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NFL-SAINTS/PAYTON

Payton staying put

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have made sure Sean Payton is their head coach next year.

A team spokesman has confirmed Payton has agreed in principle to a multiyear contract extension, pending NFL approval.

Payton is the only coach in Saints history to win a Super Bowl, raising the Lombardi Trophy in February 2010. He was due to begin his seventh season as the Saints' head coach in 2012 before being suspended for the whole season by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation.

Payton is 62-34 in regular-season games as Saints coach and 5-3 in the postseason.

NBA-SCHEDULE

Will the Bobcats finally end their skid?

UNDATED (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats will take yet another crack at ending their long, long losing streak when they host the New Orleans Hornets in one of 11 games on today's NBA schedule.

The skid reached 17 games last night as the Bobcats fell behind by 29 points in a 97-81 loss at Brooklyn. Charlotte was a surprising 7-5 before the streak began with a 114-69 loss to Oklahoma City on Nov. 26. They have a terrific opportunity to end it tonight as they take on a Hornets team that has an even worse record than Charlotte at 6-23.

Also on tap, the Thunder own the league's second-best mark at 22-6 heading into tonight's game against visiting Houston. The Rockets had won five straight before last night's 122-116 loss to San Antonio.

Denver is in Memphis to face the Grizzlies, who are fourth in the West at 18-8 following back-to-back losses. The Nuggets have won two in a row and are three games over .500 despite playing 21 of their first 31 games on the road.

Miami is in Milwaukee one night after the Heat's six-game winning streak ended with a 109-99 loss to lowly Detroit. The Bucks share fifth in the East at a surprising 15-12.

The Celtics will try to move back over .500 when the visit Golden State. The Warriors are 9-4 at home and 20-10 overall following last night's win over Philadelphia

Atlanta hosts Indiana in a matchup of pretty hot teams. The Pacers picked up their fourth straight win with last night's 97-91 decision over Phoenix. The Hawks knocked off Cleveland 102-94 last night for their third consecutive win.

The Magic hope to end a four-game skid when they host Toronto. The Raptors have won six of their last seven.

Phoenix takes a four-game losing streak into its game at Minnesota. The Timberwolves are 13-13.

Cleveland visits the New Jersey Nets, who won their first game under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo (kahr-LEH'-sih-moh) last night to move back above .500.

Portland tries to build on its 10-4 home record as the Trail Blazers entertain Philadelphia.

And Chicago hosts the Washington Wizards, who own the NBA's worst record at 4-23 despite last night's win against Orlando.

TOP 25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE

Blue Devils, Wolverines in action...Louisville-Kentucky

UNDATED (AP) — The college basketball season heads into the final weekend before the conference schedule gets in full swing.

Top-ranked Duke is home against Santa Clara, and No. 2 Michigan is home against Central Michigan. The Blue Devils are 11-0, and the Wolverines are 12-0 for the first time since 1985-86.

Fourth-ranked Louisville plays its annual game against arch-rival Kentucky, No. 6 Kansas is home against American and No. 9 Syracuse hosts Alcorn State.

Tenth-ranked Ohio State plays host to Chicago State, No. 12 Illinois entertains Auburn, 14th-ranked Florida is on its home floor versus Air Force and No. 16 Creighton faces visiting Evansville.

The rest of the top-25 slate has 18th-ranked Butler at Vanderbilt, No. 20 UNLV visiting North Carolina, 23rd-rated N.C. State home against Western Michigan and No. 25 Kansas State taking on UMKC in Manhattan.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL-BOWL SCHEDULE

Five games on tap

UNDATED (AP) — The college football bowl schedule continues today with five games on the docket.

The first is under way as Rice is taking on Air Force in a matchup of 6-6 teams at the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth.

The best matchup of the day has 8-4 Texas taking on 9-3 Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl at San Antonio. The Longhorns will be without backup quarterback Case McCoy and injured linebacker Jordan Hicks, who were sent home yesterday for violating team rules.

Syracuse and West Virginia carry 7-5 records into the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Navy seeks its ninth win of the year in a Fight Hunger Bowl matchup against Arizona State.

And today's bowl slate concludes with TCU against Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Winds Bowl in Tempe.

SKIING-ITALY DOWNHILL

Rare dead heat in Italy

BORMIO, Italy (AP) — Hannes Reichelt (HAH'-nehs RY'-kehlt) of Austria and Dominik Paris of Italy shared the victory in a tightly contested downhill Saturday in which the top four finishers were separated by two-hundredths of a second.

Paris took the early lead by clocking 1 minute, 58.62 seconds for his first career win. Reichelt matched him to give Austria its first speed win of the season.

Overall World Cup leader Aksel Lund Svindal (AHK'-sehl loond SVHIN'-dahl) of Norway finished third, 0.01 seconds behind.

HOCKEY-JUNIOR WORLDS

U.S., Canada square off tomorrow.

UNDATED (AP) — The United States and Canada have the day off at the junior ice hockey world championships before squaring off tomorrow in Russia.

The Americans are 1-1 in the tournament, crushing Germany 8-0 on Thursday before losing to Russia 2-1 the following day on a tiebreaking goal early in the third period. Canada opened with a 9-3 rout of the Germans and overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to beat Slovakia 6-3 yesterday.

Russia improved to 3-0 with today's 7-0 win over Germany, which has been outscored 24-3 in its three games. Today's other game had Sweden defeating Latvia 5-1.

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