AP Sports Digest
The highlights of the AP Sports report. An up-to-the minute listing of all stories planned, including games and events, is available in Coverage Plan on AP Newsroom, http://newsroom.ap.org/coverageplan . You can also find a link to Coverage Plan on the left navigation of the Newsroom home page, http://newsroom.ap.org
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BOSTON — Whether Tom Brady will return as quarterback of the New England Patriots next season is still an open question. But the 42-year-old on Wednesday gave another indication that he isn’t done playing football. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 300 words, photos.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The prize for individual excellence in college football is the Heisman Trophy. For the first time in the Super Bowl era, five winners of that prestigious keepsake will gather in pursuit of the NFL’s most coveted team award, the Lombardi Trophy, when the Baltimore Ravens face the Tennessee Titans in the AFC playoffs on Saturday night. By David Ginsburg. SENT: 710 words, photos.
Can the talented and versatile back seven of Clemson’s defense takeaway cover LSU’s array of talented receivers? Will LSU be able to bring down Clemson’s star running back Travis Etienne? The matchups that could decide the College Football Playoff championship game. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 840 words, photos. This stands for the weekly College Football Picks column.
LSU’s Joe Burrow and Justin Jefferson were easy selections for our all-bowl team. Selecting the rest of the team wasn’t nearly as easy. We’re announcing our all-bowl team in advance of Monday’s championship game because all the postseason contests with “bowl” in the title have concluded. By Steve Megargee. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees still talks with his old boss John Harbaugh. The conversations are on hold this week with Tennessee visiting Harbaugh’s Ravens in Baltimore in an AFC divisional playoff game. Pees and the Titans have to slow down Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Ravens. By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 3 a.m.
TOKYO — Tokyo Olympic athletes should beware. The beds frames in the Athletes Village at this year’s Olympics will be made of cardboard. Officials guarantee the single beds will be able to support up to 200 kilograms, or about 440 pounds. The idea was to find a material that could be recycled after the Olympics and Paralympics. By Stephen Wade. SENT: 400 words, photos.
FBN—INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Both No. 6 seeds advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs for the second year in a row, marking the first time that’s happened in consecutive seasons since the NFL instituted the current 12-team format in 1990. But no No. 6 seed has reached the conference championship since 2010. By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi. UPCOMING: 570 words, photos by 3 a.m.
RENTON, Wash. — The Seattle Seahawks believed back in April they landed a draft steal when DK Metcalf dropped to the second round. While he grabbed headlines with 160 yards receiving in the opening round of the playoffs, Metcalf has had a rookie season that’s been an all-around success. By Tim Booth. SENT: 780 words, photos.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers defense is about to be almost whole again at just the right time of the season. By Pro Football Writer Josh Dubow. SENT: 670 words, photos.
EAGAN, Minn. — Over the last six weeks, Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris has intercepted Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, four of the best quarterbacks around. His ball-hawking ability has taken him a long way from undrafted practice squad player. By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. SENT: 730 words, photos.
FRISCO, Texas — Mike McCarthy used to drive by the statues every day when arriving for work at Lambeau Field, so there never was much need to tell him what he was getting into as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The struggling New York Giants went into their third coaching search since 2015 looking for a leader for their young team. In hiring New England Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge , the Giants settled for a 38-year-old assistant who has never run a team either at the college or NFL level. By Tom Canavan. SENT: 990 words, photos.
ATLANTA — James Harden’s big first quarter gave Houston a lead that seemed safe. His misses helped give Atlanta a chance. Harden scored 41 points, including 22 in the first quarter, to lead the Houston Rockets over Trae Young and the Hawks 122-115. By Charles Odum. SENT: 730 words, photos.
DALLAS — All it took for Nikola Jokic to get going were a few words of encouragement from Denver Nuggets coach Mike Malone at halftime. Jokic scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half and Denver pulled out a 107-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks to finish 3-2 on its longest road trip of the season. SENT: 750 words, photos.
BBA—RED SOX-SIGN STEALING
BOSTON — Major League Baseball says it will investigate allegations the Boston Red Sox illegally used their video replay room to steal signs between opposing pitchers and catchers during their 2018 World Series championship season. By Kyle Hightower. SENT: 420 words, photos.
AUBURN, Ala. — Isaac Okoro blew by the defender and launched into the air for a one-handed dunk. Okoro and No. 5 Auburn came back to earth after that high-flying second-half slam but still held on for an 83-79 victory over Vanderbilt to remain unbeaten.. By John Zenor. SENT: 660 words, photos.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Freshman guard Joe Girard has become an important player for Syracuse as the Orange try to make some headway in the Atlantic Coast Conference. New York state’s all-time leading high school scorer has started all but two games and is averaging just under 12 points to rank third on the team. By John Kekis. UPCOMING: 950 words, photos by 3 a.m.
HONOLULU — Same state, new island, two courses that could not be more different. What hasn’t changed between the two-week Hawaii swing on the PGA Tour is the wind, which is stronger than usual. The gusts approached 40 mph at Kapalua last week for the Sentry Tournament of Champions. It was blowing just as hard at Waialae on the eve of the Sony Open. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. SENT: 760 words, photos.
BRISBANE, Australia — World No. 1 Ash Barty’s new year started with an upset loss to American qualifier Jennifer Brady at the Brisbane International. SENT: 530 words, photos.
Thursday Time Schedule (EST)
Boston at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.
Cleveland at Detroit, 7 p.m.
Portland at Minnesota, 8 p.m.
Houston at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m.
Winnipeg at Boston, 7 p.m.
Vancouver at Florida, 7 p.m.
Edmonton at Montreal, 7 p.m.
New Jersey at N.Y. Rangers, 7 p.m.
Arizona at Tampa Bay, 7 p.m.
Buffalo at St. Louis, 8 p.m.
Nashville at Chicago, 8:30 p.m.
Minnesota at Calgary, 9 p.m.
Dallas at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
Los Angeles at Vegas, 10 p.m.
Columbus at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Men’s Top 25
No. 1 Gonzaga at San Diego, 10 p.m.
No. 8 Michigan State vs. Minnesota, 9 p.m.
No. 9 Oregon vs. No. 24 Arizona, 9 p.m.
No. 19 Michigan vs. Purdue, 7 p.m.
No. 21 Memphis at No. 23 Wichita State, 7 p.m.
Women’s Top 25
No. 1 UConn vs. No. 6 Baylor at the XL Center, Hartford, Conn., 7 p.m.
No. 4 South Carolina vs. No. 21 Arkansas, 7 p.m.
No. 7 Louisville at Miami, 8 p.m.
No. 9 N.C. State at North Carolina, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Texas A&M vs. LSU, 9 p.m.
No. 11 Florida State vs. Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.
No. 12 Indiana vs. Purdue, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Mississippi State at Missouri, 7 p.m.
No. 14 Kentucky at Alabama, 8 p.m.
No. 16 Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m.
No. 17 Maryland at Iowa, 8 p.m.
No. 23 Tennessee at Mississippi, 8 p.m.
No. 24 Michigan at Ohio State, 6 p.m.