Month: September 2019

Former NFL Player Hernandez Indicted on Assault Charge While

It has not gotten better for accused murderer and former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. In fact, it continues to get worse.The Bristol County district attorney’s office said Hernandez was indicted Thursday on charges of assault and battery and threats to do bodily harm. The statement said the alleged assault occurred Feb. 25 at the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, and the alleged threat occurred there on Nov. 1, 2013.The February scuffle allegedly occurred when an inmate was being transported from the jail’s infirmary. The man, identified as Andrew Booker, and Hernandez allegedly exchanged words. Hernandez allegedly punched Booker and knocked him to the ground. Neither was injured.Booker’s attorney, Michael P. Malone, has told reporters his client will not testify against Hernandez.“He doesn’t want to be a rat,” Malone said.The threats made on Nov. 1 reportedly involve Hernandez allegedly threatening to shoot and kill a guard at the Bristol County jail after the guard blew the whistle on his schemes to try to get extra food from his jailers.An arraignment date hasn’t been set.Hernandez is being held at the jail without bail after pleading not guilty to murder in the 2013 death of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a Boston man who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancée. read more

LeBron And Harden Are The NBAs Best Quarterbacks

PLAYERNUMBERPERCENTAGE OF ALL PASSES PASSES THAT TRAVEL MORE THAN 30 FEET The 2016-17 season’s top 10 NBA quarterbacks James Harden94425.0% Russell Westbrook3059.9 John Wall46414.6 Eric Bledsoe38511.9 It was the fourth quarter of a February game against Oklahoma City when LeBron James caught Derrick Williams napping. The Cavaliers were down 101-99, James had the ball, and he and Cavs big man Tristan Thompson had just run a pick and roll at the top of the key. Williams, signed that morning to a 10-day contract, was in the far-right corner, resting with his hands on his knees. James dribbled left and fired a pass to Williams, 40 feet away. Williams dropped the ball, it careened out of bounds and the Thunder gained possession.“I learned quick: He can find you just about anywhere — it doesn’t matter how far away you’re standing,” Williams said.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/williamsdrop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.James, in other words, is one heck of a passer. He can get the ball to teammates, regardless of how far apart they are or how impossible the passing angle may appear. According to a query run by SportVU data analyst Brittni Donaldson at FiveThirtyEight’s request, a whopping 20 percent of James’s passes have traveled more than 30 feet this season; that’s the second-highest share in the league. The league-wide average1Among players who’ve thrown at least 100 passes overall this season. is 6 percent. His passes that go that far travel north of 30 mph, according to SportVU.On Sunday night, James will square off against the only person ahead of him on that list: Houston guard and MVP front-runner James Harden, who tosses 25 percent of his passes more than 30 feet, according to the data.2The SportVU and other numbers in this article are accurate as of March 8. As of Wednesday, Harden this season had thrown 944 passes that had traveled more than 30 feet; James had 586. To put those numbers into context, consider that the next-closest player, Washington’s John Wall, had only 464. Jrue Holiday30912.2 Through March 8. Data excludes handoffs and passes shorter than 8 feet.Source: SportVU Stephen Curry32411.8 LeBron James58620.4 Ricky Rubio39311.9 Kyle Lowry36013.2 T.J. McConnell3038.3 That anticipation and unusual ability to find teammates, regardless of where they’re standing or how heavily they’re covered, leaves defensive players entrenched in a mental game of minesweeper. A step in any direction, or even just standing still, could result in a layup, dunk or open 3-point attempt at any moment. Because of Harden’s and James’s ability to thread the needle — at high speeds and from just about anywhere — no defense is ever truly safe.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/ridiculouslebron.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Nearly everything that happens for the two teams’ offenses happens because of the effect that James and Harden have on the floor. And even though their scoring gets most of the attention, the two players are zipping passes at incredible speeds across incredible distances. Their teams are benefiting. Cleveland is beating opponents by about 8 points per 100 plays with James on the court — and getting beaten by about 7 points per 100 plays with him sidelined, according to NBA.com. And though Houston has maintained a healthy scoring margin this season when Harden rests, it’s notable that the high-scoring club — which thrives on its 3-point shooting and is one of the 10 best offenses in NBA history in terms of efficiency — becomes mortal without him as the floor general. If you want an insight into how their offenses work, keep an eye on James’s and Harden’s passes.This isn’t to say that Harden and James are without flaws or that their long-passing risks always pay off. Quite the opposite. Both are in the midst of career highs in turnovers. This week, Harden broke his own single-season NBA record for miscues, while James has never turned it over this much, measured by both his turnovers per game and the percentage of his plays that ended with a turnover.“LeBron’s a great passer and the greatest player I ever played with,” said ex-NBA forward Shane Battier, who won two titles as James’s teammate in Miami. “But he had a propensity for hitting me below the knees with a lot of his passes. And I had to tell him: ‘Look, I know you love your triple-doubles. If you want to get more, you’ve gotta start hitting me in the chest with these. Get me the ball in a good spot, and I’ll help you get there. It became a running joke with coach [Erik Spoelstra], where he’d stop the film and say, ‘C’mon LeBron; help Shane out!’”But more often than not, the rewards with James and Harden have been great. They’re totally different players: James is one of the most physically imposing ballhandlers3Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, in this Sports Illustrated profile, said he’s felt unusually sore and achy after playing the four-time MVP. in league history, while Harden thrives on his craftiness and unusual ability to stop on a dime. Yet the fear that each inspires when hurtling toward the basket — whether it’s via a one-on-one isolation4James and Harden each kick the ball out to spot-up shooters in one-on-one scenarios 1.2 times per game, the highest rate in the league, according to Synergy Sports Technology. or a pick-and-roll — is what makes James and Harden arguably the sport’s two most lethal passers, especially in light of who their teammates are.Both players operate in perhaps the NBA’s most spacious offenses and boast plenty of sharpshooting teammates. Of the 20 players who’ve drained the most threes this season, six play for either Cleveland or Houston. Knowing that those players surround James or Harden at the same time that a roll man like Thompson or Clint Capela dives toward the basket stops defensive players in their tracks for a split second as they come to the realization that they’re in a Catch-22.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/longpassharden.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/harrelloop.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“Teams have really gotta pick their poison as far as what they want to do when they play us,” said Rockets guard Eric Gordon, who’s enjoying a career resurgence with Harden and coach Mike D’Antoni. “Do they want to have everybody shooting threes? Because that’s what happens if you decide you want to take away [Harden’s] scoring. Or do you want to stay with us at the 3-point line? Because if you do that, I like his chances of finding a way to score.”That spacing, and the fact that defenses can’t possibly cover that much ground on every play, is part of why James is averaging a career-best 8.8 assists per outing. If he ends the season there, it would be a single-season assist record for a non-guard. And in his first season as a point guard, Harden is logging 11.2 dimes a night, a 49 percent bump from what had been a career-high 7.5 assists per game last season. Within the next week or so, the two players will rank No. 1 and 2 in the list of players who have assisted the most 3-point shots in a single season.5With 303 3-point assists, Harden has broken Steve Nash’s 2004-05 single-season record of 284, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. James, with 274, should surpass Nash soon.“Making sure I find guys and making the right pass is all I think about each game,” said Harden, who sprays the ball to spot-up shooters out of pick-and-roll plays an NBA-high seven times a game, according to Synergy. “As long as they get to their spots and are ready to shoot, I’ll find them.”Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/hardenbullet2.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Both the Cavs and the Rockets acquired new players around the trade deadline, and James knows an adjustment period follows.“Not just [adjusting to passes from] me, but everyone,” James told me during All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. “I try to study my teammates and how they like the ball. Some guys like it with the seam; some guys like it seamless, because it puts different rotation on the ball. It all depends on how they like it before they shoot. So I study guys, and I just try to be one step ahead so that when [new players] get on the team, I’m already on Phase Two.”Getting past Phase One with James takes a bit of time for newcomers, though. After a Cleveland loss to Boston last week, 16-year veteran Richard Jefferson pulled aside the 25-year-old Williams in the locker room to give him some advice: Don’t dribble a whole lot after LeBron finds you.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/williamscharge.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“You’re dancing too much,” he told Williams, who that night had been called for a charge after James had found him wide open in the corner. “He’ll get you the ball in perfect spots. All you’ve gotta do is shoot. Or pump fake, then shoot. But you don’t have to dance.”6Williams’s tracking data shows that he’s dribbling slightly more and holding the ball slightly longer in Cleveland than he did with Miami earlier in the season.Kyle Korver, who joined the Cavs from Atlanta via trade, said he’s made two adjustments for playing with James. First, because of how much steam James puts on his assists, Korver has gotten more proactive about “attacking” James’s passes,7Korver told me that his Cavs teammate James Jones, who’s made six straight trips to the NBA Finals with LeBron, gave him this advice upon joining the club. as opposed to letting them get into his body. “If you let the thing come to you, it catches you on the back of your heels almost,” said Korver, who has shot 51 percent from 3-point range off James’s passes thus far, compared with an overall 3-point mark of 41 percent in Atlanta this season before the trade.8Korver shot just 38 percent (14-of-37) off James’s passes in January but rebounded nicely in February to shoot 68 percent (19-of-28) in February.The second adjustment is often standing and doing nothing.In Atlanta, without a singular star, Korver often had to sprint around several screens to get open shots. But with James, and the dilemma his passing ability causes opposing defenses, simply standing at the perimeter is enough.“If I do that,” Korver said of staying put and waiting on the ball, “then I’ve probably done my job.” read more

Each AL Playoff Teams Biggest Strength — And Weakness

Boston Red Sox (7 percent World Series probability) Strength: That ridiculous offense.To say the Astros are a great hitting team would be an understatement. They’re not merely great by 2017 standards. They rank among the most explosive offensive teams in major league history. Only three teams since 1901 — Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig’s 1927, 1930 and 1931 New York Yankees — had a better wRC+ than Houston did this season, which explains how they racked up nearly 900 runs and led the majors in offensive WAR by a mile. Led by MVP-candidate second baseman Jose Altuve and his .957 OPS, six Astros ranked among MLB’s top 37 hitters by WAR, with a seventh (first baseman Yulieski Gurriel) clocking in at No. 48. And the damage they did to opposing pitchers could have been even greater had shortstop Carlos Correa not missed 42 games at midseason: With Correa in the lineup, the Astros scored 22 percent more runs per game than they did without him. (He’ll be at full strength for the playoffs — be afraid, AL pitchers.)Weakness: Fielding … and the bullpen.The Astros bolstered their starting rotation with the last-minute addition of erstwhile Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who has been extra sharp since joining Houston. But there are still some holes in the team’s run-prevention corps: Aside from Ken Giles and goose-egg darling Chris Devenski, the Astros have few impact arms waiting in the bullpen. And on defense, they’ve been the eleventh-worst fielding team in MLB according to The Baseball Gauge, with zero position players who could be fairly classified as stellar with the glove. Houston’s starters aren’t the liability they’re sometimes made out to be, and this lineup might score so many runs that it won’t matter anyway, but the Astros might have reason to worry in tight postseason contests. Houston Astros (16 percent World Series probability) The MLB playoffs are finally upon us, and to help set the scene, we’re previewing the division-series field — sorry, Twins — for each league. For every team, we picked out their most important strength, plus the one weakness that might trip them up en route to the World Series. Now all that’s left is to watch it all play out in what should be one of the most exciting postseasons ever. First up is the American League. Cleveland Indians(25 percent World Series probability) Strength: Pitching.According to The Baseball Gauge’s wins above replacement meta-metric,1Which averages aspects of the versions of the WAR stat found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs, in addition to Baseball Gauge’s own WAR metric. Specifically, for this article I set the meta-metric to average together every option equally in each category, with no regression for fielding metrics and the positional adjustment not included in offensive and defensive WAR. no team in baseball got more value out of its rotation or its bullpen this season than the Indians, who boast two of the AL’s top 10 starters (Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco) plus its second-best reliever (Andrew Miller). That trio helped Cleveland’s staff lead the majors in strikeout rate, walk rate and home run rate,2The fielding independent pitching triple crown! despite having to face those pesky designated hitters.3Who, granted, aren’t quite as pesky as they used to be. And don’t sleep on the back end of this rotation, either — Mike Clevinger and Trevor Bauer had strong seasons as well — or a defense that ranked sixth best in baseball. If pitching and defense truly win championships, nobody is better equipped for October than the Tribe.Weakness: Offensive star power.If the Indians do have a weakness — and admittedly it’s something of a stretch to say this about a team that cleared 800 runs scored — it’s their lack of truly dominant bats in the middle of the batting order. Cleveland is a good hitting team — it ranked third in weighted runs created plus (wRC+, a measure of offensive production that’s adjusted for park and league effects) this season — but third baseman Jose Ramirez was the team’s only hitter to rank among the top 25 in offensive WAR. (DH Edwin Encarnacion and shortstop Francisco Lindor ranked 35th and 43rd, respectively.) The midseason acquisition of solid-hitting right fielder Jay Bruce helped in this department, and the Tribe had an MLB-best .843 on-base plus slugging in September, led by a surging Encarnacion. But if we look at the whole season, Houston had four of the top 25 hitters by WAR (more on that later) and even Arizona had two. Again, though, that might be nitpicking. This team is really, really good. Strength: Underlying talent.Even by the standards of baseball’s most successful franchise, the Yankees had a fine year in 2017, winning 91 games and dragging the AL East race down to the season’s final weekend. (The Red Sox also helped in that department.) And there’s a strong case to be made that the pinstripers are much better than their record indicates. New York had an 18-26 record in games decided by 1 run, one of the worst marks in baseball. Yet according to context-neutral stats such as WAR, the Yankees also had one of MLB’s best bullpens — not what you would expect if a team was truly shaky in close games. Between bad luck in those kinds of contests and slightly unlucky sequencing,4Meaning the difference between a team’s actual run differential and what we’d expect based on its underlying stats. This can be attributed to how much a team sequences its hits and walks, concentrating them within innings (which helps scoring), or scattering them across innings (resulting in fewer runs). Much of that is a function of luck, but it can have a profound effect on a team’s record. the Yankees won 11 fewer games than their stats would have predicted, the biggest shortfall in MLB. New York’s 102 wins “on paper” is a much better descriptor of how good it is than its 91 wins in the standings — and that makes the Yankees one of the postseason’s most sneaky-dangerous teams, especially now that they’re through into the division series.Weakness: Offensive inconsistency.Just like its best player, Aaron Judge, this Yankee offense tends to run very hot or very cold. While New York’s runs allowed per game remained pretty constant throughout the year, its scoring rate bounced around between incredible (with particular spikes in early May, June and most of September) and mediocre (see late May, as well as practically all of July and August), resulting in the fifth-largest standard deviation in runs per game of any team in baseball. Judge himself was responsible for this to a large degree, hitting like a runaway MVP in the first half, then cratering for a month and a half before recovering in September. If Judge and company go cold again — and New York’s pitchers can’t offset the drop after a taxing wild-card game — the Yankees’ playoff run could end quickly. New York Yankees (8 percent World Series probability) Strength: Preventing runs.The Red Sox had the second-best earned run average (adjusted for park effects) in the AL during the regular season, and there’s a lot credit to go around for that. Recent hiccups notwithstanding, Boston’s starting rotation ranked fourth in MLB by WAR, led not only by Chris Sale’s historically dominant numbers but also by under-the-radar seasons from Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez. The Red Sox bullpen, headlined by AL-leading closer Craig Kimbrel, finished third-best in WAR and often outpitched its overall numbers in important moments. Defensively, Boston ranked fourth in WAR, anchored by Sandy Leon behind the plate and the strong glovework of Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi in the outfield. And Boston might be even tougher to score against in October, with lefty David Price coming back from injury to play what appears to be an Andrew Miller-esque role out of the Sox bullpen.Weakness: Power hitting.Somehow, a team that put almost 900 runs on the board a year ago registered as barely above-average this season, despite the rising tide of baseball offense. Why? Many of Boston’s scoring issues can be traced back to a mysterious power outage that saw them rank third-to-last in isolated slugging (ISO) during the regular season. Among Boston’s nine 2017 regulars5Qualified with at least 200 plate appearances. who were also with the club last season, eight saw their ISO drop, and by an average of 37 points. Compounded by the retirement of David Ortiz, who departed with one of the greatest career-ending seasons ever, the Red Sox’s slugging woes left them ranked 20th in offensive WAR a year after they led all of baseball in the metric. (Aging vets like Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez failed to pick up Ortiz’s slack, and almost all of Boston’s young hitters fell off their 2016 form.) After another month of poor hitting, don’t be surprised if this offense is a major source of anxiety for Boston in the postseason.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

The 2017 Cubs Never Clicked

A season after winning their first title in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs couldn’t recapture that same magic in 2017. They started off slow, suffering one of the worst hangovers ever for a defending champ, and struggled to fend off the upstart Milwaukee Brewers for most of the summer. Although Chicago did eventually start playing to its potential in the second half of the year, the Cubs needed an epic Washington Nationals meltdown (and maybe a little help from the umpires) to squeak their way into the NLCS, where they rarely seemed like fair competition for the Los Angeles Dodgers. It took five games for L.A. to officially end Chicago’s repeat bid, with the Dodgers winning 11-1 at Wrigley Field on Thursday night to finish the series.Now Theo Epstein, Joe Maddon and the rest of the Cubs’ brain trust have five months to contemplate what went wrong in their team’s title defense.They can start by looking at the bullpen, which blew game after game. One of the Cubs’ prize trade-deadline additions, reliever Justin Wilson, pitched only 0.2 innings in October, and many of Chicago’s other bullpen arms disappointed. Epstein was never able to assemble the stocked relief cabinet that other top playoff contenders, from the Dodgers to the Yankees, managed to collect.But there’s plenty of blame to go around. The Cubs’ usually dynamic duo of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant scuffled, and the whole lineup produced one of the worst offensive performances in the playoffs in decades. And in general, this roster wasn’t as talented as the one that steamrolled the league in 2016. Although a healthy Kyle Schwarber, who returned this season after missing all but two games last year with a torn ACL, should have offset the loss of Dexter Fowler, the returning slugger never hit as well as expected, and the offense took a small step back. On the other side of the ball, the Cubs’ incredible pitching and defensive performance last season fell back down to earth in 2017.Even Maddon, who has a reputation as a tactical genius, showed signs that his strategic brilliance may be only skin deep. In the ninth inning of Game 2, Maddon made the controversial decision not to use ace closer Wade Davis, instead opting to hand the ball to starter-turned-postseason-reliever John Lackey, who had also pitched the night before — and the results were predictably disastrous. Lackey proceeded to give up a walk-off dinger to Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner, putting the Cubs in an 0-2 series hole from which they never recovered.On its own, Maddon’s decision wasn’t as egregious as, for example, Orioles manager Buck Showalter sitting Zach Britton in the Wild Card contest last year. But it’s part of a pattern of less-than-stellar bullpen management for the Cubs skipper. Last season, Rian Watt and I created a bullpen-management statistic with which to grade managers, and Maddon has been surprisingly mediocre — 22nd out of 35 qualified skippers — in that aspect of the game over the past several years. (In fact, Maddon’s score was almost identical to Showalter’s.)Other managerial metrics are similarly unkind to Maddon: He has often ranked highly in former Grantland writer Ben Lindbergh’s managerial meddling index, which quantifies the degree to which coaches call for often-unwise tactics from the bench. So perhaps it was fitting that Merlot Joe’s reliever usage wasn’t the only questionable call he made this October. As sabermetrician Dave Cameron pointed out, Maddon’s calls — including setting the lineup and failing to pinch hit in several tight spots — were poor throughout Game 2.This isn’t to say that Maddon is a bad manager. Despite the outsized importance that bullpen decisions acquire in the postseason, we found that they only tend to be worth a win or so over the full season. How a skipper manages his players’ egos and clubhouse chemistry is likely to be much more important than the fiddling he does with a lineup or the pitcher he calls on to get critical outs. And Maddon excels in those soft skills: He is famous for maintaining a relaxed, jovial clubhouse, and it shows in the outstanding performances of his players.But this season, Maddon was unable to coax quite enough out of his roster. There is good news for Cubs fans: Several of the All-Stars from last season’s World Series-winning outfit will return again next year. Since the difference between the wild card winner and the World Series champion often comes down to luck, the Cubs might only have to wait until next year — instead of 107 years from now — before they celebrate once again. read more

How Many Digits Of Pi You Have To Have Memorized To Be

3.1415926535 3.141526 If you can get to the first 3 after the decimal point, you’re in the top 5 percent of pi memorizers. I asked the people who got that far to keep going, and most tapped out shortly after.The biggest drop came after “3.14,” as respondents who got that far made it to “3.141” only about 52 percent of the time.And that’s fine!NASA employees can probably get away with knowing only the first six digits after the decimal point. Also, we have calculators for when we need a few more digits, TI-89s for when those calculators are insufficient and Wolfram Alpha for when we reduce those calculators to a smoking, melted mess.Maybe after the highly anticipated apocalypse, the guys at the Large Hadron Collider will be happy to have that dude who memorized tens of thousands of pi digits around, but for now, he’s just got a weird hobby. Knowing pi is strictly a performative act, like people who readily volunteer their SAT score or high school completion percentage.But, uh, happy holidays. Today is Pi Day — the day each year, March 14, that follows the first three digits of pi (3.14). And this year’s Pi Day is a special one: Since — in the U.S. — the date is represented as 3/14/15, we have the first five digits of pi on the calendar.That’s news for some people. When it comes to how many digits of pi people know by heart, the majority only know 3.14. Which is fine! Unless you’re building a bridge, that’s the most you will really need to know.I asked SurveyMonkey Audience to put out a poll to see how far people could get reciting the infinite digits of pi. Of 941 respondents, 836 attempted to name the digits after the decimal point. This is how far they got: 3.173 3.1415919 3.14133 3.141592610 3.141592657 3.14159212 LEVEL OF PRECISIONPERCENTAGE OF RESPONDENTS 3.1464 read more

UConn Just Got A Shortcut On Their Road To Perfection

UConn has been slightly less efficient on both offense and defense. As a result, the Huskies have beaten their opponents by only 45 points per 100 possessions this season, down from around 55 points per 100 last season. So if Mississippi State was close to 10 points worse than the Huskies last year, it might be within striking distance now. But 60 points worse than the Huskies …Regardless, FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness prediction model (which does not account for “oh my God, did you see how badly they got crushed last year?”) gives UConn an 87 percent chance of beating Mississippi State and an 85 percent chance of beating whoever they play after that. Good luck.Check out our March Madness predictions. This is the proverbial 60-point game that wasn’t even that close. UConn led 61-12 at the half and scored more points in the first 12 minutes and 14 seconds than Mississippi State would score in the whole game. But here’s the important part: This year’s Bulldogs squad is almost exactly the same team. All but one of the players Mississippi State put on the floor against Baylor (including all five starters) played in last year’s ignominious UConn defeat.UConn, of course, is a different team. Having lost three top players to the top three slots in the WNBA draft, they’ve declined precipitously from a year ago. And by “precipitously,” I mean like so: The University of Connecticut Huskies are good at the basketball. After beating Oregon handily Monday night, UConn’s win streak now stands at 111 games and they’re headed back to the Final Four. Since we’ve pretty much run out of sports comparisons for a streak this epic, note that UConn now has one win for every year of Bilbo Baggins’s life when he finally gave up the One Ring and left the Shire (and they barely look 50!).More importantly, UConn’s road to a fifth straight championship got a lot less interesting than it was before the Elite Eight. Rival Notre Dame is gone, beaten by Stanford. And so is Baylor, the other powerhouse in the tournament, following an amazing upset by Mississippi State. Bulldogs point guard Morgan William had the game of her life, hitting six of eight 3-pointers, while gathering 41 points and 7 assists with no turnovers to help down the Lady Bears.But let’s face it: Baylor losing has likely ruined any suspense left in this tournament. There’s still a chance that the Huskies will get upset by one of their two remaining opponents, but it’s not likely. Stanford, whom UConn could face in the finals, is the last team to beat them — 862 days ago. South Carolina, the Huskies’ other potential title opponent, played them close in February, losing by only 11. But Baylor looked like it might have had the best chance of beating UConn of any team in years.And Mississippi State, whom UConn will face next in the Final Four, let’s see … these teams faced each other in the Sweet 16 last year, and it went like so: read more

Magnus Carlsen Is Again The World Chess Champion

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87654321abcdefgh The supercomputer analyzing the game quickly jumped to show the biggest advantage of the match thus far — nearly three pawns in Carlsen’s favor.“This is terrible,” said Robert Hess, a grandmaster commentating for Chess.com. “This is just losing.”Carlsen waited over nine minutes to make his 24th move, his clock dwindling to four minutes as he strained to find the winning line. He opted instead for one that liquified pieces in order to simplify the board and the grandmasters entered a rook-and-pawn endgame with Carlsen up a pawn. It appeared to be an endgame that Caruana could hold — another draw — but he fatally erred on his 37th move. He grabbed a white pawn, but lost a critical tempo. His pieces were now too slow to stop Carlsen’s advance. Carlsen’s two advancing pawns became unstoppable. Caruana resigned on the 55th move in the position below. Blood had been drawn at last! Caruana took back the white pieces for Game 2, sorely needing a win. The game began just as the controversially drawn Game 12 had, in the Sveshnikov Sicilian. Caruana played aggressively, pushing a pawn far up the board early on, and following it with an aggressively placed queen and knight. But he pressed too far on move 26, in the following position. He pushed his pawn another square, to c7. But that pawn could be captured, and Caruana’s queen was soon in dire trouble. He resigned two moves later.“The second game was very bad,” Caruana said later. “A real low point.”As Game 3 began, Caruana needed to win two consecutive games against the best in the world. Caruana abandoned his favorite opening with black, the Petroff, and the game began with another Sicilian opening — a major theme of the match, and one that could give chances for black.But Carlsen navigated the position nimbly, even opening up an advantage in the middlegame. Caruana continued to press — what choice did he have? — but his position collapsed. He resigned on the 51st move. After 15 games over nearly three weeks, this was the final position on the final board. White’s two queens are a fitting symbol of Carlsen’s dominant performance. Regardless of the lopsided tiebreakers, and regardless of (or, perhaps, because of) the 12 straight draws, it is safe to say that we have just witnessed a match between the two best chess players in the world.“I wouldn’t say it was easy,” Carlsen said. “It was only at the end that I was able to trick him,” he said of the first tiebreaker game. He added that he thought Caruana was his strongest challenger. (Sorry, Sergey.) And he defended his decision to offer that draw in Game 12. In hindsight, I suppose, it’s hard to argue with him.At the post-match press conference, Carlsen was asked about other grandmasters’ criticism of his draw offer in the final game of regulation. “They’re entitled to their stupid opinions,” he said. He went on to say that more emphasis should be placed on rapid and blitz games, rather than the lengthy “classical” ones that have traditionally been used to determine world champions. In classical chess, he said, Caruana has just as much right to call himself the best in the world.It was a mutual appreciation society after the close match. And a graceful Caruana’s opinion is now one probably universally shared: “I think the results show that he’s the strongest player in the world,” Caruana said. “I look forward to the opportunity to make another bid for the title.”If Caruana gets back to the world championship, Carlsen will be there waiting for him. 87654321abcdefgh read more

Our 6 Takeaways From The Opening Weekend Of The NBA Playoffs

Check out our latest NBA predictions. The first weekend of the NBA playoffs had a bit of something for everyone. Yes, there was a snoozefest or two. But between eight basketball games, Tiger Woods winning the Masters and “Game of Thrones” coming back, maybe a nap was necessary anyway. (Even a couple of the blowouts featured some extracurriculars.) A few games came down to the final seconds, with three lower seeds stepping up and landing statement victories in their series openers. All in all, not a bad start.Let’s take a deeper look at the six playoff series that we expect to be the most interesting going forward. (Sorry to the Clippers-Warriors and Pistons-Bucks.)The young Nets looked sure of themselves. The Sixers looked confused.There were, and maybe are, fair questions to be raised about the Brooklyn Nets. They have very little depth on the inside, which could spell trouble against a dominant big like Joel Embiid. And their offense can be too heavily reliant on All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell.But at least Brooklyn knows what it is, which was more than you could say for the Sixers at times this weekend.For starters, Embiid’s status was known only minutes before the game began Saturday because of his bothersome knee — an availability question that would have required a number of changes to the game plan had he not been able to go. But beyond that, there’s also the issue of cohesion, which the Nets have and the Sixers simply do not.Before Saturday, Philly’s starting five — talented as it might be — had logged just 10 games together since acquiring Tobias Harris in a trade with the Clippers. And honestly, it looked that way for most of Game 1. Embiid, who missed five of the last seven regular-season games, started launching jumpers (which Brooklyn gladly gave him) after drawing a number of fouls on the Nets inside. Ben Simmons and J.J. Redick struggled badly on offense. Jimmy Butler opted to take matters into his own hands (Sixers coach Brett Brown called him “the adult in the room”) and scored a game-high 36 points. All this while Harris looked invisible and uninvolved, scoring just 4 points in 40 minutes of work.Meanwhile, the Nets’ guards had no such questions about their place in the pecking order. Russell struggled early but kept shooting and caught fire in the third period. Spencer Dinwiddie had a very quick first step and repeatedly found his way into the lane — again doing some of his best work this season against Philadelphia. And Caris LeVert continues to look more and more like his old self after returning from his injury in February. Both Dinwiddie and LeVert were integral to a franchise-record 59-point effort from the bench, which the Sixers had no answer for.Keep an eye on this series. The Sixers went all in with a pair of huge trades earlier this season. But that may be the reason that, as we’re midway through April, their opponent has a clearer sense of identity and the upper hand one game into their playoff matchup.Utah’s defense of Harden won’t work — at least not like thisIt was just one game, but very early on — before halftime, even — it seemed clear that Utah was going to have to rethink its defensive strategy for reigning MVP James Harden.The Jazz used a scheme that gave the left-handed Harden an open driving path on the right. The idea here: to take away the dominant hand of perhaps the NBA’s best offensive player, but also to take away his stepback 3-point jumper, maybe his greatest offensive weapon.They weren’t the first team to try this. The top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks’ defense found a ton of success with the idea late last month, by standing far to Harden’s left and slightly behind him.It was a different story for the second-ranked Utah defense, though, which Houston diced to pieces. Why did it work for the Bucks and not the Jazz? One reason was that Milwaukee’s rim protector, Brook Lopez, generally had the discipline to stay tethered to the baseline so that Clint Capela wouldn’t get an easy lob, like he often did on Sunday night, when Jazz center Rudy Gobert stepped up too far.But the other key to Milwaukee’s success was the athleticism and length of the Bucks’ primary and help defenders. Eric Bledsoe and Giannis Antetokounmpo are simply more imposing than Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell or Joe Ingles, giving Harden less confidence that he can either get back to his left hand at the rim or sneak a pass to a teammate standing in the corner.Frankly, Utah wasn’t taking anything away early. By leaving Harden far too much space to navigate, the Jazz had no way of positioning their help defenders in the right spots, allowing The Beard to carve them up by finding both Capela for dunks and P.J. Tucker in the corner. (Tucker shoots almost 40 percent from there.)Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Harden.mp400:0000:0001:15Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Rubio told reporters after the game that the Jazz are committed to playing Harden the same way throughout the series. But regardless of how much they improve on that front, they’ll need to be far better — and faster — on offense to have a chance in this series.Excluding a half-court attempt at the end of the third period, Utah scored on seven of its nine transition plays. Getting earlier looks would make life easier, especially for Mitchell, who shot 36 percent against Houston in last year’s series before shooting just 39 percent Sunday, with five turnovers and no assists. In Game 1, the Jazz logged a dismal 25 percent effective field-goal rate when they got inside the last 5 seconds of the clock.Can the poor-shooting Thunder find their range?The post-game excuse “We just missed shots” is usually annoying. It can be read as not giving credit to the opponent for earning a hard-fought victory, and it can also serve as a way to avoid addressing what adjustments might need to be made in the next contest.But in Oklahoma City’s case, there would have been some truth to that claim. The Thunder missed 10 of their 13 wide-open attempts from the arc during their Game 1 loss in Portland.Yet while a lot of teams could use a stat like that to express confidence in simply performing better the next time, it’s worth noting that Oklahoma City … isn’t exactly a team of marksmen. When the Thunder shoot poorly, it’s hard to know whether that’s a sign that things will get better for them or if it’s just Oklahoma City struggling with what it’s seemingly always struggled with.Making matters worse, Paul George — their best shooter and co-star alongside Russell Westbrook — is playing with a troublesome left shoulder, meaning his shot could be affected for the remainder of the playoffs.If there was a bright side offensively, it was that the Thunder eventually found daylight by attacking Portland’s Enes Kanter with a steady diet of pick and rolls — something they can likely go back to in Game 2. But OKC would also be wise to occasionally locate Kanter as he’s going for offensive boards. He killed his former team for 20 points and 18 rebounds, which more than made up for his defensive struggles in the narrow victory.Were the Nuggets simply nervous?Similar to Oklahoma City are the Denver Nuggets, who many — our FiveThirtyEight projection model included — remain skeptical of. A lot of that is rooted in Denver’s inexperience: This is the team’s first trip to the playoffs with this core, which is suddenly facing high expectations as the No. 2 seed in the West.Saturday’s loss, like OKC’s on Sunday, saw Denver miss several open looks when the Nuggets were in striking distance of the Spurs. The teams were neck-and-neck down the stretch, yet Denver somehow missed all eight of its attempts in the second half when taking a shot that would have either tied the game or given the Nuggets the lead. And Jamal Murray, the team’s 22-year-old starting point guard, had an incredibly rough final minute or so in the Game 1 loss.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Murray.mp400:0000:0000:49Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.All of that could have been mere coincidence or simply the result of missing shots the team normally makes. But because of noise about the team’s inexperience — especially as Denver is playing perennial playoff club San Antonio — it’s only natural that the questions about nerves will be there.Whatever the case may be, one thing clearly needs to change going forward: Denver star Nikola Jokic cannot finish playoff games with just nine shot attempts. Yes, he managed a triple-double anyway. But when the team’s jumpshots simply aren’t falling, he’s too efficient a scorer not to take matters into his own hands.The Pacers need offensive counters — but even that may not be enoughOutside of the Pistons and Clippers, I feel most pessimistic about the Pacers after Game 1 of their series with Boston. I went in thinking it would be really tough for them to find enough scoring to win a series, and Saturday’s 74-point showing gave me even more doubts.My real concern now, after watching leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic struggle against the Celtics again — when he did this all regular season, too — is the lack of counters the Pacers seem to have in their arsenal once Boston has snuffed out the initial action.Indiana got next to nothing out of its handoffs to Bogdanovic, which produced just 0.14 points per time they utilized the play, according to Second Spectrum. Jaylen Brown was generally quick enough to recover and get by the screener, and in the instances when he wasn’t, Al Horford was swarming Bogdanovic, often forcing him to give up the ball to a teammate who wasn’t necessarily in a great position to score, either.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Bojan.mp400:0000:0002:31Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Similarly, the team — which scored just 8 points in the third quarter — found itself at a disadvantage when it sought to make hay with Wes Matthews post-ups, something we knew would likely be a losing strategy from what we’d seen prior to Saturday (particularly if there’s no secondary action that comes of it). Statistically, Matthews has been one of the NBA’s five least efficient post-up options since he joined the team in February.1Among those with at least 30 regular-season post-ups since Feb. 11. Indiana averaged just 0.71 points per Matthews post-up, per Second Spectrum data.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Wes.mp400:0000:0000:44Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The Celtics deserve credit for playing as well as they did at that end of the floor, particularly without defensive stud Marcus Smart. But if the Pacers can’t develop better second and third options on these plays when they try them, it could be an ugly series for Indiana, which has been putting too much pressure on its defense for a while now.Lowry struggled again, but Orlando’s win was anything but magicThe most surprising win of the weekend to many was the Magic’s road triumph over Toronto, which Orlando sealed with a game-winning triple from D.J. Augustin.In that sequence — before which coach Steve Clifford elected not to call timeout — Augustin called for a screen and roll, knowing he’d get Marc Gasol on a switch. Though Augustin had hit 3 of 4 from the arc for 22 points, Gasol didn’t come out far enough. The shot left the Toronto crowd stunned, which takes a lot at this point, given what they’ve been through for years now.Aside from nailing that play, the Magic did a ton of things right to put themselves in good position beforehand. They bottled up Pascal Siakam in the first half, and while Kawhi Leonard2Who played only 33 minutes. Expect that to change in Game 2. was efficient, Aaron Gordon played pretty solid defense on him, making him work for contested shots. Orlando was nearly perfect from the line and drilled almost half of its triples on the day. This was a young Magic club that had the same 15-8 second-half record that Toronto did, while ranking inside the Top 10 on both sides of the floor over that span of time. If you hadn’t watched Orlando play, you might not have seen this coming — but it wasn’t a fluke.And neither was Kyle Lowry’s scoreless, 0-for-7 showing. Aside from the fact that Lowry had several low-scoring games this season — including a four-game streak of single-digit performances — Lowry has also struggled in the first games of playoff series. He’s scored just 33 points combined in playoff-opening Game 1s the past five years.There’s not necessarily anything for the Raptors to panic about yet. They’ve seen this before, even if they had hoped they were past having to witness the early round struggles cropping up again. read more

Charitable offseason keeps mens lacrosse team busy

In just two weekends of preseason action, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team has done more than most teams do all season.Coach Nick Meyers has jump started preseason play with a “Thumbs Up,” two weekends full of fundraising for athletic scholarship funds near and dear to the Buckeyes’ hearts.The Buckeyes scrimmaged Johns Hopkins in a friendly rivalry game on Oct. 10 at Upper Arlington High School. Johns Hopkins is the top team in the country, and the game served as a reminder that the Buckeyes have a lot of work ahead of them.     More than $5,000 was raised for The Michael Robert Breschi Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is the largest memorial scholarship endowment in the Ohio State Department of Athletics. The scholarship commemorates the life of Michael Breschi, the son of former Ohio State lacrosse coach Joe Breschi.Michael passed away in an accident in March 2004 when he was just three years old. In the ten years Breschi coached men’s lacrosse, he shattered the record for most career wins with 81.    The 2009 recipient, defenseman Scott Foreman, accepted this honor at the team banquet. Foreman was second team All-Conference in 2008.        The Lindner Memorial Athletic Scholarship golf outing took place last weekend. The scholarship was created in honor of former Buckeye lacrosse player Dan Lindner’s wife, two young sons, and mother-in-law, who died in a car accident in 2006. “Every decade of our lacrosse program was represented at the outing. It was great for the team to see the tradition our program has created,” Meyers said.The Lindner Memorial Scholarship honor was given to junior midfielder Michael Pires. A British Columbia native, Pires has stepped into the leadership role the team has needed. On Saturday, the Buckeyes hosted an alumni lacrosse game in the Horseshoe. The team played with recent graduates for about an hour, while older alumni surrounded the field. The weekend concluded with the annual team banquet. In addition to the Michael Breschi and Linder Memorial honors, awards were announced for the most valuable players, unsung heroes, most improved and players who performed exemplary service for OSU.The banquet recognized the accomplishments of the 2009 team and solidified the goals of the 2010 season. The focus of the offseason will be strength training and teaching the team the fundamentals.“The guys have been hammering away and the energy level at this point is great,” Meyers said. “We are going to work on an individual level and focus on studying game films.” The Buckeyes have a close-knit team, but Meyers would like to see the group get tighter. “We are working on our core values and maintaining what makes our program so special,” Meyers said. Regular practice will begin in January, giving the team just six weeks before they face Duke in the first game of regular season play. read more

2 former Buckeyes headed to MLS

Former Ohio State men’s soccer teammates Matt Gold and Konrad Warzycha are headed for Major League Soccer. Defensive midfielder Gold and attacking midfielder Warzycha heard their names called in the third round of the MLS SuperDraft. The two were selected by Toronto FC and Sporting Kansas City, respectively, making them the 11th and 12th players in program history to earn MLS draft selections. Soccer pundits didn’t think highly of Gold’s draft stock, but Toronto selected him with the 43rd overall pick. The selection confirmed Gold’s suspicion that he and Warzycha might “do better than what was expected.” Gold described his performance at the MLS Player Combine as an up-and-down affair, saying, “The first day, I couldn’t have played better; the second day was the opposite; and the third day was somewhere in between.” Despite not being sure how much he helped himself at the combine, Gold got the news he had been waiting for. “I was at a loss for words when I found out,” Gold said. “I’m really excited.” Warzycha, the 46th overall pick, was also excited while describing his emotions about being drafted in spite of a self-described “average” combine performance. “You never see this day coming,” Warzycha said. “It’s surreal; I’m on cloud nine.” In joining Sporting KC, Warzycha will reunite with former OSU teammate Roger Espinoza. They spoke shortly after today’s selection was announced. “I got a chance to talk to Roger, and he told me about the new stadium in Kansas City and the fans,” Warzycha said. “I think this is going to be a great fit.” read more

Ohio State womens basketball downs Northwestern

The No. 11-ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team got contributions from eight different players, including 24 points from junior guard Tayler Hill, as OSU defeated Northwestern, 82 -72, Thursday. “We had some people coming off the bench and I thought they did a really good job,” said senior guard Samantha Prahalis, who added 20 points in the win. “I thought everyone was ready when they had to come in.” The Buckeyes’  bench added 18 points in the victory, with seven coming from sophomore center Darryce Moore. “Darryce is a very smart player,” said coach Jim Foster. “She thinks the game, and she knows the game.” After leading for the majority of the first half, the Buckeyes fell behind, 47-43, at 14:46 in the second half, before going a 9-0 run that included seven points from Hill. The Youngstown, Ohio, native, who had 19 points in the second half, sank a 3-point shot with 44 seconds left to give OSU a nine point lead and their first victory since the team’s disappointing loss to Michigan on Saturday. “You don’t erase a loss,” said Hill. “I think you look at it and learn from it. We watched film and looked at our weaknesses and what we did and what we can improve on, and I think this game we tried to focus on the things we didn’t do at Michigan.” Aside from the victory, the night also proved momentous for Prahalis.  Prahalis, who had six assists, moved into second place in the Big Ten’s all-time assists list. The senior Buckeye passed former Penn State Nittany Lion Tina Nicholson with 827 career assists. Northwestern was led in scoring by junior center Danielle Diamant with 23 points and six rebounds, followed by junior forward Kendall Hackney who added 15 points. The Buckeyes walked away with a win, but Foster expects more close games in the future. “Every Big Ten game will be competitive,” said Foster. “They had better be because this is a physical league. The referees let you play. You have to figure it out. I think we did a good job of that (tonight).” Tonight’s match-up was the only time the Wildcats and the Buckeyes will see each other in regular season play, but Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said he now understands how difficult Hill and Prahalis are to play against. “They are as good of a back court as you are probably going to see, not just in the Big Ten, but in college basketball,” said McKeown. “They play like little kids on the playground and have that type of swagger right now.” The Buckeyes will travel north to face Michigan State (12-5, 4-0 Big Ten) on Sunday. Opening tip is scheduled for 4 p.m. read more

Columbus Crew unveils new uniforms preps for opener

Columbus Crew midfielder Federico Higuain (10) and defender Michael Parkhurst (4) model the teams new uniforms March 4 at Bar Louie in Columbus.Credit: Andrew Todd-Smith / Lantern photographerThe Columbus Crew is getting a new look.Columbus’ MLS franchise is set to begin its 2014 regular season Saturday, and the team enters its campaign with a new Adidas primary uniform, which was unveiled Tuesday at Bar Louie in the Arena District during a special event for Crew season ticket holders.The new Crew kit differs from its predecessor by featuring a textured monochromatic pattern of broad diamond shapes on the jersey, and the collar has been scrapped for the simpler look a crew neck provides.President and general manager Mark McCullers welcomed a crowd of several hundred fans dressed in Crew black-and-gold before the jersey was officially unveiled.The event gave the team brass an opportunity to greet and thank fans.“I’m so glad that you guys are with us on this journey, this new era,” McCullers said, then ceding the microphone to first-year coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter.Berhalter’s Nov. 6 hiring concluded the Crew’s search for former coach Robert Warzycha’s permanent replacement. Warzycha was released from his contract Sept. 2, and then-technical director Brian Bliss served as interim head coach for the final eight games of the season.“We’re excited about the season, we’re excited to have you guys behind us, we’re excited to unveil the jersey and we look forward to this Saturday’s game,” Berhalter said.McCullers and Berhalter then removed a large poster emblazoned with the team logo to expose an oversize mounted replica of the new Adidas jersey.At the same moment, Crew players overlooking the crowd from a second-floor balcony at the venue all removed their warmups to reveal their new jerseys, a surprise move that elicited loud cheers from those in attendance.“I love it. I mean, I think it’s lighter than last year’s jersey. No collar, I like it, it’s much cleaner,” midfielder Wil Trapp said. “I think it’s gonna come in handy when we get into the summer months and it’s humid. That takes a huge toll on your body, honestly. You want something that’s breathable and you can move around in.”Trapp said the material was similar to that of the team’s training jerseys but that the players have yet to wear-test the new kit on the field.In keeping with soccer tradition and MLS rules that dictate the goalkeeper’s jersey be of a different color than his teammates’, Columbus native and Ohio State product Matt Lampson’s jersey featured a turquoise-and-pink color scheme that he said is “very 80s retro.”Despite the different appearance of his uniform, Lampson corroborated Trapp’s testimonial of the fabric by saying it felt “comfortable, light (and) breezy.”“I’ve only seen this one and a green one that we have as well and I like them both,” Lampson said. “They’re very different, very progressive, compared to the typical ones we’ve had the past few seasons … I can’t wait to rep them on the field.”Former player and member of the 2008 MLS Cup-winning Columbus squad, Crew brand ambassador Frankie Hejduk was also on hand for the event.Functioning as an impromptu master-of-ceremonies after the unveiling, he invited fans up to the platform to start supporter chants for the crowd’s enjoyment.Hejduk also talked about the buzz surrounding the team leading into the regular season.“They dismantled (reigning MLS Cup Champions Sporting) KC like it was nothing, man,” Hejduk said of the team’s last outing, a 4-1 win that capped off an unbeaten five-game preseason slate. “You saw that counterattack going down. So they have some high expectations of this season and we’re gonna get behind them. Win or lose (or) draw, you know this: we bleed black and gold.”The Crew is scheduled to take the field against D.C. United in Washington, D.C., Saturday at 7 p.m. read more

Football Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla dead at 34

Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla died Sunday at the age of 34, according to an announcement made by Highland Local Schools. Highland Local Schools Official Release on the Passing of Mike Kudla.Our prayers are with his family during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/T3EUtJnAc7— Nicholas A. Kovach (@TheKovach) July 16, 2018In his career, Kudla was a member of the 2002 Ohio State national championship team, winning two Big Ten championships in his collegiate career. He also is No. 14 in school history with 14.5 career sacks. During his senior season, Kudla was Ohio State’s defensive MVP, recording 41 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks during the 2005 season. He also was named a member of the first-team All-Big Ten after the season. In the final game of his collegiate career in the 2006 Fiesta Bowl between the Buckeyes and Notre Dame, the defensive lineman recorded a career-high three sacks and seven tackles against the Fighting Irish. After his career with the Buckeyes and a short professional stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Kudla became the owner of Core Plex, where he developed medical facilities around the country. He also had been helping the NFL in finding ways to develop protocols in preventing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). read more

TBDPITL Ep 24 Can Ohio State win a game in the NCAA

Wyatt Crosher and Colin Gay discuss Ohio State men’s basketball’s 90-70 win against No. 22 Iowa, and if the Buckeyes can continue momentum into the rest of the season. They also talk about men’s hockey and its win of the Big Ten title in the regular season, and if women’s basketball has a slim chance to make the tournament as well. Also, what you’ve all been waiting for, updates on their intramural sports teams.

Football Dwayne Haskins shines in Ohio State Pro Day

Former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins throws at Ohio State Pro Day on March 20. Credit: Cori Wade | Lantern PhotographerDwayne Haskins didn’t really have anything he needed to prove heading into Ohio State’s Pro Day.Already considered a top-two quarterback by many in this year’s NFL Draft class, Haskins could have sat out Pro Day completely and not much would have changed.Instead, at about 1:25 p.m., after a lack of any real excitement earlier in the day due to the absence of defensive end Nick Bosa in the drills, Haskins took the field and showed everyone exactly why he has been so highly ranked to this point.Haskins threw 50 passes from the 50-yard line and completed 45 of them, including each of his throws of 40 or more yards.Four of his incompletions were well thrown, but dropped by the receiver. In his throws inside the red zone, Haskins completed 13-of-14 passes.When you ask Haskins about his performance, he could wrap it up in one word.“Solid,” Haskins said. “I missed two of them. It pisses me off still, but I thought I did pretty well.” This type of performance doesn’t come as much of a surprise. When in full pads against actual defenses, Haskins completed 70 percent of his passes and tied for the fourth most touchdown passes in NCAA history.But on Wednesday, when none of those stats mattered, Haskins still found a way to impress with the accuracy of his arm and surprising mobility in the pocket.“I thought it looked natural; it didn’t look forced,” head coach Ryan Day said. “I think sometimes when you watch a quarterback, you’re like, ‘How is he going to throw?’ Dwayne threw the way Dwayne throws.”For the quarterback who only spent one season behind center for Ohio State, his final return to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center before heading to the pros was a bittersweet one.But Haskins knows what is now important, and he’s known what’s important before he even got his chance to start in 2018.His performance at Pro Day only pushed him closer to the same end goal he’s had since he was in grade school.“I’ve been ready for the NFL. I’ve been preparing for it for all my life, and I knew I was ready to play in the NFL before the season even started,” Haskins said. “To have an opportunity to be an early draft pick is a dream of mine since I was a little kid, and I’m just giving it all I got, every opportunity that I get.”Haskins described college pass openings as “windows” and NFL ones as “keyholes” to describe the increased difficulty he is ready to face.For Day, he said he is proud of everything Haskins did for Ohio State over the past season. He said his development will show recruits just how much can be accomplished in the program.There are about five weeks separating Haskins from his future NFL team. He leaves Ohio State with quite possibly the most impressive statistical season by any quarterback in program history.But that was not the goal for Haskins all his life, and that’s not what his Pro Day was meant to show the world.All of that is set toward the future, and for a team to have as much confidence in Haskins as he has for himself.“I feel like I’m the best player in the draft,” Haskins said. read more

University students told essays will be marked down if they fail to

first_imgMany universities advise students not to use “he” or “him” as a default pronoun, suggesting instead using “he or she” or “they”. Cardiff Metropolitan University’s “Guide to Inclusive Language” gives gender-neutral alternatives for 34 words or phrases. The six-page document says that the terms “forefathers”, “best man for the job” and “man-hour” should be avoided in order to “promote an atmosphere in which all students feel valued”.  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. The university said in a statement that the document “makes no demands, bans nothing and carries no sanctions​.”center_img Students at Hull University are being told to use gender neutral language in their essays – or risk losing marks. According to documents obtained by the Sunday Times, students are told to “be aware of the powerful and symbolic nature of language and use gender-sensitive formulations. Failure to use gender-sensitive language will impact your mark.”The document, which was released following a Freedom of Information request, was part of a course on religious activism being taught at the university. A senior lecturer in religion at the university said: “Should any student use language which is not deemed gender-neutral, they will be offered feedback as to why. Deduction of marks is taken on a case-by-case basis.”Academics criticised the move, calling it “linguistic policing”.Frank Furedi, emeritus professor of sociology at Kent University, told the Sunday Times: “Usually such threats are implicit rather than spelt out as in the case of Hull.”This linguistic policing is used as a coercive tool to impose a conformist outlook. The alternative is to pay a penalty of being marked down.”It has become increasingly common for universities to advise their students to use gender-neutral language, but this is the first time a university has said not doing so will affect a student’s mark. last_img read more

Bath Abbey sparks backlash as rector replaces 400yearold morning prayers with contemporary

first_imgA spokesman for the Prayer Book Society, which works to preserve usage of the text, said: “It was written by Cranmer over 400 years ago and it’s beautiful. “For many people who have used it all their lives, to suddenly have that taken away is devastating.”A Bath Abbey spokesman said: “Changes to worship are made carefully and after long periods of consideration and prayer.” Bath Abbey has sparked a backlash among churchgoers who are upset that it has replaced its 400-year-old Sunday service with a version said in “familiar” modern English.The church was among a handful to retain the Matins service, which is based on the Tudor Book of Common Prayer. After Easter it will be replaced by a modern choral Eucharist.The Abbey said it decided to change the service to make it more accessible as more people are familiar with the modern service. In a letter to the congregation sent in December, the Rector of the Abbey, The Reverend Prebendary Edward Mason, said: “Generations of Anglicans have now grown up with Eucharist not Matins. “Few are now sustained in their faith by Matins these days. Casual attenders, visitors and those returning to faith are much more likely to be familiar with a Eucharist.”But some worshippers are upset by the changes, which they say are based on making the service more “fashionable” and will drive older members of the congregation away.Ann Taylor, who is in her seventies and has been attending the service for 20 years, said she would not be attending the new Eucharist because it was in “supermarket” English.  She said around 300 or 400 people currently attended. “We think it’s been changed for fatuous reasons,” she said.”The lady who sits in front of me turned around last week and said ‘have a good Easter, but I don’t know when I’ll see you after that’. It’s very sad.” The Prayer Book was written by Thomas Cranmer in 1549 during the reign of Edward VI and revised in 1662. The version used in churches today is broadly similar to the Cranmer’s book.  The congregation watch as choristers take part in Bath Abbey's candlelit Advent Procession on December 1, 2013 in Bath, Englandcenter_img The Matins service at Bath Abbey was popular, a member of the congregation saidCredit:Matt Cardy/Getty Images Europe 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

Moors murderer escapee tells how he got away

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. Tommy Rhattigan tells of how he escaped from Ian Brady and Myra Hindley after they lured him into their home.last_img

Scots do not care if they are related to Marilyn Monroe

first_imgClan Munro USA has been forced to concede that it is rather disappointed with its findings, “surprised” that the less enthusiastic Scots did not get involved.The project began after it was discovered that an ancestor of Monroe was a soldier exiled to America after the English Civil War and launched an appeal to find more ancestors.Organisers might have been forgiven for getting their hopes up when they did eventually find one living descendant of the US actress. Marilyn Monroe in 1954  Foulis is the home of Clan Munro, acquired by a Munro chief in the early 14th century Clan Chief Hector Munro of Foulis Munro was thought to have been one of hundreds of Scottish mercenaries who fought for the Royalist cause during the English Civil War before being exiled after its defeat by Oliver Cromwell. He is thought to have eventually settled in what is now Rhode Island.The YDNA tests look at the Y chromosome which is only carried by men and is passed virtually unchanged from father to son.Colin Munro suggested any potential links with Marilyn may be a little spurious.“We are talking about more than ten generations ago and of course, Marilyn didn’t have this Y chromosome at all,” he added. “We found one Scot who shares DNA with Marilyn Monroe’s relatives. He has a close DNA match,” revealed Margaret Bardin of Clan Munro USA, Texas.“He lived in the north-east of Scotland and has Scottish heritage but moved to Birmingham. That gentleman participated as a favour and we paid for his testing.“He has not continued to correspond with me. We have to respect his privacy.”The Clan Munro Association appears to have washed its hands of the whole affair, pointing anyone interested in the DNA project firmly in the direction of America.“Do not contact the Clan Munro website about DNA matters”, it declares on its website. “The contact is the (US based) Munro DNA Project.”Hector Munro, 67, chief of the Munro clan, acknowledged that there was a vast difference in attitudes between the Americans and their Scottish counterparts when it came to tracing their lineage. Scots, the American genealogists have learned, are not interested in finding out if they are related to an American actress, even if she was one of the most biggest stars of all time.Colin Munro, of the Scottish Clan Munro Association, spoke of a disdain for being lectured about their heritage by the American side of the family.He said: “Scots think they know who they are and don’t want to find out if they’re wrong.“It could also be that many Scots do not believe anything is really free.” Marilyn Monroe in 1954 Credit:AP Clan Munro Clan Munro Research based on DNA from a paternal relative of her grandfather, Otis Elmer Monroe, found a link to a John Munroe, a soldier from Aldie, near the small town of Tain on the coast of the Dornoch Firth, who travelled to America in the 17th century. “The Scots think they know their history so they aren’t as keen to get involved,” he said.“The further people get away from the Highlands, the more interested they are. It’s about capturing that feeling of belonging.” 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. Mr Munro, from Dingwall in the Highlands, said the ultimate aim of the project was to broaden the Munro DNA database and that the Marilyn link had likely been used as something of a hook to capture the imagination.“Obviously, she is rather iconic,” he added. “They tried it with James Monroe, the fifth US president, but didn’t get any takers.“I suppose they thought if they threw in a bit of sex they might get a different result but I don’t think it has.”Mr Munro also noted that Brits were “a bit more reserved” than Americans and rather more reticent about handing over personal information.Clan Munro USA launched its offer of free DNA testing to Munro men of Highland origin last summer, to coincide with what would have been Monroe’s 90th birthday.The Some Like It Hot star, who died aged 36 in 1962 of a drugs overdose, was born Norma Jeane Mortenson but took her screen name from her mother, Gladys Pearl Monroe. The search for Scottish relatives of screen icon Marilyn Monroe was launched amid much fanfare and huge optimism.The American descendants of the Scottish Munro clan had excitedly discovered that long lost cousins of the glamorous Hollywood icon hailed from a remote town in the blustery Highlands.Soon after they began testing the DNA of locals, to their joy, Clan Munro USA found a match. However, amid deepening suspicion from the Scottish side of the family, the trail appears to have rather run cold.The one Munro found to be related to Marilyn Monroe failed to respond to any contact from the Americans, suggesting he wants nothing to do with the project, even after volunteering his DNA. Foulis is the home of Clan Munro, acquired by a Munro chief in the early 14th century Clan Chief Hector Munro of Foulislast_img read more

NHS creating drug addicts as figures show surge in prescriptions for powerful

first_imgThe number of prescriptions for powerful painkillers in England has nearly doubled in 10 years, it has been reported.The surge in people taking opioids such as morphine has prompted doctors to warn that people are becoming addicted in greater numbers.The family of drugs also includes codeine, tramadol and fentanyl, which is many times stronger.According to the BBC, some 28.3 million opioids were prescribed by GPs in 2017, the equivalent of 2,700 packs an hour.The figure is around 10 million more than the number of opioid prescriptions in 2007.Opioids are prescribed to treat severe pain only after consultation with a GP or a pain specialist. Professor Jonathan Chick, from Castle Craig Hospital, a rehabilitation clinic in Peeblesshire, said the number of patients being treated at the clinic had doubled in five years.”There is definitely a link between rising numbers of prescriptions and an increase in the number of opioid addicts and related deaths,” he said.An NHS England spokesman told the BBC: “GPs and other health professionals make decisions about what, if any, medication to prescribe based on each individual patient’s specific condition and circumstances. Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chairwoman of the Royal College of GPs, said that doctors take prescribing any medication “very seriously” and they will “never prescribe opioids as a ‘quick fix’.”Analysis by the BBC suggested around 2.3 million people aged 16 to 59 in England took a prescription painkiller that had not been prescribed for them in 2016-17.According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, more than 2,000 of the 3,700 drug-related deaths in England and Wales in 2016 involved an opioid.Heroin is an opioid and deaths related to the Class A drug were included in the figures. “GPs and hospitals are working to ensure every prescription is both safe and effective, and the Care Quality Commission can investigate instances where these drugs appear to be given too frequently.”Nicki Hari, a drugs counsellor who works for UK Addiction Treatment, claimed “doctors will give you tablets like Tramadol without asking too many questions”.”GPs are just feeding people with pills, and the result is that the NHS is creating drug addicts,” she told the BBC.  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