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Weekend Sports in Brief


Alabama is the overall top seed in the NCAA Tournament after cruising through the end of a season clouded by a murder case.

Kansas, Houston and Purdue grabbed the other top seeds. Action in the 68-team tournament begins Tuesday with two games in the First Four. March Madness gets into full swing Thursday and Friday with 32 games spread over eight cities. The Final Four is set for April 1 and 3 at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Arizona State and Nevada made it off the bubble, as most expected, and into the 68-team field. Rutgers and Oklahoma State did not. And in a decision most everyone saw coming, the selection committee left North Carolina, last year’s national runner-up, out of the tournament. It made the Tar Heels the first team to start the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25 and finish it by not making the Big Dance.

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas coach Bill Self was discharged from a Kansas City-area hospital Sunday, where he’d been recovering after a procedure to treat blocked arteries in his heart, and the Hall of Famer will rejoin the No. 3 Jayhawks for the defense of their NCAA championship this week.

His longtime assistant, Norm Roberts, said Sunday night Self would probably be back in the office on Monday to begin preparing for Howard. That’s who the top-seeded Jayhawks will open the NCAA Tournament against on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa, after they were surprisingly put in the West Region by the selection committee.


South Carolina is six wins away from becoming the 10th women’s basketball team to go undefeated for an entire season, and the Gamecocks will enter the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.

Dawn Staley’s squad has been challenged a few times this year but has always pulled through. The defending national champions will play Norfolk State in the first round of the tournament.

The other No. 1 seeds are Indiana, Virginia Tech and Stanford. The tournament begins Wednesday with four First Four games and the full madness starts Friday.


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins are acquiring All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams, two people with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The Rams will get Miami’s third-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft and tight end Hunter Long, according to the people, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither team had announced the deal.

The Rams went 5-12 last season and missed the playoffs just one year after winning the Super Bowl, and they’ve have been making changes to their roster this offseason. Los Angeles parted ways with veteran linebacker Bobby Wagner last month after one season.

The Rams traded for Ramsey in the middle of the 2019 season after he spent the first four years of his career in Jacksonville. Ramsey, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, had 77 tackles and four interceptions during the Rams’ Super Bowl-winning 2021 season. Last season, he had a career-high 88 tackles and four interceptions.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Commanders are keeping Daron Payne around, thanks to the second-biggest contract for a defensive tackle behind only seven-time All-Pro Aaron Donald.

The Commanders agreed to terms with Payne on a four-year contract worth $90 million, with $60 million guaranteed, according to a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Sunday because the contract had not been announced. The deal was first reported by ESPN.

Donald signed a contract last year with the Los Angeles Rams that paid him $95 million, with $65 million guaranteed.

Payne led Washington with a career-high 11 1/2 sacks last season. The Commanders put the franchise tag worth $18.9 million on him last month in the hopes of working out a long-term agreement.


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Scottie Scheffler took on the scary TPC Sawgrass as if he was playing alone. And by the time he got done with a masterful performance Sunday in The Players Championship, that’s about how it looked.

Scheffler ran off five straight birdies in the middle of his round, built a six-shot lead and left all the drama to everyone else on his way to a 3-under 69 to win the richest prize on the PGA Tour by five shots.

The victory was worth $4.5 million and sent Scheffler back to No. 1 in the world for the second time this year. He now has six victories in his last 27 starts on the PGA Tour, including the four wins he had last year culminated by his Masters title.

When he poured in a 20-foot par putt on the final hole, Scheffler had the largest margin of victory in The Players since Stephen Ames won by six in 2006.


MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid will side against Barcelona in the legal proceedings that the rival is facing over its payments of millions of euros over several years to a company that belonged to the vice president of Spain’s soccer refereeing committee, Madrid said Sunday after an urgent board meeting.

The decision came two days after prosecutors formally accused Barcelona of alleged corruption in sports, fraudulent management and falsification of mercantile documentation. An investigating judge will decide whether the accusations should lead to charges.

GENEVA (AP) — A spying operation on behalf of World Cup host Qatar bugged a 2017 hotel meeting between FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Switzerland’s then-attorney general during an investigation of soccer officials, Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung said Sunday.

The report said intelligence operatives linked to a former CIA officer wiretapped a meeting involving Infantino and Swiss federal prosecutor Michael Lauber at a Qatari-owned hotel in Bern, which also then housed the emirate’s embassy.

The NZZ report said documents and sources showed the surveillance was carried out for “Project Matterhorn” — named for the iconic Swiss mountain — to gather material on Lauber.


TOKYO (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit a three-run homer that landed just below his image on a video advertising board, sending Japan to a 7-1 victory over Australia in the World Baseball Classic on Sunday night.

Ohtani also walked twice and finished with four RBIs. His first-inning drive traveled an estimated 448 feet.

Japan won Group B with a 4-0 record and will play a quarterfinal Thursday against Italy, which advanced along with Cuba from Group A on tiebreakers. Matt Harvey got the win as Italy defeated the Netherlands 7-1, causing all five teams to finish 2-2.

South Korea beat the Czech Republic 7-3 in the day’s other Group B game, and Cuba defeated Taiwan 7-1 in Group A.

Also, Joey Meneses hit two homers, including a three-run shot in the fourth inning, to lead Mexico to an 11-5 win over the United States


AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — William Byron won his second straight NASCAR Cup Series race, taking advantage of a pair of late cautions to give the rolling Hendrick Motorsports team a victory in overtime at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday.

Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet got a great start in overtime with two laps left, and just like he did a week earlier at Las Vegas, he overtook teammate Kyle Larson for the win. He also had to hold off Ryan Blaney, who finished second, while Tyler Reddick was third.

Byron denied Kevin Harvick a chance to win his 10th race at Phoenix. Harvick’s Stewart-Haas No. 4 Ford passed Larson for the lead with 44 laps remaining, taking advantage of the long run under green-flag conditions that favored his car all afternoon. But a yellow flag with 10 laps remaining dashed Harvick’s hopes.