BC-AP Sports Digest
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The College Football Playoff race has been boring, with the same four teams holding the top spots for three weeks. On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, ESPN’s Heather Dinich joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss how the playoff could make a few twists and turns before selection Sunday on Dec. 2.
CLEVELAND —Once the video tribute ended, a simple sentiment filled the giant scoreboard. Against a black backdrop, giant white letters delivered the heartfelt message. Cleveland wanted to say something. “THANK YOU, LeBRON,” it said. By Tom Withers. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
OAKLAND, Calif. —Three Thunder players were injured and Oklahoma City still left Oracle Arena with a lopsided win against the ailing, slumping two-time defending NBA champions. Russell Westbrook recorded his first triple-double of the season as Oklahoma City defeated the Golden State Warriors 123-95 Wednesday night, when Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo was carted off on a stretcher with 7:17 left but avoided a serious injury according to the team after X-rays and Warriors doctors evaluated him. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 900 words, photos.
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Gonzaga found itself in the same position as Duke’s first five opponents: appearing helpless as the Blue Devils and their rim-rattling freshmen ran past and flew over them. The Zags never panicked, never looked up in awe at the bouncy Blue Devils. They have too much experience to get rattled, even against college basketball’s most talked-about team. By John Marshall. SENT: 800 words, photos.
OLY--TAIWAN-WHAT’S IN A NAME
Taiwan will vote on a referendum this month asking if the self-ruled island should compete as “Taiwan” instead of the present “Chinese Taipei.” This would include the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The controversial referendum has angered China, which sees Taiwan as a break-away province. The International Olympic Committee has already said the name must remain as “Chinese Taipei” under an agreement signed in 1981. The IOC will not change the name no matter the outcome of the referendum. By Stephen Wade. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.
FBN--INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Onside kicks have always been a bad bet, just not like this. Thanks to the NFL’s rules changes on kickoffs that were designed to reduce the risk of concussions, successful onside kicks have almost disappeared entirely from the game. By Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
A look at some of the key fantasy football questions for Week 12 of the NFL season. By Joe Gallina. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos.
DETROIT —the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears will meet for the second time in 12 days — yet this matchup already looks a lot different. By Noah Trister. UPCOMING: 780 words, photos.
ARLINGTON, Texas —Colt McCoy silenced his phone knowing he was coming back to his home state for his first NFL start in four years, in the stadium where he helped lead the Texas Longhorns to a shot at a national title as their star quarterback and where he last won a game as a pro. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 940 words, photos.
NEW ORLEANS —The latest chance for Saints fans to show Drew Brees their gratitude for the many memorable, triumphant moments he’s brought them comes on Thanksgiving night. By Brett Martel. SENT: 880 words, photos.
— FBN--PRO PICKS. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 660 words, graphic.
FBC--BIG TEN-RIVALRY GAMES
Barry Alvarez was pacing the sideline as coach the last time that Wisconsin lost Paul Bunyan’s Axe to Minnesota. It was 2003, but the empty feeling that comes with losing the rivalry game remains fresh. Losing stings. It’s all the education that younger fans and players need to understand why rivalry games remain important in the Big Ten. By Genaro C. Armas. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos.
FBC--BIG TEN THIS WEEK
Signs point to a breakthrough for Jim Harbaugh and Michigan against Ohio State. The Wolverines have lost six straight and 13 of the past 14 meetings but are four-point road favorite. The Nebraska offense against the Iowa defense is a matchup to watch. The Huskers went over 450 yards in seven straight games before being slowed down in the snow and cold against Michigan State. The Hawkeyes are sixth in the nation in total defense. Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor could hit 2,000 yards rushing. By Eric Olson. UPCOMING: 590 words, photos.
FBC--T25-FIVE THINGS TO KNOW FOR WEEK 13
The final weekend of college football’s regular season offers plenty of rivalry matchups, none bigger than a Michigan-Ohio State showdown that will determine who faces Northwestern in the Big Ten championship game. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 950 words, photos.
— FBC--COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 1,200 words photos.
— FBC--T25-TEXAS-KANSAS PREVIEW — By Dave Skretta. UPCOMING: 790 words, photos.
TOKYO — Shohei Ohtani says it didn’t take him long to realize he was competing at a much higher level during his first season in Major League Baseball. Ohtani returned to Japan and held a news conference at the National Press Club, where he spoke at length on his first season with the Los Angeles Angels. SENT: 420 words, photos.
NEW YORK —When Alexandar Georgiev was young, his family moved from Bulgaria to Russia so he could have a better opportunity to play sports. He was happy his parents were in attendance Wednesday night to see his first NHL shutout. Georgiev stopped 29 shots, Filip Chytil scored for the fifth straight game, and the New York Rangers beat the crosstown-rival Islanders 5-0. By Vin A. Cherwoo. SENT: 890 words, photos.
ATLANTA — Vince Carter grabbed his career milestone with a last-second dunk — long after his first NBA team had the victory secured. Kyle Lowry scored 21 points during his first triple-double of the season and the Toronto Raptors never trailed while beating the reeling Atlanta Hawks 124-108 on Wednesday night. The night’s final bow belonged to Carter, whose jam with less than a second remaining pushed him past 25,000 career points. By Charles Odum. SENT: 780 words, photos.
DALLAS —Dirk Nowitzki was ready to take the court Wednesday night — at halftime, for a ceremony in which the Mavericks star was to be presented a key to the city by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. As for when the 7-foot German’s record 21st season with the same franchise will begin after a longer-than-expected recovery from ankle surgery seven months ago, Nowitzki said the goal is sometime in December. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 620 words, photos.
— BKN--NETS-MAVERICKS. By Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 793 words, photos.
BKC--T25-NIT SEASON TIP-OFF
NEW YORK — Top five teams Kansas and Tennessee were tested in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals. Both passed and will face off in the championship game Friday night. By Matt Sugam. SENT: 600 words, photos.
BKC--T25-BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas —Wisconsin coach Greg Gard wanted his 25th-ranked Badgers prove they’ve matured enough to play more consistently on defense, from following scheme rules to quickly fixing their own mistakes. Wednesday’s opener at the Battle 4 Atlantis offered a glimpse of that, a welcome early sign after last year’s uncharacteristic struggles. By Basketball Writer Aaron Beard. SENT: 900 words.
— BKC--T25-BATTLE 4 ATLANTIS — UPCOMING: 110 words.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — For a debut tournament, the organizers of the Vancouver Showcase could not have done much better putting together an elite field. The inaugural tournament will get underway Thursday with a field that includes top-ranked Notre Dame, No. 9 Oregon State and No. 13 South Carolina. By Tim Booth. SENT: 570 words, photos.
BOX--FIGHTS BREAKING OUT
Dmitry Bivol knew where he wanted to go in his boxing career — straight to the top of one of the HBO cards he used to watch replays of while growing up in Russia. Now Bivol is a light heavyweight champion — and on Saturday night he’ll finally be an HBO headliner. The fight is big for Bivol, but the occasion for boxing fans is bittersweet. After 45 years, HBO is pulling the plug on its premium boxing coverage with its last prime-time boxing card. By Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 990 words, photos.
The commissioner of the Esports Integrity Coalition says skill-based betting on battle royale games like Fortnite and Battleground could be vulnerable to cheating. Esports gambling website Unikrn announced plans last month to bring legal skill-based betting to the U.S., allowing gamers to wager on themselves in games. ESIC Commissioner Ian Smith says such betting is likely to be popular, but he’s concerned the industry is not yet prepared to govern it. By Jake Seiner. SENT: 900 words, photos.
Golf used to have a prominent place on the Thanksgiving weekend calendar with The Skins Game. That made-for-TV event ended in 2008 but Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will have their own high-stakes showdown Friday. After years of discussion, the two will compete in “The Match” at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, a $9 million winner-take-all event that will air on pay-per-view.By Joe Reedy. SENT: 900 words, photos.
— GLF--WORLD CUP — By Dennis Passa. SENT: 500 words, photos.
LONDON — English soccer is divided by Brexit. Currently clubs have unrestricted access to players from across Europe but that is set to end when Britain leaves the European Union. Premier League clubs would be allowed to sign whoever they want from abroad under proposals from the English Football Association but only be allowed 13 non-homegrown players in the squad. Premier League clubs are opposed to the FA’s plans. By Rob Harris. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES
Thursday Time Schedule (EST)
Chicago at Detroit, 12:30 p.m.
Washington at Dallas, 4:30 p.m.
Atlanta at New Orleans, 8:20 p.m.
No. 22 Mississippi State at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m.
TOP 25 BASKETBALL
No. 4 Virginia vs. Dayton at Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas, 4 p.m.
No. 6 Nevada vs. Tulsa at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 4 p.m.
No. 7 North Carolina vs. Texas at Orleans Arena, 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 Michigan State vs. No. 17 UCLA at Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, 10 p.m.
No. 14 Florida State vs. UAB at HP Field House, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 9:30 p.m.
No. 19 LSU vs. College of Charleston at HP Field House, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., 7 p.m.
No. 25 Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma at Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas, 1:30 p.m.
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. Gonzaga at Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre East, 3 p.m.
No. 2 UConn vs. Mississippi at UVI Sports & Fitness Center, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 7:30 p.m.
No. 9 Oregon State vs. Western Kentucky at Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre East, 11:30 p.m.
No. 11 Tennessee vs. Clemson at Gateway Christian Academy, Bimini, Bahamas, 3 p.m.
No. 13 South Carolina vs. ETSU at Vancouver (British Columbia) Convention Centre East, 9 p.m.
No. 14 Syracuse vs. Kansas State at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico, 2:30 p.m.
No. 15 N.C. State vs. Michigan State at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico, 6:30 p.m.
No. 16 DePaul vs. Princeton at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, Cancun, Mexico, Noon
No. 17 South Florida vs. Kentucky at UVI Sports & Fitness Center, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, 1 p.m.