BC-AP Sports Digest
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Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray is considering a football career instead of baseball, but what kind of NFL prospect is the undersized quarterback? On the latest AP Top 25 College Football Podcast, ESPN’s Tom Luginbill joins AP’s Ralph Russo to discuss Murray’s choice.
NEW ORLEANS _ The NFC championship is a rematch of a game that produced a lot of points and some hard feelings. The Saints ended the Rams’ unbeaten run in November. Now, Los Angeles takes its revenge in a higher-stakes rematch or New Orleans heads to its first Super Bowl in nine years. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 800 words, photos. For weekend use.
_ FBN--RAMS-GOFF’S ASCENT _ By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 9 p.m.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ With a record-setting quarterback and exciting playmakers, the Chiefs are picking up passengers on their bandwagon. Then again, maybe it’s all about rooting against the Patriots, who have ruled the AFC for more than a decade. The Chiefs view Sunday’s title game as a chance to pass the baton. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 1,100 words, photos. For weekend use.
_ FBN--PATRIOTS _ By Jimmy Golen. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
LAS VEGAS _ The stakes for Manny Pacquiao couldn’t be bigger in a crossroads fight at age 40. Win and there’s a possible second gigantic payday against Floyd Mayweather or fights against the best welterweights around. Lose, and it may be time to make being a senator in the Philippines a full-time career. By Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg. UPCOMING: 650 words, upcoming by 4 p.m.
MELBOURNE, Australia _ All of 17, Amanda Anisimova is making quite a first impression. The American, who had never won a Grand Slam match until this week, reaches the fourth round of the Australian Open. Also advancing are Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 950 words, photos. Play resumes 7 p.m.
LOS ANGELES _ DeMarcus Cousins is expected to make his season debut for Golden State, which adds yet more riches to its lineup. The Warriors have won six straight row and play a Los Angeles Clippers team that has lost four in a row, tying a season high. By Beth Harris. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 10:30 p.m.
AMHERST, N.Y. _ Buffalo is now so good that coach Nate Oats wonders if he can keep referring to his mid-major team as an underdog against elite competition. The No. 16 Bulls are 16-1 and in position for an NCAA Tournament bid for the fourth time in five years. By John Wawrow. SENT: 1.050 words, photos.
_ BKC--T25-EASTERN MICHIGAN-BUFFFALO _ By John Wawrow. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m.
FBN--PAUL NEWBERRY-STEVE GLEASON
He’s the New Orleans Saints’ biggest fan and the perfect symbol for a city that knows about overcoming hardship. As the Big Easy goes for another championship, Steve Gleason is along for the ride. Even though his body failed him, perhaps because of the game he loved so much. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m.
From the first day of training camp in August until deep into the NFL schedule, you hear it. Doesn’t matter what city a team represents or who is coaching and playing for it, the bromide is the same. Win the division. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 800 words, photos. For weekend use.
MELBOURNE, Australia _ The men’s tennis tour picked four “sleepers” to watch at the Australian Open. One of them has reached the fourth round as many times (11) as Stefan Edberg. It’s Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon finalist who next plays Rafael Nadal. By John Pye. SENT: 550 words, photos.
TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-SHARAPOVA BEATS WOZNIACKI
MELBOURNE, Australia _ Maria Sharapova shows she’s ready to be a Grand Slam factor again. She eliminates defending champion and third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki to advance to the fourth round in a statement-making victory. By Tennis Writer Howard Fendrich. SENT: 400 words, photos.
_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-THE LATEST _ Real-time updates throughout day.
_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-PLAYING SERENA _ Ukrainian teen who plays Serena next saw this matchup coming. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 450 words, photos.
_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-MATCH POINT DOUBLE FAULT _ Fernando Verdasco double-faults away match point against Marin Cilic. Howard Fendrich. By Howard Fendrich. SENT: 400 words, photos.
_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN-GREEKTOWN _ Greek players making name for themselves. By Dennis Passa. SENT: 550 words, photos.
_ TEN--AUSTRALIAN OPEN GLANCE _ SENT: 400 words, photos.
MMA--UFC ON ESPN
NEW YORK _ With mixed martial arts having gone from the fringes to mainstream, UFC and ESPN begin a once-unlikely partnership. ESPN broadcasts from Brooklyn on Saturday the first card of a $1.5 billion, five-year deal that will plaster UFC across the network’s various platforms. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 1,000 words, photos by 6 p.m.
NEW YORK _ Demetrius Andrade makes the first defense of his WBO middleweight title against Artur Akavov. Andrade owns the only major belt that won’t be on the line in the Canelo Alvarez-Danny Jacobs match in May. By Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Main event starts about 11 p.m.
CORTINA D’AMPEZZO, Italy _ Lindsey Vonn returns from injury and finishes way back in a downhill won by Austria’s Ramona Siebenhofer. Vonn, who injured her left knee in November, needs five wins to break the World Cup victories record of 86 held by Ingemar Stenmark. By Andrew Dampf. SENT: 700 words, photos.
WENGEN, Switzerland _ Marco Schwarz of Austria wins a World Cup combined, an event that could lose its Olympic status. The combined, adding run times in downhill and slalom, could be replaced by television-friendly parallel racing. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 500 words, photos.
_ SKE--WORLD CUP _ Martins Dukurs, Janine Flock win World Cup skeleton races, European titles in Austria. SENT: 130 words, photos.
WASHINGTON _ Islanders coach Barry Trotz returns to face the Capitals after leading them to the Stanley Cup title last season. New York is surging and just a point off the division lead. Washington goalie Braden Holtby is expected back after an eye injury. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 7:30 p.m.
LA QUINTA, Calif. _ Phil Mickelson, coming off a 12-under 60, leads by three strokes entering the second round of the Desert Classic. The 48-year-old left-hander is beginning his 27th full season as a pro. The 60 tied his career low, shot six years ago. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 8 p.m.
_ GLF--LPGA TOUR _ Brooke Henderson, Eun-Hee Ji share lead entering second round, with new mom Stacy Lewis a shot back at Lake Buena Vista, Fla. UPCOMING: 500 words by 6 p.m.
_ GLF--ABU DHABI CHAMPIONSHIP _ Shane Lowry up by three strokes after three rounds in United Arab Emirates. SENT: 450 words, photos.
_ GLF--CHAMPIONS TOUR _ David Toms, Joe Durant in front going into second round of seniors season opener in Hawaii. UPCOMING: 400 words by 11 p.m.
DURHAM, N.C. _ Top-ranked Duke hopes its defense doesn’t slip without point guard Tre Jones. The injury comes at a bad time for a team just getting back to playing the kind of tough man-to-man that had been a trademark after several years of struggles. By Joedy McCreary. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 5 p.m.
OXFORD, Miss. _ The coaching comeback of Kermit Davis is a tale three decades in the making. Nearly 30 years after his first attempt at big-time coaching ended in NCAA exile, Mississippi’ first-year coach has the Rebels back in the rankings for the first time since 2013. By David Brandt. SENT: 850 words, photos.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. _ Chris Lykes, Miami’s 5-foot-7 dynamo, has become one of the ACC’s leading scorers. Now coach Jim Larranaga wants him play better defense, which would help the Hurricanes’ chances Saturday against No. 13 North Carolina. Lykes is coming off a 25-point game against Wake Forest. By Steven Wine. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 6 p.m.
_ Lookaheads to weekend play in the ACC, SEC.
_ BKW--T25-ARIZONA ST-OREGON _ No. 5 Oregon hosts No. 19 Arizona State. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 9 p.m.
NEW YORK _ A record number of underclassmen are expected to be eligible of the NFL draft. The league releases the official list of college players who by passed remaining years of eligibility to enter the draft and the number of players could be more than 120. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 350 words, photos.
Glen Wood, the courtly and innovative patriarch of the famed Wood Brothers Racing team, dies at 93. Wood had been the oldest living member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. He was honored as one of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers, a list that included 20 drivers who once raced a Wood Brothers car. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. SENT: 950 words.
CHICAGO _ The Chicago Cubs hold their annual fan convention at a downtown hotel. For a team coming off four consecutive years of 92-plus wins, the mood is restless after an unusually quiet winter. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 9 p.m.
_ BKN--NBA CAPSULES
_ HKN--NHL CAPSULES
_ BKC--TOP 25 CAPSULES
_ BKW--TOP 25 CAPSULES
Friday Time Schedule (EST)
Brooklyn at Orlando, 7 p.m.
Memphis at Boston, 7 p.m.
Miami at Detroit, 7 p.m.
San Antonio at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Cleveland at Utah, 9 p.m.
Golden State at L.A. Clippers, 10:30 p.m.
New Orleans at Portland, 10:30 p.m.
Montreal at Columbus, 7 p.m.
Toronto at Florida, 7 p.m.
Ottawa at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.
N.Y. Islanders at Washington, 7:30 p.m.
Detroit at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Arizona, 9 p.m.
Buffalo at Vancouver, 10 p.m.
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 16 Buffalo vs. Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m.
No. 19 Maryland at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m.
No. 22 Villanova vs. Xavier, 8:30 p.m.
No. 5 Oregon vs. No. 19 Arizona State, 9 p.m.
No. 6 Stanford vs. Washington, 10 p.m.
No. 10 Oregon State vs. Arizona, 10 p.m.
No. 14 Marquette vs. Seton Hall, 12:30 p.m.
No. 24 DePaul vs. St. John’s, 8 p.m.