Savannah State A Record 70 12Point Underdog vs Florida

Savannah State, the small black college on Georgia’s southeastern shore, has made the NCAA record books, albeit dubiously.The betting line in Las Vegas has Savannah State a 70 ½-point underdog for Saturday game against No. 6 Florida State. No one can recall seeing a number like that.“Without a doubt,” said Mike Colbert, vice president of risk management for Las Vegas-based Cantor Gaming, “this is the biggest line I’ve put up in 10 years doing this.”No surprise there. In fact, all indications, this is largest point spread ever for a Division I game.Think you’d take those odds? Well, you might want to think again.The Tigers were nearly as big an underdog last week — in the 65½-point range — and they didn’t come close to covering. No. 18 Oklahoma State romped to an 84-0 rout, handing Savannah State its eighth straight defeat going back to last season.“We had to make an even bigger line for Florida State,” Colbert said, “because we think Florida State is better than Oklahoma State.”For Savannah State, this is called taking a whipping for the money. The school is collecting paychecks totaling $860,000, which will go a long way toward helping the financially strapped athletic program meet its total budget of $5.1 million.“You preach the same message. We’re going to get on the bus to Tallahassee with the thought of winning the game,” Tigers coach Steve Davenport told the Savannah Morning News without a smile. “The reality is the reality and we’ll see how we pan out. The charge is to play as hard as you can for 60 minutes, no different than it was for Oklahoma State.”Colbert said most of the early money from Vegas betters was on the underdog.“I think people just saw the big number and instantly put their bets on Savannah State,” he said. “I don’t think they put much thought into it.”Of course, the bookies are more careful with their money. Colbert had several factors to consider before setting the historic spread in favor of Florida State (1-0).“It was an interesting line to make,” he said. “If Florida State wanted to play its top guys the entire game, they could probably win by a hundred. But some guesswork comes in with a number like this. It’s not purely about statistics and numbers. How long will they play their top guys? Will they run the score up? Quite frankly, I expect Florida State to play (the starters) for at least the first half.”The main goal for the Seminoles, Colbert figured, is to get through the game without injuries to any key players before they open their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule the following week. There is absolutely no possibility of losing this game.“You know they’ll want to be healthy for their conference games,” the oddsmaker pointed out. “That said, Florida State’s backups are better than Savannah State’s starters. I don’t expect them to stop scoring.” read more

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Tim Tebow Handles Anonymous Criticism Like A Pro

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or position of Atlanta Black Star or its employees Tim Tebow accepted the cowardly criticism by underachieving teammates with the grace and dignity that mark his character. Wish it could rub off on the other New York Jerks.“I think some frustration and I guess some sadness,” Tebow said when asked how he felt. “It’s never fun to hear criticism, but at the same time, it’s something I’ve always used as motivation, and you try to get stronger from it. That’s how I approach it. I always find the good and the positive from every situation. The positive from this is (I’ve) got to work a little bit harder and improve and build better relationships with your teammates.”Perfect, mature response to disloyal teammates who actually play in the games and have contributed to the Jets’ 3-6 record. So the question is, if Tebow is “terrible,” as some told the New York Daily News, then what are they? Super terrible?“I’ve heard criticism my whole life playing football,” Tebow went on. “You try to do your best at handling it. Understanding on one side you just try to make it motivate you, but at the same time, it always has somewhat of an effect on you. You’re human and it’s not always fun to have people say negative things about you, but you try to be stronger from it. It always has made me stronger in the past and it will continue to be.”What, exactly, has Tim Tebow done to anyone, especially the Jets, except get them more coverage than they deserve? He’s been a model teammate. He works hard. He says the right thing. He even appears to be genuine. For those reasons alone Tebow should be a revered teammate.And yet the sorry Jets chose to rip him for no reason whatsoever. And, like scared little boys, they do so anonymously. Weak. This whole Tebow fascination the last two years has been amazing. It’s been amazing how writers and fans alike “hate” him because he’s “overrated,” when all he has done is win football games when given the opportunity.“You can’t control a lot of things,” Tebow said. “This is something I can’t control, but I can control my attitude, my effort and my work ethic. Those are things that never change regardless what anyone says.”Tebow walked into the Jets’ locker room with his head high Wednesday and looked his coward critics in the eye.“I’m a Jet now and I’m proud to be a Jet, and it’s an honor to be in this locker room with a lot of great guys,” Tebow said. “I feel like it’s my job to get better every single day and contribute to this team, and I can say that every single time I step on that field as a New York Jet, I’ve played and tried as hard as I possibly can to help this team win football games. (I’m) one of the first guys here, last guys to leave, and try to be a great teammate as well.”His teammates — the same teammates he beat on a 95-yard drive last year when he was with Denver, by the way — have a lot to learn from Tebow. The bet here is that they won’t.“You can’t stop and wonder why; that doesn’t help me,” Tebow said. “It doesn’t help me do anything, just makes you think about it more. That’s not who I am and who I want to be.”Tebow is a high-character guy that it seems impossible to dislike. He’s a mature, loyal teammate. A winner. Which is more than what can be said about his teammates. read more

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Michael Crabtree Highly Doubted to be Charged in Alleged

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree is “highly, highly doubted” to be charged in an alleged sexual assault last weekend, according to ESPN Sunday morning.ESPN received the information from a source that is close to the 49ers organization.The San Francisco Police Department announced Friday night that Crabtree was being investigated. The incident is alleged to have occurred early Sunday morning in a San Francisco hotel, after the 49ers playoff win against the Green Bay Packers.Crabtree, who was not charged or arrested, cooperated with the Special Victims Unit of SFPD. He conducted an interview for two hours with his attorney present.The source also said to ESPN that a second female witness corroborated Crabtree’s version of the incident to police, and that the incident will not develop further. The 49ers also claim he will not be charged.The 49ers and general manager Trent Baalke were made aware of the allegations on Friday. They said they believed the timing was odd because the team was preparing to travel to Atlanta to play the Falcons in Sunday’s NFC Championship game.“The 49ers take such matters very seriously,” Baalke said in statement released on Friday. “We will have no further comment at this time as the legal process is ongoing. Additional requests for comment should be directed to Michael’s attorney.”But team members say they are adamant that Crabtree’s situation has not become a distraction. They emphasize that players must be cautious because they may be easy targets.Crabtree, who was selected by the 49ers in the 2009 NFL draft as the 10th overall pick, has a career-best 1,105 yards receiving this season. He became the first San Francisco wide receiver to have more than 1,000 yards in a season since Terrell Owens in 2003.The 49ers will need Crabtree to put this situation behind him for Sunday’s game against the Falcons, if they want to extend their season and head to the Super Bowl to play the winner of the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens game. read more

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Cam Newton Says Its Cool That Diddy Wants to

Cz he will kick Kaperdick’s ass! #C1N #TheBestEver— Clemson-Sooner Playoff Fan (@lisabeasley70) December 21, 2017 It’s not a competition lmao— James 🎄 (@VHboys) December 21, 2017Hope it actually comes down to the better QB and nothing to do with politics.— jagsonefan (@cadet_Gstone) December 21, 2017 Days after Sean “Diddy” Combs announced his interest in buying the Carolina Panthers, star quarterback Cam Newton has chimed in. The athlete, who is in his seventh season with the Panthers, said he thinks the mogul’s plans are “cool.”“It was amusing,” Newton, who said he doesn’t want Panthers owner Jerry Richardson to sell, tells reporters Wednesday, Dec. 20. “He’s a person that has a lot of influence in the culture so, he’s cool. I don’t know what to expect. I still don’t even know what to expect … I don’t even know how you even sell something of this magnitude. So I’m just gonna stay in my lane, worry about throwing touchdowns on Sunday and let the rest handle stuff.”In a Monday, Dec. 18 video announcement, Diddy said he plans to pit free agent QB Colin Kaepernick against Newton in order to determine who would be the starter. This came after Richardson announced he would sell the team in 2018.“That’s cool. I’m cool with it,” Newton says of the showdown. “Whatever happens, happens. They say two things either happen in competition: either you’re better or you’re worse so I’m all for whatever. But as far as a person [Diddy] that I’ve always looked up to … for that to even be a mention, that’s cool in itself.”Diddy and the PanthersSteph Curry Steps In to Help Diddy Buy Carolina PanthersAnchors Apologize After One Claimed Diddy ‘Smoked a Blunt and Drank a 40’Diddy Is Unbothered By Apologetic Anchors Who Clowned Him, Says He’s Unafraid to DreamShould Diddy, who Forbes reports is worth $820 million, be able to buy the $2.3 billion team, he’d make history as the sole Black NFL team owner. But it seems at least two athletes want to help him make the purchase — including the one he wants to become a Panther.Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry tweeted he wanted “in” on ownership and Kaepernick posted, “let’s make it happen!”Diddy quickly co-signed Curry’s response but has been quieter about his plans with Kaepernick.A source close to the former San Francisco 49er told Yahoo! Kaep has started discussing the launch of an ownership group by contacting venture capitalists, business heads and sports legends. The insider said Kaepernick has a “shared vision” with Diddy to create an ownership group that reflects the 70 percent Black player make up of the NFL.“The interest is real and it’s moving forward,” the source said of the Combs-Kaepernick partnership. “They want to make this a reality. It’s serious.”Still, many are fixated on Diddy’s QB competition between Newton and Kaepernick.How can you not laugh at the suggestion that Kap could compete with Cam?— MyPanthersNewsFeed (@CPanthers1995) December 20, 2017 Cam Newton was asked today about Diddy’s proclamation that if he bought the Panthers he’d let Colin Kaepernick compete for the starting QB job:“It’s cool.” pic.twitter.com/KcIVrcMENC— Coley Harvey (@ColeyHarvey) December 20, 2017 Kaep couldn’t beat Blake Bortles in a QB competition. Cams got nothing to worry about— Childish Benjamino (@BennyUnitas) December 21, 2017 read more

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The Champions League Is Unusually Up For Grabs

The modern Champions League has not been a hospitable competition for underdogs. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have won the last four trophies, and the closest thing to an upset winner in recent years was Chelsea in 2012. This season, though, might be different.Sure, Bayern, Barcelona and Real Madrid are all still in it. But no team left in the Champions League is historically dominant. Expected goals, a statistical measure of the quality of scoring chances a team creates and concedes, rates Barcelona as the top team in this year’s competition, but one with only a 28 percent change of winning the tournament.1All of the data in this article is current through April 10.This year’s Barcelona, however, does not make the top 10 list of expected goals difference for clubs since 2010-11. With fewer truly great teams in the mix, an upset winner is that much more likely. Here’s what to expect.Borussia Dortmund (60 percent chance of advancing) vs. Monaco (40 percent)With a position atop the Ligue 1 table, an impressive defeat of Manchester City in the round of 16, and an incredible 103 goals scored between Ligue 1 and the Champions League, Monaco might appear to have the resume of a quarterfinal favorite. However, Monaco’s numbers require some caution. Despite leading to 90 nonpenalty goals this season, the chances Monaco has created have been worth only about 58 expected goals (xG), according to the soccer stats-tracker Opta. Scoring 33 more goals than expected is unprecedented in the last few years. No other club has even beaten expected goals by 20 or more at this point in the season since 2010-11. While it is not terribly unusual for top teams to outperform their expected goals — top teams tend to have better finishers — Monaco is finishing chances better than any of Lionel Messi’s teams ever did.If Monaco’s goal scoring falls off, Dortmund should be well prepared to take advantage. Since returning from the winter break, Dortmund has been dominant, collecting 1.2 more xG per match than their opponents, compared with only a +0.7 margin before the break. With underlying numbers to match its goals difference and a recent spike in performance, Dortmund looks like the more likely semifinalist.In either case, this should be one of the most exciting matches of the round. Both Monaco and Dortmund depend on pace and quick-hitting attacks — both clubs lead their respective leagues in shot attempts following moves of two passes or fewer. While Thomas Tuchel may attempt to impose more control on the match than Pep Guardiola did against Monaco in the round of 16, the game is likely to be a fast-paced and attacking affair.Barcelona (65 percent) vs. Juventus (35 percent)This rematch of the 2015 Champions League final features the best attack-vs.-defense matchup of the round. This season Barcelona has created the second-most clear scoring chances (116), as defined by Opta, in the big five leagues, while Juventus has conceded the fewest clear scoring chances (20).Barcelona is well known for an attacking style that favors making the extra pass to create the highest-quality scoring chances, rather than trying to shoot the ball from far out. Juventus, under managers Max Allegri and Antonio Conte, has developed a defensive strategy that mirrors Barcelona’s attacking play. The Italian side focuses on defensive structure in order to prevent the same kinds of clear chances that Barca aims to create. A list of the best defensive seasons since 2010-11, judging teams by the number of quality chances they concede, shows Juventus dominating. And this year Juventus is preventing clear chances at its best rate ever, allowing only about one every other match.Barcelona was able to break through Juventus’ defense in the 2015 final just as Bayern Munich did during last year’s knockout stages. But in both of those cases, it took a top performance from one of the world’s best attacks to win the tie. Barcelona is rightly favored, but any slight drop-off in execution could see the Catalan side stymied by Juventus’ defense.Bayern Munich (71 percent) vs. Real Madrid (29 percent)ESPN’s Soccer Power Index rating gives a big boost to Bayern Munich based on the German side’s superior defensive numbers. Bayern has conceded just 23 goals in 36 matches between the Bundesliga and Champions League, while Real has conceded 43 in 38 matches. Some of this difference disappears when you look at expected goals, which drops Real’s total to 37. But it is not enough to erase it all.The two sides not only see different defensive outcomes, but they also play significantly different styles when out of possession. Carlo Ancelotti has his Bayern squad playing the high-pressing style preached by Pep Guardiola. When Bayern turns the ball over in midfield, it breaks up their opponents’ next possession within three passes about 55 percent of the time, the second-highest rate in the Bundesliga. Real Madrid, by contrast, defends much more passively, breaking up opposition possession in only about 45 percent of cases, 12th in La Liga.It is not that Real Madrid has been particularly poor defensively, but its more passive defensive style seems like a major risk against Bayern. Under manager Zinedine Zidane, Real Madrid has been an outlier among top clubs in not embracing the new, analytics-minded strategy of pressing on defense. It will be interesting to see if Real’s more old-fashioned defensive style can work. If Real fails to unsettle Bayern early in a possession, that would give time on the ball to central midfielders Arturo Vidal and Thiago Alcantara. That outcome would be risky at best for Real. Thiago in particular is having a great season, leading the Bundesliga with 96 progressive passes and runs. (These are defined as passes which advance the ball through midfield over 10 yards beyond where the possession had reached, or runs which progress similarly while eliminating a defender on the dribble.) Real Madrid may need to adjust its pressing rate to protect the defense from Bayern’s passers if it means to make it to another Champions League final.Atletico Madrid (75 percent) vs. Leicester City (25 percent)Leicester City presents something of a conundrum to any projection system, having won five of six league matches since sacking manager Claudio Ranieri. The club’s performances under new manager Craig Shakespeare have not been quite as good as its unbeaten record suggests — despite outscoring opponents in the league and CL by a combined 17-8, Leicester’s expected goals difference is just 10.3-9.1. But Leicester has produced more expected goals than its opponents in five of its seven matches after running negative in expected goal difference under Ranieri. It is certainly possible that Leicester will continue performing at this higher level under Shakespeare.However, it is hard to identify any key changes Shakespeare made. Leicester City remains the highest-tempo team in the Premier League, with more possessions per match than anyone else. The Foxes still work best without the ball, managing the same 42 percent possession rate as under Ranieri. What seems to have changed is not Leicester’s style of play, but the effectiveness of it. This is the sort of change, not linked to any obvious tactical shift, that analysts tend to be skeptical of. It might just be form, in which case the large SPI advantage to Atletico Madrid may be correct.For Atletico, this persistent Leicester style may present a problem. Atleti prefers to concede possession and play off the ball, especially against top opponents. But while Atletico is unusual in the Champions League for its roughly 50 percent possession rate, Leicester at 42 percent is more extreme. Atletico will likely need to adjust its typical knockout strategy and make use of ball possession to get past Leicester, even if the Foxes’ current run of form may not be entirely sustainable.Check out our club soccer predictions. read more

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The Lakers Werent Supposed To Be Like This

As things stand, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are not going to make the playoffs this year. In the video above, Chris Herring looks at how the Lakers got to this point and what they would need to do to somehow keep James’s playoff streak alive.

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This NBA Offseason Was Already Going To Be Chaotic Then Klay Tore

The news about Klay Thompson came mere days after the late-night revelation that teammate Kevin Durant would miss the entire 2019-20 NBA season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Taken together, both injuries cast uncertainty over the Warriors’ long-term future — and further complicate a free-agency summer that already had promised to be one of the wildest ever.One-half of the Splash Brothers (with Stephen Curry), Thompson has been a founding member of this Warriors dynasty. He was drafted just two years after Curry — we don’t talk about that Ekpe Udoh pick sandwiched in between — and a year ahead of Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, part of the masterful series of selections that laid the foundation for Golden State’s subsequent dominance. Since the Warrior dynasty’s first championship in 2014-15, Thompson ranks fifth on the team in both Value Over Replacement Player and Win Shares in the playoffs (behind Curry, Green, Durant and Andre Iguodala).Does that sound low? There’s a case to be made that the advanced metrics might perennially underrate Thompson on defense, where his reputation — he was named to the All-Defensive second team this season — vastly outstrips his statistical indicators. And although Thompson’s durability does factor into metrics such as VORP and Win Shares, he has played in 615 of 640 possible regular-season games (96 percent) in his career, providing a welcome sense of stability for a team all too familiar with injuries to stars.Certainly Thompson should get credit for the way his contract has enabled the Warriors to build their superteam around him. Thompson has often spoken about his love for playing in the Bay Area, and he’s pondered taking pay cuts to stay with the franchise. He was paid a comparatively modest $69 million these past four seasons as the Warriors won four straight conference championships and two titles (years when our CARMELO projections pegged his actual worth at $117 million).However, Thompson is due to become a free agent this summer, as part of a star-studded class that was also supposed to include his fellow Warrior Durant.1Assuming KD rejects his current contract’s option to remain with Golden State for the 2019-20 season. Because Thompson missed out on All-NBA recognition this season (it’s difficult to call it a “snub” given his good-but-not-great metrics), he won’t qualify for the NBA’s “supermax” category of extensions — which means the most he can make is about $190 million over five years if he re-signs with Golden State, or $141 over four years if he signs elsewhere. (By comparison, Curry re-signed for five years and $201 million two summers ago.)The timetable on recovering from ACL tears starts as low as seven months, but it generally requires nine months to a year before returning to the court. So Thompson probably will miss most (if not all) of the 2019-20 season with his injury, just like Durant. But in the wake of Durant’s injury, we already have seen reports that teams wouldn’t hesitate to sign KD to a maximum deal despite the uncertainty around his health. Thompson isn’t at the same level of franchise-altering stardom as Durant, but he is one year younger, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see rival teams take a similar approach to his free agency this summer.On the one hand, Thompson’s injury is a bad omen for a player whose game is built on a tremendous amount of high-stress activity. According to Second Spectrum data compiled by ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, no player in the NBA has run a greater distance over the past five seasons (including the playoffs) than the 1,267 miles Thompson covered. On the other hand, though, Thompson is a historically great shooter with one of the quickest releases the game has ever seen, so his skills figure to age well even if the injury costs him some athleticism.If the Warriors do part ways with both Thompson and Durant this summer, it’s worth wondering where the losses will leave a team that, not very long ago, looked like the most dominating force in the history of the NBA. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, a Golden State team without Klay, KD and a few other notable players who may depart has the potential to become just the fifth defending NBA Finalist ever to return less than half of its scoring from the previous season. (Thompson and Durant combined to score 3,707 of Golden State’s 9,650 points this season, or 38.4 percent, but the Warriors also have eight other players who aren’t under contract for 2019-20.) What happened to the other teams on the list?2Which were the 1998-99 Bulls, the 1948-49 Bullets, the 2004-05 Lakers and the 2018-19 Cavaliers. You don’t wanna know.3All finished with a losing record.The Warriors probably won’t fall quite so far; before the Thompson news, betting markets opened with Golden State as favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA championship, as the defending-champ Raptors dropped into a tie with the Houston Rockets for the fifth-best odds (behind the Warriors, Lakers, Bucks and Clippers). But those numbers are already destined to change with the reports about Thompson, so it’s just a question of how far Golden State falls — particularly relative to its two Western Conference challengers in Los Angeles, both of whom have designs on the summer’s top trade and free-agent targets. Will the Warriors not even be favored to win the West next year? That remains to be seen. But the severity of Thompson’s injury tacked another depressing note onto the end of Golden State’s season, and it adds another layer of uncertainty to the team’s future as a dynasty. The confetti had barely settled on the Toronto Raptors’ championship celebration before another stunning injury report hit their NBA Finals opponents, the Golden State Warriors, like a punch to the stomach: read more

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Is The NBAs SmallBall Revolution About To End

It’s rare in life that you can look back and identify the specific moment that marked the end of the way things were and the beginning of the way things are. That is not the case when it comes to the creation of the style of play that dominates the modern NBA, which now sees teams eschewing size advantages in favor of loading the floor with as much shooting as possible. It’s worth examining the origins of the small-ball revolution, even if there are indications that the trend may reverse itself — perhaps as soon as this season.Though the seeds for this shift were planted by teams like the Houston Rockets of the mid-1990s, the Phoenix Suns of the 2000s and, particularly, the 2009 Orlando Magic, everything changed for good on May 13, 2012. During the Miami Heat’s 95-86 win over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals, Heat star Chris Bosh suffered an abdominal strain and was ruled out indefinitely.To that point in both the regular season and the playoffs, the 6-foot-11 Bosh had played almost exclusively at power forward. He’d played 2,174 minutes combined regular season and postseason minutes, spending 1,901 of them (87.4 percent) next to one of Joel Anthony, Udonis Haslem, Ronny Turiaf, Dexter Pittman or Eddy Curry in the frontcourt.1All lineup statistics come from NBA Advanced Stats, unless otherwise noted. With Bosh sidelined for the remainder of that Pacers series and the first four games of the ensuing Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Celtics, however, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra slid the 6-foot-8 Shane Battier into the starting lineup in his place.Battier had played just 3 percent of his regular-season minutes at power forward in 2011-12, per Basketball-Reference, but he remained in the role for the rest of Miami’s run to the 2012 title. Bosh returned at first as a reserve. But when he moved back into the starting lineup for Game 2 of the NBA Finals, it was as a center next to Battier and LeBron James in the frontcourt. With that group providing more space in which James and Dwyane Wade could operate, the Heat blitzed the Oklahoma City Thunder with four straight wins, capturing the first of two championships of the Big Three era.After the Heat rode the same configuration to another championship in 2013, the NBA saw a massive drop in two-big lineup usage the following season. That trend may have steadily continued anyway, but it was hastened by the Golden State Warriors going even smaller, playing the 6-foot-7 Draymond Green at center in order to beat LeBron’s Cleveland Cavaliers teams. Pretty soon, damn near the whole league was reorienting around trying to compete with the Warriors’ Death Lineup.Consider the following chart, which plots regular-season “two-big” lineup usage for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, as well as the league average, from the beginning of the Heat’s Big Three era through the just-completed 2018-19 campaign. See if you can identify the turning point; it should be pretty easy.2For purposes of this analysis, we are identifying a “big” as a player who is either a) listed as a center; or b) listed as a power forward and measures at least 6-foot-8 and attempted less than one three-pointer per 36 minutes during the regular season. Such a definition allows us to see which teams played a non-shooting forward (or another center) next to their center in the frontcourt. Two-big lineup usage peaked at 58.8 percent of minutes leaguewide during the 2011-12 season, but the shift to small ball sliced that number in half within four seasons. Last season, two-big lineups played just 6.4 percent of regular-season minutes. During LeBron, Wade and Bosh’s second season together, 19 of the league’s 30 teams used two-big lineups at least 50 percent of the time. Last season, no team even crossed the 40 percent mark in two-big lineup minutes.Such a stark trend might make it seem like we have reached a point of no return. But given several developments of this offseason’s free-agent period, it seems fair to wonder whether we may have actually passed Peak Small Ball and might be in for a reversal during the 2019-20 campaign.The Philadelphia 76ers, for example, signed Celtics center Al Horford to a four-year deal, and presumably plan to play him as their primary power forward alongside Joel Embiid. Contrary to popular belief, the 6-foot-10 Horford has actually been a center for the majority of his career — he’s played 83 percent of his minutes at the position, per Basketball-Reference — but Celtics general manager Danny Ainge has said that he believes a desire to return to the power forward slot — where Horford played in college — factored into his decision.Assuming Ainge is correct, Horford is not the only big who’s moved to a new team hoping to slide back to the four. New Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis expressed a firm desire to resume playing the four during his introductory press conference. According to Basketball-Reference, Davis has spent 55 percent of his career at center, peaking last season at 96 percent.Other teams’ offseason moves indicate they could potentially lean into two-big lineups as well.The Sacramento Kings signed centers Dewayne Dedmon and Richaun Holmes, who could potentially play either together or alongside Harry Giles. The Portland Trail Blazers let small-ball power forward Al-Farouq Aminu leave in free agency and traded combo forward Moe Harkless, at the same time adding former Heat center Hassan Whiteside to last season’s primary starter Jusuf Nurkić,3In fairness, Nurkić suffered a serious injury at the end of last season and figures to miss a significant portion of 2019–20. and they seemingly plan to start former backup center Zach Collins at power forward.The New York Knicks have Mitchell Robinson as their presumed starting center and should probably let 2018 lottery pick Kevin Knox play at least some of his minutes at power forward; but they still used a significant portion of their free-agent budget to sign non-shooting power forward Taj Gibson, as well as Bobby Portis, who in a 28-game stint with the Wizards last season played 77 percent of his minutes at center. Even the team’s most high-profile signing, Julius Randle, only started shooting threes last season, and he often gets treated by opposing defenses as a non-shooting big man.The Indiana Pacers let power forward Thaddeus Young and small forward Bojan Bogdanovic leave in free agency, and plan to start backup center Domantas Sabonis at power forward next to Myles Turner, who has been the starting center since midway through his rookie season. Sabonis has played 79 percent of his minutes at center with the Pacers, per Basketball-Reference, but he was primarily a power forward both in college and during his rookie season with the Thunder. The Utah Jazz — previously among the heavier users of two-big looks — pivoted smaller by signing the aforementioned Bogdanovic, but in so doing sent Derrick Favors to the New Orleans Pelicans, where he could potentially play alongside either Jaxson Hayes or Jahlil Okafor when he’s not manning the pivot next to Zion Williamson.Several additional teams may end up using two-big lineups more often due to other types of roster changes. The defending champion Toronto Raptors, after losing Kawhi Leonard to the L.A. Clippers, could use more of the Marc Gasol-Serge Ibaka frontcourt that worked so well for them in the playoffs. The Clippers figure to load-manage Leonard, as the Raptors did last season, but even when he’s in the lineup, it’s entirely possible we see Montrezl Harrell — who has played 83 percent of his career minutes at center, including 96 percent last season — playing the four next to Ivica Zubac. Even the Warriors — who took small-ball even further than the Big Three-era Heat — could end up using more two-big lineups featuring, say, Kevon Looney and free-agent signee Willie Cauley-Stein when Draymond Green has to rest, given that they lost Kevin Durant in free agency and traded away Andre Iguodala.Already, that’s a significant portion of the league seemingly preparing to devote non-trivial minutes to two-big lineups. Not even mentioned are four of the seven squads that used two-big units at least 10 percent of the time last season, and could conceivably do so again. (They are the Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets, in addition to the Trail Blazers, Jazz and Pacers.) With multiple contenders in the East and West seemingly planning to use two-big lineups more often, it doesn’t appear as necessary for teams to ensure that they are well-equipped to go small against the very best opponents. Much of the league appears to have reacted by returning to the comfort of using size as an advantage. read more

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The World Chess Championship Is Deadlocked After Game 2

The chess computer engine that keeps me warm during the games suggested a rather dramatic sacrifice: taking black’s pawn on f7 with the white knight. Black’s king would take the white knight, but white would gain exciting but complex attacking chances. Carlsen opted against the gambit — instead developing a bishop to f3 — perhaps because his clock was loudly ticking in his ear.Caruana started scratching his own head at this point — but the tension soon slackened. By move 26, the queens and remaining bishops had been traded off the board, leaving the two in another endgame involving only rooks and pawns, just like they had on Friday. This version, however, ended much more quickly than the marathon that came before. read more

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Ohio State mens basketballs upset bid vs No 8 Maryland comes up

OSU sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) carries the ball during a game against Maryland on Jan. 31 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 61-66. Credit: Muyao Shen | Asst. Photo EditorIf the goal was to improve upon its 35-point loss the last time the Ohio State men’s basketball team took on Maryland, Sunday’s tight matinee affair at the Schottenstein Center could be considered a sort of victory.But with the need for signature wins at an all-time high as its NCAA tournament hopes vanish further and further into the rearview mirror, OSU (14-9, 6-4) is in no position to pick up “sort of victories.” It needs all the real victories it can get, one of which it failed to achieve against the No. 8 Terrapins (19-3, 8-2) on Sunday despite a strong effort against one of the nation’s better teams, falling 66-61.“I’ve never been a big fan of moral victories,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “…You’ve got to find some positives, but we had a chance to win the basketball game.”A strong beginning to the game quickly devolved into an immense struggle to put the ball in the hoop, as the Buckeyes missed 27 of the final 37 shots they took in the game, shooting 35.1 percent overall. Maryland also struggled from the field, particularly in the second half, shooting 30 percent over the final 20 minutes.“We just came out with more energy, more effort, we put it all on the line,” OSU sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “Just there at the end we came up short. Also credit to Maryland, they made some big-time shots down the stretch.”The game began at a torrid offensive pace for both teams, with 31 combined points being scored in the first seven minutes. The Buckeyes did much of their damage from the outside, knocking down each of their first three 3-point attempts and receiving a very quick 10 points from Tate.But OSU knew well not to put too much stock in the early happenings against the Terrapins. On Jan. 16 in College Park, Maryland, OSU trailed by just two points at the 11:42 mark and went on to lose 100-65. On Sunday, it was OSU holding the slim two-point lead at that time, hoping to hold off a similar Maryland onslaught.But the Buckeyes went ice cold from that point, hitting just one of their next nine field-goal attempts. Fortunately for the home crowd of 16,592 at the Schottenstein Center, Maryland failed to completely take advantage, only managing to grab a lead as high as six points, which was the 37-31 score at the half.As has been a recurring theme this season, OSU managed to leave a good deal of points at the free-throw line in the first half, shooting just 6-of-11. Those misses came at an inopportune time for the Buckeyes, as all five happened during OSU’s 1-of-12 shooting stretch to end the half. OSU made just three of its eight free throws during that time.“I was very upset at halftime, just with the way we closed out the first half,” Matta said.Tate led OSU with 10 points in the first 20 minutes, though all of them came within the first seven minutes of the game. Freshman guard A.J. Harris and sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop chipped in six points apiece.It was a more balanced effort in the first half for Maryland, which has five points averaging double-figure scoring this season. Senior forward Jake Layman led all first-half scorers with 12 points, while sophomore guard Melo Trimble had nine points and junior forward Robert Carter Jr. and freshman center Diamond Stone each had eight.The Buckeyes shot just 34.4 percent from the field in the first half, a number almost unthinkable after their 10-of-20 start. Maryland countered at a 50-percent clip, shooting 15-of-30. The Buckeyes were able to hold on in part due to a 7-4 turnover margin and a 10-6 second-chance point advantage.Things did not warm up in the second half, with the Buckeyes missing five of their first six shots. That was balanced out by an equally cold 1-of-7 start to the half for Maryland, as OSU was able to cut the deficit to just two points after a 3-pointer by redshirt sophomore guard Kam Williams.Maryland grew the lead back to five points from there, but a split at the free-throw line followed by a put-back dunk by freshman center Daniel Giddens brought the margin back to two points and rose the home crowd to its feet.A quick Maryland timeout failed to stop the momentum, as a turnover and missed layup gave the Buckeyes a few chances to tie the game or take the lead. OSU was unable to capitalize, however, with a good look at a layup by Tate rolling out.“I definitely thought that going into the last 10 minutes of the game that we had this one,” Tate said. “But give credit to Maryland as a top-five team.”But the Terrapins kept missing the shots and the Buckeyes kept battling, eventually grabbing the lead with seven minutes remaining on an and-1 jumper by junior forward Marc Loving, putting the home team up 49-48.“Give Ohio State a lot of credit, we struggled offensively, they did a nice job defensively, and it kept the game close,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.But a loose ball foul put Maryland back up by a point, giving it a lead it would not relinquish despite a close score throughout the final minutes of the game. Back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon and Trimble were the back-breakers on the OSU upset bid.“Veteran players make veteran plays,” Matta said. “I thought they did a heck of a job with staying with what they were trying to do, and I thought that was the difference.”Tate didn’t have an easy time scoring after his hot start, but he was a huge factor for the Buckeyes on defense, finishing with a pair of steals and matching up with some of Maryland’s top scorers. He finished with 16 points on just 6-of-18 shooting. He ended the day as the only OSU player in double figures, though Williams added nine points in the second half and Loving also finished with nine.“He’s a great player,” Turgeon said about Tate. “He’s got high energy. He’s a great athlete at the 4 which gives us fits.”Trimble led all scorers with 20 points, followed by Layman’s 16. Layman had a double-double for the Terrapins, adding 10 rebounds.A big difference in the contest came at the charity stripe, where OSU was 14-of-24 while Maryland was 20-of-23. “We were inches away, and those are things we’ve got to continue to — we’ve got to close that gap of that inch,” Matta said.“(Free throws) are the little things, that inch that we have to close down.”OSU is set to continue its Big Ten grind at Wisconsin on Thursday as the calendar flips to February. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. in Madison. read more

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Football Urban Meyer sees unity amid election cycle

OSU sophomore offensive lineman Isaiah Prince (59) embraces redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber (25) after Weber’s touchdown in the first half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorWith today’s presidential election being arguably one of the largest ever, even the sports world is talking about politics — even Ohio State’s football team.On Monday, after a 62-3 drubbing of then No. 10 Nebraska, the questions asked by the media should have been all-encompassing of the way the Buckeyes systematically picked apart the Cornhuskers. Instead, OSU coach Urban Meyer fielded a few political questions near the end of the media availability session.When asked about the election, Meyer cracked a grin and gave one of his patented short replies.“What election?” Meyer said.Granted, it seems fair to assume he knows exactly what election he was asked about. Most of Meyer’s day entails dissecting opposing defenses and analyzing how to attack the offense of other Big Ten teams. Still, it would be hard to ignore the current political undertakings. With some coaxing, Meyer finally addressed the subject. Refraining from speaking any of his own political standpoints, he said the team has had discussions towards the process, and even set aside time during the offseason to further educate the team on how important voting is.“We had Patriot Week where I wanted to educate because it’s such a big and such an important day, in all seriousness, for all of us,” he said. “And so we had zero discussion about it now. Beat Maryland. I’m sure the families will have their conversations. I hope our guys vote, and we move forward. That’s why we did that, because I wanted to make sure when they go they educate themselves — not themselves. We educate them on the process, the job responsibility and how to.”Players have been discussing how important the brotherhood they share is for team success this season. An election that has driven a divide through the country could be grounds for ripping apart even the most tight-knit teams and locker rooms. This would seem bizarre for a team that has spoken so strongly towards the criticism of the media when a player has a down game. Redshirt junior Billy Price is a prime example of standing up for his fellow Buckeyes. When asked about the performance of sophomore Isaiah Prince following a loss to Penn State, Price did not hold anything back.“I’ll go to war for him right now,” Price said. “I have no problem (with that). I will not sit here and allow someone to nit-pick at him.”Price was not angered by the criticism, but said he felt the issues after Penn State were team issues, and should not fall on one player. That kind of camaraderie has been a vocal desire of Meyer since his arrival in Columbus.It seems unlikely every member of the Scarlet and Gray leans towards one side of the aisle. A team of over 100 total members on both the active roster and the practice squad is bound to have political feelings that differ from other teammates.But OSU has made a point of keeping feelings towards presidential candidates from dividing the team, while ensuring all members fully comprehend the gravity of a vote. Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett said he, along with the rest of the team, accepts the choices all team members make today at the polls.“I think we have a team that understands that that’s part of what makes our country great is that people are … they have that opinion and that’s perfectly okay,” Barrett said. “I think that’s something great that we have as Americans and I understand that has something to do with your personal life and personal opinions but I don’t think that’s going to interfere with the way we play.”Some players have taken to social media with politically charged tweets and links to articles, but that has not stopped the team progress and production so far. Against Nebraska, the team blew away all expectations and showed how well OSU plays together.Meyer fully understands how easily a group can be separated by opposing viewpoints, especially in a time when the entire country seems to be two-sided. But, through the maturity and character of his players paired with the effort of his staff to keep things together, OSU is standing tall in a time of national turmoil.“Yeah, this is a pretty mature team in that regard. That’s something I always watch. I have guys around this program that’s their job, to monitor,” Meyer said. “When I talk about good guys, now, I have some guys that are like family in this team that they would tell me if something is going on. And I listen and I hear, and the heartbeat of our team is very solid right now. It’s not always perfect, but it’s very solid, but that’s a great question. And am I concerned about it, you’re damn right. That’s when you start having issues, but I also have great trust in the people that I’m listening to.” read more

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Ohio State upset in NCAAs

The Drake University Bulldogs scored in overtime to get the upset bid over the Ohio State men’s soccer team Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The second round tournament game saw the Bulldogs score a goal in the seventh minute of overtime to defeat the Buckeyes 1-0 and move to the third round.The winning goal was scored by midfielder Luke Gorczyca. The ball was kicked into the box and bounced off several players before Gorczyca poked it over OSU goalie Matt Lampson. “It was a scramble,” coach John Bluem said. “We failed to clear the ball, and the ball was bouncing awkwardly. They’re a team who was attacking, and when the ball is in the air, it’s easier to get in [the goal] than out.”  There were several OSU defenders who had a chance to clear the ball. Somehow the ball snuck into the net and set off a celebration among Drake players.The first half saw few scoring chances for both teams. Drake held the ball several times inside the box, but the OSU defense kept the ball out of the goal. OSU goalie Matt Lampson had a key save that helped keep the score at zero.   The Buckeyes had their first great opportunity to score on a free kick just outside the 18-yard box, but the ball floated just wide of the goal.  OSU turned up the pressure in the second half and dominated the ball, consistently keeping it on the Drake side of the field.OSU had several shots on goal but failed to make anything of the opportunities. “It just wasn’t our day; it wasn’t meant to be,” Bluem said. “I thought we had the majority of play in the second half, and I thought we were going to get one. Our inability to produce a goal eventually bit us, and a team like that hangs in there long enough, they catch a break.”   Drake caught a break on the last play and capitalized on its chance. Drake finished with nine shots, and OSU had 10, but the Bulldogs had the one they needed most. The Buckeyes end their season with a record of 12-5-4, a Big Ten regular season championship and a Big Ten tournament championship. “We had a great season and we accomplished a lot,” Bluem said. “Today we fell short of a dream on a day where things just didn’t go our way.” read more

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OSU embarks on challenging trip to Michigan State

Veterans on the Ohio State men’s hockey team are excited to head to East Lansing, Mich., to face off with No. 10 Michigan State.Defenseman Matt Bartkowski and forward Zac Dalpe are both ready for a return trip to Munn Ice Arena.“It’s supposed to be a tough atmosphere, but I think we as a team like it. We like getting amped up,” Bartkowski said. “It’s fun to play in a smaller, high-energy atmosphere.”Dalpe echoed Bartkowski’s assessment and added, “Michigan State is probably one of the top two or three places to play. I don’t know what it is about it but it’s kind of an older rink and a playoff atmosphere that I like playing at.”Munn Ice Arena is regarded as one of the best facilities for collegiate hockey in the nation and has a reputation for drawing large crowds. While the players are excited for the trip, they understand victories will not be easy to come by as Michigan State has only lost three home games all season.“We’re going to have to have a road warrior mentality,” coach John Markell said. “It’s going to be a tough grind. Michigan State is playing really well this year. They’re in second [in the CCHA] for a reason.”The power play and penalty kill have been the main focus for the Buckeyes in 2010 and could be the key to success this weekend.“Our special teams [in] our first half [of the season] were deplorable,” Bartkowski said.When the Buckeyes returned from break, they revamped the power play and worked on it constantly in practice.“Obviously there are more guys in front of the net,” Markell said, while trying not to reveal too much about the team’s new strategy. “We watched a lot of tape of NHL teams and that’s what they’re doing and there is good reason why they’re doing that. Hopefully we can take advantage of that.”So far the Buckeyes have been taking advantage of the new system, scoring five power play goals in their weekend sweep of Bowling Green on Jan. 8 and Jan 9. The Buckeyes also tallied another power play goal in an exhibition victory over the U.S. Under-18 National Team last weekend.Players also noted that they’ve seen an increased effort on the penalty kill as of late.“Special teams are huge,” Dalpe said. “I know we’ve got guys on the penalty kill that are blocking shots and putting their bodies on the line and that is good to see.”Ohio State will need to execute in both the power play and penalty kill in order to knock off Michigan State this weekend. The games will be played Friday at 7:35 p.m. and Saturday at 5:05 p.m. read more

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Ohio State basketball takes a bite out of Gators in 8174 win

A slow start, foul trouble and a nationally-ranked opponent weren’t enough to stop the No. 3 Ohio State men’s basketball team from picking up its second win of the season, as the Buckeyes overcame a slew of obstacles to pick up an 81-74 win against No. 7 Florida at the Schottenstein Center Tuesday night. “That was about as high-powered of a basketball game as you’re going to see at this time of the year,” OSU coach Thad Matta said after the game. “For our program, we beat a great basketball team tonight.” The Buckeyes were hindered by a sluggish start, as Florida center Erik Murphy connected on his first three 3-point shot attempts to give the Gators a 14-6 lead. OSU responded with a 7-0 run, but didn’t manage to grab a lead over the Gators until senior guard William Buford’s jumper gave the Buckeyes a 31-29 advantage at the 2:48 mark of the first half. After not attempting a field goal in the first five minutes of the game, OSU sophomore forward Jared Sullinger scored 10 first half points — two of which came from a fade-away baseline jumper as the shot clock expired with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. OSU took a 35-32 advantage into intermission, but not before two personal fouls on sophomore point guard Aaron Craft forced Matta to take out the player who Florida coach Billy Donovan called the key to the game for the remainder of the first half. “He physically beat up our guards. And I’m not saying our guards got fouled,” Donovan said. “Totally within the context of the rules of the game, he physically manhandled our guards.” Craft returned to play the second half, finishing with 13 points, seven assists and two steals. A 9-3 run helped the Buckeyes gain some breathing room in the second half before a third personal foul sent Sullinger to the bench. With their leading scorer out of the game, the Buckeyes extended their lead to as many as 16 points, and were helped by a 3-3 shooting performance from junior forward Evan Ravenel. “That’s what he does in practice, that’s the way he plays,” Sullinger said of Ravenel. “He played really well today.” A late charge by Florida brought the OSU advantage back down to a single-digit lead with a minute remaining in the game, but could never get closer than five points to the Buckeyes, who converted seven of their eight free throw attempts in the final 60 seconds. Freshman guard Bradley Beal led Florida in scoring with 17 points and Murphy and sophomore center Patric Young each scored 14 points for the Gators. Buford finished with a game-high 21-points and pulled down six rebounds for a Buckeye team that for the second consecutive game attempted more than 30 free throws, as OSU went 27-34 from the charity stripe on Tuesday. “We always want to get to the line,” Matta said. “We always want to keep them off of the line as much as we possibly can, but I’m pleased with how we shot them tonight, that’s for sure.” The Buckeyes return to action on Friday when they’ll host Jackson State at 9 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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Ohio State offense progressing behind young talent

OSU redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall (17) runs the ball toward the end zone during a game against Kent State on Sept. 13 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 66-0. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorWhen the Ohio State football team took the field over the weekend, just three of the offensive starters were regulars in the lineup last season.But despite playing with little experience under their belts, OSU’s offense still managed to put 66 points on the board. While that can partially be attributed to the team’s game plan and what coach Urban Meyer called an advantage in the column against Kent State, the impact of some young players with natural ability is undeniable three weeks into a new season.In the shutout win against the Golden Flashes, 23 different freshmen and redshirt-freshmen took the field, with six of those players contributing either yards or points on offense.Meyer said the plan going into the game was to get the ball in the hands of some of the young skill position players on offense to give fans a taste of what they might see going forward.“I’m really excited about our young skill, and I was hoping to try to get Buckeye Nation and the stadium to see some of those guys out in open space,” Meyer said.He went on to single out freshman running back Curtis Samuel, sophomore H-back Dontre Wilson and redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall as young players he’s “excited to get out in open space.”While Wilson played as a freshman in 2013 and scored three total touchdowns, Samuel and Marshall each found their way into the end zone for the first time in their collegiate careers against Kent State. Samuel led the team with 100 yards on the ground and pair of scores while Marshall caught a three-yard touchdown pass to go along with a 51-yard punt return.Marshall said despite some injury setbacks in his young career — which contributed to the decision to redshirt last season — the journey to being a contributor on the OSU offense was worth it.“This is a great university and crowd to play for,” Marshall said after the game. “I feel great being able to get in the end zone and help my team every week.”Samuel said the impact he and the freshman class have made so far this season doesn’t come as a surprise.“We’ve brought up a lot of good guys on the team, at practice everybody is competing,” Samuel said. “Young guys, we each try to go out there and just make plays wherever we can, and we’re doing it.”To get the ball in the hands of Samuel, Marshall, Wilson and others, the OSU offense has relied on the distribution skills of redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett.Barrett, who was the third-string quarterback heading into the fall, has already showcased his talent three weeks into the season on his way to picking up three Big Ten weekly awards. He took over the starting job after senior Braxton Miller went down with an injury just days after Barrett had moved past redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones on the depth chart.The Wichita Falls, Texas, native was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week after OSU’s Aug. 30 win against Navy. He picked up that same award and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor after the win against Kent State.“I feel like I’m progressing each week,” Barrett said after leading OSU against the Golden Flashes. “I’m just trying to get better each week. I definitely feel more comfortable every week as I get more reps. Things are starting to slow down for me in the game.”Things slowed down just enough against Kent State for Barrett to leave his mark on the school’s record book. He tied former OSU quarterback Kenny Guiton for the school record with six touchdowns passes and threw for 312 yards in the win. The performance made him the first Buckeye signal caller to throw for 300 yards in a game since Troy Smith did so in 2006 — the same season he won the Heisman Trophy.Outside of Barrett, Samuel and Marshall, a trio of other freshman contributed to the offensive success OSU had against Kent State.Freshman wide receiver Johnnie Dixon made his debut for the Scarlet and Gray and carried the ball four times for 20 yards. Redshirt-freshman tight end Marcus Baugh hauled in the first pass of his career in the second quarter, which went for a two-yard touchdown. Along with Baugh, Samuel, Barrett and Marshall, freshman kicker Sean Nuernberger put points on the board with a 41-yard field goal to start the second quarter.OSU is scheduled to have a bye week before taking on Cincinnati on Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. read more

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Dogs Daisy Mitch and Rascal slowly cooked alive after being left in

first_imgA dog owner has admitted leaving his three pets, all of which later died, in his car for hours on a warm day while he went to the gym.Jonathan Theobald pleaded guilty to causing the Staffordshire bull terrier-type dogs unnecessary suffering after being charged under the Animal Welfare Act.The 65-year-old left Daisy, Mitch and Rascal in the vehicle for a number of hours on June 16, with temperatures peaking at around 19C (66F), the RSPCA said.Two of the dogs had already died by the time he returned to the car and he tried to save the third, the animal charity said.”The dogs had been in the car alone for a number of hours,” RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs said.”They will have undoubtedly suffered before they died.”The dogs would have overheated. They may have had fits, they may have slowly cooked essentially, they would have been terrified, trapped. [It was] probably more of a emotional thing rather than a physical for those dogs.” 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. Preliminary post-mortem examinations showed the dogs died of heat exposure, the charity said, as it warned owners that conditions do not need to be overly hot to be fatal for an animal.Mr Stubbs said: “The weather was warm and it was humid but it wasn’t hot that day. Met Office records show it was between 16 and 19C for the period of time these dogs were left.”No-one leaves their dog to die in a car on purpose. But there is no good reason to even risk it by taking your dog in your car in warm weather and leaving it while you just pop into the shop or just pop into your doctor’s appointment. ‘Not long’ is still too long.”Theobald appeared at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court, where he admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the dogs by confining them in an environment which was detrimental to their well-being and led to their death.He is due to be sentenced on September 28.last_img read more

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Croydon tram was travelling at almost four times the speed limit investigation

first_img“We will also be looking into previous occurrences of over-speeding in this area and underlying management issues.”Our final report will include recommendations to reduce the likelihood and consequences of similar events occurring in the future.”The RAIB’s initial findings were published as Transport for London offered to pay for the funerals of the seven people killed. The operator pledged to do “everything we can to support the families and all those affected”, following the derailment almost a week ago.The tram derailed on a tight bend before flipping on to its side during the morning rush on Nov 9. Initial analysis shows the driver did apply the brake after coming out of the tunnel but only enough to reduce his speed from 50mph out of the tunnel to 43.5mph.The tram travelled 25m before stopping.There were thought to be around 60 people on the tram at the time of the crash and the driver was the only member of staff onboard. Floral tributes left near the scene where the tram crashed In the report, the RAIB issued “urgent safety advice” to First Group, which carries out the day-to-day operation of the trams, and Transport for London, which manages the overall performance of the network.Both organisations were urged to take measures to reduce the risk of trams approaching the location of the crash “at an excessive speed” once the line is reopened.This could be done with a further speed restriction before the start of the 12mph limit and additional warning signs, the report suggested. The RAIB noted it was dark and raining heavily at the time of the crash but said there is a reflective board noting the 12.5 mph speed restriction – around 30 metres before the point where the derailment occurred.  The tram which crashed in Croydon, killing seven people, was  travelling at at almost four times the speed limit for the section of track  where it derailed, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch said today. An interim report into the fatal accident, which also left more than 50 injured, said the tram was “travelling at a speed of approximately 43.5 mph as it entered the curve, which had a maximum permitted speed of 12.5mph”.  Floral tributes left near the scene where the tram crashedCredit:PA Croydon tram victims, from left, Dane Chinnery, Philip Logan, Philip Seary and Donald CollettCredit:Facebook/PA/British Transport Policecenter_img The tram’s driver, 42-year-old Alfred Dorris, from Beckenham, south London, was arrested at the scene and was questioned on suspicion of manslaughter before being bailed until May.A spokeswoman for First Group, which carries out the day-to-day operation of the trams, said he had worked at the company since March 2008.It is understood that establishing if Mr Dorris was asleep or had blacked out are lines of inquiry.The contents of a so-called black box data recorder on the tram were downloaded by investigators.The seven victims of the crash were Dane Chinnery, 19, Philip Logan, 52, Philip Seary, 57, Dorota Rynkiewicz, 35, and Robert Huxley, 63, all from New Addington, and Mark Smith, 35 and Donald Collett, 62, both from Croydon. The investigation also found there was no evidence of track defects or a malfunction of the tram’s braking system.Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents Simon French said he would be in contact with the casualties and the families of those who died to keep them updated throughout the investigation “which will take some months to complete”.He went on: “Our ongoing detailed investigation will now look at the wider context of the accident, including the sequence of events, the way the tram was driven, the infrastructure and how people received their injuries. Croydon tram victims, from left, Dane Chinnery, Philip Logan, Philip Seary and Donald Collett Mike Brown, London’s Transport Commissioner, described the RAIB’s interim investigation as “thorough and swift” and confirmed that additional temporary speed restrictions and signage would be implemented “to supplement existing safety arrangements”.He said TfL is carrying out a “thorough safety assessment and taking advice from an independent panel of tram experts”. Engineers have repaired the track and associated equipment, and trams have run over that section of the line.But Mr Brown said services will only resume once a “rigorous assurance process” has been completed.The RAIB is the UK’s independent body for the investigation of tramway and railway accidents and acts independently from British Transport Police or the Office of Rail and Road. Their full report is not expected for several months. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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Obsessed husband caught tracking wife when iPhone hid under her car bonnet

first_imgThe truth only emerged when Morgan, 18, took the Renault Clio to a local garage and a mechanic found the iPhone near the engine under a covered metal section.Enquiries revealed Gallagher, who runs a property management firm, had been using an iPad to track the iPhone so he could follow and keep his wife under surveillance whenever she was out.He would also turn up to venues where she was by using the app.The incident was the culmination of a four-month stalking campaign by father-of-one Gallagher during which he bombarded her with text messages, sent her lurid pictures of his private parts and images of her sleeping in various stages of undress, magistrates in Manchester were told.Gallagher admitted a charge of stalking by sending numerous text messages, making contact via social media and placing a tracking device in her vehicle in order to ascertain her movements. He was due to be sentenced but fled before it was due to take place. A warrant was issued for his arrest.The couple, from Urmston, had married in February 2010 and had a son together but they had a tempestuous relationship.Ms Harvey, who had three children including Morgan from a previous relationship, said her husband was “violent and caused distress” and they split up last year. 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. Gallagher tried to track his estranged wife's movements by hiding an iPhone under the bonnet of her car Gallagher was due to be sentenced but fled before it was due to take place. A warrant was issued for his arrestCredit:Pat Isaacs An obsessed husband who tried to track his estranged wife’s movements by hiding an iPhone under the bonnet of her car was caught out when it began ringing as she went to the shops.Businessman Kevin Gallagher, 39, had been using a tracking app downloaded on to the phone to monitor the whereabouts of 37-year old Rachael Harvey, but he forgot to turn the device on silent.Later when shop worker Ms Harvey and her teenage daughter Morgan went on an errand they were baffled to hear a mysterious ringtone coming from inside the vehicle.They were unable to trace the source of the sound despite searching the car. Eileen Rogers, prosecuting, said: “Mr Gallagher would rip her clothes off of her, punch her which caused an injury to her ribs and gave her a black eye.”She has said that he was very controlling, and would ask her who she was with and where she was going and continued with this behaviour even during the time she was pregnant.”His controlling behaviour continued so that she did not go out with her friends anymore. She said that she was not mentally strong enough to leave him.”One evening he went out to work and he failed to return home. She contacted him and told him that she did not want him to come back to the marital home and she was leaving him.”The break up was amicable at first, but then he continually called and messaged her, 43 times messaging her and trying to consistently follow and contact her on social media and her friends, refusing to accept that the marriage was over.”But he sent her images of his private parts and pictures of her sleeping in stages of undress. She contacted the police and reported the harassment.”The iPhone was discovered on December 28 last year when clothes shop assistant Morgan took the family car to a local garage.”They heard a phone ringing but they could not find where the noise was coming from,” said Miss Rogers.A mechanic at the garage found the black iPhone in a covered metal section of the car.Police were contacted and investigated the contents of the phone, the messages and they went to speak to Mr Gallagher.”Another black iPhone was found concealed in a sock and these phones the police discovered were used by Mr Gallagher to track his partner and her daughter when they travelled in the car and he would turn up at the venue where he knew she was,” added the prosecutor.”When he was arrested Mr Gallagher had with him another pink iPhone and an iPad which he also used to track her. The devices were all registered to Rachael. She does want a restraining order to protect herself and her family.”The court heard Gallagher had previous convictions for violence, including common assault on Morgan last December which resulted in her getting a restraining order against him.In mitigation, defence lawyer Jeremy Spencer said: “Mr Gallagher has got a firm which he runs called K Gallagher and Son which was originally run by his father. It is a property management firm which has been operational for 34 years. Mr Gallagher’s mother also died 18 months ago, which is something that he is still dealing with.”It is a competitive area of work, and it has been difficult for them to get cover for him in the last few days.”He employs two people, one for the driving, but he is the one who is on call at all hours of the day because of the nature of the work. He can sometimes end up working a 14-hour day, at any time of the day or night” The break up was amicable at first, but then he continually called and messaged her, 43 times messaging her and trying to consistently follow and contact her on social media, and her friends refusing to accept that the marriage was overEileen Rogers, prosecutinglast_img read more

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Meghan Markle poses in Vanity Fair alongside Emma Watson Cher and Justin

first_imgShe is a television star, humanitarian campaigner, the most Googled actress of 2016 and the girlfriend of a prince. To this CV, Meghan Markle can now add “exceptional young leader”.Miss Markle graces the new edition of Vanity Fair magazine in a feature celebrating the global leaders of tomorrow.The 35-year-old girlfriend of Prince Harry was one of 1,300 delegates from across the world who attended the One Young World forum in Canada. She was selected for a photoshoot on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill, alongside Mary Robinson, the former Irish president.Miss Markle was invited in her capacity as UN Women Advocate for Women’s Leadership and Political Participation, global ambassador for World Vision and gender equality campaigner. Kate Robertson, co-founder of the charity, said the young people involved are “curious, courageous and action-oriented… you’re laying down a future investment that says, ‘This lot will make a difference and the right kind of difference’.” Emma Watson appeared in the shoot The latest edition of People magazine contains an interview with, Lindsay Roth, Miss Markle’s best friend.It is not known if Miss Markle sanctioned the interview, but she is unlikely to be disappointed by its contents. “I don’t know many people who are as generous and supportive as Meg is,” said Miss Roth. “The energy is palpable and to be able to be part of that is an honour,” she told the writer of the Vanity Fair piece, Fatima Bhutto.Canada is a second home to the actress, as it is the location for Suits, the television series in which she plays a trainee lawyer. It is screened on British television, but Miss Markle remained largely unknown to the British public until her romance with Prince Harry.Her campaigning began at a young age, however. As an 11-year-old, she reportedly wrote to First Lady Hillary Clinton to complain that a soap advertisement was sexist.She now combines humanitarian work with acting. “While my life shifts from refugee camps to red carpets, I choose them both because these worlds can, in fact, co-exist. And, for me, they must,” she has declared. Meghan Markle poses with former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, poet Fatima Bhutto, and women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul Meghan Markle poses with former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, poet Fatima Bhutto, and women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul Cher was involved Cher was involved “I think people assume that when someone gains notoriety they change. But she’s still the same girl I met years ago, with the same values and priorities. She’s selfless, and that’s just a part of who she is and who she was raised to be.“We should all strive to handle the ups and downs of our lives as gracefully, smartly, elegantly, positively, realistically and graciously as Meg has.” The One Young World forum is a UK-based charity founded in 2009. It gathers “the brightest young leaders from around the world, empowering them to make lasting connections to create positive change”. Other delegates at the event included Emma Watson, the actress and campaigner. 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. Emma Watson appeared in the shootlast_img read more

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One in nine commuters walks a marathon every fortnight

first_imgMany people walk a marathon every fortnight Commuters are far more active than they realise, with one in nine walking the equivalent of a marathon every fortnight, a new study suggests.Research by Macmillan Cancer Support found that 3.5million workers spend 40 minutes a day walking to and from their office – including between trains, climbing escalators and getting to and from stations and bus stops..Their total daily distance equates to 2.6 miles a day while the typical daily commuter spends 28 minutes on foot.This includes eight minutes standing, 12 minutes walking, five minutes climbing stairs or escalators – and even three minutes running.Macmillan Cancer Support’s national events manager Lisa Shorter said: “Many people dream of being able to do a marathon and this shows commuters are actually much more active than they may realise.”But after an energetic commute, we can see many workers are spending the rest of their day sat down, both at work and at home.”If workers can do a marathon every fortnight without even realising it, we can’t wait to see what they can do when they set themselves a goal.”Macmillan carried out the survey of 1,221 ahead of its OutRun May challenge in which people are encouraged to raise money by setting their own running goals.The charity said the results highlights just how unaware people are of their daily exertion getting to and from work. Meanwhile one in eight (12 per cent) admit all the activity gets them out of breath, and one in four (25 per cent) say it even feels like a workout.The findings suggest that some workers are so tired when they get home they try to spend most of their evening sitting down. After walking through their front doors, workers ideally like to spend nearly two and a half hours (149 minutes) sat down watching television.OutRun May will see thousands of runners setting themselves a total distance to run gradually throughout the month for the charity. Many people walk a marathon every fortnight 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. Such is the strenuous nature of our commute that workers often feel as though they have had a workout afterwards, the research found. Most health experts recommend that people walk 5,000 steps a day to stay healthy, which is roughly the equivalent of 2.5 miles for the average person.So the new study suggests that for more than 10 per cent of people, their daily commute is enough for good health. With 40 minutes daily activity, they will also easily meet their 150 minute target for moderate to vigorous exercise each week.And a recent research by ageing experts in Norway suggests that a vigorous commute could help stave off the effects of sitting in the office all day. Fit people were found to have the best heart health even if they were sedentary for up to 13 hours.”Our Western lifestyles necessarily involve a lot of sitting, and we spend more and more time sitting on average as we age,” said Dr Silvana Sandbakk, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology”But our findings show that being fit plays an important part in successful ageing and may lend protection against the negative health effects of being sedentary.”The survey also found that nearly one in eight employees (12 per cent), the daily commute is the most they move all day – making their commute more active than their sex life and their job.And one in five (19 per cent) of those who say their commute is the most active part of their day admit to then spending up to eight hours sat down at work.For one in five people (22 per cent) it’s more evident as they admit their commute brings them out in a sweat.last_img read more

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