- November 2019
- October 2019
- September 2019
- August 2019
- July 2019
- February 2019
- January 2019
- December 2018
- November 2018
- October 2018
- September 2018
- August 2018
- July 2018
- June 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
- February 2018
- January 2018
- December 2017
- November 2017
- September 2017
- August 2017
- July 2017
Month: September 2019
Louisville and South Florida play Monday night in the second-round women’s NCAA tournament game that our March Madness predictions have the least certainty about. We’re giving Louisville, the No. 3 seed in the Albany region, a 52 percent chance to beat South Florida and advance to the Sweet Sixteen. It might as well be a coin flip. No other favorite in a second-round game had less than a 66 percent chance of winning.Why is the game so tough to call? It has more to do with the unusual structure of the women’s tournament’s first two rounds than with the teams involved. Typically, the top four seeds in each region get to host the first two rounds. This year, that happened for 15 of 16 top-four seeds. Louisville was the exception, because its arena is busy hosting men’s tournament games. Rather than head to a neutral site, the Cardinals had to travel to the arena of the next highest-seeded team in its quartet: South Florida’s Sun Dome in Tampa.Home court advantage typically is worth 3.5 points in women’s college hoops. So this scheduling conflict adds up to a 7-point swing in the Bulls’ favor as they look to make a dent in the Cardinals’ 26-4 record against them and avenge a loss last year that effectively knocked them out of the tournament.“Both teams know each other, are very familiar with both styles, with personnel, so it’s a shame we’re meeting this early in the tournament,” South Florida coach Jose Fernandez told the Tampa Bay Times. “But I’m glad we’re home.”That bit of scheduling luck, and not South Florida’s strength, is what boosts the Bulls’ chances so much. South Florida is good for a 6 seed: Our mashup of power ratings and rankings says the Bulls are the 20th best team in the field, so they probably should have gotten a 5 seed. But Louisville might also have been underseeded. It’s the eighth-highest-rated team in the field, which usually is good enough for a 2 seed. The Cardinals won their first-round game by 33 points, compared to a 9-point win for South Florida. Texas, the fifth seed in the Albany region, and No. 4 California were rated much more closely than Louisville and South Florida are. In fact, Texas rated slightly higher than Cal, yet Cal, playing at home in Berkeley, had a two-in-three chance of winning. (Texas pulled off the upset, 73-70.)Monday night’s toss-up game is a good argument for changing the best-teams-host model in the early rounds, for two reasons. First, choosing neutral sites in advance would prevent the double-booking of arenas such as Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center. And second, the women’s tournament probably would have more competitive games if it didn’t boost its already-strong favorites with hosting privileges.Through Sunday, men’s favorites, playing in neutral arenas, have struggled more than women’s teams that get to host their competition. Two of 16 men’s teams seeded fourth or better lost in the round of 64, and five more went down in the next round. The teams averaged a winning margin of 12.3 points in the round of 64 and 4.4 points in the next round. By contrast, all of the 15 women’s teams that were seeded that high and got to host made it to the round of 32, and just three of the eight that played at home on Sunday lost there. The 15 teams averaged a 23.3-point win in the first round and a 9.5-point win in the second round. Some of the difference is due to a wider spread of talent in the women’s field.1The difference between the eighth- and 24th-best teams in our normalized pre-tournament team ratings gives a sense of how big the spread is, since teams of around those levels play typical round-of-32 games. In both the men’s and women’s fields this year, that spread is 5 points. So this year the men’s field is about as spread out as the women’s, thanks in part to the men’s field being unusually top-heavy.Until the women’s tournament removes favorites’ hosting rights, here’s a more modest proposal for schools that have women’s teams as strong as Louisville’s (Elite Eight last year, national runner-up the year before): Don’t host men’s tournament games on the opening weekend, lest you put your women’s team at a competitive disadvantage.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.
In this Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017, file photo, Former NFL football player Anquan Boldin, left, Philadelphia Eagles Malcolm Jenkins, center, and San Francisco 49ers Eric Reid, right, speak to the media outside the league’s headquarters after meetings in New York. San Francisco 49ers linebacker Eric Reid says he left AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after scrubbing a White House visit by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, President Donald Trump appeared to challenge a new NFL policy that requires players to stand if they’re on the field during the national anthem or stay in the locker room.Trump initially praised the policy after the NFL announced it last month.Seizing an opportunity to fan a culture war he has stoked, Trump tweeted Tuesday: “Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!”Instead of hailing Eagles players for their work on the field and in their community, the White House is staging a “Celebration of America” featuring music provided by U.S. military bands and choruses.“We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!” Trump tweeted.In a separate tweet, he named the championship teams that have visited the White House during his presidency, including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots and some college sports teams.Trump’s announcement was the latest signal that tensions remain high around the NFL protests that began in 2016 when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began silently kneeling on the sidelines during the anthem. Kaepernick’s protest was intended to raise awareness around systemic racism and, specifically, the killing of black men by police.Trump said in a statement Monday that some Eagles players “disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”He said the team wanted to send a smaller delegation Tuesday, but “the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”None of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in 2017.One person set to attend the ceremony told The Associated Press less than half of the team’s 53-man roster planned to go to the White House. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the decision.Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Tuesday criticized Trump’s decision and questioned Trump’s patriotism.“When he had the opportunity to serve his country for real, his father got him out of it, and I think it’s really disingenuous for him to talk about patriotism in any way shape or form,” Kenney told CNN, referring to military deferments Trump obtained that kept him from being sent to Vietnam during the war.Kenney earlier had called Trump “a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend.”Last week, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he would not attend the ceremony and participate in a group photo to “to avoid being used as any kind of pawn.” In addition to Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long was the most outspoken player against going. Quarterback Carson Wentz had planned to attend.The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what prompted the change of plans and why the circumstances were different from other events honoring winning teams, such as the NFL’s New England Patriots. Some Patriots players boycotted the visit.Trump wrote on Twitter late Monday that “Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event.”Several players asked about Trump’s decision declined to respond. A statement from the Eagles did not directly addressing the White House cancellation.“Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration,” the team statement read. “We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season.”Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who said previously that he planned to skip the visit, responded with a series of tweets.“So many lies,” he wrote, adding, “Not many people were going to go.”Smith, who played with the Eagles before being traded to the Carolina Panthers in March, added: “No one refused to go simply because Trump ‘insists’ folks stand for the anthem. … The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti-military.”He went on: “There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”Trump praised the NFL’s new anthem policy after the league announced it last month. The policy forbids players from sitting or taking a knee on the field during the anthem but allows them to stay in the locker room. Violations would result in fines against the teams.“I think that’s good,” Trump told “Fox & Friends” in an interview last month. “I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., invited the Eagles to visit Capitol Hill instead.“I’m proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year. I’m skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How about a tour of the Capitol?” he wrote.White House legislative director Marc Short told CNN he didn’t know who had canceled on whom, but said, “It’s unfortunate when politics gets in the middle of this.”
87654321abcdefgh Back to Monday’s chess: On his 13th move, Carlsen pushed his black pawn forward to a5. Pieces were exchanged on that square over the next few moves, and the queenside became wide open — a vast Wild West of squares marauded by rooks and queens. Game 3 of the World Chess Championship in London, like the two games that came before it, ended in a draw — 49 moves and a touch more than four hours. The best-of-12 championship is currently level at 1.5 points apiece in a race to 6.5 points and the game’s most important prize.1Wins are worth 1 point, draws 0.5 points and losses 0 points.Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the three-time defending world champ and world No. 1, is looking for a fourth crown. Fabiano Caruana, the U.S. challenger and world No. 2, is trying to become the first American to claim the world title since Bobby Fischer in 1972. It’s the first time since 1990 that the world’s two top-rated grandmasters have met in this match — but it’s been a bloodless battle thus far.On Monday, Caruana controlled the white pieces and Carlsen the black. The pair began Game 3 with an opening called the Sicilian Defence, specifically its Rossolimo Variation. It was the same opening they played in Game 1 — which ended in an epic seven-hour draw — and the first five moves exactly matched those from that earlier game. But they deviated dramatically from this familiar ground on move 6, when Carlsen moved his queen to the c7 square. Caruana glanced around the soundproof glass room in which they played, looking slightly befuddled.But Caruana responded quickly, and after his move (rook to e1), the position on the world championship board had cropped up only once before in a high-level game, according to ChessBase — an otherwise forgotten game played in Hanoi in 1995. That rare position looked like this: A quick word on this opening’s eponymous Rossolimo himself seems warranted, given that Monday’s game was lacking in fireworks and Rossolimo’s name has figured more prominently thus far in this world championship than any but Caruana and Carlsen. He was Nicolas Rossolimo, Renaissance man: one of the U.S.’s 12 grandmasters at the time, fluent in Russian, Greek, French and English, and the “proprietor of a chess studio,” which became a second home to some players. He was also a judo master and a New York City cab driver and recorded an album of Russian folk songs, according to The New York Times. He died in 1975 after a fall near the storied Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan. Magnus Carlsen ponders his next move against Fabiano Caruana during Game 3 of the 2018 World Chess Championship. World Chess
This view suggests the U.S. may have reached a new plateau. The performance of the 2002 team, for instance, is problematic from this vantage point. If the U.S. fails to beat Belgium on Tuesday, that means it will have gone three World Cups without equaling (much less improving upon) the 2002 team’s performance. Perhaps we’re left with the global soccer equivalent of the Atlanta Hawks: a team that will usually make the “playoffs” then lose in the first round.This might seem like a contrived reading of the evidence. But mapping the Americans’ trajectory from 1986 onward is also selective: It’s easy to make an upward pattern look more impressive by starting from what you know to be a low point.There’s a credible story behind each theory. Under the steady-improvement theory, the story is one of demographic and cultural trends abetted by some measure of self-perpetuating success (a positive feedback loop). Soccer has been a big youth-participation sport since the 1970s, but immigration from Latin America may be giving the U.S. even more young athletes who are interested in soccer. The occasional successes of the U.S. men’s national team, along with an increasingly popular domestic league (and improved television visibility for the English Premier League and Liga MX) may motivate some of these young athletes to play soccer professionally instead of transitioning into baseball, football or another sport.The punctuated-equilibrium theory suggests that the U.S. was badly underachieving its soccer potential for many years. Then it got its act together when it was chosen to host a World Cup: better facilities, more investment in the national team, a sustainable domestic league and so forth. But it was picking low-hanging fruit. It shouldn’t be that difficult for a super-wealthy country like the United States, which excels at so many other sports, to be half-decent at soccer if it tries.What’s more challenging is going from a country that sometimes makes the knockout phase to one that sometimes makes the World Cup semifinals — or beyond. It’s not clear that the U.S.’s wealth, or its athletic prowess, implies that it ought to be much more successful at soccer than it has been in recent years. For instance, we can compare each country’s GDP (taken as a natural logarithm) against its soccer team’s Elo rating as of June. There’s certainly some relationship, but it’s rough (soccer is a comparatively inexpensive sport). The trendline in the chart implies that a best guess for the United States is an Elo rating somewhere in mid-1,800s, almost exactly where it is today.The same story holds if we compare the number of medals each country has won at the Summer Olympics since 2000 (again taken as a natural logarithm5Because a number of countries have won no medals since 2000 — meaning that their natural logarithm would be undefined — I instead take the log of the number of medals won plus one.) against its soccer team’s Elo rating.There’s a high margin of error on these estimates. China’s GDP (and its Olympic medal count) is just a little less than the United States’ — but its soccer team has qualified for only one World Cup and has gotten worse in recent years. Germany also has a big economy and a big medal count — and its soccer team is great. The point is that the U.S. men’s national team is no longer underachieving reasonable expectations, as it was before the 1990s. Nor is it exceeding them. Perhaps what we’ve seen is about what we’re due to get in a populous, wealthy, athletic country — where interest in soccer is average, at best, by global standards.The success of the U.S. women’s national soccer team stands in contrast to that of the men’s. But soccer players are among the highest-profile female athletes in the U.S., suggesting that part of the problem for the men’s side is competition from other sports.The punctuated-equilibrium theory would imply that it may take some time for the U.S. men’s team to reach the next plateau. Perhaps an external catalyst would help: another American World Cup, a run to the World Cup semifinals, the emergence of an American soccer player who is recognized as among the best in the world. (Personally, I’d hope for him to be as brash as Cristiano Ronaldo, the better to spark headlines and stoke rivalries with other countries.) But it could be a long while before any of those things happen, and there could be some further delay before their feedback effects kick in.Or it could be that the steady-improvement theory is right. It also reflects a reasonable interpretation of the evidence. The data on youth interest in soccer is very encouraging, for instance.Tuesday’s game against Belgium will provide us with one data point — but just one. Unlike in the past, however, we might not need to wait four years for the next one. Instead, in 2016, the United States will host the Copa América Centenario, a special one-off tournament that will feature the best teams from both North and South America. It could serve as a preview of our soccer future. Playing at home produces the equivalent of an 100 Elo-point bonus — equal to eight years of improvement for the U.S. based on its 1986 to 2014 trajectory. If the U.S. will be ready to compete with the Colombias and Argentinas and Brazils of the world on neutral turf by 2022 and 2026, it should be able to do so on home soil in 2016.CORRECTION (July 1, 4:54 p.m.): A chart in an earlier version of this post mislabeled the Elo ratings vs. Olympic medal counts for China and Russia. The chart has been updated. For the United States, almost every recent World Cup match has been billed as the most important game in the history of the men’s national team. Its knockout-stage match against Belgium on Tuesday isn’t receiving quite as much hype.1The New Republic does describe the U.S.-Belgium game as the “most important sporting event in American history.” That’s apparently a joke, however. But a win would advance the U.S. to the World Cup quarterfinals for a Saturday afternoon match against Argentina or Switzerland. That would probably be the most-watched game in U.S. soccer history — the first World Cup quarterfinal that many American fans would ever see their men play live.2The U.S. advanced to the quarterfinals in 2002, but its game against Germany was played in South Korea at 7:30 a.m. Eastern time on a Saturday morning — not ideal viewing hours. The U.S. also advanced from its group to the semifinals in the inaugural World Cup in 1930, but that was when just four teams made the knockout stage.It’s tempting to say that these matches are the soccer equivalent of political “game changers” — much-ballyhooed events that seem exciting at the time but which rarely have as much lasting impact as the pundits claim. But it’s not unreasonable to feel as though every World Cup game is more important than the last. It’s a consequence of the long-term state of U.S. soccer.On the one hand, expectations are getting higher. The U.S. advanced from the group stage in 1994, 2002, 2010 and now 2014. Matches against England or Portugal or Germany are now thought of as opportunities rather than sure losses. On the other hand, the men’s national team has never quite had its breakthrough moment.When might the bar be raised? When might U.S. fans view a Round of 16 exit as a travesty and not a triumph?If you’re in your mid-30s, like me, the advance of the U.S. men’s national team might seem as inevitable as that of gay marriage. You’ll be just old enough to remember that the U.S. was once a soccer backwater. But you might not remember how long it took the Americans to get where they are today. The trajectory since the 1980s has always been upward:This chart shows the Elo rating for the U.S. in each World Cup year3Specifically, it shows the U.S.’s Elo rating as of the date of the World Cup final — whether or not the U.S. actually qualified for the tournament. For 2014, I’ve used the U.S.’s Elo rating at the end of the group stage. since 1986 — the last World Cup where the Americans failed to qualify, and the last one before 1988, when FIFA declared the 1994 World Cup would be played in the U.S.From this perspective, the upward trend has been extremely steady. In fact, other than the 2002 team arriving in the quarterfinals a little ahead of schedule, it’s been almost perfectly linear. Since 1986, the U.S.’s Elo rating has improved by almost exactly 50 points every four years.Imagine that the trend continues. Right now, the U.S. team’s Elo rating is nearly 1,850, which places it 15th in the world. Add another 50 points, and by 2018 it would be at 1,900 — somewhere around eighth or 10th in the world and near where Belgium and Uruguay and France are today. That’s a team that could be a dark-horse World Cup contender. By 2026, its Elo rating would be 2,000 — not far from where Argentina, Germany and the Netherlands began this year’s tournament. So in just 12 more years — in a World Cup that could possibly be held in the United States — the U.S. will be a global soccer powerhouse.Or perhaps not. Consider another look at the evidence, one where we run the numbers back further. For much of the 1970s, there was a lot of hope surrounding the growth of U.S. soccer, but the men’s national team repeatedly failed to qualify for the World Cup. In one year, the U.S. failed to win a single qualifying match. But let’s go back ever further, to 1950. This tells a different story. The men’s national team got worse from 1950 to 1958, bottomed out for almost 30 years with no sign of life, improved rather sharply in a concentrated period from 1986 through 2002, and has been fairly steady since.Yes, the U.S. has still gotten better by this reckoning — but it looks more like a case of punctuated equilibrium — a sudden change after years of stasis.4The so-called punctuated trend in the chart is drawn by fitting a regression with a dummy variable that is taken as zero between 1950 and 1986 and one between 2002 and 2014 and allowed to vary at a linear rate only in the intervening years.
6/2/85Celtics@Lakers3NBA Finals-254.3 5/30/14Pacers@Heat6East final-255.6 5/22/00Lakersvs.Blazers2West final-290.1✓ 25+ point blowouts of conference No. 1 seeds in the NBA playoffs, 1984-2016 6/2/95Magic@Pacers6East final-272.2✓ 5/27/01Spurs@Lakers4West final-292.5 5/3/07Mavericks@Warriors6West Rd. 1-252.2 5/27/85Lakers@Celtics1NBA Finals-340.3✓ 5/26/15Hawks@Cavaliers4East final-302.8 5/25/01Spurs@Lakers3West final-390.2 In the NBA playoffs, No. 1 seeds have a special air of authority about them. Since the league expanded to a 16-team playoff format in 1984, top-seeded teams have won their conference about 55 percent of the time; unlike in sports that feature heavy randomness, it’s a surprise when the best team doesn’t win out in the NBA.But that doesn’t mean top seeds are invincible, as the Golden State Warriors found out Sunday night in Oklahoma when they lost 133-105. With the series tied 1-1, the Warriors were facing the most crucial game of their season — and the Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely shellacked them. Going back again to ’84, it tied for the 14th-worst defeat of a conference No. 1 seed in the playoffs: 6/7/98Jazz@Bulls3NBA Finals-420.1% 5/11/10Cavaliersvs.Celtics5East Rd. 2-32<0.1 6/16/00Lakers@Pacers5NBA Finals-330.3✓ 6/3/84Celtics@Lakers3NBA Finals-330.4✓ 6/14/88Lakers@Pistons4NBA Finals-253.5✓ 6/11/13Heat@Spurs3NBA Finals-360.2✓ Half of those 14 losses came in the NBA Finals, and six featured a No. 1 seed from one conference crushing its counterpart from the the other — not exactly comparable to Dubs-Thunder. So if you toss those out, Golden State’s loss is tied for the seventh-most-lopsided defeat by a No. 1 in the past 33 postseasons of conference play. (It’s also tied for ninth-worst among playoff losses by No. 1 overall seeds during that span.)The Thunder are a high-quality basketball team, perhaps far better than they appeared to be at various points during the regular season. But the degree to which they dominated the Warriors in Game 3 was stunning. According to the pregame Elo ratings (our pet metric for estimating each team’s strength at a given moment), there was a mere 1.1 percent probability that OKC would run up a victory margin of 28 or more points Sunday.1Based on a process similar to the NFL version I used here. We’ve hardly ever seen this incarnation of the Warriors destroyed so thoroughly, and never in a game that meant so much.Putting aside why it happened — yes, the Warriors had one of their worst (unluckiest?) shot-making nights of the season, but they also played some of their most porous defense of the year and looked out of sorts for long stretches of the game — Golden State’s Game 3 drubbing has left the team in trouble. Both opponents being equal, the team that wins at home in a 1-1 series goes on to win the series more than 69 percent of the time. And although we wouldn’t have considered the Warriors and Thunder to be equals before the West final tipped off, OKC has closed the gap considerably since then. (Plus, Draymond Green is at risk of being suspended for Game 4 after kicking Steven Adams in the crotch for the second time this series.) Now, our model considers the Thunder 64 percent favorites to make the NBA Finals.Plenty of historical teams who suffered similarly huge routs bounced back and won the series anyway, so all is not lost in Oakland. But the Warriors will have to regroup after a Game 3 performance that put them in an exclusive, unenviable club of vulnerable No. 1 seeds.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 5/24/87Celtics@Pistons4East final-262.2✓ 5/22/16Warriors@Thunder3West final-281.1— DATETEAMOPPONENTGAMEROUNDMARGINELO PROB.WON SERIES 5/19/88Lakers@Jazz6West Rd. 2-281.2✓ Source: Basketball-Reference.com 6/17/08Lakers@Celtics6NBA Finals-390.1 6/4/05Heat@Pistons6East final-252.3 5/21/92Bullsvs.Cavaliers2East final-260.2✓ 5/30/96Sonics@Jazz6West final-350.3✓ 6/3/92Blazers@Bulls1NBA Finals-330.8
All newsletters See more college football predictions Oh, and don’t forgetKasparov with the jokes We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe Things That Caught My EyeOhtani narrows it to sevenJapanese pitcher Shohei Ohtani has narrowed his search for a MLB team down to seven, with New York and Boston notably absent from the list. Right now Ohtani looks to be 20 percent higher than the league average in ERA and on-base-plus-slugging, which is nuts. Only a few dozen players each year beat the 20 percent above average benchmark in either stat, it’d be crazy to hit both. [FiveThirtyEight]Russia’s bannedRussia was banned from competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in light of the complex doping regime the nation operated throughout the Sochi games. So far 11 medals have been stripped from Russians. But with the nation out of the 2018 games, it’s worth looking at which nations may stand to gain. Had Russia not competed in Sochi, and its 33 medals been reallocated, China would have left with five more, Norway four, Germany, Canada, France, Italy and the U.S. three. [FiveThirtyEight]African players making gains in the NFLNative-born and first-generation African players are all over the NFL, with 30 teams having at least one African on their roster. Cleveland has the league high, with B.J. Bello, David Njoku, Emmanuel Ogbah, Larry Ogunjobi, and Victor Salako. African players have been making steady gains in the NFL since Howard Simon Mwikuta played for the Cowboys in a 1970 preseason game, and players who have returned home to start development programs have accelerated that progress. [The Undefeated]A Jonas testifies in soccer corruption trialKevin Jonas, one of the Jonas Brothers, testified in Brooklyn that yes, he had gone to a Paul McCartney concert in Buenos Aires in 2010. The circumstances surrounding the testimony have to do with the trial of Juan Angel Napout for money laundering, racketeering and wire fraud. Napout allegedly used his FIFA influence to score tickets to that concert. His lawyers refused to concede there even was a Paul McCartney concert, so prosecutors called on a celeb to solve the problem. Soccer is weird. [Vice Sports]Try out our fun new interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?LeBron remains the bestLeBron James remains as good as ever, notching career highs in true shooting percentage, three point percentage, assist percentage, block percentage, and the second highest free throw percentage of his career. While his defense is slightly off his peak performance, James hasn’t really missed much of a step. [FiveThirtyEight]They did it!The New York Giants are cleaning house, firing GM Jerry Reese and coach Ben McAdoo after a disastrous season. The team is in the capable hands of defensive coordinator, a man who is 10-38 as a head coach. [NorthJersey.com]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!Big Number284 kgCongratulations to Sarah Robles, who won the 2017 IWF World Weightlifting Championships, becoming the first U.S. woman to take gold since 1994. Robles lifted 126 kg in the snatch and 158 kg in the clean and jerk (three kilograms shy of the record) for a total of 284 kilograms. [Team USA]Leaks from Slack: emily : See more NBA predictions College Football emily :!! that means the two biggest buildings at nike HQ will be named after Serena Williams and Mia Hamm. hell yeah !!(also cause I guess the new big WHQ buildings are getting athlete names.. so the whole “She’s the only one!!!” isn’t exactly true)Predictions NFL NBA See more NFL predictions
INDIANAPOLIS — The Purdue Boilermakers upset top-seeded Ohio State in the 2017 Big Ten women’s basketball tournament. Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) facilitates the offense against Purdue during the Boilermakers’ 71-60 win against the Buckeyes at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on March 4. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports Director
When the Buckeyes step into Gentile Arena in Chicago on Saturday and senior outside hitter Mik Berzins looks at the opposing team’s bench, he will see two people he knows quite well. “I’ve grown accustomed to playing my brothers over at Loyola,” he said. “It’s a good rivalry.” Berzins’ brothers, Kris and Dainis, have made the family name synonymous with volleyball at Loyola University Chicago, just as their father paved the way for Mik at Ohio State. The tradition begins with OSU Hall of Famer, Aldis Berzins. The Olympic gold medalist and former outside hitter led the Buckeyes to four Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association championships and four NCAA Final Four appearances between 1975 and 1978. Like father, like sons. Kris, Mik and Dainis have played at the outside hitter position and have made strides within their respective programs. Even the youngest Berzins, sophomore Dainis, started in 21 sets last year and tallied 113 kills, according to Loyola’s athletic website. “We all really support each other and want to have the other one do well,” Mik said. “I’m not going to cheer whenever Dainis gets a kill, but I wish him the best.” Former all-American Kris Berzins amassed more than 1,000 kills and 500 digs in his career with the Ramblers, one of only seven players in school history to do so. After a year on the professional circuit in Austria, Kris returned to Chicago as an assistant coach for the 2012 season. Ramblers’ coach Shane Davis said he tried to recruit Mik, too. “I thought we had him,” Davis said. “He took another look at Ohio State unfortunately, but we definitely wanted him.” Mik said he chose OSU over Loyola because he could see himself succeeding in the versatile program. “I came in as a libero, and I got the opportunity this year, and a little bit last year, to play some outside hitter,” he said. “Ohio State was the best place for me to go.” Mik has helped propel the Buckeyes to an 11-4 record with 120 kills, 10 service aces and a 0.928 serve percentage so far this season. He also has the most career digs in school history with 787. OSU’s coach Pete Hanson describes Mik as a passer, defender and server, but not one to be distracted by the family feud that awaits him this weekend. “Mik does a great job for us,” Hanson said. “He’ll be in a good frame of mind in terms of Ohio State volleyball.” The Buckeyes are 28-13 on the series against conference rival Loyola, and are on a five-match winning streak. The No. 14-ranked Ramblers have fared better at home, however, with a 9-7 record against OSU there. Davis, who shared the MIVA Coach of the Year award with Hanson in 2010, said that he is most looking forward to “all the hype” surrounding the match. “The two teams, we have a lot of history together,” he said. The trio from Brinklow, Md., will reunite Saturday after OSU makes a stop in Romeoville, Ill., to face No. 7-ranked Lewis on Thursday. Both matches are set to begin at 7 p.m.
Pucks take funky bounces, sticks break in crucial moments and ice surfaces can vary from location to location.Home ice advantage is visible in numerous buildings, but perhaps no other arena better demonstrates the buoyant lift of enthused supporters better than Wisconsin’s Kohl Center.After his team played in the acclaimed arena Saturday night, Ohio State men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik had no doubt of its place within the game.“This is the best atmosphere, to me, in college hockey,” Rohlik said in an interview with U.S. College Hockey Online. “The student section doesn’t compare anywhere else.”That’s what makes the Buckeyes’ 3-1 win over the Badgers Saturday night so impressive. Faced with that atmosphere and a four-game winless streak, OSU (12-9-1, 2-5-1-0) managed to hand No. 9 Wisconsin (14-7-1, 5-3-0-0) only its second home loss of the season.In a place where it pays to have experience, it turned out to be some of the younger Buckeyes who played a significant part in the win.First there was freshman goalie Christian Frey who, in only his fourth career start, made 36 saves to hold a team tied for fifth in the nation in scoring to just one goal.Though his performance has drawn a lot of praise, Frey said he couldn’t have done it alone.“The guys in front of me made it easy,” Frey said. “We really pulled together as a team and played a great team game, and it was a big win.”With Frey holding down the defensive end of things, it was freshman forward Nick Schilkey who had a big hand in leading the Buckeyes’ attack. Schilkey skated nearly the length of the ice to score the game’s tying goal, then helped set up junior forward Nick Oddo to score the winning marker.Schilkey said he aims to be as consistent as possible while also helping out in the goal-scoring department whenever he can.“I try to play well defensively and make sure I’m not being a liability out there,” Schilkey said. “When I get a weekend like this past one, it’s nice to see things pay off.”Frey, who was added to the roster in December, said he experienced the togetherness of this OSU team from day one.“All the guys are unbelievable,” Frey said. “I think it’s been an awesome experience for me and I’m really glad I came here.”With freshmen like Frey and Schilkey combining with seasoned upperclassmen, OSU seems to have found a winning formula.Maybe that’s one of the reasons Rohlik had a smile on his face after Saturday’s game. It seemed as if he realized a performance like that — one where every player stood up to the challenge — could really shape the Buckeyes’ season.“I’m proud of the guys that stepped up in the lineup tonight,” Rohlik said in the interview with U.S. College Hockey Online. “I think the NFL says it now, ‘It’s the next man standing.’ That’s kind of been our attitude from goalies, to (defensemen), to forwards, whoever.”Next up the Buckeyes are scheduled to host a weekend series against Penn State (4-15-1, 0-6-0) Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.
Senior guard Aaron Craft (4) caries the ball down the court in a game against Dayton. OSU lost, 60-59, at First Niagara Center March 20.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorThe Ohio State men’s basketball team has bolstered its strength of schedule for the upcoming season with the addition of a former national champion.OSU spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed Thursday the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Louisville Cardinals Dec. 2 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.The matchup is one of 14 games set to be played as a part of the 16th annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The previous two challenges were split by the two conferences.The Cardinals, which won the 2013 NCAA national championship, finished the 2013-14 season 31-6 and 15-3, including a win over the eventual national champion Connecticut in the inaugural American Athletic Conference championship game. Louisville fell to rival Kentucky in the Sweet 16, 74-69.The Buckeyes’ season ended when OSU lost to the Dayton Flyers in the second round of the NCAA tournament, 60-59.OSU is set to enter the 2014-15 season without three of its starters from last season as junior forward LaQuinton Ross declared for the NBA Draft and senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. are set to graduate. Sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle also left the program to pursue a professional career in Italy.The Buckeyes are set to welcome a top five recruiting class to Columbus, according to ESPN, as well as bringing in transfer forwards Anthony Lee, a former redshirt-junior from Temple, and Trevor Thompson, a former freshman from Virginia Tech. Lee will be eligible to play immediately for coach Thad Matta, while Thompson is expected to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer regulations.
Senior midfielder Yianni Sarris looks for a teammate during a game against Akron on Sept. 24 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 3-1.Credit: Ben JacksonAlex Ivanov seemingly can’t catch a break. Following a 10-save losing effort on Sunday, Ohio State’s redshirt-senior goalkeeper faced 12 shots on goal in Ohio State’s 3-1 loss to Akron on Wednesday night.The Zips (4-2-1) peppered the Buckeyes (2-2-3) with an offensive onslaught that handed OSU its first home defeat of the season. Coming off a 1-0 loss to then-No. 10 Penn State, the Buckeyes’ attempt to regain momentum was stifled by Akron’s potent attack.“Akron’s always really good at keeping possession in the final third,” OSU junior midfielder Zach Mason said. “They’re just a dynamic team and they’re always tough to play against.”Scoring opened 12 minutes into the match when Akron redshirt-freshman forward Sam Gainford poked a nine-yard shot past Ivanov.The game’s first goal put OSU in a hole, senior midfielder Yianni Sarris said.“We just need to learn that we can’t have a goal scored against us in order to wake up,” Sarris said. “We need to get at teams from the beginning and just go at them.”The Buckeyes found an equalizer just over four minutes later when sophomore forward Danny Jensen saved a throw-in headed for the byline and curled a tight-angle shot past Akron junior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason.Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, they fell back asleep after leveling the game.The Zips took their second lead of the game in the 35th minute when freshman forward Stuart Holthusen fed a pass to junior forward Sean Sepe, who beat Ivanov with a choppy shot to the far corner of the net.“Giving up that second goal kind of deflated us,” Mason said.Akron entered halftime with a 2-1 lead, outshooting the Buckeyes, 10-6, before the break.Aside from a couple chances, the next 45 minutes didn’t bring much for OSU in terms of offensive success.“I think we just ran out of juice after a while,” Mason said. “That can happen when you’re down.”The Buckeyes managed one shot on goal in the second half while the Zips posted four and stretched their lead to 3-1 in the 76th minute.OSU junior defender Liam Doyle had a chance to make it 3-2 from the penalty spot in the 83rd minute, but Fenlason made the save to preserve his team’s two-goal advantage.Akron generated the majority of its chances through the center of the field, something OSU coach John Bluem said he was not surprised to see.“(Akron) is very disciplined in their attacking play,” Bluem said. “It’s hard to stop them from playing.”Despite the result, Bluem said he was pleased with the turnout for a game played in memory of Connor Senn, a former Buckeye who passed away after collapsing during a game against Akron in 2001.“It’s good that the tradition of this game has carried on for so long now,” Bluem said. “The students were wonderful in their support of the game tonight.”The game was preceded by a flyover and moment of silence in Senn’s honor.OSU looks ahead to a tough stretch of its schedule next. The Buckeyes are set to play three ranked teams in their next five games including matchups against No. 9 Louisville, No. 16 Michigan State and No. 17 Indiana.The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Dayton in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.
Sophomore running back Curtis Samuel (4), junior H-back Dontre Wilson (2) and redshirt-sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall (17) are all working as receivers this spring after playing other positions in high school. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorDontre Wilson arrived at Ohio State as a highly rated running back, but Carlos Hyde stood in the way of his playing time at the position.Wilson finished his freshman year with 31 carries for 250 yards and a touchdown, but perhaps made an even more significant impact by catching 22 passes for 210 yards and two more scores. After proving his worth, Wilson still wasn’t in line to start ahead of then-sophomore Ezekiel Elliott at running back last season, so the coaching staff found a way to get him playing time.“Dontre was in that situation with Carlos Hyde and then Zeke came in,” OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith said Tuesday. “We weren’t gonna keep him off the field, so we moved him to receiver.”The DeSoto, Texas, native responded by racking up 300 receiving yards and three touchdowns through the air, and he still managed to tally 18 carries for another 100 yards on the ground. But Wilson’s final contributions of the season came when he broke his foot on a key touchdown catch against Michigan State.That injury still has Wilson sidelined this spring, but Smith said the rising junior has been working on his ball skills even though he can’t run just yet.Even before Wilson’s injury, he was splitting time at H-back with now-redshirt-sophomore Jalin Marshall, who finished second on the team with 38 catches last year. Marshall added 983 all purpose yards in the process, finishing behind only Elliott and Wilson.Like Wilson, Marshall wasn’t a slot receiver in high school. Instead, he made the switch after playing quarterback at Middletown High School. But another spring has brought another slight change for Marshall as well, as Smith said he’s practicing as an outside receiver.With Wilson out and Marshall working on the outside, sophomore running back Curtis Samuel has transitioned to the receivers’ room for spring, much like Wilson did a year ago.“He had a full year at running back to really work those skills, so we took him this spring and said we’re gonna give him a full spring at wide receiver so we can try to develop that skill set,” Smith said of Samuel. “Hopefully he becomes more multi-talented and we can use him in more ways.”Smith said switching positions is like going to a “different world,” and added that the Buckeyes simply want to get the best players on the field. He noted that OSU has had success moving players to new positions in the past, but said the key is to do it with time to learn.“Guys don’t understand the position coming from a different one,” Smith said. “Jalin Marshall went through it when he came from quarterback to receiver. Dontre went through it, Curtis is going through it. That’s why we’re trying to saturate him now, as opposed to fall camp and saying, ‘Shoot, we need to get him on the field, let’s put him at receiver a little bit.’”At least for the spring, Samuel is making the switch after finishing third on the team with 383 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground last season. He added another 11 receptions and 95 receiving yards in limited playing time behind Elliott in the backfield.Now after nine practices as an H-back, Smith said Samuel won’t necessarily stay in his room but will be contributing in whatever way he can come the regular season.“In an ideal world, he’s gonna play both, the ability to go into the backfield when Zeke’s not in, or play in the slot when Zeke is in,” Smith said. “And so we’re developing that skill set. Does he stay there? I don’t think so, but I guess nobody has a crystal ball, so we’ll see.”Buckeye fans will get their first chance to see Samuel at H-back when OSU plays its annual Spring Game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes are scheduled to open their regular season on Sept. 7 against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) tries to shake off a tackler during a game against Northern Illinois on Sept. 19. OSU won 20-13.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorComplacency.It’s a word to be scared of and to not be associated with.The bad news for Ohio State football: The word complacency describes the team’s play really well thus far in the season.After topping Northern Illinois 20-13 at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, the Buckeyes are 3-0. Though a win’s a win, the way this team won its first three games of the season isn’t championship football.“We are not the No. 1 team in the country. … We definitely have the potential to be, but not right now,” junior running back Ezekiel Elliott said.Elliott is right. This team should not be the No. 1 team in the country. The motivation isn’t there. The panic should start.The toughest opponent for coach Urban Meyer’s team is themselves. This is normal among championship teams. The hardest hurdle the year after a successful run is to not feel entitlement. This is poisonous in a locker room. And junior defensive end Joey Bosa’s tweet post-NIU might say it all.Hey everyone we were 2-1 this time last year…. Relax.. This trains about to get rolling— Joey Bosa (@jbbigbear) September 19, 2015OSU does have the talent to potentially repeat as College Football Playoff National Champions once again this season. To do this, however, the offense needs to sync better.After uncertainty of who should be under center coming into the season against Virginia Tech, redshirt junior Cardale Jones got the start in each of the first three games of the season.All due respect to Jones, as talented as he is, Meyer likely handed him the starting position because he believes the position belongs to him. After all, he won the championship, though redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett appears to be the better quarterback with more experience.Come Saturday against NIU, the inexperience showed. He was benched after two early interceptions, giving way for Barrett to take most of the second quarter and all of the second half.“We felt like he gave us the best chance to move the ball down the field,” Meyer said of Barrett.But when asked about the quarterback position, Meyer was unsure.“I don’t know that right now,” he said. I haven’t had time to think about it.”The quarterback position needs to be solidified before OSU football can return to the level of performance it’s accustomed to.Meyer deciding on a starting quarterback to lead the team, and sticking with him, will give the players assurance. Having a familiar leader snap the ball consistently is key to minimize confusion and to rally a team. One voice is more transparent than multiple coming from all sides.Regardless of who Meyer decides to have at the helm of the quarterback position, both Jones and Barrett are not playing up to par.Jones has completed only 26 passes out of 46 for 334 yards with three interceptions in three games, and Barrett has completed 20 of 46 for 120 yards with one interception.This has to be frustrating for Meyer. He’s known for his offense stemming from strong quarterback play from his time in Utah with Alex Smith and in Florida with Tim Tebow.“I’m not OK with five turnovers and lacking execution and not being able to control the line of scrimmage,” Meyer said. “That’s a recipe for failure.”The good news for this team is its defensive secondary, which has caused five interceptions and recovered two fumbles. And it has only allowed 357 yards passing through three games, an average of 119 yards per game.Redshirt sophomore linebacker Darron Lee acknowledged the team’s defensive play this season on Saturday.“When the offense needs a minute to find their rhythm we know we have to go out there and do our job,” Lee said.The Buckeyes had doubters coming into the season, including Arkansas coach Bret Bielema who made what some call a “bold statement” a week ago about OSU having an easy schedule, and thus not earning its standing and prestige.The teams on OSU’s schedule receiving votes in the Associated Press poll are Virginia Tech, which the Buckeyes beat 42-24 and has two votes in the poll, and No. 4 Michigan State, which is scheduled to meet OSU in Week 12.Here’s the thing: If the Buckeyes are struggling this badly with non-conference games, Big Ten play will hurt even more.So once again, someone please hit the panic button.
Ohio State sophomore wide receiver Binjimen Victor (9) stands up after catching a pass for a touchdown during the second quarter in the Ohio State-Maryland game on Oct. 7. Ohio State won 62-14. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOver the past two games, no Ohio State wide receiver has demonstrated as much potential as sophomore wideout Binjimen Victor.With six catches for 124 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Victor is quickly showing why coaches have praised the 6-foot-4 wideout, as demonstrated Tuesday afternoon by head coach Urban Meyer’s comparison between Victor and former Ohio State wideouts Michael Thomas and Cris Carter.Though he got off to a slow start to the year, Victor has shown why the Thomas and Carter comparisons are warranted as he has now added the weight needed to fulfill the various responsibilities of a wide receiver in Meyer’s offense, while also putting on display his ability to make leaping, athletic catches over cornerbacks and serve as a red-zone target for quarterback J.T. Barrett.Barrett, who has been the starting quarterback during both the tenures of Thomas and Victor, said Victor has something Thomas lacked: early opportunity.After both were used sparingly as freshmen, Thomas redshirted his second season in Columbus whereas Victor is listed as a starter and has begun to flourish.Though Victor is still far from being the true No. 1 wideout Thomas developed into, Barrett said he believes Victor has that potential if he continues to develop physically.“He’s a taller guy and [strength and conditioning coach Mickey Marotti has] been pushing him in the weight room,” Barrett said. “So make sure he’s physical in that aspect. But I think he’s coming along well.”Out of high school, Victor weighed only 170 pounds. Victor’s height has always given him the potential to be the red-zone, jump-ball target Barrett needed, but his weight limited his usefulness on the field. Meyer has often discussed the importance of being physical enough to block at receiver in order to see extended playing time.Two years since arriving in Columbus, Victor has bulked up to 195 pounds — though he still remains lanky. Victor said his increased size has led to an ability to fulfill the blocking requirement for Meyer’s receivers, aiding him in his quest to see more playing time.“Here you have to block to play receiver and also play special teams,” Victor said. “So offseason I try to work on getting stronger, getting bigger as well, so when it comes to blocking, I can be blocking from my slots and perimeter running.”The ability to block might have been what put him on the field, but he is far from the blocker several other receivers, like redshirt junior Terry McLaurin and sophomore Austin Mack, are currently. What separates Victor from everyone else is his height, which causes problems for the typically smaller cornerbacks because there is rarely a pass Victor can’t get his hands on.Victor said the trust Barrett has in him to come down with the catches stems from chemistry the two have built up over the spring, summer and into the fall.“You’ve got to trust in your quarterback to give you a chance on that 50/50 ball and using my height to my ability to go make a play,” Victor said. “It comes easy because you know we work on it throughout the week and come game time, we’ve got to make it happen.”That trust works both ways between quarterback and wide receiver. Just as Victor said he counts on Barrett to give him a chance, Barrett said Victor’s size gives him much more room for error on passes, making him a more comfortable target.“I think with Ben, I guess not necessarily be as accurate with his wingspan being so wide. He helps you out a lot,” Barrett said.Throw in the size and added confidence Victor has picked up from his recent successes and involvement in the offense, and Barrett said he has a guy he can continue to count on throughout the season. Having limited usefulness and thus a limited role in the offense last season diminished the confidence Victor possessed in his game, Barrett said. The three-time team captain said he now sees a receiver who believes in his own ability to make plays for the team.“Last year, he would be timid at times, and with that wouldn’t be open. And I see now he’s being more confident,” Barrett said. “Even when a guy is hanging onto him, he’s able to go up there and grab the football … So I think there’s something that has been really good for him just being more confident in what he’s doing being that this is his second year.”Though Victor no longer lacks confidence, the potential dynamic playmaker said he has more left to give the Buckeyes. As Meyer said, Victor believes he still has yet to scratch the surface.“I have a lot to work on. I’m not where I need to be right now,” Victor said. “I feel like I can become [that well-rounded receiver], so I can make this offense and help my teammates get better on it.”
Ohio State head men’s volleyball coach Pete Hanson will be inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in Columbus on May 22. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsAfter 35 years as the head coach of the Ohio State men’s volleyball team, Pete Hanson announced his retirement on Thursday. In his storied coaching career, Hanson has led three Ohio State teams to an NCAA Championship — in 2011, 2016 and 2017 — has been named the National Coach of the Year three times and has recorded 712 career wins, the third-most in NCAA history. “I will certainly miss Ohio State and the volleyball program, but I will never forget it,” Hanson said in a release.Hanson has also been inducted into three Hall-of-Fame classes: the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2015, the Ohio State Athletics in 2017 and the USA Volleyball in 2019. “Being in the Hall of Fame once obviously is a feat in and of itself. To do it three times is something just surreal and something crazy,” senior setter Sanil Thomas said. “I think what you wouldn’t expect is the same — I would imagine, the same amount of passion he brought day one he brings that passion day — a lot; it’s a lot of days. That’s why he deserves this more than anyone.”In Hanson’s tenure as head coach, the Buckeyes won the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association regular season title 18 times, over half of the total seasons he had coached. In his 34 years, he has been awarded as the MIVA Coach of the Year 13 times. However, much of the impact Hanson has made is reflected in the players he coached. Hanson has coached 13 MIVA Player of the Year award winners, 17 players who ended up playing professionally and 17 players who competed for their national team. “The legacy of Ohio State volleyball was and has been built by all of those fine young men that wore the Scarlet and Gray,” Hanson said in a release. “I am forever indebted to them, as they helped to ensure that Ohio State volleyball remained one of the most respected programs in the country.” Hanson also made an impact off the court and into the classroom. More than 200 of his players have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors, and, in the past 10 years, 65 percent of his players have earned Ohio State scholar-athlete recognition. “His impact far exceeds the men’s volleyball program, and even Ohio State Athletics, making a positive difference to collegiate volleyball across the country,” Ohio State deputy director of athletics and men’s volleyball administrator Janine Oman said. “The development of young men has always been paramount to Pete, equipping them to lead successful lives.”But on the court, especially inside St. John Arena, Hanson made his lasting mark. In his tenure, Ohio State has recorded six undefeated seasons at home and one 42-match winning streak, the longest in Ohio State history for a head-to-head sport. “Pete Hanson’s Buckeye career embodied our mantra of ‘The People. The Tradition. The Excellence,’” Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement. “He’s found success on the court and molded young men off of it, preparing them for life after college. Pete leaves a lasting legacy at The Ohio State University.”
In an interview on Desert Island Discs, she said: “It has happened. Through my early teens when you had big things happening in the news like September 11…you do get abuse and I did get abuse. “I’ve had things thrown at me and been pushed and shoved.”It sounds really silly because I feel like that’s just become part of my life now. I expect it. Absolutely I expect it. I expect to be shoved or pushed or verbally abused because it happens and it’s been happening for years.” Last year’s winner Nadiya Hussain has faced racismCredit:Mark Bourdillon/BBC The Great British Bake Off has previously been praised for being one of the most ethnically diverse shows on prime time television.The show has received record ratings this year, achieving more than 10 million overnight viewers for each of its first two episodes.The opening episode is now the most-watched show of 2016, with 13.6m views so far. He is not the first Bake Off contestant to have suffered racist abuse, with last year’s winner Nadiya Hussain previously speaking frankly about the insults and violence she has suffered at the hands of strangers.Bansal is one of 10 remaining contestants on GBBO this year, and has won fans for his good-natured humour in the tent. His BBC profile states that he volunteers for charities including Victim Support, has an “extremely close” family and enjoys vegan baking.Benjamina Ebuehi, one of his fellow amateur bakers, replied to his tweet about the abuse, saying it was “so horrible”. A contestant on this year’s Great British Bake Off has disclosed he has suffered racist abuse after appearing in the first two episodes of the hit BBC show.Rav Bansal, 28, said he was asked whether he was a “P—” by a stranger who referred to the “not-so-British Bake Off”.Bansal, a Sikh who lives in Erith, Kent with his parents and works at City University, was supported by his fellow contestants, who immediately rallied around to condemn the comments. So today I was asked ‘are you the p*ki on the not so British bake off?’ Really, in 2016? 😠— Rav (@RavSBansal) September 1, 2016 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. Some of Bansal’s fellow amateur bakers rallied round him after the commentsCredit:Mark Bourdillon /BBC/Love Productions Bensal has impressed the judges so farCredit:Tom Graham /BBC/Love Productions Another contestant Selasi Gbormittah wrote: “What is happening?”Hussain, the winner of last season, has previously spoken about the abuse she has suffered as a British Muslim, saying she had come to expect racism. Bansal has survived into the third week of the baking competitionCredit:Tom Graham / BBC/Love Productions
Professor Paul Griffiths from @ShefUni_IICD discussing the groundbreaking miniature MRI scanner helping to diagnose brain defects in babies pic.twitter.com/9kXl3ncHh5— Sheffield Uni news (@ShefUniNews) 23 January 2017 Our researchers have shown that additional MRI scans could provide more certainty in diagnosing foetal abnormalities https://t.co/RM8v0YJL3n— Sheffield University (@sheffielduni) 15 December 2016 Doctors in Sheffield are testing a tiny neonatal MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scanner to improve diagnostic accuracy in paediatric brain scans.The ‘miniature’ scanner being pioneered at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, which is one of only two in the world, is part of a two-year research project into the feasibility and benefits of scanning babies in the neonatal unit.Its size – not much bigger than a washing machine – means the scanner can be metres away from the neonatal intensive care unit allowing specialist staff to be close by in case of issues.At present, ultrasound imaging is normally used to scan the brains of newborns. However, research has shown that magnetic resonance imaging is a better tool to visualise the brain conditions seen in neonates, said the Wellcome Trust, which funded GE Healthcare to build the machines.”Key reasons for the lack of utilisation of magnetic resonance in neonate imaging are that the equipment is often bulky, difficult to site and therefore usually placed in separate and often distant areas of hospitals. There is a huge need for a dedicated, bespoke magnetic resonance imager that addresses these issues,” the Wellcome Trust said in a statement explaining the reasons for founding the project. 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. So far the scanner, built by GE Healthcare with funding by the Wellcome Trust, has been used to scan 40 babies.Prof Griffiths and Prof Martin Paley, Professor of Biomedical Imaging at the University of Sheffield, have been working on the concept and design of a dedicated neonatal MRI for 12 years.Two prototype 3 Tesla neonatal MRIs were eventually built, the other is in Boston Children’s Hospital in Massachusetts and is not currently in use. Both machines are still used purely for research and have not received the green light for clinical use yet.Another machine, called a 1.5 Tesla MR scanner, was created at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where a small-bore magnet designed for imaging adult knees was adapted into one suitable for imaging an infant’s whole body. Prof Griffiths told BBC that the next step would be to do a trial in premature babies to compile definitive evidence that MRI produces a better diagnosis and whether it altered the clinical management of children.In the UK, five in every 1,000 newborns suffer brain injury, and nearly one in five die from it, GE said in a statement released when it received the grant to build the machines in 2011. Survivors are at risk of developing long-term neurological problems. Faster and more accurate diagnosis could help improve clinical outcomes, the company said. Prof Paul Griffiths, who teaches radiology at the University of Sheffield and is specialised in diseases of the developing brain, said that MRI was better at showing the structures of the brain and abnormalities more clearly.Ultrasound of the brain is possible in newborn babies only because the bones in their skull are not yet fused, meaning sound waves can travel through the two soft spots between the bones, the fontanelles.”Ultrasound is cheap, portable and convenient, but the position of the fontanelles means there are some parts of the brain which cannot be viewed,” Prof Griffiths told BBC.”MRI is able to show all of the brain and the surrounding anatomy, making the images easier to explain to parents.”From a diagnostic point, the big advantage is that MRI is able to show a wider range of brain abnormalities, in particular those which result from a lack of oxygen or blood supply.”
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. Walmsley is believed to have travelled to and from the appointment in a cab, rather than a specialised vehicle for secure transport.Walmsley was imprisoned at HMP Liverpool after being sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2015, with a 30-year tariff, for the murder of Anthony Duffy. The victim was “repeatedly and brutally stabbed” in the attack in May 2014. Neither of the prison guards were hurt during the escape incident.Reports suggested the two men who helped Walmsley escape were also armed with pepper spray. Walmsley, of Wallace Street, Walton, is described as white, 6ft tall and of slim build with dark brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing dark bottoms and a dark jacket.The gunman was said to have had his face covered and was wearing white shoes, grey tracksuit bottoms with a stripe down each side, a grey hoody and a dark coat.The second man, who was believed to be armed with a knife, is described as having his face covered and he was wearing a green coat, dark Nike trainers and grey tracksuit bottoms. Merseyside Police appeal to trace escaped prisoner Shaun Colin Walmsley https://t.co/Nleq9mpizd pic.twitter.com/LqrFXCLXkg— Merseyside Police (@MerseyPolice) February 21, 2017 Walmsley was imprisoned at HMP LiverpoolCredit:PA A convicted murderer is on the run after two armed, masked men helped him to escape during an escorted hospital visit. Shaun Colin Walmsley, who was serving a minimum of 30 years in prison, fled from outside Aintree University Hospital as he was getting into a car with prison officers after an appointment.Two men believed to be armed with a gun and a knife threatened the officers and demanded they release Walmsley, 28, before making off in a gold-coloured Volvo, Merseyside Police said. A manhunt is now under way and police are carrying out an extensive search of the area.The public are being warned not to approach the killer – described as dangerous – as he could also be in the company of the armed men who ambushed the car.An investigation into the full circumstances of the incident is ongoing and Merseyside Police is working with the Ministry of Justice and other forces across the country to establish Walmsley’s whereabouts.Police are asking who has seen him, or knows where he is, to contact them on 999 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
A devoted father taught himself biotechnology after his baby son had to have his arm amputated.Unsatisfied with the “cumbersome” options available for children and babies on the NHS, the psychology teacher locked himself in his shed for days on end to make the perfect bionic arm for his little boy.Arms with sensor technology, according to Ben Ryan, aren’t available until children are three or four years old, and he “wanted it a bit quicker than that”. 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. He has been working closely with Paul Sohi from software company Autodesk, who is impressed the dad was able to self-teach himself to make a bionic arm for his child.Mr Sohi said: “It’s been inspiring to work on this innovative and ambitious project.It is amazing that, despite Ben having no background in product design, he’s taught himself enough to create something that will not only help his own son Sol, but potentially lots of others facing the same challenges too.” He said that even rudimentary and cumbersome technology isn’t available until children are older.Mr Ryan, who is from Bangor, also revealed the current, antiquated prosthetic limbs being offered were ‘ugly’ and are often rejected by young children early on.Baby Sol, born in March 2015, had his arm amputated at just ten days old because of an unexpected clot in his arm.He gurgled happily on Good Morning Britain and used his new arm as his father spoke about the project. His wife, Kate, was worried about her husband’s mental health when he holed himself away in the shed to create the arm.”He was in his shed at the bottom of the garden and I wouldn’t see him for days”, she said.”To be perfectly honest I thought he was going a little bit mad.”When it’s working, he can make the thumb move”.Mr Ryan is crowdfunding to raise money for the baby bionic arms, and seems confident about the results. He said: “This is the second version I’ve made…and the next one I make will be better”. We’re joined again by little Sol, who had a bionic arm made for him by his daddy – and he’s getting on well with our scripts! pic.twitter.com/1j549Hvwp4— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) March 2, 2017 The father wants to help amputee babies around the world, writing on his crowdfunding page: “My aim through Ambionics is to help children everywhere adopt and continue to use prosthetics through into adulthood.”