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Rod Tompkins

(San Antonio, TX)  —  VCU  stunned top-seeded Kansas, 71-61, to win the Southwest Region of the NCAA Tournament and advance to the Final Four in Houston.  VCU guard Joey Rodriguez says they knew a Kansas run was coming at some point and was able to hold them off. Jamie Skeen poured in a game-high 26 points to go along with nine rebounds for the 11th-seeded Rams, who led by as many as 18 points and held off the Jayhawks to advance to the school’s first-ever Final Four.  VCU will take on Southeast Region champion Butler in the Final Four.

(Newark, NJ)  —  The Kentucky Wildcats have advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament after beating the North Carolina Tar Heels, 76-69, in the East Region finals from Newark.  Kentucky forward Josh Harrellson says they are playing great team basketball right now.  Brandon Knight led the Wildcats with 22 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists.  Kentucky, which hasn’t been in the Final Four since 1998, will take on Connecticut in Houston for the right to play in the national title game.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee has hired Missouri State’s Cuonzo Martin to take over a Volunteers program facing punishment by the NCAA for recruiting violations. The 39-year-old Martin takes over for the popular Bruce Pearl, who was fired March 21, a month after being charged with unethical conduct for lying to NCAA investigators.  Martin went 61-41 in three seasons at Missouri State and was chosen this season’s Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year. Missouri State finished 26-9 and won the MVC regular-season championship. Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton said Sunday that school officials are excited about Martin’s coaching ability, toughness and energy. A press conference to introduce Martin was scheduled for Monday.

    

 Women’s NCAA Tournament

  Final       ( 1) Connecticut   68  (22) Georgetown       63
  Final  ( 3) Baylor        86  (13) Wis.-Green Bay   76
  Final  ( 6) Duke          70  (10) DePaul           63
  Final  ( 7) Texas A&M     79       Georgia          38

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Kyle McClellan probably won’t make the Cardinals forget about Adam Wainwright’s season-ending injury. Still, his spring training performance went a long way toward reassuring the St. Louis coaching staff that making him the No. 5 starter was the right choice.  In his final outing of the spring, McClellan allowed one run and three hits over six innings Sunday in a 3-1 victory against the New York Mets.  The lone run McClellan allowed actually doubled his Grapefruit League total to two earned runs in 23 innings.
    
 

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) – Wilson Betemit hit a three-run homer, Alex Gordon added a two-run shot and the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 7-4 on Sunday.  Betemit homered in the fourth off Jonathan Sanchez, who gave up five runs on six hits and a walk in 5 1-3 innings. Gordon’s fifth home run came in the eighth off Ramon Ramirez after Kila Ka’aihue walked.  Melky Cabrera doubled twice to raise his Cactus League average to .474. Royals left-hander Jeff Francis picked up the win, allowing one run and six hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked none. Giants minor league outfielder Juan Perez hit a two-run homer off Nate Adcock in the seventh.

    
(Orlando, FL)  —  Scotland’s Martin Laird recovered from a difficult opening 11 holes Sunday to shoot a three-over 75 and win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke.  Laird says he wasn’t going to give this one away. Laird finished his second PGA Tour win at eight-under-par 280 and became the first European to win this event.  Tiger Woods, a six-time winner of this event, shot an even-par 72 on Sunday.  Woods says he played well except for his finish. The even-par round of 72 left Woods tied for 24th at one-under-par 287.  Among the five players tied with Woods was Phil Mickelson.

              NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
 

  Final OT  Sacramento     114  Philadelphia  111
  Final     Atlanta         99  Cleveland      83
  Final     Miami          125  Houston       119
  Final     Memphis        111  San Antonio   104
  Final     Boston          85  Minnesota      82
  Final     Oklahoma City   99  Portland       90
  Final     Golden State   114  Washington    104
  Final     L-A Lakers     102  New Orleans    84
  Final     Dallas          91  Phoenix        83