The Trail Blazers Arent Playing the Rockets Anymore

It took nearly four minutes for the Portland Trail Blazers to put their first points on the board Tuesday night in Game 1 of the second round of the NBA playoffs. By the time the final horn sounded, they hadn’t improved much, finishing with an offensive rating of just 90.5 points per 100 possessions against the San Antonio Spurs. It was a collapse for an offense that had been operating near peak efficiency — the Blazers scored 111.8 points per 100 possessions in their last series against the Houston Rockets, second only to the Los Angeles Clippers in this year’s playoffs. They need that offense, too. Portland had the league’s 16th-best defense this season. When the offense isn’t working, the team probably isn’t either.The offense stalled Tuesday night primarily because the Blazers just couldn’t make shots. Often “just couldn’t make shots” is a euphemism for bad luck, and a dismissal of how the opponent’s defense affected a team’s shooters. A glance at the numbers from Game 1 could certainly leave you with that impression. In the regular season, the Blazers made 38 percent of their shots from outside the restricted area. On Tuesday, that share was just 27 percent. But it was more than just a collection of tough rolls and bad bounces — the Spurs put whole lot more hands in the Blazers’ faces than the Rockets ever did.According to NBA.com’s SportVU Player Tracking Box Scores, 76 percent of the Trail Blazers’ shot attempts in Game 1 were contested. (Contested shots, according to the stat-keepers, are defined as shots that have a defender within 4 feet of the shooter.) In their series against the Rockets, only 49 percent of the Blazers’ total shot attempts were contested. The chart to the left shows the percentage of Portland’s shots that were uncontested in each of their individual playoff games this season.Unfortunately, NBA.com only has splits on contested and uncontested shots available by single games, so we can’t quickly put together a league-wide comparison to see how much of a random blip this is. What we do know is that the Spurs held their opponents to the fourth-lowest effective field goal percentage in the league this season. In December, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann found that the Spurs were contesting the highest percentage of opponent jump shots in the league, and by a fairly wide margin.That the Blazers are taking contested shots indicates the effectiveness of the Spurs defense in dictating who’s shooting and when. Twenty-one of LaMarcus Aldridge’s 25 total shots Tuesday night were contested, suggesting that the Spurs took away open jumpers and the Blazers ended many of their possessions with the highest probability of success given the circumstances — letting the preternaturally talented Aldridge take a shot. And he made plenty of them — 52 percent of the contested shots — to finish with 32 points overall. But the Spurs still forced the Blazers’ offense out of their rhythm.The foundation of the Trail Blazers’ offense is creating and making open jumpers. They use a variety of strategies built around Aldridge in the post or running pick-and-rolls with Damian Lillard, but the goal is always to get the ball into the hands of an open shooter. Every contested shot Aldridge takes is ending a possession that hasn’t resulted in an uncontested shot for someone else. In many ways, the ratio of contested to uncontested shots is one of the vital signs for the health of the Blazers’ offense. Any disruption of their ability to create open space for their shooters shows that the Spurs’ defense is succeeding. read more

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Thoroughbreds Are Running as Fast as They Can

On Saturday, 19 thoroughbreds will once again be off, running in the 140th Kentucky Derby. The Derby calls itself “the greatest two minutes in sport” because that’s more or less how long it takes to win the race, and that hasn’t changed in decades. Since 1949, the time it takes thoroughbreds to run around the 1.25-mile track has averaged 2:02.25, and no winning race time has deviated by more than 3 seconds from this long-term average.Mark Denny, who studies biomechanics at Stanford University, wrote a 2008 paper that asked, “Are there absolute limits to the speed at which animals can run?” He looked at the statistics of the fastest times each year for the Triple Crown horse races (which include the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in addition to the Kentucky Derby), three premier greyhound races in England, and elite men’s and women’s athletics at distances of 100 meters to the marathon.The data reflected remarkable achievements by the fastest horses, dogs and people. Denny fit the data with a statistical model, and then used extreme value theory (since the data was about the best in each sport) to calculate a maximum speed limit.1Extreme value analysis is a subfield of statistics that seeks to model the probabilities of very rare events. It has been widely applied in contexts such as estimates of flood potential and equity risk. Some race times, like the Kentucky Derby’s, have plateaued, while others are still improving, like the men’s 100-meter race. This approach suggests that the fastest time possible for a human in a 100-meter race is 9.48 seconds. Usain Bolt’s world-record time is only 0.10 seconds from the limit.2A statistical approach is not the only possible way to estimate how fast runners can run. One evaluation of Bolt’s world-record 100m in the journal Significance found enough opportunities for improvement to argue that Bolt could run faster than Denny’s 9.48 limit.Denny says his approach tells us “that speed has its limits, but not what accounts for those limits.” There are, however, a few possible explanations for why thoroughbreds may have already hit those limits but humans, for the most part, have not yet plateaued.One possibility, advanced by Denny and others, is that thoroughbred race times may have leveled off because the narrow genetic diversity of racehorses limits the genetic diversity in the pool of potential thoroughbred champions. Modern thoroughbreds are descendants of a small number of horses (less than 30 in the 18th century), and 95 percent are thought to trace their ancestry to a single horse, The Darley Arabian. Today, there are fewer than 25,000 thoroughbreds born each year in the United States. Compare that with the more than 7 billion people worldwide.3The Triple Crown horse races are limited to 3-year-old horses, so each horse can run these races only once. Humans can race at any age, and in as many races as they like. The size of the human population may simply lead to a greater number of potential athletes with extreme speed.And humans could be even faster if we didn’t engage in any other athletic pursuit aside from racing. David Epstein wrote in his book “The Sports Gene” that while it’s unclear whether speed is innate or nurtured, one important reason for Jamaican athletes’ success in short-distance races is that in their country, “every kid is made to try sprinting at some point.” In the United States, at least, many of the fastest runners are lost to other sports, and thus never have a chance to reach their potential as runners. Epstein cites Trindon Holliday, now a kick returner for the New York Giants, who in college outran future Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix at 100 meters at the 2007 USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Who knows how fast Holliday might have become as a full-time professional sprinter? Humans who race also have many opportunities to train, specialize, experiment and innovate. Those efforts are apparently still bearing fruit in some track and field events.Even if racehorses aren’t getting faster in general, assuming random variation in the speed of the very fastest horses would mean that we haven’t yet seen the fastest horse. Denny’s calculations suggest that the current Kentucky Derby record time of 1:59.40 in 1973, held by the legendary Triple Crown-winner Secretariat, could be beaten by as much as 1.5 seconds.4Or, in horse terms, about 11 lengths. But theory and reality are different things. Denny concludes that Secretariat “may represent a good approximation of the ultimate individual thoroughbred.”Of course, any extrapolation from observed statistics are based on important assumptions, and Denny admits that his are, too. On the one hand, he concludes the data from the Triple Crown races indicates that “the process of selective breeding of thoroughbreds (as practiced in the U.S.) is incapable of producing a substantially faster horse.” But breeding practices could change, Denny notes, and perhaps greater genetic diversity in horse breeding would create thoroughbreds with faster potential speeds.Going even further, it’s also possible that a horse could be genetically engineered to run faster. Horse racing has already taken a step in this direction via the cloning of thoroughbreds. The acceptability of cloning racehorses has been controversial for more than a decade, and in 2007 the international body that oversees horse racing banned cloned thoroughbreds (and, of note, cloned jockeys as well) from international competition. But in 2012 the ban was lifted, apparently for horses only. Imagine a future Kentucky Derby with the participation of cloned replicas of Secretariat, Sea Biscuit and Man ‘O War. Or even a race with identical cloned thoroughbreds in multiple lanes, to showcase the trainers’ and jockeys’ efforts.So to return to Denny’s research question, “Are there absolute limits to the speed at which animals can run?” The answer is yes. A more important question: How far are we willing to go to reset these limits? “The greatest one minute and 50 seconds in sports” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as smoothly. read more

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NFL Week 15 Playoff Implications The Chances A Coin Flip Will Decide

UPDATE (Dec. 14, 11:04 a.m.): The interactive tables above have been updated to include the results of Thursday’s ARZ-STL match-up, and that game has been removed (the text of the article has not been updated).The intricacies of the NFL playoff race can make for uneasy alliances. Going into last week’s games, the numbers dictated that Dallas Cowboys fans should have been rooting for a Philadelphia Eagles victory over the Seattle Seahawks, because that would have maximized Dallas’s playoff chances. Understandably, Cowboys fans were somewhat resistant to the idea of rooting for a bitter division rival.The NFC East hate can flow freely this week, though. The Cowboys visit Philadelphia on Sunday night in a game with significant playoff implications. The Cowboys’ playoff chances climb to 84 percent with a road victory but drop to 36 percent with a loss. An Eagles victory would all but assure them a playoff berth, resulting in a 96 percent probability of both postseason play and a division title. An Eagles loss and the playoffs become a 50-50 proposition. That’s enough swing to make the Dallas-Philadelphia matchup one of the most important of the week.Outside of the NFC East, the Seahawks’ playoff chances do better with a Dallas victory. The Seahawks own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Philadelphia, but Dallas has the head-to-head over Seattle. In the event Seattle is tied for a wild card seed, it will lose the tiebreaker to Dallas — so the Seahawks would prefer Dallas win the division and Philadelphia the wild card. But it’s just the opposite when it comes to the bye week and top seed. Seattle’s chances of securing a first-round bye drop with a Dallas victory because of that same head-to-head tiebreaker. Like last week, you can check out the best-case scenarios for all (contending) teams in the interactive below: Our AFC chart is thickly carpeted with playoff implications this week, with Miami, Buffalo, San Diego, Kansas City, Houston and the entire AFC North vying for a wild card position. Indeed, it might seem like there’s an unusually high amount of clustering this season. Are we in danger of a late-season adventure through the NFL’s list of complicated tiebreaking procedures?1All of which we have painstakingly coded to bring you these numbers each week.As with some elections, a coin flip is a possible playoff tiebreaker.2Given the NFL’s use of coin flips for opening kickoffs and overtime, its use as a last-resort tiebreaker seems like a natural choice. In the NBA, unbreakable playoff ties are settled by “random draw,” more in keeping with their annual draft lottery. But seeing as how the NFL playoffs are of far greater importance than representative democracy, there are multiple layers of redundancy in the NFL tiebreaker rules. Depending on the situation, there are 10 or 11 tiebreakers that would first have to fail before the league defaults to random chance.And according to our simulations, we’re not likely to have to resort to coins. Here are the procedures employed for breaking ties within a division:Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs)Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the divisionBest won-lost-tied percentage in common gamesBest won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conferenceStrength of victoryStrength of scheduleBest combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowedBest combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowedBest net points in common gamesBest net points in all gamesBest net touchdowns in all gamesCoin tossWe took the 50,000 simulations used to produce this weekly feature and summarized how often each tiebreaker was needed to break a tie for the division winner. The results are summarized below.For division ties, even with 50,000 simulations, we never progressed past the fourth tiebreaker, conference record. A head-to-head record is most likely to settle a tie in the NFC West this season. Seattle can sweep the season series against the Arizona Cardinals next week, but with the Cardinals a game ahead in the standings, that leaves a good chance of both teams finishing with identical records. Interestingly, head-to-head is unlikely to resolve any AFC North ties, but in most cases, division record seems to do the trick.The tiebreaking procedures for the wild card seeds are virtually identical to the divisional tiebreakers, with the key exception being that division record is not considered. See below for a summary of potential tiebreakers needed for the two wild card races.What is strength of victory? It’s the combined winning percentage of the teams a club beats. And there’s about a 5 percent chance that it will be needed to break a tie for either the AFC or the NFC wild card race. So, it turns out that even with 50,000 distinct simulations, we still had a “buffer” of six tiebreakers separating us from the coin-flip scenario. If we include “meaningless” tiebreakers for the non-playoff seeds (e.g. the 10th NFC seed), the strength of victory tiebreaker failed 10 times, requiring the use of strength of schedule, which is the combined win percentage of all the team’s opponents, not just the ones they beat.3See a similar analysis from the co-author’s blog. At the midpoint of the 2013 season, a 10,000-run simulation needed the “points scored and points allowed within conference” tiebreaker 30 times. For one simulation, the “points scored and points allowed in total” tiebreaker was necessary.In our market-based rankings below, a consensus appears to be emerging regarding the “elite” teams in the league. At the top, we have the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Seahawks all within a point of each other. After that, there is a significant drop off, of more than three points, before we get to the next-best team, the Indianapolis Colts. Note that the St. Louis Rams, despite having virtually no chance at a playoff berth, are now considered an above-average team in these rankings, placing them ahead of several teams in playoff contention. read more

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Podcast Lonely LeBron Dominant Serena And Nate vs A 12YearOld

Embed Code Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (June 9, 2015), we discuss whether LeBron James can continue to win NBA Finals games by himself, whether Serena Williams can set the record for most Grand Slams ever and what we’ve learned after the first batch of women’s World Cup games. Plus, a special Significant Digit — Nate Silver talks with 12-year-old Simon Bazelon (son of New York Times writer and Slate podcast host Emily Bazelon), who has some criticisms about FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Elo ratings.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss in this week’s show:Nate Silver takes on the adage, “Live by the three, die by the three.” It’s mostly not true.Neil Paine on the Cavs’ Game 2 win, in context.Williams is really, really clutch.Grantland assesses Williams’ remarkable career arc.We’re offering continually updated women’s World Cup predictions, and our latest model shows that Germany is slightly more likely to win than the U.S.Significant Digit: 11 championships. That’s the number Bill Russell’s Celtics won, in 13 years, but our Elo ratings still say they weren’t the most dominant dynasty of all time. Special guest Simon Bazelon (12 years old) debates Nate and presents his own data. Simon is the son of Emily Bazelon, who recently mentioned his analysis on Slate’s “Political Gabfest” podcast. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Hot Takedown read more

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The Eastern Conference Playoffs Are All About Grudge Matches

Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On Monday’s show (April 23, 2018), Neil and Kyle discuss three tight series in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Toronto, Boston and Cleveland are each tied 2-2 against their lower-seeded opponents — how much trouble are the favored teams in?The Lab will be back with another episode later this week. In the meantime, keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions, which are updated after every game. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed By Neil Paine and Kyle Wagner Embed Code read more

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Did The Packers Squander Aaron Rodgers

IND9.810.1HOU98.22.423.61515 Although the Packers hadn’t replaced a coach at midseason since 1953, Sunday’s loss forced their hand. Now they’ll need to figure out who’s next, from a candidate list that includes big names among both pro coordinators (Josh McDaniels) and up-and-coming college coaches (Lincoln Riley). They’ll also need to hope Rodgers’s issues were more related to McCarthy’s offense and less to his getting older and less productive — basically, that the next Packer coach will be more Mike Shanahan to Rodgers’s John Elway than Jimmy Johnson to his Dan Marino. So while the Packers may not have much on the line over the rest of their games, this promises to be the most interesting offseason Green Bay has had since Favre was retiring and unretiring more than a decade ago.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersMake sure to check out FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings using our NFL prediction interactive, which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and tracks how often each team should make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. And did you know you can also pick against the Elo algorithm in our prediction game? Maybe you can also climb up our giant leaderboard (or, if you’re like me, fall down it with each passing week).Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the reader picks last week: Rodgers hasn’t won as much as he should haveTop 10 NFL starting quarterbacks by Yards Above Backup QB, 1990-2017, with their actual and expected Super Bowl appearances PIT62PIT54LAC 33, PIT 30+6.7– 1Peyton Manning1721,58544.15-0.15 PHI28.324.2DAL81.119.451.01578 3Drew Brees1617,25012.89-1.89 KC83KC89KC 40, OAK 33+0.4– Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. 6Ben Roethlisberger1410,94531.35+1.65 CAR17.89.9CLE0.30.422.01454 8Steve Young810,02211.65-0.65 4Brett Favre1913,04721.86+0.14 Over time, it became more and more difficult for the Packers to come within striking distance of the Super Bowl. In 2015, Rodgers slumped to career-worst numbers without top wideout Jordy Nelson, though the team as a whole was still good enough to get to the divisional playoffs before losing. In 2016, it was more of the same when Rodgers mused that Green Bay could still “run the table” — sparking an eight-game winning streak that saw the QB return to vintage form and left the Packers a win away from the Super Bowl.4Though their defense was shredded by Matt Ryan and the Falcons for 493 yards, ending the streak. By then Rodgers was 34 years old, so a sense of urgency was setting in when 2017 came and went without a playoff berth — even though that could be written off as the byproduct of Rodgers missing nine starts.The 2018 season was always going to be the real crossroads for McCarthy. With a healthy Rodgers leading the way, the Pack could always count on contending in the past, so this year’s expectations were no different. But Rodgers’s numbers have been merely good, not great. Brett Hundley isn’t around anymore to take any blame. And unlike in 2015, when Green Bay was talented enough to survive despite a downturn in its QB’s individual stats, there has been no answer from the team’s supporting cast this time around. It all came crashing down around McCarthy in the loss to Arizona as 13½-point favorites, Green Bay’s single most disappointing defeat since the merger according to Pro-Football-Reference’s point-spread data.We can visualize the Packers’ decline over McCarthy’s final few years at the helm using FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings. Specifically, I’ve been tinkering with an experimental version of Elo that keeps a separate adjustment for the primary QB in each game, similar to how we treat starting pitchers in our MLB ratings.5For those curious, it uses what I’m calling a QB’s Performance Value Added (PVA). That metric starts with an estimate of a primary QB’s value over replacement (according to ESPN’s expected-points data) in a game:PVA = -2.2*Attempts + 3.7*Completions + (Pass Yds / 5) + 11.3*Pass TDs – 14.1*Interceptions – 8*Sacks – 1.1*Rushes + 0.6*Rush Yds + 15.9*Rush TDsIt then compares that number to the per-game average allowed by the opposing defense in all other games that season (excluding the game in question). By definition, an average PVA is 0.0. Then a running mean of PVA is kept for both teams and individual QBs, which is used to modify the team’s base rating depending on which QB is used. (Interestingly, the predictions work best when the individual ratings update slightly faster than the team ones, which suggest QB “hot streaks” do contain extra information.) Debut QBs are assigned an expected PVA of -47, and they reduce a team’s effective Elo rating by 108 points relative to an average QB. Using this, we can trace how a team’s performance rises and falls independent of its QB — which is useful in cases like 2017, when Rodgers was hurt and Hundley started nine games. (For instance, by season’s end, the Packers would have projected to be a 1529 Elo team with Rodgers starting — compared to a 1427 team with Hundley. And remember, 1500 is average.) HOU77HOU69HOU 29, CLE 13-6.6– LAC96.03.6CIN0.91.39.11504 Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup. Total Change adds up the potential swing in playoff odds for every team in the league (not just the two teams listed).*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN.com Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 13Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 13 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game Playoff %Playoff % The dismissal of Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy — who was let go after the Packers’ stunning home loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday — wasn’t exactly a shock. Perennially tabbed as a Super Bowl contender out of the NFC, McCarthy’s team had gone just 11-16-1 over the past two seasons, including a disappointing 8-9-1 in games that featured future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers as Green Bay’s primary passer.1Meaning he led the team in attempts for the game. It was time for a change along the sidelines that Vince Lombardi once roamed.Things weren’t always so bleak on the frozen tundra. The McCarthy era had its high points, particularly early on — when he and Rodgers appeared to have Green Bay positioned on the cusp of a potential dynasty. But between postseason near-misses, roster changes, injuries and coaching miscues, McCarthy’s Packers never fulfilled that promise. Instead, it’s fair to wonder whether Green Bay squandered the prime of one of the most talented QBs in NFL history.The Packers team that McCarthy inherited in 2006 from Mike Sherman2Because every Packer coach must be named “Mike”. was one in transition — and that meant navigating some heavy-duty Brett Favre melodrama in his first two seasons at Green Bay’s helm. However, McCarthy quickly found that he had an all-time great on his hands in Rodgers, who, when he took over the starting job at age 25, was just entering his best years as a passer. The McCarthy-Rodgers marriage sputtered to a 6-10 finish in its first season but yielded great results shortly thereafter: an 11-5 playoff campaign in Year 2, then a Super Bowl crown in Year 3 and a 15-1 regular season (with Rodgers winning MVP) in Year 4. The sky seemed to be the limit for McCarthy and his star QB.Since the end of the 2011 regular season, however, the Packers have gone just 5-6 in the playoffs; by comparison, Tom Brady and the postseason Patriots are 13-5 over the same span. Green Bay’s record includes a crushing home defeat against the New York Giants two weeks after that 15-1 season ended and another loss in which they watched helplessly as ex-49er Colin Kaepernick destroyed their defense in 2012 — still one of the greatest individual QB games in playoff history. The Packers’ postseason circumstances have not always been ideal: For instance, that Giants game was actually the only time since 2011 that Green Bay lost in the playoffs while favored — meaning the rest of the losses were as underdogs. But at the same time, the Pack have also had clear chances to return to the Super Bowl, and they came up short in each of them.All told, it remains mystifying that a quarterback of Rodgers’s stature hasn’t won more frequently. If we run a simple logit regression between a QB’s Yards Above Backup in a season and whether his team made the Super Bowl,3Minimum six starts during the season, using data since 1990 (the era of the current playoff setup). we’d expect Rodgers to have made 1.86 Super Bowls in his career through 2017 — roughly twice as many as he’s actually been to. (Meanwhile, other contemporary QBs — such as Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and even Brady — have gone to more than twice as many Super Bowls as we’d expect from their individual stats.) BAL65.0%+/-15.1KC100.0%+/-0.031.81628 TB1.72.0NO100.00.06.91570 9Matt Ryan108,25111.14-0.14 DEN20.911.1SF0.00.024.71427 LAR68LAR79LAR 30, DET 16+4.1– CHI69CHI72NYG 30, CHI 27-6.1– TEN78TEN72TEN 26, NYJ 22-4.4– TEN18.910.6JAX0.10.121.91478 GB73GB79ARI 20, GB 17-10.5– PIT83.811.0OAK0.00.023.71453 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION 1990 was the first season of the NFL’s current playoff format. Expected Super Bowls are based on a season-by-season logit regression between a QB’s Yards Above Backup and whether his team made the Super Bowl.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com MIN59.719.9SEA87.711.841.41572 GB1.41.3ATL1.11.25.51469 7Philip Rivers1210,72101.54-1.54 MIA6.67.4NE99.70.516.21537 Super Bowls Made NE67NE65NE 24, MIN 10-3.8– 10Tony Romo98,19201.11-1.11 IND51IND62JAX 6, IND 0-14.0– NO64NO74DAL 13, NO 10-15.3– CIN52%DEN59%DEN 24, CIN 10+8.5– CHI94.44.3LAR100.00.010.81615 BUF0.00.0NYJ0.00.02.41377 PHI69PHI66PHI 28, WSH 13-4.1– After a series of narrow wins at midseason, the algorithm handed the readers their worst loss (-55.2 points on average) since Week 3. Some of the blame can go to the subject of this column — the Green Bay Packers, whose loss not only cost Mike McCarthy his job but also cost users 10.5 points on average. But readers were also burned by the Jaguars’ win over the Colts and the Cowboys’ upset victory over the Saints. Add it up, and Elo has beaten the average reader 12 times in 13 weeks this season.But congrats to Mike Edelstein, who led all users in Week 13 with 137.0 points, and to one of my favorite leaderboard names, Greg Chili Van Hollebeke, who maintained his No. 1 ranking on the season with 1,002.1 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 5Aaron Rodgers1010,98811.86-0.86 CAR59CAR64TB 24, CAR 17-7.8– WSH26.411.7NYG0.10.124.91435 The best matchups of Week 14Week 14 games by the highest average Elo rating (using the harmonic mean) plus the total potential swing for all NFL teams’ playoff chances based on the result, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions ATL53ATL50BAL 26, ATL 16+1.5– Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS DET0.30.3ARI0.00.04.21412 2Tom Brady1619,73583.63+4.37 SEA83SEA83SEA 43, SF 16-1.5– MIA58MIA57MIA 21, BUF 17-2.3– QuarterbackYears StartingYARDS Above BackupActualExpectedDiff. At the beginning of 2015, the Packers had an effective Elo of 1622, which included a 73-point boost from having Rodgers at QB and a 49-point boost from his teammates. By the end of the year, Green Bay’s effective Elo was still in the same neighborhood (1597), despite Rodgers’s adjustment actually dropping to negative 11, because the rest of the team carried a larger share of the weight (+108). Meanwhile, at the peak of the Packers’ run-the-table surge in 2016, the team’s 1657 effective Elo arose out of a 61-point boost from Rodgers and 97 additional points (relative to league average) from the rest of the team.But fast-forward to now, and it’s clear how much the Packers have crumbled around Rodgers. His own adjustment is 16 points of Elo above an average QB, the lowest it’s been since Week 10 of the 2016 season. But he’s still expected to be above average; his supporting cast, by contrast, has fallen to a negative-67 score relative to the average team. That’s the worst they have been in Rodgers’s entire NFL career, and it isn’t especially close. Keeping QB play constant, the Packers’ Elo has dropped by a total of 139 points since the end of the 2016 season, which is essentially the difference in current Elo ratings of the 11-1 Los Angeles Rams and the 6-6 Carolina Panthers.The reasons for the slide are varied, but many can be traced back to a series of poor drafts under former general manager Ted Thompson, who was replaced by current front-office chief Brian Gutekunst in January. As Sports Illustrated’s Kalyn Kahler pointed out last week, only three of Green Bay’s 17 draftees from 2014 and 2015 remain on the current roster. While no team can avoid dry spells in the NFL draft if given enough time, the Packers also — largely by design — did little in the way of enlisting outside help as a backup plan.6In addition to the lack of starters from recent drafts, only two of the team’s current starters were drafted by a team other than Green Bay. Again, this was the byproduct of the Packers’ religious devotion to drafting and developing their own prospects, but that plan only really works when you draft well. Combine those infrastructural problems with criticisms of McCarthy’s offensive scheme (criticisms of a perceived lack of innovation that Rodgers apparently shared), plus legitimate complaints about Rodgers’s own decline in performance, and a season like this was bound to happen to Green Bay sooner or later.Even so, it came contrary to preseason predictions. Going into the schedule, you might have penciled in this week’s matchup against the Atlanta Falcons as a marquee game with playoff implications. Instead, it will be the third-worst game of the week, according to our combination of matchup quality (i.e., the harmonic mean of the teams’ Elo ratings in each game) and game importance (how likely it is to swing every team’s odds of making the playoffs):7A little note is in order here, to explain how these game importance ratings are now calculated. All season long, I have been crunching the numbers on how a given game affects the two teams involved. But this week, with the playoffs on the horizon and certain matchups taking on more importance because of their outside implications, I changed the formula to add up a game’s potential swing in playoff odds for every team in the league — including those not participating in the game itself. read more

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Mens basketball Battle of two 35 Big Ten teams Ohio State –

Members of the Ohio State men’s basketball team huddle before the start of the second half versus Northwestern on Jan. 22 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorIn late February 2016, Ohio State took down No. 9 Iowa to stay afloat in the NCAA tournament picture. The Hawkeyes choked down the stretch, losing four of its final five games to finish 12-6 in the Big Ten. Iowa then lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament to Illinois.The Hawkeyes enter Saturday’s contest versus the Buckeyes having lost three in a row after beginning Big Ten play 3-2. OSU started the conference slate 0-4 but finds itself in the same place as Iowa — one of six teams tied at 3-5 in the Big Ten.Since the two teams last met, both rosters have seen great turnover, but in different ways, after they each had disappointing finishes to the season. Nonetheless, Iowa and OSU are both fighting for a crucial win in conference play in Iowa City.IowaCoach Fran McCaffery had to replace four starters from last year’s roster. The lone returning starter is senior guard Peter Jok, who leads the Big Ten with 21 points per game.“He’s a big-time scorer,” said junior forward Jae’Sean Tate. “He’s been a big-time scorer since I’ve been in college. We’re not going to change anything we do. We’re still going to guard the ball, play Ohio State defense. But we’re going to try to dock him, make him uncomfortable.”For the four starters alongside Jok, McCaffery has yet to settle on a lineup. Eight different Hawkeyes, excluding Jok, have started at least six of the 21 games in 2016-17. Down 16 at the beginning of the second half on Wednesday at Illinois, McCaffery switched 80 percent of his starters. Freshmen Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsl were replaced by sophomores Nicholas Baer, Ahmad Wagner and Christian Williams, as well as freshman Ryan Kriener.The Hawkeyes lost 76-64.Iowa sits at No. 96 in the KenPom advanced-statistical ratings. OSU and Iowa are identical in adjusted offensive efficiency, averaging 110.2 per 100 possessions. However, the Hawkeyes rank third in conference averaging more than 80 points per game and third in total rebounds with 39.4 per contest.Losing four starters is certainly a challenge to a coach, and often times the defense is what drops off the most. For Iowa, its defense is without a doubt its greatest weakness.The Hawkeyes are last in the Big Ten in scoring defense and opponent rebounding, allowing 78.2 points and 38.7 rebounds per game. However, at home, Iowa allows 75 points compared to 82 points away from Iowa City.Cook is the only other player for Iowa that averages double figures with 11.9 points. Jok leads the Hawkeyes in points, assists, steals and 3-point field goal percentage.The GameThe Buckeyes arguably put together its most complete game of the season on Wednesday against Minnesota, something the team is trying to build on.“I would say (the Minnesota game is) just a stepping stone,” Tate said. “Like I said, this year, there’s been multiple times that you’ve seen us play at the level we’re supposed to play at all the time. I think we did that against Minnesota, but we still didn’t do it for the whole 40 minutes.”Redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson and senior forward Marc Loving led the team with 19 points a piece — a career high for Thompson. It was the former Virginia Tech transfer’s seventh double-double this season, which is the most for an OSU big man since Jared Sullinger had 17 in the 2011-2012 season. Expect Thompson to register his eighth against Iowa. One thing OSU has had difficulty with is keeping possession. Turnovers have cost the Buckeyes a few games this year and will need to tighten up against McCaffery who likes to implement a half-court trap and 3-2 zone at points in the game.“It’s just, it’s a matter of whatever they throw at us we’ve got to know exactly what we’re doing and get the best shot we possibly can,” OSU coach Thad Matta said.OSU has played completely different away from home this season, and Matta said he has about given up trying to figure out why his guys don’t engage into the action from the get-go. He said his team has to become more consistent in every aspect of the game.Iowa will likely go on a few runs in the first half, but OSU’s rebounding should be the difference in the game and allow OSU to have more scoring chances than the Hawkeyes.Prediction: Ohio State – 76, Iowa – 72Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. read more

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Baseball Ohio State looking for surprise in Arizona against pair of heavyweight

Ohio State redshirt senior first baseman Zach Ratcliff at bat during the Scarlet and Gray World Series in October 2016. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe past weekend was a tale of two halves for the Ohio State baseball team. They combined for 21 runs in the two victories, only to falter in their final two games with a combined four runs. Now looking ahead to the Big Ten/Pac-12 Challenge, OSU (2-2) will have to find the bats again if it hopes to have success against No. 5 Oregon State (4-0) and the reigning Pac-12 champion Utah Utes (2-1) in Surprise, Arizona.Despite the daunting task ahead of the Buckeyes, OSU coach Greg Beals said he’s excited to lead the team to the Grand Canyon State for the first time in 20 years and play some high-quality competition.“We’re heading out to Arizona for the first time — site of Spring Training, we’re going out and playing in a Spring Training facility. Excited for that to take our guys to a Major League complex,” Beals said. “To play teams from the Pac-12, that west-coast style baseball, I think it’s important for us to see different styles and have to be prepared to compete against a different style of baseball.”Scouting Oregon StateEntering the season, expectations were high for an Oregon State team that showed a lot of promise last season, finishing 35-19 (16-14 Pac-12). The NCAA’s consensus rankings placed the Beavers as the No. 6 team in the country. After an undefeated opening weekend, they have risen in the rankings.Pitching was the strength of this team last season and it appears this will be their backbone once again. In the first series, the Beavers’ pitching staff had surrendered a total of six runs (only three earned) with 37 total strikeouts, only 11 walks and 23 hits (.177 opponents’ batting average).Oregon State’s offense does not stand out, but can score runs when necessary. The team owns a collective .270 batting average with 22 runs scored, two home runs and three stolen bases so far on the season. Beals knows that Oregon State operates under a different style of play and that if the Buckeyes are going to come away with a win, they will have to force the Beavers to play a higher-scoring game. “They’re going to play a smaller game that they like to bunt, to run and they really emphasize their pitching and defense and play lower-scoring games is their ideal way of playing out there,” Beals said. “Our goal is to shape the game where we can get out and score some runs and force them — if we can get out a couple runs — force them to have to play for more than just one run at a time”Ratcliff emerging as power threat in final collegiate seasonRedshirt senior designated hitter Zach Ratcliff has never registered more than 100 at-bats in a single season for the Buckeyes and, prior to the weekend, he had never hit more than two home runs in a single season. After just the first weekend, he has already matched that single-season home run total. In last Saturday’s game against Delaware, Ratcliff blasted two home runs — one in the second inning and another in the fourth.Ratcliff has been given an opportunity to serve as the regular designated hitter for OSU in his final season of eligibility and, so far, has been making the most of it. He attributes his newfound success in large part to the work he put in over the summer with Beals and assistant coach Matt Angle.“This summer — when we got back to work with coach Angle, coach Beals — we kind of tore my swing down and worked from the ground up and made a few adjustments, just to kind of simplify everything,” Ratcliff said. “It’s obviously paying off early so, hopefully, I can keep things rolling.”OSU will face Utah on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET and Saturday with games against Oregon State coming on Friday and Sunday. read more

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Fifty years later OSU NCAA Champions honored

The Ohio State men’s basketball team cruised to an 85-63 victory Sunday over Minnesota, but there was more to celebrate at the Schottenstein Center than the series of alley-oops the Buckeyes threw down in the blowout win.Only once has OSU captured the NCAA Tournament title, and that team was recognized Sunday on the 50th anniversary of the Buckeyes’ 1960 championship squad.The team gathered at center court during halftime, and Bob Knight, who coached at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech after his collegiate days, spoke to the crowd.Knight described how the OSU basketball program had “great architecture,” starting with a premier coaching staff.Coach Fred Taylor, who died in 2002, was honored with a banner that now hangs from the arena’s rafters. Among the players recognized were two-time National Player of the Year Jerry Lucas and two-time All-Big Ten selection John Havlicek.Knight reminisced about the talent that the 1960 squad sent out on the floor each night.“During a lull in a game that we were doing, [commentator] Brent Musberger said to me, ‘If you had to pick one guy to take the most important shot, who would it be?’” Knight said. “I said it would be Havlicek. I saw him do that his entire career.”At 16-6, the current Buckeyes’ prospects of repeating history don’t appear to be favorable. But Knight said he is impressed by what he’s seen from the team, especially junior guard Evan Turner.“I told Turner, ‘You have to promise me you won’t try and dunk the ball anymore,’” Knight said. “I said, ‘When you dunk it, just lay it up there and push it down through.’ He tried a little bit of a Broadway dunk and that could have really crippled this team because he’s a hell of a player.” read more

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Black hockey player hopes to inspire others to break the mold

Kyle Reed said he “is just a dude.” The Canadian native from Calgary doesn’t mind talking about uncomfortable topics like almost giving up hockey when he was younger and being the only black player on Ohio State’s hockey team. The senior said he likes when he gets odd looks for saying he plays forward for the hockey team. He said he likes being different, but also that it doesn’t matter when you get to the heart of the sport. “I’ve been playing for so long that I don’t think about it,” he said. Reed said in his hometown, kids playing hockey was just second nature. There is no black and white with hockey. “There have been times when I’d been called the N-word or a lot of other things. Those types of words are a form of motivation,” Reed said. “I feel like I faced times of adversity, but those are also motivation tools.” He said he’s been playing hockey since he was 4 years old and feels like he had skates on before shoes. “My mom would take me down the street to the ice rink and she was the one who first taught me how to skate. She couldn’t even skate herself, but she put them on me,” Reed said. “I was meant for the ice, you know?” But hockey wasn’t the only sport he played when he was younger. “My first love is actually baseball. Playing hockey just kind of fell into place whenever baseball was finished,” Reed said. “When the season was over, it was just in time for hockey tryouts.” Reed said he got into trouble as a kid and was considering quitting hockey, but his grandfather and brother convinced him not to. “My grandpa was like, ‘I want to see you on TV one day.’ My brother said to not to do what he did and quit hockey,” Reed said. “It was at a crucial time in my life where I had to choose between hockey and baseball. “A lot of times I learned the hard way, but sometimes that’s the best way to learn.” The interview was interrupted by Reed’s neighbor and teammate, Sean Duddy, a defenseman from Ann Arbor, Mich. He was looking for salsa in the kitchen, but got pulled into the living room to talk about his close friend. “‘Friends’ may be a stretch,” Duddy said, laughing. “But no, we’ve been playing for about three years together now. He’s a good guy, great teammate. He works his ass off. He’s the fastest skater I’ve ever seen.” The guys shared a few joking moments before returning to the conversation. Duddy took some time to think of his favorite memory of Reed. “We’ve had good times together. When we were playing Miami my freshman year, Kyle got a hat trick,” Duddy said. “That’s my favorite memory of him from a hockey standpoint. He’s an explosive player.” There are several other hockey players who live in their apartment complex, Duddy said. He said they’re as close as brothers. “I’m very family-oriented. It’s hard hearing people say they’re going home for the weekend or for the holidays, whereas I have to pick up the phone,” Reed said. “Some of the guys I’m close with on the team, they give me that support.” As for playing professional hockey after graduation, he said, “If you have the ability to play at a higher level, I think you have to take that opportunity to play in the NHL. I don’t want to be that 40-year-old guy still playing hockey in the lowest of the lowest minors just because I love the game.” Reed, who’s studying strategic communication, said he thinks going to college and getting a better education is beneficial. He trained at the Atlanta Thrashers development camp in summer 2009. He said he would like to play hockey for as long as he can and then go into advertising. He said one of his favorite parts about playing for OSU, as a black hockey player, is that he could be an inspiration for the black kids who come to get the players’ autographs. “I think it’s good for them to see me playing hockey and see that anyone can do it,” Reed said. “Hopefully they look to me and say, ‘I can do what he does, too.’” read more

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Jon Gruden witness to Braxton Millers spring performance

“They’ve got a hot-shot guy in here from Dayton. No. 5 is all I know. Braxton is his name. He’s pretty darn good.” That’s what NFL analyst and Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden said about Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton Miller after spending Wednesday and Thursday watching the team practice. Gruden was the keynote speaker at Friday’s coaches clinic. The skills that earned Gruden’s lofty praise were on full display Saturday during OSU’s annual Spring Game. Miller completed seven of 12 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, and also led the offense on a 14-play, 92-yard touchdown drive. Coach Jim Tressel took notice. “I thought Braxton probably played a little bit more relaxed and had a little bit more fun than he has had,” Tressel said. Miller, who enrolled at OSU for Winter Quarter to get acclimated to the offense, has been thrust into a quarterback competition after incumbent starter, senior quarterback Terrelle Pryor, was suspended for the first five games of next season. Since enrolling, Miller has spent much of his time just trying to learn the offense. Senior linebacker Andrew Sweat, who enrolled early when he was a freshman, said Miller has done well so far. “I came in early as a freshman, and it’s overwhelming,” Sweat said. “I think Braxton does a great job of being mature and learning the plays. I think he’ll be a good player.” On Saturday, Miller showed the dual-threat capabilities that made him such a highly prized recruit coming out of high school by routinely avoiding the pass rush and rushing for 19 yards on five carries. Senior running back Dan Herron said Miller’s elusiveness adds another dimension to the offense. “When you got a guy back there like Braxton who can throw it or run it, it gives you a lot of options,” Herron said. Joe Bauserman, Taylor Graham and Kenny Guiton are also in the mix to replace Pryor and all have more experience with the offense than Miller. But Tressel said Miller will have as much opportunity as anyone. “We’re going to play whoever we need to, and it doesn’t exclude Braxton,” Tressel said. Miller, who was the only quarterback to complete more than half of his passes, has played well enough to be in consideration to become the starter, and has also gained his teammates’ respect. “I was curious to see how he was going to do today in more of a live setting,” senior center Mike Brewster said. “And I told him. I said: ‘Man, you did a good job today. I’m proud of you.’ He’s just a high school guy out there doing that stuff. That’s pretty impressive.” But, Brewster said, spring ball is only the beginning. The right to be the starter in the fall might be earned during the next three months, as the team takes a break from practicing until summer camp. “Over the next few months, he’ll be in the film room learning,” Brewster said. “I’m sure Terrelle will be bringing him along.” Pryor, Herron, offensive lineman Mike Adams, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Tressel will join them for failing to report their violations. read more

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Ohio State mens soccer season ends with 20 loss to Michigan State

Senior defender Sage Gardner misses a penalty kick during a match against Michigan State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Nov. 13 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 2-0.Credit: Elizabeth Dickey / Lantern photographerFor the fourth consecutive season, the Ohio State men’s soccer team (5-8-5, 1-3-2) fell in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.After a scoreless first half, the Michigan State Spartans (11-4-3, 3-2-1) scored two goals in a span of 12 minutes en route to a 2-0 victory over the Buckeyes.Buckeye coach John Bluem said the team was well aware of the level of difficulty the Spartans brought into Wednesday’s match.“We knew that we were in for a difficult game and Michigan State is a very good team,” Bluem said. “We had to be at our very best to get a result tonight and we fell a little bit short of that.”The Spartans’ first goal came in the 57th minute when redshirt-senior midfielder Brent McIntosh scored his first goal of the season from 10 yards out.The Buckeyes had a chance to tie just three minutes later after Buckeye freshman forward Danny Jensen earned a Buckeye penalty kick when he was taken down inside the Spartan penalty box. Senior defender Sage Gardner took the shot for OSU, but the ball bounced off the crossbar and went out of bounds for a Spartan goal kick.Bluem said the missed penalty and the pressure of being down a goal was too much to rebound.“The first goal we made some bad mistakes and allowed them a goal,” Bluem said. “Then we have a chance to get back into it and unfortunately, Sage hits a great penalty but it’s an inch too much to the left. That kind of took the wind out of us.”In the 69th minute, the Spartans added to their lead after a goal from sophomore midfielder Sean Conerty. He scored after he received a bouncing ball on the left side of the box and volleyed it off the far post outside of Buckeye redshirt-junior goalkeeper Alex Ivanov’s reach.Junior midfielder Ryan Ivancic said the pressure from the second goal distracted the team from performing their original game plan.“We didn’t keep the ball as much as we wanted to,” Ivancic said. “They’re a good team. They put us under a lot of pressure.”Ivanov recorded nine saves in the game, bringing his total for the season to 110, good for fifth in program history for single-season saves.Bluem said the play of Ivanov throughout the season kept the team alive in some difficult times.“Ivy (Ivanov) has had a brilliant season,” Bluem said. “Without him, things could have been worse. He had a great year.”The Spartans ended the match with a 20-16 advantage in shots.The Buckeyes have been playing all season with a majority of younger players, having 10 freshmen, two walk-ons and five transfers. Ivancic said the inexperience may have played a role in the loss.“We’ve been playing with that (inexperience) all year and we found a stride in the last five games of the season,” Ivancic said. “But I think (inexperience) might have a little to do with it. They’re an older team and physicality showed a bit today.”Following the loss, other OSU players declined to comment. read more

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Ohio State baseball swept by Indiana in weekend series

Sophomore infielder Troy Kuhn (left) throws the ball to 1st base during a game against Indiana March 28 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU lost, 6-4.Credit: Nick Deibel / Lantern reporterThe Ohio State baseball team still has work to do if it wants to knock off reigning Big Ten champion Indiana.The Buckeyes (16-10, 2-4) showed signs of youth and inexperience while getting knocked around by the Hoosiers (15-10, 5-1), who swept a three-game series between the clubs.“I thought we played young,” coach Greg Beals said after his team lost the second game of a Sunday doubleheader, 7-1. “We made a lot of mistakes this weekend that younger teams make. The character of this ball club will be very important over the next week. When you face adversity, your character becomes defined and we’ll find out what we’re all about in the next week.”Bad weather postponed the middle game of the series from Saturday to Sunday, leading to the doubleheader.In the second game Sunday, freshman starting pitcher Tanner Tully got rattled early giving up one run in the first and three in the second.Tully settled in after that, and pitched five more innings, but the damage had already been done.The Hoosiers scored another in the seventh and two more off freshman Travis Lakins in the eighth to end the scoring and complete the sweep.Indiana’s sophomore starter Christian Morris dominated the Buckeye bats, giving up only three hits while pitching 7.2 innings.Redshirt-junior first baseman and pitcher Josh Dezse had an RBI groundout in the fourth to prevent the shutout.In the first game Sunday, it was the Buckeyes who drew first blood.With two outs and two men on in the third, Dezse hit a double off junior pitcher Kyle Hart to score both runners.That was all the Buckeye offense would muster, though.Senior pitcher Greg Greve held the Hoosiers scoreless for four innings, but gave up two home runs in the fifth that doomed the Buckeyes.Junior catcher Kyle Schwarber hit a two-run shot to right and redshirt-junior outfielder Scott Donley lined a solo shot to right for the go-ahead run.The Hoosiers added another four runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to give them an 8-2 win.“These two games don’t characterize how we play at all,” Dezse said Sunday. “From the field it seemed like we were flat. In the dugout it seemed like we were flat. I don’t know really what was going on there, but I do know we will bounce back.”Friday saw a much closer game, but the Buckeyes still fell short.The Hoosiers struck first in the third on an RBI single by Donley off Buckeye junior starting pitcher Ryan Riga.Junior infielder Sam Travis added to the lead in the fifth with an RBI single to right.The bats finally came alive for the Buckeyes in the sixth when they got to senior pitcher Joey DeNato.With men on the corners, Dezse hit a single to left to cut the lead in half and give the Buckeyes some confidence.The Hoosiers answered right back, though, scoring two runs each in the seventh and eighth.Down five runs, the Buckeyes stayed resilient and battled their way back in the ninth.With the bases loaded, senior outfielder Tim Wetzel plated one with a groundout to second to start the rally.Sophomore infielder and RBI leader Troy Kuhn came up to bat with two on and two outs. He hit a ground ball to short and the throw to first was wide, allowing both runners to score but Kuhn was thrown out trying to advance to second as the Hoosiers took the series opener 6-4.Trying to prove they are among the nation’s elite, the Buckeyes couldn’t capitalize on a big opportunity this weekend against a participant from last years College World Series.“We’re all out there trying our hardest, but it just didn’t go our way this series,” Wetzel said. “They outplayed us. Flat out. It’s really disappointing. What we talked about after the game was how we’re going to respond and it’s going to be a turning point in the season.”With two midweek games coming up, Dezse said that things will be different for both of them.“It is going to change. Whether it’s needed by force or our guys just realizing that that’s not our ball club.” Dezse said.The Buckeyes are next scheduled to take on Ohio at Bill Davis Stadium April 1 at 6:35 p.m. read more

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Football Hilliard Babb suffer injuries sidelining them indefinitely

Ohio State then-redshirt sophomore linebacker Justin Hilliard walks into the Hyatt Place to check in for fall camp on Aug. 6. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor.Ohio State confirmed Tuesday that senior linebacker Justin Hilliard and redshirt freshman wide receiver Kamryn Babb have sustained injuries that will sideline both indefinitely. The announcement did not come with clarification as to what the injuries were for both players. Lettermen Row reported Monday that Babb had sustained a non-contact knee injury after suffering an ACL tear that kept him off the field for the 2018 season. Ohio State did not confirm the specific injury for the redshirt freshman receiver, only that he would have surgery on the injury within the next week. According to the release, Hilliard has already had surgery for his injury. A former five-star recruit, Hilliard played in 12 games for the Buckeyes last season, accumulating 20 tackles, including a tackle for loss against Tulane on Sept. 22. Hilliard has played in 29 games for the Buckeyes in his four years with the program, recording 38 total tackles. read more

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Mission Impossiblestyle raiders cut through skylights and abseiled into warehouse to steal

first_imgExperts said the “jewel” in the haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus’s book. Above, the astronomer Credit:History Archive/REX/Shutterstock One book dealer thought to have lost £1 million in antique works in he heist said he has been left devastated by the raid.Alessandro Meda Riquier said 51 books, including by Galileo and rare editions of Dante’s Divine Comedy, had been taken.He told Sky News: “I’m very upset because this is not something you can buy everywhere.”Behind these books there is a lot of work because we have to search to try to find out where the books are – auction houses, collectors, colleagues – and there’s big research behind these books.”He added: “They are not only taking money away from me but also a big part of my job.”The books were being stored at the warehouse as they were due to be flown to the United States, reportedly for this weekend’s 50th California International Antiquarian Book Fair.The Metropolitan Police confirmed that a “number of valuable books” had been taken in the theft and appealed for information.A spokesman said: “Detectives are investigating a commercial burglary which occurred between January 29 to 30, 2017. A warehouse in Feltham was broken into and a number of valuable books were stolen.”Anyone with information should contact police via 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Experts said the "jewel" in the haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus's book. Above, the astronomer  They would be impossible to sell to any reputable dealer or auction house… There must be a collector behind itSource close to the case One dealer lost £680,000 of books in the heist, which happened in the early hours of Jan 30, while experts said the “jewel” in the haul was a 1566 copy of Nicolaus Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium worth around £215,000.Last night, experts speculated that the gang may have been working on behalf of a collector.One source told the newspaper: “They would be impossible to sell to any reputable dealer or auction house.“We’re not talking Picassos, or Rembrandts or even gold bars – these books would be impossible to fence. It must be for someone specialist. There must be a collector behind it.”Brian Lake, of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association, added: “Nothing like this has hit the rare books trade before.” Mission: Impossible-style raiders allegedly cut through skylights and abseiled into a warehouse in an audacious heist which saw them walk away with antique books worth more than £2 million.The gang targeted the warehouse in Heathrow, London, and used “commando-style” techniques to evade motion sensors, it has been claimed.They ignored other stock, including electrical items and cheaper books, and instead made off in an escape van with more than 160 of the world’s most valuable publications, the Mail on Sunday reported.last_img read more

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What happens now peers have voted to amend the Brexit Bill

first_imgPeers in the House of Lords have voted to amend European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill, which if passed by Parliament will allow the UK to start formal talks about leaving the EU.Why are the Lords amending the Brexit Bill?Peers feel they have a “moral” duty to step in to change the terms of Britain’s negotiating stance on leaving the European Union, despite MPs voting  by a clear majority to pass the legislation unamended.The peers voted despite threats from the Government that the House of Lords could be scrapped or flooded with new pro-Brexit peers it sought to frustrate the will of the House of Commons.How will the Government to overturn the Lords decision?The amended Bill will return to the Commons, in a procedure known as “ping-pong”. MPs will vote to scrap the amendment and return it to the House of Lords.Monday March 13 and Tuesday 14 March have been set aside for MPs to vote down any Lords amendments.Peers have made clear that they are unlikely to fight further if MPs vote down their amendments, Baroness Smith the Labour Leader of the Lords said on Feb 20. But last night Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, hinted that his MPs might be whipped to support the measure in the House of Commons.He said the Lords decision was “great news”, adding: “The government must now do the decent thing and guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.”Still, depending on the vote, the Bill is likely to receive royal assent is likely to be granted on Wednesday 15 March – allowing Mrs May formally to start the process of Britain leaving the EU. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Can Brexit still be triggered by the end of March?Number 10 is adamant that this set back will not delay the timetable of formally starting talks to leave the EU by the end of March.last_img read more

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Argos under pressure to recall exploding glass tables

first_imgArgos is under pressure to recall a line of glass-topped patio tables after complaints about them shattering in hot weather.Customers said the glass in the “potentially deadly” £199 Argos Sicily table unexpectedly exploded.One mother, Lindsay McGladdery, 36, said it happened as her sat on the lawn a few yards away. Her son, four, and niece, two, narrowly avoided injury, she said. Barry Williams and wife Kerry with their childrenCredit:Solent News & Photo Agency Mrs McGladdery found other examples from as far back as 2013 when Julie Wyett wrote on Argos’ Facebook page: “The glass in my table has just exploded for no reason apart from it’s sunny outside.”Mother-of-three Georgina Bailey, 45, of Rayleigh, Essex, also said: “I’m still finding bits of glass now and it’s a year on.”Contract manager Barry Williams demanded that Asda recall their £130 Miami eight-piece patio set after his “exploded into a thousand pieces”.Mr Williams, of Drayton, Hants, said his four children had been sitting around the table a minute earlier.An Argos spokesman said: “We have apologised to Mrs McGladdery for her experience, which wasn’t up to our usual high standards. The safety of our customers is extremely important to us.”Asda apologised to Mr Williams and said such incidents are rare and that the table had passed safety requirements. Both firms offered refunds. The table left small jagged shards all over the floorCredit:Solent News & Photo Agency Expert Warren Evans, of manufacturer UK Glass, explained how the accidents may have happened.”The sun basically makes glass expand and contract and if there are impurities in the glass, when it cools down it will shatter,” he said.Mrs McGladdery alerted Argos by phone, Facebook, in store and also email after the incident last Thursday and was furious her warnings were dismissed.Following her Facebook alert, a woman called Claire Louise posted: “This has just happened to me” — along with photos. The table left small jagged shards all over the floor Barry Williams and wife Kerry with their children Mrs McGladdery, an NHS admin co-ordinator, told The Sun: “If we had still been sat there who knows what would have happened. “These tables are dangerous and potentially deadly.”They need to recall them.”She and her husband James, 28, have since suffered cuts after stepping on glass hidden in their lawn in Torquay, Devon.The retailers have been accused of failing to act over concerns. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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The charts that show what life is like for Britains million LGBT

first_imgThe UK is celebrating the 50 year anniversary of homosexuality being legalised, just a month after thousands took to the streets in this year’s Pride parade. More men say they identify as LGB than women, but more women than men identify as bisexual. According to the ONS, a further… London has the highest proportion of LGB-identifying population.center_img The Sexual Offences Act received royal assent on 27 July 1967 – some 50 years ago – and it decriminalised homosexual acts in private for men aged above 21 years old. Now, the latest figures show that there are an estimated 920,000 people in the UK who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual – making up 1.7 per cent of the population, or one in 58 people.last_img read more

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Former Royal Marine attacks Lake District farmer as he tries to move

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. “There was a further exchange of words and, without warning, suddenly there was a bang to the complainant’s head and pain to the left side of his face,” Ms Faux said.Mr Taylforth went to hospital where an X-ray revealed he had fractured his eye socket in three places and had a displaced fracture to his left cheekbone. A former Royal Marine attacked a farmer whilst out walking in the Lake District after he was asked to wait while he moved his sheep, a court has heard.Karl Page, 28, left Robin Taylforth with multiple facial fractures after punching him at picturesque Patterdale, close to Ullswater lake, Carlisle Crown Court heard.Rachel Faux, prosecuting, said the victim was herding a number of ewes and lambs which had strayed on to an open pasture back to his farm.Page and his girlfriend, Gemma Pemberton, were seen to be “in the midst of an argument about their relationship”.Mr Taylforth asked the couple to wait as he took his flock across a cattle grid and told Page to “use a bit of common sense”.Page, from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, then held out his collapsible walking pole in order to stop the Mr Taylforth, who stepped behind the couple. The incident happened near Ullswater in the Lake DistrictCredit:kodachrome25center_img The incident happened near Ullswater in the Lake District The fractures were repaired during an operation under general anaesthetic.However, the farmer later reported difficulty sleeping and said he had had to employ external help to carry out work he could not do.”He describes being apprehensive when speaking to members of the public passing through the farm,” Ms Faux added.Page, a keen fell walker, gym owner and personal trainer, told police he had not heard what the farmer had shouted that dayand recalled feeling “threatened and intimidated”.”He accepted it didn’t excuse what he did. In hindsight he had done completely the wrong thing,” the prosecutor said. He admitted inflicting grievous bodily harm in the incident last May.Judge James Adkin handed Page an eight-month jail term suspended for two years. He ordered him to observe a five-month night-time curfew and pay his victim £2,000 compensation.Judge Adkin told him: “It rather looks like you didn’t like being told what to do in front of your girlfriend which, for a 28-year-old, is rather pathetic.”last_img read more

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