NFL playoffs begin...Michigan State beats Ohio State...Alabama upsets Kentucky
UNDATED (AP) — Two AFC South rivals that overcame a shaky start to the season open the NFL wild-card playoffs this afternoon in Houston. The Texans dropped their first three games before rallying to win the division at 11-5. They’re hosting the Indianapolis Colts, who limped to a 1-5 start but finished just behind Houston at 10-6. Tonight NFC East champion Dallas hosts the Seattle Seahawks.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Cassius Winston scored 25 points, Nick Ward added 21 and No. 8 Michigan State extended its unbeaten streak to eight games with an 86-77 victory over No. 14 Ohio State today. Ohio State got to within six points twice in the last minute but couldn’t get closer.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has upset No. 13 Kentucky 77-75 in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams. Tevin Mack made six first-half 3-pointers on his way to 22 points, and Dazon Ingram scored all 11 of his points after halftime, including some key free throws in the Crimson Tide’s fifth consecutive win. The Wildcats gave them a big scare in the final seconds after surging back from 11 points down.
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 25 points to lead No. 10 Virginia Tech to a 77-66 victory over Boston College. Alexander-Walker made 9 of 14 from the floor for the Hokies, who overcame a cold-shooting first half to win their eighth straight game. Virginia Tech shot 55.6 percent in the second half. Boston College led early in the second half, but Virginia Tech took control with an 11-0 run. Jordan Chatman paced the Eagles with 18 points. Boston College shot just 39.6 percent.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Cam Johnson scored 15 points in his homecoming and No. 15 North Carolina made quick work of Pittsburgh in an 85-60 victory on Pitt’s home court. Johnson, a graduate transfer from the Pittsburgh suburbs, shook off the boos and hit his first three shots as the Tar Heels opened league play. Trey McGowens scored 17 points for the Panthers and fellow freshman Xavier Johnson chipped in 14, but Pitt lost its 23rd straight regular-season ACC game.