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BC-AP Sports Digest

December 19, 2018

The supervisor is Rebecca Miller, followed by John Nicholson at 5 p.m. and Bob Lentz at 1 a.m. The New York sports desk can be reached at 800-845-8450, ext. 1630. Sports photos, ext. 1918; graphics, ext. 7636; agate, ext. 1635. For up-to-the-minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at https://newsroom.ap.org . For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

Emmy award-winning broadcaster Ernie Johnson delivers a behind-the-scenes look at friend and “Inside the NBA” colleague Charles Barkley in the latest PodcastOne Sports Now episode. Johnson joins hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg to discuss the friendship between former NBA star Barkley and Chinese immigrant Lin Wang, who shrugged off his own considerable achievements by calling himself “a cat-litter scientist.” Listen at podcastonesports.com, the podcastone app and apple podcasts.

https://www.podcastone.com/ap-sports-weekly-podcast

TOP STORIES

FBC--EARLY SIGNING PERIOD

The second year of college football’s early signing period promises to be busy, with most teams expected to lock up the bulk of their 2019 classes and Alabama working on another recruiting championship. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 7 p.m.

With:

— FBC--SIGNING DAY-THE LATEST — Real-time updates throughout day.

FBC--CFP-ALABAMA-TAGOVAILOA

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tua Tagovailoa is optimistic that he will be fully recovered from ankle surgery and ready to play in the Orange Bowl. The Alabama quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up says his left ankle will be 100 percent for College Football Playoff semifinal game with Oklahoma on Dec. 29. By John Zenor. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 5 p.m.

OLY--SEX ABUSE-SOLUTIONS

While Olympic powers struggle to put together a comprehensive list of bad actors and banned coaches in the wake of a wide-ranging sex-abuse crisis, an entrepreneur with a passion for youth sports is undertaking what could be an even more important task: helping families discover coaches who should be working with kids. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 820 words, photos.

SOC--MAN UNITED-SOLSKJAER

Manchester United turned to a popular former player by hiring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager until the end of the season, 20 seasons after he scored the winning goal in the Champions League final. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 680 words, photos.

With:

— SOC--MAN UNITED-SOLSKJAER’S CHALLENGE — The challenges facing Solskjaer at Man United. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 840 words, photos.

SPORTS BETTING-FEDERAL REGULATION

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Two U.S. senators are proposing that the federal government take back control of sports gambling in America, the first formal move by Congress after a Supreme Court ruling reopened a complex debate over fans betting on games and who controls the action. The federal bill introduced Wednesday would have the U.S. Justice Department set minimum standards for states to offer sports betting. It does not explicitly provide the sports leagues the cut of gambling revenue they have been seeking, so-called integrity fees, but does not prohibit them, either. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 800 words, photos.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

OLY--SNOW VOLLEYBALL-AMERICANS

The United States is sending a pair of teams to a European snow volleyball tour event in Moscow this week, a boost for the sport as it tries to grow a worldwide footprint. Four-time Olympian Lloy Ball, who won the gold medal with the U.S. indoor team in 2008, will play in the tournament and hopes to bring home some information on how the Americans can compete as the new discipline tries to earn a spot in the 2026 Olympics. If it does, volleyball would be the first sport to be a part of both the Summer and Winter Games. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 960 words, photos by 4 a.m.

NFL

FBN--SAINTS-ANEMIC OFFENSE

METAIRIE, La. — Even a pair of recent road wins hasn’t been able to mask a potentially troubling trend for playoff-bound Saints. Their normally prolific offense has been largely stagnant in 10 of their last 12 quarters of play. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 9 p.m.

FBN--RAVENS-WEDDLE

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens safety Eric Weddle intends to put all nostalgic feelings aside when he faces his former team, the Chargers, on Saturday night in a pivotal AFC matchup. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 640 words, photo.

FBN--TITANS-HENRY

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Unthinkable at the start of December, Derrick Henry has piled up a franchise-record 408 yards over his past two games to put the Tennessee Titans running back 118 yards shy of his first 1,000-yard rushing season with Washington visiting Saturday. By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 550 words, photo by 8 p.m.

Also:

— FBN--PANTHERS-NEWTON — Panthers sitting QB Cam Newton; Taylor Heinicke to start vs. Falcons. By Steve Reed. SENT: 150 words. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 7 p.m.

— FBN--CHIEFS-HEALTH CHECK — Chiefs on shaky injury ground heading to Seattle showdown. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 740 words, photos.

— FBN--PRO PICKS — Ravens and Chargers both chasers as they meet Saturday. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 620 words, graphic.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--CFP-NOTRE DAME-PREPARING FOR TIGERS

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame’s offensive line is preparing for its biggest challenge of the season. The Fighting Irish will face Clemson in a playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29. The Tigers have one of the best defensive lines in the country and the No. 2 defense overall. SENT: 800 words, photos.

FBC--FRISCO BOWL

FRISCO, Texas — San Diego State tries to end a five-game bowl skid when it faces Ohio in the Frisco Bowl. By Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

Also:

— FBC--GASPARILLA BOWL PREVIEW CAPSURE — Marshall looks to improve to 6-0 in bowl games under coach Doc Holliday when the Thundering Herd face South Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl. USF enters on a five-game losing streak after opening the season 7-0 and climbing into the Top 25. SENT: 430 words.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKC--T25-VIRGINIA-SOUTH CAROLINA

COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 5 Virginia looks to open 10-0 for the first time in four years when it faces South Carolina. By Pete Iacobelli. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m.

BKC--T25--DUKE-WILLIAMSON

DURHAM, N.C. — Zion Williamson sure seems comfortable as the star of the show at No. 2 Duke. With his mix of high-flying acrobatics on the court and his charismatic personality off it, Williamson has emerged as the natural face of the Blue Devils — and as college basketball as a whole. By Joedy McCreary. SENT: 620 words, photos.

Also:

— BKC--NORTH CAROLINA-WILLIAMS — UNC gives hoops coach Roy Williams 8-year contract extension. SENT: 330 words, photos.

— BKC--WINLESS MONMOUTH — Monmouth still battling after surprising 0-11 start. SENT: 740 words.

NHL

HKN--AROUND THE NHL

Emphasis on re-signing younger players to lucrative deal is placing a burden on NHL teams in managing the salary cap. The question becomes how teams retain their young stars while keeping enough money aside to fill the remainder of their roster. By Hockey Writer John Wawrow. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.

HKN--PENGUINS-CAPITALS

WASHINGTON — Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals face Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the latest installment of one of the NHL’s best rivalries. By David Ginsburg. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.

BASEBALL

— BBA--ASTROS-BRANTLEY — Michael Brantley, Astros finalize $32M, 2-year contract. By Kristie Rieken. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 650 words developing from 2:30 p.m. news conference.

— BBA--BUSY TIGERS — Jordy Mercer the latest quiet addition for busy Detroit Tigers. By Baseball Writer Noah Trister. SENT: 640 words, photos.

WINTER SPORTS

SKI--WCUP-WOMEN’S SUPER-G

SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy — Slovenian skier Ilka Stuhec overcame an error in the middle of her run to win a World Cup super-G and sweep the speed races on the Saslong course. Following up her downhill victory from Tuesday, Stuhec finished a slim 0.05 seconds ahead of Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein and Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria, who tied for second. By Andrew Dampf. SENT: 660 words, photos.

Also:

— SKI--WCUP-MEN’S GS — Zan Kranjec becomes the first Slovenian skier to win a men’s World Cup giant slalom. SENT: 130 words, photos.

OTHER

— SWM--MISSY FRANKLIN RETIRES — Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin retires at 23, citing chronic pain. SENT: 450 words, photos.

— OLY--ANTI-DOPING LEGISLATION — Senators bring bill to criminalize vast doping conspiracies. By National Writer Eddie Pells. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 600 words by 6 p.m.

— SOF--MO’NE DAVIS-COLLEGE — Little League star Mo’ne Davis to play softball at Hampton. SENT: 130 words, photo.

CAPSULES

— BKN--NBA CAPSULES

— HKN--NHL CAPSULES

— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

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Wednesday Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Cleveland at Charlotte, 7 p.m.

New York at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

San Antonio at Orlando, 7 p.m.

Indiana at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Phoenix at Boston, 7:30 p.m.

Brooklyn at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Detroit at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

New Orleans at Milwaukee, 8 p.m.

Washington at Houston, 8 p.m.

Golden State at Utah, 9 p.m.

Memphis at Portland, 10 p.m.

Oklahoma City at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

NHL

Pittsburgh at Washington, 8 p.m.

Montreal at Colorado, 8:30 p.m.

College Football

Frisco (Texas) Bowl: San Diego State vs. Ohio, 8 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)

Men

No. 3 Tennessee vs. Samford, 7 p.m.

No. 5 Virginia at South Carolina, 7 p.m.

No. 7 Auburn at N.C. State, 6 p.m.

No. 11 Florida State vs. North Florida, 7 p.m.

No. 13 Virginia Tech vs. N.C. A&T, 7 p.m.

No. 17 Mississippi State vs. Wofford, 8 p.m.

No. 22 Indiana vs. Central Arkansas, 7 p.m.

Women

No. 1 UConn at Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m.

No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Western Kentucky, 7 p.m.

No. 23 Texas A&M vs. Southern Cal, 6 p.m.

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