NCAA

NFL Capsule-Buccaneers at Falcons

NFL Capsule-Buccaneers at Falcons

TAMPA BAY (6-9) At ATLANTA (13-2)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

OPENING LINE - OFF

RECORD VS. SPREAD - Tampa Bay 6-6-2; Atlanta 9-5-1

SERIES RECORD - Tied 19-19

AP PRO32 RANKING - Buccaneers No. 22; Falcons No. 2

LAST MEETING - Falcons beat Buccaneers 24-23, Nov. 25

LAST WEEK - Buccaneers lost to Rams 28-13; Falcons beat Lions 31-18

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (10), RUSH (16), PASS (9)

BUCCANEERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (29), RUSH (1), PASS (32)

FALCONS OFFENSE - OVERALL (7), RUSH (28), PASS (5)

FALCONS DEFENSE - OVERALL (23), RUSH (20T), PASS (23)

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - In last game between teams at Georgia Dome on Jan. 1, 2012, Falcons scored 42 first-half points in 45-24 win as Michael Turner had 172 yards rushing with two TDs. ... Falcons clinched home-field advantage through NFC playoffs in last week's win over Lions. ... Buccaneers, who have lost five straight, had five turnovers in each of last two losses. ... Josh Freeman has thrown eight interceptions in past two weeks. He threw three interceptions previous eight games. ... Freeman needs 157 yards to become franchise's first 4,000-yard passer. ... Vincent Jackson needs 69 yards to break Mark Carrier's franchise record of 1,422 yards receiving in season. ... Rookie Doug Martin third in NFL with 1,766 scrimmage yards (1,312 rush, 454 receiving), a Bucs rookie record. Martin tied for lead among NFC rookies with 10 rushing TDs. ... Safety Ronde Barber, who had interception in last game against Falcons, is only player in NFL with more than 25 sacks (28) and 40 interceptions (47). ... Falcons QB Matt Ryan's 56 wins in first five seasons are most in NFL history. He has best home record in Super Bowl era at 33-4 (.892) and trying for 12th straight home win. ... WR Roddy White has sixth straight 1,000-yard season. White's 558 receptions since 2007 lead NFC. ... Thomas DeCoud second among NFL safeties with six interceptions. ... TE Tony Gonzalez, named to 13th Pro Bowl team, needs two catches to reach 90 for fifth time in career. ... DE John Abraham has 14 1/2 sacks in last 18 games.

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Maryland basketball to host College GameDay for first time in 15 years

Maryland basketball to host College GameDay for first time in 15 years

It’s happening, folks.

For the first time in 15 years, ESPN College GameDay is coming to College Park.

Maryland basketball, currently ranked 7th in the AP Poll, is hosting Michigan State, formerly number one in the polls, Saturday night at 8 p.m.

The Terps played at Michigan State on February 15, also a College GameDay game, in East Lansing. This is only the second time ever College GameDay game has visited a rematch in the same season, after last year’s Duke-Virginia game.

It’s also Maryland’s second-ever time hosting the broadcast, with the last game coming in 2005. It’s the fourth time they’ve been involved on a College GameDay broadcast, the third of which comes against the Spartans.

As enthusiastic as fans are, head coach Mark Turgeon and his players are equally excited.

"We are thrilled to have been selected to host ESPN College GameDay next week," Turgeon stated in a press release. "It will be an incredible day for our program, fans and community. We can't wait to show Rece, Jay, Seth, LaPhonso and the rest of the crew what College Park is all about!"

The game against the Spartans was already big for Maryland’s Big Ten championship chances, and the matchup has been sold out for weeks.

Now, it’s one of the biggest games in College Park in more than a decade.

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Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

Rui Hachimura's learning curve can be seen on offense late in games

WASHINGTON -- Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has translated so smoothly to the NBA level that it is easy to forget he is still just a rookie with only 31 games under his belt. For a reminder of his inexperience, just look at the fourth quarter.

Hachimura tends to start games hot on the offensive end, like he did on Friday in the Wizards' loss to the Cavaliers when he had eight points by the end of the first quarter. But he scored only nine points after that and went scoreless through seven minutes in the fourth.

That has been a consistent theme for him this season. He averages 4.8 points in the first quarter shooting 48.4 percent from the field, 4.0 points in the second shooting 57 percent and then 4.3 points on 47.9 percent in the third. In the fourth quarter those numbers plummet to 1.9 points on average and 33.3 percent shooting.

Basically, Hachimura often comes out on fire but then slows down considerably once opponents make midgame changes. Against the Cavs, Hachimura said it was because they disrupted passing lanes.

"They are an NBA team. They just adjusted. They didn't want me to catch the ball. They didn't let me just catch the ball. I think that's why," he said.

The Wizards have seen teams switch defensive match-ups midgame to counter Hachimura. Sometimes taking away his midrange jumper will be prioritized. The Cavs seemed to find success playing Hachimura more physically in the second half, bumping him away from his comfort zones.

Over time, Hachimura can improve his ability to sustain scoring throughout games simply by becoming more versatile. The more consistent he becomes at making three-point shots and creating off the dribble, the more difficult it will be for teams to stop him. As long as he keeps improving, he will reach a point where he can stay ahead of the defense with a multitude of counters.

Developing a more reliable outside game and more dribble combinations will take some time. For now, Hachimura believes the key to him keeping up his scoring pace involves working with his teammates, particularly star shooting guard Bradley Beal.

"I just gotta connect more with Brad. Brad is the one everybody is trying to guard. Screens and pick-and-rolls with him, that kind of stuff will help me," Hachimura said.

Hachimura's game against the Cavaliers reflected how the team played overall. After scoring 41 points in the first quarter, they managed only 42 in the second half. They blew a 16-point lead and lost, 113-108.

So, he wasn't alone. And those rooting for Hachimura to round out his game should feel good about his odds. He has a relentless work ethic and is often staying after practice to go over film with player development coach Dave Adkins.

Hachimura is perceptive and driven to improve. In order to take the next step as a scorer, he will have to get better at closing games.

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