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No. 5 Michigan trying to rebound from first loss

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No. 5 Michigan trying to rebound from first loss

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Trey Burke and Michigan can put aside for now the idea of being ranked No. 1 in the country.

An undefeated start to the season? That too is over after the Wolverines sputtered last weekend at Ohio State.

Now the focus is on a Big Ten schedule that will test Burke and his teammates plenty over the next few weeks. No. 5 Michigan plays at No. 9 Minnesota on Thursday night, part of a nine-game stretch for the Wolverines that began with the loss to the Buckeyes and will eventually include six road games.

``The level of intensity that we had in practice (Tuesday) was very high,'' said Burke, Michigan's star point guard. ``We know just from watching film that we had a lot to learn, a lot to get better, a lot of adjustments to make.''

The Wolverines (16-1, 3-1 Big Ten) were uncharacteristically sloppy at the start of Sunday's game at Ohio State, falling behind by 21 points in the first half before rallying to force a tense finish in the Buckeyes' 56-53 victory.

Michigan was poised to take over the top spot in the AP poll before that game, but the Wolverines shot a season-worst 38 percent from the field and turned the ball over 13 times. In the first half, they looked nothing like the team that had been rolling over opponents by playing smart, precise basketball.

The road won't get any easier. Minnesota (15-2, 3-1) leads the Big Ten in offensive rebounds, and the Golden Gophers will challenge a Michigan team that has done a terrific job limiting second chances this season. The Wolverines have been preparing for another physical game around the basket.

``We had the bubble on the rim, and no shot goes in - everybody's got to box out,'' coach John Beilein said. ``Real proud of our guys. We've had these situations before, whether it was Pitt, Kansas State, some other teams that were really getting high numbers of rebounds.''

The Wolverines managed to hold Pittsburgh to six offensive rebounds in a November win over the Panthers.

Minnesota is coming off an 88-81 loss to Indiana over the weekend. After four games, Wisconsin is the only team with an unbeaten Big Ten record.

Michigan looked out of sorts early against Ohio State in what was easily the team's toughest road test so far. Sharp-shooting freshman Nik Stauskas was held scoreless, and freshman Glenn Robinson III finished with only one rebound.

The two newcomers that made the biggest contributions in that game were probably guard Spike Albrecht and forward Mitch McGary - perhaps because they began the game on the bench and had a chance to survey what was happening before taking the court in front of the raucous Ohio State crowd.

``It's kind of easy, because you get to sit there and watch the game, see what we're doing right and wrong and kind of just go from there,'' said Albrecht, who scored seven points in 11 minutes. ``Coaches told me to get in there and run the offense, and that's just what I tried to do.''

Michigan will need to keep its composure in another tough environment Thursday. The Wolverines beat Minnesota twice last season, but one game was in Ann Arbor and the other was at the Big Ten tournament, when Burke scored 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting to lead Michigan to an overtime win.

``We could have lost both games very easily last year. They were both last-second games,'' Beilein said. ``It's another great opportunity for us to grow. ... It is all about the process, and the journey and the process are what leads you to the end.''

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Dwight Howard reportedly takes another positive step in post-surgery recovery

Dwight Howard reportedly takes another positive step in post-surgery recovery

Dwight Howard is back. Back in town, at least.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Wizards’ center, sidelined since undergoing back surgery on Nov. 30, is expected to start on-court work in Washington.

The original timeline indicated a 2-3 month recovery timeline for Howard, who played in nine games for the Wizards but none since Nov. 18 against Portland. Howard, 33, has primarily rehabbed post-surgery in his native Atlanta.

Washington returns to practice Wednesday following the NBA All-Star break. The Wizards, 24-34, face the Hornets Friday in Charlotte before hosting the Indiana Pacers Saturday.

Needing to jump three teams for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards could certainly use more help. Whether that help comes from Howard remains to be seen. The report did not indicate if Howard would rejoin the team's full practices or when he would return to the lineup.

Howard missed training camp, preseason and the opening seven games while dealing with back and gluteal pain. The future Hall of Famer only played seven minutes against the Trail Blazers before exiting.

Less than two weeks later Dr. Robert Watkins performed a L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy after consultation with the Wizards’ medical staff determined disc herniation was causing severe nerve irritation and gluteal pain.

Washington signed the free agent center to a two-year, $11 million contract in July after trading longtime starter Marcin Gortat in June. The Wizards hoped Howard’s interior presence on both ends of the court would provide the team with needed low-post scoring, rebounding and rim protection.

Though he averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds, Howard labored athletically. Washington struggled throughout the season on the boards.

His absence created an opportunity for second-year center Thomas Bryant, who has developed into an efficient scorer and energy provider.

The second season on Howard’s contract is a player option, an option he seemed likely to execute without returning to the court this season. For now, the question is how much can he help the Wizards with 24 games remaining.

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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

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2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

As the calendar turns toward spring, one thing consumes the NFL: mock drafts. Leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25, many will try to predict which players each of the 32 teams will select. Though no one will know for sure until the names are called, it's still interesting to see what potential directions teams might go in.

Let's take a look at what some people believe the Redskins will do with their first round pick.

ESPN's Mel Kiper's NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Drew Lock (QB, Missouri) Kiper currently has Washington taking a quarterback in the first-round, but maybe not the one people were expecting. While Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are viewed as first-round locks by many, the Missouri product's placement in the draft is not as certain. In this scenario, Kiper has Murray and Haskins off the board before Washington gets on the clock, making Lock the best available passer remaining. In his senior seaosn, Lock finished with 3,498 passing yards and 28 touchdowns.

CBS Sports' R.J. White: Devin White (ILB, LSU) Not a quarterback here. White has the Redskins using a pick on the junior linebacker. With questions surrounding what will happen with Zach Brown as well as pass-rushing linebacker Preston Smith, White could fill a need for the Redskins. 

CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) The Redskins take a passer in both of these mocks as well, just a different one. Jones, the junior from Duke, slides in at No. 15 behind both Murray and Haskins. However, Wilson also has Lock going before the Redskins pick, while Trapasso has him falling to No. 28. 

Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) More Jones here for the Redskins. The passer, who threw for 22 touchdowns in 2018, is the fourth quarterback off the board in this mock draft as Haskins, Murray and Lock all go in the top 10. 

USA Today's Luke Easterling: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Starting to see a theme here? Not only does this mock draft have the Redskins selecting Jones, but it has them moving up to No. 12 to make the selection. Easterling describes Jones as, "a raw but promising passer." 

NFL Analyst Charley Casserly: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Describing him as a passer with "excellent field vision, anticipation and accuracy," Casserly likes Jones in Washington.

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig: Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi St.) As mentioned earlier, Preston Smith's time with the burgundy and gold could be coming to an end. Sweat, who recorded 11.5 sacks last season, impressed at the Senior Bowl and could make an impact from Day 1. While many see the Redskins taking a quarterback, Standig sees inside linebacker as a priority

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