Zion, Duke ready as first round wraps up

(AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

(AP) -- The first round of the NCAA Tournament is set to conclude Friday with plenty of star power taking the floor, notably Zion Williams and No. 1 overall seed Duke.

The Blue Devils play North Dakota State in the East Region.

Virginia tries to avoid losing as a top seed for the second straight year, while fellow No. 1 seed North Carolina opens its tournament against Iona. Mid-major powers Houston and Buffalo also get going while upset-minded 12-seeds Liberty and Oregon are in action.

Vandy fires Drew after three seasons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The worst season in the history of Vanderbilt men's basketball has cost coach Bryce Drew his job.

Vanderbilt went 9-23 and was the first team in 65 years to go winless in the Southeastern Conference. Drew had a 40-59 record in three seasons with the Commodores. (MORE)

Wake's Manning to return for 6th season

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Danny Manning will return for a sixth season at Wake Forest despite his third 20-loss season in five years.

Retiring athletic director Ron Wellman announced the decision Friday, 10 days after the Demon Deacons ended an 11-20 season with a loss to Miami in the first round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. (MORE)

Raptors, OKC to play rematch in Toronto

The Toronto Raptors needed overtime to win at Oklahoma City on Wednesday night after squandering a 19-point lead.

Now they see what they can do at home when the teams meet again on Friday night. (MORE)

Spurs, Rockets to meet in West showdown

Given its franchise history of impeccability, San Antonio has provided fans with every reason to believe in its sudden invincibility, with performances of late elevating the Spurs' status from postseason hopefuls to a team so dangerous almost no opponent would welcome a first-round playoff matchup.

Even with its 110-105 home loss on Wednesday to the Miami Heat, a setback that snapped the Spurs' nine-game winning streak, San Antonio resembles an altogether different squad from earlier this season. Now, as they look ahead to a road clash on Friday with the Houston Rockets, the Spurs are climbing the Western Conference standings, and a home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs isn't inconceivable. (MORE)

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