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Believe the hype: No. 7 Carolina wins (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_co_ga_su/bkc_t25_ohio_st_ncarolina"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061130/capt.b9ddc1b3b84247fc92536c6e22c3014f.ohio_st_n_carolina_basketball_ncgb109.jpg?x=93&y=130&sig=KVeBFG7Rb_4ttGNf8eAnIw--" align="left" height="130" width="93" alt="North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough slams a dunk against Ohio State during the second half of a college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006. North Carolina won 98-89. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)" border="0" /></a>AP - A bunch of freshmen grew up in a hurry Wednesday night in a November game that lived up to the hype. Sophomore Tyler Hansbrough, a veteran in a game that had eight freshmen make major contributions for both teams, dominated down low in the second half to lead No. 7 North Carolina to a 98-89 victory over No. 3 Ohio State.</p><br clear="all"/>

Strahan verbally confronts ESPN reporter (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_strahan_blowup"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061130/capt.0347e1f11c9743e2a503ab4271200cb4.giants_strahan_blowup_football_ny122.jpg?x=111&y=130&sig=Zr8Qv2PrEt1VseJafD7bmg--" align="left" height="130" width="111" alt="Michael Strahan of the New York Giants is seen in this Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2006 file photo in Detroit. Strahan on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006 joined the ranks of Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber in mouthing off in what is quickly becoming a season of frustration for the team. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)" border="0" /></a>AP - Losing isn't the only thing contagious on the New York Giants these days. Blowups are just as popular, and Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan on Wednesday joined the ranks of Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber in mouthing off in what is quickly becoming a season of frustration for the team.</p><br clear="all"/>

Jackson helps Pacers edge past Warriors (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_bk_ga_su/bkn_pacers_warriors"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061130/capt.8524c154e31242909eaa7c28a44c72b2.pacers_warriors_basketball_oas106.jpg?x=128&y=130&sig=IK4_x3ydCNdij.7AIR_WnA--" align="left" height="130" width="128" alt="Golden State Warriors' Monta Ellis (8) tries in vain to block the winning shot of Indiana Pacers' Stephen Jackson (1) in the final seconds of the NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006, in Oakland, Calif. The Pacers won 108-106. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)" border="0" /></a>AP - Stephen Jackson grabbed a loose ball and hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left, and the Indiana Pacers came from behind for a 108-106 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday night, preventing Golden State coach Don Nelson from getting his 1,200th win.</p><br clear="all"/>

Blackhawks' Ruutu gives Savard first win (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_ho_ga_su/hkn_stars_blackhawks"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061130/capt.d345a530f7504fc4987bb62d5aa38c67.stars_blackhawks_hockey_cxa107.jpg?x=98&y=130&sig=q.wZmY8.piwG1uRrHf2f9w--" align="left" height="130" width="98" alt="Chicago Blackhawks coach Denis Savard watches his team during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars in Chicago, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)" border="0" /></a>AP - New coach. Same result &#151; so it seemed for two periods, anyway. The Chicago Blackhawks were plodding again and seemed on their way to another loss in Denis Savard's first game as head coach. And then, everything changed.</p><br clear="all"/>

World Cup ski races called off for good (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_ot/ski_wcup_races_canceled"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061129/capt.d6ff50dbf4474e468f5b9a5b5773c2f4.mens_world_cup_downhill_skiing_coea105.jpg?x=130&y=93&sig=DrotLM5nd5O.N_Y2BIys2A--" align="left" height="93" width="130" alt="Austria' Michael Walchhofer powers his way down the hill during training for the men's World Cup Downhill ski race at Beaver Creek, Colo., on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006. He had the best time of the day. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)" border="0" /></a>AP - There's not enough snow in Europe and not enough dough in America. In a surprise announcement Wednesday night, Guenther Hujara, director of the men's World Cup, said there wasn't enough sponsorship dollars for Colorado resorts to hold some of the ski races that have been scrapped by warm weather and a lack of snow in Europe.</p><br clear="all"/>

Lerner on Browns' loss: 'Sickening' (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_fo_ne/fbn_messed_up_browns"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061129/capt.a2bf4372aa75446386419cb47bc36da5.messed_up_browns_football_ohas102.jpg?x=130&y=103&sig=XtBmXUdRsLYLN1X5MBvr8g--" align="left" height="103" width="130" alt="Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner, right, talks with team general manager Phil Savage before the Browns-Bengals game in Cleveland, Ohio on Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)" border="0" /></a>AP - From his owner's suite, Randy Lerner watched, worried and wondered about his Cleveland Browns.</p><br clear="all"/>

Mobley, Clippers defeat Grizzlies 105-90 (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_bk_ga_su/bkn_grizzlies_clippers"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061130/capt.4f9a2966420f4dee99f4be9203c75cbb.grizzlies_clippers_basketball_las108.jpg?x=130&y=123&sig=grGTdC4V6lZXZRWyWRqraQ--" align="left" height="123" width="130" alt="Los Angeles Clippers' Elton Brand, right, shoots a jumper against Memphis Grizzlies' Lawrence Roberts during the fourth quarter of the Clippers' 105-90 win in an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)" border="0" /></a>AP - Cuttino Mobley connected on his first nine shots, added a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off a steal to end the second quarter and finished with 24 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 105-90 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.</p><br clear="all"/>

Will J.D. Drew join the Red Sox? (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_ba_ne/bba_red_sox_winter_meetings"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061128/capt.tok80411281251.japan_red_sox_matsuzaka_tok804.jpg?x=130&y=84&sig=nPwldjAsPSYS6bgByIXf2w--" align="left" height="84" width="130" alt="Boston Red Sox President Larry Lucchino, left, holding the major league team's baseball cap is surrounded by Japanese photographers during a news conference in Tokyo Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2006, after meeting with representatives of Daisuke Matsuzaka's team, the Seibu Lions. Lucchino said the Red Sox have taken the next step toward signing the Japanese star pitcher by making a 'fair' and 'comprehensive' offer to him. (AP Photo/Takayuki Hirakawa, Kyodo News)" border="0" /></a>AP - The Red Sox aren't waiting until they get to Florida next week to start plugging the holes in their roster.</p><br clear="all"/>

France vows to stomp out soccer violence (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_so_ne/soc_france_soccer_violence"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061126/capt.fac1c9bb3dc94406ae104f4fc3843f2f.france_soccer_dav106.jpg?x=130&y=86&sig=pUnWGCvc.lDMFrgpeKzh1g--" align="left" height="86" width="130" alt="Quiet Paris Saint-Germain fans hold a banner reading 'Truth for Julien' as they stand in the tribunes of the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, western France, prior to the French League One soccer match between Nantes and Paris Saint-Germain, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2006. The inscription refers to Julien Quemener, a Paris Saint-Germain fan who was shot to death last Thursday by a plainclothes police officer while the policeman was trying to protect a supporter of Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv, after a UEFA Cup match in Paris. (AP Photo/David Vincent)" border="0" /></a>AP - Racism and violence have clouded Paris' premier soccer team for 20 years, but France's leaders are determined to stomp it out after a shooting death outraged the nation and exposed the long-ignored problem.</p><br clear="all"/>

Bernier's fluke goal lifts Sharks 2-1 (AP)
<p><a href="http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/sports/*http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061130/ap_on_sp_ho_ga_su/hkn_sharks_wild"><img src="http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20061130/capt.d92578365a12428a9feaac71d3f79dc8.sharks_wild_hockey_mnpb101.jpg?x=130&y=121&sig=.vSJ3bI19quj5nfYAOI2DQ--" align="left" height="121" width="130" alt="San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton (19) battles at center ice with Minnesota Wild winger Branko Radivojevic, of Slovakia, during the first period in a hockey game, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Paul Battaglia)" border="0" /></a>AP - Wins on the road are usually hard to come by for NHL teams. On Wednesday night, a road win happened by accident for the San Jose Sharks.</p><br clear="all"/>

Q&A with Jim Brown
The former NFL great discussed a number of subjects, including pensions, rookie contracts and rules that water down the game.

Vick fined $10,000 for obscene gesture (AP)
Michael Vick was fined $10,000 by the NFL and agreed to donate another $10,000 to charity for an obscene hand gesture toward Falcons fans following last weekend's loss to New Orleans. "I broke a rule and now I'm paying the price," Vick said Wednesday. "The good thing is I get to donate a portion of it to charity." Vick rushed for 166 yards in Sunday's 31-13 loss, just 7 yards short of his own NFL...

T.O. questions release of K Vanderjagt (AP)
Terrell Owens isn't just sorry to see his pal Mike Vanderjagt go. He thinks the Dallas Cowboys made a mistake by releasing the wayward kicker. "I don't see what he did wrong to warrant him being cut," Owens said Wednesday. "I hope it doesn't come back to haunt us. Whoever made that decision, I'm pretty sure they're hoping the same thing." Vanderjagt was released Monday, only 11 games into a...

Giants DE Strahan blows up at reporter (AP)
Losing isn't the only thing contagious on the New York Giants these days. Blowups are just as popular, and Pro Bowl defensive end Michael Strahan on Wednesday joined the ranks of Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber in mouthing off in what is quickly becoming a season of frustration for the team. Unlike Shockey and Barber, who criticized coach Tom Coughlin and his staff following losses earlier this...

Raiders coach Shell rips unnamed critic (AP)
The Oakland Raiders' soap opera season took another strange turn Wednesday when coach Art Shell accused a member of the organization of trying to undermine the coaching staff and rooting against the team. Shell did not name the person, but said it was not a coach or a player. He said the person has been calling media members around the country and criticizing coaches.

Track star Gatlin works out for Texans (AP)
Track star Justin Gatlin worked out for the Houston Texans on Tuesday, but coach Gary Kubiak said signing him was "not something we would do right now." Gatlin, an Olympic gold medalist and co-world record holder in the 100 meters, tested positive for testosterone and other steroids in April. Kubiak said Gatlin, who last played football in high school, had worked out for several teams over the...

Dallas sports agent sues NFLPA for $36M (AP)
A former sports agent who was decertified by the NFL Players Association has filed a $36 million lawsuit, saying he was punished for his frequent criticism of the union. Steve Weinberg represented 42 NFL players when he was decertified by the union in 2003. He had been a practicing agent in the NFL for 22 years.

Death of Bettis' father saddens Steelers (AP)
Pittsburgh Steelers players were saddened by the sudden death of Johnnie Bettis, the father of former Steelers star Jerome Bettis and a man many of them knew as a friend. The elder Bettis, who was 61, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack while driving in a suburb north of Detroit. Most Steelers players learned of his death that night, and many said they planned to call Jerome Bettis in the...

Broncos QB Cutler crams for first start (AP)
Kenard Lang has confidence in rookie quarterback Jay Cutler. Now the Denver Broncos defensive lineman just needs to keep his name straight. Lang called him Jake. "There are a lot of "Js" in here," Lang said as he laughed at his mistake. Cutler, who replaced Jake Plummer as the starter on Monday, has been left alone by family, friends and teammates as he crams for his first test against Seattle on...

McNabb has surgery, could miss a year (AP)
Donovan McNabb could be sidelined between eight and 12 months after having surgery Tuesday to repair a torn knee ligament. McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second quarter of the Eagles' loss to Tennessee last week. It was his third season-ending injury in mid-November in the last five years.

Unexpected guests
The young season has produced some pleasant surprises with the emergences of these five players.

Mavericks overcome loss of Nowitzki (AP)
The Dallas Mavericks won their 11th straight game Wednesday night, but they received a major scare in the process. Star forward Dirk Nowitzki left the game late in the first quarter because of blurred vision, but Josh Howard scored 26 points to make up for his loss as the Mavericks beat the Toronto Raptors 117-98.

Boozer, Harpring lead Jazz past Spurs (AP)
The Utah Jazz kept their losing streak brief by getting back to what got them off to the best start in the NBA. The score was close and the shooting wasn't good for either team, but the Jazz dominated San Antonio in rebounding and beat the Spurs 83-75 Wednesday. The Jazz seemed to corral almost every missed shot -- and there were plenty of them -- and outrebounded San Antonio 50-34 while beating...

Lakers' Jackson fined $25,000 by NBA (AP)
Phil Jackson was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for criticizing referees Friday night after the Lakers' 114-108 loss to Utah. Jackson was quoted in several newspapers about the way the officials -- Derrick Stafford, Derek Richardson and Leroy Richardson -- handled second-year center Andrew Bynum.

Howard helps Magic win sixth straight (AP)
Dwight Howard won't turn 21 for another week and yet performances like Wednesday night are becoming the norm. Yikes. Howard was overpowering, scoring 24 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in leading the Orlando Magic to their fifth straight win, 94-84 over the Seattle SuperSonics. Howard was perfect from the field, making all eight attempts, and went 8-for-12 at the free throw line.

Pacers win on Jackson's last-second 3 (AP)
A fourth quarter full of skilled play came down to dumb luck -- and Stephen Jackson was standing in exactly the right spot to capitalize. Jackson grabbed a loose ball and hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left, and the Indiana Pacers came from behind for a 108-106 victory over the Warriors on Wednesday night, preventing Golden State coach Don Nelson from getting his 1,200th win.

Knicks snap Cavaliers' home win streak (AP)
Eddy Curry was often New York's biggest cheerleader during crunch time last season. Now, he's the center of everything for the Knicks. "I wouldn't even see the fourth quarter, let alone the ball," Curry said. "But that was last year." Curry scored 24 points -- 12 in the final period -- and Quentin Richardson had 27 points as the Knicks continued to play better on the road with a 101-98 victory over...

Suns win fifth straight, beat Rockets (AP)
A blown 22-point lead wasn't enough to prevent the Phoenix Suns from winning their fifth in a row. Steve Nash broke out of a bad shooting night with eight points in a 19-5 fourth-quarter run and the Suns regrouped to beat the Houston Rockets 102-91 on Wednesday night. Amare Stoudemire had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Suns, who dominated the boards 55-36.

Mobley powers Clippers over Grizzlies (AP)
Cuttino Mobley connected on his first nine shots, added a buzzer-beating 3-pointer off a steal to end the second quarter and finished with 24 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 105-90 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. The Clippers scored 20 consecutive points during a 4:52 span in the first half to snap a five-game losing streak and beat Memphis for only the third...

Nets beat Celtics, snap six-game skid (AP)
The New Jersey Nets turned to their leaders to end a six-game losing streak. Vince Carter scored 23 points, 16 in the fourth quarter, and Jason Kidd added 19 to lift the Nets to a 106-103 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. "We've been playing bad basketball long enough," Carter said. "We (Kidd and Carter) wanted to change things and this win was much needed." Paul Pierce's jumper...

March of the Penguin

Blackhawks win Savard's coaching debut (AP)
New coach. Same result -- so it seemed for two periods, anyway. The Chicago Blackhawks were plodding again and seemed on their way to another loss in Denis Savard's first game as head coach. And then, everything changed. Tuomo Ruutu took advantage of an opportunity and scored with 1:48 left to give Chicago a 2-1 victory over Dallas on Wednesday night.

Erat's goal lifts Predators over Flyers (AP)
Mike Rathje whiffed trying to make a pass out of Philadelphia's defensive zone. Paul Kariya was there for the steal to set up Nashville's go-ahead goal. One turnover for Philadelphia. One clutch swipe for the Predators. One play that showed why each team is at their current spot in the standings. Kariya fed Martin Erat off the turnover for the winner with 5:09 left to help the Predators win their...

Sharks top Wild on Bernier's fluke goal (AP)
Wins on the road are usually hard to come by for NHL teams. On Wednesday night, a road win happened by accident for the San Jose Sharks. Steve Bernier's fluke goal was the winner as the Sharks beat the Minnesota Wild 2-1 for their fourth straight victory. Bernier missed a pass from Christian Ehrhoff only to have the puck bounce off his right leg and into the Minnesota net in the second period.

Flyers sign RW Knuble to two-year deal (AP)
The last-place Flyers signed right winger Mike Knuble to a two-year contract extension Wednesday, keeping him in Philadelphia through the 2008-09 season. The 34-year-old Knuble has seven goals and 15 points for the Flyers this season. In two seasons with the Flyers, Knuble has 41 goals and 80 points in 100 games.

Crosby returns, helps Pens top Isles 3-2 (AP)
Sidney Crosby was back, and the Pittsburgh Penguins won a close game instead of losing one. No doubt it wasn't a coincidence. Crosby returned from a three-game injury layoff to set up Colby Armstrong's first two goals of the season, and the Penguins held off the New York Islanders in the third period to win 3-2 Tuesday night.

Sens' Gerber wins in return to Carolina (AP)
Martin Gerber made save after save in his return to Tobacco Road. If he had played like this six months ago, he might still be with Carolina. Gerber stopped 29 shots in his first appearance at the RBC Center since he left town, leading the Ottawa Senators to a 4-1 win over the Hurricanes on Tuesday night.

Pronger a winner in return to Edmonton (AP)
Jeered and cursed at by Oilers fans all night long, Chris Pronger never took his eyes off the ice. He simply played his steady game, assisted on a key goal and helped the Anaheim Ducks rally past his former team. Ryan Getzlaf scored 2:19 into overtime after teammate Chris Kunitz tied the score with 17 seconds left in the third period, and Anaheim beat the Oilers 3-2 Tuesday night in Pronger's...

Huet outplays Auld as Habs win 1-0 in SO (AP)
Alex Auld waited a long time for his second career shutout, and was left with a hollow feeling afterward. Cristobal Huet stopped two of three shots in the shootout and Alex Kovalev and Saku Koivu converted their opportunities against Auld, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 1-0 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Injury still keeping Wild's Gaborik out (AP)
Marian Gaborik is back at practice, but the Minnesota Wild are maintaining a cautious approach toward his return to the lineup. Gaborik, who strained a groin muscle in a game Oct. 20 and has not played since, skated with the team Monday for the first time since the injury and did so again in a short practice on Tuesday.

Trading Paint: Don't slow down
The NASCAR offseason hasn't slowed the Trading Paint train one bit.

A different New York for new champ Johnson. (AP)
Times Square has never seemed quite so vibrant to Jimmie Johnson.

Bank of America revs up plans for NASCAR (AP)
Banking on NASCAR fans' sponsor loyalty to drive more retail business to their ATMs and branches, Charlotte-based Bank of America Corp. has signed a five-year deal as the official bank of the popular racing series.

Johnson tells Letterman that penalty wasn't that bad (AP)
David Letterman's idea of cheating is apparently much more severe than Jimmie Johnson's. Johnson appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman," on Tuesday night, and the host grilled NASCAR's new champion about a penalty his team incurred before the season opening race. Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, was fined $25,000 and suspended for four races for making an illegal modifications to...

2006 a time of change for NASCAR (AP)
Jimmie Johnson opened and closed the 2006 season on top, for very different reasons.

NASCAR's new champion lags in fan popularity (AP)
There's an Internet video of a family in its kitchen watching October's last-lap wreck at Talladega. When Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson crash on the final lap, the family flies into an expletive-laden rage against Johnson.

NASCAR owners has formula for winning championships. (AP)
Jack Roush has a unique knowledge of what it takes to win a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship.

Johnson caps dream season by winning Nextel Cup championship (AP)
Not long ago, Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus were considering a split.

Montoya gets "warm welcome" in his NASCAR Nextel Cup debut (SportsTicker)
By Bruce Martin SportsTicker Contributing Editor

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