OSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) - The United States could wind up in a group with powers Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands after FIFA tinkered with its format for Friday's World Cup draw.
The Americans also could be in a Brazil-Portugal-Netherlands group for next year's tournament in Brazil.
Or they could end up with what would appear to be a relatively easy pairing with Switzerland, Greece and Algeria.
FIFA could have placed France, the lowest-ranked unseeded European team, into a pot with Africa and the unseeded South American teams. Instead, the nine unseeded European teams will go into a bowl and one will be selected for that pot at the start of the draw.
FIFA President Sepp Blatter said the decision followed talks with confederation presidents, including Michel Platini, the French president of Europe's governing body. Blatter sidestepped a question asking him to explain a procedure that seemingly ignored FIFA's own precedent and favored France.
"Let us (hold the) draw and not let us speak of teams," Blatter said.
Each group will include a team from each of the four pots.
Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Uruguay are the seeded teams and will be in Pot 1.
Chile and Ecuador will be in Pot 2, along with the selected European team and Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria.
Making its seventh straight World Cup appearance, the U.S. will be in Pot 3 along with regional rivals Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico, and Asian nations Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea.
France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal will start in Pot 4 along with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, England and Russia.
No more than one team from a region may be in the same group, except for Europe, which may have two teams in a group.
FIFA's World Cup organizing committee also declined to switch 1 p.m. kickoffs in Fortaleza, Natal, Recife and Salvador despite concerns by the international players' union FIFPro over heat and humidity in tropical areas.
FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke confirmed FIFA's budgeted commitment to increase World Cup prize money by around one-third, but the exact breakdown will be decided later this week. FIFA shared $348 million among the 32 participating federations in 2010, including a minimum $8 million. Champion Spain received $30 million.
Next year's prize fund will be $454 million.
OSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) - The United States could wind up in a group with powers Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands after FIFA tinkered with its format for Friday's World Cup draw.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Zygi Wilf beamed in the middle of the sharp-dressed group, a gold-painted shovel in his hands, a purple Vikings hard hat on his head and star running back Adrian Peterson by his side.
Finally, the work on Minnesota's polarizing and long-sought new stadium was under way.
After more than a decade of planning, dealing and pleading, the $1 billion project began Tuesday with a formal groundbreaking in downtown Minneapolis. About 600 people, including local politicians, business leaders and chanting fans, were in attendance as Wilf, Peterson, Gov. Mark Dayton and many others took turns flipping dirt and smiling for photos as fireworks exploded overhead.
The grinning and digging took place in the parking lot next to the Metrodome, where the Vikings have played since 1982. Their last game there is Dec. 29, and a three-month demolition of the Teflon-topped stadium will start in mid-January. After two years outdoors at the University of Minnesota, the Vikings are scheduled to inaugurate the ship-shaped, glass-encased venue in time for the 2016 season.
During a set of speeches in a nearby tent, Dayton joked that he felt just like Vikings coach Leslie Frazier after the team's 23-20 overtime victory Sunday over Chicago.
"I can't believe it's over, and I can't believe we won," Dayton said.
State lawmakers enacted a bill last year to fund the stadium with the threat, real or perceived, of the 52-year-old franchise moving to Los Angeles hovering over the often-tense process.
Many of the same hard-core, costumed fans who camped out at the state Capitol to help lobby for a deal were at the event Tuesday, their presence recognized by Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.
"Sometimes democracy includes painting faces and wearing horns," Rybak said.
The public is on the hook for roughly half the cost: $498 million. The NFL and Vikings are handling the rest, with much of the team's share coming from corporate naming rights and fees on season ticketholders, known as personal seat licenses.
Many lawmakers and citizens have railed against the project since it was first raised as a possibility around the turn of the century when Red McCombs owned the team. Dayton was a driving force behind the legislation, but even he publicly criticized the Vikings for the proposed PSLs.
The Vikings recently pledged to increase their contribution to more than $500 million to make sure the project has all the top-end amenities they want, like high-definition televisions in extra-wide concourses.
"Whatever that took to get that done, we had to step up because our fans are what this is all about," Mark Wilf said in an interview after the event. He added: "When it's actually here and you see the shovels out there beginning to dig, it's exciting."
It's also a nice respite from a challenging season.
The Vikings have gone from a 10-6 playoff team in 2012 to a 3-8-1 mess this year. And the Wilfs, who built their fortune in a family real estate business, were ordered in September by a New Jersey court to pay $84.5 million to two former business partners the judge ruled they defrauded in a deal forged in the 1980s.
So this event was a true highlight.
"This is a positive, exciting and great project, and that's been our focus," Mark Wilf said. "I think as the project goes up, as people start seeing the frame go up, and the building become a reality over these next 2 1/2 years, and the jobs being created and the excitement being generated, I think it's going to be something that all Minnesotans can appreciate."
Mark Wilf declined to answer a question about the performance of Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman.
"We're of course disappointed in our season. We didn't expect to be where we are," he said. "One of our goals was to get the stadium project built and have a great facility but our ultimate goal is to win championships and Super Bowls."
Away from the festivities, a collection of conservative groups and lawmakers held a counter-event to try to keep focus on the stadium's heavy taxpayer subsidy. They described the financing as shaky, noting that a prior plan to pay for the $350 million state share through electronic gambling has fallen woefully short of projections. Lawmakers plugged the gap in a stadium account this year with a one-time diversion of tobacco taxes and for the future with a corporate tax.
"It's a bad day for Minnesotans," said Republican state Sen. Roger Chamberlain. "We're talking about taxpayers paying for Zygi to walk away with hundreds of millions in his pocket if he sold the team, not to mention the increased annual profits. This is not about having football or no football, stadium or no stadium. We could have done this a better way."
The stadium plan also relies on $150 million in city taxes from Minneapolis.
Associated Press Writer Brian Bakst in St. Paul, Minn., contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org
Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) While Brett Favre isn't sure what he'll be doing next year, he does know what he'll be doing on Friday: Trying to win a Mississippi high school state championship.
The three-time NFL Most Valuable Player is the offensive coordinator for Oak Grove High School near his home in Hattiesburg. Oak Grove will try to capture its first state championship when it faces Tupelo in Jackson, Miss.
"Who knows if I'll do it next year," said Favre, who is in his second year coaching at the high school. "I really don't know. It's been a lot of fun. I enjoy it, it's easy and it's not too time-consuming."
The 44-year-old Favre grew up about an hour away in Kiln, Miss., and played his college football just eight miles down the road at Southern Mississippi. He lives in Hattiesburg with his family and has immersed himself in the local sports scene - coaching high school football and watching his youngest daughter play volleyball.
Favre insists he's content, but that hasn't stopped questions about his future.
He dismissed the possibility of returning to the NFL earlier this fall after reports surfaced that he'd been contacted by the St. Louis Rams. It's been nearly three years since he last played with the Minnesota Vikings.
He's made a few cameos in the broadcast booth, but nothing long term. Favre's longtime agent, Bus Cook, said the quarterback enjoys what he's doing now and is keeping his options open for the future.
Oak Grove head coach Nevil Barr has been friends with Favre for nearly a decade. The quarterback used Oak Grove's facilities as a place to stay in shape during the offseason when he was still playing in the NFL. Barr always wanted to get Favre involved in his high school program.
"I just like the way he is around the kids," Barr said. "He's got so much enthusiasm and the players feed off that."
Oak Grove quarterback Kirk McCarty and his teammates say they feel fortunate to be working with Favre.
"As strange as this may sound, he's just become one of the coaches," McCarty said. "He doesn't want special treatment and he doesn't get any. He's held to the same standard as everyone else."
Favre joked that the only drawback of winning is the schedule has extended into December, which is the middle of Mississippi's deer hunting season.
"It's cutting into my time in the woods," Favre said with a grin. "But I'm not going to complain too much about that."
Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Tony Stewart smoked the field in a fan vote and will grace the cover of the "NASCAR `14" video game.
Stewart's fan base seemed to rally around the injured driver, who missed the final months of the season after breaking his right leg in an Aug. 5 sprint car crash.
Stewart, the three-time Sprint Cup champion, took 69 percent of the vote in the final round to defeat Jeff Gordon. During the five-week contest conducted on Facebook, Stewart dominated each round of the competition. He won nearly one-fifth of the more than 700,000 votes.
He has appeared on the cover twice before, but this is the first time he was selected by fans.
"NASCAR `14" is scheduled for release in early 2014 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
FIFA revealed on Tuesday the eight pots that will be used for Friday's draw to determine next year's World Cup finals groups. The 32 teams will be divided into eight groups of four teams on Friday.
Pots are used to keep certain geographic teams from facing each other in the group stage. Pot 1 consists of the eight seeds, the top eight teams in the world.
A pre-draw will be held to move one of the nine European teams in Pot 4 over to Pot 2, in order to balance out eight pots of four. One group in Brazil will end up having two teams from UEFA.
The United States and CONCACAF foes Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico were drawn into Pot 3 along with Asian teams Australia, Iran, Japan and South Korea.
Pot 1: Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Germany, Switzerland, Uruguay
Pot 2: Ivory Coast, Ghana, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador
Pot 3: Japan, Iran, South Korea, Australia, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras
Pot 4: Bosnia, Croatia, England, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, France
SEATTLE (AP) The Seattle Seahawks fans have set a new noise record for loudest outdoor sports stadium, taking back a mark they achieved earlier this season.
An official from Guinness World Records recorded the crowd noise at 137.6 decibels during the Seahawks victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. The record came during the second quarter of Seattle's 34-7 victory and was announced on the Seahawks Twitter page.
Seahawks fans had set a record of 136.6 in a win over San Francisco in September. The mark was topped by Kansas City fans in October with 137.5 decibels.
To put that in perspective, a jet engine at 100 feet is about 140 decibels.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) In one productive day, Athletics general manager Billy Beane filled two important pitching voids.
The A's acquired AL saves leader Jim Johnson from the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night as a replacement for All-Star closer Grant Balfour. That move came hours after free-agent left-hander Scott Kazmir agreed to terms on a $22 million, two-year contract.
Kazmir's deal is pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team hadn't made a formal announcement.
As has long been Beane's December practice, he improved his team by trading away young talent developed through the farm system.
The A's got Johnson for infielder Jemile Weeks and a player to be named in the swap announced late Monday by both teams.
The switch-hitting Weeks was a first-round draft pick by Oakland in 2008 and has played parts of the past three seasons in the big leagues. He batted .271 with 19 doubles, 10 triples, four home runs and 40 RBIs in 130 games for Triple-A Sacramento last season. He shared the club lead with 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts.
Balfour became a free agent after the season and is expected to command a multiyear deal. While Beane expressed confidence he could fill the ninth-inning duties from within, he opted for a trade, as has become a necessary function for the low-budget club.
The 30-year-old Johnson converted 50 of 59 save opportunities in 2013, going 3-8 with a 2.94 ERA. He was tied with Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel for the major leagues saves lead.
Johnson, who led the majors with 51 saves in 2012, earned $6.5 million in base salary this year. He also made a $25,000 bonus for finishing at least 55 games, leading the majors with 63.
Beane has been determined to keep as much of his winning roster intact heading toward 2014 to make another playoff push. The A's have lost each of the past Octobers in five-game division series against the Detroit Tigers.
The 29-year-old Kazmir went 10-9 with a 4.04 ERA in 29 starts and 158 innings last season for the Cleveland Indians. It marked his return to the big leagues for the first time since making one poor outing for the Angels in 2011, which followed a 9-15 performance in 2010 for Los Angeles.
With the pending acquisition of Kazmir, the A's have filled a rotation spot with a veteran starter as they had hoped to do. That means they won't necessarily continue to pursue a new deal for 40-year-old 18-game winner Bartolo Colon.
Colon returned from a suspension-shortened 2012 season to earn every bit of the $3 million the A's gave him in a one-year contract. He served a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test, and the penalty took him into the start of the 2013 season.
The A's reached agreement on a $600,000, one-year contract with right-hander Fernando Rodriguez. He was one of nine arbitration eligible players - and all were tendered contracts for the 2014 season, including first baseman Daric Barton. Barton is the team's longest-tenured player and will provide infield depth.
DETROIT (AP) The busy Detroit Tigers traded right-hander Doug Fister to the Washington Nationals for three players Monday night in a deal between teams with deep rotations.
Detroit acquired infielder Steve Lombardozzi, minor league lefty Robbie Ray and reliever Ian Krol for Fister, a 14-game winner for the AL Central champions.
Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said the trade was not done to save money in hopes of keeping Max Scherzer beyond next season.
"It gives us some flexibility for some other things we want to do," he said on a conference call.
Dombrowski said dealing Fister did not have anything to do with his hope to give Scherzer, the AL Cy Young Award winner, a new contract before he becomes a free agent following the 2014 season.
"I don't think that plays into it at all at this point," Dombrowski insisted.
Detroit has had an active offseason so far, and Dombrowski said he isn't done making moves, saying his top priority is to add a closer.
The Tigers traded slugging first baseman Prince Fielder and his $214 million contract two weeks ago to the Texas Rangers in part to potentially save more than $75 million, giving them even more financial flexibility. They got second baseman Ian Kinsler for Fielder in the swap of All-Stars.
They also allowed All-Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta to leave as a free agent for St. Louis after replacing him during last season with rookie Jose Iglesias just before Peralta was suspended for 50 games in the Biogenesis drug scandal.
"We're not cutting payroll whatsoever," Dombrowski said.
The Tigers did agree to a $1 million, one-year contract with utility player Don Kelly that avoids arbitration earlier Monday.
Kelly played six positions for the Tigers last season at all three spots in the outfield along with third, second and first base while hitting .222 with six homers and 23 RBIs.
Fister will likely replace Dan Haren in the Nationals' rotation and join Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.
The 29-year-old Fister was 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA last season and was 32-20 in two-plus seasons in Detroit, which acquired him in a trade from the Seattle Mariners. He struck out an AL-record nine batters in a row against the Kansas City Royals late in the 2012 season.
The 6-foot-8 Fister fared well in the postseason, even when he was hit in the head by a line drive. He shook off the scary moment in Game 2 of the 2012 World Series against San Francisco and took a shutout bid into the seventh inning in what ended up being a 2-0 loss to the Giants. Over three postseasons with the Tigers, he had a 2.98 ERA in seven starts and a relief appearance.
"He's been a very solid pitcher for us since the day we got him," Dombrowski said. "He has pitched well in big games."
Dombrowski said he's not surprised at least some Tigers fans weren't happy when they trade was announced because the team traded the "known for the unknown."
"People in general don't like those type of moves," he said.
The Tigers still have Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Anibal Sanchez atop their rotation.
"This is an exciting day for the Washington Nationals," general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement. "We feel we've added a talented, young veteran to our starting pitching corps. Doug is battle-tested through playoff experiences, and the depth he brings to our staff is exceptional. We are thrilled to welcome him aboard."
The 22-year-old Ray was 6-3 with a 3.11 ERA for Class A Potomac and was 5-2 with a 3.72 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg, giving the Tigers a pitcher they think will start the season at Triple-A Toledo with the ability to possibly pitch in the majors if needed in 2014.
Krol made his major league debut in June for the Nationals after they acquired him from Oakland. The 22-year-old lefty was 2-1 with a 3.95 ERA in 32 games in Washington.
The 25-year-old Lombardozzi hit .259 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 118 games for the Nationals last season. The switch-hitting sparkplug played 48 games at second base, 23 in left field and four games at third base in 2013. He will replace Ramon Santiago on Detroit's roster next season.
"This was not an easy trade for (the Nationals) to make, either," Dombrowski said.
Washington went into the offseason hoping to add another starter it could count after having some uneven results from Haren last season and Edwin Jackson in 2012. Both of those right-handers were seen as short-term solutions and they ended up leaving as free agents after pitching for the Nationals for one season.
Haren essentially replaced Jackson. Fister now essentially replaces Haren, who recently signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers after going 10-14 with a 4.67 ERA for Washington.
Also, the Nationals and Ross Ohlendorf agreed to a $1.25 million, one-year contract. The right-hander went 4-1 with a 3.28 ERA in 16 games, seven starts, last season. The 30-year-old Princeton star can earn up to $3 million in bonuses tied to starts, innings pitched and relief appearances.
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers defeated Indiana 106-102 Monday night, snapping the Pacers' seven-game winning streak.
Paul George had a career-high 43 points for Pacers (16-2), who own the NBA's best record.
The Blazers pulled in front until early in the fourth quarter but the Pacers kept it close, and George hit consecutive 3-pointers that narrowed it to 98-96 with 1:37 left. Damian Lillard answered with a 3-pointer and Nicolas Batum made a pair of free throws for the Blazers before George hit another 3-pointer that got Indiana within 103-99 with 21 seconds to go.
Lillard hit free throws and George made yet another 3 with 10 seconds to go to make it 105-102, but the Pacers couldn't get closer.
Lillard finished with 26 points for the Blazers, who have won 13 of their last 14 games.
The Blazers (15-3) beat the short-handed Los Angeles Lakers 114-108 Sunday night. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Lakers at the Staples Center.
The Pacers (16-2) were coming off a 105-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday to open a five-game road trip.
Earlier Monday, the NBA named Indiana coach Frank Vogel the Eastern Conference coach of the month for November. Portland's Terry Stotts was named coach of the month for the Western Conference.
The Pacers went 15-1 in November and opened the season with a nine-game winning streak for the best start in franchise history.
The Blazers went 13-3 under Stotts to start the season, including an 11-game winning streak.
George had a 14-foot jumper that gave the Pacers an early 20-11 lead, but the Blazers hung close through the first half. Mo Williams, who helped Portland keep up with seven points, had three fouls and was sent to the bench.
The Blazers finished out the first half with a 9-3 run to get within 46-45 at the break.
Aldridge's dunk pulled Portland within 59-54 midway through the third quarter, but George answered with an 18-foot jumper on the other end for Indiana. Orlando Johnson's 3-pointer extended the lead to 64-56 and it looked as if the Pacers were pulling away.
But Aldridge hit a flat 20-foot jumper and made a free throw and Joel Freeland dunked to even it at 70. Lillard hit a 3-pointer and the Blazers took a 75-72 lead, their first of the game.
Portland went up 86-78 on Wesley Matthews' 3-pointer to make it 86-78, their biggest lead to that point.
Pacers starter Lance Stephenson fouled out with just under 5 minutes left.
NOTES: It was Portland guard Lillard's 100th career game. He is third NBA player ever to start his first 100 games. ... Among those at the game was Portland native Galen Rupp, who won the silver in the 10,000 meters at the London Olympics. ... Former Blazers coach Nate McMillan is an assistant to Vogel in Indiana.
DETROIT (AP) Doug Weight recalled his father putting him on skates at the age of 2 because he could barely walk due to a childhood condition that relegated him to wearing braces on his legs.
"He started putting me on the ice to strengthen them at the suggestion from a doctor," he said.
Weight said it wasn't a pretty sight at the rink in St. Clair Shores, Mich.
"I looked like Forrest Gump," he joked.
Four decades later, Weight was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
The Stanley Cup champion, three-time Olympian and four-time NHL All-Star was inducted Monday night at the Motor City Casino - in the city where he grew up.
"It's ironic," the Detroiter said. "Pretty special."
Weight was honored along with former teammate Bill Guerin, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, three-time Olympian and four-time All-Star.
"It's very special, three different NHL teams and nine teams in all," Weight said about the number of times he teamed up with Guerin. "It's a pretty incredible run together.
"It's icing on the cake to go in with Billy."
Weight and Guerin's wives and children have become friends over the years, going on vacations together and sharing holidays as families.
"It couldn't have worked out any better," Guerin said.
Carolina Hurricanes owner Peter Karmanos, former college coach Ron Mason and Cindy Curley, one of the pioneers in women's hockey, also were inducted.
USA Today Hockey Writer Kevin Allen was also given the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the U.S. at the event.
Weight and Guerin began their friendship before they were in the NHL and grew closer while playing together for the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders. They also teamed up to play for their country on more than once occasion, including the 2002 Winter Olympics when they helped the Americans take the silver medal.
Weight, who won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes, had 278 career goals and 1,033 points from the 1991-92 season through the 2010-11 season. He is an assistant coach for the New York Islanders.
Guerin hoisted Cups in 1995 with the New Jersey Devils and in 2009 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The native of Massachusetts had 429 goals and 856 points in his career that started during the same season as Weight and ended one year earlier. Guerin is a player development coach for the Penguins.
Karmanos fell in love hockey when his children began playing the sport, but laments that a lot of kids can't afford to play the game. He said ice cost about $40 an hour when his children were growing up and now costs $300 for the same period of time. Sticks and skates, he said, also are much more expensive.
"One of the things that holds us back as a sport is it costs too much," Karmanos said. "We're pricing a lot of people out of the game."
Mason led Michigan State and Lake Superior State to national titles and also coached at Bowling Green. He also was an athletic director for the Spartans.
"This isn't something you dream about," he said. "If you've put a lot of years in, like I did, as a player and a coach and of course AD, it's nice to be rewarded at the end of it."
Curley had a record 23 points in the International Ice Hockey Federation's first world championship for women in 1990.
"The women's game is way behind the men's game and it hasn't been around as long," she said. "We are all, as women, patient for the opportunities that the guys have had. The fact that the Hall is considering women is exciting to me. I know there's so many great players that deserve to be in here that will be. I'm just honored that they considered me."
SEATTLE (AP) Russell Wilson threw for 310 yards and three touchdowns, and the Seattle Seahawks became the first team to clinch a spot in the NFC playoffs with a 34-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night.
More important than just wrapping up a spot in the postseason, the Seahawks (11-1) moved two games ahead on the rest of the NFC in the race for home-field advantage and now hold tiebreakers over New Orleans (9-3) and Carolina (9-3), the two closest pursuers.
Wilson was outstanding, picking apart the Saints' defense. He threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Zach Miller and 4 yards to Doug Baldwin in the first half as Seattle built a 27-7 lead. He then added a pinball 8-yard TD pass to Derrick Coleman in the third quarter.
The seven points matched the fewest scored by the Saints since Sean Payton became coach in 2006.
STORRS, Conn. (AP) Shabazz Napier hit a jumper from the free throw line as time expired to keep No. 12 Connecticut undefeated with a 65-64 victory over No. 15 Florida on Monday night.
Napier, limping on a left ankle he hurt during a four-point play with 33 seconds left, escaped a trap around 30 feet from the basket and got off a wild shot that missed but was tipped blindly back by DeAndre Daniels. Napier grabbed the ball and let go a left-handed jumper that went through as the horn sounded and set off a deafening cheer from the sellout crowd of 10,167 at Gampel Pavilion.
Napier finished with 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting including making 5 of 8 from 3-point range.
The Huskies (8-0) and Florida (6-2), which had a five-game winning streak snapped, battled down the stretch exchanging the lead six times in the final 6 minutes.
Daniels had 14 points for Connecticut, which was outrebounded 34-26, but was able to make up a size difference with its strong guard play on the perimeter. This was Connecticut's first game this season against a ranked opponent. Florida's previous loss was in its only game against a ranked team, Wisconsin.
Casey Prather had 19 points and seven rebounds for the Gators, while Patric Young had 17 points and seven rebounds. Scottie Wilbekin, playing in his third game of the season after being suspended for the first four, had 15 points but he injured an ankle with 3:01 to play, was taken to the locker room and never returned.
After Wilbekin left Young took over, scoring the Gators' next seven points, two baskets on his hook shot and another on an offensive rebound.
That made it 62-59 Florida with 1:18 to play.
Connecticut missed two 3-point attempts but got the rebound on both. Napier took a 25-foot jumper that swished and he was fouled by Dorian Finney-Smith. The joy of the crowd was tempered as Napier stayed on the court for about a minute, holding his left ankle.
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie called a timeout so Napier could stay in the game and take the free throw. He made it to give the Huskies a 63-62 lead with 33 seconds left.
Michael Frazier II, with Connecticut paying a lot of attention to Young inside, drove to the basket and scored with 17 seconds left to give the Gators a 64-63 lead.
The ball was in Napier's hands for the final shot and he finally did score after Daniels tipped the ball back to him.
Florida outscored the Huskies 32-14 in the paint as Connecticut struggled to defend Young, who was 6 of 10 from the field.
Florida committed 16 turnovers, two more than the Huskies in a game that was physical on all 94 feet of the court.
The programs' only other meeting was in the 1994 Sweet 16, when the Gators won 69-60 in overtime on the way to the Final Four.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) A woman charged with killing a fellow Alabama fan after the end of last weekend's Iron Bowl football game was angry that the victim and others didn't seem upset over the Crimson Tide's loss to archrival Auburn, said the sister of the slain woman.
Adrian Laroze Briskey, 28, was charged Monday with murder in the killing of 36-year-old Michelle Shepherd.
Hoover police Capt. Jim Coker said both Birmingham women were Alabama fans and at the same party for the annual game between intrastate rivals. With no time left on the clock, Auburn returned a missed Crimson Tide field goal more than 100 yards for a 34-28 victory, dashing any hopes of Alabama playing for a third straight national championship.
The victim's sister, Nekesa Shepherd, said she witnessed the killing and had no doubt it was about football, even though it was unclear to investigators whether the violence was motivated by the game.
"That's one of the things we are investigating," Coker said Monday.
Nekesa Shepherd said Briskey flew into a rage when she saw the sisters and others joking that the Crimson Tide's loss wasn't as bad as if the NBA's Miami Heat had lost a game.
"She said we weren't real Alabama fans because it didn't bother us that they lost. And then she started shooting," Shepherd told The Associated Press.
Shepherd said she and her sister were invited to the party by a mutual friend who also invited Briskey. About two dozen people were on hand.
Shepherd, the mother of three, was shot to death in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover and the women did not know each other before the party, Coker said.
Court records were not available to show whether Briskey has a lawyer. She has only had a couple of speeding tickets in the past, records show.
Coker said alcohol might have been involved, but investigators are awaiting the results of toxicology tests to make a determination.
Shepherd said Briskey drank multiple shots of liquor during the game and "went crazy" when she heard people joking after 'Bama lost.
"It was over a football game," said Shepherd. "I'm never going to forget it because she died in my arms."
NEW YORK (AP) The NFL says Sunday night's officiating crew should have stopped play and eliminated confusion about the down and distance at the end of the Giants' 24-17 victory at Washington.
With New York leading by 7 points just after the two-minute warning, a catch by the Redskins' Pierre Garcon on second-and-5 was spotted short of a first down at the Washington 45. Referee Jeff Triplette signaled third down. But the head linesman, with the Redskins in a hurry-up offense, incorrectly motioned for the crew to advance the chains, which caused the down boxes to read first down.
"In this situation where there is obvious confusion as to the status of the down, that play should have been stopped prior to third down and the correct down communicated to both clubs," league officiating director Dean Blandino said Monday in a statement. "This should have occurred regardless of the fact that Washington had no timeouts and it was inside two minutes."
Only the referee can rule and signal a first down. The official nearest to the down markers and chain crew, the head linesman, is required to wait for that first-down signal from the referee before moving the chains. That did not happen at FedEx Field.
After Washington's incomplete pass on the next play - which many Redskins believed was first down - the chains were moved back and the down boxes correctly reset to fourth down.
Blandino said instant replay review was not used on Garcon's catch "because the replay official determined that the ball ... was correctly spotted short of the line to gain for a first down."
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said the confusion affected the play calling.
"The chain said first down, and then when we came back, we think it's second-and-10, and they're yelling out it's fourth down," Griffin said. "No explanation. No measurement. Didn't stop the clock to allow the chains to move back. And we just had to go ahead and call the play."
Griffin did complete a 6-yard pass to Garcon on fourth-and-1, but safety Will Hill stripped the ball. The Giants then ran out the clock.
"I told him I wanted a measurement, because I knew it was close," coach Mike Shanahan said, not specifying which official he was referring to. "It was inches. And he said, `No, it's a first down.' And he moved the chains. And then after I saw it was fourth down, I asked him, `You already told me it was first down.' He didn't say anything. So that was quite disappointing."
Speaking to a pool reporter Sunday night, Triplette said: "We signaled third down on the field. The stakes were moved incorrectly. After that play, we said it was still third down. We had signaled third down prior to the play starting. The stakes just got moved incorrectly."
Triplette defended not stopping play, saying it "would have given an unfair advantage." But Blandino said Monday that was the wrong decision.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Michigan State stays No. 1 for a third straight week in The Associated Press' college basketball poll, receiving all but two of the first-place votes.
Arizona moved from fourth to second Monday, drawing the other No. 1 votes from the 65-member national media panel.
Kentucky remains third while Syracuse jumps from eighth to fourth. Ohio State moves up two spots to fifth and is followed by Kansas, which had been second. Completing the top 10 are Louisville, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Duke, which drops four spots after losing to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Villanova beat Kansas and Iowa to win the Battle 4 Atlantis and goes from unranked to No. 14. The other newcomers are No. 24 San Diego State and No. 25 Dayton. They replace North Carolina, Creighton and Marquette.
DENVER (AP) A judge has allowed Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (var-LAH'-mawf) to remain free on bond while facing a domestic violence charge involving his girlfriend.
Varlamov appeared in court Monday for a brief hearing, giving yes or no answers to the judge. He said nothing as he left the courtroom with his lawyers.
He has not entered a plea. His agent has said he's innocent.
The 25-year-old is charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking his girlfriend at their apartment on Oct. 30.
According to an arrest affidavit, she said he knocked her down with a kick, stomped on her chest and dragged her by her hair.
Varlamov is one of NHL's hottest goalies and helped the Avalanche to a franchise-best 19-6 start.
He has been traveling and playing with the team.
NEW YORK (AP) Paul Pierce will be out two to four weeks with a broken bone in his right hand, the biggest loss yet for the injury-plagued Brooklyn Nets.
Pierce has been diagnosed with a non-displaced fracture of the third metacarpal of his right, shooting hand, the team said Monday. He was hurt Friday in the first half of a loss at Houston.
Pierce has struggled badly in his first season in Brooklyn, but the disappointing Nets can hardly afford another injury. They just got back All-Star center Brook Lopez but have still been playing without starting point guard Deron Williams and key reserves Andrei Kirilenko and Jason Terry.
Pierce is on pace for the worst season of his 16-year career. His average of 12.4 points and .368 shooting percentage would easily be the lowest ever for the No. 2 career scorer in Boston Celtics history.
The Celtics dealt Pierce and Kevin Garnett to the Nets in a summer blockbuster that hasn't worked out nearly the way the Nets hoped.
They are 5-12, barely ahead of the New York Knicks for last place in the Atlantic Division. Joe Johnson is the only starter on a roster worth more than $180 million in salaries and luxury taxes who has appeared in every game.
Pierce will miss the first matchup against the Knicks on Thursday. Next week, he was scheduled to face the Celtics for the first time Tuesday and former coach Doc Rivers, now with the Clippers, two nights later.
The 36-year-old Pierce has made just 27 percent of his 3-point attempts, including a potential tying miss in the closing seconds of a loss to the Lakers last Wednesday.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) A man died and three people were taken into custody after an altercation that happened Sunday in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium as the Kansas City Chiefs played the Denver Broncos.
Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp told The Associated Press that the incident was being treated as a homicide but that no arrests had been made. Snapp said the man who died was found inside someone else's vehicle and a struggle ensued.
The man, who was in his 20s, was found lying unconscious on the pavement, Snapp said. Paramedics began administering first aid before he was transported to a hospital, where he died. His name was not immediately released.
"Talking to several witnesses that were out here in the parking lots, there was an individual who came back to his vehicle, saw someone inside the vehicle that did not belong. A struggle ensued between the two. That's when the individual (who had been inside the vehicle) collapsed," Snapp said.
Snapp said the man who had returned to the vehicle had his son with him, and the boy -whose age was not immediately known - ran for help when the struggle began.
Snapp said there were no obvious indications of how the death occurred.
"We don't know if the person had a health condition, had a heart attack. We don't know," Snapp said. "We're going to investigate this as a homicide until we hear differently. Right now it's a suspicious death but we are going to investigate it as a homicide."
Chiefs spokesman Ted Crews said the team is aware of the incident but cannot comment further because of the police investigation.
Flashing lights from ambulances and police cars were visible across the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot as cars tried to leave after the game.
The death came one year to the day after Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, on Dec. 1, 2012, at a home not far from the stadium. Belcher then drove to the team's practice facility and fatally shot himself in front of then-coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.
In September 2012, a gunman attacked a Kansas City Royals employee in the same parking lot, which services Kauffman Stadium as well. The gunman shot the employee once in the abdomen and then returned to his vehicle and committed suicide.
Snapp said police were speaking to several witnesses after Sunday's fatal incident, and that three people had been taken to the Kansas City Police Department's headquarters for questioning.
"Right now they're persons of interest," Snapp said. "Like I said, until we find out exactly how this person passed away, we're going to investigate it as a homicide. They're not suspects right now until we find out exactly what happened."
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) Eli Manning completed 22 of 28 passes for 235 yards, and Justin Tuck had four sacks to help shut down Robert Griffin III in the second half Sunday night, leading the New York Giants to a 24-17 win over the Washington Redskins.
Andre Brown had a pair of touchdown runs, including a 1-yarder early in the fourth quarter that put the Giants ahead for good.
Griffin was 16 for 17 at halftime, but he went 8 for 15 in the second half, and the Redskins managed only 95 total yards after halftime.
The win keeps the Giants (5-7) two games behind NFC East leaders Dallas and Philadelphia with four to play, while the Redskins (3-9) were mathematically eliminated from the postseason for the 17th time in 21 years.
NEW YORK (AP) Ryan Anderson made seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame the loss of Anthony Davis to a broken left hand to beat the New York Knicks 103-99 on Sunday night.
Tyreke Evans added 24 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, as the Pelicans sent the Knicks to their ninth straight loss overall and seventh in a row at home.
Davis had seven points and four rebounds in the first quarter before leaving with what the Pelicans said was a non-displaced fracture in his left hand. The team said a timetable for his return has not been determined.
Carmelo Anthony finished with 23 points and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 for the Knicks, who haven't won at home since beating Milwaukee on Oct. 30 in their season opener.
In a game that featured 12 ties and 17 lead changes, the Pelicans trailed 93-88 after Hardaway's 3-pointer with 6:42 remaining. However, New Orleans then scored the next 10 points, as Evans started the streak with a three-point play and ended it with two free throws with 2:46 left.
The Knicks pulled within three on Anthony's 3-pointer with 54 seconds left. But, after a Pelican turnover, Hardaway and Anthony missed potential game-tying 3s and Evans hit a free throw with 15 seconds remaining to secure the win.
Neither team led by more than seven points in the game.
A 19-8 run by the Knicks run gave them their biggest lead of the game, 49-42, on Hardaway's 3-pointer with 19 seconds left in the second quarter. Anderson scored inside with a second left before halftime to make it a five-point game.
New Orleans had an 8-0 run in the third to open its biggest lead at 76-69, on Evans' layup with 52 seconds left.
Jrue Holiday finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for the Pelicans. Andrea Bargnani had 17 points for the Knicks.
The win for the Pelicans was just their second in the last 10 meetings between the teams.
NOTES: The last time the Knicks lost nine in a row was March 19-April 4, 2006, under Larry Brown. The Knicks also lost 10 in a row that season from Jan. 28-Feb. 13. ... The Knicks haven't won since a 95-91 victory at Atlanta on Nov. 13. ... The Pelicans at 8-8, are last in the Southwest Division but would be first in the Atlantic.