World Cup Crib Notes Day 18

Africa’s last two hopes take the field Monday, but neither of them have much of a shot. Can one (or both) of them shock a European power?France vs. Nigeria: 12 p.m. EDTGermany vs. Algeria: 4 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.IN DEPTHDespite losing its final match of the group phase to Argentina (yielding a pair of goals to the incomparable Lionel Messi), Nigeria was still able to qualify for the World Cup’s knockout round by way of an Iranian defeat against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Now it has to face France, which ranks as the world’s fifth-best national team in ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI). Do the Super Eagles have a chance?Our current projections give Nigeria only a 24 percent probability of toppling a tough French side that’s as balanced as it is talented (France ranks sixth in SPI offense and fifth in defense). Nigeria will need to keep particular tabs on Karim Benzema, France’s all-universe forward. In the tournament’s round-robin phase, he terrorized Group E with three goals and two assists, and has been one of the best players of the World Cup thus far. He was a big reason why France scored eight total goals in its first two group-stage matches (before being held scoreless by Ecuador in a match France didn’t really need in order to win the group).Nigeria’s best hope to shut down France lies in its defense. Before Messi menaced the Super Eagles in the group-stage finale, they had kept clean sheets in each of their first two matches. According to the metric of individual contribution I computed here, five of Nigeria’s six most instrumental performers during the group stage were defensive-minded players — goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, defenders Kenneth Omeruo and Efe Ambrose, and holding midfielders John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi. Life won’t be easy for them Monday (our model says there’s a 56 percent chance France scores at least two goals during regulation time), but it will be tough for Nigeria to prevail unless they keep France’s offense in check.In the other matchup of the day, Germany faces Algeria in what looks to be one of the Round of 16’s most lopsided affairs. I wrote about the Germans at length when they faced the United States last Thursday, so I won’t belabor the point. They’re one of the best sides in the world, incredibly dangerous offensively and composed almost entirely of players in their soccer primes. It’s going to be a tall order for the Algerians to stop them, especially since Algeria has (by far) the worst defense of any team to advance to the knockout round, according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) numbers.Algerian attacking midfielder Sofiane Feghouli enjoyed a good start to the tournament, racking up a goal and an assist in his first two group-stage appearances, but the pressure will be on him to perform against Germany as one of the few Algerian players of world-class quality. Then again, Algeria’s defense is so porous (and Germany’s offense so potent), that it may not matter. With just an 17 percent probability of victory according to the FiveThirtyEight model, it would be the upset of the tournament thus far if Algeria somehow manages to topple the German juggernaut.YESTERDAYFor 87 minutes, Mexico looked ready for el quinto partido. It took just seven minutes for crushing defeat to set in.Wesley Sneijder’s goal in the 88th minute and a penalty kick by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the fourth minute of added time brought Mexico’s tournament to an abrupt end.In the first half, El Tri matched the Netherlands touch-for-touch in possessions in the attacking third (50-46 in favor of the Dutch). The Mexicans held the Dutch to one chance created and one shot on goal, both tournament lows for the Oranje.But the Netherlands exploited a Mexican weakness to score the latest equalizer in Dutch World Cup history. Mexico leaves the tournament having allowed opponents eight chances created off set pieces, tied with South Korea and Uruguay for most of any country. Holland’s first goal came off a corner kick, as Huntelaar’s back-post run left him open to head the cross back to the center of the box. As Sneijder struck the ball just inside the penalty area, the closest Mexican defender in front of him was just outside the 6-yard box. That was more than enough room for Sneijder.Miguel Herrera, whose team had been in almost constant attack throughout the tournament, became conservative over the last 90 minutes. Before the 61st minute (when Dos Santos subbed off), the Dutch had a 75-62 lead in attacking-third touches, a respectable margin for Mexico against the Oranje. But after Dos Santos left for midfielder Javier Aquino, the Dutch had a 63-30 advantage in attacking-third touches.More important, they translated that advantage to two goals and extended the drought for that elusive quinto partido. — John Parolin, senior stats analyst, ESPNOFF THE PITCHTrying and failing to colonize Nigeria in the early 18th century hasn’t stopped France from holding influence in the country. According to AidData, France provided Nigeria with $4.5 billion in aid between 1973 and 2011. The bulk of the aid ($4.2 billion) was distributed for debt alleviation in 2005 and 2006, after Nigeria was overlooked for debt relief in 2004 due to its oil revenues. More recently, France hasn’t provided as much aid, but it’s been allocated more broadly. Six of the 18 projects to which France contributed in 2011 were for building education infrastructure, three were for building technical expertise in education, health and government, and one was for developing agriculture. — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGWorld Cup Players to Know: Costa Rica’s Keylor NavasWere the Billions Brazil Spent on World Cup Stadiums Worth It? read more

Is It True That Some Players Cant Hack It in New York

In the ninth inning of the New York Yankees’ 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 1, Brian McCann1In this case, pinch-hitting for right fielder Alfonso Soriano. watched Grant Balfour’s fastball sail over the outside corner of the plate for a called third strike. As he walked dejectedly back to the dugout, McCann’s 2014 batting average sank to .220, the lowest seasonal average he’d carried in July at any point during his 10-year major league career.A few days later, Terry Pendleton, McCann’s old hitting coach with the Atlanta Braves, delivered a theory as to why the catcher, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Yankees last November, was struggling at the plate this season: He can’t handle the burden of expectations that come with playing in New York City.This is a refrain we hear often whenever a player struggles in a huge (usually northeastern U.S.) market. The theory is that a rabid fan base and an overzealous sports media corps can cripple a player’s confidence and change his play. Based on a LexisNexis search of news reports, this happens almost exclusively in New York (and for the Yankees more than the Mets) and in Boston, with the occasional reference to Chicago and Philadelphia.2When I did a historical LexisNexis search of U.S. news sources for phrases such as a player having “what it takes to play in [city],” knowing “how to pitch in [city],” “handling the [city] media,” etc., those major league cities were the only ones repeatedly mentioned. The pressure to win in those cities can be staggering, but the “can’t handle the pressure” argument is laced with self-flattery: By linking a player’s production to the weight of external expectations, fans and the media presume they have significant power over how well he performs.It’s easy to write this off as little more than a delusion. McCann certainly seems determined to prove that he can handle New York, that the narrative is nothing but manufactured nonsense. He’s produced a .352/.379/.463 triple-slash line since his batting average reached its nadir against the Rays earlier this month.And yet, when I ran the stats on players like McCann, I was surprised to see that there may be something to the whole idea of big-market pressure affecting play, at least for batters. (Pitchers, not so much.)To start my data work, I compared performance relative to expectation. Statistically speaking, expectation is best measured by one of the various and sundry projection systems sabermetricians have developed.3Such as PECOTA, originally the brainchild of FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver. The projection method most adaptable to the task at hand also happens to be the simplest one: Tom Tango’s Marcel system, because it’s open-source and can be customized endlessly. While Marcel is named for a monkey because it barely requires a primate’s intelligence to operate, it performs roughly as well as far more sophisticated setups.A Marcel-like approach4I tweaked Tango’s weights slightly to maximize predictive accuracy, and split out offense and defense into separate projections for position players (because of limitations in fielding statistics, defense is regressed to the mean more strongly than offense). can generate predicted runs above average numbers for every player’s seasons going back to 1985; each is a credible estimate of what the player could have been expected to do before the season started. Adjust those numbers for playing time (so as not to punish players for injuries), compare them to the player’s actual runs above average marks, and we have a way to assess whether a player lived up to statistical expectations.5It’s important to note that these expectations account for past performance, regression to the mean, and the aging pattern of a typical major leaguer. In particular, the regression-to-the-mean component of the Marcel process should capture any effect of an abnormally good performance in a contract year.These differences between actual and expected performance are the kinds of statistical disparities that theories like “he just can’t cut it in New York” are attempting to explain. If we believed that it was truly more difficult to perform to expectation in a city like New York, then we’d expect a very specific subset of player — a new acquisition with a high salary, like McCann — to perform worse in the aforementioned pressure-packed cities than in comparable destinations with more relaxed reputations. I used Los Angeles, Dallas (the Texas Rangers’ media market), San Francisco/Oakland and Atlanta as the control group,6New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston represent four of the eight biggest media markets in the United States. Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco/Oakland and Atlanta are the other four. and then compared how batters and pitchers did in each set of cities.When I weighted the results toward more highly paid stars,7Adjusting for salary “inflation” using baseball’s version of the Consumer Price Index — the relative cost of a win in free agency. the average batter in our subset of newcomers saw his actual performance undershoot his projected performance by 1.9 runs when playing for teams in New York, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia. Some notable deficits included Albert Belle underperforming by 47.5 runs after joining the Chicago White Sox in 1997, Chuck Knoblauch falling short by 39.3 runs as a new member of the New York Yankees in 1998,8He was just about the only Yankee who fell short of expectations that year; his teammates on the batting side combined to exceed their projections by 175.2 runs in 1998. and J.D. Drew missing by 24.1 runs for the Boston Red Sox in 2007.For comparison, here are the batters who did best in these high-pressure markets:Meanwhile, the cohort playing for teams in Atlanta, Dallas, LA or the Bay Area averaged a -0.4 run difference between expectation and reality, or 1.5 runs better than those in the “high-pressure” cities.9A weighted t-test between the two means yielded a p-value of essentially zero, so this difference probably didn’t happen due to chance, either. Score one for the idea that fan and media scrutiny play a role in player performance.Then again, don’t tell that to the highly paid hurlers who joined teams in cities that are supposedly tougher to play in. Over the same period, that subset of pitchers prevented 4.5 more runs than would have been expected from their projections, while their counterparts in the more “easygoing” environs saved 3.2 more runs on average.10Again, weighting the average toward the more highly paid of the pitchers. And again, a weighted t-test produced a p-value of zero. Here are the top five overachieving pitchers in our four high-pressure cities:For every John Lackey who struggled upon joining a team like the Red Sox, there was a Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling or Roy Halladay who thrived in a tough market. And LA-area fans will remember the likes of Aaron Sele, Jason Schmidt, Jon Garland and Bartolo Colon, all of whom struggled upon landing with LA-area teams.It’s hard to know what to make of all this. The conventional wisdom holds that pitchers would be more affected by added pressure in a new, rabid city, since they’re the players who have to stand alone on the mound and think about the enormity of throwing before, say, a packed Fenway Park. But, statistically, hitters had the more difficult adjustment to life under the microscope. This may be due to factors beyond fan devotion and an intense media climate; for instance, there may be something about the types of players teams like the Red Sox and the Yankees tend to acquire in free agency that is more correlated with those players underperforming projections. So while there’s correlation here, we don’t necessarily know which way the arrow of causation points.McCann’s roller-coaster month of July might be the clearest argument against the armchair psychology of declaring players unfit for big markets. Baseball remains largely a game of luck and randomness, with sample sizes never quite as big as we’d like. As clear as the “he can’t handle New York” explanation might have seemed when McCann was in his early-season slump, the real culprit was probably just bad luck. In baseball, the influence of chance trumps anything the fans or the media can throw at a player. read more

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

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

Beside The Points For Thursday Oct 19 2017

See more MLB predictions Things That Caught My EyeVegas gets another teamThe San Antonio Stars will move to Las Vegas under its new management of MGM Resorts International. This makes them the second professional team to open up in the gambling town with the Oakland Raiders soon to follow. With the No. 1 pick in the draft next year, this is an exciting time for the WNBA team. [ESPN]Browns allegedly superior to other teamsThe Browns’ crew of quarterbacks — a squad of personnel I am unfortunately well-acquainted with — is not the worst in history. We’ve had the statistic Total QBR since 2006, and in the period of time since them there have been three teams — the 2010 Panthers, 2008 Raiders and 2007 49ers — who have a total QBR less than the 21.9 Cleveland currently sports. [ESPN]Clemson and Washington are not totally screwedLast week the Clemson Tigers and Washington Huskies suffered upset losses that made them fall out of the AP Top 5. Clemson is down from a 55 percent chance of making the playoff to a 29 percent chance, and Washington fell from a 43 percent chance to a 24 percent chance. Realistically, the best way to make the playoff is to win out: doing so would give them a 97 percent and 87 percent chance, respectively, of making the playoff. Clemson’s Week 10 game against N.C. State will be the decisive game, while Washington’s test will be in Week 11 at Stanford. [FiveThirtyEight]Happy Sports Equinox!Thursday, Oct. 19 is the Sports Equinox, the day when all four major U.S. sports leagues play at least one game. There have only been 17 in history. Should the Cubs force a game 7 in the NCLS, Sunday will be a second one of 2017. Fair warning, with 14 different games, it’s going to get weird tonight in even the most amply-screened sports bars. [FiveThirtyEight]Yes, let’s keep saying nice things about the EaglesOh wow the Eagles are real good this year! No reason at all to mitigate expectations, Eagles fans: You guys are going to win the Super Bowl for sure this time. Believe it! I’m in no way attempting to pump up expectation thus making the eventual and inevitable playoff catastrophe all the more panful for you to bear, not at all, we here in New York love you, Philly. Realistically though, the Eagles are solid, and have a somewhat easy route to the playoffs from here on out: Their next 10 adversaries have an average Elo rating of 1484, which is below the league average 1500. [FiveThirtyEight]Balto got highFor the first time ever, several Iditarod sled dogs from one team tested positive for a prohibited substance. The race began testing for doped-up doggies back in 1994. It’s been described by a race board member as an isolated incident. [ESPN]Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!Big Number-10 winsGordon Hayward dislocated his ankle and fractured his tibia five minutes into the first game of the NBA season. For Hayward, this means a difficult recovery over the course of the season. For the Celtics, it means their anticipated 47-win season drops to 37 wins, all of which is way below Vegas’ expected 53.5 wins. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack: gfoster:@heynawl-enten FYI, Yankees are likeable now. So keep that in mind. tweeted itWTF is this?colleen:this is provably falsethe yankees are the yankeesthe yankees are not likableQEDlarue:Curious what it would take for a hated team to become a likable team. A goliath to an underdog if you will. Possible?Predictions MLB All newsletters See more NFL predictions NFL We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe Oh, and don’t forgetThe robots fought and it really really sucked. read more

Why Women Dont Cycle

In fact, most theories fell into one of two categories: fashion or fear.But what’s the evidence for each?For her master’s thesis in urban planning at the University of Washington, Anne Broache examined which influenced women’s decisions about cycling. In 2012, she surveyed 365 women in Seattle — where 28 percent of bike commuters are female, according to the city’s Department of Transportation — about fashion and road safety. One-third of the nondaily riders and one-fifth of daily riders reported general concerns about “grooming issues, bringing spare clothes, helmet hair, and arriving at destinations red-faced and sweaty.” But safety was “by far the leading concern for all riders” — 79 percent of the women cited “distracted driving” as the biggest barrier to them cycling.Although it didn’t ask about fashion, the 2010 Women’s Cycling Survey asked a lot more women about their cycling choices; it, too, found the No. 1 concern was “distracted driving,” which was cited by 73 percent of the 11,453 women questioned.But there’s more to personal safety than the risk of traffic accidents. As @anildash suggests (and Helen Pidd’s personal account on The Guardian’s Bike Blog illustrates), female cyclists might fear sexual assault and harassment. The Women’s Cycling Survey found that 13 percent of women said “stranger attacks” were a concern.And just as fear is a complex issue, so, too, is fashion. Lifestyle barriers affect women’s decision-making around cycling in ways more challenging than footwear or hem length. When the Bikes Belong Coalition surveyed almost 2,000 U.S. adults, they found that women were twice as likely as men to report an “inability to carry children or other passengers” as a factor that discouraged them from cycling. Convenient transport is important for moms, because they spend 3.7 minutes more per day than dads ferrying kids around.Finally, one more reason women aren’t getting on bikes can’t be captured by the fear or fashion explanations; like most lifestyle choices, cycling decisions are affected by wealth. And women earn less than men. As Clarissa Ersoz at the Bicycle Paper explains, “Even a reasonably priced bike is a significant up-front expense for disadvantaged households.” A 2001 report, “The Socioeconomics of Urban Travel,” found that households earning less than $20,000 were no more likely to use bicycles as a mode of transport than those earning $75,000 – $99,999.When it comes to the why of America’s cycling gender gap, the data suggests that fashion really isn’t front of mind for most women. Instead, road safety and practical lifestyle issues are the biggest obstacles to female riders. That makes it all the more disappointing that the recent bike-share data shows that rental systems have been unable to address those concerns.CORRECTION (June 18, 3:59 p.m.): An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that, according to “The Socioeconomics of Urban Travel,” 13.5 percent of households earning less than $20,000 used a bicycle as a mode of transport. The table in the report actually shows that 13.5 percent of all people who use a bicycle as a mode of transport live in households earning less than $20,000. For every three men hopping on a bike, just one woman does the same, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed’s Jeremy Singer-Vine, who collected data from the three largest bike-share programs in the United States — New York, Chicago and Boston — and mapped the gender balance in each. Although slightly more women check out a bike on weekends, overall, they still make up only 24.7 percent of riders.This gender gap isn’t unique to bike-share programs or these three cities. The most recent National Household Travel Survey shows that 24 percent of bike trips in 2009 were made by women. The national data also shows that women are slightly less likely to cycle now than they were in 2001; researchers found “the prevalence of any cycling declined significantly for children (by 1.5 percent) and women (by 0.3 percent).” That needn’t be the case: In Germany, 49 percent of cyclists are women. In the Netherlands, that number is 55 percent.Readers were quick to offer explanations for the lack of female cyclers: read more

Nearly Half The Kentucky Derby Field Is Racing Against A HalfBrother

Broomstick190110– Nashua19527– Blue Larkspur19267– Instilled Regard✓ 3A. P. Indy19892910– 2Sir Gallahad III192013– Magnum Moon✓✓ Mr. Prospector was the horse’s … Ballot190410– Bull Dog19277– Hofburg✓✓ Wrack19095– North Star III191410– Nasrullah19408– Man o’ War19177– Pompey19235– Horsegreat-grandfathergreat-great-grandfathergreat-great-great-grandfather Tiznow1997217– Distorted Humor1993257– Mr. Prospector got luckyRelationship of Mr. Prospector to every horse in the 2018 Kentucky Derby Dixieland Band19805– Vino Rosso✓✓ Seattle Slew19745– Combatant✓✓✓ RKsirebornAge (if alive)Offspring in the derby Hail to Reason19587– Curlin could break into the ranks of top Derby siresSires with at least five offspring who raced or are set to race in the Kentucky Derby, 1875* through 2018 Royal Minstrel19255– Bold Bidder19625– Mendelssohn✓✓ Good Magic✓✓ Promises Fulfilled✓✓ Unbridled19876– Wild Again19806– Danzig19776– Bull Lea19355– Mr. Prospector19707– Khaled19436– Dynaformer19855– Enticed✓✓ Maria’s Mon19935– Pharamond II19256– 26Mineshaft1999196– 37Into Mischief2005135– Gone West19845– “He’s a dominant force. He was a sprinter, and he set a track record,” said Hill, adding that the horse’s widespread influence is even more impressive for the fact that Mr. Prospector was breeding in the era where studs covered 40 to 60 mares a year.Another major stallion, Northern Dancer, is widely represented. Scat Daddy, for example, had both Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector in his pedigree. And when Scat Daddy was paired with the mare Stage Magic, whose bloodline also traces back to Mr. Prospector, they produced the 2018 Derby favorite Justify.While breeders are concerned that too much inbreeding will create freakish horses, the right combination can make for horses that are freakishly brilliant, said Hill, whose family owned the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew.Can Justify get it done? He’s got history working both for and against him. Justify did not run as a 2-year-old, and the last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without running at age 2 was Apollo, more than 130 years ago in 1882. But Justify has been working with Triple Crown-winning trainer Bob Baffert, who has won the Derby four times.Scat Daddy also sired another morning-line favorite, Mendelssohn, who won the UAE Derby in Dubai by a huge margin — almost 19 lengths. He’s under the care of star trainer Aidan O’Brien.Among Curlin’s offspring, Vino Rosso won his last race, the Wood Memorial, and is trained by 2017 Derby-winning trainer Todd Pletcher. There’s also reason to like Good Magic, who won the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and is trained by rising star Chad Brown.They’ve all got about two minutes to make daddy proud. Sovereign Dancer19755– 7Tapit2001179– Damascus19645– Graustark19635– 13Scat Daddy20047– Alibhai19385– Solomini✓ El Prado19895– Firenze Fire✓✓ Noble Indy✓✓ 1Black Toney191116– Audible✓ Herbager19565– Pulpit19946– Count Fleet19405– Bravazo✓ Show more rows*Sire data is incomplete for many of the early Derbies.Sources: Horse Racing Nation, 9Curlin2004148– Bolt d’Oro Cox’s Ridge19747– Ambiorix19465– Heliopolis19369– Sweep19077– The Porter19158– Halo19696– The 2018 Derby is something of a chance to avenge the 2007 Kentucky Derby for both Curlin and Scat Daddy, who had disappointing results in that race. Curlin finished a respectable third, but went on to beat that year’s Derby winner, Street Sense, to win both the Breeders’ Cup and the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown. Scat Daddy had been a favorite at the betting windows before the 2007 Derby, but he finished a dismal 18th after suffering an injury.Why have these two returned so prominently, via their progeny, to the track? The answer lies both in talent and modern breeding practices.When thoroughbred racehorses shift to their second career as studs, it’s never a sure thing that they will produce high-quality foals. But as their progeny start showing promise, the stallions are held in higher regard, so breeders send in better and better mares, combining the most promising bloodlines in hopes of producing more competitive offspring.“Once a horse shows aptitude and ability, his commercial appeal increases,” said John Sikura, president of Hill ’n’ Dale, the Kentucky breeding farm where Curlin lives.Both Curlin and Scat Daddy attracted more interest from breeders as their progeny were increasingly successful. Curlin’s stud fee was set at $150,000 for the 2018 season, and Scat Daddy was also commanding six figures before his untimely death.The fact that Curlin and Scat Daddy have so many horses in the field is also a function of the modern approach to breeding: Keep ’em busy.Stallions today might “cover,” or breed with, more than 200 mares in a season, whereas the great sires of the past were breeding to a list, or book, of about 50 mares.“What you’re seeing is the ‘big book’ phenomenon,” said Jamie Hill, co-owner of McMahon and Hill Bloodstock agency.In 2014, when this year’s crop of Derby contenders was bred, Curlin bred with 152 mares and Scat Daddy covered 202, as reported to the Jockey Club. Of their more than 350 matings, seven progeny have made it to the 2018 Kentucky Derby, which only takes 20 horses every year.Shared parentage, though, is nothing in the big picture of breeding thoroughbred race horses. Look a few generations back, and they’re practically all related.Certain names crop up over and over in the pedigrees of this year’s Derby runners. Mr. Prospector, for example, shows up in every 2018 Derby runner’s lineage. Smart Strike19926– Malibu Moon1997217– Alydar19756– Free Drop Billy✓✓ Lone Sailor✓ Fair Play19055– Giant’s Causeway19978– Unbridled’s Song19936– Flameaway✓✓ Justify✓✓ Sickle19245– In every Kentucky Derby, breeding is the silent, invisible force that can play a huge role in deciding the outcome of the race. What’s unusual about the 2018 Kentucky Derby is the sameness of the breeding.When the race kicks off at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, the 20-horse field1We’re considering only the 20 horses that have a guaranteed spot in Saturday’s race. One additional horse was granted alternate status in case another horse scratches, but the alternate was not counted in this analysis. will feature nine runners who were sired by just three stallions, which means 45 percent of the runners will be competing against what humans might consider a half-brother. And that’s the third-highest percentage in the 94 Kentucky Derbys for which has sire data on all the competitors.Leading the family business this year is the stallion Scat Daddy, who sired four colts in the race: The morning-line favorite Justify (3-1) and the second-favorite Mendelssohn (5-1), as well as long shots Flameaway (30-1) and Combatant (50-1). To see how unusual it is for four half-siblings2In horse-racing parlance, two horses with the same sire are technically not considered “half-siblings,” a term reserved for two horses with the same mare. to enter the same Kentucky Derby, we looked at the sires of every Derby horse on record. Assuming none of his progeny scratch, this year Scat Daddy will tie Chicle as the most prolific derby sire for any one year.3Data gets spotty in the 19th century, so we may be missing some Victorian-era superstuds. (Chicle sired four racers in the 1923 Derby.)Scat Daddy isn’t the only stallion with multiple offspring in this year’s race. Three competitors were sired by Curlin: Vino Rosso (12-1), Good Magic (12-1) and Solomini (30-1). And just to keep it interesting, Bolt d’Oro (8-1) and Enticed (30-1) are both by the stallion Medaglia d’Oro.Scat Daddy died unexpectedly in 2015 at age 11, so this crop of 3-year-olds will be the second-to-last of his direct offspring to run for the roses. But Curlin, the two-time horse of the year, has a chance to enter the record books as a stallion. Overall, Curlin has already sired eight Derby contenders4Scat Daddy has sired seven. Again, assuming none of their offspring scratch from this year’s race. and he’s only 14, which means he may be able to keep breeding for another decade or so. According to our research, the record for fathering Derby runners is held by Black Toney, who sired 16, including Derby winners Black Gold and Brokers Tip. Chicle19137– My Boy Jack✓ Source: ✓ Gulch19845– McGee19005– read more

Kyle Snyder returns to mat lifts Ohio State wrestling team to victory

OSU then-freshman Kyle Snyder celebrates a defeat of a top-10 opponent against Minnesota. Credit: Lantern file photoWith only one match remaining between the No. 11 Ohio State wrestling team and Nebraska, the score was knotted at 17. The Buckeyes were trying to avenge their loss to Michigan on Jan. 9, and, by extension, a further drop down the rankings. But then Kyle Snyder took the mat. In his season debut after deciding to forgo his previous plans to take an Olympic redshirt, the sophomore shook off a slow start to his match to eventually pull away from Colin Jensen in the 285-pound class. In the end, the recently crowned World Champion won by a 20-9 major decision to put the Buckeyes over the top, giving OSU a 21-17 victory.“Couldn’t be a better scenario for myself,” Snyder said. “It was exciting, fun, and being able to compete allows me to see what I need to get better at.”Before the match, a banner commemorating Snyder’s recent championship was unveiled in St. John Arena.“Seeing my banner lowered was pretty awesome because I didn’t know that was happening until Wednesday,” Snyder said.For the Scarlet and Gray, the victory is their second in the last four matchups with Nebraska. Snyder’s emergence into the lineup was just one of four changes to the lineup OSU has used in recent weeks. There were three changes, excluding Snyder’s addition, to the projected lineups from earlier this week. “We knew we weren’t going to have (redshirt senior) Hunter (Stieber), we knew we weren’t going to have (redshirt sophomore) Bo (Jordan), we knew we weren’t going to have (senior) Mark (Martin),” OSU coach Tom Ryan said. The 165-pound weight class match was ultimately forfeited in the absence of Jordan.Sophomore Sal Marandino filled in for Stieber in the 149-pound class, while redshirt junior Josh Fox took the mat in Martin’s place at 197 pounds. Both of the matches that featured substitute wrestlers resulted in losses for the Buckeyes, along with the forfeiture due to Jordan not competing. But even so, Ryan spoke volumes about the toughness and grit of his team. “Sal Marandino fought off a tough kid,” Ryan said. “Josh Fox… (Nebraska’s Aaron Studebaker) was in overtime last week against the No.1 ranked kid in the country.” Ryan also noted that the reasons behind the absences are not serious in nature.“(Jordan has) just got a pulled muscle,” Ryan said. “(Stieber) had the flu.”The first three matchups saw OSU commanding the mat early, tallying victories in the 125-, 133- and 141-pound weight classes.  The action started off with redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello (125). He capitalized early against his opponent, junior Tim Lambert, with seven takedowns, the first of which came within seconds of match’s start.With the win, Tomasello improved to 12-0 on the year. Johnni DiJulius was next up in the 133-pound class, where he squared off against junior Eric Montoya.The redshirt senior earned a 9-4 win, even after Montoya roared back with two takedowns in the last 30 seconds.After a decisive 13-4 victory for redshirt freshman Micah Jordan against senior Anthony Abidin, Nebraska picked up a win at the 149-pound class with Jake Sueflohn.Sueflohn got out to an early lead with a takedown, and never looked back, winning 21-5.After a thrilling overtime period, Jake Ryan earned a 6-4 victory in the 157-pound class over redshirt freshman Tyler Berger.A two-point reversal and two-point near-fall by the OSU redshirt freshman made all the difference in the match.After a Buckeye forfeit at 165, Myles Martin gave the Scarlet and Gray a 17-11 advantage with a 7-4 decision against 14th ranked Micah Barnes. This was the true freshman’s 20th win this season. Next up, OSU’s redshirt senior Kenny Court dropped a decision to TJ Dudley in the 184-pound class, 7-1. Dudley is currently No. 5 in the nation in his respective weight class.Immediately following was the 197-pound matchup, featuring the redshirt junior Fox filling in for Mark Martin.Fox faced the aforementioned Studebaker in a mostly defensive match-up. Despite fighting valiantly, Fox ultimately fell by a 4-0 decision. Entering the final matchup, the teams were deadlocked at 17-17 before Snyder made his return in near-storybook fashion.It wasn’t until earlier in the meet that it was announced that redshirt junior heavyweight Nick Tavanello would not be representing OSU in the match against Jensen. Instead, Snyder returned to the mat, shook off early rust and secured the Buckeyes’ victory. Along with the unveiling of Snyder’s championship banner, there was a moment of silent for the recent passing of longtime OSU coach Chris Ford. Also, the dual meet was Military Appreciation Night, where former OSU wrestler Ray Mendoza was honored at intermission. Following the win, the Buckeyes are set to face Michigan State next Sunday at Walsh Jesuit High School near Cleveland. read more

OSU football needs Code Green distinction to see the field in 2016

OSU coach Urban Meyer during a game against Rutgers on Oct. 24 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.Credit: Lantern file photoThis past Monday, Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer spoke about getting his team “game ready.” One week before game preparation begins for the team’s Sept. 3 game against Bowling Green, Meyer has made it clear to his guys that this week the Buckeyes are in full “Code Green.”Being Code Green is best explained as the moment when a player is completely game ready. It’s a system that the coaching staff is using to evaluate how equipped a player is with knowledge of the game plan they are implementing and then their ability to execute it when the time comes.Code Green is not a mantra that the Buckeyes are throwing around loosely. It’s a process that the program is buying into from top to bottom. It’s methods like this that have led to national championships in the team’s history, according to sophomore defensive lineman Sam Hubbard, and failing to buy into the process leads to the team not being able to improve.“I’m code green on the punt team, ready to go,” Hubbard said. “Defensive line wise, none of us are Code Green yet. We still have things we have to work on and we have ten days to do that.”Hubbard said that this type of preparation isn’t very different from the preparation he had to do when he was forced to step in for the then-suspended junior defensive lineman Joey Bosa, in the Buckeyes’ season opener last season.Newly named starter and junior offensive lineman Jamarco Jones, said that he also is not “Code Green” and that the team is being graded everyday on their game readiness until the coaching staff decides to give them the green light.Whether it’s about getting past “The Edge,” in “the Year of the Wolves,” or now emerging into “Code Green” week, Meyer and company are looking to get one step closer to being game ready.“We have it on every aspect of our game,” Hubbard said when asked what Code Green meant. “That is what I’m working for, to be game ready.” read more

Ohio State defense bends doesnt break in 2722 win against Toledo

Ohio State’s defense bent on Saturday against the Toledo Rockets. It didn’t break, though. The No. 15-ranked Buckeyes (2-0) held on for a 27-22 victory against the Rockets (1-1) at Ohio Stadium Saturday thanks to two late defensive stops. Protecting the 27-22 lead in the fourth quarter, OSU junior defensive tackle John Simon sacked Rockets’ senior quarterback Austin Dantin on third-and-9 to force a punt with just under six minutes remaining. Toledo then recovered a fumble by redshirt freshman Rod Smith with 3:08 remaining in the game, halting any celebrations. The Rockets’ mounted one final comeback attempt from their own 28-yard line after the recovery and came within 16 yards of the end zone. Simon again provided pressure and forced sophomore quarterback Terrance Owens to throw the ball away on fourth down with 48 seconds remaining to clinch the win for OSU. “We knew it was going to be a challenge,” first-year coach Luke Fickell said after the game. “We’re excited about how the guys fought, how they battled and how they kept their chins up.” The win proved to be a back-and-forth affair, though OSU did strike first in the game. Redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman led the Buckeyes to an opening-drive score, and found a familiar target in the process. Bauserman connected with junior tight end Jake Stoneburner on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Stoneburner split the Toledo defense up the middle, ran uncovered and hauled Bauserman’s pass in with one hand as he crossed the goal line to put OSU up, 7-0. The touchdown reception was the fourth in two weeks for Stoneburner and the first since he received the John Mackey Tight End of the Week award midweek. “I guess (Bauserman) just likes finding me out there,” Stoneburner said. “I was supposed to take it up the middle of the field and he made a great pass.” A lapse on special teams caused headaches for most of the 105,016 fans in attendance at the ‘Shoe. OSU junior punter Ben Buchanan had his punt blocked by freshman cornerback Kishon Wilcher. Junior defensive end T.J. Fatinikun then returned the ball 22 yards to the Buckeyes’ 1-yard line. On the next play, junior quarterback Austin Dantin connected with junior receiver Eric Page on a 1-yard touchdown pass. Page then took the extra point snap and completed a pass to junior defensive end Hank Keighley to give the Rockets an 8-7 lead. “Obviously, we cannot have the special teams lapses,” Fickell said. “We just can’t have it.” OSU could only muster a 45-yard drive in response to the Rockets’s score — 30 of the yards it gained came as a result of Toledo penalties. Sophomore kicker Drew Basil then pushed his 47-yard field goal try wide left. Basil is now 0-for-2 on field goals tries through Week 2. Owens came in at quarterback for Toledo on the ensuing possession. The result was the same as its last drive, though. Owens completed a pass to Page, who then high-stepped 66 yards down the sideline and into the end zone to give the Rockets a 15-7 lead. Page finished the game with 12 catches, two touchdowns and 145 yards. Two crucial punt re-kicks after Toledo penalties allowed OSU to begin to climb back into the contest midway through the second quarter. Sophomore punter Vince Penza was forced to re-kick a punt from his own end zone after a Rockets’ false start penalty. The ensuing punt gave OSU the ball inside Toledo territory. Three plays into the Buckeyes’ drive, sophomore running back Carlos Hyde scampered 36 yards into the end zone for the first of his two touchdowns in the game to bring OSU to within a point at 15-14. “I think (Hyde) has done a very good job,” Fickell said. “We’ll continue to feed him and, you know, I believe he’s only going to get stronger.” Penza was forced to re-kick for a second time with 1:00 remaining in the half after an illegal formation penalty. Buckeyes sophomore Chris Fields then collected Penza’s punt and returned it 69 yards for a touchdown. OSU took a 21-15 lead into halftime. “I saw a clear lane,” Fields said of his touchdown return. “All I saw was the punter. And coach says you can’t be tackled by the punter, so it ended up being successful.” Toledo senior running back Adonis Thomas restored the Rockets’ lead soon after the intermission. A 44-yard pass reception by Thomas, coupled with an OSU face mask penalty, put Toledo on OSU’s 13-yard line. Later in the drive, Thomas took a direct snap on fourth-and-1 and ran four yards into the end zone to put Toledo up, 22-21. The Buckeyes kept themselves within a point, denying a 50-yard field goal attempt on Toledo’s next possession. Senior holder Bill Claus bobbled the snap and the OSU defense swarmed him on its own 45-yard line. The Buckeyes used the short field to their advantage and scored to take a 27-22 lead. Hyde capped a 55-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. OSU was then unsuccessful on its two-point conversion attempt. The drive following Simon’s sack of Dantin saw the Buckeyes attempting to run the clock out in the fourth quarter. Then came Smith’s fumble, and OSU’s final late-game stand. “We knew we had to stop them or they were going to win the game,” Simon said. “The secondary did a great job in coverage and getting me some extra time to get back there.” The Buckeyes took over on downs and kneed the ball to finish the Week 2 win. “You never want to be the team that losses to a MAC team in the ‘Shoe,” Stoneburner said. “We were all hoping and praying that the defense would go out there and make a play, and they did.” Redshirt sophomore linebacker Jordan Whiting returned the Buckeyes’ lineup following his one-game suspension for selling OSU football memorabilia and receiving improper benefits in the form of tattoos. Dan Herron, DeVier Posey Mike Adams and Thomas Soloman will remain suspended until the team’s Oct. 8 game at Nebraska. Junior running back Jordan Hall, sophomore defensive back Corey Brown and junior defensive back Travis Howard were banned for a second consecutive game after receiving $200 at a charity event in Cleveland. OSU athletic director Gene Smith told The Lantern he plans to meet with the with the NCAA as early as Sunday to address the suspensions of Hall, Brown and Howard. The Buckeyes will now travel to Miami Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. game against the Hurricanes (0-1) at Sun Life Stadium. read more

Ohio State mens basketball team something special heading into 201213 season

The faces, and the arms, of the Ohio State men’s basketball program have changed, but the expectations haven’t. OSU players and coaches met with media to discuss the team’s tough schedule, the style of play fans can expect in the season to come and even junior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr.’s new left-arm tattoo Thursday at the Schottenstein Center. Strength of schedule The Buckeyes will travel to Charleston, S.C. for the Carrier Classic where they will play Marquette on Nov. 9 on the deck of the U.S.S. Yorktown, which is now a museum ship. From there, OSU will compete in 19 games against postseason teams from last season, including fellow Big Ten Conference teams. Ten of those teams competed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and an additional four teams played in the 2012 National Invitation Tournament. The Buckeyes will play a challenging non-conference schedule that features the game against the Golden Eagles, a trip to Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium on Nov. 28, and have a chance for revenge at home against the Kansas Jayhawks on Dec. 22. Kansas beat OSU on Dec. 10, 2011, during the regular season, 78-67, and knocked the Buckeyes out of the NCAA Tournament in a national semifinal game March 31, 64-62, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. OSU’s 31-game regular season schedule also includes home and away conference series with Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern, Wisconsin and defending Big Ten regular season co-champion and Big Ten Tournament champion Michigan State. Senior forward Evan Ravenel said he thinks OSU has one of the better schedules in the country. “The first team, we’ve got a top 25 team in Marquette that we’ve got to end up playing,” Ravenel said. “It shows you what you can do when you get thrown into the fire … It’s a little bit different when you’re playing against a top-tier team in another conference.” OSU sophomore center Trey McDonald agreed with Ravenel. “I think the schedule’s going to be fun. I think the aircraft carrier game is going to be ridiculous,” McDonald said. “It’s just going to be a good time all around.” OSU has won or shared the Big Ten Conference regular season title in each of the last three seasons, but if the team is to turn the same trick in 2012-13, it will be doing so with a new-look roster. Former OSU forward Jared Sullinger, who scored 1,282 career points in Scarlet and Gray, opted to forego his junior season and departed OSU for the NBA. Former Buckeyes guard William Buford, who scored 1,990 career points for OSU, also departed the program. Even with Sullinger’s and Buford’s absence and the tough opposition OSU will face in the coming season, Smith Jr. said he doesn’t expect the Buckeyes to lose out on a fourth consecutive regular-season conference title. “This program is a winning program, so our fans and everyone in Buckeye Nation are used to winning,” Smith Jr. said. “We want guys to feel that pressure … we need to make sure we get it done.” Offensive attack Junior forward Deshaun Thomas, picked by Blue Ribbon and Sporting News as a preseason all-American, called his decision to forego entering the NBA Draft to return for his junior season at OSU “close.” Thomas figured to be a focal point of the Buckeyes’ offense this season, and said he expects to be double teamed by opponents throughout the upcoming campaign. “This team is something special. We’ve got a lot of tools,” Thomas said. “You’re going to see me outside coming off screens more. I’m going to do what I can do to help my team win.” OSU coach Thad Matta agreed, saying there is plenty of athleticism on the team this season. “I want them to play athletic. I want them to use what they’ve got there,” Matta said. Matta on social media When it comes to social media, Matta appears to take an indifferent stance – he said he knows it’s part of the experience for student-athletes but emphasized the importance of taking care of business on the court. Matta said that you can’t stop players from engaging in social media, adding, “You must play the game. You can’t write the game. You can’t tweet the game. You have to play the game.” Columbus Ink Smith Jr. is sporting a new tattoo on his left arm, which was administered Wednesday. A Block-O is featured prominently in the tattoo’s design with a staircase leading up through the “O” to the gates of heaven, which symbolizes the NBA. “In a basketball sense, my dreams would be to play in the (NBA) and I had to come through Ohio State to get there,” Smith Jr. said of the tattoo. “I like it.” Smith Jr. and the Buckeyes are scheduled to tip the first of OSU’s two preseason exhibitions on Oct. 30 against Walsh at Value City Arena. Opening tip is scheduled for 7 p.m. read more

Urban Meyer Ohio State nowhere near national championship conversation

The first question for Ohio State coach Urban Meyer wasn’t about who the team’s leaders would be after losing former captains John Simon and Zach Boren. It wasn’t about how Meyer and the Buckeyes’ defense would replace seven starters. It wasn’t even about sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, or about the return of running back Jordan Hall after being granted a medical redshirt for 2012. No – the first question aimed at Meyer in his first press conference in more than a month was about Alabama and if OSU could raise itself to the Crimson Tide’s level next year. And after the program’s first undefeated campaign since 2002, an appearance on the sport’s highest stage might be a plausible expectation in 2013. But Meyer isn’t buying it. “For me to say we have to get (to the national championship) next year, that’s like me talking about we have to go fly to the moon,” Meyer said Friday. “We’re nowhere near even having that conversation.” Meyer, who witnessed Alabama’s 42-14 win against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game for himself as a guest analyst for ESPN, lauded coach Nick Saban’s squad as the most fundamental group he’d seen all year. The former Florida coach, though, couldn’t say the same for OSU. “Fundamentally we are not where we need to be,” Meyer said. At least not this early in January. In part, it’s why Meyer said he installed a new team mantra, a theme he labeled as “truth.” “Truth means … you have a good season and there’s a lot of conversation about things that really shouldn’t be discussed because it’s not true,” Meyer said. Such noise could be the buzz surrounding OSU as early national title contenders next season. Meyer, though, maintained the Buckeyes have their work cut out for them – particularly when it pertains to elite teams like Alabama. “To say that we could roll in there and beat a team like that, I don’t know,” he said. “Honest answer, right now, too many holes to fill.” But don’t mistake Meyer’s take for a lack of confidence in his squad. He said OSU can play with anyone. “I think we’re a very good team that could compete with any team in the country. I didn’t feel that way early in the year, even in the middle of the year,” he said. “But the last game, I even said that after the season, that’s where I believe we are.” read more

Buckeyes chop down Penn State in Big Ten hockey play

Junior forward Matt Johnson (26) fights for the puck during a game against Penn State Jan. 31 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 5-1.Credit: Alexis Hill / Lantern photographerOhio State men’s hockey coach Steve Rohlik had a simple message for his team heading into its matchup with Penn State.“I told our guys, ‘Chop down a tree today,’” Rohlik said after Saturday’s game. Though his use of such a metaphor could come off as confusing to some, his team must have gotten the message.The Buckeyes (14-9-1, 4-5-1-0) made efficient work of cutting down the Nittany Lions (4-17-1, 0-8-0-0), sweeping them in a weekend at the Schottenstein Center.OSU was met with some resistance to begin Saturday’s encounter, as the Nittany Lions held a two-goal advantage heading into the second period.But then the Buckeyes went to work, chopping away at the deficit just as Rohlik intended.Junior forwards Tanner Fritz and Ryan Dzingel scored power play goals in the second period before sophomore forward Anthony Greco posted a goal of his own for the go-ahead late in the period.Two more goals in the third put an exclamation point on the comeback win, one that showed Rohlik what his team can do.“I saw a hockey team grow up today. I’m proud of these guys,” Rohlik said. “They never panicked. They got in the locker room, talked about what we needed to do and got back to the basics.”Freshman goalie Christian Frey started both games on the weekend, making a career-high 46 saves Friday night as OSU dominated the Nittany Lions in a 5-1 win.Frey, who was added to the OSU roster in December because of injuries and the departure of sophomore Collin Olson for the USHL, has won five of his six starts and said he is enjoying his switch to college hockey.“It’s weird coming to a new team halfway through the year,” Frey said after Friday’s win. “But the guys have been great to me and I feel like it’s been a smooth transition.”Dzingel and fellow junior forward Max McCormick led the way with two goals each as the Buckeyes had another three goal second period that put the game beyond doubt.McCormick said the Buckeyes know what they are capable of and just want to live up to their own expectations.“We know we have (potential) in our locker room,” McCormick said. “It’s just a matter of if we execute the things that (our) coaches are asking us to do.”Saturday’s game was a special day for the OSU men’s hockey program as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Three members of the inaugural team participated in a ceremonial puck drop, while the All-Buckeye Team was recognized during the first intermission.Rohlik was quick to recognize how important the history of the program is to the current team.“Those (alumni) are the reason we’re here, they put the bricks in the wall,” Rohlik said. “We’re just carrying the torch for this program.”Whether it’s carrying the torch or chopping down trees, this OSU team is doing it all with confidence.The Buckeyes are back on the road next weekend to face Michigan State. Friday’s game is set for 6:30 p.m. and Saturday’s game is set for 4 p.m. read more

Mens hockey Statement weekend Buckeyes close regular season at No 16 Wisconsin

OSU sophomore forward Mason Jobst (26) and Michigan State senior center Thomas Ebbing (28) try and locate the puck after a faceoff in the third period of a game on March 3 at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio. OSU lost, 5-4. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz | Lantern photographerOn the verge of the Big Ten tournament next week in Detroit, the No. 15 Ohio State men’s hockey team (18-10-6, 9-8-1-1) closes out its regular-season schedule with one final road trip to take on the Wisconsin Badgers for two conference clashes.The No. 16 Badgers (19-12-1, 12-6-0-0) swept the first meeting between both sides in late January, earning a 3-1 victory at the Schottenstein Center in the first game, and a 3-2 overtime win at Madison Square Garden in the second. Both the Buckeyes and Badgers are in contention for an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament. The Badgers rest in a tie with Notre Dame for the No. 13 spot in the PairWise rankings — the de facto Division I college hockey bracketology. The Scarlet and Gray find themselves at No. 17 — one spot outside the teams that are ultimately selected.OSU senior forward and captain Nick Schilkey — who missed the first two contests against Wisconsin due to injury — said he and the Buckeyes are aware of the situation both teams find themselves in.“Both teams are playing for that (NCAA) tournament bid right now, and we can easily flip-flop with them, or they can really solidify themselves to get the automatic bid in the tournament,” Schilkey said. “So, certainly, this is a playoff-type weekend for us.”Additionally, a relatively young Badgers roster has relied on its underclassmen since the first two meetings with the Scarlet and Gray to propel them into second place in the Big Ten standings.Wisconsin sophomore forward Luke Kunin has registered 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his last 10 games. Freshman forward Trent Frederic is also heating up on the ice with 14 points (eight goals, six assists) during that span.Despite his absence in the first series, Schilkey said he watched the two games and saw OSU possess a number of chances to score and change the final result. He also said the Buckeyes’ personnel and game plan will be vital in order to have success this weekend.“I think we match up really well against their defense as forwards,” Schilkey said. “If we can sustain offense in their end, we can dominate all night.”As the regular season comes to a close this weekend, OSU sits on the edge of sealing its first NCAA tournament berth since 2009. The Buckeyes will earn an automatic bid to the NCAAs with a Big Ten tournament championship.Despite having postseason aspirations on the line in the coming weeks, Buckeyes coach Steve Rohlik said that his squad’s mindset is centered on one thing: Game 1, Friday night.“The only thing we can control right now is Friday,” Rohlik said. “That’s all we’re really focused on right now, is to go up there and try to play our best hockey game Friday against a very good team in their barn — and they’re playing for an awful lot as well. Our focus really, to be honest with you, is to trying to put a 60-minute game together Friday night.”Puck drop from the Kohl Center Friday and Saturday night is slated for 8 p.m. read more

Schoolboy who ran away because he was bored reveals he has spent

first_imgArthur Heeler-Frood After more than two months of silence – with no clue as to his whereabouts – Arthur was spotted by a member of the public on a train travelling from Exeter to Honiton, just 12 miles from his family home in Axminster.His reappearance so close to home raised the question as to whether he had travelled anywhere further than Bristol, never mind Paris or even London.But on Wednesday morning Arthur released a statement suggesting he had succeeded in indulging his ambition for adventure, while at the same time apologising for any inconvenience he had caused.He said: “I have spent the last 10 weeks exploring London, Birmingham and Manchester by foot, sleeping rough at night. I am very grateful to everyone who has helped my family in trying to ensure my safe return. I apologise to the police for the time they spent looking for me and for the worry I have caused family and friends.” Arthur was reading George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London before he left home  The teenager had taken £350 of his savings with him when he left home on September 6, but had left behind his passport and had no phone or bank cards with him.In a poignant note found shortly after he went missing Arthur asked his parents not to look for him and promised to return within a year. He wrote “To Mum and Dad, I have run away because I am bored of my life. Please don’t try to find me or make me come home. I don’t know how long I will be away for, but it won’t be any longer than a year. “You will find my school uniform in a bin bag in a small barn in the field on the green, down the road from Membury church. My bike is chained to the fence, there is a spare key to the lock on the window.”The teenager added: “Please can you apologise to the restaurant and tell them that I will no longer be able to work there. I know you will be upset, but understand that I have to do this. From Arthur.” Orwell’s 1933 memoir details his time spent living with the poor and destitute Arthur Heeler-Frood’s parents Caroline and Jeremy appeared on This Morning as they sought witnessesCredit:Ken McKay /ITV / Rex / Shutterstock Jeremy and Caroline Heller-Frood said outside their house: “He is safe and well. We’ve just got home with him and want a little bit of time to talk to him. He was recognised on a train. He was coming home and he is fine and well.”In a statement issued shortly after they added: “We are overjoyed to have Arthur home with us again; tired, grubby and rather smelly but otherwise none the worse for his experiences. We feel extremely lucky that he is safe and sound.” Arthur Heeler-Frood said he was ‘very grateful to everyone who has helped my family in trying to ensure my safe return’Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police Mr and Mrs Heeler-Frood thanked Devon and Cornwall for their “professionalism and their tireless search for Arthur”.The couple, who were reunited with Arthur at their home near Axminster on Tuesday evening, also thanked the media for helping raise awareness of his disappearance.They added: “We now wish to spend some time in private with Arthur to settle him back home and to make some plans for his future.”Arthur was found on Tuesday when a member of the public called police after seeing him on a train travelling from Exeter to Honiton.Officers met Arthur at Honiton station before taking him home. He went missing after leaving his family home in Axminster on the morning of Tuesday 6 September. The alarm was raised after he failed to turn up at school. The teenager had gained 12 GCSEs at A* and A this summer and had just started his A-levels at Colyton Grammar, one of the country’s top state schools.Before he left, Arthur also worked in a restaurant kitchen, just as Orwell had done in Paris.Speaking before his son had been found Mr Heeler-Frood, 54, said: “Arthur didn’t run away from home like a lot of kids because he was in a bad place.“That wasn’t the case from him. It was more he had  . . .  He has a zest for life.”Mrs Heeler-Frood said: ““The book he was reading before he left was Down and Out in Paris and London. You wonder if that had been influence. He was reading it on a Kindle, which he left behind.”Orwell’s book recounts his time living with the poor and destitute of Europe, working in restaurants in Paris and spending time alongside tramps and vagrants.Arthur’s reappearance came two days after Facebook agreed to hand over details of any activity on his account to his parents and police in an attempt to help them trace his movements.Mrs Heeler-Food said the social media giant had previously ignored her letters urging them to help. Mrs Heeler-Frood, 53, confirmed that Arthur had not travelled abroad during his disappearance. Arthur Heeler-Frood's parents Caroline and Jeremy appeared on This Morning as they sought witnesses Arthur’s relieved parents spoke of their joy at being reunited with their son – and even managed to poke some gentle fun at the state of his appearance when he finally reappeared. His head full of George Orwell’s adventures as a vagrant and itinerant dishwasher 15-year-old Arthur Heeler-Frood appeared to be determined to follow in the writer’s footsteps.Shortly after reading his seminal 1933 work Down and Out in Paris and London on his Kindle, the teenager disappeared from home, leaving behind a note declaring “I have run away because I am bored of my life”.Ten weeks later the schoolboy has been found safe and well, revealing that he spent his time sleeping rough while exploring England’s three largest cities. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

UK weather London may face snow as forecasters warn drivers to be

first_imgEarly cloud and rain will clear from the east on Saturday, leading to sunshine and showers, perhaps heavy and thundery.There will be spells of wet and windy weather likely on Sunday and Monday, but it is expected to be milder. A yellow weather warning has been issued for the south east and east of the country between 4am and 10am, warning rush-hour drivers to be careful on the roads. “Icy patches are possible at first on Friday morning, which may lead to difficult driving conditions on untreated roads and slippery conditions on pavements,” forecasters added. The snow is expected to stop later in the day, leading to a rise in temperatures and some rain.  London could face flurries of snow on Friday, forecasters warned as they urged drivers to be careful. Temperatures are expected to remain low as a band of rain, sleet and snow moves north across southeastern parts of England.The Met Office warned: “Amounts of snow are likely to be trivial, but any rain falling onto already sub-zero surfaces could lead to ice developing in places, particularly on untreated roads and pavements.”Friday’s weather: 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. Good evening, Isabel here tonight. Cold overnight with a risk of frost and ice in places. Check your forecast here:— Met Office (@metoffice) January 26, 2017last_img read more

Bring back beavers to fight flooding and pollution expert claims

first_imgThe poster which Sir Benjamin Slade has erected outside his house in Somerset offering a dead or alive reward for beavers accused of wrecking trees on his estateCredit:Benjamin Slade/SWNS Beaver Prof Brazier’s claims were disputed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), which warned that the reintroduction of beavers to Scotland had led to fields and forests becoming damaged. Prof Brazier said: “We see quite a lot of soil erosion from agricultural land round here (near Okehampton).”Our trial has shown that the beavers are able to dam our streams in a way that keeps soil in the headwaters of our catchment so it doesn’t clog up rivers downstream and pollute our drinking and bathing waters.”Farmers should be happy that beavers are solving some of the problems that intensive farming creates.”If we bring beavers back it’s just one tool we need to solve Britain’s crisis of soil loss and diffuse agricultural pollution of waterways, but it’s a useful tool.” Spokesman Mark Pope said: “The knowledge of the impacts beavers have had to farmland, riverbanks and flood defences in Scotland is concerning. We await the (formal) results of the Devon trial and will analyse the outcomes then”. Will beavers like this one become an ever more common sight in the UK? However Professor Jane Rickson, a soil specialist from Cranfield University, Bedfordshire, joined the NFU in sounding a note of caution. beaver Reintroducing beavers to Britain could help clean up rivers, prevent flooding and minimise soil loss, an expert has claimed.Professor Richard Brazier, a researcher at the University of Exeter, said unpublished preliminary results from a trial area in Devon showed muddy water entering an area where the creatures were living was three times cleaner when it left.And he said farmers should be grateful to the buck-toothed beasts cleaning up pollution caused by carbon and nitrogen from fertilisers being released into the environment.center_img Beavers beaver 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. Even beavers divide opinion Bavarian beavers thought to have escaped or been released into the wild in the Forfar area of Scotland about fifteen years ago have been blamed for damage to tress and water ditchesCredit:Stuart Nicol/Nicol Photography She agreed that in some places in the UK there was evidence of worrying soil loss, and said new policies were urgently needed.Beavers may in fact reduce the river channel and remove vegetation, exposing banks to greater erosion and increasing, rather than decreasing, the risk of flooding, she warned.And she said beaver dams should be “leaky” to avoid build-ups of large volumes of water.An Environment Agency spokesman said: “Natural and hard flood defences both have an important role in keeping communities safe – though introducing beavers does not form part of our approach.” Beavers were common inhabitants of the UK’s waterways for centuries, until hunting for their valuable pelts led to their eventual extinction.Prof Brazier, an expert in Earth Surface Processes, insisted the animals could even play a useful role in preventing flooding – an increasingly common problem across parts of England.He told BBC News: “The public is currently paying people to build leaky dams to keep storm waters in the uplands.”The beavers can do it free of charge and even build their own homes. They are busy as beavers. It’s a no-brainer.”His claims were in part supported by Devon Wildlife Trust’s Mark Elliott, who said that wildlife habitat in two areas in the north of the county had improved since the introduction of two beavers in 2011, with frogs and herons seeing particular benefits.”We shouldn’t be surprised – beavers were part of our landscape and so many creatures evolved alongside them,” he said.last_img read more

How Bake Off could have looked without Mel and Sue Other stars

first_img Show more When it was announced that Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins were leaving The Great British Bake Off, loyal fans were dismayed.What would the show be without its star presenters? But while Mel and Sue became two of the best-loved elements of the show, they were not the first names considered as potential hosts.A list of “talent suggestions” for the very first Bake Off series, disclosed for the first time, features more than a dozen names – and some of them are unlikely choices.Top Gear’s Richard Hammond, then also hosting the family show Total Wipeout, was under consideration. The programme will feature four commercial breaks and sponsorship plugs for Dr Oetker and Lyle’s Golden Syrup.Jay Hunt, Channel 4’s chief creative officer, said this week that the show only needs three million viewers to break even and she would be “delighted” with five million.However, Paul Hollywood said: “Bake Off’s not broken. If we were in a slump, down to something like eight million, then we’d say we need to change something. But we don’t.”The new presenters are Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding, with Prue Leith replacing Mary Berry. Hollywood is the only member of the original on-screen team to remain with the show. Could Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen have sunk his teeth into Bake Off?Credit:Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen Joanna Lumley Alan Davies, a BBC favourite for his performances in Jonathan Creek and on the panel show QI, was one of the names.There was also a mention of Pauline Quirke, the Birds of a Feather actress who appeared on a 2007 edition of Celebrity MasterChef but was dismissed for creating a dish “in no way resembling a meal”.The list of names was produced when the programme was in development with the BBC in 2009. 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. Joanna Lumley, best known for her role in Absolutely Fabulous, was one of those consideredCredit:Julian Simmonds for The Telegraphcenter_img Fielding, a surprise choice for the role, said he had bonded with Toksvig, who is 15 years his senior: “I was so excited getting to work with Sandi because when you get to work with people who you grew up loving, it’s amazing.” Joanna Lumley, Dawn French and Victoria Wood were all in the mix, along with Changing Rooms designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Countryfile’s Julia Bradbury, A Place In The Sun presenter Amanda Lamb, broadcaster Giles Coren and Ready Steady Cook’s Ainsley Harriott. It is not known whether any of them was approached or asked to audition. Instead, the controller of BBC Two, Janice Hadlow, suggested Mel and Sue. They went on to present the show for seven series before quitting when the show made its £75 million move to Channel 4. Lumley and Wood did eventually make an appearance on the show, as contestants in the Comic Relief editions.The final BBC series launched with 10.4 million viewers and peaked at over 14 million. It remains to be seen how many will follow the show to its new home on a commercial broadcaster. The programme-makers took Fielding to a garden centre to observe him interacting with members of the public as part of his audition process.Asked recently if he missed the old team, Hollywood said: “No. We still text each other… To be brutally honest, I didn’t really see a lot of them outside Bake Off. None of us did. But with this team there’s real banter, a good laugh.” Could Richard Hammond have done well on Bake Off?Credit:Eric Gaillard/Reuters Richard Hammondlast_img read more

Nicola Sturgeon reveals she sipped champagne from the Calcutta Cup

first_imgNicola Sturgeon has revealed that she joined the celebrations in the Scotland dressing room after the defeat of England in the Six Nations rugby clash and sipped champagne from the Calcutta Cup.The First Minister was invited to join the players after watching from the stand on Saturday as the Scots won 25-13 to claim the cup for the first time in 10 years.She said she believed the victory gave the whole of Scotland a “feel good factor”, and added that she had “never hugged so many sweaty, muddy guys in one go”.She said: “The guys were on cloud nine. That was a good atmosphere, if a little bit crazy.”I can’t remember which player it was but they put the cup in my hands, which was great, and then said take a drink out of it. finn russell It is fair to say, this was a very special moment! Well done to @gregortownsend and all of our bravehearts in @Scotlandteam #proud #AsOne— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) February 24, 2018 “They had put champagne in it so I took a sip out of the Calcutta Cup, which not very many people get to do. It was a really special moment and I’ll remember it for a long time.”Ms Sturgeon told BBC Radio Scotland’s John Beattie programme it was a great privilege to be a “tiny part of that for a small period of time”. Finn Russell and teammates celebrate victoryCredit:Gettycenter_img The First Minister added: “Obviously the 60,00 in Murrayfield were euphoric and the sound of Flower of Scotland ringing out in the last couple of minutes of that match was awesome.”But I think it leads to a general feel-good atmosphere across the country.” She was joined in the post-match celebrations by the author JK Rowling. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

David Gauke should accept responsibility for mistakes he made in Worboys case

first_imgTwo victims were forced to mount a crowd-funded legal challenge against Worboys’ release after Mr Gauke’s refusal to launch a judicial review, based on legal advice he had been given by a QC. The head of the Parole Board which caused outrage by initially deciding to grant John Worboys an early release has called on the Justice Secretary to take responsibility for the situation.This week, the parole board’s decision was overturned by the High Court after an alleged victim came forward to challenge it. There are now calls for Justice Secretay David Gauke to resign.Professor Nick Hardwick this morning told the Radio 4 Today Programme that he was forced out by Mr Gauke, despite having nothing to do with the controversial decision to grant Worboys an early release.Mr Hardwick, who quit as chairman after being told by Justice Secretary David Gauke that his position was untenable, said: “I didn’t resign willingly. I resigned because I had no choice.”He said: “I accept that the Parole Board got it wrong, but I personally had no role in the decision.”The professor claimed the Parole Board was not given material relating to the alleged other crimes of Worboys, meaning they could not take the information into account while making the decision.  Show more He explained: “”The judgment is very clear that the dossier provided to the panel by the Secretary of State did not contain all the information it should have done, and that the Secretary of State’s representative, who was at the panel, didn’t in any way suggest that the panel should have discussed those other matters. V unimpressed by @DavidGauke refusal to accept any @MoJGovUK responsibility on Worboys case when as Nick Hardwick confirms on @BBCr4today they were responsible for evidence to Parole Board & failure to contact victims. Won’t learn lessons if they don’t accept what they got wrong— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) March 29, 2018 They won their case after the judges said both the Parole Board and the Ministry of Justice had made errors during the parole hearing last year, when David Lidington was justice secretary.It means Worboys will remain in prison pending a fresh hearing in front of a different panel. “I don’t think the Secretary of State should resign but I think he should accept responsibility for the mistakes he made because that is the only way we can put things right.”Mr Hardwick said the Ministry of Justice needs to take responsibility and learn lessons from the case, adding: “I don’t think the Ministry of Justice is being correct in this.”I accept that the Parole Board was wrong, but what I don’t accept is that we were any more responsible than the Ministry of Justice, and I don’t believe that the right lessons will be learned in this case if the only people accepting responsibility are the Parole Board.” When asked if he was being scapegoated, Hardwick said: “I wouldn’t use the word scapegoated but what I would say is that all of those responsible for this case have to take their share of responsibility.”I have always said I’ll take responsibility for the work of the Parole Board.”I accept my share of the responsibility, I think others should do so too.”Tory MPs and Mr Hardwick himself yesterday suggested Mr Gauke – who refused to challenge the Parole Board’s decision to free Worboys – should now consider his own position. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

NHS surgeon accused of racism and forced out of job after raising

The hearing continues. Peter Duffy claims he was forced to quit his job at the RLI  He was said to have streamlined the care of urology patients and reduced waiting lists to a level that had “not been seen for a considerable time prior to his arrival”.He was also praised for treating all members of the team equally, “getting stuck in, even mopping the floor between theatre cases.”But that year, consultant Saleem Nassem, one of the RLI doctors he had complained about, was appointed co-clinical lead for the trust’s urology department.He claimed that one colleague told him: “You’ve made enemies here. They’ve got the means, the motive and now the opportunity to finally get shot of you.”Mr Duffy resigned in 2016 complaining that his pay had been cut amid unproven allegations about his own overtime hours.He is claiming constructive dismissal, alleging he was the victim of a “witch hunt.” He said on his last day senior managers “treated him like he’d got the Ebola virus.”In a statement given to the Manchester industrial tribunal, Mr Duffy, from Lancaster, said he had been the victim of a “sustained campaign of victimisation, vilification and disinformation.””I firmly believe and was warned by colleagues that the campaign waged against me was one of retaliation for my protected disclosures,” he added. In 2015, Mr Duffy transferred to Furness General Hospital, Barrow, where he was voted “Doctor of the Year by patients and colleagues at Morecambe Bay Hospitals NHS Trust. Mr Duffy said that since his “forced resignation” he had discovered that anonymous allegations were made to police suggesting he was a racist bully and that all ethnic minority doctors at the hospital were “in fear of him,” it was said.A secret meeting was also allegedly held without Mr Duffy’s knowledge in which he was accused of racism by the three consultants, Kavinda Madhra, Ashutush Jain and Saleem Nassem. None of the claims were substantiated.He added in his statement: “It is difficult to overstate the sheer toxicity of these utterly false allegations. I was warned in my first few months in the Trust that I must at all costs avoid an allegation of racism against me.”I was told that such allegations, even if entirely unwarranted can destroy careers and that the NHS tended to regard racism allegations as “guilty until proven guilty”.The urologist, who now works for a hospital on the Isle of Mann, said he had been left “extremely traumatised” by his treatment and felt unable to work for the NHS again. Peter Duffy receives his Doctor of the Year’ awardCredit:Cavendish Press  “I was clearly threatened, abused, victimised and briefed against by those individuals who did not share my belief in a high quality clinical service in the best traditions of the NHS and who clearly felt threatened by my protected disclosures.” 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. Peter Duffy receives his Doctor of the Year' award Peter Duffy claims he was forced to quit his job at the RLI Credit: Cavendish Press/MIKE SWARBRICK An NHS surgeon voted Doctor of the Year was forced to resign after being accused of racism for raising concerns about the abilities of three Asian colleagues, a tribunal has heard.Peter Duffy, 56, reported one Indian doctor for missing “several” cancers, playing a round of golf when he had been called to treat a patient and being unable to use an ultra sound machine.The married father-of-three also claimed that two other doctors, from India and Pakistan, had bungled operations, tried to “suppress discussion” over the avoidable death of a man who had had sepsis and were involved in possible overtime fraud.But Mr Duffy, a consultant urologist, said he was subjected to “malicious, toxic and utterly false” allegations over a ten year period working at Royal Lancaster Infirmary (RLI) and was warned to “watch his back” over his whistleblowing.It was claimed that one of the doctors vowed he would be “taught a lesson,” while another was said to be “spitting blood” after being suspended.He claims he was “brutally driven out” by colleagues intent on revenge. read more