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Closing arguments at pay for play trial

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

NEW YORK (AP) Lawyers at a trial exploring corruption in big-time college basketball clashed in closing arguments Wednesday over the question of whether major programs were harmed by an alleged scheme to give secret cash payments to the families of top recruits.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Noah Solowiejczyk told a jury in federal court in Manhattan that a former Adidas executive and two co-defendants were shady fixers who put Louisville, Kansas and other universities at risk for costly sanctions by the NCAA by concealing the prohibited payments. The cover-up also tricked colleges into giving scholarships to players who should have been ineligible, he said.

"That's a crime," the prosecutor said. "It's called fraud."

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Kentucky preseason pick to win SEC title

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) Kentucky's PJ Washington says coach John Calipari has "chilled out" at practice leading up to the season.

It doesn't take as much yelling from coaches when you have a little seasoning and maturity on the roster, qualities that the Wildcats and other top Southeastern Conference teams are banking on to match - or even better - the league's strong 2017-18 season. Calipari says he hasn't had to raise his voice yet in practice.

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Duke reloaded with more touted freshmen

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) One star-studded freshman class has left Duke for the NBA. Another has come in right behind them.

A national title once again is a realistic goal for the latest crop of blue-chip Blue Devils who seem to fit into neatly defined roles.

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UFC picked to win AAC, Taylor top player

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Central Florida has been picked by coaches to win the American Athletic Conference, and Knights point guard B.J. Taylor has been named the conference's preseason player of the year.

UCF earned six of a possible 11 first-place votes and 114 points to edge Cincinnati for the No. 1 spot. Taylor was UCF's leading scorer last season, averaging 15.9 points over an injury-shortened 16 games.

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Texas G Jones suffers broken toe

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas guard Andrew Jones has fractured a toe in practice, and the school says there is no timetable for his return.

Jones had rejoined the team following his diagnosis of leukemia, which occurred in January. He sat out most of last season while undergoing treatment.

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Purdue, Painter agree on 2-yr. extension

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Purdue and men's basketball coach Matt Painter have agreed on a two-year contract extension through the 2023-24 season.

Athletic director Mike Bobinski said Friday that beginning July 2019, Painter's contract will convert to a rolling five-year term with automatic one-year extensions that could extend the agreement beyond 2023-24. The school said Painter also will receive increased compensation, but did not offer details.

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Arizona, Illinois agree to 2-year series

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois said Friday it has signed a two-year contract with Arizona for a men's basketball home-and-home series in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

The Illini play in Tucson on Nov. 10, 2019, and the Wildcats will visit Champaign on Dec. 12, 2020. It will be Illinois' first non-conference home-and-home series with a Power Five program since beating Vanderbilt in 2008-09.

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Minnesota AD Coyle gets 3-year extension

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota has signed athletic director Mark Coyle to a three-year extension.

Coyle took over as head of Gophers athletics in 2016. He's made a handful of critical hires since then, including football coach P.J. Fleck, women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen and hockey coach Bob Motzko.

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K-State opens year with Manhattan event

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) Kansas State coach Bruce Weber need only look at how difficult it was to build a schedule this season to know that his team, which returns all six guys who started every game on its Elite Eight run a year ago, is going to be a dangerous foe.

Weber wanted to challenge those guys, rather than give them an easy road like he might a team full of newcomers. So he reached out to dozens of Power Five coaches.

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UConn unofficially opens hoops season

STORRS, Conn. (AP) New coach Dan Hurley introduced himself to UConn's fans on Friday as the Huskies unofficially opened their basketball season with the annual "First Night" celebration inside Gampel Pavilion.

UConn's version of "Midnight Madness" is now held at 7 p.m. and no longer marks the start of practice (for the men that started two weeks ago).

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