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National Sports Briefs: UNC, Michigan State set for rematch

Associated Press
EAST LANSING, Mich. ó Ready for the rematch?
Michigan State will travel to North Carolina for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The matchups for the 11th annual men’s basketball event were announced Wednesday.
The two teams in the NCAA title game will meet again Dec. 1. North Carolina defeated Michigan State 89-72 in the NCAA championship earlier this month.
Michigan will host Boston College on Dec. 2 as part of the event.
Other matchups are Penn State at Virginia, Maryland at Indiana, Northwestern at North Carolina State, Virginia Tech at Iowa, Wake Forest at Purdue, Duke at Wisconsin, Florida State at Ohio State, Illinois at Clemson and Minnesota at Miami.
– INDIANAPOLIS ó College basketball champions North Carolina and Connecticut joined the NCAA’s list of academic overachievers Wednesday.
The Tar Heels men and Huskies women were among 11.9 percent of all Division I teams to score between 976 and 1,000 on the Academic Progress Rate, which measures academic eligibility, retention and graduation over a four years.
Michigan State, which lost to North Carolina in the men’s title game, also made it along with the Baylor men’s basketball team. Baylor was rocked by one of the NCAA’s worst scandals less than six years ago.
– ATLANTA ó One day after being released from his Georgia scholarship, high school star Daniel Miller has landed with rival Georgia Tech.
Miller, a 6-foot-11 center at Loganville Christian Academy in suburban Atlanta, adds to an already stellar recruiting class for the Yellow Jackets led by Naismith national player of the year Derrick Favors, a 6-9 center.
Miller asked out of his scholarship after the Bulldogs fired coach Dennis Felton and hired Mark Fox.
– LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Kentucky and new head coach John Calipari will get an early test next season.
The Wildcats will play Big East power Connecticut on Dec. 9 in the third annual SEC/Big East Challenge. The game will be part of a doubleheader at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Georgia will play St. John’s in the opener, followed by the Huskies and the Wildcats.
– CHARLESTON, S.C. ó The eight-team field for next fall’s Charleston Classic will include NIT participants South Carolina, Penn State and Miami.
– KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee forward Tyler Smith has declared for the 2009 NBA draft but will not hire an agent.
BCS MEETING
PASADENA, Calif. ó The BCS could decide to adopt parts of the playoff plan proposed by the Mountain West Conference, even as the group seems unlikely to scrap its current system of determining college football’s champion.
A buttoned-up BCS finished its last day of meetings Wednesday in the city that will host the championship game in early 2010. Only BCS coordinator John Swofford emerged briefly to speak to reporters a day after the group heard a case for changing to an eight-team playoff from the current single-game championship format.
It’s unlikely that the MWC’s proposal will bring about any major changes to the BCS’s format, despite pressure from the major-college conferences largely left out of the big-money bowls, as well as legislators and government officials including President Barack Obama.
SWIMMING
NEW YORK ó Michael Phelps is following up his record performance at the Beijing Olympics by changing some of the swimming technique that carried him to eight gold medals.
Hasn’t he ever heard of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”?
But Phelps isn’t chasing the same old goals. As he shifts to focusing on shorter races, he hopes the new freestyle technique will increase his sprinting speed.
“You’ll all have to see. I’m not saying anything until we unveil it,” Phelps said with a grin when asked how he’s tweaked the stroke. “It’s a significant change. You’ll be able to tell exactly what I did as soon as I take my first stroke.”
Phelps will reveal the new technique when he returns to competition at the Charlotte UltraSwim on May 14-17 in North Carolina, his first meet since Beijing. He plans to swim four events, including the 100- and 200-meter free and the 100 butterfly.
“If it works, it works,” Phelps said. “If it doesn’t, I’ll go back to the old stroke.”
TENNIS
BARCELONA, Spain ó Rafael Nadal began his bid for a fifth straight title at the Barcelona Open by beating Frederico Gil of Portugal 6-2, 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday.
NICKNAME
FORT TOTTEN, N.D. ó The University of North Dakota’s use of the Fighting Sioux nickname and Indian head logo has been approved by one of the two tribes that must endorse it under a deal the school reached with the NCAA.

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