Month: September 2019

In The Major Leagues Female Coaches Are Barely A Rounding Error

Jen Welter has been hired by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern and may be the first female coach of any kind in the NFL. But her presence alone is enough to put the NFL near the top of the list among major men’s sports in terms of coaching gender balance. The share of female NBA assistant coaches is 0.5 percent, and it’s even lower in the NFL, but both are ahead of MLB and MLS’s zero percent.The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, known by the acronym of Tides, publishes an annual report card on race and gender, which notes that last year, the San Antonio Spurs hired the NBA’s first female assistant coach, Becky Hammon. The NBA also has two women working as referees, and earlier this year, the NFL hired its first female full-time official. Among the professional sports Tides tracks, women’s basketball is the only one to have any women serving as head coaches or general managers.1Tides has compiled reports on the NFL, the NBA, MLB and MLS but not the NHL. The data in this article is drawn from the most recent report available for each sport: 2015 for the NBA and MLB and 2014 for the WNBA, NFL and MLS.(Welter may or may not be the first female assistant coach in the NFL. The most recent Tides report on the NFL logged two female assistant coaches but did not identify them or their team. At the time of this writing, report author and Tides Director Richard Lapchick was out of the country and could not be reached to identify the two women who may have preceded Welter. If these women have passed unnoticed, it may be because the total count of female coaches in sports tends to look like a rounding error.)(Update, 10:30 a.m., July 30: A Tides editor said the other two women in their report had job titles that led them to be coded as assistant coaches, but appear not to have worked in that capacity. That appears to confirm that Welter is the first female assistant coach in the NFL.)Women are more likely to hold leadership roles away from the sidelines. Twenty-three percent of the WNBA’s vice presidents are women, and men’s sports aren’t far behind. WNBA202333 NBA7205 Tides lists nine women who were either principal owners or held significant ownership stakes in NFL franchises in 2014, but it does not provide data on the overall share of owners who are female.It’s hard to tell whether the larger number of women at the VP level means that women are in the hiring pipeline and could help promote others to serve as presidents and CEOs. The NFL and MLS have both nearly doubled their share of female VPs over the past 10 years, but for the other men’s sports, the proportion of female VPs has remained close to constant.Welter’s new position is great news for her and for the Arizona Cardinals, but female staff are still rare enough in men’s sports so as to be the stuff of anecdotes, not statistics. MLB01716 MLS0140 LEAGUECEO/ PRESIDENTVICE PRESIDENTMAJORITY OWNERS NFL015— read more

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Hey At Least The Cavs Might Not Get Swept

Before the NBA Finals tipped off last Thursday, I and others thought the Cleveland Cavaliers might give the Golden State Warriors a better fight this year than last. Unfortunately for Cleveland — as usual — that notion is quickly vanishing. Fresh off an easy 15-point victory in Game 1, the Warriors crushed the Cavs by 33 in Game 2 on Sunday night, burying the Cavs in the most demoralizing 0-2 hole in championship history. Before this year, no team had ever beaten an opponent by 48 combined points in the first two games of the Finals.If we account for the fact that the first two Finals games this year were played on the Warriors’ home court — meaning we subtract from the home team’s margin its built-in advantage of about 3.6 points per game, in accordance with our Elo ratings — the Cavs have been running about 20 points per game behind the Warriors in the series so far. Even among teams sporting 0-2 Finals deficits, that’s just embarrassing: Embed Code Never underestimate the heart of a champion, indeed.Cleveland needn’t go back so far in the history books for the other team to bounce back from a remotely comparable hole. This year’s Portland Trail Blazers were beaten by 41 combined by the Los Angeles Clippers in games 1 and 2 of their first-round series before storming back to win four straight. But it’s worth mentioning that the Clippers lost point god Chris Paul to a season-ending injury late in Game 4, significantly lowering the difficulty of a Portland comeback. By contrast, the Cavs would have to perform a revival the hard way — unless there’s another Steph Curry injury. Listen to the latest episode of our sports podcast Hot Takedown. By Neil Paine The smart money says it probably isn’t happening. Elo gives Cleveland a mere 11 percent chance of winning now, and it doesn’t even know that Kevin Love’s Game 3 status is up in the air after suffering a concussion in Game 2. But talk of a sweep might be premature. The same historical data that underscored the grim state of Cleveland’s title chances also shows that there’s little to no relationship between an 0-2 team’s margin of defeat in games 1-2 and the eventual length of the series. Although no team that was dominated as utterly as the Cavs has gone on to win a series from an 0-2 deficit, just as many forced a sixth game as were swept. In fact, of the 30 teams in our 0-2 sample to be beaten by an average location-adjusted margin of at least 15 points in games 1-2, only a third were swept; 30 percent lost in five games, 23 percent lost in six, 7 percent bowed out in seven — and 7 percent went on to win the series.And if they’re looking for inspiration to avoid the brooms, the Cavs should look at themselves, but in reverse. Early in the Eastern Conference finals, Cleveland built a 2-0 lead, whipping the Toronto Raptors by an adjusted average of 21.4 points per contest. That was a start so dominant that it had us speculating on the Cavs’ place in history, and it made the idea of the Raptors winning even a single game feel remote. But the Raptors promptly won two straight to tie the series (before eventually being closed out in six games). Faint consolation for Cleveland, but in dire times, it may have to serve.Check out our latest NBA predictions. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed In 15 tries since the NBA adopted its modern playoff structure in 1984, only one team has gotten out of an 0-2 Finals hole: the 2006 Miami Heat. That team clawed its way back when Dwyane Wade put on maybe the greatest individual performance in Finals history, the kind of thing LeBron James is also capable of doing. But those Heat hadn’t played anywhere near as poorly as the Cavs have through two Finals games.It gets worse: If we expand our view to include all best-of-seven series since 1984, we find that 6 percent of teams with an 0-2 deficit have gone on to win the series, none of which were dominated as thoroughly as the Cavs. First and foremost among the exceptions: the 1995 Houston Rockets. Despite being defending champs, the Rockets went into their second-round series against the Phoenix Suns as underdogs, and were beaten by 46 combined points in games 1 and 2. Back in Houston for Game 3, they rolled over the Suns by 33. But they lost Game 4 at home and had to gut out three consecutive victories, the last of which was sealed with Mario Elie’s “Kiss of Death”: read more

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Sex Abuse Victims Join Hands Accept Courage Award at

Recipients of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage appear at the ESPY Awards, at Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Phil McCarten/Invision/AP)LOS ANGELES (AP) — More than 140 survivors of sexual abuse by a former team doctor for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University joined hands on stage to be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs.The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night in a powerful and solemn closing to the show highlighting the past year’s top athletes and moments in sports.Gymnast Aly Raisman, softball player Tiffany Thomas Lopez and gymnast Sarah Klein, who said she was Nassar’s first victim 30 years ago, took turns speaking. Klein chided the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and Michigan State for placing “money and medals above the safety of child athletes.”Olympic snowboarding champion Chloe Kim won a leading three ESPYs, including best female athlete, while Alex Ovechkin claimed best male athlete.Kim had tears in her eyes as she listened to the Arthur Ashe recipients.“We must start caring about children’s safety more than we care about adults’ reputations,” Klein said. “If we can just give one person the courage to use their voice, this is worth it.”Raisman added, “For too long we were ignored. It could have been avoided. All we needed was one adult to have the integrity to stand between us and Larry Nassar.”The audience gave the group a prolonged standing ovation and remained on its feet while the women spoke.“What a powerful stage up here,” host Danica Patrick said before signing off.Ovechkin joined Roger Federer and Olympic snowboarder Shaun White as double winners. Ovechkin was in Russia with his wife, Nastya, who is 8½ months pregnant.Newly retired racecar driver Patrick became the first woman to host the show at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles. Her opening monologue mostly fell flat, with athletes sitting stone-faced or wincing at many of the jokes.Kim took female athlete honors over Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin, WNBA player Sylvia Fowles and soccer player Julie Ertz.“This year has been filled with so many incredible memories I will hold onto the rest of my life,” Kim said as she held the silver trophy. “I really want to thank my family. They’ve sacrificed so much for me.”Kim also claimed trophies for best female Olympian and female action sports athlete. At the Pyeongchang Games in February, she became the youngest to win a snowboarding medal when the then-17-year-old claimed gold in halfpipe.Ovechkin, who led the Washington Capitals to their first Stanley Cup championship, also won for best NHL player. He beat out Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and fellow first-time nominees Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros and James Harden of the Houston Rockets for male athlete.Federer’s five-set victory at the Australian Open in January for his 20th Grand Slam singles title earned honors for record-breaking performance and he also received best male tennis player.White won best Olympic moment with his final-run performance in South Korea featuring back-to-back 1440s to take gold, and best male Olympian.The Astros were honored as best team for winning the franchise’s first World Series.LeBron James, soon to be starring across the street at Staples Center with the Los Angeles Lakers, won best NBA player for the third straight year on his 14th consecutive nomination in the category.Brady claimed best NFL player, while Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels won MLB player.On a big night for Olympians, the U.S. women’s hockey team earned best game honors for their shootout victory over Canada in the gold-medal game in South Korea.Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz earned breakthrough athlete honors.Quarterback Nick Foles received the championship performance trophy for leading the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl title.The Minnesota Vikings earned best moment honors for beating the New Orleans Saints on the last play of the NFL championship game.Notre Dame’s Arike Ogunbowale won in the best play category for hitting a buzzer-beater in the NCAA women’s title game.The best coach award was given posthumously to Aaron Feis, Scott Beigel and Chris Hixon, all of whom died in the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.Former quarterback Jim Kelly received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance for his struggle with jaw cancer. Fellow NFL Hall of Famers Dan Marino and John Elway presented Kelly with the honor. read more

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How To Build A Bracket For This WideOpen NCAA Tournament

After a chaotic regular season in men’s college basketball — during which 18 separate teams ranked among the AP’s top 5 at various points — it’s finally time for the real Madness to begin. And that means we’re breaking out the FiveThirtyEight NCAA Tournament model to help you make all of your bracket picks, as always (you can read about how the system works here). Below I’m highlighting the key teams and matchups to watch in each region, including dark horses and cinderellas who could bust up the bracket. With overall favorite Virginia only boasting an 18 percent chance of winning it all, this year’s Big Dance should be as crazy as ever. Favorites: According to the FiveThirtyEight model, top seed Villanova has the best chance of advancing to the Final Four in the entire field, with a 50 percent probability of winning the East. The Wildcats are an exceptionally strong offensive team, with guard Jalen Brunson leading ‘Nova to the nation’s top efficiency mark in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings during the season. But their 22nd-ranked defense is no slouch either, spearheaded by do-everything wing Mikal Bridges. The only thing keeping Villanova from being our overall favorite is the way the bracket has situated the East region on the same side as the Midwest, which contains three of the top eight teams in the field according to our power ratings.No. 2 seed Purdue has the potential to make some noise, but a tough matchup with Texas Tech or Florida could loom in the Sweet 16 — if the Boilermakers make it past likely second-round opponent Butler first, that is. (More on the Bulldogs later.) Purdue’s difficult path is a big reason why it has only a 20 percent probability of making the Final Four, which ranks last among No. 2 seeds. Favorites: After a storybook 31-2 regular season, Virginia is a 47 percent favorite to make the Final Four out of the South — and an 18 percent favorite to win the whole tournament, tops among the entire field. You’ll hear a lot this month about how the Cavaliers play basketball: Yes, they’re painfully slow and they grind teams to a pulp with their defense. Yes, those kinds of teams have some history of coming up short in the postseason. These are questions Virginia must answer. But you have to give the Cavs credit: This is also a team whose only blemish in its last 24 games was a 1-point overtime loss. On paper at least, Tony Bennett’s team is set up well to silence its doubters this year.If that doesn’t happen, Cincinnati might very well be the reason. The second-seeded Bearcats are the fifth-best team in the country according to our power ratings, so they’re nearly top-seed-worthy in terms of quality. More importantly, they also play a similar style to Virginia — taking the air out of the ball and fighting every defensive possession to the bitter end — so a matchup between the two would be fascinating. We give Cincy a 53 percent chance of making the regional final and a 23 percent probability of pushing its way into the Final Four. Dark horse: Does Gonzaga count here? If not, and you’re looking for a sneaky Final Four bid out of the West, look no further than sixth-seeded Houston. The Cougars pushed Cincinnati to the brink in the American Athletic championship game Sunday, showing a national audience just how stifling this team’s defense can be. Houston is a solid favorite to beat San Diego State in round one; in Wichita, they’d also be playing comparably closer to home against Michigan in round two. From there, UNC likely awaits, but our model gives the Cougars a 33 percent chance of getting that far — and, as a result, a 7 percent chance of making the Final Four.Don’t bet on: No. 3 seed Michigan. It’s an unfortunate draw for a team heading into the tourney playing as well as just about anybody in the country (the Wolverines actually rank third in our pre-tournament Elo ratings, behind only Virginia and Villanova), but the selection committee did Michigan zero favors here. First-round opponent Montana is unusually strong for a No. 14 seed — check out the sea of 10, 11 and 12 seeds around them in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings — and likely second-round foe Houston was underseeded as a No. 6, too. Then, if the Wolverines survive opening weekend, they’ll probably be treated to a rematch of their 15-point loss to UNC from late November. Michigan has fought through similarly tough tourney paths before, but right now we give them only a 14 percent shot at a Final Four berth.Cinderella Watch: Sadly, this isn’t a very promising region for Cinderella bids. For instance, No. 11 seed San Diego State is the kind of good, solid team (it ranks 50th in Kenpom’s ratings) that you’d ordinarily pencil in for an upset or two, but Houston and Michigan are too difficult to realistically expect a Sweet 16 berth from the Aztecs. And the other teams in classic upset seeds — 10th-seeded Providence and 12th-seeded South Dakota State — are each the weakest at their seed-line in the whole field. Blah.Likeliest round-one upsets: Florida State over Missouri (61 percent); Providence over Texas A&M (42 percent) Midwest region Dark horse: Because of how strong its top-line teams are, the Midwest doesn’t really lend itself to dark-horse bids. But if you had to pick one, Auburn might be the one to emerge from the field. Led by the undersized trio of Mustapha Heron, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper, the fast-paced Tigers should be entertaining regardless. Auburn will probably have to tangle with a strong Clemson team in the round of 32, however, before potentially running through the gantlet of all those favorites listed above. Fun or not, that is why our model sets Auburn’s Final Four odds at a measly 3 percent.Don’t bet on: Sixth-seeded TCU. The Horned Frogs rank 22nd in Pomeroy’s ratings and enjoyed one of their best seasons in decades under coach Jamie Dixon. But no matter whether Syracuse or Arizona State wins their play-in game, they’ll give TCU a tough game in the first round — and it only gets harder from there, with Michigan State likely waiting in the wings. A deep run by the Frogs, playing in their first tournament since 1998, doesn’t appear to be in the cards this year.Cinderella Watch: Of all the Midwest’s double-digit seeds, No. 12 New Mexico State is most likely to find itself playing with the big-name programs on the tournament’s second weekend. The Aggies won 28 games this season and had the nation’s 14th-best defense according to Pomeroy. Our model thinks they have a fighting chance (38 percent) against Clemson and gives them an 18 percent chance of sneaking into the Sweet 16.Likeliest round-one upsets: Syracuse* over TCU (46 percent); Oklahoma over Rhode Island (42 percent); New Mexico State over Clemson (38 percent); NC State over Seton Hall (37 percent)(* – Must win play-in game first.)West region East region Favorites: The West is probably the weakest of all the regions in this year’s bracket. Its top seed, Xavier, ranks as only the 10th-best team in the country by the FiveThirtyEight power ratings — which would typically only fetch a No. 3 seed. The Musketeers are plenty good on offense, but a defense that ranked just 59th in Pomeroy’s ratings is among the reasons why our model assigns them only an 18 percent chance of making the Final Four, by far the worst of any No. 1 seed in the bracket.In fact, our projections say the West’s most likely Final Four team is the defending champion, North Carolina, which has a 25 percent probability of advancing to San Antonio despite getting a No. 2 seed from the committee. The Tar Heels had something of an up-and-down season, losing 10 games (including seven in conference play), but they looked solid in the ACC tourney and boast one of the country’s deadliest two-man scoring combos in Joel Berry and Luke Maye.Then there’s fourth-seeded Gonzaga, last year’s national runners-up, which also checks in with a better Final Four probability (24 percent) than Xavier. The Zags were badly underseeded here — we have them ranked ninth in the country by power rating — and their draw could have them set up for a very deep tourney run. According to Pomeroy, the Bulldogs were one of only three teams in the nation (alongside Duke and Michigan State) whose offense and defense each ranked among the top 20 in efficiency. Favorites: The Midwest is nothing if not top-heavy. While most regions have a clear favorite, this one has three that combine for an 85 percent total probability of making the Final Four. First among these near-equals is No. 1 seed Kansas, with a 31 percent chance of making it to the national semifinals. Like their top-seeded counterparts in the East, Villanova, the Jayhawks are an explosive offensive team led by a standout guard — in KU’s case, Devonte’ Graham. One big concern for Kansas is the availability of big man Udoka Azubuike, who led the team in Box Plus/Minus during the season but who hasn’t played since March 3 because of a knee injury. (He’s listed as questionable for the start of the NCAAs.) KU will also have to contend with a tough early draw that includes potential matchups with Seton Hall, Clemson or Auburn. (First-round opponent Penn is no pushover, either, at least as far as No. 16 seeds go.)The second co-favorite out of the Midwest is — sigh — Duke, at 29 percent. The Blue Devils lost some close games down the season’s final stretch. But none were by more than 5 points, and they were one of only two teams in the country to rank among Pomeroy’s top 10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency. (The other? No. 3 seed Michigan State. Again, the Midwest is stacked.) Rooting against Grayson Allen and Co. will once again be a top springtime ritual for most of America, but barring, say, something special from Oklahoma’s Trae Young,1Assuming the Sooners can pull out of their death spiral long enough to win their first game. Duke might not have much trouble until the Sweet 16.There, the Blue Devils might have to face Michigan State, our third co-favorite. Sparty is solidly No. 3 in the pecking order with 25 percent Final Four odds, but that’s also easily the highest of any team seeded lower than second in the entire bracket. This is your classic strong all-around Tom Izzo squad, with four players — Cassius Winston, Miles Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Nick Ward — who ranked among the Big Ten’s top 16 in Win Shares according to Sports-Reference.com. MSU and Duke’s potential Sweet 16 showdown is the game everyone is already circling in the second week. South region Dark horse: Underseeded at No. 5, West Virginia ranks 11th in our power ratings and could be a team to keep an eye on. The unfairly low seed means the Mountaineers will potentially have to unseat fourth-seeded Wichita State (always a tough out) and Villanova in back-to-back games, but West Virginia is a constant threat with its swarming, turnover-inducing defensive style. Even though WVU might have peaked too early with its terrific run around New Year’s — it has lost nine of its last 18 games — don’t count out Bob Huggins’s crew just yet.Don’t bet on: No. 3 seed Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are a fine team that plays some of the nation’s stingiest defense, but they’ll probably have to make it through an unusually strong No. 6 seed (Florida) in the round of 32 just for the right to face Purdue (or possibly Butler). Our model only sees a 6 percent Final Four chance for Texas Tech, easily the worst mark for any No. 3 seed.Cinderella Watch: Slotted in as the No. 10 seed by the committee, Butler probably deserved better. We have them ranked as the 23rd-best team in the field, thanks in large part to an offense that sits at No. 32 in the nation according to Pomeroy. The Bulldogs should be solidly favored (60 percent) over Arkansas in round one, and they could give Purdue trouble in the next round.Likeliest round-one upsets: Butler over Arkansas (60 percent); Alabama over Virginia Tech (41 percent); UCLA* over Florida (39 percent).(* – Must win play-in game first.) Dark horse: Laden as Kentucky perennially is with top recruits, we used to ask whether it was fair to slap the “dark horse” label on the Wildcats. But the SEC champs do seem to have perfected a certain formula under coach John Calipari: enter the season ranked highly, struggle around midseason, and then pour it on late in the schedule and slip into the NCAA tourney as a so-so seed before making a deep run through the bracket. This year’s squad has all the earmarks — from a No. 5 preseason ranking and a four-game February losing streak to an impressive run through the SEC tourney. Our model knows this kind of team, and it gives a little extra credit to highly touted preseason squads with inconsistent regular seasons. It’s no coincidence that we’re giving the Wildcats a solid 7 percent chance at making the Final Four.Don’t bet on: Fourth-seeded Arizona. Was the NCAA doling out early punishment for the Wildcats’ alleged recruiting scandal with this draw? The committee stuffed Arizona into a first-round matchup with Buffalo, which our power ratings easily consider the strongest 13-seed in the bracket. If they win, the Wildcats will then have to play either Kentucky (see above) or a dangerous Davidson team that easily rates as the strongest No. 12 seed in the bracket. And that’s just leading into a potential Sweet 16 matchup with No. 1 overall seed Virginia. Arizona big man DeAndre Ayton might be the best player in the country — he leads all major-conference players in Win Shares this season — but the odds of us seeing much of him in the tournament aren’t very high.Cinderella Watch: Keep an eye on No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago in this region. We give it a 40 percent chance of knocking off an overseeded Miami squad in the opening round of the tourney, and it wouldn’t have terrible odds against Tennessee in round two, either. Of course, Loyola would have an even better Sweet 16 shot if there were any chance the No. 3 seed Volunteers would lose in round one, but Tennessee’s first-round opponent, Wright State, is worse than two No. 15 seeds and a No. 16 seed.Likeliest round-one upsets: Texas over Nevada (60 percent); Kansas State over Creighton (42 percent); Loyola-Chicago over Miami (40 percent)Check out our March Madness predictions. read more

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Charles Barkley Doesnt Love Analytics But Analytics Sure Love Him

During TNT’s studio show following the Houston Rockets’ victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, Charles Barkley ripped Rockets GM Daryl Morey — and the NBA’s burgeoning advanced stats movement by extension — saying: “I’ve always believed analytics was crap. … I never mention the Rockets as legitimate contenders ’cause they’re not. And, listen, I wouldn’t know Daryl Morey if he walked into this room right now.”“The NBA is about talent,” Barkley added. “All these guys who run these organizations who talk about analytics, they have one thing in common — they’re a bunch of guys who have never played the game, and they never got the girls in high school, and they just want to get in the game.”The debate over using advanced metrics in sports is nothing new, and Barkley’s comments aren’t out of place with what baseball traditionalists were saying after “Moneyball” was published more than a decade ago. But what I found humorous in Barkley’s remarks is that there are no greater champions of Barkley’s legacy as a player than proponents of advanced metrics.As Will Leitch pointed out, Barkley’s sentiments echo those of baseball’s Joe Morgan, the player-turned-broadcaster who famously hated sabermetrics despite posting numbers that statheads could only drool over.Yes, Barkley is well-regarded by the establishment — he is a Hall of Famer, after all. But his career has been dogged by the criticism that weighs more on stars in the NBA than any other sport: He never won a championship. Fellow power forward Tim Duncan, on the other hand, has won five — and counting. Barkley also lacked the sheer stat totals of Karl Malone, another contemporary at the position, who came within 1,459 points of setting the NBA’s all-time scoring record. These time-honored considerations are what keep Barkley a distant third behind Duncan and Malone on most mainstream “Greatest Power Forward Ever” lists.Statheads, on the other hand, often decry the outsize role that championships have taken in assessing NBA players’ legacies and have little use for raw numerical accumulation. Instead, they marvel at numbers such as Barkley’s outrageous per-possession offensive efficiency rating, which is the highest ever among players who used as many possessions as he did.Malone may have outscored Barkley by 13,171 points (and Barkley even trails Malone in points per game), but according to more advanced metrics, there’s little doubt that Barkley was the better player. Over a common range of ages (22-36), Barkley was worth about 2.1 more points per 100 possessions to his team’s efficiency differential than Malone (in the estimation of Box Plus/Minus) and produced about 10 more wins of Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). For BPM nonbelievers, Barkley also leads in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares per 48 minutes.And as much respect as we have for Duncan, it’s not clear that he performed better in his prime than Barkley did, either. Over the same range of ages, Barkley leads Duncan in BPM — by a whopping 1.8 points per 100 possessions — VORP and WS/48. (Granted, Duncan’s PER does edge out Barkley, 24.7 to 24.6.)Now, Malone and Duncan each logged more minutes than Barkley — in Malone’s case, about 323 full, 48-minute games’ worth — and there’s value to be added in simply showing up and playing at a high level day in and day out. But when you look at the career leaderboard for VORP, which blends per-possession effectiveness with durability, Barkley outpaces Duncan and is within 9.0 units of Malone’s total despite the latter’s huge playing-time advantage.In other words, the advanced stats tend to hold Barkley in much higher esteem than the conventional wisdom does. Barkley may not care for analytics, but his legacy as a player would benefit from greater acceptance of the analytical point of view. read more

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Ohio State mens basketball trying to turn improvements into wins at Wisconsin

OSU junior forward Marc Loving (2) goes up for a shot during a game against Maryland on Jan. 31 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 61-66. Credit: Muyao Shen | Asst. Photo EditorAlthough the Ohio State men’s basketball team put forth a much better effort against Maryland on Sunday, it still lost.Sure, it was only by five points, 30 fewer than when the two teams met in mid-January, but OSU coach Thad Matta wouldn’t call it a moral victory.He’s “never been a big fan” of them, he said after the 66-61 loss. But, as the Buckeyes get set for a road game against Wisconsin on Thursday at 7 p.m., Matta acknowledged that his team gained some confidence from taking the now-No. 4 Terrapins down to the wire.“I told the guys what a drastic improvement from two and a half weeks ago,” Matta said on Wednesday. “There is some good things happening.” Players reinforced the team’s overall disdain for so-called moral victories, but they did say they feel like the 30-point improvement against one of the nation’s top teams serves them well heading into the Badgers’ hostile environment.“It just shows that if we play the right way, we can play with, and potentially beat, anybody,” sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop said.Freshman forward Mickey Mitchell added that despite coming up short, they “did a lot of things better.”One area, though, that the Buckeyes still need to improve upon is finishing out the first and second halves on the right note. For such a young team, having just two 20-minute periods can be a change of pace. With that comes the potential for focus and intensity to wane as play progresses. Fixing that has been a focal point in practice.“We kind of have mental lapse, lose our minds a little bit,” Bates-Diop said. “Take a deep breath, one possession at time … and just execute.”If OSU cannot manufacture that consistent focus and avoid costly mistakes down the stretch, it will continue to cost it against the Badgers and beyond, Matta said. Parallels on paper Based on what the stat sheet indicates, there are a lot of similarities between the Badgers and Buckeyes.The team’s averages are within two points of each other offensively, while opponents are averaging just a one-point difference. OSU sits at seventh in the Big Ten standings. Wisconsin is No. 8.Even with all the similarities, both statistically and in regards to the game’s impact on conference seeding, the Buckeyes’ approach is the same.“Every game for our team has significant importance,” Matta said. “I just want us to go out there and play our best basketball.”For that to happen, OSU will have to take care of what Bates-Diop calls Wisconsin’s “three-headed monster.”The Badgers’ troika consists of juniors Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig and redshirt freshman forward Ethan Happ. Combined, the trio scores 61.7 percent of Wisconsin’s points and collects close to half its rebounds.Bates-Diop said the whole team needs to “key in on those guys” to have a chance to win. Matta shared his player’s assessment, but he warned that too much attention on three players could lead to an unsung hero stepping up.“You can’t let another guy get going,” he said.Beyond the Badgers After Thursday night’s showdown at the Kohl Center, OSU will have a few days off before preparing for a rematch against Northwestern. OSU won the first meeting 65-56 on Jan. 6.The Buckeyes and Wildcats are set to play on Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. read more

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Bucks take down Michigan advance to round of 16

The Ohio State men’s tennis team opened up the 2010 NCAA tournament this past weekend at home, downing both Western Michigan and Michigan to advance to the field of 16.The No. 4-ranked Buckeyes opened play Saturday afternoon against the Mid-American Conference Tournament champion Broncos and made quick work of their opponent, winning 4-0.Despite a 12-day layoff, OSU was able to grind it out early and come out on top in the end, advancing to take on Big Ten rival Michigan in the second round on Sunday.“Whenever you have a block of two weeks or so when you don’t play, it’s rough,” OSU coach Ty Tucker said. “It’s always difficult to see how they are going to be out there but the guys responded well.”The Buckeyes returned to the Stickney Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon in front of a packed house to take on the Wolverines. Coming off Saturday’s win in which Tucker said the Bucks were able to “shake the rust off,” his team came out strong on Sunday, grabbing the doubles point to take an early 1-0 lead.While juniors Matt Allare and Balazs Novak were able to garner the first two singles points with relative ease, the four other singles matches were dog fights.“Michigan always plays us tough,” Tucker said. “Bruce Berque always has his guys ready to play, they love the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, and it was a battle out there.”After Michigan snagged its first point, freshman Dino Marcan gutted out his three-set match 6-7, 6-1, 6-2 and clinched the OSU victory, 4-1.   “I was kind of excited that I was able to clinch it,” Marcan said. “I always like to rely on my teammates when I am not doing well, but it was pretty exciting to clinch it.”  With the win, the Buckeyes will head to the University of Georgia on Friday for the round of 16 and the chance to take on another Big Ten foe, the Wisconsin Badgers.Although Tucker’s team was just one match away from a national title a year ago, he said his team’s focus goes no further than its next match.“The expectation is to play as good as we can against Wisconsin and see where that takes us,” he said.   Tucker said he is confident in his team’s ability and resiliency.“I feel comfortable that our guys come to play. They battle and compete and do what they have to do to win the matches,” Tucker said. “I haven’t seen a Buckeye yet rollover for even five minutes.” read more

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Ohio State womens hockey swept by No 2 Minnesota

The OSU women’s hockey team faces off against conference opponent and No. 2-ranked Minnesota on Nov. 15 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 5-3. Credit: Ed Momot / For The LanternThe Ohio State women’s hockey team improved after a 4-2 loss to Minnesota, but still found itself on the losing end of a weekend sweep.The Buckeyes fell by a score of 5-3 to the Golden Gophers in Saturday afternoon’s game, completing Minnesota’s road sweep. Although the game didn’t go the way OSU hoped, senior forward Taylor Kuehl said she was happy with the team’s fight in Saturday’s matchup.“I think we came out with a lot more energy today, I think we knew we had to,” Kuehl said. “We didn’t want to play to them, we wanted to play our own game, which I think we did a lot better job of today and I don’t think the score shows exactly how the game went.”Kuehl was a major asset to the Buckeyes this weekend, scoring a total of three goals in the series.OSU (7-6-0, 5-5-0) tied the game twice and didn’t back down from the No. 2 Golden Gophers.In the first period of play, Minnesota took the lead with a power-play goal almost nine minutes into the period. Gopher senior forward Meghan Lorence scored the first goal to put Minnesota on the board. She later scored two more goals to complete her first career hat trick.OSU struck back early in the second with a goal from senior defenseman Sara Schmitt, her third goal of the season. Minnesota pushed ahead less than two minutes later. Another goal from Lorence allowed the Gophers to take a 2-1 lead.The Buckeyes again tied the game when Kuehl scored a power-play goal at 12:33. But with only 14.9 seconds left in the period, Minnesota scored once again to send the Buckeyes to the locker room down 3-2.Kuehl said that goal was the turning point of the game.“We had just tied it up. We had momentum. I think that could’ve completely changed the game going into the third period with a tied game, anything could happen,” she said. “It’s anyone’s game at that point. Last two minutes coach is always saying ‘don’t give anything up’ and we fell short and it completely changed the outcome of the game.”Minnesota came back out for the third and pulled ahead to a 5-2 lead. Sophomore forward Claudia Kepler closed the gap with a goal with a little over five minutes remaining, but that capped the scoring in OSU’s loss.Senior forward Kayla Sullivan said a few mistakes were what kept the Buckeyes from walking away with a win.“We needed to get in front of them and do better blocking shots and forcing them to turn the puck over,” Sullivan said.Buckeye freshman goaltender Kassidy Sauve, was credited with 30 saves, while Gopher junior goalie Amanda Leveille had 18 saves.Minnesota coach Brad Frost also said his team’s goal late in the second was the game’s key moment.“Going into the third period being up one because of that late goal in the second was great,” he said. “And then to continue to extend the lead created a lot of momentum for us into the third and we were able to come away with the win.”Even though Buckeye coach Nate Handrahan wasn’t thrilled with the outcome, he said he was happier with OSU’s Saturday performance than the night before.“We played a different game today than (Friday), we really attacked the net today,” he said.On Friday, the Golden Gophers tried to get on the board with an early scoring opportunity that was later called off by the referees. But that didn’t deter them as they finally took the lead with just 27 second left in the first period.In a physical and high-scoring second period, the Gophers pushed ahead to a 3-0 lead. The Buckeyes quickly answered, scoring back-to-back goals. Kuehl scored both goals for OSU only 14 seconds apart from one another.A goal from Minnesota at the 11:44 mark of the second period sealed the win for the Gophers, 4-2.“We’ve sometimes played timid against them, but we can keep up. The game was closer than it looked,” Kuehl said. “We played the No. 2 team and it wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle. I think we can use this going into next weekend and help fuel the fire.”OSU is scheduled to travel to Grand Forks, N.D., for a weekend series against North Dakota. The two teams are set to meet at the center ice at 8:07 p.m. Friday and 5:07 p.m. Saturday. read more

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Ezekiel Elliott staying engaged in spring practice despite wrist surgery

Rising-junior running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) has been held out of spring practice while he recovers from offseason wrist surgery.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorOhio State running back Ezekiel Elliott finished his sophomore campaign with arguably the greatest three-game run in school history.The St. Louis native rattled off 696 yards rushing in the Buckeyes’ three postseason games en route to a national title.Now, Elliott is facing a new challenge that isn’t a Badger, a Duck or the Crimson Tide.Elliott has sat out the majority of spring practice after undergoing offseason surgery on his left wrist and, as of Thursday, he said he was out for six more weeks.Running backs coach Tony Alford said even though Elliott is not participating in contact drills, being engaged in practice is still important.“He is still doing a lot of work. The mental reps are big. Just because you had some success in the past, there’s still opportunities to grow and learn and see things,” Alford said Thursday. “The more mental reps can be very vital just as game repetition.”As for how he feels, Elliott said the pain in the wrist is still noticeable, but is progressing.“I get my cast off Monday and now it’s just a process of getting that mobility back, and after six weeks, I’ll be full go,” Elliott said. “I can feel it getting better, but right now it’s a little small, weak and I got a little bit of pain here and there.”While it’s been almost three months since he walked off the field at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, after the College Football Playoff National Championship, Elliott is still in the running for an athletic award. The Buckeyes’ leading rusher is a finalist for the 85th Amateur Athletic Union Sullivan Award, which “honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States,” according to its website.The rising-junior back said he is “blessed and thankful” for being named a finalist and added that he is set to fly to the New York Athletic Club on April 19 for the announcement of the winner.“At first, I didn’t really know what the Sullivan Award was,” Elliott said. “But after researching it, it’s a very honorable award. There’s a lot of big names on it.”Past winners include the likes of Bill Walton, Michael Phelps and Tim Tebow, who was the last American football player to win the award in 2007.Elliott’s competition for the award include Duke basketball player Jahlil Okafor and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Katie Ledecky among others.As far as being a Buckeye, Alford said he has known Elliott since recruiting him while a coach at Notre Dame and added he is encouraged by Elliott’s intensity at practice.“The one thing you love about Zeke is he is hungry. He wants to play. It’s killing him not to play now. He is a high-energy guy,” Alford said. “For me, it’s cool because I got the opportunity to recruit him out of high school so I have known him and his family for a long time.”With Elliott not in the huddle throughout spring practice, Elliott said he has made it a point of emphasis to not let the younger players earning reps get too comfortable.“We got a lot of great team leaders and one thing you won’t see at Ohio State is complacency,” Elliott said. “What spring basically has been is a grind. A time for the younger guys and inexperienced guys to get their reps so they can go out there and play on Saturdays next year.”The Buckeyes are set to play the annual Spring Game at Ohio Stadium on April 18 before opening the 2015 season on the road against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 7. read more

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Grandmother 71 sent to top security jail after refusing councils demands over

first_imgMr Justice Newton said: “I am left with no alternative but to pass a sentence of imprisonment, however much I have made it perfectly clear.”She is now in HMP Bronzefield, a Category A prison in Surrey where previous inmates include Rosemary West.It is the latest in a series of controversies surrounding the Court of Protection, which sits largely in secret but which must publish details of any case in which it imprisons someone.The man at the centre of the case was living on his own at his house in Devon when he was diagnosed with vascular dementia. HMP Bronzefield cell HMP BronzefieldCredit:PA In 2014 he moved in with Ms K at her small home in Sussex so that she could sell his house and use the money to buy a larger property.A neighbour alerted Devon county council to the move, and in April 2015 a social worker recommended that the man should be brought back to Devon to live in a care home, and a judge ruled that he did not have the mental capacity to make decisions for himself.The council obtained a court order freezing his assets, including the house.Ms K decided to take the man to Portugal the same month, where he was hospitalised because of his dementia and moved into a care home in September last year.A series of court hearings followed over the next year, but Ms K refused to sign papers releasing him to the care of the county council.Ms K’s solicitor Shahana Begum said: “There has been a vast amount of public money wasted on this case without achieving anything that is going to be beneficial for this man. Any move at this stage is likely to result in his death.” A spokesman for Devon county council said: “In this case, Ms K wilfully refused to comply with orders of the court and such refusal gave the Judge little choice but to send her to prison.”At all times, the paramount concern for Devon county council is the welfare of the vulnerable adult for whom it has responsibility.” A cell inside Bronzefield prisonCredit:PAcenter_img HMP Bronzefield 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. A 71-year-old grandmother has been sent to a maximum security prison for six months by the secretive Court of Protection after she defied a council’s demands over care arrangements for an elderly man.The 81-year-old, who lived in England for 50 years, is in a care home on the Algarve where his relatives insist he is living happily.She had not broken any laws in taking the man back to his native country, but Devon county council went to court to have him declared mentally incompetent, and a Court of Protection judge ordered her to sign papers authorising his return to the UK.When she refused to do so, saying he wanted to stay in Portugal, the Court of Protection found her in contempt of court and last month imposed a six-month jail sentence. last_img read more

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