Draymond Green Is Key For The Warriors In Game 7

Regular season1,06162.056.4+5.6 Source: NBA player tracking data Crunch time in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals wasn’t subtle. The Oklahoma City Thunder lost the ability to run even basic basketball plays — they had six turnovers in the last five minutes, with four coming in a disastrous two-minute stretch — and Kevin Durant, who has played masterful defense all series, spent the final possessions looking like an overgrown Tim Thomas. Klay Thompson carried the Golden State Warriors with a record-setting 11-for-18 performance from three, and Stephen Curry registered enough of a pulse to get the Warriors over the final hump. But just as important to the Warriors’ Game 6 win as those runs of inept or brilliant play was Draymond Green’s return to form.The Warriors are solid favorites to win Game 7 tonight: -7 at the sports books, 70 percent to win by ESPN Stats & Info’s Basketball Power Index and 68 percent to win by our CARM-Elo forecast. Plenty of factors will go into tonight’s result, including the reemergence of Curry’s shot and handle and the sustained defense of both teams (the Warriors contested 56 of 58 field goal attempts by Durant and Russell Westbrook in Game 6 and forced each to shoot under 40 eFG%, according to player-tracking data). Curry also seemed to begin to solve Durant switching onto him in Game 6. But the Warriors need Green to play in Game 7 like the all-world playmaker of the regular season and Game 6.Green was lively on offense and forceful on defense in Game 6 in ways he wasn’t in Games 3 and 4, both won by the Thunder. He pressured the ball high and made crucial stops in the fourth quarter after the Warriors went to their “Lineup of Death” with about six and a half minutes remaining remaining. And throughout the game, he created shots for the Warriors at a rate and of a quality that was more like his regular season performance, when he was one of the best playmakers in the league.Using player-tracking data from the NBA, we can show Green’s ups and downs as a playmaker. Here’s the qSQ (shot quality expressed as the predicted effective field goal percentage of a shot, as determined by factors like defender location and where the shot came from) and qSI (how much better shooters did than the qSQ prediction) for Green’s passes to shooters in the regular season, and in the Western Conference finals so far. Games 1-44945.953.9-8.0 Draymond Green’s playmaking Game 61471.454.1+17.3 PASSES TO SHOOTEREFG%QSQQSI Game 5856.353.9+2.3 Green’s regular season numbers are outstanding — at +5.6, he ranked fourth in the NBA1Among players who passed to shooters at least 500 times. in qSI (meaning his teammates made shots he created for them more than player-tracking data expected), edging out both Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul (each at 5.2). High qSI numbers stem from having good teammates, but just as much, they come from providing value on shots that still escapes the scope of player-tracking data. Mike Conley, for instance, was No. 1 in the league (+6.7) before he went out to injury, and his Memphis Grizzlies are stocked with guys who couldn’t hit the ocean from an aircraft carrier.You can see in the numbers that Green’s passes weren’t very effective early in the series, but you could see this in the games just as easily, particularly in Games 3 and 4. Partly this was due to Durant playing suffocating defense, but Green wasn’t driving, rolling to the rim or putting pressure on the defense in any of the ways that he typically does. The shot difficulty numbers are broadly the same, but this is a place where the numbers don’t tell the whole story, with many of Green’s passes coming a little mistimed or just slightly out of rhythm. The result was a bunch of possessions that looked like this: Green came to life somewhat in Game 5, but in Game 6 he was outstanding. It’s tempting to look at that massive qSI number and assume that Thompson simply shot the Holy Ghost out of the ball, inflating Green’s numbers. That’s a little true — eight of the 14 shots Green created went to Thompson, who hit four, including three of his threes — but Green also created many of those with pressure and timing. In other words, this wasn’t simply the difference between shooters making and missing shots, but a fundamental change in the quality of the shots, even if player-tracking data doesn’t quite catch it.Consider the fast break in the video below, where Green drives into Durant’s chest before passing off to Andre Iguodala. On a similar play in Game 4 (in the above video), he passed off before putting his body on Durant, allowing KD to recover and break up the play. If Golden State gets more plays like these out of Green in Game 7, the Warriors will be that much closer to regaining their peak form, and likely on their way back to the NBA Finals. read more

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Wisconsin Takes Down The Champs

But this wasn’t just a case of Villanova playing poorly. Wisconsin also played a great game. The Badgers had one of their best 2-point shooting performances of the season (65 percent from inside the arc), and they outworked ‘Nova on the glass as well. Just as importantly, Wisconsin held the nation’s fourth-best offense to one of its weakest games of the year, in part by taking the air out of the ball and denying opportunities to one of the nation’s top fast-break offenses.1Wisconsin wasn’t perfect — the Badgers made the upset more difficult than it had to be with 14 turnovers and some truly abysmal foul shooting.So Wisconsin was good, and Villanova bad. There was a third character in the making of this upset, however: the NCAA selection committee, which did Villanova no favors as the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. As part of the most difficult region in the bracket, Wisconsin was an 8 seed with a KenPom.com rating similar to others seeded as high as fourth (Butler), third (Florida State) and even second (Arizona) in other regions. From the Round of 32 on, Villanova was staring down a tough slate of opponents, and that would have been true whether they held on against Wisconsin or not.Now, our model has a new favorite in the East, with a 37 percent chance of making the Final Four: Yep, it’s the No. 2-seeded Duke Blue Devils. But this might not be the last we see of the Badgers either — the model gives them the second-best odds of winning the region (in part because they’re already in the Sweet 16), with a 21 percent probability of earning the school’s third Final Four berth in four seasons.Check out our March Madness predictions. So much for one of the most uneventful NCAA tournaments ever. After a quiet first round that saw the better seed win 26 of 32 games, Villanova — the defending tourney champion — became the first No. 1 seed to fall with a 65-62 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday.The Wildcats didn’t play their best game. They shot just 41 percent from the floor with an offensive efficiency of 107 points per 100 possessions, both well below their season averages, and they allowed an extremely uncharacteristic 111 points per 100 possessions at the other end of the floor. For a team that consistently played above its averages during its championship run last season (particularly on offense), this was a callback to previous tournament disappointments by Jay Wright-led Villanova teams.VIDEO: How the Villanova and Duke losses shook the bracket read more

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Connor McDavid Is Off To A Legendary Start

In the roughly seven decades since the NHL started handing out the Art Ross trophy to the league’s top scorer, only three recipients have spent at least some of an award-winning season as a teenager. Two of those players are on the short list of all-time best: Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby. The other? This season’s winner: Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.McDavid was impressive as a rookie last season, but 2016-17 was when he announced his official superstardom to the world. In addition to leading the NHL in points, he was the league’s best at generating quality scoring chances. And although McDavid has been held to 2 points in the Oilers’ four first-round playoff games against the San Jose Sharks, the series is tied, and McDavid is driving possession the way he did during the regular season. Plus, he’ll probably be honored as the most valuable player in the game regardless of how his postseason goes.McDavid’s rise to the top of the NHL is hardly unexpected — as a child in Newmarket, Ontario, he was already being compared to Gretzky and Crosby. Comparisons with legends bring loads of pressure and expectations, and assuming that an 18-year-old who’s only played against other teenagers will turn into an all-time great is almost always silly.1*Cough, Alexandre Daigle, cough* But even the most optimistic hockey fan might be astonished by how valid McDavid has made those analogies look, and how quickly he’s done so.To say a great deal of hype surrounded McDavid as a youngster would be an understatement. In 2012, Hockey Canada waived its normal eligibility rules — which dictate that players can’t suit up at the major junior level until they’re 16-years-old — and allowed McDavid to enter the Ontario Hockey League draft at age 15. It wasn’t long before McDavid was torching the best junior-level competition in the world: In his three OHL seasons, he scored 285 points, or 1.7 per game. By the time his junior career was over, McDavid had won the most individual silverware in the history of the OHL.In his first two NHL seasons — the first of which was cut short because of an upper body injury that gave the entire city of Edmonton a brief, but acute, panic attack — McDavid scored 148 points over just 127 games.How does that compare with the legendary company McDavid is often mentioned in? Crosby’s scoring rate through his first 127 games was a bit higher than McDavid’s — he tallied 181 points — but there are also a few factors at play that put McDavid at a disadvantage in terms of raw numbers. After adjusting for those, McDavid ends up looking very similar to Sid the Kid.For one thing, Crosby’s first two seasons (2005-06 and 2006-07) were also the two highest-scoring NHL campaigns since the 2004-05 lockout. During those two seasons, teams averaged 9 percent more goals per game than in the two years since McDavid entered the league. 2007 might not seem like very long ago, but the game has changed. And part of the scoring gulf between then and now can be explained by a huge disparity in power play opportunities: In 2005-06, teams played with the man advantage a whopping 5.85 times per game on average. This season, that number was 2.99. (Theories abound as to why.)That matters for scoring: In his first two seasons, Crosby scored 108 of his 222 points (49 percent) on the power play. By comparison, McDavid has scored just 41 of his 148 points (28 percent) on the power play. If Crosby took advantage of whistle-happy referees, McDavid hasn’t had that luxury. Taking into account shorthanded stats as well, McDavid has scored 71 percent of his points at even strength. Crosby, by comparison, scored just 50 percent of the points in his first two seasons while playing at even strength. Because the vast majority of the game is played at even strength, points scored when teams are playing at five on five are arguably more valuable than contributions on special teams.Crosby also benefited from inferior goaltending during his first couple of seasons, relative to what McDavid has faced. According to save percentage — a good benchmark for goaltending performance — netminders were 11 points worse across the league during Crosby’s first two years than they have been during McDavid’s. From 2005-06 to 2006-07, the league’s average save percentage was .903; from 2015-16 to 2016-17, it’s .914.Add it all up, and after adjusting for the league’s scoring environment, Crosby’s 33-point lead in the raw stats gets cut roughly in half: Crosby had 179 adjusted points in his first 127 games; McDavid had 164.2Hockey-Reference.com’s system of adjusting statistics takes a player’s raw numbers and normalizes them to a league where six goals and 10 assists are recorded per game.As for Gretzky … well, he notched an insane 240 points per 127 games in his first two seasons,3Hockey-Reference.com doesn’t have individual game logs dating back as far as the early 1980s, so we’ll have to base the comparison on Gretzky’s points per game in his first two seasons. although it’s worth noting that Gretzky built his case as the undisputed GOAT in an NHL that barely resembles today’s league. McDavid could be the second coming of the Great One, and he’d never have a chance to touch Gretzky’s raw production. But if we run the same adjusted scoring formula as above for Gretzky’s first two seasons, he produced 190 adjusted points per 127 games in his first pair of NHL seasons — 26 more than McDavid and 11 more than Crosby. (This just in: Gretzky was amazing.)So McDavid may be running a bit behind the Great One, but he’s pretty close to Crosby’s level. None of this is to say McDavid is guaranteed to match what Crosby has accomplished; Sid the Kid is probably still the best player in the world (at least according to that Gretzky guy) and is one of the best players to ever take the ice. But when you consider that McDavid is performing roughly as well as Crosby was at the same stage of his career, you get the sense that we’re all lucky to witness his ascent.Of course, while McDavid has asserted himself as one the game’s most prolific scorers, that doesn’t mean Edmonton fans should expect immediate returns in the form of a Stanley Cup. Gretzky himself didn’t lead the Oilers to a championship until his fifth NHL season (those early-1980s New York Islanders teams were notoriously tough to beat), and Crosby didn’t deliver a Cup to Pittsburgh until his fourth season. But with his Art Ross season, McDavid is already living up to the hype on an individual level, and the Oilers seem to have found the franchise cornerstone they’ve been looking for since Gretzky left town for sunny Los Angeles.So even if this season doesn’t end with a parade through Edmonton, the future looks exceedingly bright for the Oilers — and their boy wonder. read more

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Beside The Points For Monday Oct 23 2017

See more MLB predictions Oh, and don’t forgetThis is the most crazypants play I’ve seen in ages and if I saw it in a comic book I’d criticize it as unrealistic All newsletters NFL See more NFL predictions Things That Caught My EyeJudgement DayAaron Judge, the rookie right fielder for the New York Yankees, set the record for most postseason strikeouts at 27, topping the 26 times Alfonso Soriano struck out for the Yankees in 2003 (although that was across 17 games, whereas Judge needed only 13). The Yankees’ hopes of reaching another World Series were dashed by Houston on Saturday, but if his debut season is any indicator Judge is poised to have a terrific career for New York. [NBC Sports, ESPN]Joe Thomas streak endsJoe Thomas, Cleveland’s left tackle who holds the iron man award for most consecutive snaps played, was injured during Sunday’s game against the Titans and subsequently pulled out. His streak ended at 10,363 consecutive snaps — a run that had lasted since the Bush administration. [ESPN]Top media market to host out-of-town visitors instead of Yankees in series of gamesThe Dodgers are slightly favored to win the World Series against the Astros, with a 56 percent chance according to our MLB predictions. Tuesday’s Game 1 has L.A. with a 60 percent chance of winning given their home field advantage and stronger pitcher, but Wednesday’s Game 2 — where Justin Verlander takes the mound for Houston — is nearly even odds for both teams. [FiveThirtyEight]NAFTA throws down in hockey brawlThe U.S. Women’s national hockey team faced Canada’s team for the first of six games leading up to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea on Sunday, winning 5 -2 and setting expectations for the team high. The U.S. hasn’t won gold in the sport at the Olympics since 1998. [Excelle Sports, Hockey Canada]And thus social progress was madeJenny Boucek was hired by the Sacramento Kings as the assistant coach for player development, making her the second woman currently on an NBA staff full-time. [ESPN]A win is a winRookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky completed four of seven passes in the Bears game against the Panthers, notching a total quarterback rating of 4.2. That would have been the worst QBR of the week except that isn’t enough action to actually qualify. The defense carried the team and supplied both of Chicago’s touchdowns in the 17-3 victory, proving yet again that even the ugliest wins are still wins. [ESPN, Deadspin]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!Big Number95.5 percentThe New York Jets fired back at critics who have been baffled by the team’s strong performance and seeming inability to properly tank. They did this by losing to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday 31-28 despite at one point having a 95.5 percent chance of winning the game according to ESPN analytics. [ESPN]Leaks from Slack: neil:[screenshot of “Most Wins by Manager to Not Win World Series: Gene Mauch, 1,902; Dusty Baker, 1,863; Buck Showalter, 1,504; Clark Griffith, 1,491]kyle:i forget, what’s the 538 line on dustyneil:I think he’s actually kinda underrated[THE TRUTH: Last September we published a table of the worst bullpen managers since 2000 and Baker was ranked fourth. However, this past May Neil wrote a piece that ranked Baker sixth on wins above projected since 1961. You decide!]Predictions MLB We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe read more

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This Years Boston Marathon Was Sloooooowww

For more than 20 years, the first man and woman across the Boston Marathon finish line have almost always been athletes from Kenya or Ethiopia. But it was an American woman and a Japanese man who won this year’s open divisions. Desiree Linden was the first American woman to win since 1985, finishing in 2:39:54, the slowest winning time since 1978. The men’s field was similarly sluggish — Yuki Kawauchi’s winning time of 2:15:58 was the slowest since 1976.One likely reason for the unusually slow finishes? Runners faced heavy rain, headwinds and the coldest marathon temperatures in 30 years. Kawauchi was loving the cold, though. “For me, these are the best conditions possible,” he told reporters after the race.

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Everyone Thinks Justin Verlander Belongs In The Hall Of Fame So Why

In the wake of Justin Verlander throwing his third career no-hitter on Sunday — becoming just the sixth pitcher in major league history to do so — the debate didn’t seem to be whether the Astros ace was worthy of the Hall of Fame, but rather what cap he would wear in it.1To us, there’s no debate: It should be Detroit’s. Even Major League Baseball’s official Twitter account called it “ANOTHER line on Justin Verlander’s Hall of Fame résumé.” But are we all being a bit too hasty?By at least one smart measure of Hall-worthiness, Verlander is not yet deserving of a berth in Cooperstown. Cited by many sabermetrically-inclined voters, Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score, or JAWS, is the average of a player’s career wins above replacement2JAWS uses the Baseball-Reference.com version of this stat, so I will do the same throughout this article. and his WAR over his seven best seasons (“peak WAR”). To determine if a player belongs in the Hall, a player’s JAWS is compared with the average JAWS of existing Hall of Famers at his position (because it’s easier to accrue value at, say, starting pitcher than at catcher). If the player’s JAWS is higher, the system recommends a yes vote; if the Hall of Famers’ JAWS is higher, the player falls short. Although JAWS is an imperfect yardstick (for example, it doesn’t include postseason stats, nor does it account for unique accomplishments like, say, pitching three no-hitters), electing only people above its positional standards ensures that the quality of Hall of Fame players does not decrease.With a JAWS of 59.0 so far in his career, Verlander remains below the JAWS average for starting pitchers of 61.5. But he’s not alone. No active starting pitcher meets the JAWS standard (although some may do so by the time they retire). In fact, neither does any starter who has thrown a single pitch this entire decade. That suggests a problem not with Verlander or other modern pitchers, but with the standard. Simply put, it’s too high given the usage patterns of today’s starting pitchers.3For the record, this isn’t just a problem with JAWS. Perhaps the most famous old-school standard for a Hall of Fame starting pitcher, winning 300 games, may also now be obsolete; it’s been 10 years since anyone won their 300th, and people are openly wondering if it will ever happen again.As pitch counts and bullpens have become bigger parts of the game, we’ve gone from 1,034 complete games pitched in the 1978 season to 266 in 1997 to just 42 last year. From 1871 to 1953, a period that includes at least part of the careers of about two-thirds of Hall of Fame starting pitchers, starters accounted for more than 80 percent of all innings pitched every season. In 2018, that share was 60 percent. It’s simply not fair to compare starting pitchers of the past few decades — let alone of the past few years, a period when “bullpenning” has exploded in popularity — with bygone Hall of Famers who regularly exceeded 300 innings pitched in a year.What we can do instead is sketch out a new standard, based on the premise that the Hall of Fame should immortalize the greatest starting pitchers of each era, even if those eras are not directly comparable. Verlander’s numbers may not be able to hold a candle to those of, say, the deadball era, but he deserves recognition as an elite hurler in the context of our current era, the bullpen-happy 2010s. The average season from 1901 to 20044I started with 1901 because that is the year the American League was founded and “modern” baseball (defined broadly) began; I ended with 2004 because players who were active in 2005 and later are still having their Hall of Fame candidacies considered by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. had 10 active starting pitchers who were eventually elected to Cooperstown, so we can maintain the Hall’s relative historical standards by electing the top 10 best starting pitchers in the game today. By JAWS, those are: 6CC Sabathia63.039.351.2 RkPitcherCareer WARPeak WARJAWS 6Cole Hamels59.337.648.5 2Justin Verlander69.848.359.0 2012′s most Hall of Fame-worthy starting pitchersTop 10 starting pitchers who were active in 2012 by Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score, through Sept. 3, 2019 RkPitcherCareer WARPeak WARJAWS Shaded players are no longer active.* Already elected to the Hall of Fame.Source: Baseball-Reference.com 7Cole Hamels59.337.648.5 7Félix Hernández50.738.644.6 8Chris Sale45.239.542.3 A few names might change on this list, albeit somewhat predictably. It would be surprising if Chris Sale (42.3 JAWS at age 30) didn’t crack it. Madison Bumgarner (33.6 JAWS at age 30) and Stephen Strasburg (30.8 JAWS at age 31) are young enough that they could get there in time as well. Félix Hernández (44.6 JAWS at age 33) and Jon Lester (40.3 JAWS at age 35) are close but may be running out of gas. In all likelihood, though, the first several names on this list are safe — which would mean that we know the JAWS threshold for cracking the top 10. Essentially, it looks like amassing around 50 JAWS for your career is enough to guarantee your place as one of the top 10 starting pitchers of the early 2010s. And, if the trend of increased bullpen usage of the past few years continues through the next decade, the standard for the early 2020s may be even lower.This revision has a couple of implications for Hall of Fame selection that voters should heed before it’s too late. First, despite falling well short of historical standards, candidates like Johan Santana (who received very little support on the one Hall of Fame ballot he appeared on, despite currently being the eighth-best starter active in 2012) deserve closer looks, as they were elite for their era. Second, yes — Justin Verlander is a no-doubt Hall of Famer. Hopefully, by the time he is up for a vote in the 2020s, voters will opt to view his JAWS as dominant among his peers, rather than mediocre within the Hall.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 4Max Scherzer60.248.654.4 2019′s most Hall of Fame-worthy starting pitchersTop 10 active starting pitchers by Jaffe Wins Above Replacement Score, through Sept. 3, 2019 Even though none of them yet measures up to the traditional JAWS standard, it’s clear that the likes of Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw and Verlander should be Hall of Famers by this method. But the No. 10 pitcher on the list, Adam Wainwright, is probably not a Hall of Famer — and his 36.7 JAWS likely shouldn’t be used as the new standard. That’s because young studs like Aaron Nola (20.2 JAWS at age 26) are still racking up stats and could eventually displace the bottom several names on the list. So let’s try looking at the version of this list from, say, 2012. That’s long enough ago that the list is closer to being final, but it’s recent enough that it reflects the context of how starting pitchers were deployed during Verlander’s career (in fact, as of 2019, 2012 is the exact midpoint of his MLB career). 1Zack Greinke70.847.659.2 3Clayton Kershaw67.749.658.6 9Tim Hudson58.138.348.2 4Roy Halladay*64.350.657.4 3Clayton Kershaw67.749.658.6 2Justin Verlander69.848.359.0 5CC Sabathia63.039.351.2 10Adam Wainwright39.434.036.7 Source: Baseball-Reference.com 8Johan Santana51.745.048.3 5Max Scherzer60.248.654.4 1Zack Greinke70.847.659.2 10Mark Buehrle59.235.847.5 9Jon Lester45.635.040.3 read more

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The NFL Should Expand To London But First Canada Mexico And LA

It might seem like a matter of time before the NFL and London stop flirting and start going steady. Six NFL teams have flown across the Atlantic to play a football game this year — most recently, the Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars, who squared off on Sunday in the third and final London game of the season. (Just as if they were playing on home soil, the Jaguars lost badly.) The league would have to inconvenience only two additional teams1A 16-game regular season would require eight visiting teams to travel to London. to host a franchise in London full-time.Most commentary on the possibility of a London NFL team has been skeptical. Bill Barnwell, of Grantland, worried last year about travel and timing logistics and the potential disadvantages a London franchise would face in recruiting free agents.My view is more optimistic, at least when it comes to whether a London team could find a sufficient fan base. I’m not sure a franchise in London would be a smashing success. But even given conservative assumptions, London’s huge population and revenue base are probably enough to outweigh the relatively low level of NFL interest there. Perhaps more important, in contrast to some U.S.-based candidates for expansion or relocation, a London team would not cannibalize much of the fan bases of existing NFL franchises.Still, if London got first dibs on a team, the NFL would be overlooking a couple of more obvious candidates much closer to home.Last year, I looked at the National Hockey League’s allocation of franchises, estimating the size of each market’s NHL fan base using the population of its metropolitan area and the number of Google searches for the term “NHL.” (The analysis concluded that the NHL is overextended into smaller U.S. markets while underserving Canadian fans.) Here, I’ll perform the same analysis for the NFL, comparing cities that already have a team to potential new markets in North America and Europe.As with the hockey analysis, I’ll assume the popularity of the NFL in a given market is proportional to the number of Google searches for NFL-related topics,2The distinction between Google search topics and search strings is explained here. Topics are more comprehensive — for instance, Google searches for both “NFL” and “National Football League” will be grouped under the same topic. However, I default the search string for the term “NFL” in countries where topic-level estimates are not available, adjusting them upward to account for the less comprehensive search coverage. as according to Google Trends. Google searches might not be a perfect measure of popularity but they correlate reasonably well with other measures of franchise success3In the NHL, for instance, our Google-based estimates of each team’s fan base correlated strongly with its profitability. and allow us to compare domestic and international markets by the same standard. The only ad-hoc adjustment I’ve made is to lump Green Bay together with Milwaukee for purposes of calculating the Packers’ fan base.Otherwise, this is pretty simple: We’re just multiplying a metro area’s population4Market sizes are drawn from the estimates of metro-area populations put together by Demographia earlier this year. In the past, I’ve preferred to use estimates based on TV market sizes, which are slightly more inclusive of outlying areas that have a cultural affinity with a particular metroplex. But these aren’t widely available outside the U.S. and Canada. by the volume of Google searches it conducts on NFL-related topics. The estimated number of fans in each market is calibrated to the U.S. national average of 28 percent of Americans who say they are “very interested” in the NFL. Our estimates of the number of NFL fans in the 30 existing NFL markets5There are 32 NFL teams, but the New York and San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metro areas have two teams each. — and about two dozen plausible expansion destinations — follow6Google Trends data is less detailed in some other countries than it is in the U.S. For cities in Canada, Germany, Spain and Mexico, I use data taken from the state or province level rather than the metro area. For London, I use data from the city level rather than the metropolitan area.:In contrast to the NHL (or college football), the level of interest in the NFL is fairly consistent from place to place in the United States. There’s also relatively little difference between those markets that have an NFL franchise and those that don’t.In some ways, these are signs of the league’s success: The NFL has conquered Sunday afternoons in just about every nook and cranny of the United States. And it’s principally a television sport. In the NFL, it’s not quite as important where the franchises are located — so long as you can transmit a TV signal from there.But partly because of the NFL’s pervasiveness, it has run out of highly attractive American markets other than Los Angeles. (Other than that, Mr. Goodell, how was the play?) Even Los Angeles provides some evidence of the league’s saturation: NFL interest there is only mildly lower than the national average despite the city not having hosted a team since 1994. Let’s say, however, that the NFL comes to its senses and places a team in Los Angeles soon. Where else is there to go in the U.S.?Las Vegas has high levels of NFL avidity and ranks as the next-largest untapped U.S. market by the number of NFL fans. But given the NFL’s longstanding paranoia about associations with gambling, putting a team there would be as much of an adventure for the league as going to a foreign market.After this are a series of markets — Orlando, Florida; Sacramento, California; Virginia Beach, Virginia; San Antonio; Austin, Texas; and Columbus, Ohio — where a team would play in the shadow of a more established franchise: The San Francisco 49ers in the case of Sacramento, for instance, or the Dallas Cowboys in the case of San Antonio. We’ll seek to measure the effect of this in more detail later on. It’s not that these markets are necessarily any less NFL-worthy than, say, Nashville or Jacksonville. But they’d reshuffle existing fans around more than they’d allow the league to expand its footprint.The foreign markets are more intriguing. Let’s start with London.I estimate from the Google data that only about 4 percent of Londoners are NFL fans now. However, the city’s metro area has about 10 million people. That means it has about 400,000 NFL fans. That isn’t great, but it’s comparable to a few existing NFL markets (Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Charlotte, Kansas City) and slightly larger than a few others (Buffalo, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Nashville). A London franchise might be the equivalent of a “small-market” team — but it would hardly be a huge outlier.There are a number of reasons to think this underestimates London’s potential. London is wealthy, with a GDP per capita of somewhere around £37,000 ($60,000 at current exchange rates). That means higher ticket prices and more billionaires to buy the team when it goes up for sale. London is also among the most-visited cities by tourists in the world with about 15 million international visitors a year.7Assuming that the average tourist visit lasts three to four days, that means there are about 150,000 international tourists in London at any given time. That’s small compared to London’s baseline of 10 million permanent residents, but it’s a nice little bonus. And it doesn’t account for travel there from within the United Kingdom, which is also significant.More important, our estimate that 4 percent of Londoners are NFL fans is based on the volume of Google searches since 2004. Those searches have increased recently, and there’s reason to expect a further increase in fan interest if a team is located in the city permanently. As measured by Google searches, interest in the NHL increased by about 80 percent in the province of Manitoba, Canada, after the league relocated a franchise to Winnipeg in 2011. The NBA experienced a similar increase in Oklahoma City when it moved a team there.8It also helps that the Oklahoma City Thunder have been much better than their predecessors, the Seattle Sonics. Because the NFL is already so saturated in the United States, I wouldn’t expect an 80 percent increase in NFL interest if you placed a team in Orlando or Austin. But London, and other foreign markets, have a much lower baseline and more room to grow.A London-based team could also have some appeal across the rest of England and the United Kingdom. One precedent comes from the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Raptors, the only Canadian teams in Major League Baseball and the NBA, respectively. Each one generates about 20 percent to 25 percent as much search traffic in other Canadian provinces as it does in its native Ontario. That doesn’t sound great, but it’s higher than most U.S.-based franchises, many of which generate only about 5 percent as much search traffic outside their home states. With no other franchise to compete against geographically, a London team could be regional in the way the Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys and Boston Red Sox are, covering a larger footprint than you’d infer from its metro area alone.You might think these are pie-in-the-sky assumptions; I think they’re pretty reasonable. The only issue is that there are two other international destinations that rank better still.They’re not among the more exotic choices. Paris, Dusseldorf9Essen-Dusseldorf, which also includes several other mid-size cities, is the most populous metropolitan area in Germany. and Madrid almost certainly would not have the fan bases to support an NFL team at the present time. A second U.K.-based team, in a place such as Manchester, would not do much better. Nor in all likelihood would San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is a baseball town.But the Toronto metro area is highly populous and NFL interest is already reasonably high there. I estimate T Dot has about 1 million NFL fans — more than the majority of U.S. markets to host an NFL team. As with the Raptors and Blue Jays in their sports, there could also some residual gains in NFL interest across the rest of Canada.Mexico City ranks even higher. Although only about 7.5 percent of people there are NFL fans, 7 percent of 20 million residents is still 1.5 million NFL fans.Could those Mexico City fans afford tickets and licensed replica jerseys and the products sponsors might want them to buy? Mexico gets pigeonholed as a developing country and that’s true for much of the nation, but Mexico City itself has developed into a thriving, bustling city with many of the creature comforts available in the other great metropolises of North America. Mexico City’s metro-area GDP is about $30,000 per capita and GDP per capita is nearing $50,000 in the city proper, comparable to that in U.S. cities. Levels of NFL interest in Mexico City, while not extraordinarily high, are higher than in London: An NFL game there in 2005 drew more than 100,000 spectators.The international markets also offer the advantage of being unconquered territory rather than existing in the shadow of any current NFL team. To measure this, I ran another series of Google Trends searches on topics related to individual NFL teams (e.g. searches for topics related to the Seattle Seahawks) to see how they compared to interest in the NFL as a whole.In existing NFL markets, Google search traffic for the local team is generally about 65 percent to 70 percent as high as that for the league as a whole. See here for the Detroit Lions, for example. Of the Detroit area’s roughly 840,000 NFL fans, Google search volume would suggest we’d allocate about 480,000 of them to the Lions. Another 200,000 or so would go to the next-most popular NFL teams there, the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. That leaves relatively few “free agent” fans.In the foreign markets, however, including in Canada, fans are largely not committed to any one NFL franchise. In the table below, I’ve estimated the number of fans for the three most popular teams in each market and calculated how many fans remain after allocating fans to those teams.10The calculation is a bit rough for some of the less promising markets. Interest in the NFL is low enough in Dusseldorf that we don’t have a great idea of who the most popular teams are there. Also, in England, the most popular team according to Google topics is nominally the Cleveland Browns. But this appears to be a false positive, with Google having picked up on other contexts in which the word “Browns” is used. Searches for the text string “Cleveland Browns” as opposed to the topic “Cleveland Browns” are quite low in England. In Mexico City, for instance, the Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers and Broncos are probably the most popular teams. But searches for those three teams combined represent only 20 percent to 25 percent of searches for NFL-related topics as a whole. Contrast that with Columbus, where searches for the Cleveland Browns, Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals represent about 90 percent of searches for the NFL as a whole. That’s not to say a Columbus-based team wouldn’t pick up some fans of its own, but they might come largely at the expense of the Browns, Bengals and Steelers rather than acquainting new fans with the league.Toronto, like Mexico City, has only about 20 percent of NFL fans allocated to one of the three most popular NFL teams there. The Buffalo Bills have sometimes protestested that Toronto is part of their market, but NFL fans in Toronto take only a modest interest in the Bills according to search data and other metrics like merchandise sales.I estimate there are about 50,000 Bills fans in greater Toronto. That isn’t nothing when there are only about 300,000 NFL fans in metro Buffalo itself. But that’s Buffalo’s problem, not Toronto’s. If the NFL wants to have a franchise in Buffalo, it should have one in Buffalo. It should also have one in Toronto. The league would come out ahead if it had to slightly subsidize the Bills with the extra revenues it gained from a Toronto team.How about Montreal or Vancouver instead? If you could combine the virtues of the two — Montreal’s larger population with Vancouver’s greater NFL interest — you’d have an NFL-worthy city. As it stands, however, both are decidedly inferior to Toronto. Montreal comes out slightly better than Vancouver in our reckoning because, while each has about the same number of NFL fans, a fair number of those in Vancouver are committed to the Seattle Seahawks.Among U.S. cities, Los Angeles remains No. 1 with a bullet after allocating fans to existing teams. Las Vegas’s numbers also hold up well. So, to a lesser extent, do Orlando’s, a surprising result given that there are three other NFL teams in Florida. But Orlando, like other cities in the state, has a lot of expats from the north who root for teams like the New England Patriots and New York Giants and who might or might not be intrigued by an expansion team. The state of Florida has produced its fair share of disappointments in cultivating loyalty toward new franchises. Most of the other American candidates could wind up like Jacksonville — at best just barely big enough to support a team on its own and with that team having barely any footprint beyond the city’s borders.A final question is about the NFL’s endgame. If the NFL merely needs a couple of credible candidates for relocation — whether as leverage against existing teams or as genuine alternatives — Los Angeles and London should more than suffice. But if the league is thinking about expansion, it might have to do it in a big way. Thirty-two teams is a convenient number, readily divisible into two conferences and eight divisions of four teams each. A 33-, 34- or 35-team league would be awkward, however. The next equilibrium would be 36 teams instead, which could be divided into six divisions of six teams each.In that case, the NFL ought to return to cultivating the Mexico City market and treat Toronto as more than a token alternative for the Bills. An expansion to those cities along with London and Los Angeles would be the boldest thing the league has done in years — and possibly the smartest.CORRECTION (2:15 p.m.): An earlier version of a chart in this article misstated the number of unallocated NFL fans for Mexico City. That number is 1.15 million, not 1.49 million. read more

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Significant Digits For Friday Dec 4 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.0.12An attorney who wrote a book called “The Drinker’s Guide to Driving: The Secrets of DUI from One of America’s Top DUI Lawyers” was arrested for drunk driving Sunday, with a blood alcohol level of 0.12. Yes, it did happen in Florida — excellent guess. [The Herald Tribune]2nd-longestAfter his team trailed all night against the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a 61-yard game-ending Hail Mary pass for a touchdown with no time on the clock. The pass was the second-longest come-from-behind game-ending touchdown ever, and from a distance where such passes have a terrible completion rate. It was the worst thing to happen to the city of Detroit since globalization and systemic mismanagement. [ESPN Stats & Info, Brian Burke]20:24Elvira Montes, an 81-year-old grandmother, was the oldest finisher in this year’s Beer Mile World Championships, finishing four beers and running 1 mile in 20 minutes, 24 seconds. She is what we in the business call a “role model.” We should all be so lucky reach age 81, let alone sustain a reliable competitive drinking habit. [Runner’s World]44.9 percentPercentage of U.S. adults who worked for an employer at least 30 hours per week in November, as measured by Gallup’s Good Jobs rate. [Gallup]92 countsThe other shoe has dropped, people, and it is feigning catastrophic injury in order to procure a yellow card as we speak. U.S. prosecutors announced a 92-count indictment against 16 FIFA officials yesterday, following up on a raid of a Swiss hotel where several officials were staying. [CNN] 95.7 degrees FahrenheitA spokesperson for the upcoming Olympic Games said that organizers did not consider it critical to pay for air conditioning in athletes’ quarters in Rio de Janeiro and that someone else will have to handle the costs. Keep in mind that this year, Aug. 19, which would be towards the end of the events this coming year, hit 95.7 degrees in Rio. [ESPN]589 reportersIn 2014, the number of reporters from niche outlets accredited by the U.S. Senate press gallery exceeded the number of reporters from daily newspapers. As someone from a niche outlet, I guess this is cool? Go niche outlets! [Pew Research Center]220,000 jobsAshton Carter, whose name makes him sound like he is a member of One Direction but who is actually America’s secretary of defense, announced yesterday that the U.S. military will open all combat jobs to women. About 220,000 such jobs within the armed forces had been closed to women. [The Washington Post]$5 millionThat’s the amount brilliant negotiator and world-renowned dealmaker Donald Trump wanted CNN to donate to charity to ensure his participation in an upcoming presidential debate. CNN declined, but the legendary businessman and genius arbitrator, who as we all know could strike an absolutely flawless deal with anyone, especially the Chinese, relented and decided to participate in the debate anyway, because the negotiating strategy of “giving up when your primary request isn’t met” is just a tactic from page one of “The Art of the Deal,” a book Trump definitely wrote all by himself. [The Washington Post]$117 millionAmount raised on Giving Tuesday, another manufactured holiday trying to chew the crumbs left over by the capitalist orgy that is Black Friday, albeit for charity. This is frankly encouraging, because I personally had a lot of trouble getting into the Small Business Saturday spirit this year. [NBC News]If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. read more

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Spot in Big Ten tournament could be locked up for OSU womens

OSU sophomore midfielder Nikki Walts (4) takes a corner kick during a game against Purdue on Oct. 9 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Anbo Yao | Lantern PhotographerWednesday evening marks senior day and the conclusion of the regular season as the Ohio State women’s soccer team (9-5-3, 4-4-2) sets up to host the Michigan State Spartans (8-5-4, 4-4-2).The Spartans are tied with the Buckeyes for seventh place in the conference, so a win on Wednesday for OSU will earn it a spot in the Big Ten tournament.“I think that the vibe of our team right now is that we’ve continued to get better every game,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “So teams that continue to get better at this point in the season I think have the opportunity to continue to play, and that’s just been our mentality the whole season.”Following a defeat this past weekend against one of the nation’s top teams, the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Buckeyes are excited for a chance at a big win at home.“We’ve got a lot of players that have played in championship games in our program,” Walker said. “That’s one of the things we look for when we’re recruiting, players that have been there and players that understand what that feels like. It’s something we can tap into.”Junior forward Nichelle Prince said she trusts in her team’s persistence that has been built upon throughout the season.“I think we are really resilient,” Prince said. “We know that it’s not going to be perfect, our season is not going to be perfect but we have to get up and play hard the next game.”For senior forward/midfielder Michela Paradiso, Wednesday’s game will mark her last time playing at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Paradiso said the emotional aspect has been overrun by the magnitude of the game.“It’s way more emotional than I ever thought it would be,” Paradiso said. “But I think because it’s such a big game it kind of is allowing me to not think so much about it being my last home game and more as an exciting thing to get the win to move on the Big Ten tournament, so I think that helps.”Paradiso will be honored on Wednesday alongside two fellow seniors: forward Katelyn Kraft and defender Marisa Wolf.Prince said she hopes the seniors’ seasons can end on a high note.“Because I’m a junior, I’m pretty close to them,” Prince said. “They’re all great leaders on this team and have a big influence on this team. I just want to make sure that they get the best end of the season possible and they get what they deserve.”Anticipation has been building around this game, and Walker and her players alike said they are excited and prepared.The Buckeyes and Spartans are set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Wednesday. read more

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Marker of CTE found in brain of Kosta Karageorge

Kosta Karageorge was a red-shirt senior defensive lineman. Credit: Courtesy of OSUWhen former Ohio State football player and wrestler Kosta Karageorge was reported missing in Nov. 2014, a dark cloud was shadowed over the OSU-Michigan game that Saturday. That dark cloud soon formed a black hole that swallowed the hearts of Karageorge’s teammates. The senior walk-on killed himself and was found in a dumpster near his house close to campus.His family sent his brain to be examined by a brain bank in Massachusetts who continues to examine the brains of several former athletes post mortem.A report from The New York Times on Tuesday stated that Karageorge had a protein on his brain that is consistent with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a degenerative disease found in those who suffer from repeated blows to the head. The article stated Karageorge suffered 15 concussions in his lifetime.Neuropathologist Ann McKee examined Karageorge’s brain and found the protein Tau and diagnosed him with Stage 1 CTE. The report handed to the Karageorge family said that McKee discovered traces of “past microhemorrhaging in Karageorge’s prefrontal cortex” which often “leads to cognitive issues involving impulsivity, disinhibition, poor judgment and maybe even suicidal ideation,” according to McKee’s report outlined in the article.Concussions have been a focus of discussion for the better part of three years. Former Buckeye Ray Griffin sued the Big Ten and the NCAA just over a week ago over the same issue.The article stated that McKee said that it is impossible to distinguish if chronic head trauma is directly related to Karageorge’s suicide.OSU offers suicide prevention resources. The Office of Student Life’s Counseling and Consultation Services can be reached at 614-292-5766. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. read more

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Ohio State linebacker Justin Hilliard suffers seasonending injury

Redshirt freshman linebacker Justin Hilliard came into the Ohio State program looking to make an immediate impact. It turns out he will have to wait even longer for that opportunity.The former 2015 five-star recruit from Cincinnati St. Xavier High School announced on Instagram that he had suffered a season ending injury which requires rehabilitation.“(I) can’t lie, I’m hurt,” Hilliard said in his post. “But head up and looking forward to killing this rehab for the next six months.”Hilliard was instrumental on special teams through the team’s first three games in 2016. He was listed on the depth chart as the weak-side linebacker after junior Dante Booker and redshirt senior Joe Burger. Hilliard registered four tackles against Bowling Green.Hilliard suffered injuries last season that kept him from seeing the field. He tore his left meniscus during the 2015 season, then missed all of spring camp with a torn bicep. Hilliard has a sling on his left arm in the photo.Coach Urban Meyer confirmed on Monday that Hilliard tore his left bicep and will be out several months. Editor’s Note: This article was updated on 9/26 with comment from Meyer. read more

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Football Ohio State benefits in recruiting with blowout wins spectacle for potential

OSU junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan (5) is congratulated by a young fan following the Buckeyes’ 30-27 overtime win against Michigan on Nov. 26. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorOhio State and Michigan have locked heads over recruits before. Currently, two former Wolverines’ commits are making big plays for the Buckeyes in redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber and redshirt junior cornerback Gareon Conley. But after Saturday, OSU might get the upper hand in signings.OSU pulled away in double overtime on a run by junior H-back Curtis Samuel with a wall of blockers in front of him. It was a statement run for a statement finish in a statement game. After the come-from-behind win, the Buckeyes proved just how good the team really is, and why the dozens of recruits should sign with the Scarlet and Gray.Against Nebraska, OSU hosted more than 20 top-ranked recruits for the 2017 class, and nearly 100 recruits total. What the high school athletes were introduced to was a complete domination of the No. 10 ranked team in the country. A 62-3 performance is quite the showing to athletes itching to play at a university that doesn’t know the word “lose.” If the team’s performance wasn’t enough to make a convincing case of OSU as a quality destination, the Buckeyes pulled out all the stops with a laser light show in the tunnel before the game and Nike throwback uniforms. Fast-forward to Nov. 26, and it’s time for The Game. The playoff stakes were high between No. 2 OSU and No. 3 Michigan, and the last chance to see the Buckeyes in regular season action for the recruits came against OSU’s toughest opponent all year. The potential commits in attendance and watching on television were treated to one of the best finishes in recent memory. In the first-ever overtime finish to the match between the Scarlet and Gray and Maize and Blue, OSU overcame an early deficit to win in walk-off fashion.“Incredible gratitude to Buckeye Nation to supply that energy in that stadium,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “That’s as good as I ever heard. Someone told me 110,000 people. Going to ask Gene (Smith) to put more seats in there, man.”A record crowd was as loud as ever in Ohio Stadium, and players fed off the energy to find a way to win. When asked about his unit’s defensive performance, junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan had some candid thoughts on the impact the team’s performance had on recruiting. “Playing around all those great guys, in front of 110,000 people, Buckeye Nation going crazy … I don’t see how recruits could choose anywhere other than The Ohio State University,” he said.Sure, it might have been little more than a plug for more players to come play for his team, but McMillan has a point. With just one losing season in the past decade, national championships in 2002 and 2014, one of the best college football coaches in Urban Meyer, and recent dominant performances, OSU might become a haven for four and five star recruits.After all, OSU was able to wrangle players like Conley and Weber away from Michigan after first committing to Michigan. In time, the Buckeyes will have even more success in recruiting if the chips keep falling into place. read more

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Raining 3s OSU advances to Sweet 16 after recordbreaking rout of George

CLEVELAND — The Ohio State men’s basketball team has two slow starts and two dominating finishes in as many NCAA Tournament games this season. After falling behind to George Mason, 11-2, in the first 3:38 of the game, the Buckeyes came roaring back to defeat the Patriots, 98-66, on Sunday at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. OSU will advance to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. The fast start by GMU was triggered by three offensive rebounds and four Buckeye turnovers, three by Naismith Award finalist, OSU freshman forward Jared Sullinger. The Buckeyes responded to the nine-point deficit after a media timeout with a 10-0 scoring run that included two 3-pointers from fifth-year senior forward David Lighty. “I don’t want them to ever play scared, and that was the message at the first timeout,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “We didn’t come up here to play like this.” The Patriots regained the lead, 14-12, with just less than 14 minutes remaining in the first half. That was their final lead of the game. The Buckeyes closed the first half on a 50-15 scoring run to double up GMU, 52-26, at halftime. OSU continued its hot shooting in the second half, finishing the game 36-for-59 from the field, including a blistering 16-of-26 from three. Lighty, a Cleveland native, led the way for the Buckeyes in his last game in his home state with a game-high 25 points after scoring just eight in the team’s first tournament game against Texas-San Antonio. The senior was 7-for-7 from three, which tied his career high for made 3-pointers in a game and set an OSU record for most made 3-pointers without a miss. “My teammates did a good job of finding me,” Lighty said. “We have so many weapons that the defense pretty much has to pick their poison. … I think I did a good job of getting my feet set and following through.” The abundance of weapons for the Buckeyes meant Lighty was not the Patriots’ first priority defensively. “First was Sullinger — we began with how we’re going to defend in the post. Second was Diebler,” GMU coach Jim Larranaga said. “Then it was let’s pray that Buford and Lighty don’t go off.” The Buckeyes also received a record day from freshman point guard Aaron Craft. OSU’s sixth man had a team single-game record 15 assists, to go along with just two turnovers. “Us sharing the ball, especially with Craft having 15 assists,” Lighty said, “it’s unbelievable.” Craft and Lighty were hardly the only Buckeyes to contribute. Sullinger finished the evening with 18 points and nine rebounds, while junior guard William Buford added 18 points of his own. Not to be left out, senior guard Jon Diebler also scored in double figures, finishing with 13. The large second-half lead allowed Matta to empty his bench early, as Sullinger, Buford and Lighty sat for much of the final minutes. The extended minutes for the reserves allowed all 10 Buckeyes who entered the game to score. Senior walk-on guard Eddie Days entered the game with 2:49 remaining and notched his first career point on a free throw with 1:17 to play. “To be here in Cleveland, to get his first college point,” Matta said, “I’m elated for him.” The Buckeyes held the Patriots to seven points below their season average, on 44 percent shooting. OSU also forced 17 turnovers. “We were kind of expecting that we’d be able to score the ball better than we did,” Larranaga said, “but their defense was very, very good.” Despite the dominating performance, the Buckeyes said they feel their best basketball could be ahead of them. “We can play better. We’ve got another game on Friday with Kentucky, (and) we are focusing on that,” Sullinger said. “We’re trying to take the momentum from this game and carry on to the next.” The Buckeyes will proceed to the Sweet 16 to play the Wildcats on Friday in Newark, N.J., for an opportunity to advance to the Elite Eight. read more

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Minnesota Vikings add linebacker Ross Homan to their roster

Former Ohio State linebacker Ross Homan was the 200th player selected overall in Saturday’s NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Homan joined OSU linebacker Brian Rolle as the second Buckeye selected in the sixth round. Rolle went to the Philadelphia Eagles. “Looking at Ross Homan to the Minnesota Vikings, he fits what they want do at that position,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “I think he was a heck of a pick. I thought he could have been a third- or fourth-round pick. Homan had an impressive combine, most notably leading all linebackers with 32 reps of 225 pounds in the bench press. Homan, a three-year starter at OSU, will join former Buckeye and two-time Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield in Minnesota. Other notable Vikings draftees include former Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder in the first round and former Notre Dame tight end and Cincinnati native Kyle Rudolph in the second round. After falling short of the Super Bowl to the Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship, the Vikings had a disappointing 2010 season and did not reach the playoffs after a 6-10 finish. If a labor agreement between the NFL and its players association is made before September, the Vikings are scheduled to open their regular-season schedule against the Chargers on Sept. 11 in San Diego. read more

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Hudson Street Hooligans boast Ohio State roots

Some people call Columbus Crew fans loud, rowdy and even crazy, but if you ask them, they prefer the term “Hooligans.” Ohio State students and half-brothers, Grant Thurmond and Cord Andrews, along with their friend Drew Abdalla, started watching the Crew as kids during the team’s inaugural season in 1996. Their love for the Crew continued into their college years, but the mediocre soccer club drove many fans away, triggering a staggering decline in attendance. But in 2006, the group of three, in an effort to support a struggling team that, at times, seemed to lack a passionate fan base, formed the Hudson Street Hooligans. “The atmosphere was just really dull,” said Thurmond, a fourth-year in sport and leisure studies. “And I think we all wanted to change that. We had a vision to fill the stadium.” As they searched to make that change, the three began meeting at Abdalla’s house near the corner of High Street and Hudson Street on game days to tailgate. And after repeated tailgates, Andrews, a fourth-year in construction management, said only one thing was missing from the group – a name. “After it started to become a regular thing, we decided we needed a name for our group,” Andrews said. “We called ourselves the Hudson Street Hooligans because we had to walk up Hudson to get to the stadium.” But the small group of three was just the beginning. “We tried to get a lot of people over to Drew’s and to the game,” Andrews said. “I started recruiting a bunch of people from my girlfriend’s dorm and we saw the group start to grow.” But the group didn’t see noticeable change until the 2008 season when the Crew captured their first MLS cup, defeating the New York Red Bulls, 3-1. In summer 2010, the group formed themselves into a club that required a paid membership, and as a result, needed to find a venue that would accommodate the hundreds of people coming to tailgate for the games. The group found Ruby Tuesday on Summit Street and called it home until June 2010 when they opened their own bar, Hudson Street Hooligans Pub, located at 2236 Summit Street. “It was an exciting time,” Thurmond said. “We had our own place and the club was getting huge.” But the club’s plans were put on hold when problem arose during an inspection by the City of Columbus, after which the pub’s certificate of occupancy was revoked on July 28, 2011. The club was forced to close its doors after just one season. “We tried to keep it open,” Thurmond said. “But we decided that the amount of effort it would take to keep it was too much.” Despite the closing, the group continues to thrive, boasting more than 1,000 paid members to date. “I don’t know if any of us expected the group to be this big,” Andrews said. “It crossed our minds that it could be big, but that was never a realistic thought to us.” But the founders said they know the club wouldn’t be what it is without its members. Aaron Aebie, a second-year in communication and member of the Hudson Street Hooligans, said the rowdiness of the Hooligans is what makes the games fun. “It’s crazy,” Aebie said. “With all the people that are there, the atmosphere is just electric.” Aebie said without the Hooligans, the games just wouldn’t be the same. “We have our own section and it’s kind of a free-for-all at times,” Aebie said. “It’s such a fun thing to be a part of.” That’s what the Hudson Street Hooligans are all about. “When you’re a Hooligan, you feel like you’re part of the game,” Thurmond said, “and beyond that, you feel like you’re actually a part of the team.” read more

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Urban Meyer pleased with Ohio States offensive growth

Ohio State (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) scored so many points Saturday that coach Urban Meyer lost track. He came into the locker room after the game and, amid the victory celebration, had to ask the team how many points they ended up with. “(Meyer) didn’t even know what we put up. He was like, ‘How many points did we put up again?’” sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller said. The answer was 63 – nine touchdowns – against a Nebraska defense that coming into the game had given up an average of 21 points per game. It was the highest point outburst since OSU dropped 73 points against Eastern Michigan in 2010. Nebraska is no MAC team, though. Traditionally a defense-first squad, the Cornhuskers came into the game ranked as the No. 21 team in the country whose only loss came against a ranked UCLA team on the road. Meyer brushed off his forgetfulness after the game. “Braxton said that?” Meyer asked, laughing. “No comment. Just got caught up in the moment, caught up in the moment.” That moment might have been significant. With the win the Buckeyes moved up to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll and became the only remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes, which were seen by many as a team in the middle of a rebuilding process under a first-year coach, are now the team to beat in the Big Ten, as no other team is ranked in the conference. It’s a distinction that didn’t always seem likely. Meyer inherited a team that didn’t have the type of players to fit his typical spread offensive system, and many considered the Buckeyes at least a year away from being competitive on a national level. Despite winning its first four games, OSU – which was heavily favored – struggled at times against Central Florida, California and Alabama-Birmingham, causing concern from players and coaches. Every week during the three-game span, Meyer opened up his postgame press conference saying he was pleased with the win, and then delved into his team’s inadequacies and shortcomings. “It’s glaringly obvious we’ve got to get a lot better or we won’t win next week,” Meyer said after his team’s 29-15 win against UAB. But after beating Nebraska and Michigan State in consecutive weeks, the mood has changed. Meyer has given his team glowing reviews in each of the past two weeks and said the team – and especially the offense – is further along than he thought they’d be. “Being as honest as I can, they weren’t very good,” Meyer said Saturday. “They didn’t look the way we wanted them to look in January … And even early in the season I didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel us change the line of scrimmage against those early teams. I’m starting to feel us change the line of scrimmage … They’re changing the line of scrimmage against some very good defensive lines. The last two we played, those are very good defensive lines.” The last two wins have come in completely different fashions. Last week, in Meyer’s first Big Ten conference game against Michigan State, the Buckeyes won a physical, 17-16 game where points were scarce. Those hard-fought grind-it-out games are what the Big Ten is known for, but Meyer made it clear afterward that he’s not one to fit into stereotypes. “I like 70 (points) every once in a while,” Meyer said. They came close Saturday. After mounting just 17 yards in what Meyer said was a “train wreck” of a first quarter, the Buckeyes exploded for 482 yards of offense and 56 points in the next three quarters to win the game 63-38. Junior running back Carlos Hyde ran for 140 yards and four scores, and Miller broke his own single-game rushing record for a quarterback with 186 yards of his own. At the end of the day, OSU totaled 371 yards on the ground. “We’re kind of a pound-ya offense right now,” Meyer said. “I don’t mind that. I’ve not had a lot of those. But that’s a pound-ya offense.” The X’s and O’s are not what Meyer said is important, though. Meyer said this team has come together in a way he’s only seen six or seven times in his 26 years of coaching. That cohesiveness has changed big dreams into big expectations. “We’re trying to go 12-0, win every single game,” said redshirt sophomore cornerback Bradley Roby, who had two interceptions against Nebraska. “Trying to get that AP No. 1, go and win the national championship. That’s our goal.” OSU is slated to play Indiana next Saturday in Bloomington, Ind. at 8 p.m. read more

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Care homes are banning relatives who complain about quality of care investigation

first_imgIn one case a family only had to lodge a single formal complaint about poor care before they were stopped from visiting Credit:John Stillwell You have a contract with the care home… the care home sets the terms and the conditions and you have to obey themSolicitor Jemma Garside Care homes are banning relatives who complain about the quality of care their family members receive, it has emerged.Hundreds of families are thought to have been affected and, in the worst cases, elderly residents have been told they must leave their homes. A former care worker also claimed she had heard of some relatives being arrested. In one case, a family only had to lodge a single formal complaint about poor care before they were stopped from visiting and told they must find somewhere else for their mother to go. Former care worker Eileen Chubb, who campaigns for better regulation in the industry, said she hears from up to 60 families a year who face the same problem.Gary FitzGerald, the chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, said:  “That older people and their families worry that they will be asked to leave their care home if they make a complaint is evidence of just how many older people are living in a culture of fear – fear that their rights and dignity will be eroded and that they will have no recourse to justice. “And unfortunately, these fears are not unfounded. It has been too easy to brand those who make complaints as troublemakers or as a danger to other residents and issue eviction notices. Home should be a sanctuary, but for some of those living in residential care, it has been anything but.”Prof Martin Green, the chief executive of Care England, which represents independent care services, said it would be useful if there was a mechanism to keep track of such incidents. He added: “There may be times residents’ conditions change and that nursing home isn’t the appropriate place to give that person the right care.”The Care Quality Commission on Wednesday published guidance on visitation rights. Andrea Sutcliffe, the chief inspector of adult social care, said: “Care homes are people’s homes. They, their family and friends should not live in fear of being penalised for raising concerns. “Good providers know this and we see plenty of excellent practice where managers and staff respond to complaints positively and make sure it is as easy as possible for people to visit their loved ones in a welcoming, friendly environment.“But we know this is not always everyone’s experience, with reports of visiting restrictions and people being forced to leave against their wishes.  We also know that too many people are frightened to raise concerns because they think this is going to happen.” The two siblings claimed their mother was evicted from her care home in Essex because they complained staff failed to treat an injury properly and moved an aggressive resident to the same area as her.In another case, a son was stopped from seeing his father after he raised concerns about his hearing aid not being switched on or cleaned properly, the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme found. Paul Doolan told the BBC he was stopped from visiting his father Terry at his nursing home in Somerset after he kept a log of issues and complained that his father’s hearing aid batteries kept running out. He was forced to instead meet his father at a local Conservative club while a chaperone was also present.Describing the situation as “deeply upsetting, he said: “The care home fees were fairly hefty, and I thought it was the least they could do to make sure he could hear properly and give him some fresh air and take him to the doctors.” It has been too easy to brand those who make complaints as troublemakersGary FitzGerald, chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse In one case a family only had to lodge a single formal complaint about poor care before they were stopped from visiting  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Mr Doolan said he was told he had to stop visiting his father in August 2012 via email, with the home claiming he had behaved in an unacceptable way towards staff. He denies this claim.  A spokesman for the home told BBC it had followed “all regulations set by the Care Quality Commission and all guidelines set by our local authority”.One solicitor told the BBC families have to “obey” the homes as they lay out the contract. Jemma Garside, a solicitor at Duncan Lewis, said: “You have a contract with the care home, the resident and public body if they are funding it; the care home sets the terms and the conditions and you have to obey them.” last_img read more

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Revealed Why noisy eating or pen clicking can make people angry

first_imgTim Griffiths, professor of Cognitive Neurology at Newcastle University and UCL, said: “I hope this will reassure sufferers.”I was part of the sceptical community myself until we saw patients in the clinic and understood how strikingly similar the features are.”One misophonia sufferer said her GP laughed when she told him about her symptoms.Olana Tansley-Hancock, 29, from Ashford, Kent, was eight years old when family meals became unbearable for her.She said: “The noise of my family eating forced me to retreat to my own bedroom for meals.”I can only describe it as a feeling of wanting to punch people in the face when I heard the noise of them eating – and anyone who knows me will say that doesn’t sound like me.”The issue came to a head when she went to university and had to move train carriages seven times because the noise of people eating and rustling papers was unbearable.”When I saw my GP at the time, he laughed at me,” she said.”Then I tried a counsellor but in my case, that made it worse as it made me even more sensitive to sound.”After researching misophonia, she has changed her lifestyle, reducing her caffeine and alcohol intake and uses headphones when visiting the cinema.She said:”This research is a huge relief as it shows there is a physical basis for misophonia which should help others understand the condition.”It also opens up the opportunity for better management.” People who find the sounds of chewing gum or pen clicking unbearable have a genuine brain abnormality, UCL scientists have found. While many people find hearing people eat off-putting or pen clicking annoying, others who suffer from misophonia report feeling disgust when exposed to the noises.Referring to “trigger sounds”, people with misophonia can respond with an intense “fight or flight” reaction.Now researchers at Newcastle University have reported finding a difference in the frontal lobe in misophonia sufferers, suggesting it is a genuine condition where medical opinion in the past has been sceptical. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.center_img Writing in the journal Current Biology, they found changes in the brain activity when a trigger sound is experienced.They also found people with misophonia experienced an increased heart rate and sweated when they were confronted by a trigger sound.Researchers found a difference in the “emotional control mechanism” that causes their brains to go into overdrive on hearing trigger sounds.Dr Sukhbinder Kumar, from the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University, said: “For many people with misophonia, this will come as welcome news, as for the first time we have demonstrated a difference in brain structure and function in sufferers.”This study demonstrates the critical brain changes as further evidence to convince a sceptical medical community that this is a genuine disorder.”last_img read more

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Rare Medieval text printed by William Caxton found in Reading University archives

first_imgone of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the university One of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the university Caxton was both the first to print a book in English and the first English printer, according to the British Library. He realised the commercial potential of the new technology while working as a merchant in the Low Countries and Germany. Caxton set up his own printing press in London in late in 1475 or early in 1476. “If this were ever to come on the market, there would definitely be competition for it. It would be a great prize for a private collector, and a feather in the cap of any institution.” one of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the university One of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the universityCredit:Laura Bennetto/University of Reading  The text is written in medieval Latin and features blackletter typeface, layout and red paragraph that marks it out as an example of very early western European printing. One of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the universityCredit:Laura Bennetto/University of Reading William Caxton  William Caxton  Picture extract taken from a small folio manuscript from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Library at Lambeth, showing Anthony Woodville, Earl of Rivers, and William Caxton (left), his printer, presenting the book, which was printed in 1477, to King Edward IV and the Queen and Prince Edward of Westminster (later Edward V)Credit:PA Pages printed more than 500 years ago by William Caxton rediscovered in an archive have been hailed as a “thrilling” find. Ms Delbecque, who said she suspected it was “special as soon as I saw it”, said it was “incredibly rare to find an unknown Caxton leaf and astonishing that it has been under our noses for so long”.She said: “This well-preserved item is the only one of its kind, and one of just two surviving fragments from this medieval Caxton book in existence.”The leaf had previously been pasted into another book for the undignified purpose of reinforcing its spine. We understand it was rescued by a librarian at the University of Cambridge in 1820, who had no idea that it was an original Caxton leaf.”No other copies of the pages, printed either side of a single leaf of paper, are known to have survived.Early printing specialist Andrew Hunter, of Blackwells Books, who carried out the valuation, said “the discovery of even a fragment from among Caxton’s earliest printing in England is thrilling to bibliophiles, and of great interest to scholars.center_img The only one other surviving fragment of the book is held at the British Library in London.Caxton expert Dr Lotte Hellinga, a former deputy keeper at the British Library, said: “It is very rare that an unknown piece of printing by William Caxton is brought to light. The example found in Reading belongs to a different part of the book than those held in the British Library. Picture extract taken from a small folio manuscript from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Library at Lambeth, showing Anthony Woodville, Earl of Rivers, and William Caxton (left), his printer, presenting the book, which was printed in 1477, to King Edward IV and the Queen and Prince Edward of Westminster (later Edward V) William Caxton  William Caxton  The two pages, thought to be the only surviving examples from a priest handbook dating back to late 1476 or early 1477, were found buried in a box at Reading University’s archives.They were discovered by librarian Erika Delbecque as she catalogued thousands of items about the history of printing and graphic design.The treasure was among the first books printed in England by Caxton’s press and could fetch £100,000 if it went to market, experts suggest. One of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the universityCredit:Laura Bennetto/University of Reading  One of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the universityCredit:Laura Bennetto/University of Reading  “Its condition is good, considering it spent some 300 years bound in the spine of a book and another 200 resting forgotten in an album of fragments rescued from other bindings.”The new find will go on display at Reading University’s Merl museum on London Road from May 9 to May 30. The find is from a book called the Sarum Ordinal or Sarum Pye which helped priests to prioritise religious feast days for English saints.It was part of a collection that previously belonged to late typographer John Lewis and his wife Griselda, a writer and book designer. It was bought by the university for £70,000 at auction in 1997 with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund.The leaf then lay among many thousands of other items in the archives before being identified, according to Reading University. 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. one of two pages of a 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton which have been unearthed at the universitylast_img read more

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