Coaches pick Western Kentucky to win Sun Belt
Sun Belt Conference basketball coaches have picked two-time conference tournament champion Western Kentucky as the preseason favorite to win the league title with South Alabama second. Western Kentucky got five of the 10 first-place votes. Hilltopper T.J. Price was named to the Preseason All-Sun Belt Conference First Team while George Fant was named to the second team.
WKU's women's team was picked second behind Arkansas-Little Rock. The all-conference first team includes Western Kentucky's Chastity Gooch and Alexis Govan.
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Rose Hulman was picked to win the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball title with Transylvania fifth in voting by coaches. Transylvania's women's team was picked to repeat as champion, edging Franklin College.
Philadelphia upsets Miami
Spencer Hawes scored 24 points and hit the winning basket late in the fourth quarter to lead the host Philadelphia 76ers, one of the league's worst teams, past the defending champion Miami Heat 114-110 on Wednesday night. The Sixers were strong from the opening tip, they made their first 11 shots and raced to a stunning 26-4 lead. The Heat, though, erased the deficit in the third quarter and appeared to take control behind LeBron James, who finished with 25 points and 13 assists.
Greg Monroe had 24 points and 16 rebounds, and the new-look Detroit Pistons won their season opener in convincing fashion, beating visiting Washington 113-102. John Wall had 20 points and 11 assists, but went 8 of 21 from the field for the Wizards.
Former UK star Anthony Davis scored 20 points and pulled down 12 rebounds but his New Orleans Pelicans fell to the visiting Indiana Pacers 95-90. Paul George had 32 points for the winners.
Kevin Love poured in 31 points and pulled down 17 rebounds to lead host Minnesota past Orlando 12-115 in overtime.
Monta Ellis started his Dallas career with 32 points, Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 and the Mavericks spoiled Mike Budenholzer's coaching debut with a 118-109 victory over visiting Atlanta. The Mavericks hit seven 3-pointers to pull away in the fourth quarter, including two in a row from Nowitzki followed by one from Ellis for a 118-102 lead with 1:18 remaining. Ellis joined the Mavericks with questions about his efficiency on offense, but answered those concerns at least for one night. He was 11 of 17 from the field and had eight assists.
Dwight Howard had 17 points and a career-high-tying 26 rebounds in his Houston debut, James Harden added 21 points and the Rockets cruised past visiting Charlotte 96-83. Howard spurned the Lakers to sign an $88 million deal with Houston, joining Harden and a team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009.
Cats beat Marshall 2-0 in soccer
Senior Tyler Riggs got his 25th career goal, senior Brad Doliner got his team-hight fifth goal of the season and sophomore goalkeeper Callum Irving got his fifth shutout of the season to lead Kentucky to a 2-0 win over host Marshall. Kentucky (5-8-2, 2-3-2 Conference USA) posted its second league win and has eight points in the league table, with two conference games remaining, at home against Florida Atlantic and at New Mexico.
Not enough known about concussions
No one knows how often the youngest athletes suffer concussions. It's not clear if better headgear is the answer, and it's not just a risk in football.
A new report reveals big gaps in what is known about the risk of concussion in youth sports, especially for athletes who suit up before high school.
The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council on Wednesday called for a national system to track sports-related concussions and start answering those questions.
Despite a decade of increasing awareness of the seriousness of concussions, the panel found young athletes still face a "culture of resistance" to reporting the injury and staying on the sidelines until it's healed.
Miguel Cabrera underwent muscle repair surgery Tuesday and the Detroit slugger is expected to be ready for spring training. The Tigers revealed after the season that Cabrera had been limited down the stretch by a tear in his groin. He still hit .348 with 44 home runs and 137 RBIs during the season. Cabrera faces 6-8 weeks of rehabilitation.
Nadal, del Potro win in Paris
Top-seeded Rafael Nadal, defending champion David Ferrer, Juan Martin del Potro and John Isner moved into the third round of the Paris Masters on Wednesday. Nadal beat Marcel Granollers 7-5, 7-5 in an all-Spanish meeting, Ferrer overcame Lukas Rosol 6-0, 2-6, 6-3, and Del Potro beat Marin Cilic 6-4, 7-6 (3). Isner outlasted Polish qualifier Michal Przysiezny 7-6 (3), 4-6, 6-3.
Nadal broke for a 6-5 lead in each set and clinched the victory when Granollers sent a forehand wide. The U.S. Open champion is seeking a record sixth Masters title in a single season. He will next play last year's runner-up, Jerzy Janowicz of Poland.
Martina Hingis has been questioned by Swiss police after her estranged husband said he was attacked by the five-time Grand Slam champion and her family. Hingis, her mother and her mother's boyfriend were interviewed by police last week.
French equestrian athlete Thibault Hutin has said he was attacked on Sept. 23 at his home in Feusisberg. Hutin claimed the three suspects struck him with a DVD player.
The last word
The Tennessee women's basketball team hasn't been in the Final Four since its 2008 national championship, which represents the Lady Vols' longest absence since the NCAA started running the tournament in 1982. Coach Holly Warlick is not happy about that. She said:
"If it doesn't bother any of these players on this team, they don't need to have a Tennessee uniform on."