In Argentina’s final match of the World Cup, Lionel Messi — on whom Argentine hopes have rested for over a decade — only touched the ball at a rate of once every two minutes. One of those touches was a great opportunity to win the game near the end of regulation, which he failed to even put on goal. Despite this, and despite a decrease in goals and assists as the tournament progressed (four goals in his first three games, an assist in his fourth, and nary a goal or assist since), he won the World Cup’s Golden Ball award (essentially the tournament MVP). That prompted Diego Maradona, Messi’s Argentine forefather and foil, to say, “It’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.” The sharply worded op-eds, so plentiful on Sunday and Monday, are dying down — for now — but even Messi’s fans may start to wonder what was going on, and whether Messi was playing like his usual self.Before Sunday’s World Cup Final, Messi’s father, Jorge, told the media that his son was struggling with exhaustion.1Note that Messi vomited during the final, but apparently this is a normal thing for him. This dovetails nicely with another story I’d been reading about for weeks, about how Messi’s “work rate,” or the amount he has been running on the pitch per minute, has been abnormally low during this World Cup. Here’s a quote from an ESPN article that touches on both subjects:The pressure of being captain and carrying the hopes of his country appears to have taken its toll on him as he found it difficult to make an impact. “He is exhausted,” Messi’s father Jorge said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “He feels as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each.”According to FIFA statistics, however, Messi is only ranked the 30th most hard-working player at the World Cup on the basis of distance covered. He has run a total of 32 miles in the six games he has featured in, having played for 573 minutes. By contrast, the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder has covered 43 miles in 585 minutes and tops the list. Messi is also second-from-bottom on the list of players who have played in all six games of the tournament so far.These mileage stats are common these days (and seemingly flash every time someone is subbed in/out of a game), though they’re not always easy to find or interpret. Fortunately, for the World Cup, FIFA has a page devoted to players’ “distance covered” stats. I’ve compiled those stats, broken down by offense and defense, and sorted by position, like so:Indeed, over the course of the World Cup, Messi had the lowest work rate among non-goalkeepers when his team is on defense and the second-lowest among forwards when his team is on offense (among players with 150 minutes on offense/defense combined).2There’s also a surprising amount of neutral time in soccer (up to a third of all match time is neither “in possession” nor “not in possession”). I haven’t included that in this chart.After an article by Ken Early in Slate first turned me on to Messi’s stillness, I couldn’t stop noticing it. When Messi’s not “on the ball,” he’ll often appear to be leisurely strolling through the area he’s in, particularly when the other team is on offense and he has little to do except sit back and wait to see if the ball comes his way. It can seem downright bizarre and contrary to everything a soccer coach teaches about “hustling.”Could it be that Messi’s inaction had something to do with his “100 kilo” legs? If so, it’d imply that Messi was so tired he was unable to “hustle” as much as normal, taking short breaks on the field when he got the chance to recuperate. This might also help explain his performance “decline” through the tournament.But I don’t think it’s as simple as that. On the FIFA site, individual game summaries have “tracking” stats as well. Here are Messi’s, broken down by offense and defense:For nearly every game, when Messi runs more on offense, he runs more on defense, and the same is true for when he runs less. To me, that suggests that the variation is probably more systematic and dependent on the matchups Argentina faced. But that large gap in the final game offers an interesting wrinkle. That’s when the difference between offensive work rate and defensive work rate was largest. This is at least consistent with a theory that he was tired for the last game (I assume that would be more likely to be reflected during his defense). But with the defensive work rate as a baseline, it could also indicate that he was running around extra hard on offense trying to make something happen (which he had failed to do for the last couple of games). Or it could just be random variance.Overall, though, the data doesn’t suggest that Messi wore down as the tournament progressed. If this work-rate phenomenon were a result of his being tired, we might expect to see the highest work rates in games following the longest layoffs, and/or for his work rate to decline as the grueling tournament wears on. But that’s not what the data shows.3I did find it interesting that all of his peak work rates came in games with the longest scheduled rest following them (first and third games of group stage, and last game of the tournament). That would be consistent with a premeditated strategy to conserve energy for later games, though it’s too tenuous to draw conclusions.So aside from a blip in the last game, there’s not much evidence that Messi had a general exhaustion problem, but there is evidence that he had a much lower work rate than other players. What to make of that? There are some negative interpretations possible: Messi might not have been fit enough to endure a whole tournament, or he might not have been trying hard enough. But these would only makes sense if low work rates typically indicated a lack of fitness or effort.And that we can test for.I don’t have the data necessary to do a complete study of work rates and how they may or may not predict and/or impact quality of play. But for a rough outline, we can at least take a look at FIFA’s data for this World Cup to see whether working harder tends to correspond with playing better. Is there any relationship between a player’s work rate and their offensive production?The following chart compares a players work rate with their offensive production per minute (using goals plus .1*chances created, a lower variance alternative to goals plus assists):4Includes all the distance a player covered during all the minutes he played (whether on offense, defense or neutral).This chart may support the argument that Messi didn’t deserve his Golden Ball, but I’ll stay out of that debate. He certainly didn’t play poorly, as he had the fifth-best per-minute production, despite having the lowest work rate (and it’s not limited to offense, as I’ve noted elsewhere; most aspects of his game were as good or better than normal through most of the tournament).Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Mario Goetze had a great tournament (obviously) and the highest work rate. In the middle, we have James Rodriguez, who managed an insane amount of success to go with his moderate effort.The important thing is that there’s not really any relationship between a player’s work rate and their production, either for forwards or for midfielders. In fact, the trend lines for both groups (covering 119 qualifying players in this tournament) are slightly declining — though not enough to read anything into it.5Moreover, if there’s an obvious source of team-quality bias, we might expect it to go in the other direction. We would expect players for better teams to have more production (more opportunities to dish, and more chances for teammates to dish to you, etc.), and because better teams tend to hold on to the ball more often and for longer periods, and forwards and midfielders are typically more active on offense, we would also expect those players to have a slightly higher meters run per minute.So has Messi been as good as he has despite being “lazy,” or perhaps because of it? When Messi was taking the tournament by storm, at least Ken Early was willing to give Messi the benefit of the doubt:Surely it must mean something that the best player in the fastest-ever era of football hardly ever runs at all.I don’t have distance-run data for Messi outside of the World Cup, but a little Googling reveals that Messi’s on-field leisure has come up before.June 2010: A New York Times article praising Michael Bradley cited the amount of ground he covered relative to Messi.May 2011: A Bleacher Report article cited Messi’s distance covered stats at UEFA6I’ve seen a lot of reference to these stats, but all the links are broken and I’ve been unable to find them on the UEFA site. as proof that he “doesn’t play hard every minute.”August 2012: A comparison between Messi and teammate Dani Alves showed how Messi spends roughly twice as much time in an “inactive” state.February 2013: An analysis of Messi’s (lack of) running from a Barca perspective tries to make sense of the phenomenon.April 2014: An article on ESPN FC criticized Messi’s Champions League play, based largely on the distance he ran.People have cited and/or complained about the amount Messi runs since at least 2010, and it has come up every year since. Note that Messi has been pretty good in that period.When you see a bunch of super-unusual things about one player, rather than trying to explain them all separately, it’s a good idea to try figure out how they might be related. If Messi’s low work rate was a “feature” rather than a “bug,” it could help him be the dominant player that he is. Here’s a very speculative version of what that argument would look like:A lot of soccer players run around a lot when there’s not much they can do to improve their situation. They may even continue running after they’re in the ideal location. Or even if they’re making slight improvements, they may be burning energy that would have more value being spent on runs that are higher leverage. Further, not moving unnecessarily may make it easier to keep track of what’s going on in the play, which may help the player anticipate what’s coming next.OK, that may sound fanciful, but it’s the sort of crazy idea that Messi should make us consider (feel free to propose alternatives!). And it wouldn’t be the only unconventional thing about Messi’s play that probably contributes to his advantage (e.g. his aversion to crossing passes, which until recently were considered an important part of offensive soccer strategy).This may be key to what makes him as good as he is, or it might not. The bizarre spectacle of Lionel Messi strolling along lazily shouldn’t be used either to hang him or to excuse him. Let’s not let a negative outcome against an all-time-great opponent cloud the mystery.CORRECTION (July 16, 10:16 a.m.): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized James Rodriguez’s success in the tournament as moderate. That is incorrect. It was insane.
Photo by The Associated Press.Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito, known around the NFL for dirty play, added to his already sullied reputation by being suspended indefinitely by the team for sending racist and threatening text messages to teammate Jonathan Martin.Anonymous sources told The Associate Press that coach Joe Philbin suspended Incognito late Sunday night after becoming aware of the nature of the correspondence from the 319-pound Incognito, who is white, to the 312-pound Martin, a Black offensive lineman who played alongside Incognito.The team and NFL continued their investigation into allegations by Martin’s representatives that he was bullied, and Philbin said Dolphins owner Stephen Ross asked Commissioner Roger Goodell for assistance. The NFL Players Association also planned to look into the matter.”There’s certain people out there who are just punks, and he wants to be that kind of guy,” former Seahawks and Lions defensive end Lawrence Jackson said Monday. ”But because he’s a lineman, he gets away with a lot of stuff that people don’t see. . . Incognito is way worse than anybody I ever played against.”Philbin said he was unaware of hazing incidents that involved Incognito – such as hacking into a teammate’s Facebook page – as shown on the HBO series ”Hard Knocks” that chronicled the Dolphins’ training camp in 2012. Philbin said he never watched the program.”If the review shows that this is not a safe atmosphere, I will take whatever measures are necessary to ensure that it is,” Philbin said. ”I have that obligation to the players that I coach on a daily basis, and I will do that.”In first four years with the St. Louis Rams, Incognito led the NFL in penalties for unnecessary roughness before the team tired of his antics and released him in 2009.David Shaw, coach at Stanford, where Martin played in college, said Martin is doing well, but he was not sure when he would return to the Dolphins.”The two behemoths strike dramatically different backgrounds: Martin is the son of Harvard graduates and grew up in California cultured on classical music and literature. Incognito is anything like his last name suggests. The New Jersey native has been at the heart of many run-ins, fights and controversies because of an overzealous nature. Some observers wonder if Incognito has eclipsed the boundaries of permissible locker room high jinks or hazing.“A large part of this has been growing up, making a conscious effort on my end to change some ways in my life and change some of my ways on the football field,” Incognito told The Sun-Sentinel in August. He made the comment two months after receiving a trespassing warning after a suspected bar fight in Miami Beach, according to The Palm Beach Post.Giants kicker Josh Brown played with Incognito at Nebraska and in St. Louis. His view of his former teammate, expressed in The New York Times, could be telling: “A person with a tortured soul.”“He’s always been a fighter,” Brown said. “It’s just something he hadn’t been able to kick. It’s unfortunate and it’s sad, very sad.”
BOSTON — Tuesday night was billed as one of the greatest pitching matchups in World Series history: Clayton Kershaw versus Chris Sale — two of the elite starters of their generation. On a cool night in Boston, a sold-out Fenway Park was well-aware of the pedigree of its foe and greeted the Los Angeles Dodgers ace with chants of “Ker-Shaaawww, Ker-Shaaawww,” drawing out the last syllable of his surname as he pitched. But the lyrical taunting was short-lived as Kershaw didn’t make it far into Game 1 — and neither did Sale, for that matter.We didn’t get a classic pitching duel. Instead, we received a heavy dose of 2018 baseball. And that style of play — namely bullpenning — favored the Red Sox en route to an 8-4, series-opening victory.Six Red Sox relievers combined to allow just one run over five innings, and Boston pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez broke the game open with a three-run homer off Dodger reliever Alex Wood in the seventh inning.That both of the starting pitchers lasted only four innings is telling of how quickly the game is changing. Tuesday marked just the fourth Game 1 — the game that often features a pair of aces — in World Series history in which neither starting pitcher recorded an out in the fifth inning. In the three previous occasions — in 1923, 1966 and 2004 — all but one of the starters allowed as many or more runs as Sale or Kershaw did in fewer innings prior to departing.1And that other starter — Baltimore’s Dave McNally in 1966 — had walked the bases loaded in the third inning before getting the hook. In other words, those starters had been battered. That wasn’t the case Tuesday. Instead, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Red Sox manager Alex Cora had their aces on short leashes.Teams have become aware of how performance typically declines the deeper a starter pitches into a game, and teams are also eager to try to gain righty/lefty platoon advantages when they can find them in the later innings. Teams also monitor fatigue, and Sale was somewhat taxed in throwing 91 pitches.During the 232-minute game Tuesday, the two clubs combined to use 12 pitchers, who threw a total of 308 pitches. Through Tuesday, relievers have accounted for 50.5 percent of innings this postseason, which would be a record. That mark is up 4 percentage points from last postseason (46.5 percent) and significantly from the 2010 playoffs (32.3 percent). While bullpens have taken on more and more work in the regular season, their usage and importance in the postseason is reaching unprecedented levels.Dodger infielder Brian Dozier said “anything goes” in the World Series. But the urgent, anything-goes practices employed Tuesday were carryovers from the regular season. In fact, the Dodgers have already faced the most extreme form of pitching game strategy this postseason.While some traditionalists have bemoaned the move toward bullpens, Red Sox reliever and Game 1 winner Matt Barnes told FiveThirtyEight in a cramped postgame clubhouse that he is all for this style of play.“I’m about whatever it takes to get wins in the World Series,” Barnes said. “How you do it? It doesn’t matter to me. You just have to win 11 games before anyone else does.”Cora began the Red Sox parade of relievers in the top of the fifth when he summoned Barnes out of the right-field bullpen to replace Sale, who had walked the lead-off batter, Dozier. Barnes, who has become a trusted setup man, allowed a single to Justin Turner, and Dozier later scored on a Manny Machado groundout to tie the score at 3.Kershaw entered the game with questions about his postseason performances and left with a career ERA of 4.28 in 145 postseason innings. He also continues to suffer from declining fastball velocity, as the pitch sat between 90 and 91 mph Tuesday. He relied heavily on his breaking pitches. Only CC Sabathia owns a worse ERA among pitchers who have made at least 15 postseason starts. While Kershaw was hit hard at times on Tuesday — including a 105.9 mph single and a 109.1 mph double off the bat of J.D. Martinez — he wasn’t helped by his surrounding cast, either. L.A.’s starting first baseman, David Freese, failed to catch a foul pop-up in the first inning. It wasn’t ruled an error but was a play that could have been made — and it might have cost the Dodgers two runs.Kershaw allowed three runs through four innings. After walking Mookie Betts and allowing a single to Andrew Benintendi to begin the fifth, he was was pulled from the game. Roberts called on Ryan Madson, who allowed both inherited runners to score to give the Red Sox a 5-3 lead.More innings pitched by relievers requires lineups to remain flexible as offenses try to counter the platoon advantage gained by switching the handedness of pitchers. For instance, the Brewers had left-handed starter Wade Miley throw just five pitches in a start in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series before going to a right-handed-heavy cast of relievers against the platoon-heavy Dodgers. And on Tuesday, five of the six relievers that followed the lefty Sale were right-handed.In response to pitching strategies, Dozier joked Monday that the Dodgers have begun to pull hockey-style line changes in games. Los Angeles was the first club in World Series history to start nine right-handed batters with no switch-hitters. But by the seventh inning Tuesday, three L.A. lefties and a switch-hitter had joined the game, and only three Dodgers were playing positions they had occupied on the starting lineup card: Turner (third base), Machado (shortstop) and Yasiel Puig (right field).While the two managers traded chess pieces, it was Cora who seemed to win the most strategic battles, as he has done all October. He struck a decisive blow on Tuesday by pinch-hitting Nunez for left-handed hitter Rafael Devers when Roberts called the left-handed Wood into the game in the seventh.“Cora is prepared,” Barnes said. “Tonight is another example, pinch-hitting (Nunez). It’s a lot of fun playing for him. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”The Red Sox have won 116 games under Cora this season, a year in which the game seems to be changing so quickly. They are now three wins from a fourth championship this century.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
OSU senior guard Ameryst Alston (14) dribbles the ball during a game against Wagner on Nov. 22 at St. John Arena. Credit: Elizabeth Tzagournis | Lantern PhotographerFresh off its first win over a top-10 team this season, the No. 10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (4-2) enters the Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Indiana, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to take on No. 3 Notre Dame (6-0). The Fighting Irish are the Buckeyes’ third opponent ranked in the top 3 thus far.Since opening the season with two losses — falling 88-80 against No. 2 South Carolina (7-0) and getting demolished 100-56 by No. 1 Connecticut (4-0) — OSU has bounced back with four straight wins.Although three of the four wins come against teams with a combined record of 7-9, the Buckeyes’ latest victory comes over then-No. 10 Texas A&M, 95-80, in the South Point Shootout, an early-season tournament held in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving holiday. In the victory, sophomore guard Kelsey Mitchell tied OSU’s single-game record for points, scoring an eye-popping 42 points on 12-of-20 shooting. She hit 15 of 16 shots from the line, as well. OSU coach Kevin McGuff said he sees the win as a confidence-booster heading into another game against an elite team in Notre Dame. “We showed people we weren’t afraid to play these people, but at some point you’ve got to start beating them,” McGuff said. “So I think it was important to win that A&M game, and hopefully our kids took a lot of confidence from that win.”McGuff’s team’s next test, the Fighting Irish, enter Wednesday night’s showdown with an efficient, balanced team on offense. Four players average double-digit points, including freshman guard Marina Mabrey, Notre Dame’s top bench player. Last week, Mabrey broke out and was named ACC Freshman of the Week, as she averaged 18.3 points, 7.3 steals, 5.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds over a three-game stretch. Notre Dame supplements Mabrey’s driving ability by surrounding her with 3-point shooters and post scorers. The Fighting Irish have made an astonishing 45.2 percent of their 3-point attempts. Leading the team from downtown is Mabrey’s sister, Michaela, who leads the team with 25 attempts from deep. The fans in attendance should not expect a slow-paced defensive battle. The Buckeyes’ style of utilizing the full-court press, fast-break points and quick shots has led to OSU averaging 82.7 points per game — and that includes its poor performance against UCONN. But Notre Dame tops that, averaging 88.3 points in its first six games.To complement its high-powered offense, Notre Dame boasts a plus-8.3 turnover margin, a category OSU usually thrives on due to its ball pressure and trapping. If the Buckeyes are to knock off the Fighting Irish, Mitchell and a duo of senior guards, Ameryst Alston and Cait Craft, must protect the ball on offense and force Notre Dame to turn the ball over.“We know that they’re an amazing team and they come with a lot of great players,” Mitchell said before Monday’s practice. “I think Coach McGuff and all the rest of the coaches will let us know what’s going to happen today so we can put ourselves in a good position.”OSU is looking to build of its experience in Columbia, South Carolina against No. 2 South Carolina to prepare for Notre Dame’s crowd.“Their crowd was crazy,” Mitchell said of South Carolina. “They’ve got a great atmosphere, a great environment for the fans. I know Notre Dame will have the same thing because they’re such a great team.” Student vs. teacherMcGuff said this battle of top-10 teams matters greatly to him, as he is able to face off against his mentor, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw.“She’s been so great to me and my family. You know it’s hard to play against your friends and mentors,” McGuff said. “But we’re two competitive people and when the lights come on on Wednesday night we’re both going to certainly do the best for our teams to try to win the game.”Prior to McGuff accepting the job as head coach of Xavier in 2002, he worked for six years as an assistant under McGraw at Notre Dame. During his time in South Bend, McGuff helped guide Notre Dame to two Final Fours, winning a national championship in 2001. He said he considers McGraw an important friend and mentor.“I just have great respect for her and how much success she’s had at that program and, more importantly, who she is as a person,” McGuff said.Kelsey Mitchell: On fireMitchell’s 42 points versus now-No. 12 Texas A&M tied Samantha Prahalis for OSU’s single-game scoring record. This, her fourth performance of more than 20 points in a row, led to espnW naming her its national player of the week, while the South Point Shootout selected her as the tournament’s most outstanding player.The preseason All-American is able to score from everywhere on the court. Mitchell averages 41.2 percent on 3-pointers and 85.1 percent at the free-throw line, as she is frequently rewarded for using her elite burst to drive into the lane. However, Mitchell continues to never take credit for her own success. She often brushes off comments about her record-breaking performance, preferring to talk exclusively about the team and the group’s goals.“I feel pretty normal, I don’t feel no different,” Mitchell said. “Whatever the case, whatever accolades, my coaches and my teammates put me in the right position.”Alexa Hart’s importanceSophomore forward Alexa Hart finally broke out in Friday’s 75-65 win over Liberty, when she scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds.The Buckeyes have struggled to defend and rebound in the interior, as Hart and junior forward Shayla Cooper play the majority of minutes in the paint. McGuff said he hopes Hart will pick up her game as OSU must negate its opponents’ main advantage of rebounding. The Buckeyes are being outrebounded by an average of six boards per game.“She used her speed, quickness up the court against Liberty’s bigger post players. That’s what we need out of her,” McGuff said. “She’s a really important part of what we’re trying to do here and we need that type of production on a nightly basis.”
OSU junior pitcher Tanner Tully (16) during OSU’s 12-1 win over Hofstra on March 18 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Giustino Bovenzi | Lantern reporterStudents and faculty might be just getting back in the swing of things after being relieved of their responsibilities from March 11 to Monday for spring break, but many Ohio State athletics teams did not enjoy that same luxury.Things were business as usual for these squads, with some even using the time off from classes to pick up the pace of schedule.While details about how the OSU wrestling and women’s basketball teams fared in their NCAA tournament action over the weekend can be found elsewhere in the section, here is a rundown of how six other Buckeye units fared.BaseballOSU baseball played seven games over a nine-game stretch, starting with a four-game series in Las Vegas against University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The Buckeyes split those four games, including a win in the final one before getting on the plane back to Columbus for their first home series.That series came against Hofstra, a team that came into the weekend just 5-11. That number became even worse, as OSU took care of business against the Pride with a three-game sweep.OSU allowed just four runs over the three games. The Friday home opener was marked by a 12-run offensive explosion, but things cooled down from there. The Buckeyes needed a late rally in Game 2 to grab a 4-2 win, while senior lefty John Havird tossed seven strong innings in the final game to lift the home team to a 2-1 victory and sweep.Now 11-6-1 on the year, eight of OSU’s next nine games are set to come at its home field at Bill Davis Stadium.Men’s basketballThe NCAA tournament might have been devoid of scarlet and gray this year, but that does not mean OSU didn’t have any postseason action after its quarterfinal exit from the Big Ten tournament.OSU players during a game against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament on March 10 in Indianapolis. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorCoach Thad Matta and the Buckeyes accepted a bid into the National Invitational Tournament, where they were a No. 3 seed.Their first draw came at the Schottenstein Center against Mid-American Conference runner-up Akron. In a tight game that featured 10 ties and 23 lead changes, it was fitting that regulation ended with the teams tied at 62.The overtime period was all OSU, however, as the Buckeyes outscored the Zips 10-1 in the final five minutes to take a 72-63 win and earn a second-round meeting with Florida.The matchup against the Gators proved to be a sloppy contest, with OSU shooting just 39 percent. Junior forward Marc Loving and freshman guard JaQuan Lyle combined for 39 of OSU’s 66 points, but it was not enough to top the Gators, who won 74-66, ending OSU’s tumultuous season.Men’s ice hockeyIt was Big Ten tournament time in St. Paul, Minnesota, over spring break, and the OSU men’s hockey team had as much momentum as anyone, coming in unbeaten in seven straight contests.That momentum certainly carried over to the Buckeyes’ first-round matchup with Michigan State. A third-period goal by OSU sophomore forward Matthew Weis knotted the game up at 3, which it remained until overtime.In that extra session, it was freshman forward Mason Jobst collecting a rebound and firing it into the net to keep OSU’s season alive for at least one more night.But it did prove to just be one more night, as the Buckeyes were unable to hold onto a 1-0 third-period lead over top-seeded Minnesota. The Golden Gophers came alive in the final period, getting four pucks past OSU junior goalie Christian Frey. The Buckeyes tacked on a goal late, but it was not nearly enough to avoid the 4-2 season-ending defeat to the eventual Big Ten runner-ups.OSU junior midfielder Johnny Pearson (30) during a game on March 19 in Denver. Credit: Courtesy of OSUMen’s lacrosse After a promising 5-1 start, the then-No. 20 men’s lacrosse team faced a big test over spring break, as it had three ranked opponents on the schedule. The Buckeyes, who could have asserted themselves nationally with a strong showing, instead stumbled, losing all three of those games. They opened with an 8-5 loss on the road to then-No. 14 Hofstra before coming back to Columbus, where OSU fell to then-No. 10 Towson in overtime on March 15, 10-9. At that point, the most difficult matchup still awaited the Buckeyes. OSU headed west to take on the defending national champions and top-ranked Denver. The Scarlet and Gray trailed by just one goal early on in the second half, but the Pioneers pulled away to win 15-6. OSU, however, is set to get another chance to right the ship against a premier opponent on Saturday. The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on No. 2 Notre Dame at 1 p.m. inside Ohio Stadium. Softball The softball team had a successful trip to Southern California, winning four of the five games it played in San Diego, headlined by a win over then-No. 24 Fresno State. The 9-6 victory was OSU’s second over a top 25 team this season. Fueled by a quick start, OSU (14-7) took down San Diego State 4-3 on Wednesday before playing four games in the San Diego State Tournament. The Buckeyes dropped their opener against Long Beach State 5-3 after surrendering three runs to the 49ers in the bottom of the sixth inning. OSU bounced back, however, defeating San Jose State 8-3 on Friday.The crown jewel of the trip was the Buckeyes’ victory over Fresno State. OSU rallied to tie the game in the fifth inning before sealing the deal in the sixth with three more runs. OSU finished the trip off on the right note Sunday afternoon against Cal Poly. After falling behind 2-0, the Buckeyes rattled off seven unanswered runs en route to victory. In the most recent polls, OSU was unranked but it received a few votes. But following their showing in Southern California, the Buckeyes now might break into the top 25. Women’s lacrosseOf all the teams mentioned, it is hard to argue that any is playing better than the OSU women’s lacrosse team. The No. 17 Buckeyes finished off a perfect five-game homestand with three victories over the week and a half of spring break.OSU freshman attacker Avery Murphy (27) during a game against Cincinnati on March 11 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of OSUThe three wins were marked by stellar defense, as OSU gave up just 17 goals in the three games.Senior midfielder Cian Dabrowski was the standout during the stretch for the Scarlet and Gray, scoring eight goals over the three contests. Senior goalie Katie Frederick came up big defensively, stopping 17 shots overall.The wins were by scores of 11-5 over Cincinnati, 10-8 over Virginia Tech and 10-4 over Canisius.Now with a three-game road trip ahead of it, OSU will look to keep its home success going elsewhere.
Batman and Robin have been a staple of American entertainment for half a century. Everyone knows Batman is the boss and is always in control. No one would ever mistake the “Boy Wonder” for the “Caped Crusader.”Applied to the Ohio State men’s basketball team, Evan Turner would be Batman and William Buford would be Robin.But in order for the Buckeyes to make a deep NCAA Tournament run, something they are very capable of, Robin is going to have to play a more prominent role in OSU’s offense.Buford’s statistics are actually a bit puzzling. When Turner’s been in the lineup, Buford has put up 14 points a game. In Turner’s absence, Buford was good for 15 points a game — obviously not a big difference, but in order to understand Buford’s significance to the offense, one must dig deeper.The great thing about Buford is that he’s shown the potential to be a very dynamic offensive player. When his shot wasn’t falling against Wisconsin last month, Buford hit the glass and grabbed 12 rebounds. He had 10 assists in a win over Eastern Michigan earlier this season. On Jan. 31 versus Minnesota, Boy Wonder had his shot going. His form isn’t what you would call textbook, but when his high-arching jumpers are falling, it’s a thing of beauty. Buford finished with a career-high 26 points.College basketball isn’t the NBA. Teams can’t just ride a superstar player who can go one-on-five — a la LeBron James or Dwayne Wade — to the title. I’d argue the last team to win the national championship that truly rode the coattails of one player to the title would be the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks.Kansas lost 11 times that year, the most ever of any team to win the title. Entering the tournament, the Jayhawks were a No. 6 seed. But National Player of the Year Danny Manning and the “Miracles” would not be denied. In Kansas’ 83-79 victory over Oklahoma in the National Championship Game, Manning had 31 points, 18 rebounds, 5 steals and 2 blocked shots.That was nearly 22 years ago and college basketball has evolved since then.The further Ohio State advances in the tournament, the more defenses will attempt to take Turner out of the game. Opposing coaches will attempt to conjure up some of the most preposterous game plans in an attempt to neutralize “The Villain.”OSU could see something similar to the triangle and two defense Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos used to hold former Davidson star Stephen Curry scoreless last season. Patsos knew his team couldn’t stop Curry, so he double-teamed Davidson’s sweet-shooting guard the entire game. Curry only got up three shots and didn’t score, but Davidson still won by 30.Obviously, it’s preposterous to think any coach would become that desperate in an NCAA Tournament game. However, a junk defense such as a box-and-one is not out of the question. That brings me back to Buford.He’s the only other player on Ohio State’s roster besides Turner who is a complete offensive player. Buford is capable of getting his own shot and finishing at the rim, at the foul line or beyond the arc. As sports clichés go, Buford is OSU’s “X-factor.”The key for Boy Wonder is to be an efficient scorer. Ohio State is only 7-6 when he has 12 or more field goal attempts. Forced shots and quick shots usually result in fast break points for the other team.If Buford can be a solid but not necessarily spectacular Robin, OSU fans may find the Bat Signal in the skies over Indianapolis, the site of this season’s Final Four.
Ohio State freshman quarterback Braxton Miller was chosen Friday as the 2011 National Freshman Performer of the Year. The College Football Performance Awards organization selects its honorees based on the player’s improvement to the overall effectiveness of his team. During the 2011 season, Miller, who was not made available for comment, threw for 1,159 yards and completed 54.1 percent of his passes. Thirteen passes led to touchdowns, a freshman school record. Miller closed his first 10 games as a starter for OSU with season-high records against Michigan and Florida despite losses in both games. He threw for 235 yards at Michigan Stadium and earned a 78.3 completion percentage in the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl. He also led the team in rushing with 715 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. He averaged 4.5 yards per carry on the season. Miller claimed team-best statistics when he ran for over 100 yards three times against Penn State, Indiana and Michigan. He also broke the record for the longest scoring run by a quarterback with 82 yards. Miller averaged 59.6 rushing yards and 96.6 passing yards per game. The award comes in the form of a crystal trophy that stands 22 inches tall and includes an eight-inch crystal football on top. Previous National Freshman Performer of the Year award winners include South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore in 2010 and Oregon’s LaMichael James in 2009. The Huber Heights, Ohio, native has been honored more than once for his efforts in the 2011 season. In December, Miller was awarded OSU football’s Archie Griffin outstanding offensive player award and voted the team’s most outstanding first-year offensive player by OSU coaches. The Big Ten Conference announced in late November that Miller would be the recipient of the 2011 Thompson-Randle El Freshman of the Year award as well. Miller, a communication major, tweeted a simple “Thank u !!” early Saturday morning.
Freshman defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder (7) makes a dig for the ball at the Ohio State women’s volleyball game against Michigan at St. John’s Arena in Columbus, Ohio on Oct. 22. The Buckeyes lost the match 3-1. Credit: Maggie Jones | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team (14-13, 7-9 Big Ten) lost 3-1 in a tight match against Iowa (17-12, 6-10 Big Ten) on Saturday night. This game broke the Hawkeyes’ 15-match losing streak against Ohio State and gave Iowa its first win against the Buckeyes since 2008.The second set proved to be the most successful for the Buckeyes as they led the entire set with a .324 hitting percentage, their best in any set. Senior outside hitter Ashley Wenz led the set with four kills, while sophomore outside hitter Bia Franklin and sophomore middle blocker Madison Smeathers were responsible for two blocks each. With a total of 16 kills and three blocks, the Buckeyes won the set 25-22.The rest of the match did not go according to plan for Ohio State. Although both teams went back and forth in the first set with six ties and three lead changes, the Buckeyes fell behind 20-17. Wenz contributed eight kills on 14 error-free attempts, but Iowa came away with a 25-18 victory.The Buckeyes started the third set with a 7-1 run, but Iowa eventually caught up and tied the game at 22. Senior outside hitter Luisa Schirmer put away nine kills in the set, but it was not enough to match the Hawkeyes’ energy as they took the set 25-22.The fourth and final set came to a 14-14 tie with a kill by Wenz. Iowa quickly regained the lead with two kills and two attack errors from the Buckeyes. Although Ohio State caught up and tied the it at 21, Iowa won the set 25-23 with a final kill from its junior outside hitter Taylor Louis.Freshman setter Becca Mauer had a career night, recording career-highs with 51 assists and five kills. Franklin also played a strong game with a career-best three solo blocks, 11 digs and six kills.The Buckeyes return to St. John Arena at 6 p.m. Friday for a game against Nebraska.
Ohio State added another running back to its 2019 class.Four-star running back Steele Chambers committed to the Buckeyes, announcing it via Twitter Wednesday night.The 6-foot-2, 215-pound recruit played both running back and outside linebacker at Blessed Trinity Catholic High School in Rosewell, Georgia. Ranked as the 340th-best recruit in the nation, according to the 247 composite rankings. He is also listed as the No. 29 athlete and No. 37 recruit in the state of Georgia.Chambers is the sixth member of Ohio State’s 2019 class and is one of four in the class not from Ohio. The Georgia native will join four-star running back Sampson James in the class.
Would you like to live at Buckingham Palace and work for the Queen?If so, this job might just be for you. The Royals are looking for a new live-in housekeeping assistant.The housekeeper will be expected to “clean and care for interiors and items from carpets and furniture to historic vases and irreplaceable paintings”.The successful applicant will spend all day up close and personal with Queen Elizabeth’s vases and paintings.They will also look after guests and support special events. 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. The job posting states:”This is no standard housekeeping role. You’ll work, and live, in stunning historic settings, ensuring that they’re presented to their best for colleagues, guests and, of course, the Royal Family.”Qualities needed in the housekeeping assistant are someone who “takes care and pride in their work” as well as having “excellent communication and time management skills”. They will also need to be “house-proud about the world’s most famous homes”.Buckingham Palace’s housekeeping assistant can expect to make almost £17,000 a year with bed and board included.No experience is required, with the website stating: “Housekeeping or hospitality experience would be an asset, but is by no means essential. We’re more interested in your outstanding team working skills.”The housekeeping assistant will get 33 days’ holiday, a comprehensive benefits package, a 15 per cent employer contribution pension scheme, as well as a range of recreational facilities.
But one unimpressed female patron said: “It’s not really affecting anyone if nobody wants to kiss me, but it’s affecting quite a lot of people to run an event centred aroundkissing strangers without their consent for free drinks. Bit of a difference there.”The promotion was defended by a male poster who said: “Where in the advertising or promotion of the event does it say you should kiss a person WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT? Bit of a leap don’t you think?” Rules are simple – get yourself on the big screen & neck on to win some free drinks! Tag a mate who would neck a munter for a free drink! pic.twitter.com/PiJUS98cUP— Kasbah Nightclub (@KasbahCoventry) November 11, 2016 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. We would urge all students to be active bystanders and challenge this behaviour wherever possibleStudents’ Union The University of Warwick’s Students’ Union described promotion of the Kiss Camevent as a stunt.It said it also encourages non-consensual sexual contact while the advert used sexist language, in reference to the disparaging term “munter”.However, online, the promotion attracted plenty of positive comments, with one woman saying “what is the difference between this and kiss cams at American football games? It’s just banter.” The Students’ Union (SU) said: “The SU thoroughly condemns the nightclub’s KissCam stunt, which encourages non-consensual sexual contact, the use of free alcohol as an incentive and sexist language in its promotion.”Though such measures sadly shouldn’t be necessary, we would urge all students to be active bystanders and challenge this behaviour wherever possible.”The nightclub has been approached for comment. A nightclub is under fire for offering free drinks to clubbers who “neck on with a munter” on camera, as critics say it encourages “kissing strangers without their consent”.The Kasbah in Coventry advertised its Kiss Cam night on social media, calling on clubbers to “Neck on, and win free drinks. It’s a win-win situation”.Advertising its “Kinky” Friday night event on November 11, the promo read: “Rules are simple – get yourself on the big screen and neck on with anyone nearby for your chance to win some free drinks!”Look out for our camera man in the main room from midnight onwards!”Tag a mate who would neck on with a munter for a free drink!”
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. A carton of ‘Milk for Farmers’Credit:Aled Llywelyn/Athena Pictures It was marketed as a scheme to help consumers support British dairy farmers.But it has now emerged that more than three quarters of the proceeds from the Milk for Farmers venture are in fact destined for the pockets of foreign milk producers.The milk cartons sold under the initiative are branded with a Union flag, giving customers the impression the money they spend on their daily pint goes to supporting British producers.Morrisons and Asda both run similar ventures under which part of price paid by customers goes to producers operating with the Arla dairy farmers co-operative.Under Morrisons’ ‘Milk for Farmers’ scheme 12,000 farmers in Arla’s cooperative receive subsidies from sales of the supermarket chain’s milk. The proceeds are divided up among farmers producing milk, butter and cheese in the UK, Sweden, Germany, Belgium and Luxembourg.But only 2,700 of these are British. Data obtained by The Telegraph now shows sales of the Morrisons ‘Milk for farmers’ initiative saw an average of £290 paid to each of the farmers in the Arla cooperative in extra payments from its 10p per litre retail price supplement.However, they would have received a total of £1,300 had the supplement been paid only to Arla’s British farmers, according to analysis by AHDB Dairy.Arla pays its farmers 23p for every litre of milk they produce – below the farmers’ cost price of between 30p and 32p a litre.Morrisons buys all its milk from Arla, but uses only milk supplied by British farmers. However, the presence of the British flag on packs appeared to have confused customers.One consumer wrote to Morrisons: “I’ve just seen Milk For Farmers on your website. Will this [the additional 23p] be all [going] to British farmers as the Union Jack on the bottle suggests?” Six months ago Morrisons modified its packaging to cover such concerns. But the milk cartons still contain a small version of the Union Jack and the front of the pack reads: “Milk for Farmers, you give back to dairy farmers”.Arla’s website states: “You give an extra 23p per bottle to Arla Foods – a dairy cooperative 100pc owned by dairy farmers for the benefit of dairy farmers. Arla distributes this premium to all its farmer owners in the UK and other European countries.”Morrisons denied its campaign is misleading, pointing out the Union flag on its milk products shows that all its milk is produced on British farms.It insisted it had never actually said all the money would go to UK farmers.The supermarket chain also disputed the Kantar Worldpanel data, saying its actual sales figures would have seen £360 go to all Arla farmers.However, this would mean each UK farmer could have taken £1,600 this year, had the money only been for them.The “For Farmers” brand, which includes cheeses, was launched after a backlash against supermarkets over the low prices paid to UK dairy farmers.AHDB Dairy said sales data for other supermarket’s Milk for Farmers schemes was not yet available as they had not yet been running for at least a year.Morrisons said: “Our customers tell us they welcome the opportunity to give extra money to dairy farmers if they so choose.“The packaging on our Milk for Farmers products is clear that this extra money is distributed by Arla to its farmers in the UK and European countries.”In a statement Asda said: “Arla unveiled Arla Farmers Milk to give shoppers the opportunity to pay a little extra on each bottle to help Arla farmers during challenging market conditions.”The extra 25p for Arla Farmers Milk will be returned directly to Arla farmers. In line with Arla’s cooperative’s principles, this extra money will be shared amongst its 12,700 farmer owners.”Arla declined to comment. In a statement Asda said: “Arla unveiled Arla Farmers Milk to give shoppers the opportunity to pay a little extra on each bottle to help Arla farmers during challenging market conditions.”The extra 25p for Arla Farmers Milk will be returned directly to Arla farmers. In line with Arla’s cooperative’s principles, this extra money will be shared amongst its 12,700 farmer owners.”
This incident has left me scared to go out and I don’t want to go into town again. I am disgusted my nine-year-old son had to witness thisThe victim “I have seen some documentation showing that the diagnosis is pretty bad,” the barrister said.Judge Stephen Earl said he will sentence him later, once he has heard more details about the diagnosis.The judge said: “This is a custodial band sentence, given his record and the nature of his actions.”A previous hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard how Scotter left his victim terrified when he attacked her in July.Laura Lax, prosecuting, told the hearing the woman was waiting with her nine-year-old son for her husband outside a store in Sunderland’s Bridges shopping centre when a man “purposefully” walked towards her and grabbed her niqab.The force he used almost threw her to the ground, and the niqab came away from her face, exposing her and causing her pain to the neck.She remembered being scared but was so shocked she could not remember what was said, magistrates were told.The niqab was damaged, but she has since repaired it herself.Miss Lax told the court the victim said afterwards: “This incident has left me scared to go out and I don’t want to go into town again. I am disgusted my nine-year-old son had to witness this.”Another witness heard Scotter shout: “Here, take that f—–g off, you are in our country now, you stupid f—–g Muslim.”When a police officer arrived, Scotter was being spoken to by a security guard and the defendant tried to walk away.Scotter was heard to say: “Our Britain, you live by our f—–g rules” before coming out with more racist abuse.He continued to make derogatory comments when he was being interviewed after his arrest, Miss Lax said.When he attended previous hearings about the niqab offence, Scotter made a middle finger gesture to photographers outside court.He has 66 previous convictions for 157 offences, including actual bodily harm, breaching a Football Banning Order and racially aggravated criminal damage.Scotter had been due to stand trial for the niqab offences next month.The judge told Scotter he will be sentenced in three weeks and granted him conditional bail.Scotter emerged from court to stand outside the doors smoking a cigarette.He hid his face behind a scarf and made rude gestures to photographers.As Scotter left court, he declined to answer why he was covering his face with a scarf and gestured defiantly to waiting photographers. A man has admitted pulling a niqab off a woman in a shopping centre and yelling “you are in our country now, you stupid f—–g Muslim”.Peter Scotter, 55, of Roker, Sunderland, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court to admit racially aggravated assault by beating and a separate charge of racially aggravated harassment.Both offences were based on Scotter’s hostility towards a particular religious group, namely Islam, the court heard.Tony Hawks, defending, said Scotter was diagnosed last week with a serious cancerous tumour under his tongue and was due to have an operation next Monday. 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.
It’s not every day that you find a species new to scienceScientist Liam Olds Experts have described the discovery of the creature, which is around 4cm long, as “hugely significant”Credit: Wales News Service Scientist Liam Olds said: “It’s not every day that you find a species new to science. It shows you don’t have to go to the Amazon to find new things.”Mr Olds, who studies insects, said he and his team, including millipede expert Christian Owen, were recording different life forms at the former working mine in December when they made their discovery.”Under these stones and sleepers were brown millipedes unlike anything Christian had seen before,” he said. “He made the assumption these millipedes were merely an alternative colour form of an already existing but rare species known from numerous sites in South Wales.”But after putting them under his microscope he recognised they were a completely different species.” Mr Olds, from Llantrisant, South Wales, added: “This discovery highlights the importance of conserving our colliery sites.”Over the past several decades, these sites have become increasingly important places for wildlife.” A new species of millipede has been discovered down a coal mine and nicknamed the “Maerdy Monster”, experts have revealed. The brown-coloured arthropod – believed to be the first millipede species to be found in the UK since 1993 – was discovered underneath a pile of stones by a team of naturalists who were studying Maerdy Colliery in the Rhondda Valleys of South Wales.Experts have described the discovery of the creature, which is around 4cm long, as “hugely significant”. Specimens were then sent to Dr Jörg Spelda at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Germany, who confirmed the millipedes were “new to science”.Experts are now working to formally describe and name the species, which has been dubbed the “Maerdy Monster” after the coal mine it was found at. 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.
All hospital patients should be tagged with homing beacons to prevent staff losing track of them on busy and chaotic NHS wards, experts have said.The author of a new King’s Fund report said doctors and nurses waste “extraordinary” amounts of time trying to locate patients when they should be treating them.Michael Wise, a clinician who spent months as an acute NHS patient, called on the health service to adopt tracking technologies such as those used in hospitals in Asia. “Why shouldn’t it be the same with patients or beds?” He said the current shortage of beds means patients are often placed on wards not associated with their condition, meaning staff beginning new shifts have no idea where to find them.Royal College of Physicians President Professor Jane Dacre said wasting time looking for patients was a “big problem” and that transponders “the size of a 20p piece”, taped to the thigh, can be used to track their movements.A survey of junior doctors published in the British Medical Journal in 2015 found 100 per cent had reported getting lost within their own hospital while trying to find a patient.Mr Wise said homing beacons should form part of a package of new technologies, such as pressure pad sensors that automatically alert nurses when a patient runs out of drinking water, to improve the basic comfort and efficiency of NHS hospitals.“Doctors waste an extraordinary amount of time trying to track down their patients,” he said.“If I lose my iphone, I simply look for it with an app on my ipad. Patients should be tagged with ‘homing beacons’ to stop them being lost, King’s Fund and Royal College sayCredit:PA Unveiling the new King’s Fund analysis, Organising care at the NHS front line, Mr Wise said hospital patients should be allowed to store their medical records on their own smartphone.“As a patient, you have to repeat your history time after time after time, which is wearing and a waste of time for the doctor.“Why not have the history there on the patient’s phone and then all a doctor needs to do is ask to see it?”Previous research has indicated that an acute patient is asked on average more than 1,400 questions each time they are admitted to hospital, according to consultant physician Dr Gordon Caldwell, who also contributed to the report.Professor Dacre said: “I have seen transponders in action in Singapore and you simply tape them near the femoral artery and they tell you a patient’s pulse, their rhythm, and where they are.“I think this sort of IT could be absolutely transformational in the NHS, but you go into the average hospital trust at the moment and it’s hard to find a printer that works.”Mr Wise called for establishment an NHS think tank to foster the growth of artificial intelligence in hospitals. hospital bedCredit:PA 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.