Update on the latest sports
NCAA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
March Madness tips off with 16 games
UNDATED (AP) – It’s opening day for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The tourney gets rolling with 16 first-round games.
One of the best matchups pits 13th-seeded South Dakota State against fourth-seeded Providence in a Midwest Region tilt in Buffalo, New York. South Dakota State ran through the Summit League regular season unbeaten, owns the nation’s longest win streak at 21 games and is in the tournament for the sixth time in 11 years. The Jackrabbits are shooting 45% on 3-pointers to lead the nation, and it’s not just one sharpshooter. It’s five.
Baylor opens the tournament as the No. 1 seed in the East against Norfolk State in Fort Worth, Texas. The Bears are trying to become the first team to win back-to-back national titles since Florida in 2007.
Michigan will be without starting point guard DeVante’ Jones when it plays Colorado State in a South Region game in Indianapolis. Jones entered concussion protocol after getting hit in the nose by an inadvertent elbow in practice this week. Jones, playing his final season after transferring from Coastal Carolina, is the Wolverines’ third-leading scorer. Freshman Frankie Collins will draw his first start.
Brothers Arthur Kaluma of Creighton and Adam Seiko of San Diego State square off in a Midwest Region game in Fort Worth, Texas. The two played together last summer on the Ugandan National Team.
Report: Griner’s arrest extended to May 19
MOSCOW (AP) – Russian state news agency Tass says a Moscow court has extended the arrest of WNBA star Brittney Griner until May 19. Griner was detained at a Moscow airport in February after Russian authorities said a search of her luggage revealed vape cartridges that were identified as containing oil derived from cannabis.
The U.S. embassy in Moscow did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
The 31-year-old Griner is one of the most recognizable players in women’s basketball. The seven-time All-Star has won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S. and a WNBA championship with the Phoenix Mercury.
The WNBA season opens May 6.
Shiffrin wins overall World Cup title, places 2nd in super-G
COURCHEVEL, France (AP) – Mikaela Shiffrin has won skiing’s overall World Cup title for the fourth time. The American was fueled by speed races that turned her expected duel with Petra Vlhova into a runaway success.
Shiffrin finished second in the super-G at the World Cup Finals one day after a surprise victory in downhill. Vlhova had to finish no worse than seventh to stop Shiffrin from building an unbeatable 200-point lead in the standings with two races left. The defending champion from Slovakia placed 17th.
Transgender woman posts top time in 500 prelims at NCAAs
ATLANTA (AP) – Lia Thomas has moved a step closer to becoming the first known transgender woman to win a NCAA swimming championship by posting the top time in the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries.
The University of Pennsylvania senior who is the No. 1 seed advanced to Thursday night’s final with her top time of 4 minutes, 33.82 seconds. Thomas also is the top seed in the 200 freestyle scheduled for Friday. She is the 10th seed in the 100 freestyle scheduled for Saturday.
Thomas is a former male swimmer for Penn. She began her transition in 2019 by starting hormone replacement therapy.
U.S. Olympian Alysa Liu, father targeted in Chinese spy case
UNDATED (AP) – The father of U.S. Olympic figure skater Alysa Liu says he and his daughter were targeted in a spying operation ahead of the Beijing Olympics that the Justice Department alleges was ordered by the Chinese government.
Arthur Liu, a former political refugee, told The Associated Press he had been contacted by the FBI last October and warned about the scheme just as his 16-year-old daughter was preparing for the Olympics, where she placed 7th in the women’s event. He said he did not tell his daughter about the matter so as not to scare her or distract her from the competition.
The Justice Department on Wednesday announced charges against five men accused of acting on behalf of the Chinese government to stalk and harass Chinese dissidents in the United States. China’s Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the specifics surrounding the allegations.
Vettel out of Bahrain GP with coronavirus
SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) – The Aston Martin team says Sebastian Vettel will miss the season-opening Formula One race in Bahrain after testing positive for the coronavirus.
Vettel will be replaced by Nico Hulkenberg, who lost his seat in F1 at the end of the 2019 season but competed in two races in 2020 as a replacement for other drivers. The 34-year-old German will drive the AMR22 Friday in the first practice session for Sunday’s race.