Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press' preseason Top 25 basketball poll, a significant step considering the Wildcats went 21-12 last season and have just two returning players.

Coach John Calipari does have six freshmen who were McDonald's All-Americans last season, including Deer Valley High-Antioch's Marcus Lee.

The Wildcats beat out Michigan State in a close vote from the 65-member panel, and it won't take long for the schools to settle the issue. They meet on Nov. 12 in Chicago.

Defending national champion Louisville was third, followed by Duke, Kansas and Arizona.

  • Isaac Hamilton lost his appeal to void the letter of intent he signed with UTEP, so the freshman from Bellflower won't be allowed to play for No. 22 UCLA this season. He'll be allowed to practice.

  • Coach Billy Donovan said Dorian Finney-Smith and Damontre Harris were suspended indefinitely from No. 10 Florida, joining Scottie Wilbekin on the sideline. All three players were punished for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

    College football

    John O'Korn was 22 of 27 for 263 yards and three touchdowns, and Houston (7-1, 4-0 American Athletic) posted a 35-23 win over visiting South Florida (2-6, 2-2). The Cougars are the only FBS team to score in each quarter this year. South Florida was penalized 19 times for 170 yards.

  • UCLA coach Jim Mora said running back Jordan James will be a game-time decision against Colorado on Saturday. James suffered an ankle injury against Utah on Oct. 3.


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    Golf

    Rory McIlroy opened the HSBC Champions in Shanghai with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot lead over Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson. The group at 4-under 68 included U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth. British Open winner Phil Mickelson, a shot back with two holes to play, hit two wedges into the water fronting the eighth green and took a quadruple-bogey 9. He hit into the water on No. 9 en route to a bogey and a 71.

    MLS

    Former Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop, 49, was hired as coach and director of soccer for the Chicago Fire. He replaces Frank Klopas, who was fired Tuesday after the Fire failed to make the playoffs. The Quakes fired Yallop midway through the season after a 3-6-6 start. "We just came to a decision between the two of us that we best part ways. Nothing was ugly," Yallop said.

  • Will Bruin scored twice and Boniek Garcia added a goal to give Houston a 3-0 victory over visiting Montreal in the Eastern Conference knockout round of the playoffs.

  • D.C. United declined its contract option on midfielder Dwayne De Rosario.

    Motor sports

    NASCAR indefinitely suspended Adam Brown, a Richard Childress Racing crew member who threw a hammer at Kevin Harvick's truck at Martinsville Speedway. Crew chief Marcus Richmond was fined $10,000 because he assumes responsibility for the entire team. Both work on Ty Dillon's truck. Dillon spun Harvick late in Saturday's race. Harvick hit Dillon's truck under caution, then drove into Dillon's pit stall, where Brown threw the hammer.

    Tennis

    Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic overcame big servers to reach the Paris Masters quarterfinals. Nadal ousted Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-4, and Djokovic rallied to beat John Isner 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2.