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No. 9 LSU meets No. 14 Clemson in Chick-fil-A Bowl

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No. 9 LSU meets No. 14 Clemson in Chick-fil-A Bowl

ATLANTA (AP) The Chick-fil-A Bowl will be Tigers vs. Tigers.

Bowl officials announced Sunday night that No. 9 LSU will face No. 14 Clemson in the Dec. 31 game at the Georgia Dome. Both teams are known as the Tigers, and both play in the stadiums that are known as ``Death Valley.''

Despite the similarities, the Southern powers have met only twice before.

Their third meeting will feature one of the nation's best offenses (Clemson) against one of the leading defenses (LSU).

``That is awesome,'' said Clemson center Dalton Freeman, who will make his 49th and final career start in the Atlanta bowl. ``If you want to be a consistently outstanding program, you have to play national championship contenders like LSU. They have won the national championship in recent years and always seem to be in the mix for the championship. They have outstanding players and it will be a great challenge, but a great opportunity for us.''

LSU (10-2) was selected after a day of frenzied speculation on how the Southeastern Conference bowl hierarchy would shake out. Clemson (10-2) was a lock to be the Atlantic Coast Conference representative after Florida State won the league championship the previous night, beating Georgia Tech 21-15.

LSU has won its five previous appearances in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, most recently a 38-3 rout over Georgia Tech in 2008.

``We enjoy playing in Atlanta,'' coach Les Miles said. ``It's a great city that has been very good to LSU. I'm sure that we'll travel extremely well.''

Clemson is set to play in the Atlanta game for the eighth time, having gone 2-5 in its previous appearances. That includes a 10-7 loss to LSU in 1996 when it was known as the Peach Bowl.

The only other meeting between the schools came in the 1959 Sugar Bowl, when LSU finished off a national championship season with a 7-0 win.

LSU won the SEC championship in Atlanta last season, earning a spot in the BCS title game against division rival Alabama. The Tigers were denied their second national championship in five seasons when they were blanked by the Crimson Tide, 21-0.

This season, LSU's conference hopes were doomed by a last-minute loss to Alabama in Baton Rouge. The Tigers won their remaining games and have a shot at the seventh 11-victory season in school history, led by a defense that ranks 11th nationally in points allowed (16.2 per game), eighth in total defense (296.2) and ninth in both pass efficiency defense and rushing yards allowed.

Clemson began its season at the Georgia Dome, defeating Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Coach Dabo Swinney's team tied Florida State in the Atlantic Division but was denied a spot in the ACC title game because it lost to the Seminoles.

On its return to Atlanta, Clemson will be looking to rebound from a wrenching loss to state rival South Carolina in the regular-season finale. The high-powered offense is directed by quarterback Tajh Boyd, who threw for 3,550 yards and 34 touchdowns. He's a big reason the Tigers rank sixth national in scoring (42.3) and ninth in total yards (518.3().

``Our coaches, our players and our fans always look forward to playing against the best programs in the nation, and LSU certainly fits that description,'' said Swinney, whose school has won 11 games in a season only three other times. ``We are going to have the opportunity to compete against a top 10 team that played for it all last year.''

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Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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Nuggets select Michael Porter Jr. just one pick ahead of Wizards

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USA Today Sports

Nuggets select Michael Porter Jr. just one pick ahead of Wizards

So close yet so far.

The Washington Wizards fell just one pick short of selecting once-coveted top prospect Michael Porter Jr., who almost fell outside of the lottery in Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

But the Denver Nuggets selected the forward with the No. 14 pick.

A back injury led to widespread concern throughout NBA front offices and, as a result, Porter Jr. had the draft’s biggest slide.

In his first game for Missouri, Porter Jr. left two minutes in with injury. He underwent back surgery and would return for the last two games of the season: an SEC tournament loss to Georgia and a first-round exit to Florida State in the NCAA Tournament.

During the loss to FSU, Porter Jr. shot 4-of-12 with 16 points and 10 rebounds over 28 minutes. The 6-10 forward added three steals in the 67-54 loss.

Porter Jr. finished his freshman season averaging 10 points and 6.7 rebounds over just 17.7 minutes per game. He shot just 35 percent from the field.

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Wizards take Oregon's Troy Brown with No. 15 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

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Wizards take Oregon's Troy Brown with No. 15 pick in 2018 NBA Draft

The Wizards may have filled several needs in one pick by selecting Oregon's Troy Brown 15th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.

Brown, just 18 years old, plays both shooting guard and small forward. The Wizards need depth at both positions and Brown could give them insurance for Kelly Oubre, Jr., who is set to be a free agent after next season.

He also helps shore up shooting guard behind Bradley Beal. That will be extra important early in the 2018-19 season as Jodie Meeks is due to miss 19 games while serving a suspension.

Here's what you need to know about Brown...

Height: 6-7
Weight: 208
Wingspan: 6-10
Max vertical: 33
2017/18 stats: 11.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.6 spg, 0.2 bpg, 44.4 FG%, 29.1 3PT%, 74.3 FT%

*Brown was a one-and-done player at Oregon who in his one NCAA season showed that he can do a lot of thing on the court. He played some at shooting guard, some at small forward and says he's comfortable at point guard as well, having played there plenty in the past. Brown could be a perfect for positionless basketball.

*He is an excellent rebounder for his position. Brown pulled in 6.2 boards per game and five times had 10 or more. One of those games, on Dec. 13 against Portland State, showed well how many ways Brown can affect a game. He had 10 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, a block and a steal. Brown is also an adept passer. He prides himself on being able to set others up and has a knack for threading the needle in passing lanes.

*The biggest question for Brown is his shooting. He shot just 29.1 percent from the perimeter and 44.4 percent from the field. After his predraft workout with the Wizards, Brown blamed his percentage on shot selection. He is confident he can be a better shooter as his career goes on.

*Brown had a solid combine, measuring in over 6-foot-7 in shoes and with a 6-foot-10 wingspan. But his 33-inch max vertical leap was not great. Perhaps that will improve with time and through strength training.

*Brown's parents and sister were all college athletes and both of his parents were Nevada state correction officers. That latter fact may be the reason why Brown is mature beyond his years. Though he's 18 years old, he carries himself and handles the media as if he's a longtime NBA veteran.

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