BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ California underachieved in the eyes of its players, its athletic director and its fans.

The school fired basketball coach Ben Braun following another disappointing season in which the Golden Bears missed the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years.

Braun spent 12 years at Cal and made the tournament five times. But the Bears only went to the NCAA tournament once over his final five seasons, leading to the decision by athletic director Sandy Barbour.

She met Wednesday morning with Braun, who then met with eight players from the team in the locker room afterward with the news. Barbour, too, talked to as many players as she could considering some had already left town for spring break. She said her decision was made this week after evaluating the program over the course of the season.

Cal finished ninth in the Pac-10 this season, going 17-16 overall and just 6-12 in the conference despite having a talented roster that included likely future NBA players in Ryan Anderson, DeVon Hardin and Patrick Christopher. Anderson, the team's leading scorer and rebounder this season as a sophomore, is likely to declare himself eligible for the NBA draft without hiring an agent so he can still return to school.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) Kevin O'Neill said he expects to return to Lute Olson's Arizona staff and succeed the Hall of Famer when he retires.

O'Neill became interim coach Nov. 4 after Olson took a leave of absence for undisclosed personal reason. When Olson recently announced that he would resume coaching next season he is signed through 2011 speculation arose that O'Neill might depart instead of returning to his job as an assistant.

O'Neill said he plans to fulfill the commitment he made when he came to Tucson a year ago.

DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) One of Davidson College's famous perks is the free laundry service for students. Now the school is adding another freebie: watching the Wildcats play in the NCAA tournament's round of 16.

The school's board of trustees set up a fund to pay for any student wishing to travel to Detroit to see Davidson play Wisconsin in the Midwest Regional semifinals. Students will get free bus transportation, two nights lodging and a ticket to Friday's game.

Behind sophomore sensation Stephen Curry, Davidson upset Gonzaga and Georgetown last week for the school's first NCAA tournament wins in 39 years.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Chris Webber announced his retirement from the NBA, bowing to a knee injury that cut short his comeback attempt with the Golden State Warriors.

Webber played only nine games with the Warriors before being sidelined by a bum left knee that's hampered him in recent years. He has not played since March 2 and had not been around the team of late.

The Warriors are in eighth-place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Denver for the final playoff spot. Even if Webber had been healthy enough to return, it would have been unlikely there would have been enough time for him to work his way back into the rotation.

Webber was the most prominent member of the Fab Five at Michigan and played for Golden State, Washington, Sacramento, Philadelphia and Detroit in his NBA career.


MANCHESTER, England (AP) Cycling runs in Taylor Phinney's family.

Just six months after making his track debut, the 17-year-old prodigy from an American cycling dynasty is likely off to the Beijing Olympics.

The son of American road star Davis Phinney and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter-Phinney was quick to express his disappointment after clocking 4:22.358 in the individual pursuit at the world track championships.

Still, that time would be good enough to get Phinney into the Olympics if USA Cycling, as expected, officially secures a starting spot in the pursuit. Even after he finished eighth, USA Cycling officials believe Phinney's ranking in the world standings will be good enough to get him into the Beijing field.

Especially considering that Phinney would only have been found on a soccer pitch two years ago.

That changed with an inspirational trip in 2005 to the Tour de France, where his father became the first American to win a stage in 1986. Within his first year of competitive cycling, he won 23 races. And despite only pedaling in a velodrome for the first time in September, he has already set the sport alight.


MADRID, Spain (AP) America's Cup champion Alinghi of Switzerland is heading back to court to settle a dispute over the date of its showdown with BMW Oracle Racing for the oldest trophy in international sports.

Representatives from Alinghi and the American challenger met in Geneva, but came no closer to settling the date of the 33rd America's Cup.

Several hours later, a law firm representing Alinghi's sponsoring yacht club sent a letter to New York State Supreme Court Judge Herman J. Cahn requesting a hearing to settle the dispute.

Alinghi wants the best-of-three series to begin no earlier than May 1, 2009, while the Americans, backed by Silicon Valley tycoon Larry Ellison, wouldn't budge from their October date, Alinghi lawyer Lucien Masmejan said.

Alinghi says it doesn't have time to build a multihull boat in time for racing in October. BMW Oracle Racing already has started building a boat in Anacortes, Wash.


SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) David Beckham got a yellow card in his 100th international game for England and was taken off in the 62nd minute of his team's 1-0 loss at France.

Despite speculation the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder would be on the bench, England coach Fabio Capello placed him in the starting lineup for the friendly at the Stade de France.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.