BOYS HS BASKETBALL-NCC/AREA

New Castle                                       79           Richmond                                          51

Lafayette Central Catholic            53           McCutcheon                                     52

Indianapolis Tech                            68           Harrison (West Lafayette)             62
Lafayette Jeff                                    67           Muncie Central                                63

Centerville                                         54           Cambridge City Lincoln                  45

Connersville                                      44           Greensburg                                       42           OT

 

GIRLS HS BASKETBALL-NCC/AREA

Marion                                               52           Richmond                                          36

Anderson                                           54           Alexandria                                         43

Lafayette Jeff                                   72           Muncie Central                                24

Columbus East                                 78           Connersville                                    41

Greensburg                                       66           Franklin County                             35

Tri                                                       46           Knightstown                                     40

Shenandoah                                      59           Blue River                                        43

Monroe Central                               57           Winchester                                       46

Randolph Southern                         64           Union (Modoc)                                5

Northeastern                                    44           Hagerstown                                    34

 

 

NBA SCOREBOARD

Boston 91 Minnesota 84

Philadelphia 114 Detroit 78

Miami 107 New York 103 OT

Toronto 129 Milwaukee 110

Chicago 127 Dallas 124

San Antonio 103 Phoenix 89

Denver 99 Utah 91

Washington 102 Memphis 100

Portland 110 Atlanta 89

Charlotte 108 LA Lakers 94

NHL SCOREBOARD

Pittsburgh 4 NY Islanders 0

Ottawa 6 San Jose 5

Detroit 4 Florida 2

Winnipeg 4 Buffalo 3

Vegas 5 Chicago 4

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

#9 Oregon 70 USC 66

#14 UCLA 84 #16 Oregon State 49

#21 Villanova 75 Xavier 57

#25 Arizona State 80 #23 California 71

#24 Stanford 61 Arizona 46

ELSEWHERE

Butler 66 Georgetown 57

Indiana State 56 Evansville 48

Valparaiso 56 Illinois State 50

 

TOP HEADLINES

AP Source: Raiders to announce Gruden hiring next Tuesday

The Oakland Raiders never really recovered from the decision to trade Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay 16 years ago.

There was a Super Bowl trip the following season when Oakland lost to Gruden’s Buccaneers and another playoff appearance in 2016 under Jack Del Rio that garnered little optimism because quarterback Derek Carr was injured.

But there has been mostly a run of losing seasons under nine coaches as only the Cleveland Browns had lost more games during Gruden’s 16-year absence than the Raiders.

Owner Mark Davis hopes that will all change now that he has finally lured Gruden back for a second stint as the team’s coach.

A person with knowledge of the team’s plans said the Raiders are planning a news conference Tuesday to announce that Gruden is leaving the broadcast booth to come back to coaching. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the team has made no formal announcement.

The Raiders fired Del Rio following a disappointing six-win season and talk immediately turned to Gruden, who has been out of coaching since being fired by Tampa Bay following the 2008 season. Gruden has spent the past nine years as the lead analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” telecast. He is scheduled to work his final game Saturday in Kansas City when the Chiefs take on the Tennessee Titans in a playoff game.

Then after that he will head to Oakland with the task of resurrecting Carr after a down year and getting the Raiders back to the postseason.

Oakland won 12 games in 2016 to earn Del Rio a four-year extension but the team fell flat this season. The offense regressed after the decision to fire coordinator Bill Musgrave and replace him with untested Todd Downing. The defense struggled mightily before a late-season switch from fired coordinator Ken Norton Jr. to play-caller John Pagano.

That led to the decision to fire Del Rio following his third season and go hard after Gruden.

ESPN reported that Gruden will receive a 10-year deal that could be worth close to $100 million. Gruden has already started putting together a staff with Cincinnati defensive coordinator Paul Guenther among those expected to join.

Gruden told ESPN earlier this week that he had a good talk with Davis about returning to the organization and believed there was a “good chance” it would happen.

Gruden spent four seasons as coach in Oakland from 1998-2001. After leading the Raiders to 8-8 records his first two years, Gruden helped the team reach the AFC title game following the 2000 season and got Oakland back into the playoffs the following season.

His tenure ended shortly after the “Tuck Rule” loss to the New England Patriots when he was traded the following month to Tampa Bay for two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million.

Gruden beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl in his first season with the Buccaneers but didn’t win another playoff game for Tampa Bay in his final six seasons. He has a 95-81 career record.

Gruden’s younger brother, Jay, is headed into his fifth season as coach in Washington. Jay was an assistant on Jon’s staffs in Tampa Bay and now the brothers will be competing against each other. Washington and Oakland are not scheduled to play again until 2021. This is not the first time two brothers have been head coaches in the NFL simultaneously. Jim and John Harbaugh were active for four seasons from 2011-14 in San Francisco and Baltimore, respectively. John’s Ravens beat Jim’s 49ers in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season

The Raiders have complied with the “Rooney Rule” and interviewed minority candidates for the job, according to NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart. “I can tell you we believe the Rooney Rule was complied with,” Lockhart said. “Minority candidates were interviewed and we will wait and see the decision they make.”

 

Patriots insist there’s no Kraft, Belichick, Brady rift

On the field, the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are right where they want to be heading into the postseason.

As the AFC’s top seed and the owners of a first-round bye, the 13-3 Patriots will get to rest up during the opening weekend of the playoffs. But as they prepare to begin their latest run, their biggest opponent might be the perception of a fracturing relationship between arguably the franchise’s three most important pieces.

The Patriots dismissed as “flat-out inaccurate” a report suggesting a rift involving owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady on Friday.

The three released a joint statement hours after an ESPN report, citing undisclosed sources, detailed an array of tension.

The story highlighted purported disputes concerning Brady’s personal body coach, Alex Guerrero, in player-medical affairs. Also mentioned is a supposed difference between Kraft and Belichick over the decision to trade backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The story implied Brady has taken issue with a lack of praise from Belichick this season.

The statement said the three have had a “very good and productive working relationship” for 18 years and they regret having to “respond to these fallacies.”

Brady and Belichick both eschewed questions last month about a chasm between and Belichick and Guerrero.

Belichick wouldn’t address the validity of a Boston Globe report that Guerrero had been banned from the sideline or travelling on the team plane, but said “there are different relationships, different situations with dozens of other people.”

Brady also took issue with a reporter last month who asked whether the quarterback and Belichick had talked about an adjustment to Guerrero’s access to the team.

“I have a lot of conversations with him. Those are private between he and I, and I don’t think anyone knows what we talk about,” Brady said then. “Certainly I’ve never talked about it. He’s never talked about it.”

Despite the reported off the field issues, the Patriots have thrived on it.

Even after losing receiver Julian Edelman in the preseason to a knee injury and linebacker Dont’a Hightower in October to a season-ending pectoral injury, they enter the playoffs with the NFL’s top-ranked offense and a defense that is allowing just 18.5 points per game.

Brady is also an MVP candidate, and passed Brett Favre for the most wins in one season for a quarterback after turning 40 years old.

Still, there are questions about Brady’s durability heading in his 15th postseason.

He threw for a league-leading 4,577 yards passing and 32 touchdowns, but he also got hit a lot more than he did last season (32 sacks in 2017 after just 15 in 2016).

It didn’t stop the Patriots from averaging 28.6 points. And certainly having a healthy Rob Gronkowski, who missed last year’s playoffs, has given the Patriots a huge lift with 69 catches for 1,084 yards. Not to mention the boost of offseason addition Brandin Cooks with 65 receptions for 1,082 yards.

Minus a favorite target in Edelman, receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) and running backs James White (ankle), Rex Burkhead (knee) and Mike GIllislee (knee) have all dealt injuries down the stretch.

And Brady himself showed some of his first flecks of football mortality over the final four games. He had four of his eight interceptions during that stretch, and saw his passer rating dip to as low as 59.5 in a 27-20 loss at Miami.

Brady threw just two interceptions in 2016 and had a passer rating below 89 only once. But he also had the unexpected benefit of resting for four games at the start of the season because of his “Deflategate” suspension.

Whether related or not, it was also during the final six games of this season that Brady began dealing with both Achilles tendon and left shoulder issues.

Brady said this week that his health is “good.”

“I mean, I’m hoping next week I’ll feel just great and be 100 percent ready to go,” he said. “So, I’m excited for that.”

Jets coach Todd Bowles said while Brady was less accurate late in the year, he thinks it’s unfair scrutiny for a guy that is judged by such a high standard.

“If he makes a tiny mistake everybody jumps all over it, but the guy plays outstanding football. I don’t worry about him because he usually goes down and makes the plays to win the games,” he said. “The guy is one of the greatest to ever play the game and he’s still doing it at a very high level.”

Brady said his mind hasn’t been far from the football field this week.

“I think it’s just trying to stay sharp. You know, it’s still football season, so it’s not a week off at all,” Brady said Thursday. “We’re trying to stay sharp and we’ve worked hard to get to this point, but there’s still a lot more to go. You know, we’re still writing our story, and hopefully we write a good one.”

 

Quarterback Lamar Jackson leaving Louisville for NFL draft

Lamar Jackson is leaving Louisville to enter the NFL draft, one season after becoming the youngest Heisman Trophy winner.

The 20-year-old junior quarterback tweeted Friday that he talked with his family before announcing the decision, which was confirmed by the school.

His decision was somewhat expected after he compiled some statistics that were better than those from his Heisman-winning numbers as a sophomore. He finished third in this year’s vote.

Jackson thanked Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino, teammates and fans on Twitter. “It has been nothing short of an honor to be a member of (hash)CardsNation and to play for this university.”

Jackson, 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, is a dynamic player but it’s uncertain how high he’ll be drafted this spring. Despite accounting for 5,261 offensive yards and 45 touchdowns – his second consecutive season in which he surpassed 1,500 yards rushing and 3,500 passing – questions remain about his accuracy and size.

The native of Pompano Beach, Florida, led the Cardinals to three consecutive bowl games, though they lost their last two. Jackson totaled 329 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s TaxSlayer Bowl but also threw four interceptions in Louisville’s 31-27 loss to No. 24 Mississippi State.

Fox Sports NFL analyst Charles Davis believes Jackson can play at the next level because of improved decision-making, along with his mobility.

“If we went back to 2016, I admit that I was not as bullish on his prospects as an NFL quarterback as I am now,” Davis said recently. “What I saw in the last year reminds me of (Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Dak Prescott as a junior – minus the size because Dak is a bigger, thicker guy, and there’s no getting around that.

“A lot of his big plays before occurred because of the run. This year I saw a better pocket presence, I saw better accuracy, better delivery. I’ve seen that improvement, that growth.”

Louisville moves on without its first Heisman winner, whose resume is filled with highlights.

Jackson’s definitive moment was hurdling a Syracuse defender into the end zone in 2016 en route to 610 yards and five TDs. He accounted for five TDs and 362 yards in a 63-20 pummeling of highly ranked Florida State the following week, a performance that established him as the Heisman favorite.

Jackson also had Louisville in consideration for the 2016 College Football Playoff before a late-season slide. A midseason slump – including a second consecutive loss to Clemson in another marquee matchup – dimmed some of the spotlight before he rallied the Cardinals with three straight wins to earn another New York trip for the Heisman presentation.

“My time in Louisville has produced some of the best memories of my life,” Jackson tweeted.

 

Bills RB McCoy questionable for playoff game at Jacksonville

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy is questionable for Sunday’s AFC wild-card playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

McCoy suffered a right ankle injury in Sunday’s 22-16 win over the Miami Dolphins. He was carted off the field but returned to practice on a limited basis Friday. On Thursday, McCoy said that he was feeling “a lot better” but didn’t want to make any guarantees about playing. He declined to speak with reporters on Friday.

McCoy is Buffalo’s best and most consistent offensive playmaker with 1,138 rushing yards and six touchdowns in the regular season. He passed the 10,000-yard rushing mark for his career this year.

Buffalo has little experienced depth behind McCoy at running back. Marcus Murphy was promoted from the practice squad for Buffalo’s Week 17 game against Miami and performed well with 41 yards on seven carries; Murphy had just one carry in his career before Sunday. Buffalo also has veteran fullback/running back Mike Tolbert.

Linebacker Matt Milano (hamstring), tackle Jordan Mills (ankle) and receiver Deonte Thompson (shoulder) are also questionable. Cornerback Shareece Wright (concussion) is out.

 

Jaguars WR Marqise Lee questionable against Bills

Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee practiced for the first time in three weeks Friday, increasing his chances of playing in a wild-card game against Buffalo.

Lee missed the final two regular-season games after spraining his right ankle. He was limited in his practice Friday, but did enough to please coach Doug Marrone.

Marrone says Lee “looked better than I envisioned.”

Lee leads the team in receptions (56) and ranks second in yards (702).

Lee is optimistic about playing against the Bills, saying “just continue to have my head up as far as me playing. If I had to decide, I am going to play until they decide I’m not.”

Lee was listed as questionable. Running back T.J. Yeldon (illness) also was questionable on the injury report.

Marrone says Yeldon is “50-50” to play after dealing with a “bug.”

 

Giants interview Patriots coordinators Patricia, McDaniels

The New York Giants had the busiest day in their search for a new coach, interviewing New England Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia.

McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, met with new general manager Dave Gettleman, Giants co-owner John Mara and assistant general manager Kevin Abrams on Friday afternoon in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Patricia, the defensive coordinator, talked with the trio in the morning.

The Patriots have a first-round bye, allowing their coaching staff to be interviewed this week.

McDaniels has been a member of New England’s coaching staff for all five of the Patriots’ Super Bowl championships, including two as offensive coordinator. He has coached under Bill Belichick for 14 of the last 17 seasons.

This past season was his sixth in his second stint as New England’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Patriots led the NFL in total yards (394.2 per game) and were second in passing yards (276.1) and scoring (28.6 points).

McDaniels first served as an assistant with the Patriots from 2001-08, and played a key role on a staff that won three Super Bowl titles and four AFC championships.

McDaniels spent the 2009-10 seasons as coach of the Denver Broncos. He had an 8-8 record in his first season and was fired late in his second with a 3-9 record, finishing 11-17 overall.

He rejoined the Patriots in 2012 after spending a year as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis Rams, who coincidentally were then coached by Steve Spagnuolo, who finished this season as the Giants interim coach after Ben McAdoo was fired on Dec. 4.

Spagnuolo interviewed for the Giants job on Wednesday.

A snowstorm forced the Giants to postpone a planned interview with recently fired Denver Broncos running backs coach Eric Studesville on Thursday. He will meet with the team next week. Coincidentally, he finished the 2010 season as the Broncos’ interim coach after McDaniels was fired.

New York also plans to talk to Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur on Saturday. There were reports that Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz would meet with the team on Sunday, but that no longer is certain.

Patricia has been a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff since 2004 and the defensive coordinator for the last six seasons. The 43-year-old has been a part of three of their five Super Bowl victories, as well as their losses to the Giants after the 2007 and ’11 seasons.

The Patriots ranked 29th in yards allowed (366.0), but held opponents to an average of 18.5 points. Only one of the Patriots’ final 12 opponents scored more than 24 points.

Patricia’s 2016 defense finished No. 1 in the NFL by allowing 15.6 points per game.

Prior to joining the Patriots, Patricia spent six seasons coaching in college. He worked as an aeronautical engineer for two years before returning to coaching at Amherst in 1999. Patricia’s first coaching experience came in 1996, when he served as a graduate assistant at RPI, where he was a center and guard.

 

Bears interview Shurmur, McDaniels for coaching job

The Chicago Bears interviewed the offensive coordinators in Minnesota and New England for their coaching job on Friday.

The Bears met with Pat Shurmur in Minnesota in the morning before meeting Josh McDaniels in New England. Chicago is looking to replace the fired John Fox, and both candidates have head coaching experience as well as reputations for developing quarterbacks. The Bears are looking to get the most out of Mitchell Trubisky, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft last spring.

Shurmur was 9-23 as the Cleveland Browns’ coach from 2011-12. He returned for a second stint as Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator from 2013-15. He joined the Vikings as tight ends coach in 2016. He served as interim offensive coordinator for the final nine games that year following the resignation of Norv Turner and took over the job in 2017.

McDaniels lasted less than two seasons as the Denver Broncos’ coach after he was hired in 2009. But as a top assistant in one of the most successful regimes in NFL history and with a long history of working with one of the greatest quarterbacks in Tom Brady, he is one of the top candidates on the market.

Chicago interviewed Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards in Minnesota on Thursday and Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio at their headquarters on Wednesday.

The Bears fired Fox after a 14-34 record in three years and a .292 winning percentage that ranks as the second-lowest in franchise history. The Bears were 5-11 this season.

 

Steelers’ Antonio Brown, unanimous choice on AP All-Pro Team

The stunning turnaround by the Jacksonville Jaguars shows best in the NFL standings – and the All-Pro Team.

Rarely do the Jags have members of the elite All-Pro squad. For 2017, they have two: edge rusher Calais Campbell and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

“It’s huge,” Campbell said. “That’s a big testament to the work we put in. We don’t just show up and perform. We grind day in and day out to be the best. This defense is very special, so I’m glad to see us get some accolades for our hard work.”

Added Ramsey of The Associated Press All-Pro Team announced Friday:

“I can go on and on about corners I respect and I think are really good in the league. But I think (the voters) realize that I cover No. 1s every week, that I’m still putting up high numbers, still playing very well in my role and doing what I have to do.”

What Campbell and Ramsey did was help the Jaguars rank first in pass defense and second overall, earning their first playoff berth since the 2007 season.

One player, Antonio Brown, was the only unanimous choice for All-Pro. The brilliant wide receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers drew all 50 ballots from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. Brown missed the last two-plus games with an ankle injury.

He was among four players to make a fourth All-Pro squad, joining New England tight end Rob Gronkowski, Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly and Los Angeles Rams punter Johnny Hekker.

The repeaters from 2016 were Brown; Rams interior defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who got 49 votes, and punter Hekker; and Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made his third All-Pro team.

In their own turnaround season, the Rams led the way with six All-Pros, including two more specialists: kicker Greg Zuerlein and kick returner Pharoh Cooper. Running back Todd Gurley and left tackle Andrew Whitworth were honored.

“Dang, that’s crazy. It means a lot, honestly,” said Gurley, who likely would have led the league in rushing had he played in LA’s finale. “It’s a blessing. I’ve got so much respect for everybody in this league, and to be in this position just means so much to me.

“I’ve been following people around the NFL my whole life, and to be considered as an All-Pro, man, God is good, honestly. Honestly.”

Three Steelers joined Brown on the roster: Le’Veon Bell as the flex, interior defensive lineman Cam Heyward, and right guard David DeCastro. No other team had more than two All-Pros, with the stronger NFC getting 18 players and the AFC 10.

Two rookies made it: punt returner Jamal Agnew of Detroit and special teamer Budda Baker of Arizona.

Also chosen: Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson and center Jason Kelce; Panthers left guard Andrew Norwell; Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins; Saints edge rusher Cameron Jordan; Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones; Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith; Detroit defensive back Darius Slay; and Titans safety Kevin Byard.

First-timers made an impression on both sides of the ball, with 15 on the team: Byard, Slay, Rhodes, Jones, Jordan, Ramsey, Campbell, Hopkins, Norwell, Kelce, Johnson, Agnew, Baker, Gurley, and Cooper.

Wagner is on his third All-Pro squad.

“When you get voted for these types of awards,” he said, “it shows you all the work you do in the offseason, the grinding, all the things you push through … when you get this, when people say this is not AFC, NFC, this is the league, this is who we deem the best at their position in the league, that says a lot. And you see the guys before you, the things they were able to accomplish, you’ve seen those things and you want those things. It’s part of that mindset of wanting to be great and understanding what comes along with that, and wanting that kind of acknowledgment.”

While making All-Pro has become almost natural for Wagner, Jordan finally got there in his seventh pro season.

“I’m definitely trying to push myself to be better than I was the year previous,” he said. “I think I had a really good year last year. Of course, sack numbers won’t show that, but in terms of playing the run, in terms of getting after the passer I thought last year was one of my better years (7 1-2 sacks, 17 tackles for loss). So what I wanted to do this year is, of course, push myself to be better than last. That probably only poses the problem of where I go next year. Now I’ve got to shoot for more than what I did this year.”

 

USC RB Ronald Jones II to skip senior year, enter NFL draft

Southern California tailback Ronald Jones II will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Jones made the announcement Friday, two days after quarterback Sam Darnold announced his intention to leave USC early.

The speedy, durable Jones has been an excellent heir to the Trojans’ Tailback U. tradition, finishing fifth in school history with 3,619 yards while averaging 6.1 yards per carry.

He rushed for 39 touchdowns and improved as a pass-catcher. He compiled 14 100-yard rushing games, and he had two 1,000-yard seasons following a 987-yard performance as a freshman.

He finished his career strong, rushing for 1,550 yards and 19 TDs while USC (11-3) won the Pac-12 and reached the Cotton Bowl. He was an All-Pac-12 first-team selection.

 

Derek Dooley leaves Dallas Cowboys to join Missouri staff

Dallas Cowboys wide receivers coach Derek Dooley joined Missouri coach Barry Odom’s staff Friday as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Dooley replaces Josh Heupel, who left last month to become Central Florida’s head coach.

Dooley, the 49-year-old son of former Georgia coaching great Vince Dooley, spent the past five seasons with the Cowboys after going 15-21 in three seasons as Tennessee’s head coach. He was 17-20 as head coach at Louisiana Tech from 2007-09.

“I am excited to be a Mizzou Tiger and look forward to helping Coach Odom carry out his vision for the program,” Dooley said in a school release. “I am grateful for this opportunity, and am ready to get to Columbia and go to work.”

Dooley served on Nick Saban’s staffs with LSU and the Miami Dolphins.

Dooley played at Virginia, earned a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1994. He practiced law at a private firm in Atlanta for two years before getting into coaching.