Sports briefs: Minnesota fires basketball coach Tubby Smith
College basketball • Minnesota fired Tubby Smith on Monday, cutting ties with the veteran coach one day after the Golden Gophers lost to Florida in the NCAA Tournament.
Athletics director Norwood Teague announced the decision Monday and said it was time for a "fresh set of eyes" on the program.
Smith was 124-81 (.610) in six seasons at Minnesota, helping to bring the program back to respectability and ramping up expectations for a team hit hard by an academic cheating scandal.
Crash fractured Hamlin's back
NASCAR • Denny Hamlin suffered a compression fracture in his lower spine during a last-lap crash while racing for the win against former teammate Joey Logano, and Joe Gibbs Racing gave no indication Monday how long its driver could be sidelined.
Hamlin was airlifted from the Fontana track after a collision with Logano sent him nearly head-on into the inside wall in a place where Auto Club Speedway does not have energy-absorbing SAFER barriers.
Stakes high for U.S., Mexico in qualifier
soccer • The United State and Mexico meet in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday in Mexico City, and both teams could use a boost. In this final stage of CONCACAF qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil, only three teams out of six will lock up a berth, with the fourth team landing in a playoff game against the Oceania winner. Mexico is tied for third and needs a win after disappointing draws with Honduras on Friday and Jamaica in February. The U.S. lost its opener to Honduras in February. It moved into second place after beating Costa Rica 1-0 in the middle of a snowstorm last week.
From wire reports