American Justin Gatlin Narrowly Defeats Usain Bolt in 100

ROME – At the Golden Gala meet here Thursday American sprinter Justin Gatlin narrowly defeated Jamaican Usain Bolt, capturing the 100 meter gold with a time of 9.94 seconds.Bolt, who received the silver, finished with a time of 9.95 seconds, suffering his first major loss since his false-start disqualification at the 2011 world championships in South Korea.  Jimmy Vicaut of France finished third with a time of 10.02 seconds.“That was ridiculous – a perfect start and then I just cropped off,” Bolt said. “I think it was this perfect start that threw my game off. I have to do more strength work, I guess. I think it needs just some time to get it all back together. At the end it was just not me.”Bolt, who is a six-time Olympic champion, appeared to have difficulties in the first 50 meters of the race despite getting out of the blocks strongly. He appeared to be catching Gatlin toward the finish, but he was a little too late.“My legs did not have the energy,” Bolt said. “At 50 meters I had some problems, but the rest of the race was not bad.”Despite being the current world-record holder in 100-meter races, Bolt has gotten off to a surprisingly slow start this year. In his first race this year, he won with a slow time of 10.09 in the Cayman Islands, even though he was suffering a hamstring injury. He defeated his training partner Kemar Bailey-Cole in a photo finish, who finished with the same time.Bolt remained positive after his defeat acknowledging that he is going through the motions in the early track season that will prepare him for the world championships in Moscow in August.However, Gatlin presents a formidable hurdle in Bolt’s quest to capture gold in Moscow. Gatlin has won all five of his 100-meter races this year. He ran 9.97 seconds in Doha, Qatar, and a wind-aided 9.88 in Eugene, Ore., last weekend.Thursday was the first time that Gatlin and Bolt had raced each other since last year’s London Olympics final. Bolt won the race with a time of 9.63 seconds, while fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake took silver with 9.75. Gatlin finished third with a 9.79.Gatlin is managing to get back to his winning ways since he was suspended in 2006 for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, ultimately leading to a four-year ban. At the time of his suspension he was the reigning Olympic champion, having won the 100 at the 2004 Athens Games.Bolt will now travel to Oslo, Norway, to compete in the 200 and then return to Jamaica for the Jamaican championships. Gatlin will now focus his attention on the U.S. trials this month. read more

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Its The Final Takedown

Embed Code Welcome to the latest — and last! — episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. Last week, President Trump spoke out against NFL athletes like Colin Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem. On the podcast’s final episode (Sept. 26, 2017), we discuss how Trump’s comments are an example of the way that hot takes have changed over the years. Next, Chad, Neil and Kate discuss what they’ve learned from the last three years of doing the podcast.Thanks so much for listening to the show. We’ll be debuting our new NBA podcast, The Lab, next week. If you’re already a subscriber to Hot Takedown, you’ll automatically be subscribed to the new podcast. If you’re not, and you’d like to listen to The Lab, please subscribe to Hot Takedown now.Links to what we discussed this week:The New York Times’s Juliet Macur asks whether this week’s NFL protests were a one-day revolt or something more.FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten wrote that the NFL protests are unpopular now — but they may not always be. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight read more

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Are Any Of MLBs Breakout Teams For Real

Are Any Of MLBs Breakout Teams For Real

RangersAL West14-1314591473+14+4 MarinersAL West18-1314911497+7+3 CardinalsNL Central18-1015251537+12+23 TeamDivisionRecordPreseasonCurrentEloPlayoff odds We can break the most improved teams into a couple of groups. One features teams that were on the edge of contention before the season and whose hot starts solidified them as teams to be reckoned with in the playoff race. The other contains clubs who were not “supposed” to be this good (or even good at all) in the eyes of the preseason projections. These teams are in an interesting spot because their playoff odds are still low despite their promising showings. So how well they maintain their surprising performances will have a big effect on their decision-making around July’s trade deadline.Playing themselves into contentionNo team has improved its playoff odds more in April than the Tampa Bay Rays, who had a 42 percent shot at the postseason on opening day but as of Tuesday boasted a 74 percent chance to make the playoffs. Some of that is a byproduct of Boston’s poor start — the Red Sox had shed an MLB-high 39 points of playoff probability since starting the season — but the Rays are also a great example of a team that makes shrewd acquisitions and gets the most out of its talent. In addition to known commodities Tommy Pham, Kevin Kiermaier and Blake Snell, Tampa is also getting unexpectedly great performances out of infielders Yandy Diaz and Brandon Lowe, right fielder Austin Meadows1Who is currently on the injured list. and pitcher Tyler Glasnow. Some of that quartet’s early numbers are bound to revert to the mean, but Diaz, Lowe and Meadows all rank among the top 20 percent of hitters in exit velocity, and Glasnow has elite underlying indicators. Although the injury-plagued Yankees are the AL East favorites in our model, no team currently has better wild-card odds than Tampa Bay.As we mentioned before the season, the Minnesota Twins figured to be right in the most precarious zone between making and missing the postseason. A few extra wins here or there, and the Twins’ playoff odds would increase massively; a few extra losses, and they might be left out in the October cold. So Minnesota has done itself a huge favor by getting off to a 17-10 start, which is third-best in baseball. Obvious star candidates such as Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios have played well, but the Twins’ hot April was fueled even more by breakout seasons from the likes of Jorge Polanco (162 adjusted on-base plus slugging), Eddie Rosario (130) and even catcher Mitch Garver (203). Minnesota’s rotation has huge questions beyond Berrios and Jake Odorizzi, but with the Indians’ talent advantage in the AL Central diminished relative to previous seasons, the Twins have played their way into what could be the division’s most interesting race in years.The St. Louis Cardinals are a little different from the Rays and Twins because we basically listed them as co-favorites (with the Brewers and Cubs) in the NL Central during spring training. Still, with an 85-win projection on the heels of a three-year playoff drought, the Cards’ postseason fate was far from assured. The team’s hot start, however, has set St. Louis up with a 67 percent chance of making the playoffs as of Tuesday — 23 percentage points higher than it was before the season started. Prized offseason acquisition Paul Goldschmidt has been his usual self, while lineup mates Paul DeJong, Marcell Ozuna, Kolten Wong and Dexter Fowler have exploded for huge seasons so far. It’s fair to wonder how long some of that can last: At age 33, Fowler is a little old to suddenly emerge as a 5-win player, while DeJong has a .607 slugging percentage despite an average exit velocity in the bottom third of MLB. But by the same token, the Cardinals’ pitching is probably better than its current 25th-place ranking in wins above replacement,2Using a mix of the WAR versions found at FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.com. particularly once Carlos Martinez returns from injury this month. Whatever happens, St. Louis has given itself the early edge in a brutal division race.We’re good! OK, now what?The Texas Rangers got everybody’s attention over the weekend by blistering the Seattle Mariners by a combined score of 29-2 in back-to-back games. The Rangers are 14-14, but they also have a +9 run differential against a schedule that ranks second-toughest in baseball so far, according to the average Elo rating of its opponents. Texas wasn’t supposed to be competitive like this: They haven’t broken .500 since 2016, and they lost longtime franchise cornerstone Adrian Beltre to retirement over the offseason. But the team has seen a handful of pleasant surprises early on — starting with pitcher Mike Minor, who boasts the eighth-best adjusted earned run average (174) in the AL. Left fielder Joey Gallo has launched 10 home runs already, Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo have produced vintage seasons, and Danny Santana has recaptured the form that saw him vie for rookie of the year honors in 2014. But even with all that, Texas is still just third in the AL West, and our model gives it only a 7 percent chance of making the playoffs. In the race to the bottom for better picks, the Rangers were looking before the season like they might get a top-five selection in next summer’s MLB draft, but now their hot start might have them rethinking their rebuilding trajectory for the time being.Similarly, the Arizona Diamondbacks seemed destined for a rebuild after trading Goldschmidt to the Cardinals and watching free agents such as Patrick Corbin walk during the winter. Yet those plans might need to be put on hold in light of the team’s 17-13 start. According to our model, the D-backs on Tuesday had a 35 percent chance to make the playoffs (up 12 percentage points from preseason) and are on track to win 83 games, which would actually be an improvement on last year’s record despite the offseason talent exodus. First baseman Christian Walker (151 OPS+) has come out of nowhere with a scorching start, Zack Greinke continues to pitch like an ace, and closer Greg Holland hasn’t yet allowed a run. Arizona has gotten strong performances up and down the lineup, including from the likes of David Peralta, Adam Jones, Ketel Marte, Eduardo Escobar, Nick Ahmed and Jarrod Dyson. The Dodgers look too good to realistically be chased down in the West, but the D-backs are still in the NL’s playoff race, however improbably.The Seattle Mariners have cooled off some after their 13-2 start, going 5-12 since April 11. Even so, they’re another team with better playoff odds (15 percent as of Tuesday) than we’d expect from their offseason dealings — which included losing free agent slugger Nelson Cruz and trading ace pitcher James Paxton, closer Edwin Diaz and star second baseman Robinson Cano. Even through its recent slump, Seattle maintains MLB’s third-highest batting WAR courtesy of big years from Daniel Vogelbach (224 OPS+ !), Omar Narvaez (140) and Tim Beckham (139), to go with the usual mashing by Edwin Encarnacion (136), Domingo Santana (131) and Mitch Haniger (131). Starter Marco Gonzalez has also delivered an unexpectedly great season thus far, with a 150 ERA+ that has him leading the AL in pitching WAR. Seattle’s big home run rate (4.7 percent of all plate appearances) is out of line with its batted-ball metrics, and the team’s defense remains abysmal, so it’s no surprise that a regression has already begun to set in. But by virtue of their early record — still among the best in baseball — the Mariners will have to decide whether to try to end the franchise’s long-running playoff drought by making upgrades this season or to keep biding their time for a future postseason run.Check out our latest MLB predictions.CORRECTION (May 2, 2019, 11:40 a.m.): An earlier version of the table in this story listed the wrong division for three teams. The Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays play in the AL East, and the Philadelphia Phillies play in the NL East. RaysAL East19-915251539+13+32 D-backsNL West16-1314971510+12+12 Blue JaysAL East14-1414821488+6+2 CubsNL Central14-1215211527+6+6 MLB’s most improved teams since preseasonMLB teams with the largest change in FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings between opening day and April 30, 2019 Elo Ratingschange TwinsAL Central17-915081520+13+26 Statheads know that it usually takes roughly 70 games for baseball results to really start meaning something. On the first day of May a year ago, the New York Mets were 17-9 and the Los Angeles Dodgers were 12-16. Needless to say, both these teams’ fortunes would change: The Mets immediately collapsed into oblivion; the Dodgers went 80-55 the rest of the way and made the World Series. So the sensible move would be to sit tight and ignore the standings for a few more weeks.But we obviously aren’t going to do that — it’s too much fun to speculate about which hot starts are for real. And MLB’s first full month had plenty of interesting results: As some favorites’ playoff chances have receded, other teams have put themselves in strong postseason position already. Here are the teams that have improved the most in our MLB Elo ratings since opening day: PhilliesNL East16-1215191521+2+9 Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, Baseball Databank DodgersNL West19-1215621566+4+9 read more

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World Cup Crib Notes Day 16

World Cup Crib Notes Day 16

The World Cup’s knockout stage begins Saturday, with both matchups pitting South American teams against each other. Lose and they’re gone.Brazil vs. Chile 12 p.m. EDTColombia vs. Uruguay 4 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.IN DEPTHUruguay must face Colombia without striker Luis Suárez, who has been suspended nine games for eating a little Italian (defender Giorgio Chiellini) during Uruguay’s 1-0 victory over Italy on Tuesday. That’s good news for Colombian players who don’t care to be sampled like beef jerky, but bad news for Uruguay, which has proven itself to be more effective with Suárez than without him.Suárez’s teammates missed him when sat out Uruguay’s June 14 Group D match against Costa Rica because of tenderness from a knee operation three weeks earlier. Although Uruguay possessed the ball 56 percent of the time, it managed just nine shots (compared to Costa Rica’s 13), with only three on target. Without Suárez, Uruguay couldn’t finish and lost 3-1.Contrast that to Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over England on June 19. With Suárez in the lineup, the Uruguayans possessed the ball only 37 percent of the time but made the most of their opportunities: Suárez took Uruguay’s only two shots on frame and converted on both. He didn’t score when the team edged Italy 1-0, but he took a good bite out of the Italians’ concentration, and the Uruguayans scored soon after.The Colombians are led by attacking midfielder James Rodríguez, who has three goals and two assists in the tournament. Our World Cup predictive model gives Colombia a 69 percent chance of beating Uruguay.Saturday’s other match pits host Brazil, which won twice and drew once in Group A play, against Chile, which went 2-1 in Group B. ESPN’s Soccer Power Index rates Brazil as the best team in the world, and our model gives it a 41 percent chance of winning the tournament. We give it a 82 percent chance of beating Chile.OFF THE PITCHBrazil and Chile aren’t neighbors, but that hasn’t stopped them from forming close ties, both historically and in the modern day. After winning their independence from Portugal and Spain, respectively, in the early-19th century, their relations began with mutual support in separate conflicts with Argentina. More recently, the two countries signed bilateral agreements in education, culture and research — and that was before Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was re-elected and promised to put more focus on the nation’s relationship with Brazil. But what does that mean for these countries’ trade?According to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity, the cooperation translates. In 2012, Brazil sent $9.59 billion worth of exports to Chile, but without a focus on one particular product. The biggest share was crude petroleum, at about 26 percent, but public passenger vehicles, bovine meat, footwear, glues and chocolate all had significant shares as well. Flowing in the opposite direction was $8.33 billion worth of Chilean goods. Their breakdown is a little more imbalanced, with cooper making up 55 percent of exports, but the remaining products are well-distributed, with things such as fresh fish, fertilizers, wine and car parts all comprising comparable fractions of exports to Brazil. — Hayley MunguiaFURTHER READINGWhom Do You Root For When Your Team Gets Knocked Out of the World Cup?The U.S.’s Odds of Beating Belgium And Every Other World Cup OpponentThe Germans Are Young, in Their Prime, And Really, Really Good read more

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Wisconsins Ethan Happ Is College Basketballs Latest Unicorn

Wisconsins Ethan Happ Is College Basketballs Latest Unicorn

At first glance, Ethan Happ, Wisconsin’s do-everything, still-growing sophomore forward, looks like a typical Wisconsin big. He’s the sort of player former coach Bo Ryan habitually used to recruit to Madison — this season’s Jon Leuer or Frank Kaminsky. Under-recruited in high school, he’s remarkably efficient within the arc, connecting on 58 percent of his two-point field goals, and is active on the defensive glass, hauling in a quarter of opponents’ misses. He appears to be a good college player but someone likely to crack an all-Big Ten first team — at most — at least once during his Badger career.But Happ has transcended his role. Thanks to a growth spurt in high school that boosted him from a guard to a big, Happ is a multidimensional player who leads Wisconsin in offensive (6.3) and defensive (9.5) Box Plus/Minus, assist rate (22.9), steal rate (4.0) and block rate (4.5). He also tops all of DI in Box Plus/Minus (15.8). Using those rates as parameters within College Basketball Reference’s Player Season Finder, only two other players since 2009-10 have come close to matching Happ’s statistical output.1To measure how Happ compared to other bigs, the tool sifted through players with a usage rate of more than 25 percent, an assist rate and a defensive rebounding rate of at least 20 percent, and a block rate of at least 4.5 percent. The search was further sorted by field goal percentage, which would weed out any players that hadn’t scored enough to qualify for national rankings.Similarly, through the beginning of the Big Ten tournament, Happ was one of just three players the past eight seasons to post a defensive BPM of 10 (or more) and an offensive BPM of 6 (or more). The other two? Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.VIDEO: Our picks for bracket success But Wisconsin is not Kentucky, at least not this year. Towns and Davis led their Kentucky squads to Final Fours in their respective seasons with the school, but this season’s Badgers team has stumbled through February and early March, losing six of their last 10 games. Now they’re a No. 8 seed in the East Region. That sort of seeding isn’t usually indicative of a team with a player who possesses Happ’s unicornlike stat profile.But having just one unicorn — no matter how efficiently he plays — isn’t necessarily enough, and that is partly why Wisconsin has struggled this season. Happ is in the midst of a statistically anomalous season, and yet the Badgers — the tournament’s 29th overall team — enter March looking gassed. They’ve lost six of their last 10 and have an 18 percent chance to make the Sweet 16.I’ve watched hundreds of Happ’s plays this season, and what sticks out isn’t so much his offensive output, it’s how he mimics moves from other players and morphs those skill sets into his own. He then uses those moves to impact the game at different levels. Happ’s offense is entirely limited to attempts around the basket. His jump shot is non-existent — the ball knuckles as it leaves his hand without any rotation — and opponents realized midway through Big Ten play that the best way to defend Happ, and essentially shut down Wisconsin’s offensive flow, was to mix and match double teams (e.g., double on the catch or on the bounce).This strategic change led to the ball often sticking too long on the block and Happ looking like a rec league player who had stumbled into a game full of pros that just needed an extra body (he scored in single digits three of those six losses).That said, Happ is a bear for opponents to guard — a bundle of contained energy, he never stops moving. Whether setting a drag screen off a fast break, or bouncing on the balls of his feet as he roams from low block to the high post to the perimeter to set a pick, Happ is constantly seeking out the ideal angle that’ll give him even the slightest edge on the block. He scores .92 points per post up, which ranks 22nd nationally among other BCS conference forwards and centers (with at least 100 attempts, according to Synergy Sports), and he uses his vision to find fellow Badgers open on the perimeter or cutting through the middle. Since coach Greg Gard needs guards Bronson Koenig and Zak Showalter to concentrate on scoring and stretching defenses with their combined 39 percent 3-point shooting, the Badgers invert their offense — it flows inside-out — to run plays through Happ. Happ makes a pass out of the block on 41 percent of his post-ups, and the squad has benefited from Happ’s touch, scoring 1.30 PPP following one of his dishes.One move that he “borrowed” was used initially by Purdue’s Caleb Swanigan, the Big Ten’s player of the year. According to Happ, Swanigan would “chin” the basketball, or bring it to his chin, and then elbow the defender’s chest to create separation for a jump hook. “It’s a very good move,” Happ said in an interview with FiveThirtyEight. “He did it to me this year. Most people put their shoulder down to create space, but when you use an elbow, a defender can’t stand his ground.” Or, if the defender is within the arc, take a charge.This adaptability also impacts Happ’s defense. The Badgers hold opposing teams to .913 PPP, but what is most interesting about the squad’s defensive efficiency rating this season is its steal rate — 19.9 percent. The Big Ten squad is infamous for rarely generating turnovers, preferring to control the glass and use a man defense to hamstring opponents. But since Happ took the court, the team’s steal rate has skyrocketed (from 15.8 percent in Ryan’s final season as coach to a combined 19.2 percent during Happ’s two seasons on the court). According to Gard, Happ is “a gambler,” a trait he picked up during his redshirt season in 2014-15 when he matched up with Kaminsky daily in practice. “Frank would score on me so many times that I would have to adjust and learn how to do something different,” Happ said.Happ is the only player taller than 6 feet 5 inches with a steal rate that ranks in Ken Pomeroy’s top 50. He showcases that same nimbleness by playing farther behind whoever he is guarding, which presents the illusion that man is open. As soon as the pass is thrown, Happ swoops around the opposing big to tap the ball away. That same speed helps when a ballhandler tries to take Happ off the dribble — per Synergy, Happ holds opponents to .63 points per isolation possession, which ranks within the nation’s 73rd percentile.Happ is nowhere near the level of Towns or Davis — or even Swanigan. He is far from dominant on either side of the ball, and he can’t take complete control of a game and carry his team; whether he continues to build his game into something worthy of a lottery pick is unknown. But Happ is a basketball cipher, and what he has shown this season is just a glimpse of a player who is starting to realize the extent of his multifaceted skill set: “I knew I wasn’t a finished product, and that I would have to stay for three to four years to become a pro. I am just a really weird player.”Check out our March Madness predictions.CORRECTION (March 17, 10:15 a.m.): An earlier version of this article misstated Ethan Happ’s offensive and defensive Box Plus/Minus stats. His offensive BPM is 6.3, not 9.5. His defensive BPM is 9.5, not 15.9. As a result, the article also incorrectly identified Happ as one of three players over the past eight seasons to post a defensive BPM of 10 or more and an offensive BPM of 6 or more. That was only true through the beginning of the Big Ten Tournament. read more

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Mens basketball Ohio State season preview

The Ohio State men’s basketball team gathers together after a foul during its exhibition match-up against Walsh on Nov. 6. The Buckeyes won 85-67. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorIn the eyes of many, last season’s 21-14 (11-7 Big Ten) record was a humbling moment for an Ohio State program that had underachieved for three straight seasons. Almost eight months removed from OSU’s second-round loss to Florida in the National Invitational Tournament, the 2016-17 Buckeyes serve as the final string of tolerance for a fanbase eager to return to the glory days of OSU basketball under 13th-year coach Thad Matta.OSU opens its season on Friday against Navy in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Maryland. Coming off of its 85-67 exhibition win versus Walsh, Matta and his team are ready to begin a new chapter in OSU basketball.“Honestly, I’m ready to go. I’m excited to play,” Matta said. “I’m excited for the event that we’re in. From my standpoint, I’m jacked up ready to go.”It’s been nearly six weeks since practice began for the team and Matta said that the play of the four newcomers has given them the opportunity to see the floor.Freshman center Micah Potter started in the exhibition game over incumbent redshirt junior center Trevor Thompson, who most expected to remain in the starting role. Potter showed off his ability to stretch the defense with his outside shooting and displayed a knack for rebounding the basketball in traffic. Freshmen Derek Funderburk and Andre Wesson, and junior-college transfer sophomore C.J. Jackson all saw the court against Walsh and were a factor at times in the game.Matta is known for giving his younger players action in the exhibition game before the real games begin, and Sunday was just that. However, Matta has seen enough from the class of 2016 in practice that has earned them playing time. Just how much, that is still to be determined, but Potter is expected to start on Friday with the rest of the class coming off the bench.“The more experience we can get those guys, the better they’re going to be in terms of making the adjustment from high school basketball into college basketball,” he said. “Obviously how they’re playing dictates a lot of that but I thought most of the new guys did a pretty good job the other night.”The newcomers could play a key role in getting OSU back into the NCAA tournament after missing it last year for the first time since 2008, but Matta will ride his top six returning scorers, specifically junior forward Jae’Sean Tate and sophomore point guard JaQuan Lyle.Since Tate was a surprise contributor his freshman season, he has been nothing but consistent. When OSU has needed a bucket in the past, Tate is the guy to get into the paint and either create his own shot through contact or be patient enough for the right shot. For Lyle, he was a bit more of a wild card.Lyle averaged 11.2 points and 4.2 assists per game in 2015-16, a solid mark for a true freshman. However, there was a discrepancy between several games for the Evansville, Indiana, native. He looked like a promising point guard in games like Rutgers, at Indiana and at Nebraska in overtime — triple-double, 29 points, and 19 points and seven rebounds, respectively — but then would disappear in many other games including a five-point loss at home to No. 6 Maryland where he scored just one point in 18 minutes.For 2016-17, the question for Lyle is if he can take that next step, which could put OSU into one of the top teams in the conference. Lyle has gotten slimmer and a bit stronger from last season, which bodes well for a point guard who uses his body to absorb contact when attacking the basket. He also has taken on a leadership role on the team.In the second half against Walsh, Funderburk went to the free-throw line when Lyle looked the freshman in the eyes and told him to “knock these down, and then we’re going to get a stop.”“He’s our starting point guard so he has to be the leader on the court,” Funderburk said. “If it’s not JT or Marc, it’s likely JaQuan Lyle.”For Tate, Friday’s game will be the first real game since he went down with a shoulder injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season last year. As a second-year captain, Tate is anxious to get back on the court. Being a local product from Pickerington, Ohio, he said the fact OSU hasn’t won a Big Ten championship since he’s been in the program is something he takes to heart.“I feel like we’re going to Navy, we’re going in with the right mindset,” he said. “We’ve been working hard this week in practice and I think we’re hungry to start the season.”As far as the Midshipmen go, Matta knows a little bit about the team due to his familiarity with Navy coach Ed DeChellis, who was formerly at Penn State.DeChellis led a Navy squad to a record of 19-14 in 2015-16, and 9-9 in the Patriot League. The Midshipmen return two starters from the year before, including their leading scorer, junior guard Shawn Anderson. Senior guard Tim Abruzzo attempted 130 three-pointers a season ago and could be asked to do more of the same.Matta said just knowing DeChellis from his Penn State days, Navy is a tough and disciplined basketball team that likes to be physical against cutters on defense and executes well in the halfcourt.Since Walsh, the mantra from Matta to his team has been “think the game of basketball.” There were points in the exhibition where OSU had a slow pace on offense and struggled with keeping possession of the basketball. In the second half, though, it was much different.OSU controlled the pace of play and caused several turnovers in the second half on way to an 18-point victory. Tate said each time out, the goal is to play that way from the tip, not after halftime.“There was times where we didn’t cut as fast as we needed to or run the floor as fast as we needed to, focusing on the little things, and I felt like we could’ve guarded the ball better,” he said. “Going into Navy … the little things are going to be important to beat that team.”Season prediction:At the top of the Big Ten conference, Wisconsin and Michigan State are the overwhelming favorites. After that, it’s anyone’s game.Michigan, Indiana and Maryland are other conference teams who figure to consistently be at the top of the league, but OSU is a serious challenger for a top four spot in the Big Ten tournament come March.Forward Marc Loving is entering his final season as a Buckeye, still trying to live up to the hype he came to Columbus with. However, with player like Tate, Lyle, junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and sparkplug redshirt junior guard Kam Williams off the bench, there is plenty of scoring to go around for Matta’s crew.OSU has four major nonconference opponents in Providence, No. 8 Virginia, No. 18 Connecticut and No. 17 UCLA. Winning two of those, and earning victories in all of the games it should win, will go a long way toward OSU’s chances at returning to the NCAA tournament.The Big Ten has five teams in the Associated Press Top 25 Preseason Poll — four in the top 15 — so OSU has plenty of opportunities on its schedule for signature wins.Overall record: 23-8 (12-6, 4th Big Ten)NCAA tournament: Yes, second-round knockoutSurprise of the season: JaQuan Lyle contends for Big Ten Player of the Year read more

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Urban Meyer Kevin Wilson discuss Ohio StateIndiana game

The No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) will open divisional play this weekend when they travel to Bloomington, Ind., to face the Indiana Hoosiers (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten). First-year coach Urban Meyer doesn’t want a let down against the Hoosiers, saying OSU can’t afford to look beyond Saturday’s opponent yet. Meyer discussed his team’s upcoming match, as did Indiana coach Kevin Wilson, during Tuesday’s Big Ten Conference football coaches’ teleconference. Looking past the Hoosiers? After back-to-back wins against ranked opponents, including a 63-38 drubbing of then-No. 21 Nebraska Saturday, the Buckeyes seem to be a confident bunch. Meyer appears to be attempting to keep a lid on the confidence. Meyer said it’s important for his team to realize there is plenty of football to be played before they can be considered a great team. “These kids are 6-0 and a lot of people are telling them how good they are,” Meyer said. “Quite honestly, we have a long way to go.” It is something that, arguably, happens every year in college football. Teams can win a big game against a ranked team, ride that high all week, and then lose to an inferior opponent that they underestimate a week later. Meyer said he is not concerned with his team’s focus as it prepares for an Indiana team that has lost its last three games. “We’re not at the point that we can start overlooking anybody,” Meyer said. “I’m concerned about execution and stopping them, not overlooking them.” Nebraska win bodes well for the future Considering the number of recruits OSU hosted on Saturday, the win against the Cornhuskers could have major implications on Meyer’s program for years to come. Meyer wasn’t able to give an exact number of recruits in attendance, but said that “there were a lot” of prospective Buckeyes in the Horseshoe. Meyer also said the atmosphere in the stadium during the Buckeyes’ win left an impression of some of the nation’s elite high school prospects. “It’s a little risky sometimes to have a bunch of recruits come in on a big game, because if you fail and you lose, it’s miserable,” Meyer said. “The atmosphere was tremendous. The way we won in the second half, that was very critical for recruiting.” Miller a Heisman hopeful? As one of college football’s leaders in rushing yards per game, and the quarterback of the Big Ten’s only unbeaten team, sophomore Braxton Miller, is gaining hype as a Heisman Trophy contender. “He’s one of the best players in the college game,” Wilson said. Wilson did say that, “there are better players out there,” but pointed out that the sophomore quarterback will only improve as he grows into Meyer’s system. “He’s young,” Wilson said. “Knowing a little bit about him, and knowing the coach that he’s got, he will get better and better. You’re not seeing the best of him.” A key component in winning the Heisman Trophy is having big games on big stages against ranked opponents. Miller might have done that last Saturday, rushing for a career-high 186 yards and scoring two touchdowns in a win against Nebraska. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, however, was not willing to anoint Miller as a favorite for college football’s most prestigious individual award. “That’s up to you guys,” Pelini said. Award winners The Buckeyes’ Saturday win has resulted in national accolades for several players on the team. For his five tackles-for-loss in the win against the Cornhuskers, senior defensive end John Simon has received three national awards including the Chuck Bednarik Award’s national player of the week award on Tuesday. Simon received the Lott IMPACT player of the week award, as well as College Football Performance defensive player of the week award, on Monday. Miller, who rushed for an OSU quarterback record 186 yards and a touchdown, was honored with the Davey O’Brien quarterback of the week award. After rushing for 140 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries against Nebraska, junior running back Carlos Hyde was named the Big Ten’s co-offensive player of the week. Thanks to a 76-yard punt return in the third quarter against the Cornhuskers, junior wide receiver Corey Brown was named the Big Ten’s special teams player of the week. Pat Brennan contributed to this article. read more

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Ohio State mens tennis remains unbeaten defeats Penn State and North Carolina

Redshirt-junior Kevin Metka returns the ball during a match against North Carolina Feb. 28 at the Varsity Tennis Center. OSU won, 4-1.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternThe No. 1 Ohio State men’s tennis team (17-0, 2-0) finally solved the riddle that is Penn State athletics, defeating the No. 34 Nittany Lions (10-1, 0-1) Sunday afternoon after topping No. 12 North Carolina (11-2) Friday night.For the third time in four matches, the Buckeyes lost the doubles point Sunday against the Nittany Lions. Redshirt-sophomore Chris Diaz and redshirt-freshman Ralf Steinbach rolled to an 8-1 victory over Penn State freshman Christian Lutschaunig and sophomore David Kohan, but the Nittany Lions were not deterred.Senior Russell Bader and sophomore Leonard Stakhovsky upset the Buckeyes’ No. 3 ranked duo of senior Peter Kobelt and redshirt-junior Kevin Metka, 8-6. Fellow Nittany Lions, senior Chris Young and junior Michael Reilly then followed it up with a 8-7 (7-5) win against redshirt-junior Hunter Callahan and freshman Herkko Pollanen to give the Nittany Lions a 1-0 advantage to begin the match.Coach Ty Tucker said he was not pleased with his team’s effort at the start.“We were as flat as we’ve been in 15 years,” Tucker said. “We looked like a deer in the headlights. Performance wasn’t very good from the coaching to the playing. Everything was below average.”The Buckeyes woke up in singles play, however, winning five of six first sets. Kobelt and Pollanen came out on fire, both winning in quick, straight sets. Kobelt was off first beating Stakhovsky 6-2, 6-2, and then Pollanen took care of Bader 6-1, 6-1.Metka got the Buckeyes within striking distance, defeating sophomore Matt Barry 6-4, 6-3. Callahan, playing right next to Metka, realized the match was his for the taking and took full advantage with a 6-3, 6-4 win in front of a large crowd that included athletic director Gene Smith.“I’ve been in that situation once before. I like it,” Callahan said of knowing he was playing for the match. “I don’t think it adds any pressure, just because we were up 3-1. There was no pressure for me today.”Not only did the win keep the top-ranked Buckeyes undefeated, but it also puts them one home victory away from tying the NCAA record for most consecutive home wins by a program (Stanford women’s tennis- 184).Friday night against the Tar Heels, the Buckeyes won the doubles point after dropping their previous two. Tucker said he thought about changing up his lineup, but keeping it the same worked out that night.“We were 50-50 whether we were going to switch Metka and Kobelt,” Tucker said. “We thought about it … We definitely have to do a better job in doubles, that’s for certain.”Diaz and Steinbach finished their match first after cruising to an 8-3 upset over Tar Heels junior Esben Hess-Olesen and sophomore Brett Clark. It was the duo’s first victory over a ranked opponent.Callahan and Pollanen had their serves broken consecutively and eventually fell to freshmen Ronnie Schneider and Brayden Schnur, 8-6. Kobelt and Metka stayed on serve all match with senior Nelson Vick and junior Oystein Steiro. In the tie break, Kobelt and Metka jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and ended with an 8-7 (7-3) victory.Steinbach and Callahan got the Buckeyes off to a strong start in singles play with both winning in straight sets.Diaz lost his match against Clark, 6-3, 6-1, while Kobelt and Pollanen both dropped their first sets to give the Tar Heels a glimmer of hope.Metka seemed to have control of his first set against Hess-Olesen as he was up 5-2, but then lost three straight games and ended up playing in a tiebreak. Momentum seemed lost as he was down 4-2 in the tiebreak, but he regained his composure to come back and take the first set. In the second set, he broke Hess-Olesen’s serve once and held his serve the rest of the way to clinch the match with a 7-6 (7-5), 6-4 win.“We were neck-and-neck the whole tiebreaker,” Metka said. “He was up on me. I don’t know what happened, I got lucky and pulled it away. I won three in a row and went crazy.”The Buckeyes are next scheduled to play at No. 5 Oklahoma March 7. First serve is set for 6 p.m. read more

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Mens Basketball No 14 Ohio State rolls through Iowa with 8264 win

Ohio State freshman forward Kaleb Wesson (34) squares up to the basket in the first half of the game against Iowa on Feb. 10 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 14 Ohio State (22-5, 13-1) continued its win streak with a 82-61 win over Iowa (12-15, 3-11) at home on Saturday to improve to 13-1 in conference play.The Buckeyes shot 41 percent from 3 compared to 30 percent from the Hawkeyes. Ohio State scored 18 points off 12 turnovers from the Hawkeyes. Iowa finished the game shooting 8-for-10 from the line, while Ohio State struggled, going just 15-for-21. Freshman center Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State players with 18 points and was 5-for-8 from the field with seven rebounds, but struggled from the line, making just 8-of-11 attempts. Redshirt junior Keita Bates-Diop also had 14 points and eight rebounds, while junior guard C.J. Jackson had 14 points. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said he was pleased with his team’s offensive effort overall in the game, even if the defense lacked behind at times.“We moved the ball, shared it, made the right pass at the right time, had a few too many turnovers but I thought offensively we were really good,” Holtmann said. “I give our guys a lot of credit for responding from an emotional game the other night, I’m proud of them.”Freshman forward Jack Nunge led the Hawkeyes with 18 points.A steal by Bates-Diop led to a layup from Jackson that sent the teams into the under-8 timeout. The Buckeyes went on an 8-0 run over 1:18 to take a 23-18 lead.  A quick turnover from Iowa’s sophomore forward Tyler Cook led to a dunk on a fast-break chance from senior forward Jae’Sean Tate to put the Buckeyes back on top 19-18. They never relinquished their lead. Ohio State pulled away on an 18-2 run with 18:25 left in the second half that kept the Hawkeyes at bay the remainder of the game. Iowa had cut the Ohio State lead down to just 44-36 before the Buckeyes went on their run, but it was unable to get any momentum going to get back in the matchup. Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said things just spiraled out of control for his team.“As much as anything it was bad offense by us,” McCaffery said. “Good defense by them, they were up into us but I don’t think we moved the ball. I didn’t think we executed, they got some transition opportunities, we were missing. When you’re missing you need to get some back, we didn’t get enough back and credit them for that.”The teams traded buckets early. The Hawkeyes went on a 7-0 run over 1:57 with 9:40 remaining in the first half to put Iowa ahead 18-15.A 3-pointer from redshirt senior guard Andrew Dakich put the Buckeyes up 10 with 3:05 remaining in the first half. Jackson hit another 3 on the next possession for the Buckeyes. A dunk from Wesson and a 3-pointer from Jackson, followed by a layup from Tate, gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game to that point coming out of the half. The Hawkeyes were held scoreless for over three minutes and did not make any of their last six field goals by the under-16 timeout. read more

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