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BC-AP Sports Digest

By: Associated Press
November 17, 2017 Updated: November 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm
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The supervisor is Fred Lief, followed by John Nicholson at 5 p.m. and Vin A. Cherwoo 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 access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport(at)ap.org or 877-836-9477. All times EST.

TOP STORIES

CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-EARNHARDT

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — This is it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is set for his final NASCAR race weekend. Earnhardt will strap into the No. 88 Chevrolet for the last time before the sport's most popular driver heads off into retirement. By Dan Gelston. SENT: 500 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 7 p.m.

OLY--IOC-RUSSIA DECISION

GENEVA — Russia will learn on Dec. 5 if the IOC will allow the country to compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics in February. The possible ban stems from Russia's use of a state-backed doping system at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. By Graham Dunbar. SENT: 500 words, photos.

TRUMP-NCAA

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump congratulates college sports champions at the White House. Eighteen NCAA teams — from equestrian to wrestling to shooting — were planning to attend the reception, the White House says. South Carolina's women's basketball team declined the invitation. By Ken Thomas. SENT: 550 words, photos.

FBN--PATRIOTS-BRADY

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Tom Brady, fresh off his NFL record 86th road win, is ready to take the Patriots to new heights, namely Mexico City's Azteca Stadium (7,200 feet elevation), where New England plays Oakland on Sunday. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 450 words, photos by 5 p.m.

FBC--T25-FIVE THINGS FOR WEEK 12

Maybe a few upsets will liven up a weekend schedule that looks primed for blowouts. Bowl eligibility is on the line in many places and maybe some Heisman Trophy contenders other than Baker Mayfield can make a move in that race in week 12. By College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo. SENT: 650 words, photos.

SPORTS SHOWCASE

BKN--WARRIORS-STEADY KLAY

OAKLAND, Calif. — He is the quiet, under-the-radar star on a Warriors team that is full of stars. But Klay Thompson is the one providing a steady hand for the defending champs as they work to find their groove again five months after toppling LeBron James and the Cavaliers. By Janie McCauley. SENT: 950 words, photos.

SOC--MLS AT 22

Major League Soccer's attendance is up and fan interest is booming, even if television broadcasts are far less popular and some young Americans would rather play in Europe in a more demanding environment. Now the league faces the uncertain consequences of the U.S. failure to make the World Cup. By Ronald Blum. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

COMMENTARY

SOC--PAUL NEWBERRY-MLS FLIMFLAM

Greedy owner? Check. Complicit commissioner? Check. Playing one city off another to get a new stadium paid for at least in part with the public's hard-earned tax dollars? Check. Congratulations, Major League Soccer. You're on the verge of becoming a big-time American sports league. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 3 p.m.

FBN--ON FOOTBALL-HOT SEATS

Hue Jackson's position on an NFL coaching hot seat is no surprise. Nothing was expected of the Browns anyway. Ben McAdoo's spot on a similarly burning seat is stunning because plenty was projected for the Giants. By Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner. SENT: 950 words, graphic. For weekend use.

NASCAR

CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — The championship field qualifies for Sunday's title-deciding race. Since it is winner-take-all — featuring Martin Truex Jr., Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch — qualifying will be critical. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Qualifying starts 6:15 p.m.

— With:

— CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-THE LATEST — Real-time developments throughout day.

CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-BUSCH

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kyle Busch won his only Cup title in 2015 during an injury-shortened season. Capturing a second title would be validation for Busch, who believes many think his first title was tainted. By Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 6 p.m.

CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-KESELOWSKI

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Brad Keselowski keeps his NASCAR championship trophy in a box, tucked away in a garage. Out of sight, out of mind. If things go well Sunday, Keselowski might have to find a spot for another one. By Mark Long. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 3 p.m.

— Also:

— CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-TRUEX — Martin Truex Jr. can close his best season with title. By Jenna Fryer. SENT: 700 words, photos.

— CAR--NASCAR-HOMESTEAD-TRUCKS — Christopher Bell leads field of four in Truck Series title race. By Jenna Fryer. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos. Race starts 8 p.m.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

FBC--T25-MICHIGAN-WISCONSIN

MADISON, Wis. — No. 5 Wisconsin plays No. 19 Michigan in a high-stakes Big Ten game. For the undefeated Badgers, the task is clear: Win the last two regular-season games and the conference title game and it will be hard to deny them a place in the College Football Playoff. By Genaro C. Armas. SENT: 750 words, photos.

FBC--T25-UCLA-USC

LOS ANGELES — Star quarterbacks Sam Darnold of USC and Josh Rosen of UCLA face each other for the first time. The No. 12 Trojans have already wrapped up a spot in the Pac-12 title game heading into this season-ending showdown. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.

FBC--HARVARD-YALE

NEW HAVEN — Yale's players say they are treating Saturday's matchup against Harvard as just another game. Yeah, right. A win in the annual rivalry game would give the Bulldogs their first outright Ivy League championship in 37 years. By Pat Eaton-Robb. SENT: 550 words, photos.

— Also:

— FBC--BIG TEN-SCHEDULING — By Larry Lage. SENT: 500 words, photos.

— FBC--T25-LSU-TENNESSEE — By Steve Megargee. SENT: 600 words, photos.

NFL

FBN--SAFETY RANKINGS

NEW YORK — Seattle's Earl Thomas, Kansas City's Eric Berry and Minnesota's Harrison Smith are among the candidates to be selected the NFL's No. 1 safety in voting by a panel of 10 AP football writers and Pro Football Hall of Famer James Lofton. By Dennis Waszak Jr. SENT: 750 words, photos, graphic.

FBN--FALCONS-JONES

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Julio Jones has been on the Falcons' weekly injury report for most of the season, but the All-Pro receiver expects to play through pain again Monday night when Atlanta visits Seattle. By George Henry. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos.

— With:

— FBN--FALCONS-NO FREEMAN — By Charles Odum. SENT: 550 words, photos.

— Also:

— FBN--TITANS' MISTAKES — By Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker. UPCOMING: 500 words, photos by 6 p.m.

— FBN--BILLS-COLORFUL CLEATS — By John Wawrow. SENT: 500 words, photos. Video on AP YouTube channel.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

BKW--T25--CALIFORNIA-UCONN

STORRS, Conn. — The top-ranked UConn women host No. 20 California in their home opener, the second of four straight games against ranked opponents. The Huskies will honor former great Rebecca Lobo, who joined the Hall of Fame this fall. By Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 7 p.m.

SOCCER

FIFA INVESTIGATION-TRIAL

NEW YORK — A former marketing executive returns to the stand at the U.S. trial of three ex-soccer officials from South America. One of the defendants remains under scrutiny for allegedly trying to intimidate the witness with a throat-slitting gesture. By Tom Hays. UPCOMING: 450 words by 4 p.m.

— Also:

— SOC--TIMBERS-PORTER — Timbers announce split with coach Caleb Porter, who led club to MLS title in 2015. By Anne M. Peterson. SENT: 450 words, photos.

— SOC--CHAPECOENSE — Brazilian club Chapecoense avoids relegation one year after plane crash. By Mauricio Savarese. SENT: 500 words, photos.

TENNIS

TEN--ATP FINALS

LONDON — David Goffin will play six-time champion Roger Federer on Saturday in the semifinals of the ATP Finals after defeating Dominic Thiem. Grigor Dimitrov, set to face Jack Sock in the other semifinal, takes on Pablo Carenno Busta in the late match. SENT: 450 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 4 p.m.

GOLF

GLF--LPGA TOUR

NAPLES, Fla. — Sung Hyun Park is one stroke behind going into the second round of the CME Group Tour Championship in the rookie's bid to sweep all the season awards. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words by 6 p.m.

— Also:

— GLF--DP WORLD TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP — Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick leads by a shot after two rounds at Tour Championship in Dubai. SENT: 500 words, photos.

— GLF--RSM CLASSIC — Chris Kirk up by a shot entering second round in Georgia at RSM Classic, the final event of the calendar year on the PGA Tour. UPCOMING: 500 words by 6 p.m.

WINTER SPORTS

LUG--HAMLIN'S FINALE

Erin Hamlin has spent nearly two decades on a luge sled, competing in more than a dozen countries on three continents. She's a two-time world champion, a World Cup winner, an Olympic medalist and USA Luge's biggest star. This season, which starts Saturday in Austria, will probably be her last. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 650 words, photos.

OTHER

— RUTGERS SWIMMING COACH-ABUSE CLAIMS — Rutgers fire women's swim coach amid verbal abuse allegations. SENT: 150 words.

— AARON HERNANDEZ-HOUSE — Aaron Hernandez house sells to real estate investor for $1 million. SENT: 140 words.

CAPSULES

— BKN--NBA CAPSULES

— HKN--NHL CAPSULES

— BKC--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

— BKW--T25-TOP 25 CAPSULES

___

Friday's Time Schedule (EST)

NBA

Detroit at Indiana, 7 p.m.

Miami at Washington, 7 p.m.

L.A. Clippers at Cleveland, 7:30 p.m.

New York at Toronto, 7:30 p.m.

Utah at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.

Charlotte at Chicago, 8 p.m.

Oklahoma City at San Antonio, 8 p.m.

Minnesota at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.

Portland at Sacramento, 10 p.m.

New Orleans at Denver, 10:30 p.m.

Phoenix at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.

NHL

N.Y. Rangers at Columbus, 7 p.m.

Buffalo at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

College Basketball (Top 25)

Men

No. 1 Duke vs. Southern, 7 p.m.

No. 4 Kansas vs. South Dakota State, 8 p.m.

No. 5 Villanova at Lafayette, 8 p.m.

No. 7 Kentucky vs. Eastern Tennessee, 7 p.m.

No. 16 Texas A&M vs. UC Santa Barbara, 8 p.m.

No. 18 Louisville vs. Omaha, 7 p.m.

No. 23 UCLA vs. South Carolina State, 9 p.m.

No. 25 Baylor vs. Alcorn State, 9 p.m.

Women

No. 1 UConn vs. No. 20 California, 7 p.m.

No. 2 Texas vs. Texas-San Antonio, 8 p.m.

No. 9 Ohio State vs. Quinnipiac, 7 p.m.

No. 14 Stanford vs. UC Riverside, 10 p.m.

No. 17 Florida State at Florida, 7 p.m.

No. 21 Oklahoma vs. SMU, 8 p.m.

No. 22 South Florida vs. Arkansas State, 7 p.m.

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