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UFC picked to win AAC, Taylor top player

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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.

Cincinnati, the 2018 American Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champion, was just seven points behind UCF in the poll and received three first-place votes. Houston, which reached the AAC final last season, earned two first-place votes. The Cougars also had the preseason rookie of the year in freshman guard Nate Hinton.

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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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Boeheim preps for 43rd year at Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim is back in a good place as he begins his 43rd season at Syracuse - all five starters return, he has a much stronger bench, and his youngest son is a freshman guard who's ready to contribute.

"Everybody worked hard. Everybody had a good summer," Boeheim said Friday during the team's media day. "I see more improvement than normal with this group. Kind of extraordinary."

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Witness: Mavs' Smith got $40K at NC St.

NEW YORK (AP) A government witness at a college basketball corruption trial testified Thursday that he made a secret $40,000 payment to the inner circle of a North Carolina State recruit through an assistant coach at the school.

Testifying in federal court in Manhattan, self-described recruitment facilitator Thomas "T.J." Gassnola told a jury he delivered the money in cash to the coach, Orlando Early, on a trip to Raleigh, North Carolina, in 2015. He said the coach told him he was going to give it to a personal trainer for highly-touted point guard Dennis Smith Jr. as a way to get it to Smith's family.

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Izzo defends sex assault case handling

ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) Michigan State coach Tom Izzo insisted Thursday he was never part of an effort to cover up allegations of sexual misconduct within the school's athletic department.

The Hall of Famer said the idea that he would be involved sickens him.

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