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In Brief

BASKETBALL

UNLV drops in national rankings after loss to Aztecs

UNLV’s loss to San Diego State in its Mountain West Conference opener on Saturday cost the Rebels in the weekly national polls. The Rebels, ranked No. 12 last week in both The Associated Press poll and the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, dropped to 14th and 20th, respectively, in this week’s rankings.

The Rebels (16-3) lost to the Aztecs 69-67 on a last-second layup on the road in their only game of the week. They host Texas Christian in a Mountain West game at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday.

San Diego State, ranked 22nd in both polls last week, climbed to No. 16 in both polls this week.

The top five in both national polls are the same this week: Syracuse, Kentucky, Baylor, Duke and Missouri. After the polls were released Monday, Syracuse (20-0) beat Pittsburgh, and Baylor (17-1) was dealt its first loss of the season at Kansas.

Also: This U.S. basketball team might be even better than the last two that won gold medals.

“This will be the most talented of the three teams that I’ve had the opportunity to coach,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The Americans announced the 20 players who will be candidates for the London Games, adding Blake Griffin of the Clippers and LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland to the 18 holdovers from either the 2008 Olympics or 2010 world championship who have said they wish to be considered again.

The 12-man roster and alternates for the Olympics will be chosen from the new player pool in June.

Returning from the team that won gold in Beijing are: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Back from the reigning world champions are: Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tyson Chandler, Eric Gordon, Rudy Gay, Kevin Love, Lamar Odom, Chauncey Billups, Russell Westbrook and Andre Iguodala.

The team will train in Las Vegas from July 5-11 before playing a team yet to be determined on July 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

A charter flight bringing the Detroit Pistons to Houston for a game against the Rockets had to make an emergency landing at Hobby Airport. Team spokesman Kevin Grigg said everyone on the plane was OK.

A Houston Airport System spokesman said the crew of the MD-80 displaying the Pistons team logo reported problems with the hydraulics operating the aircraft’s left-side landing gear and declared an emergency.

Airport spokesman Joshua Agunag said the aircraft with 44 passengers aboard landed without incident and was able to taxi to a private air terminal, where passengers were let off.

PRO FOOTBALL

Tebow’s status as starter set — for training camp

The debate over Tim Tebow’s worthiness as an NFL quarterback will undeniably continue in the offseason. What’s not in doubt is his status as the Denver Broncos’ starter — but only entering training camp.

The team sought to curb the circus that’s sure to surround Tebow over the next several months by declaring him the incumbent at a season-ending news conference.

“Well, I think Tim’s earned the right to be the starting quarterback going into training camp next year,” Broncos boss John Elway declared at the beginning of a 40-minute news conference in which 24 of the 47 questions were about Tebow.

“I think he made some good strides this year,” Elway said. “He obviously played very well against Pittsburgh and played very well in a lot of football games.”

And exceedingly poorly in plenty of others.

That’s why Elway, a Hall of Famer who rejoined the team a year ago as chief of football operations, has pledged to personally work with Tebow this offseason to polish his passing game and help him become a better quarterback.

Also: Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy joined the list of candidates for Miami’s coaching job.

McCoy completed an interview Monday, the Dolphins said. He’s the first candidate to meet with the Dolphins since they were turned down by former Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who chose instead to become coach of the St. Louis Rams.

The St. Louis Rams scheduled a news conference for today to formally introduce Jeff Fisher as their new coach, having finalized contract details. The announcement came amid reports New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has agreed to join Fisher’s staff in the same role.

Fisher agreed to take the job Friday.

MISCELLANEOUS

Filly Havre de Grace claims Horse of the Year honor

Filly Havre de Grace defeated the boys again, winning Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards in Beverly Hills, Calif., and becoming the third consecutive female to receive the honor in a year that lacked a superstar in thoroughbred racing.

Havre de Grace joins Zenyatta in 2010 and Rachel Alexandra in 2009 — two horses that captured the general public’s interest and imagination — as one of six females to earn the sport’s top award. She received 166 first-place votes and 1,897 total points in balloting by members of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.

Acclamation finished second with 26 first-place votes and 552 points.

Havre de Grace was also honored with the older female trophy.

Kentucky Derby champion Animal Kingdom earned 3-year-old male honors. Bill Mott won trainer honors, capping a year in which he swept the top two races at the Breeders’ Cup.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Hansen won the trophy for 2-year-old male at the 41st annual edition of the awards.

Also: Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby will meet with a specialist this week because of lingering concussion-like symptoms.

Crosby hasn’t played since Dec. 5 following a recurrence of the symptoms that sidelined him for more than 10 months last year. The team said Crosby will work with chiropractic neurologist Dr. Ted Carrick, who treated Crosby for similar symptoms last summer.

Washington announced quarterback Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana, has been released from his scholarship so that he can transfer. Montana just completed his redshirt freshman season with the Huskies. He saw action in six games and threw three touchdowns and two interceptions.

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