BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Thursday. A full Sports Digest will be sent about 3 p.m. All times EDT:

– INDIANAPOLIS – NCAA President Mark Emmert is ”very pleased” with revisions to Indiana’s religious objections law that critics fear would lead to discrimination against gays and lesbians.

– INDIANAPOLIS – Justise Winslow is having a huge tournament for Duke. The freshman has speed and an outside shot as well as the strength and bulk to match up with bigger forwards.

– INDIANAPOLIS – If the Final Four comes down to free throws, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo might need to cover his eyes. Not so much for Kentucky’s John Calipari.

– NEW YORK – Miami and Stanford meet in the NIT title game at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinal won the tournament in 2012. The Hurricanes will be without two injured starters. Game starts 9 p.m.

– COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina star Tiffany Mitchell grew up idolizing coach Dawn Staley, a three-time Olympic gold medalist. Now both are headed to the schools first women’s Final Four.

– SOUTH BEND, Ind. – When Notre Dame heads to the women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida, coach Muffet McGraw has these instructions for her players – be loose and have fun.

– LAKELAND, Fla. – Tigers ace Justin Verlander is going on the disabled list for the first time. The six-time All-Star has a tight triceps and could start the sixth game of the season.

– CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs, who know all too well about rebuilding years, open the season with a kind of renovation project that hasn’t been seen around Wrigley Field in nearly 80 years.

– Spring training highlights: Mets’ Matt Harvey makes final spring tuneup; Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez will have Tommy John surgery; Giants-Athletics open annual three-game exhibition in San Francisco.

– RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Lydia Ko tries to tie Annika Sorenstam’s record of 29 consecutive rounds under par on the opening day of the ANA Inspiration.

– HUMBLE, Texas – Defending champion Matt Jones and 2011 champion Phil Mickelson highlight the start of play at the Houston Open, the last tournament before the Masters.

– CLEVELAND – With seven games left before the playoffs, LeBron James and the Cavaliers host the Miami Heat, a team that has beaten them twice this season and could meet Cleveland in the first round.

– ATLANTA – The Hawks are trying to play a game that has worked so well for San Antonio: Rest up and be at their best for the playoffs. But there’s a danger in squandering momentum.

– KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Serena Williams plays the last woman to beat her, facing Simona Halep at night in the Miami Open semifinals. Novak Djokovic and Kei Nishikori are in earlier matches.

– FALL RIVER, Mass. – A state medical examiner details the victim’s gunshot wounds in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez. The doctor is expected to be the last witness called by the prosecution before it rests.

– NEW ORLEANS – Former Saints safety Darren Sharper is back in Louisiana to enter pleas next week in state and federal sex assault cases.

– LONDON – When the U.S. decided to bid for the 2024 Olympics, many felt an American city would be an early front-runner in the global race. Now, the IOC is puzzled by the lack of public support for Boston.

– HANOVER, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls are one of the early surprises in the MLS season despite the retirement of Thierry Henry, a roster overhaul and a coaching switch.