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Big East will talk to Navy about joining early

Big East will talk to Navy about joining early

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) Big East Commissioner Mike Aresco says he will talk to Navy about the possibility of joining the conference earlier than its scheduled 2015 arrival as a football-only member.

Aresco spoke to reporters before Connecticut played at Rutgers on Saturday.

The Big East is on target to become a 12-team football conference next season, with the addition of Boise State and five other schools.

The conference has made it clear that it will be in the market for a 14th member to balance out the league when Navy joins. Aresco says it should not be assumed the league will only add a school currently playing football as an independent.

He says there is no timetable for adding another member, and raised the possibility that Navy could join sooner, though he did say the school has given him no indication it is looking to do so.

``I'll talk to Navy about it,'' he said.

The Big East is halfway through an exclusive negotiating window with ESPN on a new television deal. The Big East's next TV deal is important to the conference's long-term viability. Other major football conferences have scored multibillion media contracts, and the Big East is hoping to at least be in the ballpark of those.

``As you know these things tend to heat up toward the end of the negotiating periods,'' Aresco said.

If the Big East does not strike a deal with ESPN, it will go to the open market. The conference at that point hopes to draw interest from NBC and its new NBC Sports Network, and possibly Fox, which is also looking into establishing a national all-sports network.

Aresco gave no updates on the proposed seventh marquee bowl game that would give the Big East greater access to the new postseason system that will start in 2014. Aresco said there is support for the addition of the game among the other conference commissioners and the game would be part of the playoff semifinal rotation.

The game as proposed would match the top-ranked champion from the Big East, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA and the Mid-American Conference against a team from the Pac-12 or the Big 12.

Aresco declined to address where the game might be played and when other details would be finalized.

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round picks

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Wizards' second pre-draft workout to feature possible first-round picks

The Wizards will have some recognizable names at their second pre-draft workout on Wednesday including potential first round pick Aaron Holiday of UCLA, NBC Sports Washington has learned.

Here is the list with some notes on each player...

Aaron Holiday, guard, UCLA (6-1, 185)

The brother of two NBA players (Jrue and Justin), Holiday played three years at UCLA and averaged 20.3 points, 5.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a junior. He also shot 42.9 percent from three on 6.2 attempts per game. He registered a 6-8 wingspan at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: possible first round pick, likely won't be there in second round; would solidify backup point guard position

Devonte' Graham, guard, Kansas (6-2, 175)

The Big 12 player of the year, Graham averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 assists as a senior. He posted a 6-6 wingspan at the combine. His uncle played for the Cincinnati Reds in the 1990s.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; would provide backup point guard depth

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, forward, Kansas (6-8, 195)

A big-time three-point shooter, Mykhailiuk shot 44.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game as a senior. He averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 rebounds.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could be a three-point threat off the bench

Moritz Wagner, center, Michigan (6-11, 241)

Originally from Germany, Wagner was a standout in the NCAA Tournament as the Wolverines went all the way to the final. He averaged 14.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steals as a junior. He also shot 39.4 percent from three and measured at nearly 7-feet in shoes at the NBA Combine.

Potential fit with Wizards: second round pick; could develop into a capable stretch-five

Jonathan Williams, guard, VCU (6-0, 175)

Williams grew up in Richmond before playing college ball at VCU. He averaged 9.3 points and 5.7 assists as a senior.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League guard

Zach Thomas, SF, Bucknell (6-7, 228)

Thomas was the Patriot League player of the year with averages of 20.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game as a senior. He shot 40 percent from three for his college career.

Potential fit with Wizards: undrafted free agent; possible G-League forward

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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