TUESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Mavericks at 76ers, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball : Vermont at Harvard, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
College basketball: Minnesota at Florida State, 7:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Iowa at Virginia Tech, 7:15 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: NC State at Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Maryland at Northwestern, 9:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Nebraska at Wake Forest, 9:15 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: North Carolina at Indiana, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN)
AROUND THE WEB:
‘¦ Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie , who three weeks ago was positive the Jets would rally and make the playoffs, was not as confident on Monday , as his team returned to practice following the 49-19 embarrassment vs. the Patriots on Thanksgiving night that dropped New York to 4-7.
“I don’t even know what I believe right now, the way we’ve been playing,” he said. “We’ve still got five games left. Anything can happen. My biggest focus right now is this one important game. I can’t worry about the playoffs right now.”
The Jets, who have not won consecutive games all season, begin their final stretch with a game against the Cardinals on Sunday as they look to win out.
“Heck, yeah, that’s your goal,” coach Rex Ryan  said. “Absolutely, that’s what you’re trying to do. Our goal was to beat New England also, but that never worked out. That’s why you play. You try and win every game that you’re in. I’m saying right now I’m not going to make a guarantee that we’re going to make the playoffs or that deal. We have to get better. It has to start right now.”
Added running back Joe McKnight : “We still are playing for something. We’re playing for our pride and we’ve still got a chance to get in the playoffs. We’ve got five games left. We need some things to happen. [Ryan] just told us to keep playing. The season’s not over. We’ve got five games left and we need to win these five games.”
‘¦ While the Jets are floundering, the Giants  are crediting a 15-year-old cancer patient from Vermont for inspiring them  before their 38-10 rout of the Packers  on Sunday night. Adam Merchant Jr., who has been winning his battle with Burkitt lymphoma, gave a brief but emotional speech to the team after Friday’s practice, telling the players to “play like world champions.”
“When he said, ‘Play like champions,’ I think we all stopped and thought about it.” offensive lineman Chris Snee said. “We are the champions, and we need to play like that.”
Said defensive end Justin Tuck : “I told him he needs to go into motivational speaking, because he kind of woke us up a little bit.”
Merchant, who visited the team as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation program, was welcomed back to the locker room following Sunday’s win.
“They didn’t just make a wish come true,” Merchant told the New York Post on Monday, “they made a dream come true.”
‘¦ Phil Jackson  has had a couple of weeks to digest what happened in Los Angeles, where he almost returned to the bench before Mike D’Antoni was chosen to coach the Lakers, and he’s softened somewhat .
“We never discussed any terms, so there was never anything unfair about it,” Jackson told TMZ.com. “It was just a midnight kind of coup. ‘¦ Yeah, it was kind of weird.”
Jackson, 67, said he has no plans to come out of retirement and coach again.
“The chances are slim and none, probably,” he said. “I wasn’t really looking to coach again, but that one was happenstance and it just came about.”
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Nov. 27, 1950, the Red Sox  signed which future Hall of Famer from the Indians?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Every year there’s always going to be some issue that you have to deal with. That’s just the way football goes. So that’s another thing that we’ll just deal with.” — Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich , on the NFL’s suspension  of teammate Jermaine Cunningham 
‘NET RESULTS: Pistons forward Kyle Singler takes his basket around Detroit for some trick shots.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Lou Boudreau, who would play for the Sox into 1952 and manage the team from 1952-54
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Eddie Rabbitt, who died in 1998, was born on this day in 1941.