BC-AP Sports Preview Digest
Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Thursday. A full Sports Digest will be sent by about 3 p.m. All times EST:
– LeBron James and the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers finally get their White House visit. James has been a big Hillary Clinton supporter. The visit happens to coincide with the meeting between the president and president-elect.
– BALTIMORE – Needing a victory to gain sole possession of first place in the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens face a Cleveland Browns team trying to avoid the first 0-10 start in franchise history. Game starts 8:25 p.m.
– In a divided nation, NFL officials are a unifying factor. From quarterbacks to coaches, receivers to defensive backs and coaches to fans, everyone seems to disagree with them.
– Touchbacks are up and only four kicks have been returned for touchdowns halfway through a season marked by the rule moving the ball to the 25 on kickoffs into the end zone. Coaches and players say the change makes long returns tougher.
– SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – After four days of preliminary trade talk that included Detroit's Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera and Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale, major league general managers head home.
– MIAMI – Dwyane Wade awaits a night full of memories when he returns to Miami as an opponent for the first time. The Chicago Bulls face a Heat team that is 2-4. Game starts 8:20 p.m.
– Two Top 25 college football games Thursday night: No. 15 North Carolina at Duke (7:30 p.m.) and No. 13 Utah at Arizona State (9:30 p.m.)
– The college basketball season begins Friday, with several new coaches in place after the latest round of offseason hirings and firings. That list includes eight coaches at power-conference schools.
– LAWRENCE, Kan. – While many elite teams open the season with a glorified exhibition game, No. 3 Kansas is taking a different approach. In a five-day span, the Jayhawks play No. 11 Indiana in Hawaii and No. 1 Duke in New York.
– For the past four years, the UConn women have won four national championships and 75 consecutive games. There is hope, though, for everyone else this season. The Huskies lost a lot of talent to graduation.
– COLUMBUS, Ohio – Tim Howard at 37 will be back in the goal Friday night when the U.S. plays Mexico in a qualifier for the 2018 World Cup. He's the elder statesman in a group that combines experience with youth.
– SAN JOSE, Calif. – The U.S. women's soccer team wraps up its 2016 schedule with the first of two exhibition matches against Romania, both in California. Game starts 10 p.m.
– NEW YORK – UFC was always ready for New York. New York was finally ready for UFC. The biggest mixed-martial arts organization is set to make its Madison Square Garden debut Saturday with a big card.
– SAO PAULO – Nico Rosberg can capture his first Formula One season title by winning the Brazilian Grand Prix. If teammate Lewis Hamilton wins the race, the season title will be decided at the last event in Abu Dhabi.
– PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Jim Furyk begins play in the OHL Classic, his first start of the new PGA Tour season. NCAA champion Aaron Wise is in the field after finishing in the top 10 last week in Las Vegas.