UConn got 24 points from Jordan Hawkins and the Huskies are one step away from the Final Four after defeating Arkansas 88-65 in a Sweet 16 matchup in Las Vegas. The Huskies are 28-8 and seeded fourth in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament. They will play No. 3 seed Gonzaga in the Elite Eight on Saturday. Arkansas’ season ended at 22-14. UConn played like a team capable of winning its fifth national championship and first since 2014. The Huskies have outscored their three March Madness opponents by 62 points. Anthony Black led Arkansas with 20 points.

Providence has hired Kim English as its next basketball coach, quickly moving to fill the opening left after Ed Cooley left to take the job at Big East rival Georgetown. Cooley resigned from Providence after 12 seasons. He complied a 242-153 record with the Friars that included seven appearances, but just three March Madness victories. The 34-year-old English becomes the 16th basketball coach in Providence history. He was 34-29 in two seasons at George Mason, leading the Patriots to a 20-13 record this past season. It was the first time the school reached the 20-win milestone since 2016-17. George Mason president Gregory Washington said it would begin a national search to replace English.

Iowa State was quick to say that its miserable shooting performance in the NCAA Tournament had nothing to do with some wonky rims in Greensboro, North Carolina. Nevertheless, the Cyclones were among the many teams that struggled during the opening weekend, especially from the 3-point line. In fact, the shooting percentage from beyond the arc is on pace to set a record low since it was added for the 1987 tournament. Division I teams shot at a 34% clip from 3 during the regular season, or nearly 3% better than they have during the Big Dance. And eight of 68 teams have had their worst 3-point shooting games of the season during the NCAA Tournament.

Boston and Indiana will hit the court in a matchup of Eastern Conference opponents. Friday's game is the third meeting this season between the two teams. The Celtics won the last matchup 142-138. Boston is 29-16 against the Eastern Conference, and Indiana is 23-22 against conference opponents.

Drew Timme and Jaime Jaquez Jr. grew up in different states, yet often came across each other at AAU tournaments, sometimes as roommates. The two fancy-footworking forwards with the fantastic facial hair will be reunited Thursday night in Las Vegas, when Gonzaga meets UCLA in the NCAA Tournament's West Region semifinals. Since those early high school days, Timme and Jaquez have become the focal points for the West’s two powerhouse programs. The 6-foot-11 Timme has led the Zags to four of their eight straight Sweet 16 appearances. Jaquez has been a part of UCLA’s three straight Sweet 16 trips, including the 2021 Final Four.

Nick Smith Jr. is a potential NBA lottery pick who has faced high expectations since signing with Arkansas. The freshman guard was the USA Today Boys Basketball Player of the Year and 247Sports’ top prospect. Knee injuries limited his playing time this season. Then his minutes were limited in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament because of a lack of production. Smith was emotional in the locker room following Arkansas' victory over top-seeded Kansas. Now he hopes to find some joy when the Razorbacks play UConn in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas.

Both editions of March Madness have proven to be must-see TV for basketball fans. The first two rounds of the women’s tournament averaged a record 391,000 viewers, a 28% increase over last year. The men’s first round on March 16-17 averaged 9.2 million viewers on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV. The March 17 games averaged 9.3 million, making it the most-watched Friday first round.

Arkansas coach Eric Musselman and UConn's Dan Hurley have fiery demeanors, just like their fathers. The coaches' sons will meet in the Sweet 16 in Las Vegas, pulling them one step closer to college basketball's ultimate goal. Musselman absorbed everything from his father, Bill, as he zigzagged the country coaching everything from college to the NBA. The younger Musselman has the Razorbacks in the Sweet 16 for the third straight season despite key injuries. Dan Hurley's father, Bob, is one of the few high school coaches in the Naismith Hall of Fame. Dan has the Huskies in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.

Roger Clemens will be an analyst for ESPN when the defending World Series champion Houston Astros host the Chicago White Sox on opening day. Clemens will be stepping in on March 30 for David Cone, who will be doing the New York Yankees opener against the San Francisco Giants on YES Network. Clemens was a seven-time Cy Young winner but his career after baseball has been tainted by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use. He is a Houston native and pitched for the Astros for three seasons.

Ed Cooley is taking over as Georgetown's coach with lofty aspirations about bringing the once-storied program back to the top of college basketball. Cooley joins the Hoyas after 12 years at Providence in which he led the team to seven NCAA Tournament appearances. Georgetown has just one March Madness appearance in eight years under previous coaches Patrick Ewing and John Thompson III. But that didn't stop Cooley at his introductory news conference from talking about Georgetown not just rising from the bottom of the Big East Conference but winning a national title. The program has not done that since John Thompson coached it to the championship in 1984.

Women's college basketball has displayed an odd mix this season and now there's the rare combination of South Carolina's undefeated dominance alongside parity in the Sweet 16. Just two of the four No. 1 women's seeds advanced through the first two rounds, which hadn't happened since 1998. The Gamecocks are one of them looking to continue their perfect season against No. 4 seed UCLA on Saturday. Virginia Tech is the other No. 1 seed advancing. South Carolina coach Dawn Staley says her team's success comes from a singular focus on the game and its next task.

Sacramento and Boston play in non-conference action. Tuesday's game will be the second meeting this season between the two teams. The Celtics won the last matchup 122-104. Sacramento is 21-14 at home, and Boston is 23-14 on the road.

Azzi Fudd scored 16 of her 22 points in a decisive third quarter, leading second-seeded UConn to a 77-58 win over No. 7 seed Baylor and into a 29th straight Sweet 16. Aaliyah Edwards added 19 points and Nika Muhl had 10 assists for the Huskies (31-5). Dorka Juhasz chipped in with 11 points and Caroline Ducharme added 10.  Ja’mee Asberry scored 15 points and Jaden Owens had 14 for Baylor, which finishes its season 20-13. Bella Fontleroy scored 12 points for the Bears, who made 12 3-pointers after making 14 in their first-round win over Alabama. But the Huskies dominated inside, outscoring the Bears 36-12 in the paint and outrebounding Baylor 42-31.

Rick Pitino is back in the Big East Conference. St. John’s has hired the Hall of Fame coach to boost a storied program that's been mired in mediocrity for much of this century. The school posted the announcement on Twitter, and Pitino is expected to be formally introduced during a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Following a successful run at nearby mid-major Iona, the 70-year-old Pitino was plucked away to replace Mike Anderson, who was fired March 10 after four seasons in charge of the Red Storm without making the NCAA Tournament.

Ed Cooley is the new men’s basketball coach at Georgetown. He has been hired away from Big East rival Providence in the hopes of rebuilding a once-proud program that dropped to new lows under former star player Patrick Ewing. Georgetown announced Monday that it was bringing aboard Cooley. He leaves Providence with a 242-153 record after 12 years that included seven appearances and a total of just three wins at March Madness. His team went 21-12 this season and closed with four consecutive losses. That included being beat by Kentucky in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Adama Sanogo scored 24 points and UConn pulled away from Saint Mary’s for a 70-55 win that put the Huskies in the Sweet 16 for the first time in nine years. No. 4 seed UConn advanced to the West Regional in Las Vegas on Thursday. Next up is eighth-seeded Arkansas, which knocked off No. 1 seed Kansas. Sanogo followed his 28-point game in UConn's NCAA Tournament opener against Iona with another powerful and efficient performance in the paint. Saint Mary’s of the West Coast Conference failed to get out of the first weekend of the tournament for the second straight season as a No. 5 seed.

Saint Mary’s senior forward Alex Ducas was knocked out of Gaels’ second-round NCAA Tournament game against UConn with a first-half back injury. The Australian had to be helped off the court with 4:52 left in the half after going down away from the play. He was standing on the sideline opposite the Huskies’ bench when he grabbed his lower back and slowly went down to the court at MVP Arena. He returned to the bench in the second half but was moving gingerly and it was clear he couldn't play. Without its third-leading scorer, Saint Mary's lost 70-55.

Jeremy Swayman stopped 26 shots to post his second consecutive shutout, David Pastrnak matched a career-high by scoring his team-leading 48th goal, and the NHL-leading Bruins routed the reeling Buffalo Sabres 7-0. Patrice Bergeron scored 15 seconds in and added two assists in a game the Bruins scored three times on their first seven shots. Jake DeBrusk had a goal and three assists while Garnet Hathaway and Hampus Lindholm also scored. The Sabres dropped to 2-7-2 in their past 11 as part of a swoon that began immediately after they won five of six to move into eighth-place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Baylor and UConn played a classic women's NCAA Tournament game two years ago in the San Antonio bubble, with the Huskies prevailing 69-67. Bears fans still insist a foul should have been called at the end of the game when UConn's Aaliyah Edwards and Olivia Nelson-Ododa challenged a shot. But no foul was called and the Huskies held on. The programs meet again Monday night in second round of this year's tournament. Baylor will be looking for its 16th trip to the Sweet 16 and 13th trip 14 years. UConn, led by Edwards, will be looking to advance to the regional semifinals for a 29th straight year.

Aaliyah Edwards scored a career-high 28 points, Dorka Juhasz added a double-double and No. 2 seed UConn routed 15th seed Vermont 95-52 on Saturday, giving the Huskies a 29th straight win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Juhasz scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, the Hungarian’s 13th double-double this season for the Huskies. Caroline Ducharme added 12 points, helping Connecticut (30-5) to its 26th, 30-win season during Geno Auriemma’s 38 years as coach.  Catherine Gilwee scored 14 points, while Emma Utterback and Maria Myklebust each had 13 for Vermont (25-7), which had its 17-game winning streak snapped. UConn will play either No. 7 seed Baylor or 10th-seeded Alabama on Monday.

Having a dominant post player is not the advantage it used to be in college basketball. Just ask top-seeded Purdue. The modern game has marginalized the big guys who play close to the basket and the NBA is no longer coveting those skills. But there is still a place for it in the college game, and it will be on display when Adama Sanogo and fourth-seeded UConn from the take on fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s on Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament’s West Region. On the other side of the West bracket, Gonzaga's 6-foot-10 Drew Timme has been one of the best players in the country for three years.

It’s no secret that bigger conferences are always looking at Gonzaga, and that Gonzaga has been known to field some of those phone calls. But the Zags are still in the West Coast Conference. Contrary to what some of the analytics and conventional wisdom might suggest, it has done nothing to hold them back. For the second straight year, Gonzaga’s toughest competition in the WCC is also in the second round at March Madness. That team is Saint Mary’s, which is a No. 5 seed for the second straight year. The Gaels play UConn and the Zags play TCU with trips to the Sweet 16 on the line.

David Pastrnak scored his 47th goal of the season and Linus Ullmark made 29 saves as the Boston Bruins beat the Minnesota Wild 5-2. Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Trent Frederic also scored for Boston, which has won two in a row as it seeks to surpass the record 62 wins and 132 points in a season. Pastrnak has six goals and seven assists in his past eight games. Marcus Johansson and Oskar Sundqvist, both acquired by Minnesota at the trade deadline, scored goals. Filip Gustavsson stopped 34 shots in goal for the Wild.

UConn star Paige Bueckers is checking in periodically from the NCAA Tournament as told to AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. In the first installment, Bueckers talks about her March Madness memories, dealing with her ACL injury and what the Huskies do for fun during the NCAA Tournament.

Boston will try to earn its 50th victory this season when the Celtics face the Utah Jazz. The teams play Saturday for the first time this season. Utah is 20-13 at home, and Boston is 23-13 on the road.

Haley Jones had 17 points and six rebounds for a top-seeded Stanford team missing star Cameron Brink because of a stomach bug, and the Cardinal advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament by beating 16th-seeded Sacred Heart 92-49.Freshman Talana Lepolo dished out seven assists in her NCAA debut as Stanford advances to the second round Sunday against No. 8 seed Ole Miss. Freshman Ny’Ceara Pryor scored 12 points to lead cold-shooting Sacred Heart.

Oscar Tshiebwe pulled down 25 rebounds in an overpowering display, helping Kentucky beat Providence 61-53 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tshiebwe’s rebounding work was the second-most in the tournament since 1973. Eleven of his rebounds came on the offensive glass to help the sixth-seeded Wildcats stay in control. Antonio Reeves scored 22 points, while Jacob Toppin had his own big game with 18. Ed Croswell had 16 points for Providence, while Bryce Hopkins managed seven points on 2-for-9 shooting against his former Kentucky team.

Ratings for women's college basketball are at their highest levels in years. ESPN is putting the women's NCAA Tournament national title game on network television for the first time since 1995. The ABC broadcast on April 2 from Dallas will include a one-hour pregame show. ABC also will feature at least six games from the women’s tournament. ESPN says advertising for the women's tournament has sold out for the second straight year. And it's the third year in a row that all women's games will have national air time on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU or ESPNews.

Rick Pitino insists he doesn’t know his next move. He did give a pretty good hint about what’s under consideration. After the 70-year-old Hall of Famer’s 13th-seeded Iona team was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by UConn, he addressed speculation that St. John’s is targeting him as its next coach. But he says he doesn't know if he has coached his last game with the Gaels. Pitino talked earlier this week about how much he admires St. John’s President Rev. Brian Shanley, who previously worked at Providence, where Pitino first made a mark in the Big East.

Brown freshman Olivia Pichardo became the first woman to appear in a Division I baseball game when she pinch hit in a 10-1 loss to Bryant. The left-handed batting utility player from Queens, New York, went to plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning and grounded out to first on the first pitch. Pichardo played on the USA Baseball Women’s National Team last summer and walked on to the Brown team last fall. Coach Grant Achilles told her she earned a roster spot in November.

Adama Sanogo scored 10 of his 28 points in the first five minutes of the second half as fourth-seeded UConn took control and beat Rick Pitino’s Iona Gaels 87-63 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies advanced to play fifth-seeded Saint Mary’s on Sunday in the West Region after losing in the first round under coach Dan Hurley the last two seasons. Iona had its 14-game winning streak snapped as the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions didn’t have the depth to keep up with one of the Big East’s best for 40 minutes. Walter Clayton Jr. led the Gaels with 14 points.

A person with knowledge of the negotiation says free agent long snapper Joe Cardona is returning to the Patriots on a new four-year contract worth $6.3 million. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Friday on the condition of anonymity because the contract hadn’t been announced. The deal was first reported by NFL Network. Cardona has been a staple part of New England’s special teams since joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2015. The Patriots also announced the signings of receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, safety Jabrill Peppers and running back James Robinson.

Stanford star Cameron Brink is out for the top-seeded Cardinal in their NCAA Tournament opener because of a non-COVID illness. The school made the announcement about 50 minutes before Friday's tipoff against 16th-seeded Sacred Heart at Maples Pavilion. Stanford said the junior forward’s status is day-to-day. Brink is the team’s leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. The school’s career blocks leader, the 6-foot-4 Brink is averaging 14.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists. She has blocked 111 shots, ranking second-best in the nation.

Mitchell Saxen had 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocks, and Saint Mary’s beat ailing VCU 63-51 in the NCAA Tournament. Alex Ducas also scored 17 points as the fifth-seeded Gaels advanced to the second round for the second straight year. Logan Johnson had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and reserve Augustas Marciulionis scored 13 points. Ace Baldwin led VCU with 13 points, but he hurt his Achilles tendon and groin after taking a jumper with just over 14 minutes left in regulation.

Most coaches know their team’s identity and have a rotation set by the time the NCAA Tournament rolls around. But there are still a lot of questions for Geno Auriemma and second-seeded UConn. Former starters Azzi Fudd and Caroline Ducharme only recently returned from injury to help the Huskies begin a run at a 12th national title and a 15th straight Final Four. Both are expected to play significant minutes when the second-seeded Huskies open their NCAA Tournament against No. 15 seed Vermont. The winner faces either No. 7 seed Baylor or No. 10 seed Alabama on Monday night.

The Stanford women's team is back to its joyful self after an early exit in the Pac-12 Tournament. The players and coaches discussed their need for accountability and the players had their own meeting. Everyone got a rest. And now top-seeded Stanford opens the NCAA Tournament against 16th-seeded Sacred Heart. Sacred Heart beat Southern 57-47 in a First Four game Wednesday night for its first NCAA win in school history. The second game at Maples Pavilion features eighth-seeded Ole Miss against No. 9 seed Gonzaga.

Providence's Bryce Hopkins and Pittsburgh's Blake Hinson are preparing for NCAA Tournament matchups against schools they left behind as transfers. The Friars meet Kentucky in the East Region. The Panthers will face Iowa State in the Midwest Region. Those games will be played back-to-back in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Friday. Hopkins spent one season with the Wildcats before transferring to become Providence's star player. Hinson never played for the Cyclones and left after a coaching change. Hopkins says he is excited to play against familiar faces in his matchup. Hinson wouldn't talk about his time with Iowa State.