Nate Silvers Poker Tips

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver traveled to Australia to play in the Aussie Millions Poker Championship. While he was there, he spoke to Fairfax Media about tics, tells and “playing the math.”,FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver traveled to Australia to play in the Aussie Millions Poker Championship. While he was there, he spoke to Fairfax Media about tics, tells and “playing the math.”

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Tennis Has An Income Inequality Problem

Tennis is played and followed in most nations worldwide. But professional players aren’t making much money. Fewer than 1,000 pro players break even at the sport. Far fewer make a decent living.The opportunities to make good money are dwindling. More players are competing for prizes that are growing slowly, especially at the game’s lowest levels. Earlier this month, the ATP World Tour, which runs the most lucrative pro men’s events, announced it was increasing prize money significantly over the next four years. But the most exclusive tournaments will get the biggest boosts. After adjusting for inflation1Which I did using the U.S. Consumer Price Index, since U.S. dollars are the standard currency in tennis, prize money on the ATP’s Challenger Tour — the equivalent of baseball’s AAA minor league — has fallen by 25 percent in the last six years.Soon after the ATP’s announcement, the International Tennis Federation released results of its analysis of the pro game’s financials. Among the sobering findings: Only 336 men and 253 women made more than they spent playing tennis last year.2That doesn’t count sponsorship money and appearance fees, but it also doesn’t count coaching expenses.In every pro sport, many compete for few lucrative slots. Tennis’s economics are particularly brutal. Players are individual contractors who have to cover their own transportation, equipment, coaching and — at some events — accommodation and food. Almost all of them have to supplement their winnings with sponsorships, support from their national federations or their families, odd jobs or all of the above.The best 104 men and 104 women get safe passage to the four Grand Slam tournaments each year.3Each Grand Slam tournament has spots for 128 men and 128 women in its singles draws. Typically 104 men enter singles directly based on their ranking, while the rest of the slots go to players who qualify in a pre-tournament playoff, or who get a wild-card slot from organizers. Women’s draws are constructed similarly, though most majors allot four fewer qualifying slots for women, and four more direct-entry positions. They’re the players who have a chance to make a lot of money playing tennis. Lose your first match at each one last year, and you would still earn roughly $130,000. The rest of the players in the world are fighting for much smaller purses. The ITF estimates that the 4,978 men who won some prize money last year but weren’t in the top 1 percent earned, on average, a little over $13,000. The bottom 99 percent of the 2,650 women who earned prize money averaged about $22,600.If you’re the 350th best man in the world at baseball, basketball, American football, ice hockey or soccer, you’re earning more than $500,000 each year, expenses paid. If you’re the 350th best man in tennis, you’re probably either falling into debt or getting help from a sponsor or parent. Tennis looks better financially for women than for men, relative to other sports, yet it’s likely that fewer than 200 women are earning a living from tennis prize money.Tennis’s problem is that its fan base is wide but not deep. It has fans in countries around the world, but rarely enough to support a major tournament with sellouts and big TV ratings in any single market.The ITF is considering how to divide the revenue among players in a way that’s best for the game. The nonprofit body is studying the sport’s economics to make sure that players who are good enough to break through don’t quit the game before doing so — and to hasten the departure of those who aren’t good enough. The ITF’s data shows it takes about a year longer now than it did in 2000 for a player to go from his or her first ranking to reaching the Top 100, which is another year during which promising players might get discouraged and drop their rackets.“The last thing I’d want is for an exceptionally talented player to have to leave the game after a year or two, before they realize their potential,” Kris Dent, the ITF’s director of pro tennis, said in a telephone interview. “That’s something that drives what we’re doing, first and foremost.”The ITF enlisted outside researchers in Australia and the U.K. for its study. It surveyed 7,605 players worldwide, three-quarters of them active professional players. Just 6 percent of women and 5 percent of men who responded said their prize money in their most recent year of professional play covered their expenses. More than half of men and women said they had to cut costs to a level they deemed unacceptable for hotels and the number and quality of tournaments they played.The life most pro players lead is far from glamorous. They are concerned more with having enough balls and a good court to play on, than with paparazzi and endorsements. Players were asked in the survey where they’d be OK with cuts. Balls and facility maintenance were lowest on their list. In a recent post on Facebook, 22-year-old Tomás Buchhass of Argentina lamented “courts in a pitiful state which are a hazard to the physical well-being of the players” at a Chilean ITF event. And a photo of a shredded net on a practice court at a Tunisian ITF event made the rounds on Twitter last month.4An ITF spokesman confirmed the photo is genuine and added, “It is essential that tournament conditions meet the minimum standards expected by the ITF. Where complaints about an unacceptable site are upheld following investigation, as they were on this particular occasion, we will not approve the site for any future Circuit tournaments unless we are entirely satisfied that steps have been taken to ensure no repetition.”In one of the least surprising findings of modern polling history, nearly all players said prize money should increase. (Just who were the 12 percent of men and 21 percent of women who disagreed, the ITF couldn’t say.)Dent agrees with players, to a point. He’d like to see less hardship for young players. For instance, he wants the lowest-level tournaments to cover players’ food and hotel costs in the form of a per diem; this year fewer than 4 percent of ITF pro events covered all players’ hospitality costs. That would help encourage players to travel to more tournaments. More prize money would help, too, but big increases aren’t realistic for most events. Below the top rungs of the men’s and women’s tours, there is little to no income coming from sponsorships, ticket sales or broadcast rights, Dent said. National federations, sometimes with grants from the ITF or the Grand Slams, generally cover costs, and aren’t likely to pay for big prize-money increases.Many different bodies run the sport. Each of the four Grand Slams is run by the host nation’s tennis federation. The ATP runs the men’s tour, the WTA the women’s tour. For the men, the ATP handles the highest minor-league level, of Challengers, while the ITF runs the lowest-level pro tournaments, called Futures. For women, the ITF runs all events below tour level.The ITF runs the least lucrative tournaments, so it doesn’t have much leeway to increase prize money at those. Dent wants to shrink the player pool so there is more money for each player. “We need to look at how we reward players who are progressing, but start to make it harder for players who aren’t,” he said.Tennis isn’t likely to start forcing players to earn tour cards, as golf does. But Dent repeatedly cited golf as an example of a sport that properly “signposts” steps on aspiring pros’ journeys. Tennis, he said, needs to a better job of that. The point of Futures and Challengers isn’t to award enough money for players to live on, but to identify the best emerging talents and bestow ranking points so they can qualify for bigger, more lucrative tournaments. Toughening playing-down rules, which prevent players from competing at events below their level, are a way for the ITF to ensure that prize money and ranking points at entry-level events get divvied up among emerging stars, not established veterans.Dent also envisions adding yet a lower level of competition — development events that cash-strapped national federations can support so that local players can afford to play without heavy travel costs. The events would have smaller draws and use officials with less experience than is required at current ITF events — while not skimping on costs for courts and balls.“Already a number of developing nations, particularly in Africa, find it difficult to host events at the prize-money level we have,” Dent said. Nearly half of men’s prize money at ITF events, and more than half of ITF women’s prize money, was distributed at European events this year.The pool of money for aspiring players could be growing soon. In March, the ITF Board will consider the idea of the development tour and other potential changes — including increases to prize money and hospitality — in light of the research. The ATP likely will increase prize money and hospitality spending at Challenger tournaments next year, too, according to a spokesman — which would reverse recent stagnation and decline.The big money, though, remains at the top of the game — and the gap likely will widen. The ATP’s recently announced prize-money increases are biggest for the 500- and 1,000-level tournaments, which are the most exclusive ones, with increases of 50 percent and 54 percent, respectively, in 2018 compared to this year, after adjusting for projected inflation. The 250-level events, one notch up from Challengers, will increase prize money by just 6 percent. read more

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Significant Digits For Tuesday Nov 17 2015

You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.27 statesTwenty-seven governors announced their opposition to allowing refugees of the civil war in Syria into their states. Those states include Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Louisiana — and they all have something in common. So far 250,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, and more than 11 million of the 22 million people who lived there have fled their homes. [CNN]$35Cherry Hill Mall in southern New Jersey will charge patrons at least $35 to sit with Santa and tell him all the crap they want. Listen, if demanding Philadelphia-area kids want to have a portly man over-promise and under-deliver on what he’s going to do for you in December, my understanding is that Chip Kelly will do it for free. [Philly.com]168 raidsThe French Interior Ministry said it had conducted 168 raids as of Monday morning searching for individuals connected with the attacks in Paris last Friday. So far 23 suspects have been detained. [NPR]1,000A project from The Guardian devoted to tracking the number of people killed by U.S. police has counted 1,000 deaths caused by law enforcement so far this year. [The Guardian]£600,000 a weekStar soccer player Lionel Messi, currently of Barcelona, is kicking the tires on a potential move to the English Premier League. But any team interested in the impossible player will have to pay dearly for him: Messi reckons he wants £18 million per year after taxes, or £600,000 a week. Perhaps one of the petrochemical billionaires behind one of the U.K. clubs can shake out his couch cushions and find the money. [ESPN FC]$10 millionOverstock.com, the e-commerce retailer, has $4.3 million worth of silver and $6 million worth of gold hoarded at an off-site facility in Utah, apparently a rainy-day fund in the event of an economic catastrophe. [BuzzFeed]$75 millionMusic streaming service Rdio is shutting down, with Pandora paying $75 million for some remaining assets. [BusinessWire]$95.5 millionFor-profit education company Education Management Corp., which owns the Art Institutes, South University, Argosy University and Brown-Mackie College, settled with the Justice Department for $95.5 million over allegations it overstated career-placement opportunities to students and paid recruiters with illegal enrollment incentives. The company admitted no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, which it will pay through 2022. [PBS]$1 billionBallast Point Brewing & Spirits, a craft beer brand, was purchased by Constellation Brands, the mainstream beer-producer that makes Corona and Modelo for the U.S. market, for $1 billion. The craft beer business is growing at a massive clip — by 18 percent in barrel volume in 2014 — compared to mainstream suds, which saw tepid 0.5 percent growth by the same measure last year. [Reuters]$12.2 billionMarriott International agreed to buy Starwood Hotels & Resorts — the company behind Sheraton, Westin, and W hotels — for $12.2 billion. The result would be the world’s largest hotel company, with a total 1.1 million rooms. [The Washington Post]If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news. read more

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14 Things You Should Know About Saturdays Final Four

As the NCAA men’s tournament shifts to Phoenix for the Final Four, hoops fans’ attention has shifted to the quartet of teams vying for the national championship. To help you get prepped for the next round of games, here’s a rundown of what to look for in each matchup:No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 7 South CarolinaWhere to watch: CBS, 6:09 PM EDTWho’s favored: According to the FiveThirtyEight model, this is a relative mismatch: With nearly a 70 percent probability of winning, Gonzaga has roughly the same odds as the average 5-seed had over a 12-seed in the first round of the tournament. Even after accounting for how much South Carolina has improved during the tourney, this isn’t the kind of matchup we’re used to seeing in the Final Four. (Then again, 12s do beat 5s with some regularity…)Why Gonzaga can win: Gonzaga’s offense is versatile: The Bulldogs have pushed the ball for the tournament’s 19th-highest rate of transition plays — so they’re capable of playing an up-tempo style — but they also thrive on getting high-percentage looks in the half court, whether by posting up with mammoth center Przemek Karnowski or finding open shooters like Jordan Mathews on the perimeter. Although South Carolina is good at closing out on spot-up jumpers, the Gamecocks haven’t had to contend with a post presence like Karnowski very much during the tourney.South Carolina’s offense isn’t as well-rounded as Gonzaga’s. (There’s a reason college hoops stat guru Ken Pomeroy still ranks the Gamecock attack No. 104 in the nation, even after SC’s great tournament run.) The team shoots poorly from both inside the arc and out, and they don’t even try 3s very often: South Carolina takes the 22nd-fewest 3-pointers per field goal of any tournament team. Thus far, the Gamecocks have outrun those deficiencies, but it’s fair to ask whether that streak can last.According to Pomeroy, Gonzaga’s defense grades out as the most efficient in the country. It allows the lowest 2-point percentage in the country and the fourth-lowest 3-point percentage. It forces teams to take a lot of inefficient shots. It chokes off all opposing attempts at ball movement. It has played the most efficient half-court defense of any team in the NCAA tournament and put together the 16th-best transition D. Point guard Nigel Williams-Goss might be the best two-way player in the country. I could go on, but you get the idea: The Zags defend the living hell out of the basketball.Why South Carolina can win:If South Carolina is going knock off Gonzaga, it’s going to have to rely on defense. The Gamecocks own the nation’s No. 2 D (according to Pomeroy’s power ratings), and they’re particularly great at forcing turnovers. But that brand of defense might not be the most effective recipe against the steady ballhandling touch of Williams-Goss, whose 13.2 percent turnover rate was one of the lowest in the country among players who took on a comparable offensive workload.It��s not clear that the Zags will be able to get anything going on the pick-and-roll against the Gamecocks. As great as Williams-Goss is, he has struggled in those sets during the tournament, and South Carolina will do him no favors — led by senior guard Duane Notice, who hasn’t been burned for a single point all tournament on pick-and-roll plays he defended, the Gamecocks have had the tourney’s 11th-most-efficient defense against the play. That means the Bulldog offense will probably have to find other ways to score.The Gamecocks have shown they can score against good teams even with a limited offensive repertoire, thanks to their top-end talent. It begins with guards Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier pushing for quick baskets in transition; that pair also drives a lot of South Carolina’s attack in the halfcourt, with their ability to make plays off the dribble. Combined with forward Chris Silva, the Gamecocks’ top offensive trio used more than 80 percent of the team’s possessions while on the court this season. If those three have big games, and if the defense holds up, SC might just pull the upset. VIDEO: How Oregon and South Carolina can make another upset happen No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 3 OregonWhere to watch: CBS, 8:49 PM EDTWho’s favored: The FiveThirtyEight model gives North Carolina an ever-so-slight edge over Oregon, with a 52 percent probability of winning. But let’s be honest, this game is just about as close to a coin flip as you can get.Why North Carolina can win:When Carolina has the ball, it likes to push quickly down the court: Among NCAA tournament teams, UNC has the fifth-shortest average possession length and ranks ninth in the percentage of its plays that come in transition. So keep an eye on Tar Heels PG Joel Berry II as he tries to direct the UNC break against Oregon. It’s also worth noting that, in the regional final, Kansas’s guards were frequently able to punish the Ducks’ D for collapsing on their transition drives by passing out to open shooters on the wing and behind the play. Don’t be surprised if Justin Jackson and Luke Maye get outside shots as Oregon’s defense focuses on bottling up Berry on the break.For a talented shooting team, UNC hasn’t quite found its stroke from downtown in the tournament so far. In four postseason games, the Tar Heels have gone 25-for-78 from deep (32 percent, down from 37 percent during the regular season) and they’ve made just 31 percent of their spot-up jumpers, with Berry and guard Nate Britt clanging home a combined 25 percent on those tries. North Carolina is too good for this to persist forever; going into the tournament, UNC had knocked down 40 percent of its spot-up Js. Oregon has defended jump shooters well in the tourney so far, but if Carolina can reclaim its touch from outside against the Ducks, watch out.One big area where North Carolina has a demonstrable edge over Oregon is on the offensive glass. The Tar Heels have the top offensive rebounding percentage in the nation this season, while the Ducks check in among the bottom half of tournament teams on the defensive boards. Carolina’s size advantage comes in handy here; the game could in part be decided by how well 6-foot-9 Oregon center Jordan Bell can fend off UNC’s 6-foot-9 Isaiah Hicks and 6-foot-10 Kennedy Meeks on the interior.Why Oregon can win:Although Berry didn’t play his best game against Kentucky in the regional finals, he was able to get to the rim. But he might have more difficulty attacking the basket on the break against Oregon’s defense, which did a good job of stepping up to stop transition ballhandlers during the Ducks’ Elite Eight game against Kansas. Oregon is one of the nation’s best teams at taking away opponents’ opportunities in transition, holding opponents to the 14th-longest average possession time among tournament teams and the 20th-fewest transition chances per play. (Berry is also playing on a bum ankle, though he says he’s “close to 100 percent” now.)In contrast with UNC’s fast break, Oregon’s offense will be more focused on execution in the half court. More than half of the Ducks’ plays in the NCAA tournament thus far have come from pick-and-roll sets, isolations or spot-up jump shots, and much of that action has been initiated by sophomore guard Tyler Dorsey. Between his shooting, passing and ballhandling, Dorsey was Oregon’s most efficient perimeter player during the season, and the Ducks’ offense hinges on the interplay between his playmaking and the scoring threat posed by forward Dillon Brooks all over the court.Speaking of which: Although Brooks has taken a bit of a backseat to the hot-shooting Dorsey during the Ducks’ tournament run, he was still Oregon’s top offensive option over the entire season. Among D-I players who averaged 15 or more points per game, he was one of only 15 who made at least 54 percent of his two-pointers and 41 percent of his 3s. Although he might be best known for perpetrating the Worst Flop Ever, his offensive skills make the Oregon offense run, and the Ducks will probably need him to be a little more aggressive than he’s been during the tournament so far if they hope to upset UNC. read more

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Theres A Team That Can Beat The Warriors — It Just Doesnt

15Grizzlies3742713324.9 TOTAL MINUTES SPENT … 4Heat1582510536.5 7Rockets3383616330.3 13Jazz3702613725.6 TEAMBEHINDTIEDAHEADPERCENTAGE OF TIME AHEAD 27Pacers232114415.4 9Hawks189208428.5 21Mavericks4071910119.1 10Nuggets3242313828.4 5Celtics1712310334.6 1Spurs1842926755.6% 3Bucks1551511740.6 11Lakers3922815727.2 16Wizards212126422.3 14Kings4072814525.0 6Thunder3462416330.5 After the Warriors accomplished the inevitable — winning a championship with relative ease after adding superstar Kevin Durant to a 73-win core — there were two natural questions looming for the rest of the NBA: What will it take to dethrone this budding dynasty, and when will that realistically happen?The answer, as far as oddsmakers are concerned, is seemingly no time soon. Even Cavs star LeBron James, the greatest player of his generation, sounded unsure of how to beat the Golden State going forward after the club extinguished Cleveland in five games.“Teams and franchises are going to be trying to figure out ways that they can put personnel together, the right group of guys together, to be able to hopefully compete against this team,” said James, whose team needed a historic shooting night to stave off a sweep. “They’re assembled as good as you can assemble, and I played against some really, really good teams that was assembled perfectly, and they’re right up there.”By examining the Dubs’ handful of losses in recent seasons, a formula does appear to emerge, albeit in a regular-season setting. And while that doesn’t answer the larger question about dethroning them, it helps illustrate what teams have consistently done to knock Golden State off stride.The league’s other 29 teams were less likely to beat the Warriors by playing an inferior version of Warriors basketball. Cleveland needed to practically burn down the nets with its 3-point shooting to win a Game 4 shootout. But opponents have been more successful by taking Golden State out of its element: having enough defense and length to disrupt the Warriors’ shooting, while having enough offense to keep up with the inevitable points allowed.Opponents with top-12 defenses1The top-12 defenses that knocked off the Warriors this past year included the Spurs (twice), the Grizzlies (twice), the Jazz, the Heat, the Bulls and the Celtics. fared best against the Dubs this past season, accounting for eight of Golden State’s 15 regular-season losses. More broadly than that, beating the Warriors will likely require slowing them down2The Warriors averaged 23.7 points on fast breaks in wins, and 17.7 in losses this season., not only in transition, where they’re far and away the best in the league, but also in half-court scenarios.The clubs that have the most success against them have smart, versatile defenders who possess the length to contest Golden State’s sharpshooters3During ABC’s broadcast of Game 5 on Monday, announcers discussed a graphic showing that Kevin Durant’s release point on his jump shot was 10 feet, 3 inches high, making it a nearly impossible task to defend him without considerable height, length and athleticism. — the team shot 41 percent from 3-point range in its regular-season wins, but just 27 percent in its losses — and the height and size to switch defensive assignments and neutralize the Warriors’ highly unusual methods for setting screens. How teams have fared against the Warriors, from 2014-15 to 2016-17 17Timberwolves3883311221.0 1976ers210195920.4 That partially explains how long, rangy teams such as the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks have done better against the Warriors during the past three regular seasons than just about anyone else. They have respectable defenders they can throw onto the Warriors’ best scorers, and the ability to force Golden State far later into the shot clock — where efficiency plummets — than most other teams can.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/spursd.mp400:0000:0000:20Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/bucksd.mp400:0000:0000:22Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.It’s abundantly clear that shutting down this offense altogether is a pipe dream. Aside from tying for the most efficient regular-season offense of all-time, the Warriors scored at least 113 points in all five games of the NBA Finals. You also need to be able to score on them to have a chance. This past season, it often took a team that moved the ball4Eight of the Warriors’ 15 losses came to teams that ranked in the top 12 in the league in passes thrown per game. and shot well (opponents who walked away with victories hit 38 percent of their 3s against the Warriors, up from 31 percent in defeats) to win. Because of how the Warriors’ defense can smother an opponent, it also helps to push the ball in transition without turning it over too much (think Wizards or Clippers).Or, if you play a more deliberate style, you may be able to find points in half-court situations if you’re willing to set multiple screens that shed seconds off the shot clock (like Utah, which played at a snail’s pace but was among the NBA’s most efficient teams in late-clock scenarios). Then, of course, there are the Cavs, who, with James and Kyrie Irving, can create scoring opportunities for themselves regardless of how well the Warriors defend.But as we saw in Game 3: Even a duo going off for a combined 77 points might not be enough to win a single game against Golden State, let alone four in seven tries.It’s easy to look at Milwaukee’s and Utah’s rosters and see considerable upside5The Jazz, of course, need Gordon Hayward to re-sign with the club in order to continue their upward trajectory.. The same is true of Boston, which has the No. 1 pick in this loaded draft. But most contending clubs look at least one star away from truly competing with the Warriors in the next year or two, if not longer. The Spurs — who had a promising start to Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals before Kawhi Leonard was knocked out for the series — will become a greater challenger if they manage to pry Chris Paul away from the Clippers. And Cleveland, if it manages to find solid, attentive wing defenders somehow, may be capable of doing better next season.In the meantime, don’t be surprised if more teams than usual decide to take the long view in the years to come. The Warriors can be beaten, but doing that requires near-perfection — something almost no other team can produce anywhere near often enough to unseat them. 18Trail Blazers3912611020.9 29Raptors24910289.8 20Pelicans3873810820.1 23Magic213225318.4 8Pistons189148529.5 25Bulls226194816.3 26Hornets232114515.5 22Suns4392910918.9 28Knicks242133311.5 12Clippers3952515627.0 24Cavaliers216205117.7 2Nets1431313746.7 Includes regular season games since 2014-15.Source: ESPN Stats and Info read more

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Ohio State mens basketball overwhelmed in regularseason finale at Michigan State

OSU junior forward Marc Loving (2) yells out during a game against Michigan State on Feb. 23 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorIn Saturday’s regular-season finale, Michigan State delivered daggers all day long — both from the field, and to the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s hopes for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.At the expense of the Buckeyes, the Spartans (26-5, 13-5) put on a shooting clinic, overwhelming OSU 91-76 in East Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday. The win was the second time the Spartans got the best of the Buckeyes within a two-week span.This time, the Buckeyes (19-12, 11-7) contained senior Bryn Forbes, the sharpshooting guard who nailed seven 3-pointers in their first meeting. The visiting team couldn’t stop a fellow senior guard, Denzel Valentine, however.The Buckeyes, behind freshman guard JaQuan Lyle’s 14 first-half points, remained within striking distance throughout the first half despite several poor defensive lapses.Exposing the Buckeyes’ weakside defense, Valentine, who leads the Big Ten in assists, got his forwards involved early. Before the half, Matt Costello had nine points, Gavin Schilling added eight and Marvin Clark Jr. contributed with six.The Buckeyes controlled Michigan State’s spark plug early on, though the Spartans forgot to contain theirs.Kam Williams, instantly hitting two three-pointers off the bench, helped keep the game within reach, as the Buckeyes trailed 47-37 at halftime.In the second half, OSU never got within single digits despite forward Marc Loving’s strong 15-point half. The junior ended the game with a team-high 21 points, shooting 75 percent from the 3-point line.The Buckeyes shot well (47.4 percent), especially from behind-the-arc (47.8 percent). However, the Spartans shot significantly better (66.7 and 50 percent, respectively).With 14:40 left, the Spartans were ahead 58-47, when a missed free throw by Loving led to a transition three-pointer by Matt McQuaid, getting Tom Izzo’s team going.Valentine, who assisted on McQuaid’s three, then hit a 3-pointer. Forbes, who ended the game with 14 points, followed that sequence up with a 3-pointer of his own. And just like that, the game became out of reach for the Buckeyes.Valentine took over in the second half, ending the game with 27 points, 13 assists and four rebounds.The Buckeyes, carried by Loving, Lyle and Williams, needed more from junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, who had just six points, in a make-or-break game.After the loss, the Buckeyes are slated to begin Big Ten tournament play Thursday in Indianapolis, though their seed is yet to be decided. In order to crash the Big Dance, the Buckeyes must string together a few marquee wins. read more

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Ohio State womens volleyball downs Wisconsin for first Big Ten road win

They might have stumbled out of the gate, but the No. 22-ranked Ohio State women’s volleyball team found its footing during a Big Ten road trip with a 3-1 win at Wisconsin. After splitting home matches against Iowa and then-No. 3 Nebraska, respectively, the weekend before, the Buckeyes suffered their first conference setback away from home to No. 10 Minnesota, 3-0, on Friday before regrouping to top the Badgers in Madison a day later. OSU now sits at 11-5 and 2-2 in conference play. Buckeyes coach Geoff Carlston said getting a win on the road, especially in the Big Ten, is a hard thing to do. “Win on the road … we’ll take it,” Carlston said. “I mean, you know, you don’t win every match, but there are a lot of teams that went 0-2 this weekend on the road. So for us to come, especially after losing the first one, to respond and turn around playing at a high level against Wisconsin is a big deal for us, for our season. You know, there isn’t a lot of wins on the road in this conference, so when you get one, it’s pretty cool.” OSU junior defensive specialist Davionna DiSalvatore said she thought the team played an outstanding game against the Badgers. “We played really well tonight,” DiSalvatore said. “Our block was great, our defense was really good, and we just like kept it together and pulled out a win tonight.” In their first game against Minnesota, the Buckeyes challenged the Gophers and pushed one of the top-ranked teams in the nation to the brink. While the Buckeyes lost the match 3-0, they lost by only two points in the first two sets and three in the third set. “We actually played really well last night in Minnesota,” Carlston said. “It was a lot closer than the score showed, I mean it was 23, 23 and 22, and we were a couple of swings away from really changing the tide of that match.” Despite the loss, Carlston said the intensity and focus his team brought that night carried over to their next game, which allowed them to take control against the Badgers from the very beginning. “I think how we carried over that culture we brought in from last night was really good, and carried that into tonight,” Carlston said. “The first two sets we played really well, we were pretty much in control of the match with great passing and played some really good defense in the whole match. We kind of grinded out that fourth set to get that win on the road, so I’m pretty happy.” Carlston didn’t think that there was anything else he would’ve changed in how they practiced leading up to their first two conference road contests. “There were stuff in Minnesota where it was just volleyball,” Carlston said. “They made a few plays, and we just didn’t. A lot of the stuff that we worked on this weekend I thought we got better at, so it was more just of that we didn’t quite finish the deal at Minnesota. Luckily, we were able to turn around, finish strong and get a victory on the road at Wisconsin.” DiSalvatore said it’s important for OSU to be resilient, especially in a tough conference like the Big Ten. “Being in the Big Ten is kind of a big deal. Every team is very good, there’s always like 10 teams from the Big Ten that make it to the tournament,” DiSalvatore said, “and it’s very, very important for us to come back and always be ready to play.” The going might not get any easier for the Buckeyes as they hit the road again to travel to No. 21 Illinois and Northwestern on Oct. 5 and 6. read more

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Boiling over Purdue ready for 70 Ohio State

The Purdue Boilermakers bring a two-game losing skid into Ohio Stadium this weekend, but they aren’t lacking for confidence. After all, Purdue has recent history on its side in the series against Ohio State football.Purdue lost its last two games to Michigan and Wisconsin by a combined score of 55 points, but that has not shaken the confidence of Purdue senior wide receiver Antavian Edison going into Saturday’s game at Ohio Stadium against the undefeated No. 7-ranked Buckeyes.“We know we’re capable of coming out with a victory,” Edison told The Lantern.The Boilermakers are only 3-3 this season but winning against OSU would not be new for Purdue. The Boilermakers have won twice in their last three matchups against the Buckeyes, including a 26-23 overtime victory last season in West Lafayette, Ind.Edison, however, said this year’s game will be different from last season.“Last year is last year,” Edison said. “We feel like we’re a better team … some guys, (last year’s win) may give them the confidence, but we put last year behind us. It’s a whole new year, and we’re ready to see what they have to offer, and we’re ready to go out there and play.”Coach Danny Hope said the Boilermakers have played well in their recent victories against the Buckeyes, but that they have to be on their “A-game” to beat OSU Saturday.“We’ve played well a couple times against them, and have played well enough to win, and that’s encouraging, but you have to play really well in order to beat them,” Hope said during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. “If we don’t take care of business, if you don’t take care of the football … they’re way too talented … we need to play better.”Hope said the keys for his team to compete for a win on Saturday will be sound tackling on defense and having a balanced offense.“We’re going to have to tackle somebody, that’s for sure, because we missed a ton of tackles this past weekend, and it made the outcome of the games a lot worse,” Hope said. “Also, from an offensive standpoint, we need to be able to manufacture both some type of tough running game and passing game.”Purdue’s defense is led by redshirt senior defensive tackle Kawann Short, a team captain who leads the team with nine tackles for loss, four sacks and four blocked kicks.OSU coach Urban Meyer said he sees Short as a first-round NFL draft pick.“I see a team that plays a lot of man coverage and makes it really hard to run the ball,” Meyer said during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. “I think they’re just some missed tackles away from being really good on defense.”Offensively, the Boilermakers have rotated between three quarterbacks this season, but Hope said redshirt senior Caleb TerBush, who has started the team’s last five games, should receive the most playing time in Saturday’s contest versus the Buckeyes.TerBush said Saturday’s contest in Ohio Stadium is a “huge game,” but also that it’s “just another game we have to go out and take care of business.”“Every game you play is a big game,” TerBush said. “We’ve had some good games against them. They’re ready. They’re not too happy about getting beat last year, I can guarantee that. They’re a good, disciplined team, they got a great coach and a lot of great ballplayers over there.”The Buckeyes’ defense has struggled in the past two games, giving up a combination of 87 points and 918 yards of total offense to Nebraska and Indiana, but TerBush said the Boilermakers’ offense cannot take their opponents lightly.“They may have given up some points in those couple games, but they’re still a good defense,” TerBush said. “I mean, it’s Ohio State, they got a great program, they’re 7-0 for a reason … The defense is fast, they got a lot of people coming back and they got some leadership over there.”On the other side of the ball, Hope said that since last year’s win, OSU sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller is a “much more complete player.”“They’ve done a great job training Braxton and he’s a fantastic athlete, and a great competitor,” Hope said. “There’s nothing that he can’t do. He’s an outstanding passer, he’s a great runner. I think he’s one of the top players at his position, not only in our conference but on a national level.”The Boilermakers held the Buckeyes to 163 rushing yards last season, but this year, the Buckeyes rank eighth nationally with more than 263 rushing yards per game. Hope described what has allowed the Buckeyes to “manufacture an outstanding run game.”“Their offensive line … they play hard, and they have good size, and good athleticism, so I think they’ve improved across the line of scrimmage with the play of their offensive line,” Hope said. “They’re extremely talented at the running back position and at the quarterback position, and the fact that they can open it up and air it out and they can make big plays in the passing game, that opens things for them in the running game as well.”The Buckeyes have four more wins and three fewer losses than the Boilermakers, but Meyer expects Saturday’s game, which kicks off at noon, to be close.“Regardless of what the record (is) and all that, we’re expecting a team that’s a fairly evenly-matched game,” Meyer said.The Boilermakers have only won twice in the Horseshoe in the past 60 years, but Edison thinks his team can win in an environment he expects to be “crazy.”“(Ohio State’s) season is going very well, the fans are into it and everything, but you know, that’s the type of stuff we live for,” Edison said. “I like that type of energy, being able to walk in and get a very big win and keep ourselves alive in the race (to win the Big Ten Leaders division).” read more

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Baseball Ohio States hot start propelled by offensive firepower with pitching and

Ohio State Utility player Noah McGowan (4) hits the ball foul during the sixth inning of Ohio State’s 2-1 win against Cal State Northridge in extra innings on Friday, March 16, 2018 at Nick Swisher field in Bill Davis Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: Ebo Amissah-Aggrey | Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State baseball team endured the worst season in program history in 2017.It finished the campaign 22-34, placing 11th in the Big Ten standings and missing the conference tournament completely.The season had begun with some promise, however. In just the sixth game of the year, the Buckeyes handed Oregon State one of just its four regular-season losses. But six losses and just two wins shortly after that game made the big victory an anomaly.The team has had a much different start to this season, however. Ohio State lost both games this time to the top-ranked Beavers, but unlike last season, Ohio State has a 14-6 record with wins against No. 16 Southern Mississippi and Coastal Carolina, which has been ranked this season. The Buckeyes have done it by simply out-hitting all their opponents, consistently for extra bases.The pitching has remained suspect, but the lineup has a different feel to it from a season ago. A lineup that seemed to have promise last season, but ultimately disappointed, looks like it is finally meeting expectations. Last year, junior-college transfers Noah McGowan and Tyler Cowles were counted on to become impact players in the lineup — except both struggled. McGowan hit just .214 with five home runs while Cowles hit only .190 with three home runs despite both starting in more than 30 games.The lineup overall struggled to find much consistency beyond center fielder Tre’ Gantt, who has since been drafted by the Cleveland Indians, and Jalen Washington, who graduated. It lacked that consistency until then-freshmen outfielder Dominic Canzone and infielder Conner Pohl began to hit, finishing first and second respectively with .343 and .325 batting averages.Canzone and Pohl have continued to crush pitchers in 2018, both hitting more than .280 with impressive slash line numbers. The difference has really come from McGowan and Cowles. They have been the team’s offensive leaders, batting .392 and .368, respectively. McGowan in particular has impressed, slashing .392/.474/.696 with five home runs and a team-leading 27 RBIs, tied for 15th in the nation. The lineup also has been bolstered by its depth so far this season. In 2017, only six people hit above .260 and five were below .250. This season, eight players are above .260 and four are below .250 — one of which has just 16 at-bats.As a team, Ohio State is hitting 34 points higher than last season and is on pace to exceed last year’s home run total by 10. Offensively, this team is batting as well as it could to begin the year. The pitching staff — though improved from last season — still leaves a lot to be desired. The team ERA a season ago was 5.32, nearly two runs higher than the 4.04 mark in 2018. Two of the top starters in the team’s rotation have struggled. Junior Ryan Feltner — hailed by many as one of the top MLB draft prospects in the Big Ten — has a 6.26 ERA over 27.1 innings with 30 strikeouts, 11 walks and 34 hits allowed. Being the team’s ace, Feltner has been tasked with facing some of the tougher lineups, including allowing four runs to Oregon State. Redshirt senior Adam Niemeyer has a team-high 6.45 ERA with 22 strikeouts, 10 walks and 32 hits over 22.1 innings.Though those two have struggled, most of the other pitchers have excelled during the season. The bullpen in particular, led by Seth Kinker and Kyle Michalik, have done a strong job holding leads or preventing the score from getting out of hand.Part of the limited struggles the pitching staff has had comes from the result of team defense. It has a .954 fielding percentage overall — last in the Big Ten — with 26 of the 35 errors coming from the infield. The defense might continue to improve as the season moves on and the team has a better sense of the best defensive position for every player. For now, it remains an area that needs significant turnaround.Ohio State began the season expected to finish near the bottom of the Big Ten just as it did last season. Now it has emerged as one of the top teams in the conference. The Buckeyes will be tested when Big Ten season begins on March 30, but the improvements shown through the early part of the campaign suggest this team is significantly better than it was last year. read more

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