Here is the latest Michigan sports news from The Associated Press

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A 9-year-old kid was watching the Big Ten championship game on television earlier this month, eager to tell his father all about Michigan star defensive end Aidan Hutchinson. The kid’s name: Andrew Smart. His father: Georgia coach Kirby Smart. And the Bulldogs coach had to wonder how his son became aware of Hutchinson. Thing is, everyone who follows college football probably knows about Hutchinson, the Wolverines’ standout who got more first-place votes in the Heisman Trophy race than any defensive player had in the last nine years. Next up: Friday night at the Orange Bowl against Georgia, for a berth in the national title game.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Tight ends could play a big role in the College Football Playoff this week when No. 1 Alabama faces No. 4 Cincinnati in the Cotton Bowl and No. 2 Michigan play No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl. Michigan and Georgia have combined this season to play 46% of their offensive snaps with multiple tight ends on the field. Alabama and Cincinnati don’t use theirs as often, but circumstances and matchups could mean more targets for the tight ends for both teams in the Cotton Bowl.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jim Harbaugh leaned on advice from his brother nearly a year ago when he was looking for a new defensive coordinator at Michigan and ended up hiring Baltimore Ravens linebackers coach Mike Macdonald. Harbaugh also brought back former Wolverines players Mike Hart and Ron Bellamy as assistants, part of a coaching-staff shakeup after going 2-4 in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. Harbaugh seemed to make all the right moves and it helped the No. 2 Wolverines earn a spot in the College Football Playoff and a semifinal matchup with No. 3 Georgia in the Orange Bowl on Friday night.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Michigan defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald went to high school in Georgia. He’s a University of Georgia graduate. He once worked on the staff at Georgia under Mark Richt as a graduate assistant. And now he gets to try to beat Georgia in the Orange Bowl. Same goes for Cincinnati running back Jerome Ford, who used to play for Alabama and now gets to face the Crimson Tide in the Cotton Bowl. There are plenty of ties that bind for all four teams going into the College Football Playoff semifinals Friday.  

DETROIT (AP) — Alec Burks scored a season-high 34 points to lead a huge night from New York’s bench and the Knicks beat the short-handed Detroit Pistons 94-85. Burks was a point shy of his career high and Immanuel Quickley added 18 points as the Knicks’ reserves combined for 65 points. RJ Barrett was the only starter in double figures at 15 points, and New York outscored Detroit 30-14 in the fourth quarter. Saddiq Bey had a career-high 32 points for the Pistons, while Hamidou Diallo had a season-high 31 points with 13 rebounds. The Pistons have lost four in a row and 18 of 19. 

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gabe Brown scored a career high 24 points, as short-handed No. 10 Michigan State pulled away in the second half to beat scrappy High Point, 81-68 in a matchup of longtime coaching friends Tom Izzo and Tubby Smith. The Spartans (11-2, 2-0 Big Ten) were without four players, including starters Marcus Bingham Jr. and Max Christie, who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week. Joey Hauser had a season-high 17 points and 11 rebounds for Michigan State, while Jaden House had 11 of his 18 points in the first half for High Point (6-7).