The University of Connecticut women's basketball team will be trying out some new rules when the Huskies play an exhibition game next month.

Longtime NBA coach and Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has died.

He was 60 years old, and had been undergoing treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma over the past few months.

The Timberwolves organization announced Saunders' passing via Twitter Sunday afternoon.

White House / Creative Commons

The University of Connecticut women's basketball team is not quite finished celebrating their third straight national title.

His power and talent tested the nuts and bolts of basketball — literally. Darryl Dawkins, who became famous for backboard-shattering dunks after he was the first NBA player to skip college altogether, has died at age 58.

Lehigh Carbon Community College, where Dawkins coached for two seasons, says:

Chilli Head / Creative Commons

One man was killed and three others were shot at a basketball tournament at a Hartford school over the weekend. But city school officials now say the event didn't have a permit or the required security. 

The Golden State Warriors entered the playoffs viewed as an offensive juggernaut and a smart defensive team which — having dominated the stronger Western Conference — should be nearly unstoppable in the NBA finals.

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers showed just how wrong that was through the first three quarters on Tuesday night in Cleveland, building a 17-point lead en route to a 96-91 win and a 2-1 series lead.

The Golden State Warriors managed to dominate a stacked Western Conference all season long; with Wednesday night's 104-90 win over the Houston Rockets, they'll get a chance to finish the job in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors got a team-leading 26 points from star point guard Stephen Curry, who had struck his head in a fall in the previous game on Monday. Curry's shot wasn't as accurate as usual, but he made up for it with steals, rebounds and free throws. Harrison Barnes added 24 points for Golden State and Klay Thompson added 20.

A roller-coaster season for the Cleveland Cavaliers reached a new peak Tuesday night as the team dominated the Atlanta Hawks, 118-88, to complete a sweep of the Eastern Conference finals.

Making the NBA finals meets the expectations many had for the Cavs from the moment four-time league MVP LeBron James returned to the team — though Cleveland struggled early in the season, finishing the first half just a game over .500.

The UConn women's basketball team won its tenth national championship on Tuesday night. The Huskies were dominant throughout this year's tournament, beating opponents by an average of more than 37 points.

So with UConn winning over Notre Dame by only 10 points, it was a more even match -- and an exciting one to watch. 

In a rematch of the 2014 final, the University of Connecticut will face off against Notre Dame in the NCAA women's basketball final Tuesday night. UConn's Huskies will be trying for their third consecutive title.

The championship game will start at 8:30 p.m. ET; it'll air on ESPN.

For Notre Dame, tonight brings a chance to overcome years of frustration. In three of the past four years, the team has lost in the championship game. The Irish last won it all in 2001.

Drew Bennett / Creative Commons

The stage is set for the national championship in men's Division I college basketball. Sure, your team might not be there, but you know who to root against in Monday night's game: Duke. Why? This hour, we ask that question of a filmmaker who produced a film on one of Duke's biggest villains.

Also, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is everywhere on the cable news circuit lately. Is his national star rising, or does it just seem that way in Connecticut?

Finally, what are the takeaways from a review of a retracted Rolling Stone report on campus sexual assault?

Not since the World War II era has Wisconsin vied for the NCAA's top men's basketball championship. They'll do it tonight against Duke, in a game that pits two balanced teams — and two talented big men — against each other.

For Wisconsin, a win will bring its first title since 1941. Perennial power Duke last won it all in 2010. Tipoff at 9:18 p.m. ET. You can watch the game on CBS or at the NCAA website.

The University of Connecticut continues to dominate women's college basketball: The Huskies plowed past the University of Maryland and are headed to the NCAA women's basketball championship game, where they'll meet Notre Dame.

The Terrapins faced a daunting task heading into the game. Connecticut, the overall top seed for the tournament, stands far above the competition.

"The Huskies have won the last two titles and obliterated opponents in this tournament by an average margin of 41 points a game," NPR's Tom Goldman noted to our Newscast unit.

We've got a Final Four.

Michigan State and Duke will join Kentucky and Wisconsin in Indianapolis next Saturday night.

In Syracuse, N.Y., Michigan State and Louisville traded leads all game. As the clock wound down, the Spartans led by one point, 65-64. But they missed their chance to extend the lead when freshman Marvin Clark Jr. missed two free throws with 22 seconds to go.

But just seconds later, they fouled Louisville forward Mangok Mathiang, who made one free throw to tie the game, but couldn't hit the second.

About 25 years ago, John Bovery started a modest football pool out of his home in New Jersey. It had 57 participants, all friends and co-workers.

But thanks to word of mouth — and the multiplying factor of email — Bovery's pool grew to staggering proportions. At one point, it got too large for Bovery to handle himself, so he contacted a software company to custom-build something suited to his needs.

By 2009, it included more than 8,000 entries from people around the globe, with a total payout of more than $800,000.

President Barack Obama didn't exactly go out on a limb with his college-basketball picks this year.

Like most people, he picked Kentucky to run the table, go 40-0, and win the NCAA Tournament. He also picked three No. 1 seeds and one No. 2 to make it to the Final Four.

"I don't think you can play a perfect basketball game anymore than you can do anything perfectly," the president said of Kentucky, "but these guys are coming pretty close."

The president did mix in a little politics.

Ole Miss scored 62 points in the second half last night to dig its way out of a hole and into the big bracket, on the first day of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. At the half, the Rebels were 17 points behind BYU — which had pulled off its own miracle comeback just three years ago.

BYU suffered the loss in Dayton, where it had made a historic 25-point comeback in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

It's the venerable custom in tennis and golf for the crowd to be still and quiet when players hit their shots.

Now, since even ordinary baseball batters have some success hitting against 98 mph fastballs with 40,000 fans standing and screaming, do you really believe that great athletes like Novak Djokovic or Rory McIlroy couldn't serve or putt with a few thousand fans hollering? If they'd grown up playing tennis or golf that way, that is. When disorder is a sustaining part of the game, players, in effect, put it out of their minds. Hear no evil, see no evil.

Mallory ODonoghue

As March Madness tips off on Tuesday, excitement over college basketball can be seen everywhere on UConn's Storrs campus.

Nowhere is the creative energy around basketball culture more apparent on campus than at the exhibit “In the Paint: Basketball in Contemporary Art” at the William Benton Museum of Art.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's that time of year again when productivity slides, sleep is lost and frustration runs high. No, there's not another financial crisis - just March Madness! Join our favorite bracket watching team of Julia Pistell and Bill Curry, as they share their top-secret strategies to pick the winning NCAA bracket, the logic of which stuns even seasoned sports reporter Mike Pesca.

The NCAA has announced the women's basketball bracket for 2015. UConn (32-1), Notre Dame (31-2), South Carolina (30-2) and Maryland (30-2) have all earned No. 1 seeds.

The NCAA also says five schools are making their first appearances in the tournament this century: New Mexico State, Ohio, Seton Hall, Tennessee State and Northwestern.

Men's basketball coach Dean Smith, who coached the University of North Carolina Tar Heels for more than 35 years, taking them to two national titles, has died at age 83.

The Hall of Famer died Saturday night at his home, his family said in a statement released today.

"We are grateful for all the thoughts and prayers, and appreciate the continued respect for our privacy as arrangements are made available to the public. Thank you," the statement said.


A group of West Hartford residents is working to renovate Jonathan's Dream, a public playground for children of all abilities. Recent funding makes it possible for them to bring a set of unusual basketball hoops to the playground, called Bankshot, aimed at all ages and abilities.

Awol Erizku / Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NYC

On the basketball court, a player is “in the paint” when he or she is inside the area closest to the hoop. Visitors to the William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut can imagine what that might feel like at an exhibition opening Friday called “In the Paint: Basketball in Contemporary Art.”

Even with free agency, our professional leagues show a reliable sort of sameness from year to year. Oh sure, each season there are a few teams that surprise, but mostly, changes in the standings are evolutionary. That said, I don't believe I've ever seen a league that looks so cockeyed as the NBA is this year.

First of all, it's just plain weird to see the two historically glamorous franchises, the Celtics and Lakers, both down near the bottom of the standings, while up top are teams that previously were nondescript also-rans.

It was a small item on page B9 of the New York edition of the New York Times: “Wanted: Better Basketball for a Weary Reporter.”

Scott Cacciola is the weary reporter. His beat is the New York Knicks, a team that, at the time of the sports department editors’ plea, had posted a dismal 5-32 record.

The Dallas Mavericks are thinking “win now.” The Boston Celtics are thinking “eh, win later.” And with those things in mind, the teams completed a five-player deal on Thursday that sent point guard and four-time NBA all-star Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks.

Only A Game’s Doug Tribou spoke with Bill Littlefield about the deal.

And on the 18th try, the Philadelphia 76ers finally snapped their losing streak, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 85-77 on Wednesday.

Yes, they managed to right the ship to avoid tying the record for worst start to an NBA season and, yes, a win is a win.

Nineteen-year-old college freshman Lauren Hill played her first game Sunday night, for a tiny, Division III college in Cincinnati.

That's not usually big news. But Hill has a rare form of brain cancer, and her first collegiate game might also be her last — which brought an unusual degree of attention to the court at Mount Saint Joseph University.

Overcoming an injury to their star center, the Phoenix Mercury won its third WNBA title last night, beating the Chicago Sky in three games. An eye injury suffered in game two forced Phoenix center Brittney Griner to sit out.

"Phoenix got 24 points each from Candice Dupree and the sublime guard Diana Taurasi – the Finals MVP – to win," NPR's Tom Goldman reports. "The Mercury dominated this year, they won a record 29 regular-season games. They're fitting champions."