Sexton backs Murray missing All Blacks match

DUBLIN (AP) Jonathan Sexton supports Conor Murray's "smart" call not to make Ireland's showdown with the All Blacks this weekend his first match in five months.

Murray has not played since June, when he damaged his neck during Ireland's tour of Australia. He's been training, and coach Joe Schmidt said on Saturday after beating Argentina that he'd let Murray decide on his availability. On Monday, the scrumhalf was released from the squad for the rest of the month with center Robbie Henshaw, who injured a hamstring in the warmup and had to withdraw from the Pumas test.

"I obviously stayed in touch with Conor a lot over the injury to see how he has been getting on, and all the time (he's been) improving, but I suppose he's just trying to make sure he can get it right from now, and (it) not be an issue going forward," Sexton said of his long-time halves partner.

Vermont-Kansas Preview

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- A new and intriguing component for Kansas basketball is its depth.

That seems odd since the blueblood Jayhawks are usually involved in recruiting some of the nation's best prospects, though each of the last two seasons attrition, injuries and suspensions have limited coach Bill Self's options. (MORE)

Bengals fire defensive coordinator after rout by Saints

CINCINNATI (AP) The Bengals have fired defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on Monday, a day after a 51-14 loss to the Saints , and put head coach Marvin Lewis in charge of trying to resuscitate a historically bad unit.

New Orleans scored on every possession except the last one - when it took a knee while in field-goal range - during its rout at Paul Brown Stadium, prompting the Bengals (5-4) to fire a coordinator in-season for the second year in a row. (MORE)

Cilic errors gift Zverev victory in ATP Finals opener

LONDON (AP) Of all the errors Marin Cilic made in another ATP Finals defeat, the most costly one may not have come off his racket.

Cilic made 46 unforced errors as he gave up a break advantage in both sets in losing to Alexander Zverev 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1) on Monday, dropping the Croat's record at the season-ending tournament to 1-9 across four appearances. (MORE)

Minnesota enters women's AP Top 25, top 5 remain unchanged

NEW YORK (AP) Getting ranked so quickly wasn't on Lindsay Whalen's mind when she took over the head coaching job at Minnesota this season.

Whalen enjoyed tremendous success as a player at the school in the early 2000s, where being in the AP Top 25 was commonplace from the middle of her sophomore season on. She helped Minnesota reach the Final Four her senior year. (MORE)

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