NCAA BASKETBALL-MEN'S TOURNAMENT
Florida secures top overall seed
UNDATED (AP) — It was a great day to be a Gator or a Cavalier.
Both top-ranked Florida and No. 6 Virginia won their conference tournament and also received No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tourney. Wichita State and Arizona were given the other top seeds in a tournament that gets underway in earnest on Thursday following a four-game first round Tuesday and Wednesday in Dayton.
Florida has been named the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament. The Gators are the top seed in the South Region and will start play this Thursday in Orlando. This marks the second time the Gators have been the top overall seed.
The second seed in the South is Kansas and the third seed is Syracuse, despite a mediocre finish to the regular season.
Florida opens its tournament schedule against either Albany or Mount St. Mary's in Orlando on Thursday. Kansas has a second-round meeting with Eastern Kentucky Friday in St. Louis, and Syracuse is in Buffalo to open against Western Michigan.
The top seed in the West Region is Arizona, and the 30-4 Wildcats open play Friday in San Diego against Weber (WEE'-bur) State. Wisconsin is the second-seed in the West and will start its tournament experience in Milwaukee on Thursday, while third-seed Creighton plays on Friday in San Antonio.
The unbeaten Wichita State Shockers take their 34-0 record to St. Louis on Friday to start NCAA play as the top-seed in the Midwest Region. This is the Shockers first-ever No. 1 seeding.
Michigan is the second-seed in the Midwest with Duke No. 3. A surprise in the Midwest is that defending national champion Louisville is the fourth-seed.
Wichita opens against Cal Poly in St. Louis on Friday, Michigan starts play versus Wofford Thursday in Milwaukee and Duke takes on Mercer in a second-round game at Raleigh.
The top-seed in the East is ACC-champion Virginia. The 28-6 Cavaliers start play Friday in Raleigh. Villanova's Wildcats will be the second-seed and open against Milwaukee Thursday in Buffalo. Third-seed Iowa State begins its tournament play versus North Carolina Central in San Antonio.
The NCAA tournament seedings and pairings were announced after the last five conference tournament finals were completed on Sunday.
Florida held off Kentucky 61-60 to win the SEC championship and extend its winning streak to 26. Patric Young and Michael Frazier II each had 14 points for the 32-2, who blew most of a 16-point lead in the second half before improving to 32-2.
Virginia beat Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game, 72-63, to claim their first ACC tournament title since 1976. Malcolm Brogdon had the big day for the Cavs with 23 points. Tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15 points, including a backbreaking 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes remaining.
The Big Ten tournament crown goes to 22nd-ranked Michigan State as Adreian Payne scored 18 points in the Spartans' 69-55 trouncing of No. 8 Michigan. Gary Harris and Branden Dawson each added 15 to help the Spartans win the tourney for the second time in three years.
Saint Joseph's secured the Atlantic 10 NCAA bid with a 65-61 win over 23rd-ranked Virginia Commonwealth. Langston Galloway hit for 19 points in the win and had a key 3-pointer in the closing minutes of play to help secure the Hawks' first A10 tournament title since 1997.
Louisiana-Lafayette got a career-high 27 points from Xavian Rimmer and rallied from a 9-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation to beat Georgia State 82-81 in overtime for the Sun Belt Conference title. The Ragin' Cajuns earned an automatic bid to their first NCAA tournament since 2005.
Heat halt skid
UNDATED (AP) — The Miami Heat have moved closer to the NBA's Eastern Conference lead by winning for just the second time in seven games.
Ray Allen scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter as the Heat knocked off Houston 113-104 to end a two-game skid. LeBron James and Dwyane (dwayn) Wade each scored 24 points as the Heat pulled within 2 1/2 games of the East-leading Indiana Pacers.
Also in the NBA:
— Phoenix beat Toronto 121-112 as Markieff (mahr-KEEF') Morris had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Gerald Green scored 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter of the Suns' second straight win.
— Kemba Walker scored 21 points and Al Jefferson added 16 of his 20 in the second half to help the Bobcats earn their fourth straight win, 101-92 against Milwaukee. Gary Neal added 18 in his return to Milwaukee after the Bucks traded him to Charlotte last month.
Flyers stop the Pens, again
UNDATED (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins were unable to pick up ground on the NHL's Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins.
The Flyers have completed a home-and-home sweep of the Penguins with a 4-3 win in Pittsburgh. Wayne Simmonds assisted on Brayden Schenn's goal 2:06 into the game before scoring two power-play goals in a 6:54 span to give the Flyers a three-goal lead just 14 minutes in.
The Flyers are 5-1-1 in their last seven games, putting them one point ahead of the New York Rangers and Columbus Blue Jackets for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins remain three points behind the East-leading Bruins after falling to 4-4-2 in their last 10 games.
Also on ice:
— Antti Niemi (AN'-tee nee-EH'-mee) picked up his fourth shutout of the season by turning back 41 shots in San Jose's sixth consecutive win, 1-0 over the Rangers. Logan Couture (koo-TOOR') provided a short-handed goal in the first period to help the Sharks pull within two points of West-leading St. Louis.
— Matt Duchene (doo-SHAYN') set up goals by Andre Benoit (BEHN'-wayh) and Nick Holden as Colorado dumped Ottawa 3-1 to pull within six points of the Western Conference lead. Semyon Varlamov (SEHM'-yahn vahr-LAH'-mahv) stopped 38 shots and came within six seconds of a shutout.
— Troy Brouwer (BROW'-ur) tallied twice and Washington rode a three-goal first period to a 4-2 triumph over Toronto. Joel Ward had a goal and an assist for the Capitals, who scored on three of their first five shots against James Reimer for a 3-0 lead.
— Nicklas Jensen scored in the first period and added the only goal in the shootout to lead Vancouver's offense in a 4-3 win over former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (loh-AHN'-goh) and the Florida Panthers. Alex Burrows had a goal and two assists to support Eddie Lack's 26 saves.
— Edmonton beat Carolina 2-1 on Justin Schultz's goal with 10:59 remaining. Ben Scrivens made 29 saves for the win.
Green light for Letang
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Less than seven weeks after sustaining a stroke, Kris Letang has been cleared to practice with the Penguins and will join the team for practice Monday. Letang hasn't played since a Jan. 29 stroke and subsequent discovery of a small hole in his heart. He has been taken off blood thinner medication.
NASCAR-FOOD CITY 500
A wet day in Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — The NASCAR race in Bristol continues following a pair of lengthy delays. The start of the race was held up almost two hours by rain, and the race was shut down again after 125 of the scheduled 500 laps.
Race leader Matt Kenseth has dominated the so far, leading 121 of the first 354 laps. Kyle Larson was second with 146 laps remaining, followed by Aric Almirola, Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick.
Senden overtakes Garrigus, wins at Palm Harbor
PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — John Senden won the PGA's Valspar Championship with a final round 1-under-70 to finish seven shots under par. He nosed out Kevin Na, who finished a shot back.
Third round leader Robert Garrigus (GAR'-ih-guhs) skied to a 4-over-75 in the final round to finish three shots off the pace.
Five-way tie late in final round
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — There was a five-way tie for the lead late in the third and final round of the Toshiba Classic in California.
Colin Montgomerie surged to the clubhouse lead with a 9-under 62 that left him 14-under in the Champions Tour event. But Steve Pate, Scott Dunlap, Kenny Perry and second-round leader Bernhard Langer (LAHN'-gur) were on the course at minus-14.
Corbin's season in jeopardy...Tigers shortstop heads to DL
UNDATED (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks have scratched Patrick Corbin from their season opener next Saturday in Australia because of an elbow injury.
The left-hander left Saturday's game against Cleveland in the seventh inning with forearm stiffness. There was no immediate word on the seriousness of the injury, but he could be out for the season.
Corbin was 14-8 and made the All-Star team as a rookie last season.
Also in the majors:
— Detroit Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias (ee-GLAY'-see-uhs) will start the season on the disabled list and is scheduled to visit a specialist in Colorado on Tuesday. He has been experiencing pain in both of his shins when he runs, particularly when he slows down.
— Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is recovering from an advanced form of skin cancer that kept him from being a guest instructor with the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training. Schmidt was diagnosed in August with stage 3 melanoma and has undergone two operations, radiation and chemotherapy.
AFC champs land receiver
UNDATED (AP) — Peyton Manning has another potential receiving target. Former Pittsburgh wideout Emmanuel Sanders has agreed to a three-year contract with the Broncos. Sanders had 161 catches for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Steelers.
Also in the NFL:
— The New York Jets have re-signed veteran linebacker Calvin Pace to a two-year deal.
— The New York Giants bolstered their secondary by signing free agent safety Quintin Demps and cornerback Walter Thurmond.
— Wide receiver Julian Edelman says he's glad to be returning to the New England Patriots after a surprising breakout season.