Coach Cal Blew It

By Nate Silver Podcast from Indy: The Kentucky Loss and Monday Night’s Matchup Even 38-0 teams can go through mistimed offensive slumps, and the Kentucky Wildcats went through one at a very bad time Saturday night. Kentucky went more than 5 minutes without scoring in its loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. Between Karl-Anthony Towns’ jumper with 6:37 to go in the second half, and Aaron Harrison’s layup with 56 seconds remaining, Kentucky was stuck on 60 points, while Wisconsin swung from being 4 points behind to 4 points ahead.A lot of credit must go to Wisconsin’s stout defense, which looked a lot better than its Pomeroy rating (just 55th best in the country). But the Wildcats didn’t help themselves Saturday night with three shot clock violations down the stretch. Those violations were symptomatic of a larger problem: Kentucky’s torpid pace down the stretch helped doom them.This will involve more math than the usual “hot take,” so hang tight while we take a tour of probabilities. We’re most interested in one big question: Did Kentucky increase its chance to win by slowing its pace, thereby giving each team fewer possessions?At first blush, it seems like Kentucky was better off slowing the game down.The Las Vegas point spread and over-under line projected a final score of roughly Kentucky 67, Wisconsin 62 before the game. (FiveThirtyEight’s model had a similar projection, favoring Kentucky by 4.5 points.) In a game of 60 possessions per team, that translates into 1.12 points per possession for Kentucky and 1.04 per possession for Wisconsin.I simulated the final six minutes of the game 100,000 times using these offensive efficiency figures and a few guesstimations.1I had to guesstimate how the points are distributed between 3-point, 2-point, 1-point and 0-point possessions; Wisconsin will have a relatively high number of 3-point possessions, since they shoot so well from outside, for instance. My guesstimates were as follows: Kentucky scores three points 8 percent of the time, two points 41 percent of the time, one point 6 percent of the time, and no points 45 percent of the time. Wisconsin scores three points 12 percent of the time, two points 32 percent of the time, one point 4 percent of the time and no points 52 percent of the time. That gives Kentucky an offensive efficiency rating of 1.12 points per possession, and Wisconsin 1.04 points, as desired. I also assumed that Kentucky would win 55 percent of the time if the game went to overtime. Up by 4 in a game with 12 more possessions per team2At about 20 seconds per possession, six minutes would ordinarily allow nine more possessions per team. But there are more clock stoppages late in the game. So let’s assume that each team would have 12 further possessions if Kentucky played normally. Kentucky won 81.9 percent of the time. That winning percentage increased to 83.3 percent in a game with 10 possessions per team instead.3I’m assuming there were 10 possessions, not 12 possessions because of Kentucky’s slow pace down the stretch; which ran a minute or two off the clock.So at a first glance, slowing the game down seems like a good idea for Kentucky — they were ahead, after all.But there are reasons not to do it. Kentucky is the slightly better team — or at least that’s what Vegas and the FiveThirtyEight model thought before the game — and in the abstract the better team should want to play a longer game (a game with more possessions). Under our assumptions, if Kentucky and Wisconsin played an infinitely long game, Kentucky would always win. So it was slightly unusual for Kentucky, a Goliath of a basketball team, to adopt a “David strategy” instead.This alone wasn’t enough to make Calpari’s strategy a poor one, however. Even though Wisconsin was the underdog, the difference was small enough that you’d still rather give them fewer chances to catch up, according to the simulations.But Kentucky also almost certainly made its offense less efficient by slowing the pace down. Rather than looking for good shooting opportunities in the first half of the shot clock, it tried to rush shots near the end of possessions. (Wisconsin’s defense, to reiterate, had something to do with that. But Kentucky hadn’t had much trouble finding shots earlier in the game, shooting 60 percent in the first half.)Exactly how much less efficient is hard to say, but efficiency declines significantly as the shot clock runs down to zero. NBA teams score about 1.12 points per possession when they shoot in the first 10 seconds of the league’s 24-second shot clock, but that efficiency declines to 0.92 points per possession in the final four seconds of a possession. These numbers aren’t perfect for any number of reasons — not least because they’re drawn from the NBA rather than college hoops — but they give us at least some sense for the magnitude of the effect.So that got me wondering how much Kentucky’s offensive efficiency would have to decline to render Calipari’s strategy counterproductive. The answer: Not much at all.In the table below, I’ve used the simulation model to estimate Kentucky’s chances of winning with reduced offensive efficiency. For example, a 10 percent reduction in offensive efficiency — meaning that the Wildcats are scoring at a rate of about 1.01 points per possession instead of 1.12 — would reduce their win probability to 76.8 percent in a game with 10 more possessions per team. That’s considerably worse than the 81.9 percent chance they had by playing regular basketball, but permitting 12 possessions per team. Even a 3 percent reduction in offensive efficiency would reduce Kentucky’s winning chances.There are a lot of other factors to consider in the real world, of course, like how Wisconsin might have altered its strategy in response to Kentucky. Still, Kentucky seemed to be playing into Wisconsin’s hands, especially given that the Badgers are terrific in half-court sets — but much worse than Kentucky in transition — and ordinarily prefer to play at one of the slowest paces in college basketball. Wisconsin might have found a way to win anyway — they’re a terrific team, and the game wasn’t all that much of an upset. But Coach Cal made their path to the National Championship a little easier. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code read more

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After Getting Arrested In a Race Riot Kevin Garnett

When Kevin Garnett was a junior in high school in Mauldin, South Carolina, a race riot broke out. Garnett was arrested and charged with second-degree lynching—even though all accounts indicated he was there but not involved in the melee. Eventually, his record was expunged, but that incident not only stuck with Garnett. It drove him.He was not going to let others determine his fate.“I’m from the bottom,” Garnett has said about his life. “I understand what it’s like to not have.”Twenty-one years later, Garnett held to his pledge and has significantly more than most. With the fear of prison still in his core, Garnett went on to became a future Hall of Fame NBA player who has the distinction of having earned more money over a career than any player in history.This is a distant place from that fracas in rural South Carolina that could have ruined his life. This is an unprecedented place, a place hardly anyone could even dream. But it is a place Garnett has earned.Furthermore, word is that he wants to take some of his considerable earnings—$325 million, to be exact—and form a team to purchase the Minnesota Timberwolves, the franchise that drafted him out of high school in 1995. He graduated from Farragut Career Academy in Chicago because his family thought it best to get Garnett out of South Carolina. That’s how much tension there was. And it is a reason Garnett has played 20 seasons with a ferocity that could be described as that of a man desperate to not blow it.“I’m not the type of person to give up just because something gets rough,” Garnett has said. “That’s a coward. That’s not me.”He would become the second Black owner in the NBA, joining Michael Jordan. And there is a symmetry to that notion considering the racial incident as a youth helped spur him to greatness.At 39 and with 20 seasons played, Garnett could play two more before trying to turn into owner. In the meantime, he was traded back to his original team and has already brought the elements only a player of his repute and respect can bring.Kevin Garnett as Mauldin High player.“As one of our veteran guys told our young guys yesterday, ‘Hey, listen, when KG walks in the locker room your phones better be tucked away, because if they’re not, they’re going to get thrown in the toilet on game night,’ ” Saunders said.That’s what Garnett does. He forces a level of concentration that creates an environment for excellence.“He changed their culture,” Saunders said of Garnett’s time with the Boston Celtics. “Doc (Rivers) told me that. They had veteran players and everything else, but when he went in the locker room, the music was cut off and everything.”Known for his scowl while playing, Garnett contends it is all about one thing.“I’m not for the flashes,” he said. “I’m not for glitz and glamour, you know. I just want to win, I want to be good at what I do and look back upon these days of playing in the NBA with pride. It’s been a long journey.” read more

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The AllTime Leaders In Undeserved AllStar Appearances

Who’s started too many (or too few) All-Star Games?Number of times a player started the All-Star Game, vs. the number of times he led his position in wins above replacement (WAR) Manny Ramirez62+4Bernie Williams14-3 1996ALSS7.1John Valentin8.2-1.1 Ivan Rodriguez127+5Robin Ventura05-5 1985NL1B5.3Steve Garvey1.0+4.3 1995ALSS5.9John Valentin8.7-2.8 Reggie Jackson62+4Chris Hoiles03-3 2001ALSS0.0Alex Rodriguez*11.5-11.5 Rod Carew83+5Ian Kinsler04-4 Ozzie Smith118+3 Andre Dawson74+3 YEARLGPOSRIPKEN WARWAR LEADER AT POS.WARDIFF Pete Rose50+5Chuck Knoblauch03-3 1984NL1B7.6Steve Garvey0.3+7.3 1981NL1B6.7Pete Rose1.9+4.8 Wade Boggs118+3 Mark McGwire63+3 Cal Ripken179+8Keith Hernandez18-7 1980NL1B11.1Steve Garvey4.8+6.3 Derek Jeter95+4Matt Holliday25-3 Roberto Alomar96+3Mike Schmidt710-3 Ichiro Suzuki95+4A. McCutchen25-3 Josh Hamilton52+3Tim Wallach03-3 Yadier Molina30+3 1987ALSS9.5Alan Trammell11.4-1.9 As for more current players, a mild modern version of Hernandez is Joey Votto, who was beaten out for this year’s NL first-base starting job by Ryan Zimmerman. Including this season, Votto has led the position in WAR four times, but he’s only been named a starter twice. (Meanwhile, today’s less extreme version of Ripken is catcher Salvador Perez, a four-time starter but a two-time WAR leader.) It is a bit harder to find players with huge gaps between reputation and performance these days, though, and you might think that’s due to the rise of sabermetrics in recent seasons.But if so, it’s not showing up in the overlap between voting results and our by-the-numbers picks. If anything, All-Star lineups don’t align with the stats any better now than they did decades ago. This season, 53 percent of the actual starters would also be starters if we picked the rosters by WAR; the long-term average (since 1975) is 50 percent. The percentage of common players between the two lineups has fluctuated around that mark for as far back as our data goes:That doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see somebody challenge Ripken’s (or Hernandez’s) records for misplaced All-Star voting anytime soon. But with the voters still foregoing the cold logic of statistics in favor of sentiment, it does mean there’s still a chance for it to happen, for better and for worse.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Ripken isn’t the only one, though. Some of the players received an overly generous haul of All-Star nods due to the scarcity of big names at their position. Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez was an automatic pick for many All-Star voters for more than a decade, seldom having much competing star power to draw eyes away from his checkbox on the ballot (with all due respect to Jason Varitek and Jorge Posada). As a 35-year-old in 2007, Pudge — who was very much on the decline by that point — was still a more enticing pick for fans than Ramon Hernandez, Kenji Johjima and Gerald Laird, for obvious reasons.Meanwhile, the anti-Ripken is longtime Cardinals and Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez, who only started a single All-Star Game (1986) despite leading National League first basemen in WAR eight times. Four of those seasons, the slick-fielding Hernandez was thwarted by Steve Garvey, who — not coincidentally — is tied for third on the “over-selected” list above. He also lost out to Jack Clark, Al Oliver and even Pete Rose, who moved to first base (and was one of the league’s worst fielders there) late in his career. PLAYERVOTERSWARDIFFPLAYERVOTERSWARDIFF Jose Bautista41+3Devon White03-3 Robinson Cano52+3Robin Yount25-3 1999AL3B3.3Tony Fernandez5.9-2.6 1998AL3B1.3Robin Ventura8.4-7.1 Sandy Alomar30+3Eddie Murray14-3 Ripken is the undisputed king of undeserving All-Stars. Don’t get me wrong: He’s an inner-circle Hall of Famer and one of the greatest shortstops to ever play the game. But he also racked up some really generous All-Star starting bids over the years, taking the honor away from seven different players. (In 2001, he was voted in as a third baseman over Troy Glaus, who was having a far superior season at the position, and later traded starting positions with shortstop Alex Rodriguez. I only counted A-Rod’s displacement in this list.) Cal’s CasualtiesSeasons where Cal Ripken Jr. started the All-Star Game despite not having the most WAR at his position Sources: Fangraphs, Lahman DB Joe Carter30+3 1997AL3B2.4Jeff Cirillo8.1-5.7 Dave Winfield81+7Jeff Bagwell16-5 ASG STARTS ACCORDING TO…ASG STARTS ACCORDING TO… YEARLGPOSHERNANDEZ WARVOTE LEADERWARDIFF Kirby Puckett63+3 * Rodriguez shifted to 3B to make room for Ripken, displacing 3B WAR leader Troy Glaus.Sources: Fangraphs, Lahman DB Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game, which takes place Tuesday night in Miami, is supposed to be a celebration of the best ballplayers in the world collected in the same place for a few days a year. But it’s also a salute to fan favorites and other sentimental picks, even if the stats say they haven’t played up to snuff. This is to be expected, because the fans vote to determine the starting position players; the casual fan is less likely to be scrutinizing the BABIP of every National League shortstop than he or she is to just pick the person with the familiar name.So for every no-brainer All-Star like Barry Bonds in the early 2000s (or Mike Trout in more recent seasons), there have been starters like Cal Ripken Jr. in 2001 — a year he finished below the replacement level1Never mind that he homered on a grooved pitch from Chan Ho Park in the game. — or Reggie Jackson (who’d hit .216 since the 1983 All-Star break) in 1984.But what would the All-Star Game look like if the stat geeks had full control over who played? Which players have consistently been voted into the All-Star Game despite weak stats? Are the rosters at least getting better over time?To judge who deserved to start the All-Star Game in a given year, I began with wins above replacement (WAR) data from FanGraphs.2I usually blend FanGraphs’ version of WAR with that of Baseball-Reference.com, but only FanGraphs calculates monthly WAR splits. Since there’s something of a debate over whether the selection process should only consider first-half stats or a longer timeframe, I compromised by giving a player credit for both his first-half WAR from the season in question3Defined as his WAR for the months of April through June. as well as his second-half WAR from the previous season, with the former getting double weight. (That way, more than half of a season is always considered, but emphasis is given to more recent performance.) I split this figure by position according to how many games the player spent at each spot on the diamond and ranked the players within each position for each league in each season.(For the purposes of this exercise, I only looked at position players, since starting pitchers are selected by the managers and their eligibility is governed by a rule about how recently they pitched before the All-Star Game.)Although Ripken was named an All-Star starter 17 times in his 21-year MLB career, he was only the best player at his position by WAR nine times — an eight-game difference that ranks as the biggest discrepancy for any All-Star since 1975.4FanGraphs’ monthly WAR splits go back to 1974, but as noted above, I used the previous year’s second-half stats in my ranking. Ryne Sandberg96+3 Steve Garvey83+5Andruw Jones03-3 V. Guerrero74+3Lance Parrish25-3 Greg Luzinski30+3 1979NL1B6.4Steve Garvey6.0+0.4 Tony Gwynn95+4Jesse Barfield03-3 Positional rankings are based on a blend of first-half WAR for the season in question and second-half WAR from the previous season.Sources: FanGraphs, Lahman DB 1983NL1B7.6Al Oliver4.7+2.9 Mike Piazza106+4Grady Sizemore03-3 George Brett94+5Barry Bonds1115-4 1987NL1B7.1Jack Clark7.0+0.1 1993ALSS3.1Omar Vizquel5.6-2.5 Keith’s list of grievancesSeasons where Keith Hernandez did not start the All-Star Game despite having the most WAR at his position read more

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Ryan Madson And The Dodgers Are Faltering When It Matters Most

BOSTON — For the second-straight chilly night in Fenway Park, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Ryan Madson faced one of baseball’s great psychological performance tests. And for the second-straight night, Madson failed.A pitcher, the defense, dictates the action in baseball, which makes the game unusual. Standing alone in the center of the infield, a pitcher can get in his own way — and he can single-handedly let a game get away. And for a second-straight World Series game, Madson checked both of these boxes as he couldn’t command the ball. With each miss outside the strike zone, the pressure and decibel levels increased in the cramped, 106-year-old ballpark.Madson inherited two base runners on Tuesday in Game 1 of the World Series and three on Wednesday in Game 2. All five scored. They were the decisive runs Tuesday and again Wednesday in Boston’s 4-2 victory. The Red Sox now enjoy a 2-0 lead in the series, which heads to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Friday.When Madson entered Wednesday with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, it was the most crucial point in the game. Leverage index is a stat designed to weight the importance of every plate appearance in a game as it relates to potential win expectancy swings, with an average plate appearance at a mark of 1.0. A plate appearance in a one-run game in the ninth inning has a greater leverage-index value than that of a one-run game in, say, the second inning. The leverage index of facing Steve Pearce with the bases loaded and two outs, leading by one run, was 4.17 — the highest of the game and second-highest of the series.Madson, who walked just 16 batters in 52⅔ regular-season innings, began his Game 2 outing by missing badly above the zone with his first two pitches against Pearce. The crowd roared. Red Sox fans began chanting his last name, perhaps sensing weakness. Wearing just a short-sleeve T-shirt under his game jersey, Madson jumped up and down at the back of the mound to try to warm himself in temperatures that had dipped into the low 40s, feeling colder with the wind chill. But he missed twice again above the zone to walk Pearce on five pitches, forcing in Christian Vazquez and tying the score at 2-2.“I really liked him against Pearce,” said Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts. “He’s done it time and time again for us.”Madson also entered, and faltered, in a high-leverage situation Tuesday. His first pitch in Game 1 was a wild pitch against Pearce, whom he walked on four pitches.“The ball is not going where I want it,” Madson said after the game. “It’s kind of a crapshoot with inherited runners. You can be good at it for a long time and then a bloop hit, or a walk like tonight, it’s not automatic. I don’t know if it’s mechanical or physical or emotional. There is a lot of elements going in there. You just have to regroup and start over again.”Among Dodgers pitchers, Madson has pitched four of the five highest-leverage situations through two games. The Dodgers’ best reliever, Kenley Jansen, hasn’t pitched in the series. While teams have been aggressive in employing relief pitchers this postseason, Roberts has not yet used his best reliever when there have clearly been crucial situations. Instead, a pitcher the Dodgers had claimed off waivers and traded for on Aug. 31 — who had a 5.28 ERA in Washington and a 6.48 mark in a limited sample in L.A. — got the call.1In a small sample of postseason work, Madson had been effective for Roberts entering the World Series. Madson also did strike out 13 batters in 8⅓ regular-season innings with the Dodgers .After walking Pearce on Wednesday, Madson missed with his first pitch to the following batter, J.D. Martinez, and then Madson threw a fastball that found the zone. But Martinez, hobbling on a right ankle he injured Tuesday, sliced it down the right-field line for a two-run single. Boston took a 4-2 lead that held as the final score. The leverage index of that plate appearance? 3.6. It marked the second-greatest leverage index of the game after the Pearce at bat.Madson told reporters before the game that the cold weather affected his grip in Game 1, referencing the sticky stuff that has become a sticky subject this season.“Grip is essential, obviously, in a breaking ball,” Madson said before Game 2. “And a lot of times with the cold weather, I’m not saying anybody uses anything, but if you use anything, a lot of times it’s not as effective in cold weather.“I didn’t use anything [Tuesday], but I didn’t throw any breaking balls. But [Wednesday], I’m going to make sure I’ve got what everybody uses, the essentials out there again. I didn’t think it was going to be as difficult as it was [Tuesday].”Whatever he did, Madson had a tough time again Wednesday.Interestingly, Madson’s four-seam fastball had an average spin rate of 2,289 rpms on Tuesday and 2,196 on Wednesday, and that pitch’s velocity was 95.5 mph on Tuesday and 94.8 on Wednesday — not far removed from his regular-season averages of 2,250 rpms and 95.9 mph. So while his command wavered, his underlying stuff was nearly the same.The Red Sox had no trouble with the cool conditions Wednesday as their relievers again dominated, averaging 98.4 mph on all fastballs. Starter David Price and the bullpen retired the final 16 Dodgers they faced.Price took another step toward shedding his reputation as a postseason choker after burying some of his postseason demons in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series — his first win in 12 career postseason starts. He did it by adopting a new plan, throwing his change-up at a career-high rate and shelving his cut fastball. He used a similar approach Wednesday and did not allow a hit through the first three innings. He often went in with his fastball and down and away with his changeup.He gave up two runs in the fourth but returned for a scoreless fifth — going where no starter had gone in Game 1 — and even posted a scoreless inning in the sixth.Price now has two postseason wins in his last two starts. A week ago, Price couldn’t win in the postseason. So there’s hope for Ryan Madson.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more

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Aside from football prestige what will Nebraska add to the Big Ten

When Big Ten presidents approved the addition of Nebraska on June 12, thoughts immediately turned to what it meant for Big Ten football. However, the Cornhuskers’ effect on the Big Ten extends beyond the gridiron. Besides football, Nebraska will join the Big Ten in 20 other sports when the move takes effect July 1. Women’s basketball is one sport that might benefit. Nebraska’s women’s team recorded a perfect regular season in the 2009-10 campaign before losing in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and finishing 32-2. Coach Connie Yori took home National Coach of the Year honors for her team’s success. “There has been a lot of balance from top to bottom” in the Big Ten, Yori said in a phone interview with The Lantern. “We hope that we can come into the league … (and) be competitive.” The coach said doing so will not be easy in one of the nation’s toughest conferences for women’s basketball. “There are so many good programs in the Big Ten,” Yori said. “Consistently, there are three to five teams ranked every year.” Ohio State (No. 6), Iowa (No. 18) and Michigan State (No. 25) are ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Nebraska is ranked No. 24. Though the Cornhuskers’ men’s basketball program has not made the NCAA Tournament this decade, another winter sport might also improve the Big Ten. “The Big Ten is a premier conference in the sport of wrestling in the country and has been for a long time, and to add Nebraska only makes the conference that much better,” OSU wrestling coach Tom Ryan said in a phone interview with The Lantern. Nebraska is No. 14 in wrestling in the Coaches’ Poll. Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, OSU, Michigan, Northwestern and Purdue are the Big Ten schools in the Top 25. “You have to go through more teams to win a Big Ten conference,” Nebraska coach Mark Manning said in a phone interview with The Lantern. “It’s not getting easier, I’ll say that.” Adding the Cornhuskers will increase the number of competitive wrestling matchups in the conference, Ryan said. “It’s great competition. It’s great for the fans. It’s a well-known institution, so people come to the event. You can market the event,” he said. “On a number of different levels, having Nebraska is a positive.” Nearly 1,500 visitors attended the dual meet between OSU and Nebraska on Nov. 21 at St. John Arena, where the Buckeyes fell 24-11. Nebraska is also historically strong in baseball and by parting with the Big 12, leaves behind last season’s top RPI conference in the country. “Baseball is a big deal to Nebraska, and they will be a very strong addition to the Big Ten,” OSU baseball coach Greg Beals said. “The thing that I like is that it broadens and spreads our wings a little bit as a conference.” The Cornhuskers will be one of the most southern locations in the conference, and they’ll use that to their advantage, coach Mike Anderson said. The South is typically the strongest region for baseball because athletes can play outdoor year-round. “We bring an undying commitment to make (the Big Ten) a strong RPI” conference, Anderson said. “There won’t be a time when we don’t try to have the hardest schedule in the conference.” Regardless of what each program brings to the Big Ten, Yori thinks the move was the right decision for Nebraska. “I think it’s going to be a great move for the University of Nebraska, and frankly the entire state of Nebraska, to make the jump to the Big Ten,” she said. “I am very comfortable with the move and I think it was the right thing to do.” read more

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Commentary Coaches expect players to Do as I say not as I

If Ohio State athletes are expected to follow the rules and to not confuse their status with power, OSU coaches and athletic administrators need to set a better example. On Tuesday, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles concluded its investigation into the purchase of 25 cars by OSU athletes, declaring that these purchases were legitimate. Included in the 65-page report from the BMV is a transcript of an investigation conducted by Tim Shaw, investigator for the BMV. Shaw’s transcription included an interview, conducted on May 12, with Aaron Kniffin, a former employee of Jack Maxton Chevrolet. In the interview, Kniffin said that no players or their family members received special deals on their cars. Also included in the report, Shaw recorded Kniffin as saying that several OSU coaches received cars to drive, in exchange for tickets. “Kniffin also stated that Jack Maxton owner Jeff Mauk received tickets from OSU coaches for giving them cars to drive,” Shaw reported. “Kniffin stated that this practice was common.” Common? Coaches are going to give tickets to car dealerships in exchange for the chance to drive nice cars, but expect the opposite from their players? Do as I say, not as I do. OSU coaches are making more than enough money to buy their own vehicles. The “common” practice of coaches trading tickets for their own personal gain is not an NCAA violation. University spokesman Jim Lynch told The Lantern that these exchanges are a part of a program written in the coach’s contract. Lynch said these practices are on-par with other Big Ten schools. But it doesn’t look good. On Aug. 16, 2010, the BMV conducted a separate investigation. Led by BMV investigators Tim Hughes and Todd Ballinger, this investigation made some interesting observations concerning dealer-plated cars. In their report, they dictated their visits to the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex to investigate this possible misuse of dealer tags given to players. They found that while they visited, a high number of vehicles in the parking lots surrounding the WHAC were owned by dealerships. They concluded that OSU coaches and administrators were driving these cars. Ballinger also reported that Doug Archie, an associate athletics director for compliance and camps at OSU, was driving a dealer-owned vehicle. “Archie advised that he has a dealer-plated vehicle and he gets the vehicle in exchange for tickets,” Ballinger reported. In the same report, Archie told investigators that there was only one reason a player would be driving a dealer-owned vehicle. “(An) OSU student athlete would only be allowed to operate a ‘loaner’ vehicle from (a) motor vehicle dealer if their personal vehicle was at the dealership for service or repair,” Ballinger reported. So why is there a double standard? OSU officials and coaches preach humility and service to their players, but what kind of lesson is that coming from someone trading football tickets to car dealerships to drive around a nice car? Currently, the NCAA does not have the jurisdiction to ban this “tickets for cars” practice, as long as it isn’t athletes making the trades. The university, however, has the power to control it. The university has a lot of issues to deal with currently, including a meeting with the NCAA on Aug. 12, but this is one issue that should be on their radar. While the NCAA may not consider this kind of activity to be “improper benefits,” every part about this “common” practice is improper, backwards and wrong. read more

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Womens golf Coach Therese Hession looking for 4th straight Big Ten championship

OSU women’s golf coach Therese Hession congratulates senior women’s golfer Katja Pogacar. Credit: Courtesy of OSU AthleticsOhio State women’s golf coach Therese Hession thought she could never be persuaded to coach anywhere other than her alma mater, Southern Methodist University. But after 11 years on the LPGA tour, she got a call from OSU and decided to give it a shot. Twenty-five seasons later, she’s still coaching the Buckeyes.“The call came, I was at the U.S. Open,” Hession said of when she was offered the job at OSU. “I talked to my pro that was my teacher on the tour and he said, ‘You have everything to gain, nothing to lose.’ So here I am 25 years later.”Hession fell in love with the game at an early age while following her dad around the golf course. She went to the driving range or the course any chance she could get. “I was just my happiest when I was out playing golf,” Hession said.Hession attended SMU where she led the women’s golf team to a national championship in 1979 — her senior season. After graduation, she joined the Women’s Professional Golf Tour and was granted an LPGA tour card just three months later.After 11 years competing in the LPGA, Hession was growing weary of the lifestyle. “I still loved to play but I didn’t like the idea of being away from home probably 32 weeks of the year,” Hession said. “My game was good. I was improving, but I was never at the very highest level of some of the players I was competing against. So I think I was looking for change, but I still really loved the sport.”That’s where the Buckeyes stepped in. At first, Hession admits she was hesitant to accept the position. However, there were a lot of positive things about OSU that Hession couldn’t deny, such as being close to her hometown of Indianapolis. Even though OSU isn’t a typical golf school, Hession saw potential in the program.“That was important to me: to be able to go somewhere where I thought I could do well because I knew I was going to put 100 percent effort into it. And I wanted to make sure I would have the chance to succeed,” Hession said. And succeed she has. In her time in Columbus, Hession has led the Buckeyes to 10 Big Ten championships, including three consecutive titles from 2014 to 2016, made 23 NCAA regional appearances and 15 NCAA championship appearances. She has been named the National Coach of the Year twice and Big Ten Coach of the Year seven times. The most memorable moment of Hession’s coaching career was in 2003 when her team took home fourth place at the NCAA championship, the highest in school history. Hession’s goal is still to win a national championship, but the 2003 season proved that OSU could compete with the best. “I like to prove people wrong and for those people who think the northern schools can’t play, to be able to finish that well was good,” she said. “I was really happy for my players because they worked hard. That was a real special group.”The past three seasons, Hession has led the Buckeyes to back-to-back-to-back Big Ten championships. Last year, the team shot so high in the first round that they started on the back nine the next day. But that’s when OSU decided to turn it on. “I remember on Saturday we were really on fire,” Hession said. “I remember coming up the ninth hole and it was like everywhere I looked everyone was making birdies.”The 2017 Big Ten Championship is coming up on April 21 and the competition is even tougher this year. The Buckeyes are one of the more experienced teams but will have to play at the very top of their game to be in the race. “I would say we could play decent and we could even finish sixth is how good the Big Ten is this year,” Hession said. “So it’s going to be really critical to get off to a good start.”Throughout her 25 seasons, Hession has made an impact on her players on and off the course. Senior Jessica Porvasnik has spent four years under Hession and credits her for making her the player that she is today. “Coach Hession has always had the best interest of every player on her team,” Porvasnik said. “She has spent countless hours helping prepare me for what lies ahead in my career… I believe after college she will continue to play a role in my life.”Hession’s work and dedication don’t end on the golf course but extend into everything she does. In 1989, she was awarded the LPGA Tour Samaritan Award for her work with Habitat for Humanity and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She has continued her philanthropic work through her coaching to this day.“We’re trying to raise $15,000 as a team,” Hession said of her team’s most recent project. “We’re building a well for a village in Africa that doesn’t have water. Their girls get up in the morning and they walk over an hour to the nearest water source.” The Buckeyes golf team has completed fundraising projects already, but have a few more to go in order to reach the goal. “I think it’s really important that we’ve been given a lot, so we should give back,” Hession said. read more

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Mens Basketball Young Ohio State team struggles in conference play

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann calls out to the Buckeye defense in the first half of the game against Iowa on Feb. 10 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignAnalyze, then forget. This is freshman guard Duane Washington’s response to any loss: Look at game tape, analyze what went wrong for him personally and the team as a whole, fix the mistakes and forget; move on to the next game. This was his approach after Ohio State’s three-point loss to Rutgers on Wednesday, hoping this mentality would help the Buckeyes ahead of its Saturday game on the road against Iowa. It didn’t. The same problems persisted: the fouls, the turnovers, the inconsistent offense. This led to Ohio State’s first three-game losing streak in head coach Chris Holtmann’s tenure and the Buckeyes falling out of the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since Week 2. For the second-year head coach, competing solely in Big Ten play is a different animal, facing opponents in games that seem to mean more in the long run, especially for a team without much experience. The Buckeyes had a taste of conference play early in December, earning wins against Minnesota and Illinois. However, with the shift to 2019 and a permanent conference schedule, Ohio State has not found the same success.“I think it begins with an awareness that this is life in a power conference. This is life in league play,” Holtmann said. “You are going to go through some serious bumps and bruises.” Now, as Ohio State moves forward, amid the most serious bumps and bruises Holtmann has ever had to deal with regarding this team, it has to turn to something the Buckeyes do not have much of: leadership. The Buckeyes don’t have the Keita Bates-Diop, the Jae’Sean Tate, playing with a fire to make up for what they considered to be a lost 2016-17 season, ending their collegiate careers with winning 13-of-17 conference games. However, what Holtmann realizes is that Ohio State is remarkably young. Despite players on the roster such as redshirt senior guard Keyshawn Woods and senior guard C.J. Jackson, many of the players Ohio State utilizes the most are either freshmen or sophomores, leaning on sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson as its main offensive contributor and post threat. Holtmann said plainly he often forgets Wesson, the player who averages 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, is a sophomore.  “Sometimes I forget that we have other guys that are sophomores and freshman,” Holtmann said. “That doesn’t change our expectation and our demands on them, but I do need to, at times, remember that we are asking guys that are relatively young to lead our group.”  Holtmann said Wesson leads in part by his consistency during games, showing that he wants to be a leader vocally, and becomes an example especially for the post players, an area the head coach said is a necessary improvement.But youth is something that sophomore forward Kyle Young prides himself on. “Some people think that a leader is just the older guys like seniors and stuff like that. I think coaches do a good job of kind of making it a point that leaders are guys who step in and teach others and help to make the team better,” Young said. “I think the earlier the better, you know, that we learn these important values will help our team get better.” As of late, youth has hurt Ohio State more than it has helped. In the past three losses, Wesson recorded at least four fouls, leaving the game within the first two minutes of the Iowa game after recording two quick fouls.After only five turnovers in the Buckeyes’ nine-point loss to then-No. 8 Michigan State, Ohio State has recorded double-digit turnovers in each of its past two games, breaking its season high with 21 against the Hawkeyes Saturday. Ohio State also has not had consistency in its rotation, playing all 10 eligible scholarship players in the first half of the Iowa loss, with each player ending the game with more than 10 minutes on the court. Holtmann knows the expectation for this team. It’s the expectation to perform like Ohio State did during the first 13 games of the season. But he understands the players he is utilizing and what their capabilities are. “It’s a balance really between that understanding and yet the urgency of wanting it to happen right now, and I think that the reality is we need to learn quickly,” Holtmann said. “I don’t want our relative newness … to be something that we use as an excuse. I also want to have and understand that we have to, as coaches, be committed to teaching it better, reinforcing it more and making sure that our guys are getting it.” This is not the 2017-18 team. Ohio State does not have Tate or Bates-Diop to create a rallying cry after a loss. But Holtmann believes this team has the potential to be that. It just might take some more time and more leadership by the younger players. “We’ll go as far as our collective leadership takes us,” Holtmann said. “I really believe that.” read more

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Wrestling No 2 Ohio State suffers first loss against undefeated No 5

Ohio State’s Myles Martin wrestles Mitch Bowman in the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignThe No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) was defeated by No. 5 Michigan (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) 19-17 on Friday for its first loss of the season. Ohio State finished the match with four wins in 10 matches against the undefeated Wolverines. Ohio State seniors Joey McKenna and Myles Martin, No. 2 and No. 1 at 141 pounds and 184 pounds respectively, remained undefeated after Friday’s match against Michigan, as McKenna and Martin both won by technical fall. McKenna defeated redshirt sophomore Kanen Storr, the No. 5 wrestler in the weight class, by technical fall 18-3. After Ohio State fell to a 7-0 deficit, McKenna brought the home crowd back to life, winning the team’s first match.“I had high expectations for myself going into the match. I knew I was wrestling the No. 5 guy, but I knew my team needed me,” McKenna said. “I tried getting the place riled up and we did, but coach Ryan said there is a lot of work to be done.” Martin won in dominate fashion 24-9 with a technical fall against Michigan redshirt freshman J.T. Correll. Martin said he is used to playing in front of a big home crowd and was trying to motivate the others. “For this match, it was more about the team, and I knew my kid wasn’t very good,” Martin said. “I was just trying to get the team going just because I have been here before.” Ohio State redshirt senior Micah Jordan, the No. 3 wrestler in the country at 149 pounds, won by major decision over Michigan redshirt senior Malik Amine 17-4. Jordan said winning as an individual is always something he strives for, but he wanted the team to win the duel. “Being able to win my match against [Michigan] is always awesome,” Jordan said. “I wish we beat them as a team, but that didn’t happen tonight.” Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan said Martin, Jordan and McKenna were impressive, but he needed more points from the rest of the team. “These three seniors scored 14 points for us, and we had two techs from two of our seniors, and a four-point major,” Ryan said. “These three guys lead us tonight and it would have been nice to get some help, but we didn’t get it.” Ohio State redshirt junior Kollin Moore, No. 2 wrestler in the country at 197, remained undefeated and won by decision 12-5 against Michigan redshirt junior Jackson Striggow. Moore’s victory gave Ohio State a 17-16 lead after nine of 10 bouts, which left Singletary, only needing a victory by decision, to win the duel in the final bout. “Kollin knew he had to pin the guy, so I think that when a student athlete goes out there and he knows he needs the pin sometimes you don’t focus on the little things you need to do,” Ryan said. “He knew it was a pin or Chase needed the win.” Ohio State redshirt freshman Chase Singletary, the No. 17 wrestler in the country, lost by a 6-3 decision to Michigan freshman heavyweight Mason Parris leaving Ohio State just short of a team victory. No. 2 Ohio State will take on Illinois at 9 p.m. on Friday in Champaign, Illinois. read more

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Possible sighting of missing RAF serviceman Corrie McKeague

first_imgHe is believed to have been wearing Timberland boots like theseCredit:Suffolk Police  Mr McKeague is described as 5ft 10in, white, of medium build with short, light brown hair.He is believed to have been wearing a pink Ralph Lauren polo shirt and brown suede Timberland boots at the time of his disappearance. Nicola Urquhart, mother of Corrie McKeague Officers were called by a man who told them he had been driving in the area when he spotted a man in light clothing at the back of a sugar beet factory at around 4.20am.A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “Police are currently working to see if this can be confirmed as Corrie, however (we) are continuing to ask anyone who may have seen him anywhere in the area in the early hours of Saturday to come forward.” CCTV footage showed Mr McKeague walking alone and eating fast food in Brentgovel Street at 3.25am.Mr McKeague, who had the weekend off, was reported missing on the following Monday, September 26, after he failed to turn up at RAF Honington. Timberland boots His mother Nicola Urquhart fears someone else may have been involvedCredit:Chris Radburn /PAcenter_img Mr McKeague was last seen in Bury St EdmundsCredit:Suffolk Police  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. An RAF serviceman who has been missing for a month may have been spotted heading towards his base, police said.The last confirmed sighting of Corrie McKeague, 23, was in the early hours of September 24 after he had been with friends on a night out in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.Now Suffolk Police said they have received a report of possible sighting of Mr McKeague near the Hollow Road industrial estate, heading towards RAF Honington. His mother, Nicola Urquhart, of Dunfermline, Scotland, fears someone else may have been involved but police said there was no evidence of criminality.Police scoured woodland areas in the vicinity and also searched a bin lorry, believing his phone had been lost or discarded and ended up in rubbish. Corrie McKeaguelast_img read more

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