TOP TEAMS

Florida. No. 1 overall seed should get some props, especially one that plays defense as the Gators do.

Wichita State. Final Four last season, unbeaten so far this one. All you need to know.

Arizona. The loss of Brandon Ashley hurt and so did a loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game. Not enough to keep the Wildcats from earning a No. 1 seed.

Virginia. No. 1 in the East Region after sweeping the ACC regular-season and tournament titles.

Louisville. Defending champs are somehow a No. 4. A little secret: They're better than that.

Michigan State. The Spartans aren't highly ranked, but never count out a Tom Izzo team, especially one that won the Big Ten tournament.

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TOP PLAYERS

Doug McDermott, Creighton. Pretty much everyone's player of the year will be playing in the NCAA tournament for the final time. Expect big things.

Jabari Parker, Duke. He has been not only been the best of this year's heralded freshman class, he's one of the best no matter what year.

Shabazz Napier, UConn. About the only thing the Huskies' do-everything guard doesn't do is drive the team bus. Wouldn't be surprised if he did at some point.

Russ Smith, Louisville. He is still Russdiculous.

Sean Kilpatrick, Cincinnati. Playing on a defense-first team hasn't kept him from scoring 20 points a game.

Nick Johnson, Arizona. The junior whose coach couldn't get a callback from elite summer camps has become one of the best two-way players in the country.

Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State. He may have been suspended for a confrontation with a fan and has been accused of flopping, but the dude can play.

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TOP OPENING MATCHUPS

Oregon vs. BYU, West Regional, Thursday in Milwaukee. Ducks and Cougars combined to score nearly 200 points in their first meeting this season.

Kansas State vs. Kentucky, Midwest Regional, Friday in St. Louis. The Wildcats from Kentucky are peaking at the right time. The Wildcats from the Little Apple have a score to settle - they're 0-8 all-time against Kentucky.

Gonzaga vs. Oklahoma State, West Regional, Friday in San Diego. The Zags are underrated. The Cowboys have Marcus Smart

Arizona State vs. Texas, Midwest Regional, Thursday in Milwaukee. The Longhorns average more than 15 offensive rebounds per game and the Sun Devils have 7-foot-2 center Jordan Bachynski in the middle.

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POTENTIAL UPSETS

Harvard over Cincinnati, East Regional. The 12th Crimson pulled off an upset by knocking off New Mexico last season and have pretty much everyone back. This is has been the most popular upset pick of the bracket.

Providence over North Carolina, East Regional. The Friars, the 11th seed, took themselves off the NCAA bubble by winning the Big East, one of the toughest tournaments in the game. The sixth-seeded Tar Heels have been inconsistent most of the year, following big wins with disappointing losses.

Saint Joseph's over UConn, East Regional. The Hawks won nine of their last 11 games and have big man Halil Kanacevic. UConn won 26 games but could be vulnerable.

N.C. State or Xavier over Saint Louis, Midwest Regional. The Billikens limped down the stretch, losing four of five after a 25-2 start.

Iowa or Tennessee over UMass, Midwest Regional. The selection committee raised a few eyebrows by making the Minutemen a No. 6 seed after they lost seven of their final 15 games.

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NUMBERS

3-Straight years a team with a losing record has made the field of 68. Cal Poly, at 13-19, got in by winning the Big West tournament as the No. 7 seed.

9-Years since a preseason No. 1 didn't get a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky is 8 in the Midwest.

16-Years since UMass had made the NCAA tournament before getting in this season.

18-Teams that have entered the NCAA tournament undefeated. Seven went on to win the title, the last one Indiana in 1976.

26-Straight wins by top overall seed Florida.

38-Years since Virginia had won the ACC tournament before this season. The Cavs also won the regular-season title for the first time since 1981.

133-Games of scoring in double figures by Creighton's Doug McDermott, an NCAA record.

355-Weight of Sim Bhullar, New Mexico State's 7-foot-5 center.

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THE MISSING

Several teams enter the tournament with key players out or ailing:

Brandon Ashley, Arizona. The versatile sophomore forward went down for the season after injuring his right foot against Cal last month. The Wildcats have adapted, earning a top seed anyway.

Joel Embiid, Kansas. The powerful freshman forward missed the Big 12 tournament with a back injury and could miss the first weekend of the NCAAs.

Mitch McGary, Michigan. Speaking of backs, McGary, the Wolverines' big man, missed the entire Big Ten season because of his.

Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado. The Buffaloes sneaked into the bracket despite limping to the finish after their leading scorer went down with a torn ACL on Jan. 12.

Kyle Collinsworth, BYU. The Cougars' playmaking guard tore his ACL in the WCC championship game and is out for the NCAAs.

Giants sign CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) The New York Giants' secondary has gotten a lot stronger in the past couple of days, and so has their return game.

A year after missing the playoffs for the second straight season, the Giants continued to be a player in free agency, signing cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, formerly with Denver.

Terms of the contract were not immediately available.

A person with knowledge of the deal also confirmed late Monday night that the Giants have reached an agreement with former Denver Broncos kick returner Trindon Holliday. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because Holliday has to pass physical Tuesday before the team will announce the move.

Holliday returned a punt 81 yards for a touchdown in the Broncos 41-23 win over the Giants in the second week of last season.

The deals come just a day after the Giants confirmed the signing of former Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond and Chiefs safety Quintin Demps.

Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara are probably penciled in as the starters at cornerback, with Thurmond, Jayron Hosley and Trumaine McBride backing them up. The safety spots will be just as strong with Antrel Rolle, Will Hill, Demps and Stevie Brown on the roster.

Demps led the league in kickoff returns with a 30.1 yard average, while Holliday was sixth at 27.7 yards. Holiday was seventh in punt returns with an 8.5 yard average.

The Giants have been very active since free agency started last week. They signed running back Rashad Jennings, guard Geoff Schwartz, re-signed free agent middle linebacker Jon Beason and added former Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain. They also re-signed running back Peyton Hillis, kicker Josh Brown, Stevie Brown, McBride and fullback Henry Hynoski.

"The main thing, bringing in guys from Kansas City, Seattle, you can see what they're doing, trying to bring guys that are going to come in and lead by example," said Rodgers-Cromartie, who started in the Super Bowl along with Thurmond. "That's always a plus."

A 2008 first round-draft choice and 2009 Pro Bowler, Rodgers-Cromartie is entering his seventh NFL season. He has also been with Arizona and Philadelphia, playing with Rolle while with the Cardinals.

"He brought me in, took me under his wing and took care of me," Cromartie Rodgers said of Rolle. "So to be reunited with him is just a blessing. I know the things that he's done in his career and the man he's become. That's going to be a help for me."

Rodgers-Cromartie has played in 92 regular-season games with 75 starts and has started all nine postseason games in which he played. His career totals include 239 tackles (205 solo) and 19 interceptions.

Rodgers-Cromartie joined the Broncos last season as a free agent and played in 15 regular-season games with 13 starts at right cornerback. He finished the season with 31 tackles (25 solo), a team-high 15 passes defensed, and tied for the Broncos lead with three interceptions, including one of an Eli Manning pass late in the second quarter in Denver's victory over the Giants at the Meadowlands on Sept. 15.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Cavs' Irving out 2 weeks with biceps injury

CLEVELAND (AP) Kyrie Irving has been knocked out by an injury again, and it's really painful for the Cavaliers.

Irving will miss at least two weeks with a strained tendon in his left biceps, a major blow to Cleveland's chances of making the NBA playoffs with only a month left in the regular season.

Irving got hurt during the first half of Sunday night's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The All-Star point guard did not return after missing all five shots and leaving the game for medical evaluation and treatment. He flew back with the Cavaliers and Monday underwent an MRI, which revealed "a strain in the long head tendon" of his biceps, the Cavs said in a release.

The 21-year-old will be shut down for two weeks and re-evaluated. The Cavs said the tendon's response "will determine the most appropriate course of treatment."

Irving's injury couldn't come at a worse time for the Cavs.

He'll miss at least eight of the final 15 games, and without their leading scorer and best player, it will be tough for the Cavs (26-41) to clinch the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Cleveland begins the week 4 1-2 games behind Atlanta, and the Cavs have a difficult schedule ahead with Miami, Oklahoma City and Houston in town over the next five days.

And, equally troubling, is that Irving is again missing significant time due to an injury.

He sat out 38 games his first two seasons with a variety of injuries, including a broken nose, fractured jaw, broken finger, sprained shoulder and concussion. One of Irving's goals was to play in all 82 games this season, but he's already missed three with a bruised knee and is expected to sit for eight more.

Irving has scoffed at the notion that he is injury prone, but he hasn't made it through a full season and he was also sidelined during the summer after his rookie season when he broke his hand slamming it into a padded wall during a practice in Las Vegas.

Irving's injury issues predated him turning pro as he played in just 11 games as a freshman at Duke because of a foot injury.

Most of Irving's injuries have been unavoidable and bad luck because he plays hard and is unafraid to drive to the basket and draw contact from bigger, stronger players. It's not clear exactly when Irving was hurt on Sunday night.

As the Cavs move forward they'll have to factor Irving's spotty medical history into their decision as to whether or not to offer him a maximum-year contract extension this summer.

Cleveland hasn't made the playoffs since 2010, and this was supposed be the year the Cavs returned to the postseason and stayed out of the draft lottery. However, the club has underachieved in coach Mike Brown's second stint and owner Dan Gilbert fired general manager Chris Grant last month.

Now without Irving, the Cavs' climb has gotten even steeper.

QB Bridgewater works out during Louisville pro day

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Teddy Bridgewater gave NFL teams a glimpse of the skills he believes will make him a first-round draft choice.

How high the former Louisville quarterback is drafted on May 8 depends in part on what officials from 29 clubs - including six head coaches - gleaned from Monday's highly anticipated pro day workout. Bridgewater threw a range of passes, some with zip on them while others wobbled.

He came away pleased despite an unofficial time of 4.78 seconds in the 40, which may not matter if Bridgewater can read pro defenses and show poise in the pocket. With projections of him going as high as No. 1 overall, there will more tryouts before the draft.

"Teams will probably talk with me in the next couple of days," Bridgewater said. "I'll talk with my agent also and we'll come up with a plan from there."

Safety Calvin Pryor, another potential first-round pick, was among 15 Cardinals auditioning at the school's largest pro day workout. Bridgewater's presence in a draft pool including Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M and Central Florida's Blake Bortles obviously had a lot to do with that.

The Miami native didn't run the 40 or throw at last month's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, heightening pro day interest in the 6-foot-2, 208-pounder who completed 71 percent of his passes for 3,970 yards and a school-record 31 touchdowns last season. Every NFL team except Miami, Pittsburgh and Washington was present for the workout at Louisville's indoor practice facility that included a huge media contingent.

Watching closely were Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly; Oakland's Dennis Allen; Minnesota's Mike Zimmer; Tennessee's Ken Whisenhunt; Jacksonville's Gus Bradley; and Houston's Bill O'Brien - whose team holds the first overall pick - as Bridgewater ran and threw.

"He's staying cool," wide receiver Damian Copeland said of his former teammate's demeanor. "That's the biggest thing with Teddy. He doesn't let his emotions get involved. Out there, that's a big stage. There's a lot of pressure. You have all the teams out there and they're critiquing every little thing that you do."

The day's most-watched segment was a scripted passing drill led by former Heisman Trophy winner and personal coach Chris Weinke, where Bridgewater threw without gloves after wearing them throughout his college career. Some of his 63 balls were crisp and tight in various situations; others were slightly ahead of or behind his receivers.

Bridgewater said afterward that his footwork was tweaked, but his throwing motion remained the same while barehanded.

"I think I did pretty good," he said afterward. "I competed, threw the ball on time in rhythm, kept guys running and scrambling as I completed the football (pass)...

"I was pretty relaxed this morning. I woke up this morning, looked in the mirror and said, `let's go. It's go time.' There was no pressure added, no need to feel nervous because I'm confident in myself, confident in my wide receivers, tight ends and running backs. It was just another day."

Bridgewater weighed in 10 pounds lighter than at the combine. Part of that weight loss was due to working out in Florida with Wienke and having a cold, but he hopes to play around 220 pounds in the pros.

As for his 40 time, Bridgewater didn't bother to improve it with a second attempt, saying, "I ran one 40 and I don't have to run it again."

Former Dallas Cowboys executive and NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt cautioned against reading too much into the workout it because of Bridgewater's other intangibles.

"This guy has been well-coached and is a quality individual who can relate to others," Brandt said. "All he has to do is win on Sunday."

Pryor also felt encouraged after a workout he believes reinforced projections of him going late in the first round or early in the second. Monday was about the 5-11, 211-pounder following up his solid combine with more examples of his agility and reaction skills.

"My main focus is doing what I have to do up to May 8," Pryor said, "and just keep trying to perfect my craft and be the best that I can be."

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Follow Gary B. Graves on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GaryBGraves

Cowboys add QB Weeden to mix with Romo, Orton

The Dallas Cowboys have three quarterbacks with starting experience in the NFL - at least for now.

The Cowboys added free agent Brandon Weeden on a two-year contract Monday even though they expect Kyle Orton to return behind Tony Romo next season.

There have been reports Orton might not come back for a third season as Romo's backup, but the team is expecting Orton to be on hand. Dallas carried two quarterbacks late last season after Alex Tanney was claimed off the practice squad by Cleveland, where Weeden had fallen out of favor.

Weeden was a first-round pick by the Browns in 2012 and had a promising rookie season, when he passed for 3,385 yards and won five starts. However, he started poorly in 2013, got benched, lost his confidence and never recovered.

He also became a target of abuse by Cleveland fans, who grew tired of him forcing passes and making bad decisions. He was released last week.

At 30, Weeden is much older than a typical third-year NFL player because he played professional baseball for five years before finishing his college career. He started his baseball career with the Yankees' organization.

The Browns picked Weeden 22nd overall after two strong seasons as the starter at Oklahoma State, also the college home of Dallas Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant. Weeden had Oklahoma State in contention for the 2011 national championship game before settling for the school's first BCS bowl bid, a 41-38 victory over Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

Orton made his only start for Dallas in the season finale against Philadelphia last year with a playoff berth on the line. Romo injured his back a week earlier against Washington and had surgery two days before the Cowboys lost to the Eagles, their third straight loss in a finale with the NFC East title at stake.

Orton played well in the 24-22 loss to Philadelphia, but threw a clinching interception in the final two minutes with a chance to lead a winning drive.

Romo has 108 career starts to 70 for Orton and 20 for Weeden.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at https://twitter.com/apschuyler

Hot finishes don't mean much to committee

The man in charge of the NCAA selection committee insists a win in November is worth the same as a win in March.

Don't believe him? Check out the seeds slapped beside these conference champions:

-A 4 for Louisville of the American Athletic.

-A 4 for Michigan State of the Big Ten.

-Yet another 4 for UCLA of the Pac-12.

-A 7 for New Mexico of the Mountain West.

Oh, and don't forget that 8 for Kentucky, which had the ball and a chance to beat Florida, the NCAA tournament's top overall seed, in the waning seconds of the SEC title game.

Only Virginia, which wrapped up the ACC tournament Sunday to back up its regular-season title, seemed to get a significant bump from the conference tournaments that polish off resumes of teams before the start of America's favorite office pool - March Madness.

Ron Wellman, chair of the NCAA selection committee, said the Cavaliers, considered a 2 or 3 on most mock-ups, "continued to impress us throughout the year."

Asked to explain the mediocre seed for a team like Louisville, the defending national champion that has won 12 of 13 and rolled through the AAC tournament, Wellstone explained the committee looks at the entire resume, not just March.

"We look at the total body of work, everything they did from November to March," he said. "Every time we scrubbed that seed, Louisville ended at the same place every time when compared to the people above them."

The people above them in the Midwest region, which shapes up as the toughest, include top-seeded and undefeated Wichita State, No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Duke. Yes, that's three of last year's Final Four teams. The national semifinals are April 5 in Arlington, Texas.

On the `1' line in the West was Arizona, which stayed there despite falling in the Pac-12 title game to UCLA. The Bruins are a `4,' same as Michigan State and Louisville - their fellow power-conference champions.

"They pass everyone's `eye test,"' Wellman said. "They're playing as well right now as anyone in the country. If you look at the last three or four weeks, they probably would've been seeded differently. When you look at the entire season, then it's a little bit different."

Of course, the numbers are just that - numbers. In an era of one-and-done, superstar coaches and unending parity, the real drama starts after the brackets are out. That's why Warren Buffett had no problem paying the insurance premium against a $1 billion payoff for anyone who fills out a perfect bracket.

"There's more good teams and less great teams," said coach Bill Self of second-seeded Kansas. "The difference between a 2 seed and a 7 or 8 seed is as narrow as it's ever been."

The last four bubble teams in this year's draw were 12th-seeded North Carolina State and Xavier, who play in the First Four on Tuesday, and 11th-seeded Iowa and Tennessee, who play Wednesday.

Left out of the tournament was SMU of the AAC - a team almost all the experts had securely in the bracket.

But not the folks in the conference room, who couldn't overcome the Mustangs' strength of schedule: 129.

"When I saw Louisville, I kind of figured that they didn't have a lot of respect for our conference," said coach Larry Brown. "But we only can blame ourselves, that's the way I look at it."

The committee handed out only seven at-large bids to mid-majors after they took 11 in each of the last two seasons.

The Big 12 led all conferences with seven teams, though winning the conference didn't move Iowa State past the `3' line.

Other conference titles that didn't change much:

-St. Joe's was the champion of the six-bid Atlantic-10 and got a 10 seed while the team the Hawks beat, VCU, was seeded fifth.

-Providence went from the bubble to Big East champion and was seeded 11th.

Meanwhile, Kansas lost in the semifinals of the Big 12 but remained a 2 seed because of its ranking in the RPI - No. 3. The Jayhawks have to get through the first weekend without center Joel Embiid, out with a back injury, but could face a third-round game against Mountain West champs New Mexico.

"Off the top of my head, I can't remember exactly what the conversation was about New Mexico," Wellman said. "I can tell you the conversations about New Mexico were very positive."

In the West, Arizona's second game could come against eighth-seeded Gonzaga, which lost its second game as a No. 1 seed last year, or No. 9 Oklahoma State, which has one of the nation's best players in Marcus Smart. The nation's top scorer, Doug McDermott (26.9 points per game), is on the other side of that bracket with No. 3 Creighton.

On Virginia's side of the East bracket is one team nobody wants to play come tournament time - No. 4 Michigan State, which hadn't won back-to-back games since late January, but strung three together to win the nation's second-toughest conference.

"You don't get many teams that are talented, have inside and outside, show toughness, are together, have great chemistry," coach Tom Izzo said. "I've said three times in my career that I thought we were good enough to get to a Final Four. I thought this team was next in line."

Tanaka allows 1 run, Yankees beat Braves 7-4

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Masahiro Tanaka allowed one run and three hits over 4 1-3 innings Sunday in the New York Yankees' 7-4 win over the Atlanta Braves.

Tanaka, who signed a $155 million, seven-year contract in January, struck out six and walked two. The Japanese star gave up an RBI double to Tommy La Stella in the fourth.

"I wanted to keep the number of pitches a little bit lower today," Tanaka said through a translator after a 74-pitch outing. "But the result of just giving up one run I am pretty satisfied with."

Tanaka had success with a number of pitches, including a dominant splitter.

"When you get swing-and-miss stuff, and you can attack the zone with four different pitches, it's special," New York catcher Brian McCann said.

Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman left after two innings with a bruised left thumb. He took a hard-hit ball off his hand while playing defense.

"It's precautionary," Freeman said.

Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched due to right calf tightness. General manager Brian Cashman said he thinks the injury is a minor one.

Ichiro Suzuki replaced Ellsbury at the top of the lineup and had two hits, including an RBI single, off Braves starter Julio Teheran.

STARTING TIME

Braves: Teheran went four innings, giving up one run, five hits and one walk while striking out five. He didn't allow a run over nine innings in his previous three starts.

"Outstanding," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He mixed his pitches well. He had a little jam there in the first inning with the meat of their order coming up and got out of that jam, punched out a couple guys. He did a nice job, he really did."

Yankees: Tanaka has allowed two runs and seven hits while striking out 10 over 9 1-3 innings in three spring training games.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Braves: Infielder Tyler Pastornicky (left knee surgery) had four at-bats in a minor league game and could play for Atlanta on Friday.

Gonzalez has not completely ruled out Pastornicky for opening day.

"You hate to say no," Gonzalez said. "You never know. I think the biggest thing is to make sure he's getting out of here healthy."

Shortstop Andrelton Simmons, slowed by a sore knee, was hitless in three at-bats.

Catcher Ryan Doumit left in the second with a bruised right middle finger, the result of taking Pete O'Brien's foul ball off his hand. He immediately walked to the dugout after being struck.

"It's tough," Freeman said of his teammate. "It was clean. Hopefully he's OK. He was in high spirits before he left here, so hopefully it's good news."

Yankees: Shortstop Eduardo Nunez, who left following the fifth inning after Minnesota's Chris Colabello kicked him in the left thigh while sliding into second Friday, went 2 for 3.

Infielder Brendan Ryan (lower back) could return Wednesday.

Reliever Andrew Bailey, coming back from right shoulder surgery last July, expects to increase his throwing from 90 to 120 feet in about a week. The Yankees think he might return in August or September.

McCANN'S MEMORIES

McCann went 1 for 3, including a two-run double, in his first game against his former team.

"I was real excited to come to the park today," he said. "Getting to see a lot of guys I've spent a lot of years with, had special bonds with. I really enjoyed my time there."

McCann signed an $85 million, five-year contract with New York in December.

ROSTER MOVE

The Yankees optioned left-hander Manny Banuelos to Class-A Tampa.

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