March Madness Crib Notes for Thursdays Sweet 16 Games

No. 3 Notre Dame (53 percent win probability) vs. No. 7 Wichita StateLocation: ClevelandWhen to watch: At 7:15 p.m. EDT on CBSPower ratings: Wichita State 88.1, Notre Dame 87.2Upset probability: 47 percentPlayer to watch: Fred VanVleet, Wichita StateAfter prevailing in what was arguably the round of 32’s most exciting game, Notre Dame’s next hurdle will be a terrific all-around Wichita State team that is coming off one of the biggest victories in program history. These two teams are very evenly matched; the Fighting Irish are better offensively (according to KenPom.com’s ratings), but the Shockers have the better defense. There are a few peculiarities that could decide the matchup — Wichita State’s defense is good at gathering rebounds and stopping 2-point field goals, which should mitigate two of the Irish’s offensive strengths. Notre Dame, meanwhile, has the superior long-distance shooters. But this is such a tossup that it might come down to something as obscure as travel distance. Notre Dame is favored to win in part because South Bend is almost four times closer to Cleveland than Wichita is. Wichita State has the better power rating in the FiveThirtyEight model, but the travel is what makes the prediction tilt Notre Dame’s way. File it under “every little edge counts,” I suppose. After a three-day break, the Madness continues Thursday with the commencement of the Sweet 16. And according to the FiveThirtyEight power ratings of the teams involved, Thursday’s games are pretty clearly better than Friday’s slate of matchups. Headlining the action, as always: undefeated Kentucky, who’ll take the court against West Virginia in their sternest test yet (granted, the Wildcats still have an 87 percent chance of advancing). But the most intriguing game of the night might just be North Carolina versus Wisconsin in a battle of contrasting styles.Read on for more about Thursday’s NCAA tournament action …No. 1 Kentucky (87 percent win probability) vs. No. 5 West VirginiaLocation: ClevelandWhen to watch: At 9:45 p.m. EDT on CBSPower ratings: Kentucky 97.9, West Virginia 85.5Upset probability: 13 percentPlayer to watch: Karl-Anthony Towns, KentuckyWest Virginia is a deep, balanced squad with a great swarming defense, but its run likely ends Thursday night against the nation’s most talented team. While the Mountaineers do employ some high-variance strategies that could help their upset chances — particularly a pressing defense that specializes in forcing turnovers — there are plenty of weaknesses for Kentucky to exploit if it can adequately protect the ball. Kentucky had the third-best shooting efficiency differential in the country during the season, while West Virginia had the nation’s 30th-worst; the Mountaineers also allowed the highest free throw rate in the country on defense. (For its part, Kentucky’s offense ranked 30th-best in forcing fouls and 74th in free throw accuracy.) So if this game is decided by conventional means, West Virginia probably won’t win; the Mountaineers will need takeaways and a lot of good fortune to hand Kentucky its first loss of the season. No. 1 Wisconsin (73 percent win probability) vs. No. 4 North CarolinaLocation: Los AngelesWhen to watch: At 7:47 p.m. EDT on TBSPower ratings: Wisconsin 93.6, North Carolina 88.0Upset probability: 27 percentPlayer to watch: Frank Kaminsky, WisconsinWorlds are colliding in Thursday’s most interesting pairing. The Badgers, known for slowing the pace of the game down to a veritable crawl, will meet the Tar Heels, one of the nation’s fastest-paced teams. During the season, Wisconsin’s average possession lasted nearly six seconds longer than North Carolina’s, while the proportion of UNC’s plays on which they had a transition opportunity was more than double that of Wisconsin. (The Badgers were at the bottom of Division I with a 7.5 percent rate of transition chances per play, according to Synergy.) The tempo of this game will be worth watching. Beyond that, the possibility of an upset might come down to whether UNC can get the 2-point shots upon which they thrive against a tough interior Wisconsin defense and — relatedly — whether the Heels can do any damage on the offensive glass versus the Badgers’ great defensive rebounders. No. 2 Arizona (87 percent win probability) vs. No. 6 XavierLocation: Los AngelesWhen to watch: At 10:17 p.m. EDT on TBSPower ratings: Arizona 94.8, Xavier 85.5Upset probability: 13 percentPlayer to watch: T.J. McConnell, ArizonaBy navigating past a tough Ohio State team with relative ease in the round of 32, Arizona earned the right to face Xavier in one of the Sweet 16’s easier matchups. The Musketeers aren’t a bad team, but they are among the weaker remaining squads in the field. And that’s not good when facing the second-highest-rated team in the FiveThirtyEight power ratings. There are stylistic reasons to think Xavier is overmatched here. The key to the Musketeers’ success has been their offense, particularly on 2-pointers (big men Matt Stainbrook and Jalen Reynolds both shot in excess of 62 percent on twos this season), but the Wildcats excel at short-circuiting opponents’ 2-point efficiency. And in the absence of its bread-and-butter, Xavier might have trouble knocking down enough threes or forcing enough turnovers to make life difficult for Arizona. The Musketeers shouldn’t feel too bad, though: Despite being the No. 2 seed, Arizona is a 58 percent favorite to emerge as the West’s representative in the Final Four. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. read more

Is It Time For Black Fans To Stop Hating

For years, many Black college basketball fans have held an animosity—OK, a downright hatred—for Duke’s program and its perceived rich boy, elitist school pompousness and upper-crust, trust-fund baby student body. All that, and they played a lot of white boys, too.Why such disdain resonated is a psychological paradox that could perplex the most diverse minds. But one thing is certain: It should stop.Duke celebrates its fifth NCAA Tournament championship today, and all the African-American fans that pushed back (present company included) should give in and embrace what is the personification of team basketball, keen coaching and a heritage of excellence.Isn’t that why we love the game?What the Blue Devils accomplished in defeating Wisconsin in last night’s title game was more than reaching the pinnacle of college hoops. It was a performance that should detonate the “Duke hate” that is derived from social and class biases that really should not matter.It’s just kids playing basketball.For sure, Danny Ferry never elicited much in the way of likability. He was utterly unlikable. Christian Laettner rubbed even his teammates the wrong way. Bobby Hurley was an irritant, just like Steve Wojciechowski. J.J. Redick was Laettner 2.0. There were other white players over the years you can throw into this mix—Cherokee Parks, Mike Dunleavy, Josh McRoberts—who were sort of non-personalities.These Duke white players “seem to be so every-guy-like,” said Peter Roby, director of Northeastern University’s Center for Study of Sport in Society to The Washington Post. “Guys sitting in the stands might say, ‘What gives you the right to play like that when you look so much like us?’ ”Roby could have said the same thing about Black guys, which would be part of the animus. African-Americans believe they own the game, and so when a team made up of key white players wins, they take it as a personal affront. . . instead of a testament to the value of team play. (Imagine the outrage had almost-all-white Wisconsin won it all.)Do not get it backwards: all the aforementioned Duke players needed the likes of Johnny Dawkins, Tommy Amaker, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Trajon Langdon, Jeff Capel, Carlos Boozer, Chris Duhon, Shane Battier, Sheldon Williams, Luol Deng and many other Black players to win—and a coach who as adept as anyone ever at meshing skills, personalities, socioeconomic backgrounds and races in Mike Krzyzewski.Justise Winslow, left, and Grayson Allen were keys to Dukes 5th titleAnd that’s the ultimate point. Sports in general, basketball in particular, is a team game. Blacks and whites can play together in harmony for the greater good of the game. If you don’t, you lose.Duke has done it better than anyone else. So it wins. That’s no reason to hate the Blue Devils.In reality, it’s a reason to admire and appreciate them. No, a lot of their players do not come from impoverished backgrounds or broken homes, giving many fans that inherit reason to root for their achievement more than a perceived silver-spoon kid. Jalen Rose has said that he “hated” Duke when he was a star at Michigan. Why? Because of the perception that their lives were together, that they did not come from broken homes and that they were already set up for life.The class issue is a real thorn in the Black community, and not just toward Duke. Someone articulates and the perception among many is that he’s “talking white.” A player attends Duke and he’s no longer down for the cause?Redick, who was mercilessly heckled on the road during his Duke days, said back then that he did not take it “personally. (But) I think if I played for another school, and still played the way I play, I wouldn’t get it as bad. I get it from fans because it says ‘Duke’ on my jersey. I’m not really sure why it’s white guys.”It’s a complex issue, but silly, too. You have disdain for Kyrie Irving because he plays for Duke? Instead of “hating” Irving when he was there (briefly), fans should respect him and Dawkins, Hill, Amaker, Brand and all the other Black players.Such disdain for Duke likely will persist for many, probably most. But it would seem last night that the Blue Devils—with Black players Kyle Cook, Tyus Jones, Jahill Okafor and huge contributions from white player Grayson Allen—may have won over its haters along with the National Championship. read more

Fed up with limited opportunities from beyond the arc Diebler ventures inside

With a player like Ohio State’s Evan Turner on the court, there may be a tendency for the opposition to divert all of its attention in his direction.Unfortunately for Jon Diebler, however, that has not been the case. Since the start of Big Ten play, the Buckeye junior has found that, even with Turner on the court, teams are not exactly willing to let him run free. There have been times when Diebler has been faced with a defender assigned to do nothing but hassle him for 40 minutes. In both of OSU’s games against Wisconsin, the Badgers put senior guard Jason Bohannon on Diebler and turned the game into what Buckeye coach Thad Matta said was more like “four on four.”But even though he may struggle to get open outside shots, Matta said that Diebler has been virtually unaffected by it. “I give him a lot of credit,” Matta said. “He couldn’t care less. I’m sure he’d like to shoot and score, but as long as we’re winning he’s happy with it.”That is not to say, however, that Diebler has done nothing to combat the extra attention. Recently he has made an effort to take the ball to the basket when faced with pressure on the outside. For someone who has been almost exclusively a perimeter player during his career, adding the ability to drive to the basket has done wonders for his game. Two weeks ago against Wisconsin, as expected, Diebler was faced with constant harassment. But rather than become a virtual non-factor, on more than one occasion Diebler beat his man off the dribble and was able to get to the hoop. Although it didn’t always earn him an open shot, the penetration opened up his teammates underneath the basket resulting in either free throws or easy points.“As far as going to the basket, I was just trying to take what the defense was giving me,” Diebler said. “Obviously [the defense] wasn’t used to me doing that so I was able to get in the lane.”The Buckeyes’ next game saw more of the same. Although he did get more open looks on the perimeter against Northwestern, there were situations where, in the past, Diebler might have rushed a contested 3-point shot. However, when he was smothered by a defender, he again beat people off the dribble, creating open shots for both him and his teammates. Diebler scored 17 points in the Buckeyes’ win and tied his season high with five assists.Matta said that Diebler’s newfound affinity for driving to the basket was nothing the coaches forced on him, but rather a product of his willingness to understand a game plan and know when and where he could find open shots. The addition to Diebler’s game, Matta said, has led to his team being less reliant on the 3-point shot, something his team has been criticized for in the past. “I think we’ve changed how we’re playing,” Matta said. “At times last year I think we got a little bit ‘3 happy,’ but I’ve been pretty pleased with the attempts that we’ve been getting. I think our guys have a pretty good understanding of what’s a good [shot] and what isn’t.”As the season progresses, if Diebler is able to continue to quell any frustration and create open shots, he could make a big difference for OSU. With each passing week, the games will get more and more meaningful.It is a process that Diebler said he’s become very familiar with over the course of his career, and one he is looking forward to. “Every game is a grind and you got to bring it every single day, even in practice,” he said. “I think we enjoy the competitive aspect of it.”“That’s what you play college basketball for.” read more

Baseballs inner beauty cant compete with footballs eye candy

For years I had been telling myself that baseball still reigned supreme in this country, that Americans still held the national pastime in higher regard than the NFL. Then I had an epiphany after watching Game 4 of the World Series on Sunday night. To a baseball aficionado, the game had a little bit of everything. Pitching: A masterful performance by the Giants’ 21-year-old rookie starter Madison Bumgarner, who blanked the Rangers, owners of the majors’ highest team batting average during the regular season, in eight innings. In the history of baseball, only one starting pitcher younger than Bumgarner has thrown eight shutout innings in a World Series game. Hitting: In the third inning, San Francisco designated hitter Aubrey Huff, who grew up a Rangers fan, mashed a two-run home run that seemingly landed down the road in Cowboys Stadium. Fielding: The Giants put on a defensive exhibition. Second baseman Freddy Sanchez was all over the infield making plays. Left-fielder Cody Ross had a nice sliding catch, and catcher Buster Posey threw out Josh Hamilton, the modern-day Mickey Mantle, trying to steal second base. And yet, I thought to myself, “More people are probably watching Sunday Night Football.” Turns out I was right. And I’m OK with that. USA Today reported that the New Orleans Saints’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers (11.8 percent of TV households) outdrew Game 4 of the World Series (10.4). CNBC’s Darren Rovell reported it was the first time an NFL regular-season game has out-drawn a World Series game. Curiously, the NFL has traditionally conceded Sunday nights to the World Series. That changed this year, and it has proved that football is king in this country. And it’s relatively easy to explain. Popularity in football, a game that features a collection of the world’s best athletes engaging in violent collisions at high speeds on every down, has soared. As attention spans and attention to detail have waned in society, so has interest in baseball, the game that prizes those two attributes. And although USA Today reported that the Giants’ World Series-clinching Game 5 victory out-drew Monday Night Football in terms of television ratings, it is clear baseball is falling behind. The best thing baseball had going was performance-enhancing drugs. Big biceps brought big home run numbers during the steroid era. However, the advent of drug testing stifled those numbers. According to Baseball Almanac, from 2005-09, the highest rating a World Series garnered was an 11.7, in 2009. The lowest rating a World Series garnered during the 1990s was a 14.1, in 1998. To be fair, baseball isn’t doing itself any favors. The regular season is too long — the World Series stretches into November. And any World Series without a team from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or Boston isn’t going to draw the average sports fan to the tube. But ever since gladiators clashed against fellow human beings and animals alike, the spectator has been fixated on action and violence. Today’s sports fans are no different. Baseball can’t compete with that. A sport based more on strategy and proficiency will always fall victim to a sport of pick-sixes and spread offenses in the public eye. If I’m the only one jumping out of my seat because of a perfectly executed suicide squeeze or a flawless relay from an outfield wall to home plate, that’s fine with me. read more

Thad Matta Im very excited about this team

OSU basketball coach Thad Matta laughs as he answers a question during Media Day Oct. 10 at the Jerome Schottenstein Center. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State basketball coach Thad Matta isn’t sure what to expect for the 2013-14 version of the Buckeyes, but does know one thing: he’s looking forward to it.“I don’t know if I could give a true projection or expectation for this team just yet. I think we have a chance to have a really, really good basketball team. I love the energy, I love the cohesiveness of us,” Matt said. “I’m very excited about this team.”Matta, along with the rest of the team (except true freshmen Kam Williams and Marc Loving) met with the media Thursday, to discuss the upcoming season.A topic sure to be a story line throughout the winter is how OSU will replace Deshaun Thomas, who led the team with an average of 19.8 points per game his junior season before deciding to enter the NBA Draft. In order to fill the void left by Thomas, Matta said it must be a team effort.“Collectively, I think guys have got to score more,” Matta said. “I think (the offense) needs to be more well-rounded, we got to have a little more of a flow to (it). Something that we’ve tried to put a big premium on this offseason was shooting the basketball and getting more offensively skilled.”A player that could be counted on for more offensive production is starting senior point guard Aaron Craft, who finished last season second on the team in scoring average with 10 points per game.“As a team, I think we’ve done a great job this spring and summer understanding that we need to shoot the ball better. It can’t be one guy,” Craft said. “Even with (Thomas), we shot one of the worst percentages in (Matta)’s career here at Ohio State.”Craft said getting open looks at the basket is a luxury that rarely comes around during games, so taking and making those shots will be vital to OSU’s success this season.“Our biggest focus is being able to knock down open shots, elevating our shooting percentage and that opens up countless other things on the offensive end,” Craft said.Replacing Thomas’ offensive production is not the only thing that will be a team effort, though. Junior forward LaQuinton Ross said the leadership side of things is “going to be a group effort from everybody.”“I think you get leadership from all different angles on this team,” Ross said. “I think you got Craft who everybody knows is one of the main leaders for this team. Then you got guys like (junior guard) Shannon Scott who’s also been a leader for this team, got other guys like (junior forward) Sam Thompson who are also doing the same thing. I think this year, (the leadership)’s going to be a group effort from everybody.”On the defensive side of the ball, however, the mindset stays the same.“We’re never going to go away from our defense,” Matta said. “I think that may be the best thing we did last year as a group, collectively as a group was team defense.”Matta and the Buckeyes are scheduled to open their regular season Nov. 9 at the Schottenstein Center against Morgan State at noon. OSU’s first Big Ten game is in West Lafayette, Ind., New Year’s Eve against Purdue at 1 p.m. read more

Michigan tops Ohio State 7060 ends Buckeyes 3game winning streak

Junior forward Sam Thompson dunks the ball after an alley-oop. OSU lost to Michigan, 70-60, Feb. 11 at The Schottenstein Center. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAfter slugging through a forgetful January in which they lost five of seven games, the Ohio State Buckeyes came into a showdown with No. 15 Michigan on a three-game winning streak, threatening to get back into the thick of the Big Ten race.They left the Schottenstein Center Tuesday still on the outside looking in on the Big Ten’s best, falling to the Wolverines, 70-60.Led by 15 points from sophomore guard Nik Stauskas, Michigan (18-6, 10-2) came back from an early 10-point deficit to win.“Every loss hurts. Obviously you can’t get comfortable and we found a way to play tough on the road for a couple games and we came home and got one and today we didn’t have it,” senior guard Aaron Craft said after the loss. “We have six games left, so as much as this may hurt, we have to move forward. We have to find a way to continue to get better because nothing’s guaranteed and there’s still a lot to play for.”The Buckeyes (19-6, 6-6) got off to a fast start, as back-to-back dunks by junior forwards Sam Thompson and LaQuinton Ross gave OSU an 11-5 lead with 15:26 left in the first half.Ross had the hot hand early, nailing his first five shots from the field on his way to 13 first half points.After Michigan freshman guard Zak Irvin hit two of three free throws to make the score 21-16 with 7:49 left in the opening half, OSU extended its lead to 10 with an acrobatic layup by junior center Amir Williams and a deep 3-pointer from the wing by senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr.Michigan responded, though, using an 8-0 run near the end of the half to stay close. Two free throws from Ross with less than two seconds left gave the Buckeyes a 30-26 lead at the break.After Stauskas nailed a 3-pointer on the first possession of the second half, OSU proceeded to go on a 7-0 run aided by another 3-pointer by Smith Jr.Michigan was able to stay close though, and took a 44-43 lead after two free throws by Stauskas.OSU cut Michigan’s lead to 51-50 following a free throw by Ross, but Michigan gathered an offensive rebound on three straight possessions, helping the Wolverines get back a six point lead.Thompson got another dunk in transition, but with the lead cut to four, Williams missed the front end of a one-and-one with 3:09 to go.Michigan sophomore forward Glenn Robinson III then hit a 3-pointer in the corner to make the score 59-52.Williams then fouled freshman guard Derrick Walton Jr. on a 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining as the shot clock expired, negating the slim hopes the Buckeyes had to get back in the game. Walton Jr. made all three free throws, and a miss on the other end by OSU forced the Buckeyes to foul to stop the clock.But Michigan made eight free throws in final 1:32 to ice the game.“I thought at times we played some pretty good basketball, but we hit that stretch as we did in some of those games in January where we took our foot — I don’t want to say we took our foot off the gas — but we played hard but we weren’t as sharp execution-wise as we needed to be,” OSU coach Thad Matta said after the game.Ross led the way for OSU with a game-high 24 points on 8-17 shooting, while Smith Jr. chipped in 13 of his own.After the game Ross said even though it was a tough loss, he thinks his teammates will be able to bounce back.“We’ve got a tough group of guys. I think everybody’s going to come in when we go back to practice with a different mentality and they know that we’ve got another game,” Ross said. “Guys will be down about it tonight but we’ve gotta look forward. We’ve got six games left in the Big Ten so we’ve gotta be ready for those.”Up next, OSU is slated to travel to Champaign, Ill., Saturday to take on the Fighting Illini. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. read more

Ohio State softball sweeps home opening series against Michigan State

Freshman pitcher Shelby Hursh winds up a pitch during a game against Michigan State March 22 at Buckeye Field. OSU won, 11-7.Credit: Kim Dailey / Lantern photographerBefore its series against Michigan State, coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said the softball team’s return to Buckeye Field for its first Big Ten matchup was “a whole new season” for it.Her players responded to the fresh slate, with Columbus’ first glimpse of Ohio State in 2014 looking a lot more like a fresh team on opening day than a “battle-tested” team 26 games into its season when the series began.The Buckeyes (15-14, 3-0) completed their sweep of MSU (7-18, 0-3) underneath gray skies and brisk winds to bring their record above .500 for the first time all season.OSU smacked 15 extra base hits (nine doubles, one triple and five home runs) while recording a .432 batting average. Senior first-baseman Evelyn Carrillo had a .700 batting average including six RBIs and two home runs. Carrillo was hitting so well that Schoenly said she was surprised MSU was pitching to her by the end of the weekend.“She is a senior and she really wants it. She loves playing here, she always does well at home, so I wish I could schedule all our games here for her,” Schoenly said of Carrillo. “She really was just tuned in and she hit the center of the ball every time.”Junior pitcher Olivia O’Reilly was a major contributor to OSU’s success against the Spartans, starting the first and third games and pitching in relief in the second game. She won both starts to bring her record to 5-2 on the season with a 2.58 ERA. Schoenly said O’Reilly is quickly emerging as the team’s No. 1 pitcher.“She’s doing great. The fact that she can still have it after I put her in the first game and then she pitched seven innings this last game — she’s making the ball move enough that they can’t hit the middle of the ball which is great,” Schoenly said.O’Reilly pitched a complete game in the last game Saturday, a 4-3 Buckeye victory, giving up six hits, three runs and five strikeouts. O’Reilly said although she pitched well, she wouldn’t have had her outstanding weekend without the support of her team.“I think that the team overall played so well and honestly I would not have the wins without the defense behind me,” O’Reilly said. “They saved my butt so many times and as a pitcher, you want to make every pitch but sometimes when you don’t, it is good to have your defense behind you and they were behind me 100 percent.”The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader began with some defensive struggles for the Buckeyes, as two errors in the third inning contributed to a six-run third inning for MSU. Down 7-1 in the fourth inning, OSU began to mount a comeback with a two-RBI single off of Carrillo’s bat and added another run to bring the score to a 7-4 Spartan lead.OSU kept chipping away at the Spartans, eventually taking the lead in the sixth and never giving it up, winning the game 11-7. Schoenly said the comeback showed the team’s resiliency this year.“The game was such an amazing team effort to get back into the game and then take it. It was just really fun to see them fight like that and defend their home turf,” Schoenly said. “You could hear them in the dugout saying ‘They’re not going to beat us at home, we’re not going to let that happen,’ so the fact that they have so much pride in being on our field in front of our fans was so fun to hear and watch.”In its first game on Friday, OSU jumped out to an early lead in the first inning with four runs on five hits. The Buckeyes did not let up, scoring four more runs in the second inning to give OSU an early 8-0 against the Spartans.MSU tried to come back with a six-run fifth inning, but that would be it for the Spartans offensively, giving the Buckeyes an eventual 13-6 victory.O’Reilly won the game pitching 5.1 innings with two hits, four runs, one earned run and one strikeout. Carrillo started the weekend 4-4 with two home runs and three RBIs in the game. Holding its longest winning streak of the season, Carrillo said the team is just focused on improving in any way it can.“We’re going to keep focusing on the fundamentals and the basics. We’re going to go back to practice on Monday and work on little things that we can get better on and then once we play Pitt, we’ll see what we can do against them,” Carrillo said.The Buckeyes are scheduled to hit the road for a doubleheader against Pittsburgh Tuesday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. in Pittsburgh. read more

Womens volleyball No 21 Ohio State sweeps Friday doubleheader loses 31 to

Sophomore setter Taylor Hughes (6) sets the ball during a match with Wisconsin on Nov. 2 at St. John Arena. She had 45 assists and 11 kills on Friday. Credit: Jenna Leinasars | Former Assistant News DirectorThe No. 21 Ohio State women’s volleyball team kicked off its season on a high note, claiming 3-0 and 3-1 victories against University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Saint Louis, respectively, Friday. However, the Buckeyes were unable to carry that momentum into their Saturday matchup against No. 10 BYU as they lost 3-1 to the Cougars.University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Ohio State came out of the gate red-hot and dominated Valley in the first two sets, winning 25-17 and 25-11.The third set started off as a nail-biter with UTRGV surging early to take a 9-5 lead. The Buckeyes began to gain back their momentum when middle blocker Madison Smeathers tied the game 10-10 with a kill. The Buckeyes followed with a 15-5 run to claim the third set and their first win of the season.Setter Taylor Hughes was the star of the match as she picked up 42 kills and 33 assists. Outside hitter Ashley Wenz tallied 13 kills and 3 service aces with a .667 hitting percentage. Ohio State’s .451 hitting percentage diminished UTRGV’s (.191). The Buckeyes held a 47-29 advantage in kills.Saint Louis Ohio State fell behind to start the first set. But after an ace by outside hitter Luisa Schirmer gave Ohio State gave a 9-8 advantage, the Buckeyes led the rest of the set to a 25-16 victory. Despite taking the early lead in the match, the Billikens won the second set 25-23 to tie the contest at one set apiece.However, Ohio State regained the lead in the third set and utilized 10 kills to earn a 25-17 victory.The Buckeyes blazed through the final set with three aces from outside hitter Bia Franklin and another from defensive specialist Kalisha Goree to take the set 25-13, and win their second match of the day.Although Ohio State held a narrow 46-44 edge in kills, the Buckeyes .302 hitting percentage greatly exceeded that of the Billikens (.068).BYU The Buckeyes were still riding their victory high from their last two matches, but were not as successful against BYU. The first set featured five lead changes and 10 ties as Ohio State fought hard against BYU. With 13 kills and one ace, Ohio State won the set, 25-19. However, that would be the highlight in the match against the Cougars as BYU took the next three sets, 25-17, 25-18, 25-17.Although the night did not end in victory for the Buckeyes, defensive specialist Hannah Gruensfelder racked up 27 digs, Smeathers recorded 13 kills and six blocks, and Hughes had 36 assists, seven blocks and five kills in the match. The Buckeyes will be playing their home opener at St. John Arena on Friday when they host Missouri State. read more

2018 Big Ten Football Preview Minnesota Golden Gophers

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota 2017 record: 5-7 (2-7 Big Ten) Head Coach: P.J. Fleck 2018 record: 3-1 (0-1 Big Ten) All-time record vs. Ohio State: 7-44What has happened thus far in 2018:Minnesota found early season success in its nonconference schedule. Starting the 2018 season with a three-game winning streak, the Gophers outscored New Mexico State, Fresno State and Miami (Ohio) 95-27. With a 3-0 nonconference record, Minnesota traveled to College Park and lost to Maryland 42-12 after a slow first half and a poor defensive performance. Impact Player:Freshman quarterback Zack Annexstad has made strides in the passing game for Fleck’s offense in his collegiate debut. Annexstad completed 16-of-33 pass attempts for 220 yards and two touchdowns against New Mexico State, helping lead the team to 522 yards of total offense. This season, the freshman quarterback has completed 52.3 percent of his passes, throwing five touchdowns and two interceptions. Despite the loss against Maryland, the increased number of passing and rushing yards will create more opportunities for Annexstad to succeed down the stretch. Strengths: The biggest strength for Minnesota this year is its offense. Entering his second year, offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca has produced a high-tempo offense that so far has accumulated 1,387 yards of total offense, with 748 total passing and 639 total rushing yards so far this season. This offense outshined the Aggies defense, totaling 23 first downs, 522 yards of total offense, 295 rushing yards and 227 passing yards in the season opener.Weaknesses:In the first three games of the season, Minnesota’s defense started off strong, holding teams to under 14 points. However, when the Gophers took a trip to Maryland, the defense gave up 42 points to the Terrapins’ offense. Maryland defense was positive when it controlled the game against the Aggies, giving up no points in the second half and holding New Mexico State to 271 yards on total offense. read more

Earth has entered first new geological epoch in more than 11500 years

first_imgThe rapid industrialisation of the last century has caused the Earth to enter its first new geological epoch in more than 11,500 years, scientists believe.An international team of researchers say the worldwide spread of plastics, new metals and concrete, combined with manmade climate change, has pushed the planet into the Anthropocene epoch.While human activity has left visible traces on the Earth since before the current Holocene epoch, which begun around 9,700 BC, the scientists argue that the recent changes to global systems are sufficiently simultaneous and significant to justify the adoption of a new geological time unit characterised by human domination. Prof Jan Zalasiewicz, a palaeobiologist at the University of Leicester and a member of the working group, said carbon and nitrogen levels in the atmosphere had remained reasonably steady before the “great acceleration” of the 20th Century.“Human action has certainly left traces on the earth for thousands of years, if you know where to look,” he said.“The difference between that and what has happened in the last century or so is that the impact is global and taking place at pretty much the same time across the whole Earth.“It is affecting the functioning of the whole earth system.”The concept of an Anthropocene epoch was first proposed by Nobel-prize winning chemist Paul Crutzen and colleague Eugene Stoermer in 2000.This week’s AWG vote is scientific endorsement that the epoch is geologically real and of a sufficient scale to be considered for formal adoption as part of the International Chronostratigraphic Chart. 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. Prof Colin Waters, principal geologist at the British Geological Survey and WGA secretary, said: “Being able to pinpoint an interval of time is saying something about how we have had an incredible impact on the environment of our planet.“The concept of the Anthropocene manages to pull all these ideas of environmental change together.”Changes to the Earth system which characterise the potential Anthropocene Epoch include the presence of plastic and aluminium particles and high levels of nitrogen and phosphates in soils, as well as “large-scale chemical perturbations to the cycles of carbon and nitrogen,” according to the AWG. Being able to pinpoint an interval of time is saying something about how we have had an incredible impact on the environment of our planetProfessor Colin Waters, British Geological Survey Prof Zalasiewicz said that there has traditionally been an element of national competition when putting forward geological “golden spike” candidates for the beginning of an epoch.He added, however, that countries may be more reluctant to put forward locations representative as the beginning of the new Anthropocene epoch because of its negative associations.Once one or more candidate sites have been selected, a formal proposal for the formal recognition of an Anthropocene epoch will be made to a series of commissions, culminating in the Executive Committee of the International Union of Geological Sciences.The process is likely to take at least three years. The Working Group on the Anthropocene (AWG), which is meeting in Cape Town this week, is proposing that the starting date for the new epoch should be set for around 1950.The group’s committee of 35 members voted by a majority of 20 to recognise the new time division as an epoch, rather than the lower ranked age, such as a subdivision of the Holocene, or a higher ranked period like the Jurassic or Cretaceous.The search is now on to find what geologists call a “golden spike”, a physical reference point that can be dated and taken as a representative starting point for the Anthropocene epoch.A river bed in Scotland, for example, is taken to be the representative starting point for the Holocene epoch.last_img read more