National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

NBA rumors swirl around Ky. coach John Calipari

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky's talented freshmen shed a shaky regular season and then showed why the Wildcats were picked No. 1 in the preseason with an impressive run to the NCAA championship game.

After falling short in a 60-54 loss to Connecticut, the annual question is who will leave Kentucky for the NBA, including John Calipari.

The fifth-year Kentucky coach is used to inquiries, but former Kentucky player Rex Chapman turned up the heat Monday by tweeting that Calipari coaching the Los Angeles Lakers was a "done deal." While Calipari said later that he was happy with the Wildcats and planned to be back at Kentucky, he didn't completely dismiss the scenario.

It wouldn't be a surprise if Kentucky (29-11) loses forward Julius Randle. Several of his young teammates also are going to mull over their pro prospects.

But the tweet by Chapman, a former Wildcat, shifted some of the scrutiny toward Calipari, whose name frequently pops up about NBA jobs. He has laughed off many of them, but the newest seemed to strike a nerve.

Calipari didn't address the NBA issue during Tuesday's brief celebration before 3,500 at Rupp Arena in which the runner-up banner hung from the rafters. But he responded to Chapman's initial comment after the game by saying, "The Lakers have a basketball coach. Kentucky has a basketball coach. I got the best job in the country. I'm not even going to dignify that stuff."

Chapman's tweet came just before the Wildcats faced the Huskies in pursuit of their ninth national title, and some Kentucky fans blamed him Tuesday on radio talk shows for creating a distraction. Chapman backtracked on his comment Tuesday, saying in a radio interview that he believed Calipari would stay at Kentucky.

As for the players, the question is which of Kentucky's six high-school All-American recruits will pursue their pro dreams after raising their stock in the tournament.

Randle appears to be the biggest NBA lock after arriving with projections of being a lottery pick. He boosted his profile by averaging 15 points and 10.4 rebounds, and posting 24 double-doubles despite being double- and triple-teamed.

Kentucky's starting backcourt might also enter the draft pool following their performances in the NCAA tournament.

Twins Aaron Harrison - whose back-to-back, game-winning 3-pointers helped put the Wildcats into the final - and Andrew have been listed on some draft boards as first- or second-round picks. James Young is another possibility because of his outside shooting; he led Kentucky with 20 points against UConn.

Sophomore seven-footer Willie Cauley-Stein - who was sidelined for the final three games by an ankle injury - and forward Alex Poythress are also considered prospects. Freshmen post players Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee are expected back.

With all of his players, Calipari said he will discuss their futures soon enough.

"Now that the season's over, it is about the players," the coach said. "They sacrificed. They surrendered to each other now, for our team and our program and our school.

"We'll sit down with each of them and they will make decisions for themselves."

Whatever the Wildcats decide, they can look back on an intriguing season in which they began No. 1 with projections of even going unbeaten before enduring a series of growing pains. In fact, a stretch-run swoon had knocked Kentucky out of the Top 25 just before the Southeastern Conference tournament, when the light went on and it began chasing a lofty goal of winning a second title in three years.

After a one-point loss to eventual NCAA tournament top seed Florida in the SEC championship, the Wildcats caught fire in the tournament behind Aaron Harrison's clutch NBA-range 3-pointers that beat defending champion Louisville, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Ill-timed turnovers and 11 missed free throws ultimately cost Kentucky against UConn, but the Wildcats took solace in maturing enough to get to a place that seemed unlikely a month ago. It remains to be seen whether players or Calipari stick around for another shot with another highly regarded group of recruits, but they're happy to have at least fulfilled some of those expectations.

"We have been through a lot this season," Randle said afterward. "How we kept fighting and were able to make this run just says a lot about our guys. I just that it ended like this."

Braun hits 3 homers, Brewers beat Phillies 10-4

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Ryan Braun hit three home runs and tied a franchise record with seven RBIs to lead the Milwaukee Brewers over Philadelphia 10-4 Tuesday, spoiling the Phillies' home opener.

Coming off a three-game sweep of the World Series champion Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, the Brewers won their fourth straight game and improved to 5-2.

Kyle Lohse (1-1) allowed three runs and seven hits, walking five.

Braun connected twice off Kyle Kendrick (0-1), snapping the longest homerless drought of his career. The 2011 NL MVP came in with only three singles in 20 at-bats this season.

But Braun, who is bothered by a right thumb injury, felt just fine, as usual, in Philadelphia. He has 10 homers and 21 RBIs in 20 career games at Citizens Bank Park.

Canucks fire GM Gillis after missing playoffs

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) The Vancouver Canucks fired president and general manager Mike Gillis on Tuesday, a day after being eliminated from playoff contention.

Gillis took over as general manager from the fired Dave Nonis after the 2007-08 season. The Canucks advanced to the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals under Gillis before losing to Boston, and since then the team has been in a steady decline.

"The Vancouver Canucks had success under Mike's leadership, and we nearly reached our ultimate goal; but I believe we have reached a point where a change in leadership and new voice is needed," team owner Francesco Aquilini said in a release.

The Canucks lost in the first round of the playoffs for two straight seasons before missing the post-season entirely for the first time since 2008.

Vancouver fans appeared fed up with the team's downturn and chanted for Gillis to be fired as the Canucks lost 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.

Gillis signed a contract extension after the 2011-12 season. There were indications last week he and first-year head coach John Tortorella weren't communicating. Gillis seemed to criticize Tortorella's style in a radio interview, saying he wanted the team to get back to the type of game that got it to the 2011 Cup finals.

"I want us to play upbeat, puck possession, move the puck quickly, force teams into mistakes, high-transition game," Gillis said in an interview with the Team 1040. "I think we have the personnel to do it. If we don't have the personnel to do it, they'll be changed.

"That's my vision, that's how I believe you are going to win in the Western Conference and the National Hockey League. If you look at the top teams in the West, there isn't a lot that separates any of the teams in the West, but the top teams play that way. That's the way we played."

Tortorella has preached a defense-first, puck-pressure, shot-blocking style since taking charge of the club in the offseason after Alain Vigneault was fired following the 2013 first-round playoff exit. That has been Tortorella's coaching style in previous stints with the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Rangers.

Apart from this season's product on the ice, Gillis had also been roundly criticized for his poor draft record, questionable free-agent signings and trades, and the handling of the Roberto Luongo saga.

After the veteran goalie was unseated in the Vancouver crease by Cory Schneider, Gillis tried to move Luongo and his massive contract - one that Gillis himself had negotiated. When Luongo couldn't be dealt, Schneider was sent to the New Jersey Devils at last summer's draft.

In another surprising twist, Luongo was then traded back to the Florida Panthers last month following Tortorella's decision to start backup Eddie Lack in the Heritage Classic game.

In just over eight months, a position that had been the Canucks' strength became a major question mark.

Infante's jaw sprained, not broken by Bell pitch

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Kansas City's Omar Infante has a sprained jaw and needed six stitches to close a cut opened when he was hit by a Heath Bell pitch.

Infante was injured during the seventh inning of Monday's 4-2 win over Tampa Bay and was sent to the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The Royals said Tuesday that the second baseman did not sustain a concussion. The team said he will be evaluated over the following two days and he was not likely to miss a significant amount of playing time.

"It was great news, no fracture," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "I just saw him in the training room. He looks good. He just ate something, so he was able to chew. He was smiling. He was talking. It could have been a lot worse, so we really dodged a bullet there."

Infante left Detroit during the offseason and signed a $30.25 million, four-year contract with the Royals.

Danny Valencia replaced Infante at second base on Tuesday, leaving the Royals had no backup infielder. Yost said the Royals aren't sure whether they will make any roster moves before a six-game trip to Minnesota and Houston that starts Friday.

Yost said for the rest of the Tampa Bay series he can rely on backup catcher Brett Hayes and left fielder Alex Gordon as emergency infielders.

NFL, players meet about workplace atmosphere

NEW YORK (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and union leader DeMaurice Smith met Tuesday to discuss the league's workplace environment.

In light of the bullying scandal last season involving the Dolphins' Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, both sides want to improve the working atmosphere. Goodell last month targeted this meeting as a chance to create open lines of discussion about the issue.

On hand along with Goodell on the league side were new NFL director of football operations Troy Vincent; Giants owner John Mara; Packers president Mark Murphy; Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome; Panthers coach Ron Rivera; assistant coaches Hue Jackson and Rod Marinelli; and several league executives.

Also involved Tuesday were new NFLPA President Eric Winston and several other union executives and players.

"The discussions between owners and players about a professional workplace were positive," NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said in an email to The Associated Press. "We will continue to work together to set the highest workplace standards for everyone in the business of football."

The Dolphins were plagued by a bullying scandal after tackle Martin left the team. NFL investigators found that guard Incognito and two teammates engaged in persistent harassment directed at Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer. Incognito was suspended for the final eight games of the season and no longer is with the Dolphins. Martin was traded to San Francisco.

At the center of the discussions was the role of coaches in setting standards of behavior and helping every member of a team to understand and be accountable for living up to those standards.

"It was a productive discussion about how we can work together to ensure that the conduct of all NFL personnel consistently meets the highest standards on and off the football field," the league said in an email to the AP.

St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher spoke at the league meetings in Orlando in March about also cleaning up players' actions on the field. He specifically targeted reducing taunting, and also spoke about bullying.

"It's a behavior change and we feel it starts with leadership and that's leadership with the head coach, the owner or the general manager, but also leadership on your football team," Fisher said. "Those are the areas we are going to focus on this spring.

"If the college athlete sees something on the weekends that the pro athletes is doing, they, most of the time, are going to act the same way. And not that we're allowing it to happen, but the incidents are increasing and we want to reduce them. Colleges are adamant about sportsmanship on the field and celebrations and taunting and things like that. They don't tolerate it. Now, sometimes they may not see it, but we've got to get to that point where we can't tolerate it."

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

Without Tiger, the Masters has an open look

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) Adam Scott has gone to majors for more than a decade looking at Tiger Woods as the player to beat.

Now that Woods is out of the Masters for the first time in his career that "player to beat" could be just about anyone.

Scott is the defending champion and can go to No. 1 in the world this week. Las Vegas lists Scott and Rory McIlroy as the betting favorites, narrowly ahead of Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar.

McIlroy has never finished in the top 10 at the Masters, which is a little misleading. He had a four-shot lead entering the final round in 2011 and shot an 80. McIlroy looked at the tee times for Thursday and predicted that 70 players could win the green jacket.

NC State's TJ Warren to enter NBA draft

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) North Carolina State sophomore T.J. Warren is taking his high-scoring game to the NBA.

In a statement released by the school Tuesday, the Atlantic Coast Conference's player of the year said he had "a fun ride" but was ready to enter the NBA draft.

"Playing in the NBA has been a lifelong dream of mine, and playing at N.C. State has prepared me well to achieve my dream," Warren said.

Behind Warren, the Wolfpack went from being picked to finish 10th in the ACC to reaching the NCAA tournament for the third straight year and beating Xavier in the First Four.

The 6-foot-8 forward led the league at 24.9 points per game - good for third nationally - while shooting a league-best 52.5 percent. He also led the team in rebounding at 7.1 per game.

Warren closed the regular season with 41 points at Pittsburgh and a career-high 42 points against Boston College, making him the first ACC player to go for 40 in consecutive games since December 1990 and only the seventh overall. He was the first N.C. State player to do it since program great David Thompson in December 1974 and the first ACC player to do it in consecutive league games since 1957.

Warren set school single-season records with 871 points and 31 20-point games.

"I truly believe he was the best offensive player in the nation this year, and although he is a great scorer, his rebounding and defensive improvement are often underappreciated," Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said in a statement. "I am excited for T.J. and want the very best for him. I believe in him and will miss having him in our program."

A year earlier, Warren averaged about 12 points and shot an ACC-best 62 percent in a supporting role behind C.J. Leslie, Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell and Scott Wood. He mulled an NBA jump last season but returned to a leading role after the departures of those upperclassmen as well as the transfer of freshman Rodney Purvis to Connecticut.

Warren dropped about 20 pounds to around 215 this year to better handle the load for an inexperienced team.

"I told him last year ... work on your game, get your mind right and come on back and show what you can do," his father Tony Warren said last week. "And he did that."

The elder Warren, a former Wolfpack player, had said he wanted his son to take his time and "be 100 percent sure" on his decision even as he expected him to be a top-20 pick.

N.C. State will also lose fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg and sophomore point guard Tyler Lewis, who said last week he would transfer to Butler. But N.C. State (22-14) returns second-leading scorer Ralston Turner (10.5 points) and adds a top-20 recruiting class featuring power forward Abdul-Malik Abu, and twin wings Caleb and Cody Martin.

Shabazz Napier delivers on title promise

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- With a little bit less than eight minutes left in Monday night’s national championship game, Shabazz Napier walked on the court after a timeout and looked into the crowd of Connecticut fans and family and alumni. At that moment, Connecticut led Kentucky by only one point. At that moment, the Huskies seemed to finally be wearing down against the bigger, stronger, more hyped Kentucky team. And that Kentucky team seemed to be gaining strength.

In other words, it seemed like a tense moment. Only it wasn’t for Shabazz Napier.

He looked at the section of the Connecticut crowd -- looked at Ray Allen, various parents of players, the University of Connecticut president -- and he smiled a little bit. Then pursed his lips a little, and nodded slowly. There was absolutely no mistaking the meaning. This was the universal symbol for three words.

We’ve. Got. This.

What? How could they have this? Kentucky had come back time and again in this game. The Wildcats trailed by 15 in the first half. Came back. They had trailed by nine just three minutes earlier. They came back.

And even before this game, Kentucky had been on this magical tournament run with Aaron Harrison’s last-second shots flying in like planes at LaGuardia. And now it was a one-point game, and those Wildcat freshmen had their feet under them, and Kentucky coach John Calipari would remember thinking, ‘We’re going to win,” and that huge Kentucky throng of fans that swarmed Dallas were in all-out believe mode.

Shabazz Napier looked at the fans. He shrugged. He smiled. He nodded with the surest look he had.

We’ve. Got. This.

And, the craziest part of all: He was right.

* * *

Every now and again, you will hear coaches say that the NCAA tournament is won by guard play. That has always seemed to me one of those true but incomplete lines like “defense wins championships.” Yes. That can be true. But sometimes offense wins championships. Sometimes great big man play wins national championships.

But it is obviously true: Guard play CAN win championships if it is inspired enough. Here in Texas we saw inspired two guards -- Napier and Ryan Boatright -- command the stage not just like great basketball players but the way the greatest performers do, they commanded the stage like Richard Pryor did, like Bruce Springsteen does or Jennifer Lawrence. They were mesmerizing. You couldn’t take your eyes off of them.

“Oh boy,” the guy next to me said Monday night late in the game as Boatright dribbled with the shot clock running down and the game on the line. “This is going to be good.”

And it was good.

By now, all college basketball fans know about the brilliance of Shabazz Napier. He’s listed at 6-foot-1 and he might not be that tall. He looks younger and slighter than just about anybody else on the floor, as if someone’s little brother had run on the court. He makes up for this with a conquering confidence that seems so real you can almost see it, you can almost touch it, you can’t help but wonder it fits into the overhead bin on planes.

“He has a swagger about him,” Kentucky coach John Calipari would say after the game, and you could tell that coming from Calipari there is no higher praise. People with Shabazz Napier’s confidence are hard to face because they are the true believers. They don’t seem aware of their weaknesses, it never occurs to them that losing is a possibility; they do not respond to pressure the way other people do.

Put it this way: After Connecticut lost to Louisville at home by a dozen back in January, their fourth loss in the previous nine games, Napier gathered around the team and do you know what he said to his struggling team?

Napier: “’I said ‘Keep your head up. At the end of the day,' I said, ‘We're going to be the team holding up that trophy. I promise you that.’ ”

He PROMISED them that. As he told that story, Boatright was sitting next to him and he just nodded. Yep. That’s what he said all right.

As a player, Napier has great quickness and a great shot and a special kind of intensity. But more than anything, he just has a deep faith that overpowers people. After he made his nodding guarantee to the Connecticut crowd, he promptly turned the ball over. Well, that wasn’t good. But nothing shakes his confidence. Nothing. Next time down he made a long 3-pointer that busted the spirit of those Kentucky players and silenced the Kentucky crowd.

See? We’ve. Got. This.

Boatright is even shorter than Napier and yet, if possible, his game is more physical. Boatright can actually be the most intimidating player on the floor, even if he is barely 6-feet tall. That’s because he’s a defensive whirlwind. He attacks the ball-handler, smells out passing lanes, can pickpocket the basketball from any angle at any moment. What’s scarier for any player than to just have the ball taken away from them? In the national semifinal against Florida, not only did Boatright stifle the Gators star guard Scottie Wilbekin, he left Wilbekin withered and baffled, like a tourist who had his luggage taken at the airport.

And Monday night, it was like that again only this time against the bigger and more-hyped guards of Kentucky. The Wildcats could not get into their offense for much of the game. They looked constantly winded. “To get to the rim, you’ve got to get past us,” Boatright says. “So just because you’re big, that’s not enough. You’ve got to be quick. You’ve got to get low. We’re in your way.”

Napier concurs: “We have been playing against tall people our entire life. We’re both short. We kind of understand how to maneuver our bodies.”

There was some talk afterward about how Kentucky was able to cut the Connecticut lead from 13 to 4 in the last four minutes of the first half, and how this might have been due to their zone defense or the fact they final made a couple of 3-pointers. But I suspect it had a lot to do with the fact that Boatright wasn’t on the floor -- he had picked up his second foul with, yes, four minutes left in the half.  And for a time Kentucky’s offense flowed. That’s how much of a difference he made.

Boatright’s offense is not quite as bold as Napier’s but it does seem out of the same mold -- lots of quickness and the guts to challenge much bigger men. With about four minutes left in the game and Connecticut leading by just four, as mentioned, Boatright got the ball as the shot clock was winding down. He made three or four lightning quick moves and then stepped back and shot a high jump shot. The ball swished through.

“Huge play,” Calipari would say. “Boatright’s big shot, huge shot, they’re dying there and he makes a step back. ... Give them all the credit. They beat us.”


That shot put Connecticut up six and, oddly, Kentucky never really came close to winning after that. The last four minutes seemed to disappear in an instant, mostly because Calipari did not want his team to foul. What was the point of fouling? Connecticut was legendary from the free throw line the whole tournament -- they shot 88 percent from the free throw line as a team for THE WHOLE TOURNAMENT. Monday they were 10 for 10. “They weren’t going to miss,” Calipari said, and so he let the clock run and hoped for the best. It didn’t work out.

After the game ended, and Connecticut won 60-54, the Connecticut players would talk about how hungry they had been after being on probation last year, how they never lost faith even after the 33-point loss to Louisville later in the year, how their second-year coach Kevin Ollie had inspired them and driven them and made them believe. It was Connecticut’s fourth national championship in 15 years -- something no team had pulled off since John Wooden’s UCLA teams. They talked about that, too.

“Somebody told me we were Cinderellas,” Ollie would say, “And I was like: ‘No. We’re UConn.’ ”

But before all that, the game ended, and firecrackers went off, and streamers filled the air. And Shabazz Napier ran over to the Connecticut fans, that same group he had nodded to with eight minutes to go. And he shouted, “I told you! I told you!” Then he was engulfed in hugs. Well, he did tell them.

Connecticut wins NCAA title, 60-54 over Kentucky

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Coaches and players left them. Others told them to go away.

The guys who stuck around at UConn ended up with the last laugh and a pretty good prize to go with it: The national title.

Shabazz Napier turned in another all-court masterpiece Monday night to lift the Huskies to a 60-54 win over Kentucky's freshmen and bring home a championship hardly anyone saw coming.

"You're looking at the hungry Huskies," Napier told the crowd and TV audience as confetti rained down. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us."

The senior guard had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, and his partner in defensive lock-down, Ryan Boatright, finished with 14 points.

The victory comes only a short year after the Huskies were barred from March Madness because of grades problems. That stoked a fire no one could put out in 2014.

Napier kneeled down and put his forehead to the court for a long while after the buzzer sounded. He was wiping back tears when he cut down the net.

"I see my guys enjoying it," Napier said. "That's the most special feeling ever."

UConn (32-8) never trailed in the final. The Huskies led by as many as 15 in the first half and watched the Wildcats (29-11) trim the deficit to one with 8:13 left. But Aaron Harrison, who pulled out wins with clutch 3-pointers in Kentucky's last three games, missed a 3 from the left corner that would've given the Cats the lead. Kentucky never got that close again.

One key difference in a six-point loss: Kentucky's 11 missed free throws - a flashback of sorts for coach John Calipari, whose Memphis team blew a late lead against Kansas after missing multiple free throws in the 2008 final. The Wildcats went 13 for 24. UConn went 10 for 10, including Lasan Kromah's two to seal the game with 25.1 seconds left.

"We had our chances to win," Calipari said. "We're missing shots, we're missing free throws. We just didn't have enough."

Calipari said he decided not to foul at the end "because they're not missing."

In all, Calipari's One and Doners got outdone by a more fundamentally sound, more-seasoned group that came into this tournament a seventh-seeded afterthought but walked away with the program's fourth national title since 1999. They were the highest seed to win it all since Rollie Massimino's eighth-seeded Villanova squad in 1985.

Napier and Boatright now go down with Kemba Walker, Emeka Okafor, Rip Hamilton, Ray Allen and all those other UConn greats. This adds to the school's titles in 1999, 2004 and 2011.

"When they say Ray, Rip, Ben, Emeka, Kemba - they'll soon say Shabazz," said their former coach, Jim Calhoun, who was in the crowd along with former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and a father-and-son team whose dance to the "Happy" song got huge applause when played on the big screen at AT&T Stadium.

The crowd was cheering for UConn at the end.

A short year ago, the Huskies were preparing for their first season in the new American Athletic Conference after being booted from the Big East and not welcomed by any of the so-called power conferences. Calhoun, who built the program, left because of health problems. And most damaging - the NCAA ban triggered an exodus of five key players to the NBA or other schools.

Napier stuck around. So did Boatright. And Calhoun's replacement, Kevin Ollie, figured out how to make their grit, court sense and loyalty pay off.

"It's not about going to the next level, it's not about going to the pros, but playing for your university, playing for your teammates," Niels Giffey said. "And I'm so proud of all the guys on this team that stuck with this team."

They were one step ahead of Kentucky all night, holding off furious rally after furious rally.

Kentucky's biggest push started when James Young (20 points, seven rebounds) posterized Amida Brimah with a monster dunk to start a three-point play and trigger an 8-0 run.

In the middle of that, Boatright, who shut down Harrison's twin brother, Andrew, most of the night, twisted his left ankle while receiving an innocuous-looking pass from Napier. He called a timeout. Got it worked on and came back out.

"I've got a lot of heart and I wasn't coming out," Boatright said. "We put in too much work all year for me to give up on an ankle sprain."

Napier and Giffey made 3s on UConn's two possessions after the timeout, and that one-point lead was back up to five - fairly comfortable by this tight, taut, buzzer-beating tournament's standards.

The big question in Kentucky is what will happen to all those freshmen. Julius Randle (10 points, six rebounds) is a lottery pick if he leaves for the NBA. Young and the Harrison brothers could be first-rounders. The big question is whether they'll want to leave on this note.

"I think all these kids are coming back, so I think we should be good," Calipari deadpanned, getting big laughs.

He called his group the most coachable bunch he's ever had. They were preseason No. 1, a huge disappointment through much of this season. They were seeded an uninspiring eighth for the tournament and came on strong in time for a run to the final.

But they got outdone by a team on a different sort of mission - a team led by Napier, who stuck with the program even though he knew the 2012-13 season was for nothing but fun.

But what fun 2013-14 turned out to be.

Napier was named the Final Four's Most Outstanding Player and he earned it on both ends of the court, keeping a hand in Aaron Harrison's face most of the night and holding him to a 3-for-7, seven-point, no-damage night.

He could also shoot it a bit - including a 3-pointer in the first half when UConn was having trouble dissecting the Kentucky zone. The shot came from about 30 feet, right in front of the edge of the Final Four logo at Center Court, or, as Dick Vitale put it: "He shot that one from Fort Worth."

They felt it back in Storrs, where they could be celebrating another title shortly. The UConn women play for the national title Tuesday.

If they win, it will be the first sweep of the titles since 2004. The last school to do it: UConn, of course.

UConn students celebrate national championship

STORRS, Conn. (AP) More than 10,000 UConn students shook the stands inside Gampel Pavilion Monday night, then erupted in cheers, stormed the arena floor and poured into the streets as their men's basketball team won its fourth national championship, and second in four years.

"I'm just so happy to be a Husky right now," said Mike Butkus, a 21-year-old senior from Naugatuck. "So much pride. The last 20 years, you'd be hard-pressed to find a program more successful than us."

After the victory the students came outside and onto a plaza for a dance party in the rain. The school hired a disc jockey in an effort to keep crowds of students under control. As many danced, others were hanging from trees and throwing firecrackers.

Extra campus police and state police patrolled on and around campus and several local fire companies were on standby with ambulances. Several people were helped from the arena by paramedics, apparently with alcohol-related issues.

Students said they expect the party to go on into the early morning hours.

"Hopefully I'll be able to go to class tomorrow, but I'm not certain," said Vincent Buffa, a 21-year-old senior from Tolland.

Students waited in line for up to four hours to get a seat inside the arena just to watch on three large movie screens as their team played 1,700 miles away in Arlington, Texas.

A half hour after the doors opened, the arena was filled, and hundreds more were turned away.

"It's my first year of college, you've got to go big," said Ryan Massicotte, an 18-year-old freshman from Naugatuck who was sporting a fuzzy Husky dog hat and sunglasses with the dog logo on each lens. "You've got to show it off the right way."

The students sang the national anthem, chanted "Let's go Huskies" before the tip, roared when the home team was introduced and booed the Kentucky players.

The stands shook every time Shabazz Napier made a 3-pointer. The pep band and school dance team entertained the crowd during timeouts.

Fans jumped up and down chanting "I believe that we will win" as their Huskies struggled through a second-half rally by Kentucky.

A few minutes later, as the final seconds ticked off the clock in Texas, they pushed their way on the floor, turning it into a giant mosh pit as their belief became a 60-54 reality.

It was expected to be especially loud outside the North Campus residence hall, where an email from a resident assistant bent on enforcing quiet hours went viral on Monday.

School officials confirmed the authenticity of the email, but said it was actually sent out to residents of the RA's floor on Saturday, before the national semifinals. But it began getting wide circulation on social media sites on Monday.

The student, identified in the email only as "Derek" wrote that students partying because of a name on the front of a basketball jersey would be "cheering for laundry."

"That's the anti-fun," said Brian Aggerbeck, a 20-year-old junior from Hopkinton, Mass. "That's the opposite of what I want to do. I just want to be able to enjoy myself. I'm not one of those people who destroys things, but we should be allowed to have fun on a night like this."

There were no immediate reports of any major problems, but numerous alcohol-related arrests, the school said.

The undefeated women play for a record ninth national title Tuesday in Nashville. The Husky teams are now a combined 12-0 in NCAA championship games.

A pep rally to honor the men's team was scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday at Gampel Pavilion.

Police: Wolves F Cunningham sent threatening texts

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham posted $150,000 bail and was released from custody Monday night following an initial court appearance for domestic assault charges, with the possibility that more charges could be coming from a second arrest over the weekend.

Cunningham was arrested twice in three days after alleged incidents with the woman he had been living with for the previous eight months. Cunningham was charged Friday with felony domestic assault for allegedly choking the woman.

Police said they received a call from the woman in the early morning hours on Sunday saying that Cunningham had violated a protection order by sending threatening text messages that "rose to a terroristic level." Authorities have not charged Cunningham on those allegations and are continuing to investigate.

Cunningham surrendered Sunday and turned over his cellphone and computer as part of the investigation. The Associated Press left a message with Cunningham's attorney seeking comment.

The Timberwolves said Sunday they were gathering information about Cunningham's latest arrest.

"The situation with Dante Cunningham is very fluid and we continue to monitor all available information," the team said. "We reiterate that the Minnesota Timberwolves do not condone the behavior described in the accusations. We continue to wait for the legal process to run its course and will have further comment when appropriate."

The Wolves declined to comment much further after practice on Monday.

"I really don't know all the circumstances so it's just something that we'll have to wait and see what happens with that and we'll move on when we find out," coach Rick Adelman said.

Cunningham played for the Timberwolves in Orlando on Saturday night. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement requires the league and the Timberwolves to allow Cunningham to return to work while the legal process plays out.

"Nothing's happened to him (yet)," Adelman said. "He wanted to play. I think it's a situation where you have to listen to the league, you have to listen to different things. Right now I don't have any information at all about what happened."

Cunningham started against the Magic for the injured Kevin Love and had 12 points and six rebounds in 34 minutes.

In his fifth year in the league, Cunningham is averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds this season. He is set to become a free agent on July 1 after completing the final year of his contract that pays him $2.1 million this season.

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Associated Press Writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report.

Raptors C Valanciunas charged with drunk driving

TORONTO (AP) Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas has been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Ontario Provincial Police say there was a report early Monday that a vehicle went through a drive-thru with open beer bottles visible. Police say officers located the vehicle at a home, where they arrested Valanciunas, alleging he was under the influence of alcohol while driving.

The 21-year-old Valanciunas is in his second season with the playoff-bound Raptors. He is averaging 11 points and 8.6 rebounds a game.

The Raptors say the team takes the matter very seriously and are disappointed Valanciunas "put himself in this situation." They says they are gathering information and will comment further "when appropriate."

Masiello on unpaid leave until he gets degree

NEW YORK (AP) Steve Masiello will be reinstated as the head coach at Manhattan College as soon as he receives his degree from the University of Kentucky.

The school announced Monday that Masiello, who had been coach of the Jaspers for three seasons, will be on unpaid leave until he gets the degree. During his absence, associate head coach Matt Grady will lead the program.

Masiello, who has a 61-39 career record at Manhattan, led the Jaspers to a 28-5 record this season and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title. The Jaspers lost 71-64 to Louisville in the NCAA tournament.

Within four days of the loss to his former college coach and boss, Rick Pitino, Masiello agreed to become coach at South Florida. Then it came to light Masiello didn't get a degree from Kentucky and the job offer was rescinded.

Manhattan waited almost a week before revealing the decision to allow Masiello to return to his job.

"After an extensive review of the situation and extenuating circumstances, we determined that Mr. Masiello executed poor judgment but did not intentionally misrepresent himself in applying to the College," Manhattan president Brennan O'Donnell said in a statement.

He said Masiello intended to take summer courses after graduating but didn't. Masiello will complete his degree this summer, O'Donnell said.

Masiello said he is "extremely grateful and humbled by the opportunity" the school is giving him.

Yankees closer Robertson headed to disabled list

NEW YORK (AP) Yankees closer David Robertson is headed to the disabled list because of a strained groin just three appearances into his role as Mariano Rivera's replacement.

Robertson felt discomfort Sunday five or six pitches into the ninth inning of a 6-4 win over the Toronto Blue Jays, his second save in three outings this season.

"It's really disappointing," Robertson said Monday after New York beat Baltimore 4-2 in its home opener. "I would've loved to have been out there pitching the ninth today, especially on opening day here."

Instead, Robertson had an MRI that revealed a Grade 1 strain and setup man Shawn Kelley earned his first career save. Kelly pitched a perfect ninth that ended with him catching a toss from first baseman Kelly Johnson and keeping the game ball.

"Exciting," said Kelley, who learned Sunday night he might fill in for Robertson.

Robertson doesn't expect his absence to last more than the required 15 days.

"Anytime I sit for a handful of days I feel good as gold," Robertson said. "I think it will be rest a little while, play catch and get a bullpen and get right back in there."

Robertson made a smooth transition to closer after Rivera retired at the end of last season with a major league-record 652 saves. An All-Star setup man, Robertson was only eight for 18 in save chances during six seasons before taking over the role.

He's allowed one hit in three scoreless innings this year.

The Yankees bullpen was impressive without him Monday.

Adam Warren pitched the eighth and after a leadoff walk he retired three straight, striking out All-Stars Adam Jones and Chris Davis to end the inning.

"We're going to try to step up and fill that void for a brief period of time," Warren said.

Also, first baseman Mark Teixeira had an MRI that confirmed he had a Grade 1 right hamstring strain. Placed on the DL Saturday, Teixeira thinks he will only need the minimum time out. He said he will begin an exercise program Tuesday.

"I knew that it wasn't anything major when I did it," Teixeira said.

Jeter starts Bronx farewell memorably

NEW YORK (AP) Derek Jeter arrived for his last Yankee Stadium opener fashionably early at 9:35 a.m., attired in a gray suit, white shirt, purple tie and black Prada lace-up shoes.

His performance, if not stylish, was memorable.

Jeter missed a home run by about 2 feet in Monday's 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles. After he left the batter's box slowly leading off the fifth inning, the ball hit off the "8" in the 318-foot sign in the left-field corner and Jeter hustled into second with a headfirst slide.

"I had to pick up the pace a little bit," he admitted. "Yeah, there were some guys laughing - until a couple of them hit some balls and the wind got them, too."

It was a rare mind cramp for a player known for hustle and an unfailing ability to be in the right place.

"Maybe you get caught up in opening day," he said. "You probably haven't seen it, probably won't see it again. But what can you (do)? I was safe. It would be a lot more embarrassing if I was out."

Jeter scored one run, sent another home with a double-play grounder on a 1-for-4 day and was applauded every time he came to bat and fielded a grounder to shortstop.

This was Jeter's first appearance in New York since announcing Feb. 12 that his 20th season will be his last. With the retirements of Jeter's No. 2 and former manager Joe Torre's No. 6 likely, the 48,142 adoring and slightly frosted fans on hand during a cool and overcast afternoon almost surely were the last to witness a single-digit pinstriped uniform on opening day.

Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte formed a Core Four reunion for the ceremonial first pitch ceremony, a reminder of the five World Series rings earned during Jeter's era.

And Yogi Berra, the Yankees' 88-year-old symbol of post-World II dominance, was in the clubhouse in his wheel chair for some opening-day schmoozing.

Since first coming up to the big leagues in 1995 and establishing himself the following year, Jeter had been model Yankee, continuing the line of greatness that began with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, and was extended by Joe DiMaggio, Berra and Mickey Mantle. He became captain in 2003 and still talks of owner George Steinbrenner instilling the compulsive obsession to win, recalling "if you didn't do your job, the Boss would get rid of you."

As players' lives became more public in the digital age, Jeter remained opaque and a bit Vulcan, suppressing emotion.

"Yeah, you have feelings and there's a lot of wild moments playing here in New York," he said, "but for me I just it was always easier for me to play if I tried to control my emotions."

After breaking his left ankle in the 2012 playoffs and limping through 17 games last year, Jeter decided 2014 was the end. He turns 40 in June and probably could play a few more years but felt this is the right time to move forward to the next stage in his life.

"He has a lot more mileage on his body than all of us," Posada said, having watched Jeter play through injuries that would have sent others to the bench.

Pettitte implored Jeter to "just try to embrace it and really enjoy" his final year "because he's going to blink and the season is going to be over and then he's not going to put the uniform on again."

"It's kind of weird, but it is what it is," Posada said. "We have to move on, and another core four has got to step up."

Jeter's head was bowed during much of "The Star-Spangled Banner." When the national anthem ended, he crouched for a few seconds, then got up, put on his cap and jogged down the first base line and the back of the infield dirt toward second base.

By coincidence, Jeter's first big league manager, Buck Showalter, was across the field running the Orioles. Showalter expressed effusive praise.

"A lot of people get caught up in the disease of `me,"' he said. "Derek never fell in that."

More than 3 1/2 hours before Monday's first pitch, Jeter was among the first players in the Yankees oval clubhouse. A gift basket of liquor at his locker, next to one of the new office-style swivel chairs with each player's number and the team's interlocking "NY" logo.

Seeing a business bonanza, the Yankees were selling jerseys with Jeter commemorative retirement patches, starting with replicas at $114.99 and going up to $240.99 for authentic models. Steiner Sports was hawking a game-used single cleat for $2,549.99 and game-worn jerseys at up to $25,000.

Jeter didn't have much hope of leaving the ballpark with any mementos.

"I'm good taking the win," he said, "but Steiner Sports has the rest."

GM Yzerman signs 4-year extension with Lightning

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Lightning have signed vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman to a four-year contract extension that runs through the 2018-19 season.

Yzerman is completing his fourth season in Tampa Bay. The Lightning are playoff-bound for the second time during his tenure.

The extension was announced Monday by team chairman and governor Jeff Vinik.

The 48-year-old Yzerman won three Stanley Cup championships as a player and one as an executive in 27 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. The Hall of Famer says he's "grateful for the opportunity" to continue leading the Lightning.

The Lightning also announced Steve Griggs has been promoted from chief operating officer to team president.

Notre Dame, UConn set for historic title game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Muffet McGraw and Geno Auriemma were well aware of the talk. There has been a buzz throughout women's basketball all season about the potential showdown between their undefeated teams.

Well, the wait is over.

UConn (39-0) and Notre Dame (37-0) are set to meet in an unprecedented championship clash Tuesday night.

"I think it's something that everyone's looked forward to all year long," McGraw said. "People were hoping we would end up here. It's great for the game and I think it's great we're both undefeated coming into it. It should be a great matchup for women's basketball."

Auriemma agreed that this once in a lifetime matchup - the first time undefeated basketball teams, men or women, have met for the NCAA national crown - could help grow the women's game.

"An awful lot of people might tune in Tuesday night that wouldn't normally tune in," he said. "A game on national television between two great teams, nothing could be better for the sport."

There's also so much at stake for both teams.

A victory by UConn over its rival would be the ninth of Geno Auriemma's career breaking a tie with Pat Summitt for the most all-time. And if he does it, he'll accomplish it in Summitt's backyard.

"I'm not a numbers guy and don't get caught up in that stuff," Auriemma said. "Wednesday morning when I wake up, my life doesn't change one iota. Stewie (Breanna Stewart) says she came to win four national championships, that's what I think is more significant. For Bria (Hartley) and Stef (Dolson) to win a national championship their senior years. They get `X' amount of chances to do it. God willing, I'll get more chances down the road."

While Auriemma deflected the talk on a record title, Dolson is happy to be a part of it.

"It's amazing," the 6-foot-5 Connecticut center said. "I mean, obviously it's something coach isn't going to talk about. We don't really talk about as a team, it's just something that we know that we have the chance help him kind of win that ninth one. ... But if it happens, for all of us, now we have two of the nine. You know we have, like I was talking about that small piece of history. It's just something we have a chance to kind of add to the legacy of UConn and add to coach's legacy. I think that's something he would be extremely proud of."

It would also be the fifth unbeaten season for Auriemma and UConn and the first time the Huskies went 40-0. They'd match Baylor as the only team to accomplish that feat.

Also if the Connecticut men's team can pull off a victory Monday night in its title game it would be the second time in a decade that both UConn programs were national champions.

Notre Dame isn't concerned about UConn's program. The Irish are looking for their first since 2001 - the school's only championship.

They have made the Final Four the past four seasons, including reaching the title game in three of those years. This year they hope for a breakthrough.

"Getting here consistently has been great for our program," McGraw said. "Taking the next step would be a huge accomplishment."

Notre Dame has owned the series lately, winning seven of the last nine meetings between the schools. The Irish players have a simple explanation why they've had success against the Huskies.

"We're not afraid of them," Irish sophomore star Jewell Loyd said. "You know a lot of people, like Kayla (McBride) was saying, they look at the jersey and they're just like, `Oh my gosh!' Obviously, UConn is a great program they've done a lot of things that other programs haven't done. But we go in there we have that swagger that chip on our shoulder that we're coming in to battle."

The former Big East schools have a mutual respect for each other, but that's about where it ends.

There's no love lost between the programs - not even with the coaches.

"We don't have a relationship," McGraw said. "I think that (the civility) got lost. When we were in the same conference, I think there was a modicum of it but I think after beating them and not feeling any respect from that, we lost something."

McGraw said it would be difficult for the civility to return.

Auriemma believes it's only natural for the teams be testy having played so many times lately. Before the Irish bolted for the new conference, the teams had met 12 times over the past three seasons.

"Once you play each other two, three, four times a year it gets pretty intense for lots of reasons," Auriemma said. "It's only natural. It will probably die down now that we're not in same conference and we play each other once a year, maybe two. What was happening before wasn't realistic, that's not normal. It's not healthy."

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Logano holds on for Sprint Cup win in Texas

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Joey Logano made a last-lap pass of Jeff Gordon during extra laps after a late caution Monday in a rain-delayed race at Texas, becoming the seventh different winner in as many Sprint Cup races this season,

Logano had a 2.2-second lead on teammate Brad Keselowski and was within a half-lap of taking the white flag, which would have guaranteed no extra laps. But then came the caution for debris after Kurt Busch's car brushed the wall and one of his tires tore apart.

On the ensuing pit stop, Gordon took only two tires and exited first. Both Team Penske drivers took four tires, but Keselowski missed a chance to become the season's first two-time winner when he was penalized for speeding on pit road.

UConn, Notre Dame advance to historic title game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Women's basketball came away a winner Sunday night. After a season-long buildup, the NCAA tournament will be decided by the perfect championship game.

The undefeated titans of the sport this season will meet Tuesday night in an historic championship game when UConn plays Notre Dame. It will mark the first time in NCAA basketball history that unbeaten teams will play for a title when the former Big East rivals face each other.

"It is pretty amazing," Irish coach Muffet McGraw told The Associated Press after her team beat Maryland 87-61. "So many of the media and fans have been looking at this all season long. It's great that we've made it this far.

"Both of us remaining undefeated. See who the best team is."

Said UConn guard From Moriah Jefferson: "Now we can finally talk about it. That has been the talk of this whole tournament and I guess it is finally here."

The teams didn't play during the regular season this year for the first time since 1995 as Notre Dame moved to the ACC. That helped set up the championship showdown that will put the sport in the spotlight.

"It looked to me like as the season went on it almost looked like it was inevitable to happen," UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. "It was supposed to happen. Our sport doesn't have enough significant moments. ... To have the spotlight on Tuesday on two teams that one is going to lose for the first time this year, it's pretty remarkable when you think how hard it's to do for one team much less two."

Notre Dame (37-0) is one of the rare teams that has had success against the Huskies in recent history, winning seven of the past nine meetings, including beating UConn twice in the national semifinals. McGraw drew attention to that fact during the tournament selection show.

The Huskies (39-0) won the last one though, topping Notre Dame in the Final Four last season en route to the school's eighth national championship. A UConn victory Tuesday night will be a record ninth for Auriemma, breaking a tie with Pat Summitt for most all-time in the women's game. It will also cap the fifth perfect season for the Huskies and make them only the second team ever to go 40-0, joining Baylor which did it two seasons ago.

Auriemma has never lost a championship game.

Notre Dame will be trying for its second national championship. The Irish have had chances lately to win their first title since 2001, advancing to the national semifinals in four straight seasons. They lost in the championship game twice during that span.

They advanced to Tuesday night's game with a convincing 87-61 victory over Maryland behind 28 points from senior All-American Kayla McBride.

Notre Dame played without senior Natalie Achonwa, who suffered a torn ACL in the regional final victory over Baylor.

Even without their star forward, the Irish dominated the Terrapins on the boards, outrebounding them in record fashion. Notre Dame had a 50-21 rebounding advantage, including a 19-4 mark on the offensive end. It was the widest rebounding margin ever in a Final Four game, shattering the previous mark of 19 set by Louisiana Tech in 1989. Maryland broke the national semifinals record for fewest rebounds in a game of 25 set by Minnesota in 2004.

They'll need a similar effort against UConn and its imposing front line of Breanna Stewart and Stefanie Dolson.

The Huskies got off to a sluggish start against Stanford before taking control in the second half in a 75-56 victory. They probably can't afford the same thing to happen for a fourth straight game if they hope to win that record title.

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Follow Doug on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/dougfeinberg

Browns agree to terms with WR Burleson

CLEVELAND (AP) The Browns plan to give Nate Burleson plenty of responsibilities. One of them probably won't be delivering pizza.

A free agent wide receiver with 12 years of NFL experience, Burleson agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Browns on Sunday night.

Burleson, who has made 103 career starts and played in 135 games since he was drafted in the third round by Minnesota in 2003, finished last season with 39 catches for 461 yards with Detroit. However, he missed half the year after breaking his left arm in a car accident when he said he tried to stop pizza boxes from sliding off the passenger seat of his car.

Even after the embarrassing mishap, Burleson kept his sense of humor and celebrated a touchdown catch in his first game back from the injury by holding the ball aloft like it was a freshly made pizza.

"I buckled my seat belt first," he quipped.

Burleson spent four seasons with the Lions, who released him in February in a salary-cap move.

The 6-foot, 198-pounder, who has been limited to 15 games over the past two seasons because of injuries, also visited with the Miami Dolphins before he met with the Browns on Saturday. Burleson gives the Browns experience and depth at receiver. He'll also be able to mentor young wideout Josh Gordon, an emerging star who led the league in yards receiving last season.

Burleson is the second free agent receiver signed by the club. Cleveland added Andrew Hawkins last month, swiping the speedy slot receiver from the rival Cincinnati Bengals.

Burleson has 457 career receptions for 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns.

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