BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

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

– GLENDALE, Ariz. – In a semifinal between Final Four newcomers, Gonzaga and mountainous Przemek Karnowski faces Sindarius Thornwell and South Carolina. Game starts 6:09 p.m.

– GLENDALE, Ariz. – North Carolina, burned at the buzzer in last year’s final, plays an Oregon team featuring Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey in a semifinal. Game starts 30 minutes after opener.

– DALLAS – After pulling off one of the greatest upsets in women’s college basketball, Mississippi State will have to beat SEC rival South Carolina to win its first national championship.

– STORRS, Conn. – UConn returns to its campus without a fifth straight title, but brimming with possibilities. Almost every player returns to a team further fortified with transfers and recruits.

– The baseball season opens Sunday amid plenty of questions: Can MVP Kris Bryant and the Cubs repeat? Will home runs keep rising? And what to make of a Fenway Park without Big Papi?

– Baseball is turning to gadgets to monitor all manner of things. Managers can forget gut feeling. They have reams of data to determine batting orders, pitching changes, defensive shifts.

– ST. LOUIS – The Cubs-Cardinals rivalry begins a new chapter with opening day Sunday. This time, the Cubs are World Series champions.

– RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Suzann Pettersen is up by a shot over surging Michelle Wie in the delayed ANA Inspiration, the LPGA Tour’s first major of the year.

– HUMBLE, Texas – Sung Kang, coming off a 9-under 63, takes a six-shot lead into the third round of the Houston Open. The South Korean entered the week ranked No. 202.

– KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. – Caroline Wozniacki plays Johanna Konta in the Miami Open final, each trying to win this tournament for the first time. Konta defeated Venus Williams in the semifinals.

– MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Jamie McMurray, off to a solid start in 2017, looks for his first victory in more than four years. He races Sunday at Martinsville Speedway, where he’s come close before.

– HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – The Kentucky Derby preps intensify, with Gunnevera leading an expected field of 10 for the Florida Derby and Girvin the likely favorite for the Louisiana Derby.

– EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State plays a spring football game amid speculation over possible player involvement in a sexual assault investigation. Game starts 3 p.m.

– HELSINKI – Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu wins the men’s title at figure skating’s world championships, boosting his hopes for a successful Olympic gold medal defense next year.