HORNETS-MAGIC Hornets rally in the fourth quarter for 109-102 win ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Kemba Walker scored 22 points and Marco Belinelli came off the bench to add 20 as the Charlotte Hornets pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Orlando Magic 109-102 on Wednesday night. Charlotte won its third straight game and keeps its Eastern Conference playoff hopes alive after entering the night three games out of eighth place in the standings.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Newly named LSU men's basketball coach Will Wade left little doubt about his intention to wear his players out. It also sounded like the fresh-faced 34-year-old, who has known only winning in his four seasons as a head coach at Chattanooga and at VCU, knew better than to make immediate promises about turning the Tigers into champions before he'd truly discovered what he's gotten himself into down on the bayou.
The NCAA Tournament's first weekend closed with a flourish, a Sunday full of scintillating games after three days of good-not-always-great basketball. That put the madness back in March and should carry over into a regional round filled with great matchups and big-name programs. Here's a rundown of the top games, players, coaches and interesting story lines for the Sweet 16: ___ TOP GAMES UCLA vs. Kentucky, South Region; Friday, Memphis. Blue bloods in Bluff City.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky has signed John Calipari and Mark Stoops to two-year contract extensions, keeping Calipari as its men's basketball coach through 2024 and Stoops with the football program through 2022. Calipari's base salary increases $500,000 to $7.75 million next season and rises to $8 million annually for each year after under the amended deal.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's Sindarius Thornwell squirms and shakes his head slightly the Gamecocks are referred to as a one-man team. He might as well get comfortable with the description. Thornwell has become the Jadeveon Clowney for men's basketball, the face of a basketball program the way the former No. 1 NFL draft pick was for Gamecock football.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Tennessee's Rick Barnes has coached in the Big East, the Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big 12. He's made the NCAA Tournament nearly two dozen times and advanced to the Final Four. He's been around. He's seen it done a number of different ways. So Barnes has credibility when he raves about his current league, the Southeastern Conference.
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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Ben Lammers had 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting and added eight blocks, four rebounds, four assists and four steals to lead Georgia Tech of the final four of the NIT with a 74-66 win over Mississippi on Tuesday night. Josh Okogie led the Yellow Jackets (20-15), who were seeded sixth in their bracket, with 26 points and Quinton Stephens had 10 with seven rebounds.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Mike White sees Billy Donovan every day on his way to work, just one reminder of the former Florida coach's lasting legacy. A 10-foot, black-and-white picture of Donovan takes up the better part of one wall in the foyer of Florida's basketball facility, and all of the hardware the Gators claimed during Donovan's nearly two decades in Gainesville covers another.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Sindarius Thornwell knew South Carolina fans would be excited about the team's Sweet 16 appearance. The response since he has been on campus, though, surprised even him. As Thornwell walked to the student union after class, he couldn't take more than a couple of steps without students swarming him for selfies or asking for some tidbit about the win against Duke on Sunday.
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas' governor signed legislation Tuesday ending the state's practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on the same holiday as slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., leaving only two states remaining that honor the two men on the same day. Republican Gov.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) -- Texas A&M freshman standout Robert Williams says he is returning for another season in college. The 6-foot-9 Williams, projected by many to be a lottery pick in June's NBA draft, averaged 11.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season for the Aggies (16-15). Williams says the decision will give him "more time to mature and develop my game before moving on to the NBA.
Everything's magnified in March. A player who has been slumping all season can quickly put that behind him with a couple of big performances in the NCAA Tournament. A team that has struggled can suddenly change its reputation by heating up in the postseason. North Carolina's Joel Berry II, Florida's Devin Robinson and South Carolina's entire team are some of those on the annual tournament roller coaster heading into the Sweet 16.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday shot down prospects for major parts of President Donald Trump's budget, rejecting proposed cuts to foreign aid and medical research.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's win over defending national champion and overall No. 1 seed Villanova shook up office pools around the country, though the tested Badgers aren't a typical No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Eleventh-seeded Xavier might be a surprise team in the regional semifinals, but with their 3-point prowess, the Musketeers are capable of shooting their way past any opponent.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Will Wade is leaving VCU to take over LSU after guiding the Rams to the NCAA Tournament in both his seasons as coach. LSU vice chancellor and athletic director Joe Alleva made the announcement Monday night on the school's athletics website and Twitter. Wade guided the Rams to the Atlantic 10 championship game and the NCAA Tournament in both of his seasons.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- Cuonzo Martin is making something of a homecoming, and he'd be happy to stick around for a while this time. Martin, a native of East St. Louis, Illinois, was introduced as men's basketball coach for Missouri on Monday. Following stints with Tennessee and California, Martin says he's ready to put down roots about a two-hour drive from his hometown.
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) -- Check all the Xs in the office pool and just-for-fun brackets and defending national champion Villanova and Duke are two of the biggest names eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats and Blue Devils would have been a matchup fit for the marquee at Madison Square Garden. But instead of getting the equivalent of Conor McGregor vs.