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National Sports Briefs: ACC women’s tournament starts today

Associated Press
Florida State wasn’t on the national radar when the ACC tipped off its season. Traditional powers Maryland, North Carolina and Duke got most of the attention.
Quietly, the Seminoles claimed a share of the regular season title. After a breakthrough season Florida State (24-6) enters the ACC tournament that starts today in Greensboro, as a confident No. 2 seed.
Whomever emerges from the crowded field will have run a gauntlet, because the ACC boasts four of the nation’s top 12 teams: Joining Florida State are No. 4 and top-seeded Maryland, No. 8 and third-seeded Duke and No. 11 and fourth-seeded North Carolina ó which has won the last four league titles and hasn’t lost an ACC tournament game at the Greensboro Coliseum since the 2004 championship game.
The Blue Devils (24-4) and Tar Heels (25-5) are favored. But the biggest star of the four-day tournament might be the late Kay Yow, who inspired nearly everyone involved with women’s basketball.
Yow, North Carolina State’s Hall of Fame coach who died in January after a two-decade fight with breast cancer, will be honored with a video tribute. A banner commemorating Yow’s last huge victory ó the Wolfpack’s upset of then-No. 1 Duke two years ago after she returned from cancer treatments ó was erected outside the arena.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
NEW YORK ó The Mountain West Conference wants to lead the fight for a major college football playoff.
The MWC presented the BCS with a proposal Wednesday to create an eight-team playoff system that would allow greater access to the national championship game to teams outside the six most powerful leagues.
– DALLAS ó Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard of Michigan and former Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth are among 13 players eligible for induction into the College Football Hall of Fame for the first time.
Among the other players on the ballot are Heisman Trophy winners Tim Brown of Notre Dame and Gino Torretta of Miami. Former Southern California coach John Robinson is also on the ballot.
– TRENTON, N.J. ó Rutgers may have won its bowl game against North Carolina State this past December, but it lost more than $184,000 in the process.
– FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ó Fayetteville police arrested Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett on a public intoxication charge outside of a nightspot near campus. Mallett is seen as the likely starter for the Razorbacks in 2009. He sat out 2008 after transferring from Michigan.
WOODEN’S PLEA
LOS ANGELES ó The family of John Wooden has a request for his many fans: Please stop sending items for the 98-year-old coaching great to autograph.
Wooden, who coached UCLA to a record 10 national basketball titles, is recovering from pneumonia that put him in the hospital.
SOCCER
MILAN ó A deal allowing David Beckham to extend his stay with AC Milan through the end of the Italian season is close but not yet complete, Milan chairman Adriano Galliani said.
The former England captain joined Milan on a two-month loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy in January and was due to return to the Major League Soccer club next week. Beckham has a five-year contract with the Galaxy worth $32.5 million. He can opt out of his MLS contract at the end of the season.
– LAGOS, Portugal ó Tina DiMartino scored her first international goal Wednesday to help the defending champion United States beat Denmark 2-0 in the Algarve Cup. The 22-year-old forward knocked in the ball from short range in the 35th minute after Natasha Kai’s header rebounded off the post.

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