Month: September 2019

A Closer Look At The Biggest Jumps At The X GamesA Closer Look At The Biggest Jumps At The X Games

With all the hifalutin analytical tools available to sports like baseball, basketball and tennis, younger sports BMX and skateboarding probably aren’t the most statistically sophisticated events going. Fair enough — but the foundation is being built for them faster than for sports that haven’t yet undergone a statistical revolution, like boxing or hockey. At the summer X Games last weekend, that came in the form of a little motion-tracking gadget called Curie. Big Air skater Trey Wood, with the Curie on his helmet. Brent Rose Curie is a pod that captures jump height, jump distance, in-air rotation and impact upon landing. The contraption, made by Intel, is just 1.5 inches by 1 inch by 1 inch and weighs three-eighths of an ounce. This year, it was attached to bikes for the BMX Big Air and BMX Dirt and to riders’ helmets for the Skateboard Big Air event at the games, which took place in Austin, Texas (although because of bad weather, it only saw action in BMX Dirt). Despite its diminutive size, the puck packs in an impressive suite of sensors, including a 9-axis accelerometer, gyroscope, electronic compass, barometer and GPS — plus a built-in 900-MHz radio to beam the stats to ESPN, which owns and broadcasts the games.1ESPN also owns FiveThirtyEight. The Curie is not available to consumers — for now, it’s mainly a promotional tool for Intel among pro riders — but its closest competitor would be the Trace, which provides a similar function for surfing and snowboarding, though with far less granularity.Here’s a clip of the Curie in action in Austin:The Curie made its debut at the winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, in January. That first version of the pod was three times larger and heavier than its current iteration. In Colorado, the pod was mounted directly on to the decks of snowboards in the men’s Snowboard Slopestyle and men’s Snowboard Big Air contests. On his gold medal Slopestyle run, Canadian Mark McMorris hit the final jump at 43 mph, rotated 1,440 degrees on his backside triple cork, and landed with an impact force of 11 times the Earth’s gravity (11.1 Gs). He traveled 83.5 feet.That setup had to change for the summer games. Because a snowboard is attached directly to a rider’s feet through boots and bindings, it was easy enough to mount the pod on the board itself. But skateboarders are attached to their boards only via gravity and friction, so unobtrusively mounting one was more complicated. If a skater was rotating in mid-air and did a kickflip at the same time, the pod would report the in-air rotation of the board, but not the skater. Ultimately, Intel and ESPN had to decide which data set would be more compelling. It chose to stick Curie on the rider’s helmet, not only because it would likely deliver better data, but also because if a rider’s foot happened to catch on the Curie while coming off the 27-foot quarter pipe, the consequences could literally be deadly. Not much chance of riders opting in for that sort of risk. I asked Intel engineer Tyler Fetters if this could be bad data. He insisted that it wasn’t. “That number is the spike at the point of contact,” Fetters said. “That moment is so brief that it goes by in an instant. If they had to sustain it for even a half-second, they would probably be crushed or maybe even pass out.”I asked Wade what a 20-G landing felt like. “It sucks,” he said, wincing. “Every time, my ankles feel like they’re falling apart.”X Games judges haven’t yet integrated Curie data into their scoring. According to Fetters, the technology is just too new, and they want to make sure that it’s accurate close to 100 percent of the time before they consider it. However, he said that athletes and coaches are already asking Intel for a more mobile system (in which Curie could send data to a phone instead of the larger suite of computers and radios that is currently used) that could be deployed at parks and ramps anywhere and could help them get ready for the next big event. While the technology is so new that it has only been deployed at the X Games (and in private testing), there’s potential for it to be applied more widely. I talked to BMX Big Air rider Morgan Wade to see if he would be open to using it in his training.Wade said that he primarily rides by feel but that there are instances in which more information would be a big help in training. “Sometimes the little nuances are so small that you don’t pick up on exactly what’s wrong, but you know that something isn’t right, and that’s where this could be really beneficial,” he said.Say you’re a BMX rider who is going over a 50-foot gap jump. You’re doing a huge 360 while spinning your handlebars clockwise. The jump is under-rotated, and you go down hard upon landing. What happened? Although Curie only displays certain metrics at the end of the run, it’s recording the entire thing. It can tell you that your rate of spin was 180 degrees per second when you first left the ramp but that it slowed to only 90 degrees per second by the time you landed. Was it just the friction of the wind that did that?The data looks similar to an EKG readout, displaying the peaks and valleys over time for each metric. So you can line up that graph against the video footage, and look! The rotational speed decreased dramatically at the moment you spun the handlebars. You might think that next time you should try spinning it the other way or launch with more initial rotation to compensate.One of the stats the Curie displays has baffled me for the past two X Games: the G-forces upon landing. I’ve seen numbers that are higher than 20 Gs, and that just doesn’t compute. If a rider weighed 175 pounds and landed with 20 Gs of force, he would effectively weigh 3,500 pounds (roughly 1,590 kilograms). There’s no way our musculoskeletal system could withstand that. Brent Rose read more

Former Lance Armstrong Teammate David George Tests PositiveFormer Lance Armstrong Teammate David George Tests Positive

David George, a South African cyclist and former teammate of Lance Armstrong, admitted on Tuesday to using the blood-boosting drug Erythropoietin (EPO) after failing a doping test on Aug. 29.”His biological passport indicated suspicious activity and that triggered a targeted test for EPO,” SAIDS chief executive Khalid Galant said in announcing the positive test Tuesday. ”A subsequent urine test came back positive for the banned EPO drug.”George is now facing a two-year ban from Cycling of South Africa, but is provisionally suspended until a final decision is reached.He cycled with U.S. Postal Service team in 1999 and 2000, alongside recently banned Armstrong. George said he realizes that he will face a ban as well and is prepared for what the CSA decides.”I know the result will ultimately be the same. This decision will be communicated to Cycling South Africa (CSA) and Drug-Free Sport shortly and according to protocol,” George said in a statement: ”I fully understand the consequences of my admission and will bear the results of this.”In October, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by the International Cycling Union for his use of steroids, EPO and blood transfusions. Multiple teammates testified against Armstrong in the report issued by the U.S. Anti-doping Agency.While George waits to hear from the CSA, he has already started to lose sponsors despite apologizing. Nedbank has withdrawn its sponsorship from his current 360Life team.”Nedbank has a zero tolerance towards the use of any banned substances or performance enhancing drugs and does not condone or support such use in any sport,” the South African bank said.This is one of George’s lowest moments as a cyclist after having a successful career. He won the silver medal in the road race at 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and bronze in the time trials in the Kuala Lumpur Games in 1998. George also represented South Africa at the 1996 and 200 Olympics.”Cycling, as you know, has been a confusing space, and although it has given me incredible moments it has also given me experiences that no person or young athlete should have to go through,” George said.Now he must figure out how to get over this mountain in his life. read more

The Cleveland Browns Made History — By Bungling A FourthAnd9 PlayThe Cleveland Browns Made History — By Bungling A FourthAnd9 Play

Play TYPENO. OF plays4th down conversion % Screen passes aren’t all that successful on fourth downFourth-down conversion rates by selected play type, 2009-19 regular seasons Zone read4168.3%– Pitch7462.2– Draw1957.9– Screen3735.1– Play-action26357.8– History was made on Sunday Night Football, but likely not the kind Cleveland Browns fans were hoping for. With 9:45 left in the fourth quarter and trailing 17-13, the Browns advanced to the Rams’ 41-yard line. A first-down run by Nick Chubb and two subsequent passes by Baker Mayfield netted Cleveland a single yard, and head coach Freddie Kitchens was faced with a difficult fourth-and-9 decision. In response, he dialed up a play call that is unprecedented in recorded NFL history: a draw.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/cle_4thdown.mp400:0000:0000:07Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.A draw play is designed to make the defense believe that a pass is coming, but instead results in a delayed handoff to the running back. The version the Browns ran gained just 2 yards, so Cleveland turned the ball over on downs. To be fair to Kitchens, it was a bold call in adverse circumstances. The analytically inclined are sometimes guilty of screaming at the TV for teams to be aggressive on fourth down and then — if the play is unsuccessful — immediately turning around and loudly complaining about the play call. But even given the results-oriented bias of the NFL fanbase, a draw play on fourth down and long is still a very rare and deeply contrarian move.Since 2006 — the first year ESPN began tracking play types — teams have dialed up a draw just 26 times on fourth down, including the Browns’ failed attempt. In that same period, no team outside of Cleveland has called a draw on fourth down with more than 7 yards to go. Among this small sample, just one draw has successfully converted to a new set of downs with more than 3 yards to go — and the quarterback responsible was noted gridiron sorcerer Ryan Fitzpatrick back when he was starting for the Buffalo Bills in 2011.Still, faulting Kitchens for calling a draw just because few have been called historically from that distance might be unfair. Draws work more often than not when they are called on fourth and short, for instance.1Three yards to go or less. And the conversion rate on a slightly more recent sample of plays — there have been 16 since 2009, the year our dataset begins — is a robust 62.5 percent, so the play can work in the right situations. Meanwhile, the success rate for all fourth-down plays with exactly 9 yards to go — the same distance Kitchens was faced with — is an anemic 35.4 percent. It’s hard to blame a specific play type when the odds against success are stacked so high.This made us wonder if there were play types that have historically been successful in fourth-and-long situations. Historical charting is somewhat limited in the NFL, but we found five other play types we could compare to the draw across the period spanning from 2009 to 2019. Sample sizes are notoriously small for fourth- and- long plays due to the NFL’s aversion to aggressive play calling, but among the play types for which we have data, play-action is the most common.There simply isn’t a lot of evidence to guide decision making in these situations. But if we look at the relative frequency of each type of play call and break each out by success or failure, there is a play type that historically has seen reasonable success on fourth and 5 or more: the screen pass.Screen passes are short passes to a receiver that start off looking like deeper passes or runs. Linemen — usually the center and two guards — begin the play blocking as normal but will release their defenders in an attempt to get them to overcommit to rushing the quarterback. A well-executed screen usually requires the QB to wait until the opposing linemen are almost on him before he tosses the ball to the receiver. Ideally, the scrum of suddenly free offensive linemen then begin to rumble downfield in search of a smaller linebacker or defensive back to block into the turf.Acknowledging the fact that we have limited charting of play types, the screen is the only play type that has been successful the majority of the time on fourth down and between 5 and 9 yards to go. The sample size is admittedly tiny — just 10 plays — so any notion of statistical significance goes right out the window, but teams were able to successfully convert a first down on six of the 10 attempts, good for 20 percentage points over league average for the given down and distance.Perhaps the deception afforded by convincing the defense that a long pass is coming improves the play’s outcome. It’s interesting to note that of the play types under consideration, the screen is the worst performing on fourth and short — and on fourth-down plays overall. Scramble17353.8– Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group For screens to succeed, the offense needs defenders to respect the pass and try to sack the QB so space can develop for the receiver to operate. On fourth and short, considerations of containing the pass likely take a back seat to stopping the run. The numbers seem to bear this out. When all distances on fourth down are considered, the screen is the worst-performing play on average.Kitchens and the Browns might have given themselves a better shot at extending their drive had they chosen another play type on Sunday. A screen might have led to a better pay-off for their aggressive play call. Then again, given the dearth of data we have to work with, perhaps it’s just noise. Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

The Hidden Value of the NBA StealThe Hidden Value of the NBA Steal

Scoring in professional basketball is one of the most beautiful things in sports. With only moments to set up his shot, a player tosses a ball into a soaring arc, and it drops through a hoop only slightly larger than the ball. That or he flies to the hoop and deposits the ball directly.It’s no wonder, then, that individual players’ scoring abilities get the most attention. But basketball is a complex and dynamic sport, and this skill is only one of many that determine what kind of impact a particular player has on the bottom line.In fact, if you had to pick one statistic from the common box score to tell you as much as possible about whether a player helps or hurts his team, it isn’t how many points he scores. Nor how many rebounds he grabs. Nor how many assists he dishes out.It’s how many steals he gets.This phenomenon — that steals is one of the most informative stats in basketball — has important implications for how we think about sports data. But it can also help us investigate real-life basketball mysteries, such as “What the heck is going on in Minnesota?”Consider the curious case of Ricky Rubio. A professional basketball player since the age of 14, he won a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics (leading a strong Spanish team in assists, steals and even defensive rebounds during the knockout rounds). The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him in 2009 with the fifth overall pick (age: 18), but he initially stayed in Spain, not making his NBA debut until 2011.During the two years Rubio spent at FC Barcelona, his eventual Minnesota teammate Kevin Love ascended into the ranks of the NBA’s statistical elite. This left many to expect (or hope) that adding Rubio would finally make the Timberwolves a contender. But in his first two seasons, the Timberwolves still haven’t made the playoffs. Going into the 2013-14 season, ESPN’s TrueHoop Network ranked Rubio as the 49th best player in the league (only slightly ahead of teammate Nikola Pekovic). He has struggled with injuries and is considered a terrible, “makes Rajon Rondo look like Reggie Miller”-type shooter.1So far, Rubio has put up the worst effective field goal percentage among regular NBA starters every year of his career.Since entering the NBA, Rubio has been dominant in two major statistical categories: not scoring and steals. Of all players averaging 30-plus minutes, Rubio’s 10 points per game is the third-fewest overall, and the worst of all guards by more than a point.2The second-lowest-scoring guard is Jose Calderon with 11.2 PPG.His 2.4 steals per game, on the other hand, is the second most. It’s only .1 steals behind five-time NBA steals champion Chris Paul (and Rubio edges Paul in steals per minute and steal percentage).What do you do when you have highly divergent indicators such as these? NBA stat geeks have been trying to mash up box score stats for decades. The most famous attempt is John Hollinger’s player efficiency rating, which ostensibly includes steals in its calculation but values them about as much as two-point baskets.3In PER, steals are each worth the value of one possession. A two-point basket is (roughly) worth two points minus the value of one possession. Because a possession is worth about one point, these are both worth about +1 point in Hollinger’s equation. In other words, steals have only a small effect on a player’s PER. Despite his stealing prowess, Rubio has a career PER of 15.6, ranking 82nd in the league for the period. Meanwhile, Love has a PER of 25.7 (fourth in the league) over that same time.Hollinger weights each stat in his formula based on his informed estimation of its intrinsic value. Although this is intuitively neat, empiricists like to test these sorts of things. One way to do it is to compare how teams have performed with and without individual players, using the results to examine what kinds of player statistics most accurately predict the differences.4I used this technique quite a bit throughout my treatise on Dennis Rodman, though it is actually better suited to broader analysis such as this. For this article, I’m using team game “with and without you” (WOWY) comparisons from all player seasons from 1986 to 2011 where a player missed and played at least 20 games. In particular, we’re interested in which player stats best predict whether a team will win or lose more often without him.By this measure, PER vastly undervalues steals. Because steals and baskets seem to be similarly valuable, and there are so many more baskets than steals in a game, it’s hard to see how steals can be all that important. But those steals hold additional value when we predict the impact of the players who get them. A lot more value. So much so that a player’s steals per game is more important to evaluating his worth than his ability to score points, even though steals are so much rarer.To illustrate this, I created a regression using each player’s box score stats (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and turnovers) to predict how much teams would suffer when someone couldn’t play.5As measured by his difference in SRS (simple rating system, or average margin of victory/defeat adjusted for strength of schedule) with or without him. By comparing the regression coefficients for each variable, we can see the relative predictive value of each (all else being equal). Because we’re particularly interested in how each stat compares with points scored, I’ve set the predictive value of a single marginal point as our unit of measure (that is, the predictive value of one point equals one, and something five times more predictive than a point is five, etc.). The results:Yes, this pretty much means a steal is “worth” as much as nine points. To put it more precisely: A marginal steal is weighted nine times more heavily when predicting a player’s impact than a marginal point.6At least when averaged over a sufficient number of games (about 15 or 20). Note that the weighting of steals in PER was approximately equal to a made two-point basket, or roughly equivalent to two PPG (off by nearly a factor of five). Value for turnovers is negative.For example, a player who averages 16 points and two steals per game is predicted (assuming all else is equal) to have a similar impact on his team’s success as one who averages 25 points but only one steal. If these players were on different teams and were both injured at the same time, we would expect their teams to have similar decreases in performance (on average).Steals have considerable intrinsic value. Not only do they kill an opponent’s possession, but a team’s ensuing possession — the one that started with the steal — often leads to fast-break scoring opportunities. But though this explains how a steal can be more valuable than a two-point basket, it doesn’t come close to explaining how we get from that to nine points.I’ve heard a lot of different theories about how steals can be so much more predictively valuable than they seem: Steals “cost” less than other stats,7This is most relevant to comparison between steals and points: Points cost you shots, which cost you possessions, which is why a bad shooter may get a lot of points while hurting his team’s offense. Steals come at a cost as well: By gambling on defense, you sometimes give up a better shot if you fail. But, all things considered, they are probably closer to being “free” than points. or players who get more steals might also play better defense, or maybe steals are just a product of, as pundits like to call it, high basketball IQ. These are all worth considering and may be true to various degrees, but I think there’s a subtler — yet extremely important — explanation.Think about all that occurs in a basketball game — no matter who is playing, there will be plenty of points, rebounds and assists to go around. But some things only happen because somebody makes them happen. If you replaced a player with someone less skilled at that particular thing, it wouldn’t just go to somebody else. It wouldn’t occur at all. Steals are disproportionately those kinds of things.Most people vastly underestimate how much a player’s box score stats are a function of that player’s role and style of play, as opposed to his tangible contribution to his team’s performance. A player averaging one more point per game than another doesn’t actually mean his team scores one more point per game as a result of his presence. He may be shooting more than he should and hurting his team’s offense. Similarly, one player getting a lot of rebounds doesn’t make his team a good rebounding team: He may be getting rebounds that his team could have gotten without him.What we are looking for is a kind of statistical “irreplaceability.” If a player produces one more X (point, rebound, steal, etc.) for his team, and is then taken from the team (by injury, suspension, trade, etc.), how much of that stat does his team really lose? How much of it can be replaced?I tested for this by running a series of regressions using each player’s box score stats (points, rebounds, assists, etc.) to predict how much teams would suffer without a player in each particular area. In other words, for a player who averages X points, Y rebounds, Z assists, etc., how much does his team’s scoring decrease when he’s out? How much does its rebounding decrease? The way I’ve set it up, a stat’s irreplaceability will roughly run from zero (completely replaceable) to one (completely irreplaceable).8I was going to call this “Beyoncé Value” in honor of the singer’s hit song “Irreplaceable,” but editors correctly pointed out that the song title was ironic, and steals actually are irreplaceable. Let’s visualize it like so:9For this case, I ran separate regressions to the WOWY differential for each of the team’s PRABS statistics from all of the corresponding player stats. In a linear regression, the “irreplaceability value” is the coefficient for each variable in its own regression (e.g. player PPG coefficient in the regression to team PPG). Note that while the value approximates a percentage, nothing precludes values below zero or above 1. So, look at the points-per-game column. Suppose a player averages one more point per game than another player. His team is likely to average only an additional .17 points with him on the floor because points are 83 percent replaceable. It would take almost six points of his scoring to add one additional point to his team’s tally.For steals, the picture is much different. If a player averages one more steal than another player (say 2.5 steals per game instead of 1.5) his team is likely to average .96 more steals than it would without him (if all else stayed equal). That’s why, as an individual player action, steals are much more irreplaceable than points.Basketball is a game of high scores and small margins. The best team ever — the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls — only won by an average of 12 points per game, and I’d be surprised if more than a handful of players have ever been worth half that on their own (maybe Michael Jordan, probably LeBron James). With steals 96 percent “irreplaceable,” and each worth a couple of points, one extra steal per game puts a good player well on his way to being an excellent one.With this in mind, it’s worth taking another look at Rubio, the quirky sidekick to MVP candidate Love. Rubio seems deficient at the game’s central skill (putting the ball in the hoop) but is gifted at the one that matters to my model (thievery).It’s our good fortune that Rubio and Love have missed a number of games at different times, so we can check whether there’s anything to be gleaned by comparing team performance with and without them. Here are his and Love’s win percentages and average team margin of victory both together and separate since 2011-12:In other words, the Timberwolves have struggled to win games when either one of its duo out, and they’ve lost quite badly with both gone. Despite being an elite scorer and rebounder who is routinely ranked as one of the league’s top players, Love’s observable impact has been only marginally better than Rubio’s.10Note also that in the three years prior to Rubio’s arrival, Love had one of the worst runs that a theoretically great player has ever had. In the 214 games he played in that period, the Timberwolves won only 24.8 percent of their games and had an average margin of victory of -6.3. In other words, the sample of games in which the Timberwolves struggled with only Love on the floor is effectively much greater than the 33 in the table. So far, both are putting up elite numbers. The Timberwolves have played nearly seven points per game worse without Rubio in their lineup. That’s absurdly high. So high that I’d be surprised if either player’s numbers bore out in the long run. But it’s worth noting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, Rubio may be exceeding expectations.Taken alone, this comparison doesn’t answer the question of Rubio’s value, and it doesn’t prove that steals are as valuable as I think they are. But it’s powerfully consistent with that claim. More important, it’s a perfect example of how, even in a storm of complex, causally dynamic, massively intertwined data and information, sometimes odd little things that are known to be reliable and predictable are the most valuable.Editor’s note: A table in this article has been updated to include additional data from the past week. read more

Watch Game 7 Of The World Series With FiveThirtyEight By Reading OurWatch Game 7 Of The World Series With FiveThirtyEight By Reading Our

In less than a week, you may have heard, there’s a midterm election in the United States of America. This is sort of a big deal for us at FiveThirtyEight. Such a big deal that our estimable tech team of Jeremy Weinrib and Paul Schreiber arranged a fancy live-blogging platform so you can snuggle up next to us for hours on election night. It’ll be cozy.We’ve known for weeks that we’d need to give the platform a test drive, and we decided that we’d do that Wednesday, on the second night of the NBA season. We’d get together our crew of basketball writers (the ones who wrote our NBA team previews), buy some pizzas and use an algorithm to project whether Giannis Antetokounmpo has finally stopped growing.But as the San Francisco Giants discovered last night, Jake Peavy has a habit of ruining the best-laid plans.About the time Game 6 of the World Series passed a 95 percent win probability, we made the call to scuttle the NBA live blog. Instead, you’ll get to hang with us as we watch Game 7. We’ll argue that Jeremy Guthrie shouldn’t pitch more than three innings, locate where the Giants dynasty of the past five seasons would rank compared to others and, Yost-willing, debate the merits of the sacrifice bunt.It’s going to be great. Or a total disaster. Come and find out which. 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday. Here on FiveThirtyEight. read more

In The Spread Offense Era Can Wisconsin Rush Its Way To TheIn The Spread Offense Era Can Wisconsin Rush Its Way To The

The football game played Saturday in Madison could have taken place 20 years ago. Wisconsin performed a complete takedown of Michigan, outclassing the Wolverines on both lines. The Badgers were unstoppable in the running game, piling up 359 yards on 57 carries. They pressured Michigan on 39.6 percent of dropbacks, negating the Wolverines’ speed at the skill positions. They led 28-0 at halftime and had the ball for more than 41 out of 60 minutes.In short, they played the game that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has always wanted his team to play. After he accepted his first head coaching job, at San Diego in 2004, Harbaugh told legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler that he would always have a fullback on his roster. As they shift toward spread concepts — Harbaugh brought in coordinator Josh Gattis last offseason to overhaul his ground-and-pound offense and replace it with a no-huddle attack as a last-ditch effort to break Michigan’s Ohio State curse — this year’s Wolverines don’t have a fullback. But Wisconsin has three, and one of them, John Chenal, scored a touchdown against Michigan. After Saturday’s rout and shutouts of South Florida and Central Michigan by a combined score of 110-0, Paul Chryst’s team is 3-0, No. 9 in the coaches’ poll and No. 8 in the AP poll. The Badgers appear to be the best version of their traditional hard-nosed, smashmouth selves. The question this year is: Is that good enough to make the College Football Playoff?In the spread-offense era, Wisconsin would be quite the party-crasher. The Badgers this season have averaged one snap every 31 seconds, playing at a slower tempo than any of the 20 playoff teams to date. Just 41.4 percent of their play calls are passes, fewer than any playoff finalist except Georgia in 2017. Chryst’s team has run more than half of its plays (118 of 224) from under center and huddled before 99.1 percent of its snaps. On its fourth play from scrimmage Saturday, Wisconsin faced fourth-and-inches from its own 34-yard line and came out in a jumbo formation it calls “14-Hippo” featuring seven offensive linemen, two tight ends, quarterback Jack Coan and running back Jonathan Taylor. “We slowly got to where we wanted to be, right?” Chryst told reporters afterward. “It worked.”Wisconsin has been playing this way for years; since 2005, the style has produced nine double-digit-win seasons and three Rose Bowl berths. But the Badgers have not played for a national championship in that time. They came closest in 2017, when they marched undefeated through the regular season but fell just short to Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game. That team, perhaps more than any other, illustrated the perils of playing a plodding style in this era. When it counted, Ohio State raced past Wisconsin for 57-yard and 84-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter, and the Badgers managed only one offensive touchdown in a 27-21 loss. When their defense gave them two final chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter, their offense finished those drives with a punt and an interception.This year’s team may already be different in one area: quarterback. From 2016 to 2018, Wisconsin started the inconsistent Alex Hornibrook, whose touchdown-to-interception ratio was just 1.42 and whose highest completion percentage in a season was 62.3 percent, good for 33rd among the top 100 quarterbacks. (The other two years he didn’t make the top 100 in completion percentage.) He threw crucial late interceptions in games such as that 2017 Big Ten championship and a 2016 trip to Michigan. Coan faced no such problems Saturday, when he rushed for two touchdowns. In Coan, Wisconsin might now have a capable quarterback to pair with its defense and Taylor, its Heisman candidate running back.This year’s Badgers have one opportunity that the 2017 version didn’t: a regular-season trip to Ohio State. Two seasons ago, Wisconsin did not play a top-15 team until the conference championship, and losing that game knocked the team out of playoff contention. This year, the Badgers can make a huge statement by beating the Buckeyes for the first time since 2010. Their schedule may even afford them two cracks at it: If they win all their other games, they could lose to the Buckeyes in their regular-season matchup next month, avenge that loss in the Big Ten title game and still make the playoff.If they can’t beat Ohio State, the Badgers will likely become another good team with a stout defense and an offense that’s serviceable but not flashy, potentially ending up in a New Year’s Six bowl but missing the playoff. And if Wisconsin can beat its old rival, Alabama and Clemson will likely be lying in wait, setting up the ultimate test of speed versus power.1So far this season, Alabama and Clemson are huddling before 40.4 percent and 34.4 percent of snaps, respectively. This decade has overwhelmingly favored speed. Old-school Wisconsin is hoping it can turn back the clock. read more

Womens volleyball OSU drops two matches in MichiganWomens volleyball OSU drops two matches in Michigan

Ohio State’s libero Valeria Leon passes a ball in the regional quarterfinal versus Washington on December 11, 2015. Credit: Ohio State AthleticsThe weekend wasn’t kind to the Ohio State women’s volleyball team, as they dropped two matches on the road against Michigan State and OSU’s main rival, Michigan. Up first were the No. 21 Michigan State Spartans, who silenced the No. 14 Buckeyes in a 3-0 sweep on Friday. OSU then travelled to Ann Arbor to take on the No. 23 Michigan Wolverines. The Buckeyes would only secure one set before falling to their foe, 3-1. The pair of losses comes on the heels of OSU’s upset over then-No. 1 Nebraska on October 1. After this weekend, the Buckeyes hold a 2-4 conference record. The team is 12-6 overall. Michigan StateOSU would be starting another new lineup against the Spartans. Sophomore outside hitter and regular starter Audra Appold was still out due to an injury that originated before the Buckeyes’ match against Northwestern on Sept. 28. The Buckeyes would be playing catch-up for the entire first set. Unforced errors forced OSU head coach Geoff Carlston to burn a timeout early on in the set. The Spartans would go on a 4-0 run to make the score 18-9 before Carlston used his remaining timeout for the first set. The Buckeyes couldn’t respond to the Michigan State offense and would drop the first set, 18-25. Much like the first, Michigan State would carry the lead for the entire second set. The Buckeyes pulled within reach of a tie mid-set until the Spartans started to gradually increase their separation. An OSU service error would secure the second set win for Michigan State. The third set would carry a different tune as the teams would see 10 tie scores and the Buckeyes would hold their first lead of the match. Senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe and junior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer combined for nine kills and sparked OSU’s offense. With the score tied at 21-21, it seemed like the third set could go to either team, but in the end it was the Spartans who would score the match point and complete the sweep of OSU, 25-23. Sophomore setter Taylor Hughes led the team in hitting percentages with .429. She also added 23 assists and combined for four blocks. MichiganIn front of a sold-out crowd in Ann Arbor, OSU would face their school rivals, Michigan. The Wolverines started the match out strong, jumping out to 6-0. After an OSU timeout, Sandbothe hammered down a kill and finally put the Buckeyes on the scoreboard. However, OSU errors would continue to dig a deep hole for the team. At 12-4, Michigan was boasting an errorless hitting game compared to five errors for OSU. The Buckeyes would score seven unanswered points later in the set to close the gap, but three costly OSU service errors would give the first set to Michigan, 25-20. The second set saw 13 tie scores, two lead changes, and proved to hold true to the meaning of the rivalry. Midway through the set, each team’s offensive numbers were explosive: .400 for the Buckeyes and .611 for the Wolverines. Schirmer put away seven kills alone in the second set. It was Michigan who would get the first set point at 24-23, followed by an OSU hitting error.  The Wolverines would have the advantage going into the third set, 2-0. OSU may have been going into the third with a disadvantage, but they weren’t going down easily. The Buckeyes took the early lead at 11-7 and forced a Michigan timeout after an ace by Hughes. OSU would get their first set point of the match from a kill by Sandbothe that would push the duel into four sets. The fourth set was a crowd thriller. OSU was able to come back from an 18-9 deficit to even the score at 21-21. The Buckeyes were able to fend off two Wolverine set points, but two skill Michigan plays would secure their match victory. Sandbothe and Schirmer paced the Buckeyes’ offense with 17 kills each, while senior libero Valeria León collected 23 digs. OSU will be back at St. John Arena for a rematch with the No. 3 Nebraska Huskers on Friday. read more

Volleyball welcomes pair of Big Ten foesVolleyball welcomes pair of Big Ten foes

The Ohio State women’s volleyball team (13-2) faces two Big Ten teams at home this weekend.Among the 331 Division I teams, the Buckeyes fall just short of the top 25. Competition in the Big Ten is fierce, as seven of the top 25 teams are Big Ten schools.   The team faces Wisconsin on Friday at St. John Arena. Wisconsin (5-6) is struggling at the start of its season.The Iowa Hawkeyes (9-5) make their trip to St. John Arena Saturday.Both Wisconsin and Iowa are ranked ouside of the top 25, and Iowa recently beat the Badgers 3-1. “Wisconsin is a much bigger team, but Iowa is playing well and their win over Wisconsin gave them confidence,” OSU coach Geoff Carlston said.  The team has been anticipating these two Big Ten matchups. Carlston recognizes that early in the season each team is still getting into its own rhythm. The Buckeyes’ goal this week has been to focus on themselves instead of what the other team is bringing to the floor.   “We just need to find our offensive balance and outplay them on the defensive side of the game,” Carlston said.  Power players this year are outside hitter junior Katie Dull and middle blocker senior Kristen Dozier.  Both matches are set for 7 p.m. at St. John Arena. read more

Let the madness begin Breaking down the bracketLet the madness begin Breaking down the bracket

3. Coach Bo Ryan leads No. 4-seeded Wisconsin (23-8) into the NCAA Tournament for the 10th consecutive year. The Badgers will play the Atlantic Sun Conference champion, No. 13-seeded Belmont Bruins (30-4), in the first round. 3. After being in contention for a No. 1 seed for most of the season, No. 4 seed Texas fell after losing three of four games to unranked teams late in February. The Longhorns will take on No. 13 seed Oakland, who some have pegged to be a Cinderella team after winning the Summit League Championship. 5. Kemba Walker took No. 3 seed Connecticut to a five-games-in-five-days championship run to the Big East Tournament — a conference that sent 11 teams to the NCAA Tournament. The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 26 points per game in the conference tournament. UConn takes on No. 14 Bucknell, which won the Patriot League title.   Southwest Region 1. No. 1 seed Kansas is the deepest team in the nation, but at times loses focus defensively. Nevertheless, the Jayhawks are a legitimate title contender and are the overwhelming favorite to win the region. East Region 1. Ohio State, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, is the favorite, not only to win its region, but to be the last team standing come April 4. The Buckeyes should cruise until a potential matchup with No. 4 seed Kentucky in the Sweet 16. 2. No. 6 seed Xavier’s Tu Holloway is the best player you’ve never heard of. The Atlantic-10 Player of the Year was second in the A-10 in points, assists, steals and free-throw percentage. Holloway also has recorded two triple-doubles on the season, and scored 26 points in last season’s Elite 8 loss against Kansas State. 3. The best first-round tilt will take place between No. 8 seed George Mason and No. 9 seed Villanova. George Mason comes in winner of 16 of its last 17 games, while Villanova has lost five in a row and seven of its last nine. This game will feature two teams that look to push the tempo, evidenced by both squads’ 73-points-a-game averages. 4. No. 2 seed North Carolina is the only team in the region with enough size potentially to get OSU’s big men in foul trouble, and the talent to go shot for shot with the Buckeyes. However, the Tar Heels’ tournament inexperience is a major concern. 5. That said, OSU will win the East Region. The Buckeyes boast an impeccable combination of youth and experience, as well as perimeter shooting and inside play. That should be enough for them to reach their second Final Four in four years. West Region 1. No. 1 seed Duke likely needed its championship run in the ACC Tournament to secure a No. 1 seed after beating North Carolina, 75-58, in the conference title game. The Blue Devils benefited from Notre Dame falling to Louisville in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. There’s speculation about whether star freshman guard Kyrie Irving’s toe injury will allow him to participate in the tournament. 4. No. 2 seed San Diego State was the second-to-last team in the country to remain undefeated, behind OSU. The Aztecs suffered their only two losses to BYU, but beat BYU, 72-54, in the Mountain West championship game Saturday. They take on No. 15 seed Northern Colorado, led by guard Devon Beitzel’s 21.4 points per game. 2. Purdue gets a favorable draw as a No. 3 seed. Look for its veteran leadership and scoring to carry it on a deep tournament run. 3. No. 10 seed Florida State has star player Chris Singleton returning from injury and the Seminoles’ defensive mindset allows them to match up with anyone. Notre Dame will have its hands full in round two. 4. Few expected Louisville to be a No. 4 seed come March. Don’t be surprised if Rick Pitino’s squad continues to exceed expectations. 4. Michigan State was named the Southeast region’s No. 10 seed after posting a 19-14 record and advancing the Big Ten Tournament’s semifinal round. The Spartans will play No. 7-seeded UCLA (22-10) in the first round. This is the Spartans’ 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. 2. No. 8 seed Michigan will take on the team that took out OSU last year in the Sweet 16, No. 9 seed Tennessee, in the first round. The Wolverines ranked 249th in the country in scoring and will face the Volunteers, led by 6-foot-7 Scotty Hopson’s 17.4 points per game. 2. 2010 NCAA Tournament runner-up Butler (23-9) is the No. 8 seed in the Southeast Region. The Bulldogs will play No. 9-seeded Old Dominion (27-6) in the first round. 5. Upsets in matches between 12th- and fifth-seeded teams are always trendy, but Atlantic 10 Tournament champion Richmond poses a legitimate threat to the region. Remember the name Justin Harper. The 6-foot-10 forward with 3-point range could make a name for himself. Southeast Region 1. UNC-Asheville will take on Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday in the Southeast Region’s play-in game. The winner will assume the region’s No. 16 seed and play No. 1-seeded Pittsburgh (27-5) in its next game. 5. The Florida Gators (26-7) were named the Southeast Region’s No. 2 seed. On Nov. 16, Ohio State defeated the Gators, 93-75, in Gainesville, Fla. read more

Ohio State mens tennis team makes racket on road to NCAA ChampionshipOhio State mens tennis team makes racket on road to NCAA Championship

The Ohio State men’s tennis team’s dream of winning a national title is still alive after the Buckeyes defeated their opponents in the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship Tournament this weekend. OSU was able to shut out Notre Dame and Ball State, 4-0, respectively in the first and second rounds of the tournament. The team will now advance to the third round of the championship Thursday, when it will play Tulsa. Tulsa caused an upset in the bracket with a 4-3 victory against No. 13 seed Texas on Saturday. “They take everything seriously,” OSU coach Ty Tucker said of his team. The last four rounds of the tournament will be held at Stanford’s Taube Tennis Center. If the Buckeyes beat Tulsa in the Sweet Sixteen, they will play in their first matchup with a seeded opponent. Depending on the outcome of the other teams’ match, the Buckeyes will face either No. 5-seeded Baylor or No. 12-seeded UCLA. The Buckeyes didn’t play either team this season. OSU had a successful start to the tournament with home-court advantage. However, the team will now travel to an outdoor court, something the Buckeyes haven’t had much experience with yet this season. But the team isn’t completely unprepared. Redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy said Tucker had the team outdoors, practicing as much as possible in the days before the tournament began. But, McCarthy added, the team still needs to play outside more. On Friday, the team got a little taste of what kind of weather it might meet in California when it played in humid, 80-degree weather against Ball State. “We have to take what we can get,” redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt said of Friday’s weather. “It’s the kind of stuff we’ll deal with if we go out to California.” Whatever weather the Buckeyes face in California, the team seems excited just to be competing. “It’s quite an experience,” senior Matt Allare said. “I’ve never been (to Stanford). I’m excited to see what it’s like.” “It’s a little bit different,” freshman Blaz Rola said. “You see a lot more excitement. … There’s more at stake, but to win any tournament is a big deal.” The Buckeyes play their next round at 6 p.m. Thursday. If they win, they will continue on the road to the National Championship by playing in the fourth round at 7 p.m. Saturday. read more

What will the postPryor era look like at Ohio StateWhat will the postPryor era look like at Ohio State

Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor has taken his last snap in Scarlet and Gray. Many Buckeye fans were done with Pryor. They wanted him out, wanted to turn a new page. But in a much harsher reality, problems are far from resolved for the Ohio State football program. Interim head coach Luke Fickell, athletic director Gene Smith and President E. Gordon Gee have until July 5 to provide responses to 42 inquiries from the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations addressed to Gee April 21. University representatives – including former head coach Jim Tressel and Fickell – are scheduled to meet with the Committee on Infractions on Aug. 12. The problems not only apply to off-the-field problems, but there is now a touchdown-producing hole in the defending Big Ten champions’ offense. In the 2010 season, Pryor accounted for 2,272 passing yards, 754 rushing yards and 31 total touchdowns. In addition to Pryor missing the entire season, five other players are already suspended for a portion of the season. The NCAA suspended Pryor, running back Dan Herron, receiver DeVier Posey, offensive lineman Mike Adams and defensive end Solomon Thomas for the first five games of the upcoming season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits from Eddie Rife, owner of Fine Line Ink tattoo parlor. Linebacker Jordan Whiting earned a one-game suspension. Former OSU linebacker Brian Rolle tweeted from his account Tuesday, @rolly_polly36, that the constant turmoil Buckeyes everywhere are experiencing is frustrating. “You’ve got to be kidding me TP,” Rolle said on Twitter. “Heartbreak after heartbreak… feels like an abusive relationship.” Where does this leave the remaining Buckeyes? The 2011 OSU squad will begin looking at the four quarterback options for the season. OSU tight end Jake Stoneburner summarized it on his twitter account, @STONEYeleven. “KG, BM, JB, TG… Time to step up fellas. This just got real,” Stoneburner tweeted Tuesday. Stoneburner was referring to Kenny Guiton (KG), Braxton Miller (BM), Joe Bauserman (JB) and Taylor Graham (TG). During the 2011 Spring Game, all four quarterbacks saw playing time and all four put up about comparable numbers. Pryor’s lawyer, Larry James, released a statement on Pryor’s behalf. “In the best interest of my teammates, I’ve decided to forego my senior season at Ohio State,” Pryor said in the statement. A friend of Pryor’s and a star of near-equal stature on campus, Jared Sullinger, tweeted to Pryor from his account, @Jared_Sully0. “We gonna miss you @TPeezy2,” Sullinger tweeted. “Had a great career hopefully that continues at the next level bro.” read more

JD Weatherspoon ready for fresh start at ToledoJD Weatherspoon ready for fresh start at Toledo

Former Ohio State men’s basketball forward J.D. Weatherspoon said he felt relieved after making his decision to transfer to Toledo, where he will continue his basketball career. After playing two years for the Buckeyes with a minor role, the 6-foot-6 sophomore said he’s looking forward to a new opportunity and a change of scenery. “I’m looking forward to starting fresh in a new atmosphere,” Weatherspoon said. “Coach Matta thought this was in the best interest for my future, so I wasn’t about to argue with him. He really looked out for me and I’m glad he told me.” Matta said he wished Weatherspoon success with his decision and said the team valued his work ethic. “His teammates and our staff appreciate the hard work J.D. has put in to make our team better,” Matta said in a press release. “We wish him nothing but the best.” During his two seasons with the Buckeyes, Weatherspoon averaged 2.7 points and one rebound in the 35 games he played. Over that span, he averaged about six minutes of court time per game. Weatherspoon said he just wants an opportunity to play the game that he has invested so much of his time in. “When you’re coming out of high school going to college, you didn’t get a scholarship to sit the bench,” Weatherspoon said. “You want a scholarship to play basketball.” Weatherspoon found the scholarship he was looking for with a little help from Ryan Peadon, an assistant coach for Toledo’s basketball team. Peadon said he has a Columbus background so he knew exactly what kind of player Toledo was getting in Weatherspoon. “I’ve seen him play since he was a freshman in high school, so I knew all about him,” Peadon said. “We knew he was a tremendously athletic player, we knew that he was very talented and we knew that he was very versatile.” Peadon said Toledo reached out to Weatherspoon and his coaches after hearing he was released from his scholarship. “We touched bases with his high school coaches, AAU coaches and then we talked to him last because we had to get a feel for what he was thinking,” Peadon said. “I told him I think we would have a great opportunity for him here at Toledo and that it would be a great situation for everybody.” Weatherspoon said the relationship and comfort level with Toledo’s coaches played a big role in his decision. “Coach Peadon and coach (Tod Kowalcyzk) kept it real with me and that’s what I really liked about it,” Weatherspoon said. “They told me the truth saying they really needed me and they felt like I could help out to make the school a better place.” Weatherspoon said staying relatively close to his hometown, Columbus, also came into play when making his decision to transfer to Toledo. “It was really important because my family, friends and fans can still come see me play, so everyone was happy,” Weatherspoon said. Weatherspoon will have two years of eligibility with Toledo starting in 2013-14. Weatherspoon said he will be working hard even though he won’t play for the Rockets in the upcoming season. “Oh yea, I’m going to take my game and studies to another level,” he said. Weatherspoon said his experience at OSU has been good and that he’ll miss the fans more than anything. “It was very fun. You know just being a hometown kid so I really knew a lot about the tradition,” Weatherspoon said. “Of course I’m going to miss my fans because, you know, that’s the biggest supporters. You don’t forget about them wherever you go.” read more

Despite Ohio States AllBig Ten offense Northwestern exudes confidence against BuckeyesDespite Ohio States AllBig Ten offense Northwestern exudes confidence against Buckeyes

Quarterback Kain Colter (2) of Northwestern throws to Tony Jones (6) for a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Maine at Ryan Field Sept. 21. Northwestern won, 35-21.Credit: Courtesy of MCTFor the past three weeks, opponents of Ohio State football have had to prepare to play two different quarterbacks given the uncertainty of whether junior quarterback Braxton Miller would return from his MCL sprain to play, or whether redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton would start in his place.Miller is back healthy and atop OSU’s quarterback depth chart, after playing every snap at the position in the Buckeyes’ 31-24 win against Wisconsin Saturday. This week, OSU (5-0, 1-0) is the team preparing to play two quarterbacks as the Buckeyes head to Evanston, Ill., to play Northwestern (4-0) in the Buckeyes’ second road game of the season.Unlike OSU, who played Guiton because of the injury to Miller, Northwestern has used both of its top quarterbacks, senior Kain Colter and redshirt-junior Trevor Siemian, in each of their four games this season.Colter, the starter, is a dual-threat quarterback who has more rushing attempts (39) than passing attempts (35) so far in 2013. He has completed 27 of his 35 passing attempts for 264 yards and three touchdowns, with two interceptions, and has rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns.Siemian’s profile is closer to that of a traditional pocket passer. He has completed 47 of 70 passes for 671 yards and four touchdowns this season, with two interceptions, while he has only rushed the ball 10 times for 35 yards.Preparing for two quarterbacks is not going to affect OSU’s game plan, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer said Tuesday.“(Colter) is a very good thrower as well and the thrower (Siemian) … he’s an athletic guy that can get out of trouble and also run their base plays,” Meyer said. “One’s a little more run-heavy, and you have to be aware of that, and the other one’s more pass-heavy, but it’s not drastically different as far as their (abilities).”Nothwestern’s senior running back Venric Mark, who ran for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns on 226 carries in his junior season, is expected to be back for Saturday’s game after sitting out since the opener against California with a foot injury.Meyer said he is most concerned with how Mark could impact the game on special teams.“He’s one of the best punt returners, kick returners in America,” Meyer said.Redshirt-senior safety C.J. Barnett said Wednesday stopping the Wildcats offense on third down will be key to OSU’s success Saturday.“I think we get good pressure, guys up front do a great job getting pressure, forcing the ball out quick and we’re able to make a few plays,” Barnett said of OSU’s success at defending third-down conversion attempts.Colter said OSU’s defense has “athletes all over the board” who are well-coached, but said Northwestern has the athletes to match up successfully.“They’re a great team and a great defense, but I feel like we’re a great team and a great offense,” Colter said Monday. “It’s going to be a good challenge and something that I’m looking forward to.”On the other side of the equation, Northwestern will host an OSU offense that ranks sixth in the FBS with 48.2 points per game.“There’s an all-Big Ten player at every position on their offense,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said Tuesday.That offense includes the 2012 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in Miller, who accounted for 281 total yards against Wisconsin in his first game back from injury.“He’s just a dynamic athlete and he can score from anywhere on the field,” said Northwestern redshirt-senior defensive end Tyler Scott. “We just got to be really gap-disciplined … how we’re going to get him down is if we have everybody flying to the ball and really getting after him.”Northwestern’s defense ranks 88th nationally with 426.5 yards allowed per game, but redshirt-junior safety Ibraheim Campbell thinks his defense will match up “just fine.”“They’ve got athletes all over the field, but that’s something you see all throughout the Big Ten,” Campbell said. “It’s just another obstacle that we’re going to have to overcome.”Making big plays on defense and preventing big plays by OSU’s offense will be key to overcoming that obstacle, Campbell said.“Ohio State thrives on the big play,” Campbell said. “That’s something that we just need to take away from them and turn those into big plays for the defense that will bolster the offense.”No. 16 Northwestern won its first four games by an average of 17 points, and it not only has home-field advantage Saturday, but also the advantage of coming off a bye week.“That’s usually when, it’s a little bit like a bowl game, you see something new,” Meyer said of facing an opponent coming off a bye week.Campbell, however, said the bye week advantage has less to do with extra preparation time and more to do with extra rest for injured players, such as Mark, to get healthy.“We’re going to be prepared either way, whether we have a week to prepare or we have two weeks,” Campbell said. “It was more beneficial for the fact that we got to rest a little, get off the feet and just come back fresher in preparation for this week.”As for the home-field advantage, Fitzgerald said he expects a “very solid home-field advantage,” but acknowledged that OSU fans travel well.“You’ve always got to tip your hat to the Buckeyes fans,” Fitzgerald said. “They’ve been some of the best in the country.”Saturday’s game is coming with no shortage of national attention — ESPN’s College GameDay will be present in Evanston, and the game will be nationally televised on ABC with an 8 p.m. kickoff. Even so, Campbell said the Wildcats are not feeling additional pressure as a result of the national spotlight.“The fact is the big game is something that’s created by the media and people outside the program,” Campbell said. “It’s just another game for us, and we got to come out and do what we do because we can’t control the hype or whatever else goes into it.”Colter, however, said this game has been circled on his calendar all year.“You dream about this when you’re young, playing big-time games like this but at the same time, we don’t want to over-hype it,” Colter said. “We don’t need to play out of this world. I feel like we just need to play our game in each phase of the game to be able to win.” read more

Jacqui Oatley forced to call police over online threat to cut herJacqui Oatley forced to call police over online threat to cut her

first_imgThe team for ITV Sport’s Euro 2016 coverage, starring Oatley Jacqui Oatley, the broadcaster Jacqui Oatley, the sports broadcaster, had to call the police after a football fan threatened to “cut” her in abusive tweets, it has emerged.Oatley, the presenter and commentator, said she had twice taken action over online abuse during her career, after receiving shocking threats from members of the public.The broadcaster became the first female commentator of BBC’s Match of the Day in 2007, and now works with charities to promote women in sport.In an interview with the Guardian, she said she had received her first of many letters insisting she had no right to talk about football just days after her debut shift.“They just told me to watch myself,” she said of letters she would find in her BBC pigeonhole. “That I should leave it to the men.” On another occasion, she contacted a school after catching a pupil tweeting extreme insults at her.“I decided that, instead of ignoring it, I’d write to his school and speak to someone in the refereeing department at the FA,” she said.“I just wanted him to be made aware of his social media actions and how they could impact on his future career, rather than see him punished.“All I’d done was make a factual comment about Robin van Persie’s injury record at Arsenal.”Oatley spoke about online abuse at the end of Women’s Sport Week, which aims to encourage more women and girls to get involved with sport. The team for ITV Sport's Euro 2016 coverage, starring Oatleycenter_img Jacqui Oatley, the broadcaster Now working for the BBC and ITV, as well as charity Women in Sport, Oatley said she is “really keen” for young girls to focus on the “positive aspects” of the job and try it for themselves.She has also won fans for her no-nonsense Twitter presence, once telling a critic who said she should be “at home cooking tea” that she was a “bit busy doing my dream job”.She has, however, once contacted the police after a stranger on Twitter told her they would come to her house and “cut” her along with other “unmentionable” things.She told the Guardian the police had tracked the sender down to a household, but could not be sure who exactly had sent it. 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

Piers Morgan pulls out as host of television awards after campaign toPiers Morgan pulls out as host of television awards after campaign to

first_imgMan who’s shill for a guy who calls media ” enemy of the people.”What’s up with @RTS_media?https://t.co/6QXx2DEvzrpic.twitter.com/qpaxOQV9Z0— Bonnie Greer (@Bonn1eGreer) February 18, 2017 Looks like @RTS_media’s decision to book @piersmorgan as its awards host has gone down well. pic.twitter.com/X8pOUMGT1S— Jake Kanter (@Jake_Kanter) February 16, 2017 The Royal Television Society (RTS) announced Mr Morgan as the presenter for its awards night three days ago, which Mr Morgan said he agreed to host without a fee.At the time, Theresa Wise, the CEO of RTS, said: “”Morgan’s reputation for being opinionated and his wealth of experience working within the industry make him the perfect host and we look forward to a lively event.” But many TV figures criticised the choice, including awards judge Bonnie Greer. Ms Greer said that she was “honoured to be a judge” for the awards on Twitter, but would decline to attend the dinner because of Mr Morgan’s role.Ms Greer, a writer and critic, cited Mr Morgan’s support of the US President, who has attacked TV news organisations as “enemies of the American people”. UPDATE: I’m withdrawing as host of the @RTS_media Programme Awards. Full statement on my Facebook page:https://t.co/yk7rB33vGO— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 19, 2017 We are thrilled to announce the host for the RTS Programme Awards will be @GMB’s @piersmorgan https://t.co/njmVLN74jA pic.twitter.com/NjeArylcYt— RTS (@RTS_media) February 16, 2017 While Emma Lindley, director of ITV children’s show My Parents Are Aliens, tweeted: “I don’t want Piers Morgan representing me or any other RTS members.”A petition to stop him from presenting the awards currently has nearly 200 signatures on the website Change.org. It says it is “NOT acceptable” for Morgan to be the host and the RTS “must reconsider their position”.  “After my role was announced, a campaign was started to have me banned. It suggested that I lack the ‘creative excellence’ criteria required for presenting such an event and therefore my presence would be ‘damaging’ and ‘inappropriate.’ “Further, I have ‘failed to understand a social movement that values equality and diversity of voice.’”Apparently, this movement does not extend to tolerating my own diverse voice.  I have no wish to serve as an unnecessary distraction from award winners whose hard work and skill should be celebrated without any of the silly noise this campaign has generated.   “So, I am now withdrawing from hosting the evening.  Good luck to everyone who has been nominated.”It is not the first time the presenter’s views on Mr Trump have got him into professional difficulty – last month Ewan McGregor snubbed an appearance on ITV’s Good Morning Britain  after realising it was co-hosted by Mr Morgan. The actor cited Mr Morgan’s comments about the women’s marches which took place around the world following President Trump’s inauguration.  He said he had decided to step aside because he did not want to become a “distraction” from the awards, which celebrate the best of British television.The former newspaper editor said he had received criticism that he lacked the “creative excellence” required to present the awards, and he had “failed to understand a social movement that values equality and diversity of voice”.In a statement on his Facebook page Mr Morgan said: “I was recently invited to host the Royal Television Society Programme Awards. “As someone who has worked in British and American television for most of this Millennium, on a variety of shows, I thought it might be fun and agreed to do it without any fee. Piers Morgan has pulled out of hosting a television awards ceremony over criticism of his support for Donald Trump.The television presenter said he did not want to distract from award winners after a vocal campaign argued it was “inappropriate” for him to be given the role. 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

Man who shot toddler in the head with an air rifle andMan who shot toddler in the head with an air rifle and

first_imgThe toddler underwent emergency surgery after suffering the serious head injury  Harry began crying and climbed up the sofa so he was next to his mother. The court heard Walters aimed the gun at the toddler and fired it right into his head, causing a significant head injury.In a statement released after the hearing, Harry’s parents said the toddler’s struggled would continue for the rest of his life. “That cannot be changed,” they said. “Fortunately we still have Harry in our lives. We are looking forwards now and not backwards.”They added: “As a family we would like to see changes made to the law so that people who possess high powered air rifles are made to be more responsible for their actions while at home or elsewhere.” “Only the resolution of Harry in his fight for life and the brilliance of the surgical team saved him.”But for your grossly irresponsible behaviour, Harry Studley would today be a bouncing little boy with unlimited expectations ahead of him in life.”The judge said Harry is showing symptoms of epilepsy and has badly impaired vision “and will so suffer for life”.”Many recreations and pleasures will be denied to Harry both in his youth and his adult life,” the judge added. “The impaired vision is severely limiting as well. There is a probably personality change also.”The court heard Walters and his partner, Emma Horseman, 24, were good friends with Harry’s parents, Amy Allen and Edward Studley. Both couples lived at Oak House, a block of flats in Bishop Avenue in Bristol.Miss Allen brought Harry to the couple’s flat, where Miss Horseman and her children were, on July 1 last year. Walters later arrived, removed his air rifle from the cupboard and started cleaning it in preparation for shooting rats the following day. The toddler underwent emergency surgery after suffering the serious head injury Credit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire  A man who shot a crying 18-month-old boy in the head with an air rifle and left him with permanent disabilities has been jailed for two years.Jordan Walters, 25, fired the weapon at Harry Studley, who was left fighting for life and with permanent disabilities.The toddler underwent emergency surgery after suffering the serious head injury at Walters’ flat in Hartcliffe, Bristol, on July 1. Many recreations and pleasures will be denied to Harry both in his youth and his adult lifeJudge Julian Lambertcenter_img He has been left with limited vision in both eyes, daily post-traumatic seizures and finds it difficult to recognise his parents.Bristol Crown Court heard Walters dialled 999 after the incident and later pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm.Judge Julian Lambert jailed Walters for two years and described his actions as “grossly irresponsible”.”You bear a very heavy burden of responsibility for a crime that left a little boy fighting for his life and which leaves him with serious permanent disability,” the judge told Walters. The air rifle used to shoot Harry in the head The air rifle used to shoot Harry in the headCredit:Avon and Somerset Police/PA Wire 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

Six bars of chocolate a week could cut risk of common heartSix bars of chocolate a week could cut risk of common heart

first_imgThe study defined a portion of chocolate as 30g – around three bars of a large Kit Kat Credit:Jason Alden It occurs when electrical impulses in the heart become jumbled, so that blood is pumped less effectively, increasing the chance of strokes and heart attacks.Chocolate has previously been linked to other aspects of cardiac health.It is thought it may have an anti-inflammatory effect, because it is high in flavonoids. Kitkat bars “Eating excessive amounts of chocolate is not recommended because many chocolate products are high in calories from sugar and fat and could lead to weight gain and other metabolic problems. But moderate intake of chocolate with high cocoa content may be a healthy choice,” she said.Researchers said the study could not establish why women with the lowest risk of heart flutters had just one portion of chocolate a week while for men it was between two and six portions.But they said it was possible that men were protected by the fact they could eat more total calories each day without putting on weight. Dr Gavin Sandercock, reader in clinical physiology  from the University of Essex, said the group eating the least chocolate – less than one portion a month – were far less healthy than all the others, making comparisons misleading.  Eating up to six bars of chocolate a week could reduce the risk of a potential heart condition by almost one quarter, a study by Harvard University suggests.The research on more than 50,000 people found strong links between regularly eating the treat and a reduced risk of suffering a heart flutter.The strongest association was found among men eating between two and six portions of chocolate a week – with a portion classified as 30g, which is a small bar.Those doing so had a 23 per cent lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation, compared with those avoiding such treats.Among women, the effect was linked to eating just one portion a week, which was linked to a 21 per cent lower risk.But other experts said the group eating the least chocolate were unhealthier in other ways  – meaning it might not be the daily treats that explained the better health of those who liked to indulge.More than 1.5 million people in the UK suffer from atrial fibrillation, with one in four likely to develop it over a lifetime.The condition, also known as a heart flutter, doubles the risk of dying from other cardiac conditions, including stroke, heart attacks and heart failure. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img However, previous studies have focussed on dark chocolate, which contains less fat and sugar than milk chocolate.The new research did not ask participants to specify which type of chocolate they ate, but took place in Denmark, where milk varieties are more commonly eaten.The study involved 55,502 participants, aged between 50 and 64, from the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health Study. Their health was then tracked for an average of 14 years, using national registry data on episodes of hospital treatment and deaths.By the end of the study, 3346 new cases of atrial fibrillation were diagnosed.Those who ate more chocolate had far lower rates of the condition, when compared with those eating less than one serving a month. The researchers said: “Despite the fact that most of the chocolate consumed in our sample probably contained relatively low concentrations of the potentially protective ingredients, we still observed a robust statistically significant association.” However, researchers cautioned that the research was observational and did not prove cause and effect.Those who were eating more chocolate were thinner, healthier in other ways, and more highly educated, experts noted.  Lead author Elizabeth Mostofsky, instructor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard Chan School, said: “Our study adds to the accumulating evidence on the health benefits of moderate chocolate intake and highlights the importance of behavioral factors for potentially lowering the risk of arrhythmias.”Too much chocolate would fuel other health problems, she said.  “In short, they were the unhealthiest group in the whole study – which means that almost any other group will seem healthier than them,” he said. Victoria Taylor, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, urged caution in adding chocolate to a daily diet.She said: “Chocolate, or rather, the cocoa it contains, has previously been linked to a variety of cardiovascular benefits and in this case, people who ate more had a lower risk of developing atrial fibrillation.“However, although this is a large study, it is only observational and so other factors could also be responsible for the effects seen.““If you eat chocolate, keep your portions small and go for dark chocolate with the highest cocoa content.” “They had the highest blood pressure, were most likely to have hypertension, most likely to have high cholesterol and were twice as likely to already have heart disease. They were fatter than all the other groups despite eating the least calories overall, which tells us they were the least active as well.last_img read more

Teen asthmatics embarrassed to use inhalers due to TV stereotypesTeen asthmatics embarrassed to use inhalers due to TV stereotypes

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. Teenagers have a greater rate of asthma attacks, hospitalisations and death than younger children, however regularly taking a preventer inhaler helps keep the underlying inflammation at bay.A survey of the experience of adolescent asthma sufferers found they were put off by the characterisation of asthmatics in drama.One sufferer said: “It [asthma] was so regularly portrayed in films as being more of an emotional / psychological problem suffered by over anxious people, which was then magically fixed by a quick squirt of a blue inhaler and all is well again.”The study, which was carried out by Queen Mary University, London, and backed by Asthma Research UK, looked at 10 years’ of comments by on asthma patients internet forums.As well as social stigma, fears about gaining weight and simple forgetfulness contributed to under-use of inhalers. Dr Andrew Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UK, said: “It is concerning that the social stigma of asthma continues to be underestimated.“We need to be acutely aware of how children and young adults have a need to feel normal.”Nearly 5.5 million people receive treatment in the UK, of whom 1.1 million are children.Britain has one of the highest rates of asthma death in Europe, with an average of three patients dying a day.It is estimated that two in three deaths are preventable.“I was surprised by the stigma associated with asthma and using inhalers,” said Dr Anna De Simoni, a GP, who led the research.“I now now check social issues associated with asthma diagnosis and inhaler treatment and discuss how accepting my patients are of their inhaler devices and potential side effects.” Asthmatic teenagers are putting themselves at risk of death by not using inhalers because the condition is portrayed as “weakness” in film and on television.A new report found young people with the respiratory illness are on average using their inhalers just a quarter of the recommended time because of social embarrassment.Experts are calling on GPs to discuss peer pressure issues with their younger asthmatic patients and emphasise the dangers of ignoring the condition.center_img It is concerning that the social stigma of asthma continues to be underestimatedDr Andrew Whittamore, Clinical Lead at Asthma UKlast_img read more

Adele got ordained so she could serve as minister at Alan CarrsAdele got ordained so she could serve as minister at Alan Carrs

first_imgAlan Carr, right, and his husband Paul Drayton Alan Carr, right, and his husband Paul DraytonCredit:David M. Benett/Getty Images Europe He told hosts Emma Willis and Rylan Clark-Neal: “She got ordained and she married us. She is the kindest and most sweetest.”She flew us to Vegas to see Celine Dion sing. She (Adele) sang my first dance. It was the best day of my life.”Carr revealed that his and Mr Drayton’s wedding took place in Adele’s back garden in Los Angeles. Adele secretly got ordained so she could serve as the minister at comedian Alan Carr’s wedding, she revealed today.The singer said “the cat’s out the bag” as she confirmed she married TV host Carr and his long-term partner Paul Drayton.She posted a photograph of herself on Instagram, writing: “Seeing as the cats out the bag. I married two of my best friends in January.”You know me any excuse to dress up… @chattyman #LoveisLove.”In the picture, Adele wears a long white dress and cape while standing in front of a wall of flowers.Comedian Carr told ITV’s This Morning that Adele had not only gone to the trouble of organising his wedding, but that she played a very special part in the ceremony. 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