Tuesday, March 31
NBA MVP has surgery
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant has undergone what his doctors call successful bone graft surgery for a fracture in his right foot. The reigning NBA MVP is done for the season and is expected to return to full basketball activities in four to six months.
This is Durant's third surgery on the foot. He had the initial procedure last October, then had a screw replaced in February.
Durant appeared in just 27 games this season, averaging 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
Showdown in Brooklyn
UNDATED (AP) — Two of the teams involved in the quest for the final playoff berth in the NBA's Eastern Conference are squaring off tonight in New York as the Nets entertain the Pacers. At the start of play the Nets, who have won three straight and seven of 10, hold a half-game lead for the final spot. The Pacers have been struggling of late with losses in seven of their last 10 games.
The winningest team in the league has won its last nine games. Golden State is tops in the NBA with 60 wins against just 13 defeats and tonight they are visiting the Clippers in Los Angles.
The other games feature the Hawks, the top seed in the East with a record of 56-18, in Detroit and the Spurs in Miami.
Vols hire Barnes
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Texas men's basketball coach Rick Barnes has landed a new job, just days after losing his position with the Longhorns. Barnes, who was fired over the weekend by Texas, has been named the new head coach at Tennessee. With Texas Barnes went 402-180 and reached the NCAA Tournament in 16 of his 17 seasons, including a Final Four appearance in 2003. His departure was announced by the school Sunday, saying it was a mutual decision. Barnes said he was given the choice of firing his staff or being fired himself.
The 60-year-old is 604-314 in 28 seasons overall with stops at George Mason, Providence and Clemson. He replaces Donnie Tyndall (TIHN'-dihl), who was fired Friday after one season amid an NCAA investigation of his tenure at Southern Mississippi.
His new contract with the Volunteers is for six years at $2.5 million a season.
Semifinals tonight in The Garden
NEW YORK (AP) — The semifinals are being contested in the nation's oldest postseason men's basketball tournament this evening. The first of the NIT games in Madison Square Garden features Miami against Temple while the second contest has Old Dominion going against Stanford.
The semifinals in the NCAA Tournament will be this Saturday in Indianapolis with Kentucky playing Wisconsin and Duke going against Michigan State.
Tigers lose Mickey
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU sophomore forward Jordan Mickey, who led the nation with 3.65 blocks per game this season, says he'll forego his final two year with the Tigers and enter the NBA draft. The 6-foot-8 Mickey blocked 113 shots this season, with 107 blocks in 30 regular season games and six more in LSU's opening-round NCAA tournament loss to North Carolina State.
Along with the blocks, Mickey averaged 15.4 points and 9.9 rebounds this season.
Rangers and Lightning look to move up in East
UNDATED (AP) — As a new day of play gets underway in the NHL Montreal remains the top team in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division with 102 points. Right behind are Tampa Bay and the New York Rangers and this evening the Canadiens are idle, which means the Rangers and Lightning can make their move.
A check of the schedule shows Tampa Bay skating in Toronto while the Rangers are in Winnipeg. Both Tampa Bay and New York start play with 101 points so change could be in the offing if either or both win tonight.
In the Western Conference, Nashville has a chance to edge closer to first place as the Predators are home to Vancouver. The Preds begin play with 102 points, three back of idle Anaheim.
On the other end of the standings, Boston starts the day holding down the final playoff berth in the East and tonight the Bruins are home to Florida.
The rest of the games feature Carolina at Washington, New Jersey at Columbus and Ottawa at Detroit.
Cubs to honor "Mr. Cub"
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs and their fans will honor the late Ernie Banks during the team's season opener against the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend. The Hall of Famer known as "Mr. Cub" died in January at the age of 83.
A pregame ceremony and moment of silence are planned along with other tributes throughout Sunday night's game at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs have announced that the team will wear No. 14 patches on their home and away jerseys all season.
Veteran infielder released
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have released infielder Alexi Casilla (KUH'-see-uh). The veteran infielder, who signed a minor league contract with the team in February, was batting .267 in 17 spring training games. The 30-year-old is a .247 hitter in nine big league seasons with Minnesota and Baltimore.
USC athletic director to boycott Indianapolis meeting
UNDATED (AP) — Southern California athletic director Pat Haden will not attend the College Football Playoff selection committee meeting in Indianapolis this week because of a new Indiana religious-freedom law that critics fear could permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. Haden posted on Twitter that he is the proud father of a gay son and that, "In his honor, I will not be attending the CFP committee meeting in Indy this week."
Haden is one of five current athletic directors on the 13-member selection committee that picks the four teams to participate in the College Football Playoff and compete for the national championship.
Patriots' owner testifies
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, has testified that former tight end Aaron Hernandez told him he was innocent when asked if he was involved in a 2013 killing. Kraft was called by the prosecution in Hernandez's murder trial over the June 17, 2013, slaying of Odin Lloyd, who was dating the sister of Hernandez's fiancee.
Kraft was asked about the events of June 19, two days after the killing. By then, Kraft said, there was a strong media presence at Gillette Stadium, including helicopters, which were covering the investigation.
Kraft said he found Hernandez in a weight room working out and pulled him into an adjacent office for a private talk.