Note the drop-off as players enter their 30s. Only 10.3 percent of majors have been won after age 29 and a mere 3.3 percent after age 31. In tennis, the “wrong side of 30” is a harsh place to be.If we consider only retired players (keeping active players skews the distribution younger), the mean champion age is 25.16.3The aging profiles for both Nadal and Federer have closely paralleled the typical one. We can see this by combining their grand slam titles and looking at the distribution by age. Using their exact ages upon winning, this works out to an average age of 24.57 for a title win, a little below the retired champion average of 25.16, with room to increase if either win subsequent titles. This places Nadal nearly three years past his prime. And Federer is ancient at 32!The only players older than Federer to win a major were Andrés Gimeno, who won the 1972 French Open at 34, and the ageless Ken Rosewall, who won majors at 33 (’68 French), 35 (’70 U.S.), 36 (’71 Australian) and 37 (’72 Australian). Agassi won the 2003 Aussie just shy of Federer’s age (32 years, 9 months). With only six of 184 titles won by players 32 or older since 1968, it’s clear that Federer’s window is closing fast.So, who finishes with more hardware? Let’s first determine how good each player is relative to prior champions at their respective ages. We’ll determine a player’s age-adjusted performance ratio as the number of championships won through his age divided by the majors won by the average champion. For example, through age 27, Nadal has won 13 majors, while the average champion that age had won 2.43.4All figures here are rounded to two places of significance, but the full numbers were used in the calculations. The result is the same. Dividing Nadal’s wins by this average, we get a performance ratio of 5.35. To determine the expected additional titles we’d expect Nadal to win, we can take the product of this multiplier and the average champ’s wins after age 28 — 0.65 — for a total of 3.48, yielding Nadal a projected total of 16.48 titles, just a tad bit short of Roger’s current 17.We can use the same methodology to calculate Federer’s total projected career majors. With two of the season’s four majors remaining before his 33rd birthday, we’ll declare him as effectively 32.5 years old. We’ll take his 17 titles divided by the 2.96 won by the average champ through age 32.5 to get a performance ratio of 5.74. As the average player can expect 0.13 majors won after 32.5, Federer’s projected career titles is 17 + (5.74 * 0.13) = 17.75.To determine the likelihood Nadal passes Fed, we’ll need to determine the range of championships he’s likely to win. We can use the binomial theorem5The binomial theorem is a powerful tool used for calculating the probability of k events occurring over N trials, given the probability, p, of success in a single trial. It allows us to take, for example, Nadal’s future probability of winning k = 3 additional tournaments over N = 40 trials (10 years at championship level times 4 tourneys per year), given that he has an average probability of winning p = 8.55 percent of tournaments entered. This yields a probability, P, of 22.61 percent.Further reading on binomial distributions can be found here. A binomial calculator can be found at Stattrek. to help us.During the Open era, winners have ranged from age 17 to 37. Hence, based on the age curve, Nadal has 10 years left at championship contention level. With four tourneys per year, he’s got 40 remaining opportunities to win. As we saw earlier, the average retired champ won 0.65 titles from 28 on, reflecting a win probability per tourney of 1.63 percent.Multiplying by Rafa’s performance ratio, 5.34, we can speculate that his odds of winning are about 8.7 percent per tourney. If we want to calculate his odds of attaining, for example, three additional majors, we can plug these numbers into the binomial model to get the odds. In this case, Nadal has a 22.61 percent chance of finishing with precisely 17 titles.The table below summarizes the potential outcomes based on this model. The outside cells represent the probabilities of each player finishing his career with a particular number of championships. Nadal’s probabilities are listed in the rows on the right, while Federer’s are represented horizontally along the top. The cells in the center represent the joint probabilities of the varied individual outcomes. Cells in yellow represent the status quo — that Federer remains ahead — while the gray cells represent a tie, and the blue cells indicate Nadal passing Federer.The odds of Nadal finishing at precisely 16 titles and Federer at 17 are a little under 15 percent. That’s also the most probable of the individual scenarios. Overall, there’s about a 61 percent chance that Federer ends his career ahead of Nadal, and about a 17 percent chance they end in a tie.It looks like somewhat of a long shot for Nadal to pass Federer (close to a 22 percent chance), but if he were to have a strong summer and win two of the three majors remaining in 2014, he’d greatly improve his chances. Then again, failing to win even the French would be a serious blow — especially if Federer could pull off another win this year.This French Open, along with the remaining majors this year, will tell us a lot about who eventually ends up atop the leaderboard. The conversation as to who’s the greatest of all time doesn’t end there, of course. It probably starts there, though, and whoever of these two ends up on top is likely to hold that title for many years to come. Over the next few days, Rafael Nadal will attempt to win his ninth French Open and become only the third male player to achieve 14 major championships, tying Pete Sampras and moving within three of Roger Federer’s record of 17. He’d be the first to win a particular major nine times, and, at barely 28 years old, he’d be just shy of Federer’s pace in reaching the milestone (Federer won his 14th major at 27 years, 10 months).Federer, now 32, may or may not have another major in him. Tennis is a young man’s game — much more so than many other sports. In golf, for example, many players don’t win their first major until their 30s; since 2009, the PGA has seen 13 of 21 majors won by players 30 and older (and three were over 40). In football, quarterbacks have played well deep into their 30s — Peyton Manning (38) and Tom Brady (37) are still among the best in their sport.In tennis, however, many legends were done winning Grand Slam events by their mid-20s — Boris Becker’s last of six was at age 28. Mats Wilander won his seventh and final major at 24. John McEnroe (7) and Björn Borg (11) were done at 25. Even Jimmy Connors (8), famed for his longevity — he made his famous run to the semis at the U.S. Open in 1991 at age 39 — won his final major, the 1983 U.S. Open, at 31.The aging curve for men’s tennis does appear to have shifted in the past few years, with more 30-somethings on tour remaining in contention.1I gathered age data on the top 10 players by year and track their average age, going back as far as possible, to 1973. The ATP’s website provided me with birthdate data, and Tennis28.com tracks year-end rankings. There are currently two top 10 players in their 30s — Federer and David Ferrer, both 32. Their presence has helped skew the average age of a top 10 player to its highest point since the early 1970s. Although Federer’s presence in the top 10 is a reflection of his great career, Ferrer’s ranking is a bit of an anomaly. But he still hasn’t won a major, and if he dips from the top 10, the group’s average age will quickly move closer to the normal range.Connors hung around in the top 10 until he was 36, but he was done winning majors at 31. It may be possible to play at a top-10 level into one’s 30s, but the majors — with best-of-five set matches versus the best-of-three format on the typical tourney — more rigorously test not just the skill of the player, but also his endurance. Empirically speaking, players in their 20s still tend to win these events — since 2000, a player over 30 has won a major only four times: Andre Agassi twice (30 and 32), Sampras (31) and Federer (30).So with Rafa turning 28 on Tuesday, is he a sure thing to equal or surpass Federer’s 17 titles? How likely is Fed to win any more?By analyzing the full data set of champions by age during the Open era, starting at the French Open of 1968, we can show the ascent, plateau and drop-off in performance as players mature and decline. Building upon this, we can make some predictions about how Nadal and Federer will perform over the remainder of their careers.The chart below shows the distribution of major championships grouped by player age.2This data set reflects 184 events won by 47 different players.
Carmelo Anthony has been awarded the honor of having his image in wax at famed Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York. On his visit to see the piece, the New York Knicks’ star forward posed as himself and “came to life,” stunning passersby.The wax likeness bears an uncanny resemblance to Anthony – from its tattoos, headband and sleeves and facial features.Anthony decided to put on his Knicks uniform and pose, stiff as a board before shocking visitors by addressing them.“Hey! Hey!’ he yelled at a man who came in trying to block wax Anthony’s shot. He scared t a young couple just as they get close to him.“I do some acting but that was probably one of the toughest acting jobs to do,” Anthony said, “cause it is right on the spot.”Anthony’s acting roes nclude spots on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, and Sesame Street with teammate Amar’e StoudemireMelo joins New York sports stars Derek Jeter, David Wright and Eli Manning in the museum’s “Sports Zone” which also includes Michael Jordan and Serena Williams among others.Watch the video:http://youtu.be/cEyxt3jeejs
After thinking about it, LSU’s exiled Tyrann Mathieu has indicated he would consider staying at the school if he has a chance to be reinstated to the team next season.When coach Les Miles made his bombshell announcement that Mathieu, called the Honey Badger, was kicked off the team, it was unclear if it was a permanent banishment. But a source told ESPN that it was not permanent and that it’s possible for Mathieu to be reinstated at LSU in the future.One of the most dynamic players in college football, Mathieu was said to be considering transferring to McNeese State, Prairie View A&M and Jackson State. The rising junior would be able to play at those schools this year.He is hoping to stay at LSU in part because of the “support system” at the school, the network reported. Mathieu has two years of eligibility remaining and three years in which to use that eligibilty.Mathieu was dismissed from the team Friday following failed substance-abuse tests, but he was not dismissed by the university. The possibility of reinstatement would have to be approved at many levels, including university administration as well as Miles, and it is being discussed.Mathieu has visited McNeese State, and that remains an option, according to a source close to Mathieu. And although other FCS schools, including Jackson State and Prairie View A&M, have expressed interest, they are not options at this time.Mathieu has been described as “heartbroken” and “grieving” since his dismissal from the team.Mathieu has told people close to him that he is interested in working on his maturity and character and also in seeking out any way to continue his education at LSU.The possibility of declaring for the NFL draft after this season also exists. But Mathieu has told people close to him that draft status it is not a priority at this time. If he were to stay at LSU, paying his own way for at least one season is a possibility.
The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL. Trump says “ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected.”He also says that booing at the Dallas game Monday night when the team dropped to its knees was the “loudest I have ever heard.”Following a weekend of kneeling and protesting across the NFL, the Cowboys and their owner displayed their own version of unity Monday night by kneeling on the field before rising as a group before the playing of the national anthem.Trump noted in this tweets that the team stood for the anthem: “Big progress being made- we all love our country.”
Game 4 of the World Chess Championship in London began with a fitting surprise: the “English Opening.”Magnus Carlsen of Norway, the three-time defending world champion and world No. 1, began the game by pushing the white pawn in front of his left bishop to the c4 square — a relatively rare move at the game’s highest levels. Fabiano Caruana, the U.S. challenger and world No. 2 trying to become the first American world champion since Bobby Fischer in 1972, pushed a black pawn to e5. And with that, the English had come. Few bells would be rung for the rest of the game.Game 4 ended in a draw, just as the three previous games had. It was an uninspired 34-move, 2.5-hour episode. The match for the game’s highest prize remains level, at 2 points apiece in a race to 6.5.1Wins are worth 1, draws 0.5 and losses 0. The boring result failed to overshadow the real drama of the day: the Zapruder film of this world championship.But first, the chess.“Carlsen is trying to avoid that really annoying Petroff,” Robert Hess, a grandmaster, said during a broadcast on Twitch. The Petroff Defence is one of Caruana’s favorite chess tools when he has the black pieces, but he can deploy it only when white cooperates by opening with a pawn to e4. Carlsen’s opening move, therefore, was preventive — or “prophylactic,” as chess players like to say. (Bards of the game, one and all.)The pattern of pieces that developed on the board is called, rather delightfully, a “Reverse Dragon.” The Sicilian Defence has a variation called the Dragon — named after the resemblance of the pawns to the constellation Draco — except in this case its colors were reversed. But the position breathed no fire on Tuesday.After 10 moves, the game was an exact match of a game that Caruana played against Wesley So, another top American grandmaster, earlier this year — the only such game that had ever featured this position, according to ChessBase. Given how recent and high-profile it was, this was a game that Caruana and Carlsen almost certainly both remembered well.
On Tuesday morning, I called the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Brazil a very evenly matched contest.Yeah, about that …In an astonishing 18-minute span during the first half, the Germans opened up a 5-0 lead against a Brazil squad that seemed to have given up without its superstar striker, Neymar, who’d been knocked out of the previous match with a back injury. Germany would pile on two more goals before Brazil’s Oscar netted a meaningless marker in the 90th minute to set the final score at 7-1.How big is a six-goal margin of victory in the World Cup? Going into this year’s tournament, only 17 matches in Cup history had seen one side win by six or more goals — most recently when Portugal trounced North Korea 7-0 in the 2010 group stage. And just twice had it happened as late as a semifinal, depending on how you treat Brazil overpowering Sweden 7-1 in 1950 and Argentina’s 6-0 clobbering of Peru in 1978. (Both of those matches technically came in the stage directly preceding the final, but also in a format that used additional round-robin groups to filter teams into the final rather than the knockout-style bracket used today.)The bewildering scoreline in Tuesday’s match had me wondering what an equivalent margin would be in other sports. One approach to the answer is to use the standard deviations of scoring margins in each sport. Lucky for us, in his book “Mathletics,” Wayne Winston, a professor of operations and decision technologies at Indiana University, has done the heavy lifting for us with regard to pro football. Following up on the work of statistician Hal Stern, Winston found that the margin of victory for an NFL team can be approximated by a normal random variable with a mean of the Vegas line (or the margin predicted by a computer power rating) and a standard deviation of 13.86 points.Winston also wrote:For NBA basketball, NCAA basketball and college football, respectively, Jeff Sagarin has found that the historical standard deviation of game results about a prediction from a rating system is given by 12, 10, and 16 points, respectively.Applying Stern’s, Winston’s and Sagarin’s methodology to historical World Cup matches from 1930 to 2010, I found that the distribution of the scoring margin in a high-level international soccer match (relative to the pre-match prediction using Elo ratings and a home-field effect) is approximately normal with a mean of zero and a standard deviation of 1.83 goals. If Brazil and Germany were considered evenly matched going into Tuesday’s game (giving Brazil only credit for playing at home), we’d predict Brazil’s margin of victory to be about 0.5 goals, so Germany’s six-goal margin was 3.6 standard deviations above expected.Going by Winston’s numbers, a 3.6 standard deviation performance in the NFL would be the equivalent of beating an opponent by nearly 50 more points than expected. If you’re curious, you can find a list of the biggest postseason blowouts in NFL history on Pro-Football-Reference.com; if we (naively) assume all of those games were considered evenly matched aside from a three-point bonus for the home team, the closest analog to Germany’s win over Brazil might be the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 62-7 demolition of the Miami Dolphins in 2000 in Dan Marino’s final game.Put in soccer terms, the Jaguars’ margin would have been 6.8 more goals than expected. But that’s nothing compared to the the 1940 NFL championship game between the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins, which ended with the Bears winning 73-0 (on the road, no less). By soccer standards, that would be like winning by 10 more goals than expected, a mark Germany would have needed to pour on about three more goals to match.In college football, Germany’s rout was the equivalent of winning by 57 more points than expected. That’s about the same as Tulsa’s 63-7 victory over Bowling Green in the 2008 GMAC Bowl (a game that carried just a little less importance than Germany-Brazil). In terms of bowls that had national championship implications, you’d have to go back to 1996 and the Fiesta Bowl between then-undefeated No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Florida. Favored by three going into the game, Nebraska won by 38, 62-24. But in soccer terms, that’d be a mere win by four more goals than expected — a far cry from the Germans’ performance.Shifting gears to basketball, the Germans’ victory would be like an NBA team winning by 43 more points than expected. Basketball-Reference.com has a list of most lopsided playoff contests in NBA history; assuming evenly matched opponents with a 3.25-point home-court advantage, Germany’s win would be most like the Los Angeles Lakers’ 118-78 win over the San Francisco Warriors in the 1969 postseason. (If you’re looking for an equivalent game in the conference finals or later — probably a more apt comparison for Germany-Brazil — the most comparable rout would be the Lakers’ 153-109 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the 1985 Western Conference finals.) And the most dominant conference-finals-or-later win in NBA history, the Lakers’ 126-70 thrashing of the Golden State Warriors on the road in Game 3 of the 1973 Western Conference finals, would be like winning by nine more goals than expected in soccer.College basketball’s biggest NCAA Tournament wins have usually come in the early rounds of the tournament, which comes as no surprise. (For instance, poor 16-seed Prairie View got pasted by No. 1 seed Kansas, 110-52, in the 1998 opener.) Isolating Final Four games, we find a pair of 34-point blowouts that took place in the national semifinal. According to Sagarin’s research, Germany’s win would be like a college basketball team lambasting an evenly matched opponent by 35.9 points.In terms of impressive victories, Germany’s romp ranks among the most notable blowouts across sports more familiar to fans in the United States. A 7-1 win might not seem all that uncommon to baseball fans, so it might help to think of it as the equivalent of a 47-point NFL road playoff victory, or a 40-point win on the road in an NBA playoff game. It wasn’t something you see every day, especially considering it came on the cusp of the World Cup final.
It’s getting harder every day, the search for unused superlatives to heap upon the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team. On Tuesday night, the Huskies captured their fourth consecutive NCAA championship with an 82-51 rout of Syracuse. The victory made star forward Breanna Stewart four-for-four on titles during her four years in Storrs and capped off a run the likes of which hasn’t been seen in the college game since John Wooden’s UCLA squad won seven straight men’s championships in the late 1960s and early ’70s.UConn is all about rings — coach Geno Auriemma now has a record 11 of them, after all — but a championship can only really signify supremacy over the competition within a given season. When a team dominates as thoroughly as these Huskies have (they won their NCAA Tournament games by an average of 39.8 points per game), history becomes the only opponent. And even against that standard, UConn keeps raising the bar.Gathering stats on women’s sports — even a popular one like basketball — is a notoriously (and shamefully) frustrating endeavor, but we can try to quantify a team’s dominance using historical data from Kenneth Massey and Sonny Moore, a couple of the power-rating makers featured in our women’s tournament prediction model. (Massey’s data goes back to 1997-98, while Moore’s picks up in 2004-05; the other two rating systems from the model do not provide historical archives.) 22015Connecticut381+51.2+52.5+51.8 52002Connecticut390+49.8—+49.8 112013Baylor342+43.0+41.5+42.3 92012Baylor400+48.6+43.6+46.1 YEARTEAMWINSLOSSESMASSEYMOOREAVERAGE The greatest NCAA women’s teams since 1997-98 Source: Kenneth Massey, Sonny Moore Admittedly, power ratings aren’t everything. For one thing, in the absence of player-level era adjustments like FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver’s Baseball Time Machine, they aren’t capable of accounting for changes in absolute quality of competition over time. But, if anything, the women’s game is evolving rapidly enough that UConn probably faced more talented opponents in Stewart’s senior season than it did when she was a freshman. And in the face of those changes, the Huskies adjusted even more quickly, upping the ante for how good a college team could be.It’s anyone’s guess how much of this impossibly steep ascent UConn can maintain after the likes of Stewart and Morgan Tuck depart for the WNBA next season. But for now, let’s take a moment to appreciate what the Huskies accomplished these past few years: a run of dominance so impressive that even future incarnations of UConn will have trouble topping it. 192001Connecticut323+38.7—+38.7 32014Connecticut400+56.3+46.3+51.3 212011Texas A&M335+38.4+38.9+38.7 82000Connecticut361+47.4—+47.4 142012Connecticut335+40.5+42.1+41.3 72009Connecticut390+49.9+45.3+47.6 172013Notre Dame352+40.2+38.3+39.2 And to the extent we’re able to measure things,1In this case, I set Massey’s and Moore’s ratings on the same scale and averaged them for years in which both numbers are available; for seasons before that, I just used Massey’s rating. the 2015-16 Huskies were the best team of the modern era of women’s college basketball … supplanting the 2014-15 Huskies … who supplanted the 2013-14 Huskies. Each of Stewart’s final three years saw new ground broken in the area of women’s basketball greatness. 102014Notre Dame371+44.0+42.6+43.3 162008Connecticut362+40.5+39.6+40.1 62013Connecticut354+47.4+49.0+48.2 12016Connecticut380+54.7+52.9+53.8 132011Connecticut362+41.5+41.3+41.4 182006Duke324+40.1+38.2+39.1 152012Notre Dame354+41.2+40.6+40.9 222010Stanford362+39.6+37.5+38.5 Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed 202011Stanford333+38.7+38.7+38.7 By Neil Paine POWER RATING The Hot Takedown crew dissects UConn’s fourth straight championship. 242007Tennessee343+40.7+36.1+38.4 251999Tennessee313+37.9—+37.9 232008Tennessee362+39.9+37.1+38.5 121998Tennessee390+41.4—+41.4 42010Connecticut390+52.2+49.0+50.6
2018Recovering0.70.7 20220.127.116.11 July 20182018-19 OFFSEASONDOESN’T HAVE SURGERY Returning to the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup following a monthlong injury layoff, Shohei Ohtani finally reminded everyone last Sunday night why he ranks among baseball’s most electrifying players. Pinch-hitting against the crosstown rival Dodgers in the seventh inning, Ohtani blasted a 2-2 fastball from JT Chargois 443 feet to center field, giving the Angels what eventually proved to be a decisive lead in the game. Batting WARSurgery in … Pitching WARSurgery in … 20191.5*0.4*1.1 2018RecoveringRecoveringRecovering SeasonJuly 20182018-19 OFFSEASONDOESN’T HAVE SURGERY SeasonJuly 20182018-19 OFFSEASONDOESN’T HAVE SURGERY Total WARSurgery in … 2019RecoveringRecovering2.0 2018.104.22.168 Ohtani’s ability to crush those towering homers while also slinging nasty splitters is what makes him unprecedented in the modern game. At the time of the arm injury that shut him down in early June, he ranked among the American League’s best dozen or so hitters and pitchers on the season. However, that injury — a ligament strain to Ohtani’s pitching elbow — has limited him to “just” hitting for the foreseeable future. Since Ohtani throws right-handed but hits lefty, he can swing the bat without putting much strain on his damaged elbow.Ohtani has since slid back into LA’s lineup as its regular designated hitter, batting in seven straight games for the first time all season.1When Ohtani was pitching roughly every seven days, he would be held out of the lineup in those games plus usually two or three others per week. And that appears to be how the Angels are handling Ohtani’s recovery for now, using him only as a hitter and hoping that a combination of rest and platelet-rich plasma therapy can heal his arm and help him avoid the dreaded Tommy John surgery, which could take him out of action as a pitcher for years.The hitting half of Ohtani is still pretty valuable by itself, and there’s some chance he could return to the mound without needing surgery. But Los Angeles may also just be delaying the inevitable, as injections like the ones Ohtani is getting don’t always successfully stave off Tommy John in the end. (Indeed, Ohtani already underwent the same treatment for a less severe UCL sprain last fall, only to have the injury re-emerge.) With the Angels’ playoff chances all but dried up this year, is it worth it to run him out at half strength for the rest of his rookie campaign? Or should they just call it a season and schedule the operation to fully repair his damaged elbow? Ohtani’s unprecedented ability has given Los Angeles an unprecedented front-office dilemma.Having Ohtani back certainly improves the Angels’ short-term outlook, since the team looked lost without him for most of June. On June 6, the day of Ohtani’s last start, Los Angeles was 35-28 with a 39 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to The Baseball Gauge. By the time he returned, they’d fallen to 43-42 with a 7 percent playoff probability. It wasn’t all due to Ohtani’s absence — teammates like Andrelton Simmons and Andrew Heaney also fell off pace after hot starts — but losing a player with his unique production abilities didn’t help. According to an average of the metrics found at Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, Ohtani has been worth 2.0 combined wins above replacement as a hitter and pitcher in 50 games of action this season, which is roughly what we’d expect from one solid starter over the course of an entire season.By now, though, Ohtani’s contributions may be too little, too late to save the Angels’ season. As of Tuesday afternoon, they sat fourth in the AL West, 14 games behind the division-leading Astros and 10 games back in the wild-card race. Most likely, any playing time Ohtani gets from here on out this season will be to get him more reps against MLB pitching (no small consideration) and improve his Rookie of the Year candidacy, not to power an epic playoff push. Because of this, the Angels have come under some criticism on social media for putting off Ohtani’s Tommy John surgery for the sake of batting him during what’s likely a lost season.We can do some rough math to map out the options for Ohtani and the Angels. According to this database of Tommy John surgeries collected by Jon Roegele, the median time for a hitter to return to his previous level of competition after the procedure is 11 months, and the median for pitchers is 15 months. That means that, looking at the regular season only, if Ohtani had surgery now, he could expect to return as a batter in June 2019 and as a two-way player for the start of the 2020 season. If he delays surgery to the offseason, though, he’d miss all but the final month of 2019 as a hitter, though he’d still return as a pitcher in time for the start of the 2020 season.(Obviously, these are just the median outcomes — a quarter of position players recover in under 10 months, while 25 percent of pitchers take more than 20 months to return. But these numbers do help give a sense of the recovery times involved for most players who undergo Tommy John surgery.)If we combine those time frames with a simple age progression on Ohtani’s projected regular-season hitting and pitching WAR,2An admitted simplification of things, since it assumes the injury can only affect his performance by keeping him off the field entirely, not by reducing his effectiveness when he does play. we can come up with an estimate of how much value Ohtani figures to add over the next three seasons, depending on when (or if) he elects to go under the knife: What should Ohtani and the Angels do?Shohei Ohtani’s expected wins above replacement by when or if he has Tommy John surgery, based on median recovery periods for pitchers and hitters 3-year total22.214.171.124 * Partial season.Estimates are based on Tom Tango’s WARcel projection method and use the median recovery periods for Tommy John surgery patients who were hitters (11 months) and pitchers (15 months).Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs, Jon Roegele, TangoTiger.com At a first glance, the difference between the two Tommy John-related strategies is small (just 0.4 WAR), and that’s assuming that Ohtani does eventually need surgery. The ideal scenario, of course, is one where Ohtani the pitcher comes back without needing surgery and the Angels reap the benefits of Ohtani the hitter in the meantime. This outcome would have an expected value of 6.6 total WAR over the next three seasons, dwarfing the expectation if they shelved him right now. It’s a gamble with considerable upside.Research shows that the plasma injections can keep a player out from under the knife between about 40 and 65 percent of the time. For simplicity’s sake, let’s treat that as a 50-50 shot. Baking in that estimated 50 percent chance of Ohtani’s elbow recovering without surgery, we’d expect the non-surgery choice to deliver an overall expected value of 5.2 WAR — that’s just the average of the delayed-surgery and no-surgery scenarios.Of course, the calculations change a bit if we lower the odds of not needing surgery (dropping them to 40 percent would mean weighting the average toward the delayed-surgery numbers, which would bring his expected value down to 5.0 WAR), or if we account for the fact that LA’s wins over the rest of this season come with lower championship leverage than they might in future seasons, due to the Angels’ poor chances of making the playoff at the moment. The last time the Angels had a comparable playoff probability at this stage of a season, their average play was only 35 percent as impactful as the typical opening-day play.But even if we reduce Ohtani’s hitting WAR over the rest of 2018 by that factor and assign a mere 40 percent chance he won’t need surgery, the expected three-year value of LA’s wait-and-see approach comes out to 4.5 WAR, essentially the same as the expected value of his having surgery right now (4.3 WAR). And again, that’s assuming the least-favorable rate of success for the non-surgical approach, which might be underselling its effectiveness.In other words, the Angels are probably making the right call with Ohtani at the moment. It feels strange to only use half of Ohtani’s incredible skill set, particularly with LA’s playoff chances on life support, and it certainly isn’t exactly what the Angels were envisioning when they paid a $20 million posting fee for Ohtani last December. But it’s a good quandary to have — if he was an ordinary pitcher, this wouldn’t even be a debate. By putting off surgery for now, they’ve given Ohtani’s arm a chance to heal without necessarily losing his services for a year (or more) while also giving his bat a chance to develop further (remember, he just turned 24).And if nothing else, it also gives us a chance to see more weird, puppet-based depictions of his home runs:
OSU junior guard Kelsey Mitchell guards the ball in the Buckeyes 89-56 victory over Canisius on Dec. 11 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsThe Ohio State women’s basketball team struggled again through their second-straight Big Ten matchup. The Buckeyes shot 32.3 percent from the field, but were bailed out by 26 bench points to help pick up a 61-56 victory over Purdue.In the first quarter, the Buckeyes surrendered seven turnovers while only picking up six points, a season low for OSU. Coach Kevin McGuff’s team earned just one assist in the first quarter, while allowing Purdue to pick up 20 points.An early full-court press by OSU kept things close, before Purdue was able to find holes in the Buckeyes’ defense and stretch its lead to 14 points.Attacking the hoop in the second, OSU and junior guard Kelsey Mitchell heated up. Of the Buckeyes 34 points at halftime, 12 came from the charity stripe, all scored in the second quarter.Outscoring Purdue 28-16 in the second, the lead was cut to just two. Backed by hot shooting, the Boilermakers headed to the locker room with a 48.3 percent mark from the field and the advantage.Heading into the fourth quarter with the game still in the air, freshman forward Tori McCoy stuffed a Purdue shot and picked up a layup on the other end. Later, McCoy swatted away another, before Purdue was called for a technical foul for arguing the block should have been a foul.Redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga picked up two late field goals to seal the deal for the Buckeyes. OSU is now 15-5 and 5-1 in the Big Ten.The Buckeyes will return to Columbus on Tuesday to face Wisconsin at 7 p.m.
The 96th Rose Bowl will feature a classic clash of styles.Oregon has rushed for at least 175 yards in each game since its season-opening loss to Boise State. Against USC, who delivered one of Ohio State’s two losses, the Ducks piled up 394 yards on the ground.The Buckeyes, on the other hand, are one of just five teams in the nation that hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher. Oregon tailback LaMichael James has topped the century mark on nine different occasions this season.Clearly, something has to give.“I haven’t seen [Ohio State] play an offense like ours,” James said Tuesday.Junior linebacker Ross Homan echoed James’ sentiment, saying that Oregon “is going to be the best offense we’ve seen all year.”Oregon employs a quick-hitting offensive attack, with several rushing options, including quarterback Jeremiah Masoli. OSU safety Kurt Coleman said the key lies in keeping the Ducks’ offense in a location where they can’t do much harm: the sidelines.“We’re trying to stop them as soon as possible to get them off the field,” Coleman said.Contrary to Oregon’s relentless offensive scheme, the Buckeyes have pounded the opposition with their steady running game during their current five-game winning streak.“If you look at the offenses, we’ve stuck to what we do best, and that’s our running game,” Coleman said. “It’s not the glitz and glamour of it, but it’s effective for us. Oregon spreads it out and they do a lot of trickery and try to do a lot of misdirection plays, and that works for them. They’re different styles of offense, but they both work in our favors.” Defense’s last standLeading Texas in the waning minutes of last year’s Fiesta Bowl, the Ohio State defense surrendered a game-clinching touchdown drive.As the clock trickled toward zero against USC on Sept. 12, the Buckeye defense couldn’t hold a 15-10 advantage.If the Buckeyes assume a late lead during the Rose Bowl, can the defense be trusted?“The Texas game we probably celebrated a little too early,” Coleman said. “We thought that game was ours.”Granted, the OSU defense did halt Iowa in overtime to put its offense in position to kick the game-winning field goal.But that was only after the defense allowed a 70-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes that sent the game into the extra session.“It’s a stigma that’s been on us for a while,” senior defensive lineman Doug Worthington said. “But you go back to some games, like the Iowa game, where it’s the same situation and we buckled down and made the plays we needed to make.“It’s reassuring that it can happen, but you have to make sure that you do that. We understand that it’s a four-quarter game, and a team like [Oregon] can strike at any time. If it’s a close game, we have to make sure we buckle down at the end and make the plays to stop them.” Knee injury of little concern for PryorQuarterback Terrelle Pryor revealed Monday that he has been playing and practicing with a slight tear in his left knee, though the injury shouldn’t hinder his play Friday, he said.Pryor stated that his knee has been “a little sore,” and was informed that the grounds for the discomfort is likely a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament.The sophomore played through a sore ankle for much of the second half of the season, but there was no prior indication that he was suffering from a knee injury. He sat out the second half of Ohio State’s 45-0 win over New Mexico State on Oct. 31 after hurting the ankle.The Buckeyes focused more of the offense around the running game once Pryor suffered the ankle injury, rushing for at least 225 yards in each of their last five games.Pryor said that the knee isn’t something he worries about and that it shouldn’t slow him down in the Rose Bowl.
The last time Ohio State won a road game against Wisconsin, Jim O’Brien was coaching the Buckeyes and citizens of the world were celebrating the arrival of the new millennium. That changed Saturday. OSU beat Wisconsin, 58-52, at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis., synching the program’s first road victory against the Badgers since January 2000. The Buckeyes were led by sophomore forward Jared Sullinger, who tallied 24 points and 10 rebounds. Sullinger also scored his 1,000th career point in the win, becoming the 48th Buckeye to accomplish the feat. Coach Thad Matta enjoyed his first win at the Kohl Center since arriving at OSU in 2005. Sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas contributed 16 points and six rebounds for the Buckeyes (20-3, 8-2 Big Ten). Redshirt junior forward Ryan Evans scored 14 points for the Badgers (18-6, 7-4 Big Ten). With OSU leading, 51-50, with 2:27 to play in regulation, senior guard William Buford, who finished the afternoon with 11 points, hit a 3-pointer to put the Buckeyes up by four points. Wisconsin wouldn’t recover from Buford’s basket — the 400th field goal of the player’s career. OSU will next host Purdue Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center. Opening tip is set for 9 p.m.
The Ohio State men’s soccer coach said his team will need to perform better than it has so far to defend its Bert and Iris Wolstein Classic title this weekend. After winning their homefield tournament last season, the Buckeyes (0-2) are coming off back-to-back losses to the University of Dayton and the University of Illinois-Chicago last weekend. After the pair of defeats, OSU heads into its seventh-annual edition of the tournament this weekend to take on Coastal Carolina Friday and Davidson Sunday. In 2011, the Buckeyes won the Classic after sweeping Florida International, Stetson and Binghamton. “We’re not off to a good start,” said men’s soccer coach John Bluem. “We know that we didn’t play as well as we need to, so hopefully the guys are going to feel that motivation to perform better.” The two early-season losses, however, are not getting junior team captain and defender Sage Gardner down. Instead, Gardner is using the two early season losses as motivation for the weekend. “I think we’ve got to use those games to fuel our desire for the upcoming weeks, especially this weekend since it’s the Bert and Iris (Wolstein Classic),” Gardner said. Sophomore transfer and midfielder Yianni Sarris and freshman midfielder Zach Mason are new to the Buckeyes, but both agree the season has not started as planned. “I think we’ve had a good preseason building up to the regular season but the results haven’t been what we’ve wanted,” Mason said. Sarris agreed. “We definitely learned a lesson and we’re going to come out and do our best and do everything we can as a team to get some W’s this weekend,” Sarris said. The Wolstein Classic is important to players and coaches alike – Bluem said he knows the team could use the wins on the home pitch. “The Wolstein Classic is something we’ve always taken great pride in and tried to win that tournament for the Wolstein family,” Bluem said. “They’ve been good to us and we really want to try to play really hard for them.” With two difficult opponents, Bluem said the home wins would help the players forget any issues they had early on in the season. On Tuesday, Coastal Carolina moved up to No. 16 in the NCAA Division I rankings, but Sarris does not see that as a concern. “Both Davidson and Coastal Carolina are great teams … they’ve had great programs these last few years,” Sarris said. “But I think we can come back and get some wins this weekend.” Bluem said he sees possibility for a turnaround. “There’s work to be done and we’ll get better,” Bluem said. “So I think that everyone is looking forward.” OSU’s Friday game against Coastal Carolina at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m, while its contest against Davidson is slated for 2:30 p.m Sunday.
Junior outfielder Pat Porter catches the ball during a game against Eastern Michigan April 8 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU won, 8-1.Credit: James Grega Jr. / Lantern reporterThe University of Dayton just keeps on beating Ohio State.Just a few weeks removed from the two schools playing in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the Flyers (13-17, 5-4) took it to the Buckeyes (19-14, 2-7) on the diamond in Columbus, beating them, 8-5.Normally assuming the role of closer, junior pitcher Trace Dempsey started for the Buckeyes Wednesday.“I let the team down today,” Dempsey said. “It was important to get this win today and I didn’t really come out or give us an opportunity to win … today my body language got out of hand and I kind of sucked a little life out of the team. That’s my fault.”With the Buckeyes either winning by blowout fashion or trailing late in recent games, coach Greg Beals has been giving Dempsey extra work during the mid-week games.Dempsey was sluggish early, walking and hitting a batter in the first inning. Those two early mistakes proved costly as two unearned runs crossed the plate following two errors on a ground ball hit by junior infielder A.J. Ryan.Beals said those two early runs were the key to the game.“We walked a guy, we hit a guy, and we committed an error,” Beals said. “And we gave them two runs in the first inning. That set the tempo for the rest of the game.”The Flyers got another two runs in the third, this time earning them off Dempsey.With men on first and second, back-to-back RBI singles from Ryan and sophomore outfielder Aaron Huesman pushed the Flyers’ cushion to four.The early runs gave the Flyers provided the spark needed to overcome OSU.“This is one of their biggest games of the year and we can’t give them any hope,” Buckeye junior catcher Aaron Gretz said after the game. “Once they get some momentum it’s like a snowball effect. We can’t give up those early runs like that.”The Buckeyes found a sense of urgency in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three runs of their own.Gretz led off with a double before advancing to third on an error and scoring on a wild pitch from the Flyers’ freshman starter Nick Gobert.OSU redshirt-sophomore shortstop Nick Sergakis followed with a double of his own and scored after another double from teammate and sophomore infielder Troy Kuhn.Kuhn eventually scored after an infield single by freshman outfielder Troy Montgomery to pull the Buckeyes within one.The Flyers answered in the fourth, though.Freshman Yianni Pavlopoulos came on to relieve Dempsey, and the Flyers got men on first and second with redshirt-junior outfielder Alex Harris up to bat.With Pavlopoulos making only his second appearance of the season, Harris took full advantage of his inexperience and sent a pitch over the left-field wall for a three-run shot to push the Flyers’ lead back to four.Redshirt- senior relief pitcher Tyler Giannonatti came in after Pavlopoulos and pitched two scoreless innings for the Buckeyes, who began chipping away at the lead.OSU redshirt-sophomore Ryan Leffel had an RBI single in the fifth and freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson smashed a solo home run over the right-field wall in the sixth to put the Buckeyes down two.The Flyers pulled a run back in the eighth off freshman Travis Lakins on a sacrifice fly from redshirt-junior infielder Sergio Plasencia to get the lead back to three with only two innings left.Another run for the Buckeyes was not in the cards, though, as sophomore reliever Nick Weybright shut down the Buckeye bats and gave the Flyers the 8-5 win.Dempsey and the Buckeyes have a chance to right the ship in a series with Big Ten foe Penn State this weekend in Columbus at Nick Swisher Field at Bill Davis Stadium.First pitch Friday against the Nittany Lions is scheduled for 6:35 p.m.
Freshman quarterback Tate Martell (10) warms up prior to the 2017 season opener against Indiana. Credit: Jack Westerhide | Photo EditorHere is a position-by-position breakdown of Ohio State’s offense in 2018. The years provided by the players indicates grade in the 2017 season. QuarterbackGraduating: J.T. BarrettReturners: Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow, Tate MartellAdditions: Matthew BaldwinThe situation: In 2018, Ohio State will have to replace redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett, the most productive quarterback, statistically speaking, in program history. Luckily, it has an ample amount of potentially fruitful options in two quarterbacks with game experience and a former top recruit who redshirted. Redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins appears to be the frontrunner since he served as Barrett’s primary backup this fall. The strong-armed pocket-passer played in eight games and passed for 565 yards. Haskins also helped the Buckeyes come back and defeat Michigan, giving him valuable end-of-game experience. Redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow suffered a broken hand days before the season opener and has played sparingly. But he was Barrett’s backup in 2016 and passed for 226 yards and rushed for 58 yards in the role. Freshman Tate Martell, who has not taken a collegiate snap — his role has been limited to the scout team — and redshirted, entered Ohio State as a highly regarded dual-threat prospect from high-school powerhouse Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas). Ohio State will have to prepare for the possibility one of the three transfers after not winning the starting spot. Projected starter: Tate MartellThe Reasoning: It will not be easy for Martell to earn the opening game nod. Head coach Urban Meyer greatly values the snaps Haskins and Burrow have played over the past two seasons. But Martell offers the potential to be a dynamic, potentially game-changing playmaker on the ground and in the passing game. Meyer and co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day have talked glowingly of his improved work ethic from when he first joined the program. Martell’s teammates have laughed in awe of his runs at practice. Would it be a surprise if Haskins or Burrow won the job? Absolutely not. Haskins possesses the strongest arm and quickest release of any Ohio State quarterback and won the backup job this year, albeit due to the timing of Burrow’s injury. Burrow provides the Buckeyes with the most familiarity, having been with the program the longest and drawing the most comparisons to Barrett. But both have drawbacks. Haskins would not offer the Ohio State offense a dynamic running ability, which Meyer prefers his quarterbacks to have, and Burrow does not possess a standout trait. Martell has the potential to be Ohio State’s next great dual-threat playmaking quarterback and will have ample opportunity to earn the starting spot in the offseason. Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins (2) runs past defenders in the of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: James King II | Sports DirectorRunning backGraduating: N/AReturners: Mike Weber, J.K. Dobbins, Antonio Williams, Demario McCallAdditions: Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead, Master TeagueThe situation: Not much changes at running back if Mike Weber returns another season. He declined after the Cotton Bowl Friday to expound on whether he will leave early for the NFL. But he might after an injury-filled season and freshman J.K. Dobbins’ ascendance, which would result in a continued decrease of touches for the 2016 starter. Sophomore Antonio Williams has a similar build to Weber and could slide into the co-starter’s role if he left for the draft. But Williams likely will return as Ohio State’s third-string running back. Redshirt freshman Demario McCall has dealt with a nagging groin injury, which kept him from a larger role in the Buckeyes’ offense in 2017. When healthy, McCall has the potential to be one of Ohio State’s top playmakers. Whether as a running back or H-back, he should be more involved in the offense in next year. A trio of incoming freshmen — Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead and Master Teague — will enter a crowded backfield and likely will spend most of their freshman seasons on special teams. Snead and Teague are pure running backs, but Gill’s future will likely be as an H-back in Meyer’s offense.Projected starters: J.K. DobbinsThe Reasoning: If Weber were to return to Ohio State, Dobbins would again split carries. Dobbins’ quick, game-breaking style combined with Weber’s power would once again give Ohio State an intriguing combination of speed and power. But Weber will likely declare early for the NFL draft, leaving Dobbins as the unquestioned starter. Given another year of physical development and mental maturity, Dobbins will become a bellcow starting running back. Ohio State redshirt sophomore receiver K.J. Hill (14) runs the ball in the fourth quarter of the 2017 Cotton Bowl against University of Southern California on Dec. 29 in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. Ohio State won 24-7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWide receiverGraduating: Elijah GoinsReturners: Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, Jaylen Harris, Ellijah GardinerAdditions: L’Christian Smith, Kamryn Babb, Cameron BrownThe situation: A crowded receiver room this year will remain crowded next year, and also could become even more jam-packed. Ohio State lists six receivers — Johnnie Dixon, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor and Austin Mack — as starters, and all six might return next year. Dixon could declare for the NFL draft due to his injury history and Campbell might decide to leave early, but the rest of the group will likely be back in 2018. A similar challenge to this year’s will arise. Ohio State’s offensive staff must decide whether to use them similarly to this season — with more than two or three starters and all wideouts playing similar snap counts — or to shrink the rotation. The Buckeyes’ duo of 6-foot-4-plus freshmen — Harris and Gardiner — also could push for more reps given the natural physical and mental maturity of a year in a collegiate offense. L’Christian Smith, Kamryn Babb and Cameron Brown will join Ohio State, but are unlikely to factor much into the Buckeyes’ plans next year.Projected starters: Austin Mack, Terry McLaurin, K.J. HillThe Reasoning: With most wideouts likely to return in 2018, the group will likely have a similar composition to last season, which means Ohio State will likely use multiple starters for the second year in a row. Hill proved to be the Buckeyes’ most reliable pass-catching option and finished the season with the most catches on the team. Even if Campbell returns, he would have a large role. McLaurin and Mack both offer impressive blocking skill, which Ohio State values, and grew into larger receiving roles as the season progressed. The Buckeyes need one of them, or Victor, to take a step forward and become a downfield threat.Ohio State redshirt sophomore tight end Rashod Berry (13) celebrates after running the ball in for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Ohio State- UNLV game on Sep. 23. Ohio State won 54- 21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorTight endGraduating: Marcus BaughReturners: Rashod Berry, Luke Farrell, Jake HausmannAdditions: Jeremy RuckertThe situation: For the first time since 2015, Ohio State will have a new starting tight end, since redshirt senior Marcus Baugh will graduate. Redshirt sophomore Rashod Berry has served as Baugh’s backup this season, but he will have to battle a bevy of tight ends to earn the starting spot in 2018. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Berry caught six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns this year. Redshirt freshman Luke Farrell played sparingly, but is listed third on the depth chart and will have a chance to earn the starting gig. Redshirt freshmen Jake Hausmann is unlikely to be featured prominently in Ohio State’s 2018 plans. Though he will be a true freshman, Jeremy Ruckert has a chance to break into the Buckeyes’ rotation and earn playing time, if not the starting spot. The 6-foot-5, 238-pound tight end is the top-ranked tight end in his class.Projected starter: Rashod BerryThe Reasoning: Since he has worked with co-offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, who is in his first season as Ohio State tight ends coach, Berry holds the edge to become the next starter. Wilson gushed about Berry’s athleticism earlier in the season. The tight end won an offseason dunk contest and is built like a defensive end, but runs like a receiver. In fact, Berry played tight end when he arrived at Ohio State, but was moved to defensive end before returning to the offense. Ruckert, Alexander and Farrell will push for playing time alongside Berry.Ohio State redshirt sophomore right guard Branden Bowen and junior right tackle Isaiah Prince (59) embrace prior to the Buckeyes’ 62-14 victory against Maryland on Oct. 7. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorOffensive tacklesGraduating: Jamarco JonesReturners: Isaiah Prince, Thayer Munford, Kevin Feder, Joshua AlabiAdditions: Max WrayThe situation: For the second year in a row, senior Jamarco Jones served Ohio State well protecting Barrett’s blind side and serving as a grader in the run game. His loss presents the Buckeyes with a difficult predicament. Junior Isaiah Prince could remain at right tackle for his third and final season as a starter instead of moving to the left side due to his lack of consistency in pass blocking, but he might get a chance to protect to blind-side on the left side of the line. Freshman Thayer Munford was listed behind Jones and earned consistent praise from coaches and teammates. Redshirt sophomore Joshua Alabi, a defensive lineman before being moved to offense in the preseason, offers an intriguing option, for he will be in his fourth year at Ohio State and rose on the depth chart recently. Redshirt sophomore Kevin Feder did not play a snap in 2017 and is not expected to contribute much next year.Projected starter: Branden Bowen (left tackle), Isaiah Prince (right tackle)The Reasoning: Without many eye-catching options, redshirt sophomore Branden Bowen could slide from right guard back to his original position and become Ohio State’s next left tackle. Though he is a 6-foot-7 offensive tackle, Bowen impressed the coaches with his consistency and physicality and earned a starting right guard spot. With an open slot at starting left tackle, moving Bowen back to his original position — one that suits his body type better — might be the Buckeyes’ best option. Ohio State sophomore offensive lineman Michael Jordan (73) sets up prior to a play in the second quarter of the B1G Championship game against Wisconsin on Dec. 2 in Lucas Oil Stadium. Ohio State won 27-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOffensive guards and centerGraduating: Billy PriceReturners: Michael Jordan, Branden Bowen, Matt Burrell, Brady Taylor, Demetrius Knox, Malcolm Pridgeon, Josh Myers, Jack Wohlabaugh, Gavin Cupp, Wyatt DavisAdditions: Matthew JonesThe situation: For the second year in a row, Ohio State must replace a multiple-year starter and first-team All-American at center. And unlike last year, it will not be able to slide an All-American from guard to center to fix the issue. Sophomore Michael Jordan will return as starting left guard, but who will join him on Ohio State’s interior line remains a mystery. Brady Taylor, a center, will be in his fifth season as a Buckeye and earned praise from Meyer and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa earlier in the season. He backed up redshirt senior Billy Price this season and will have the inside track to replace him. Redshirt junior Demetrius Knox played well in the latter half of the season, but will have to fight to keep the starting job in 2018. Knox, Bowen, redshirt sophomore Matt Burrell and redshirt junior Malcolm Pridgeon are among the primary options at right guard, as they were this season. But with a year of collegiate experience, freshmen and former highly regarded prospects Josh Myers and Wyatt Davis also will also for playing time. Redshirt freshmen Jack Wohlabaugh and Gavin Cupp have not played and are unlikely to compete for the starting spots.Projected starters: Michael Jordan (left guard), Brady Taylor (center), Demetrius Knox (right guard)The Reasoning: Considering his experience as the primary backup, Taylor likely will have the first opportunity to replace Price as Ohio State’s next center and join Jordan on the interior of the line. Burrell has snapped with the centers before games and might battle Taylor for the starting position, but he has not earned a starting spot yet, despite partaking in three position battles. The right guard spot remains a mystery. Myriad candidates could earn the starting spot. But if Bowen moves to tackle, Knox will have the best shot at retaining his position.Check out the preview of Ohio State’s defense.
Senior forward Brandon Kearney (25) faces-off in the second period of Ohio State’s game against UMass on Oct. 19. Ohio State lost 6-3. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternFollowing its series tie with UMass, the No. 4 Ohio State men’s hockey team will attempt to bounce back in a home-and-home series against No. 15 Bowling Green.Ohio State (3-1-0) swept its season opener against Arizona State before splitting its home opener with UMass. Bowling Green (4-1-0) enters the game outscoring its opponents by more than three goals per game, with its only loss coming on the road to Robert Morris. The Buckeyes fell to No. 4 in the most recent USCHO men’s hockey poll after dropping their first home game against UMass. Ohio State’s previous No. 1 ranking was its first in team history.“It was a wake-up call. We were ranked No. 1 and that was a good thing, so [the loss] hurt in a lot of ways,” junior defenseman Matt Miller said. “I think we were too comfortable with where we were. We came back, watched some video, learned a lot, and we were ready on Saturday.”The Falcons are one of the highest-scoring teams in the nation through the first few weeks of the season, scoring 26 goals in only five games. Their 5.2 goals per game is No. 3 in the NCAA.Sophomore forwards Max Johnson and Brandon Kruse are in the top five in scoring in the NCAA and the Falcons have 22 players with at least one point.“[Chris Bergeron] does a great job. They play downhill, they’ve got some offensive weapons and the one thing they do is they go to the dirty areas,” head coach Steve Rohlik said. “You know, for us, it’s about doing the little things, and, again, we’ve been working on that this week. You know, we’ve got to match their energy.”The power play has been a struggle for the Buckeyes this season, converting only 3 of its 18 attempts, but the Falcons will give Ohio State an opportunity to jump-start its special teams. Bowling Green was one of the most penalized teams in the nation last year, with junior forward Lukas Craggs getting 34 penalties last season,having already earned seven this season.The Falcons give many chances to their opponents to score on the power play, and are just as effective stopping them, killing 25 out of the 29 power plays they’ve faced this season — No. 13 in the nation. On the other end, Bowling Green holds the No. 5 power play with a 30.77 percent success rate.Though the Buckeyes have struggled on special teams, freshman forward Quinn Preston understands what they need to do to improve.“I think we’ve just really got to focus on the little things on special teams, winning little battles, making sure we’re getting entries on the power play and clearing pucks on the penalty kill, and just do what we do,” he said. “We have a really good power play and penalty kill so we’ve just got to make sure we execute.”Game one for the Buckeyes will take place at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. on Friday. The team will visit the Falcons at 7:07 p.m. on Saturday.
#1 Myles Martin defeats #3 Nick Reenan of North Carolina State University by decision in the 184-pound bout, 12-5. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternThe No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) will take on No. 21 Illinois on the road Friday and then will travel to face Northwestern Sunday.Illinois (2-5, 1-4 Big Ten) is in the middle of a four-match losing streak, losing its most recent duel against Nebraska 30-9 on Sunday.Ohio State is coming off a loss of its own, falling to then-No. 5 Michigan 19-7 for the team’s first loss of the season. In the match, the Buckeyes lost 6-of-10 bouts. Ohio State associate head coach J Jaggers said the team is ready to move on from the loss to the Wolverines.“We took our medicine on Friday and lost a lot of close matches,” Jaggers said. “Hopefully some of those guys that were maybe on the wrong end of close matches find a way this weekend, and get their hand raised.”The Buckeyes might have to end their losing streak without one of their top wrestlers, senior Joey McKenna.The No. 2 wrestler at 141 pounds, McKenna is listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Assistant coach Tervel Dlagnev said Thursday he will likely miss both matches against Illinois and Northwestern. McKenna is 14-0 this season, with a career record of 93-8.Redshirt sophomore Clay Ragon would wrestle in McKenna’s stead. Ragon is 6-6 in 2018-19 with two wins by technical fall.Ohio State senior Myles Martin, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 184 pounds, is undefeated on the season, but has a big match against Illinois redshirt senior Emery Parker, who, at No. 4, is 11-1 this season.Parker defeated Martin in the 2016-2017 NCAA championships by a 14-9 decision. Earlier that season, Martin defeated Parker by major decision 11-3.Ohio State volunteer coach Bo Jordan said he is not concerned about Martin’s upcoming bout.“He looks pretty incredible right now, so as far as him being tested or not, I’m not sure,” Jordan said. “If he wrestles the way he can, I honestly don’t see many people that can beat him.”Northwestern (3-6, 1-3 Big Ten) is also on a losing streak, losing its past two meets, including its last duel against No. 3 Iowa 33-7.Dlagnev said Ohio State has more than just winning on its mind heading into its two matches this weekend.“I’m just hoping to see progress every week,” Dlagnev said. “We talk about every match is an opportunity.” Ohio State redshirt junior Ke-Shawn Hayes, the No. 7 wrestler in the country at 157 pounds with a 14-4 record, has a tough bout against Northwestern third-ranked redshirt sophomore Ryan Deakin, who has a 19-2 record.Jordan is looking forward to seeing how Hayes does against a pair of ranked opponents this weekend.“Just excited for him he has two opportunities to go out there and wrestle the way he wants to wrestle to see where he is at,” Jordan said. “I think he will be just fine. He can win both of those matches.”Ohio State true freshman Malik Heinselman squares of against Northwestern redshirt sophomore Sebastian Rivera, the No. 1 wrestler in the country at 125 pounds, who is undefeated on the season in 18 matches.Dlagnev said this matchup for the true freshman provides an opportunity to gain experience on the mat.“We want to see the confident Malik that wrestles in practice out there,” Dlagnev said. “We see some awesome wrestling from him in [practice], and if he can just unleash that, that is what we are going for.” Ohio State will face No. 21 Illinois at 9 p.m. on Friday in Champaign, Illinois, and then heads to Evanston, Illinois to duel Northwestern at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Ohio State junior forward Sara Saekkinen (25) drives the puck down the ice in their game against Minnesota on Jan 26. Credit: Cori Wade | For The LanternNo. 9 Ohio State (17-11-0, 10-9 WCHA) swept St. Cloud State (8-20-2, 3-16 WCHA) with two shutout performances on the road.Game 1Ohio State got back in the winning column with a 4-0 shutout against St. Cloud State on the road to snap a five-game losing streak.A three-goal third period sealed the deal for an Ohio State team trying to get back into NCAA Tournament contention.St. Cloud State sophomore goalie Emma Polusny made 49 saves as Ohio State put a season-high 53 shots on net.Freshman forward Paetyn Levis pushed the Buckeye lead to two in the first minute of the third period with her third goal of the season on assists from senior forwards Jacyn Reeves and Madison Field.Ohio State scored two more times in the third period, with an even-strength score from freshman defenseman Sophie Jaques in the 16th minute and a power play strike from team points leader sophomore forward Emma Maltais two minutes later to finish off the Huskies.Buckeye junior forward Rebecca Freiburger began the scoring for Ohio State in the first period. Her third goal of the year came nine minutes into the game courtesy of assists by freshman forward Gabby Rosenthal and sophomore forward Liz Schepers. After inconsistent goalie play saw Ohio State utilize all three goaltenders on the roster in the past five games, freshman Andrea Braendli played all 60 minutes and made 22 saves en route to her fourth shutout of the season.The Huskies, who have been outscored 92-54 on the season, put up just 22 shots to Ohio State’s 53 on the night.Game 2Ohio State completed its season sweep of St. Cloud State with a 5-0 victory at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on Saturday night.Senior forward Madison Field, who tallied three points in the Buckeyes’ Nov. 2-3 home sweep against the Huskies, scored a seventh minute first period goal to put Ohio State up one in the early going.The leading goal scorer for Ohio State, sophomore forward Tatum Skaggs, added to the Buckeye lead in the second period with her 14th goal of the season assisted by Jaques and redshirt junior defenseman Jincy Dunne.The Buckeyes repeated their third period dominance from Friday night with another three-goal period, bookended by power play goals from senior forwards Charly Dahlquist and Jacyn Reeves.Sophomore forward Liz Schepers notched her second point of the series with an empty net goal 17 minutes into the final period.For the second straight night, St. Cloud State was outshot by 20 or more, with a 48-28 deficit.St. Cloud State junior goalie Janine Alder made 43 saves coming off a 50-save performance against No. 1 Wisconsin.Ohio State comes back home for a series against Bemidji State with a puck drop at 6:07 on Friday.
Drugs costing just eight pence a day could be denied to NHS patients under “devastating” new rationing plans, charities have warned.Under the plans, health officials will be able to delay introducing life-extending treatments for up to three years, after they have been found to be effective.The cap is likely to affect one in five new treatments, with cheap drugs which could help large numbers of patients affected, as well as high cost drugs.Under the new rules, any medications likely to cost the health service more than £20m a year will be subject to a new tier of bureaucracy.At present, the NHS has 90 days to make drugs available to patients, once they have been given the green light by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice).The new system will allow health officials an extra three years to introduce drugs, during which time they will try to negotiate cost reductions.Last night charities accusing the Government of abandoning a manifesto pledge to speed up access to drugs, which could leave patients to die while vital treatment was kept out of reach.Seven treatments authorised in the last two years for more than 250,000 patients would have been hit by the cap, analysis shows.They include a heart disease drug for 160,000 patients, with a monthly cost of just £27 a month, and a treatment for prostate cancer, which received the go-ahead from Nice last year after a three year battle.Sightloss drugs with an annual NHS cost of £22m and a £90 a month treatment for chronic heart failure. recommended for more 65,000 patients would also fall foul of the new restrictions.The Alzheimer’s Society last night expressed horror at the new plans, warning that such changes could be devastating for future dementia treatments.If a drug were to be discovered that could help all 680,000 people with dementia in England, it would have to cost less than £30 a year – 8 pence a day – to fall under the cap, the charity said. Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, said the changes agreed by Nice’s board yesterday were “scandalous” and a breach of a manifesto pledge to increase the use of cost-effective new medicines.“It’s truly disgraceful that this Government is prepared to deprive sick patients of the life-saving treatment they require because of their refusal to properly fund our NHS,” he said. Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry said:”Thousands of patients will wait longer for treatment for conditions like heart disease, cancers and diabetes while medicines which stand to benefit the most people are caught up in the system.”Use of new medicines in the UK is already poor with patients seven times more likely to get a newly launched medicine in places like Germany or France.” Patients could die while waiting for the right treatmentCredit:Paul Grover Health officials said they hoped to negotiate reductions in drug prices Cancer, diabetes and asthma patients are all likely to be hit by the plansCredit:Geoffrey Kidd/Alamy Sir Andrew Dillon, Nice chief executive, said: “We hope, and we think it is perfectly possible, that for some treatments which exceed the £20m budget impact in their first three years, there will be commercial agreements between companies and NHS England which will at least minimise and in some cases avoid completely the need for any delay for access for patients.”NHS England had committed to ensuring some patients received the drugs during a “phased implementation period” when there were delays, he said.NHS England’s acting director for specialised commissioning, John Stewart, said it was “committed to working closely with companies that are willing to price their products responsibly”.He said the “new flexibility will help us develop innovative win/win/win agreements – good for patients, good for taxpayers and good for those companies that are willing to price responsibly.”Other changes agreed by the Nice board will see the introduction of a new fast-track option for treatments which cost under £10,000 per year of good quality of life to patients.Such treatments will be appraised within six months, instead of nine. 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. Cancer Research UK said the plans were “unacceptable” and could cost lives.Sarah Woolnough, the charity’s executive director of policy and information, said: “If Nice thinks a cancer treatment is clinically effective and represents value for money, then patients should receive it without delay.”A system that could add up to a three-year delay before patients can access treatments deemed clinically and cost effective is unacceptable,” she said.Baroness Delyth Morgan, Chief Executive at Breast Cancer Now, said the changes could have a “devastating” impact on patients, adding to existing delays accessing drugs.In the last decade, Nice has only approved three out of 13 treatments for breast cancer.“This proposal could be a significant, additional barrier in getting new and effective treatments to those patients who so desperately need them, including patients living with incurable breast cancer who are relying on access to new drugs to give them additional, quality time with their loved ones.”
“We hope to show that the Zika virus can slow down brain tumour growth in tests in the lab. “If we can learn lessons from Zika’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and target brain stem cells selectively, we could be holding the key to future treatments.” 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 research, using tumour cells in the laboratory and in mice, will see if the virus can destroy cancer cells.This early stage research will explore how the virus targets stem cells and provide the starting point to develop new treatments that seek out the tumour and spare the surrounding healthy brain tissue.Dr Iain Foulkes, director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, which is funding the research, said: “We urgently need new insights and treatments to tackle glioblastomas, one of the most common and difficult to treat forms of brain tumours.“Finding new ways to treat brain tumours to help more people survive the disease is a priority for Cancer Research UK.” In glioblastoma, the cancer cells resemble those in the developing brain, suggesting that the Zika infection could attack them too.Dr Harry Bulstrode, a Cancer Research UK scientist at the University of Cambridge, said: “Zika virus infection in babies and children is a major global health concern, and the focus has been to discover more about the virus to find new possible treatments.“We’re taking a different approach, and want to use these new insights to see if the virus can be unleashed against one of the hardest to treat cancers. The Zika virus is transmitted through mosquitoes and damages babies if expectant mothers are bittenCredit: Felipe Dana Zika virus could destroy brain tumours, scientists hope, as they launch the first trial to test whether the devastating disease could cure cancer.The University of Cambridge revealed in May 2017 it would trial Zika on glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive form of brain tumour, which affects 2,200 people in Britain each year.Crucially, unlike other treatments, the virus can pass the blood-brain barrier – a membrane which acts like a filter to prevent all but the most vital nutrients passing through.Zika’s ability to pass through this barrier causes severe disability in babies by attacking stem cells in the developing brain, but scientists hope to harness the same trait to fight cancer.
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. London Police Commander Stuart CundyCredit:AFP Daniel Leal-Olivas A firefighter breaks down as he looks at floral tributes left at the Latymer Community CentreCredit: Dominic Lipinski PA “All of these have seen significant changes in the recent past as part of an agenda of de-regulation and cutting so-called red tape,” he said. “Those who took those decisions are going to have to start facing the consequences.” Matt Wrack, General Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, also wrote to Theresa May calling for a full, judge led inquiry into the fire and called for the scope of the investigation to include building control, planning and fire safety decisions made by ministers. However, in one moment of hope he revealed that five people who had been missing feared dead in the wake of the fire at the west London tower block last Wednesday had since been found alive and well. They are believed to be the Kudhair family who had fled Syria. The company which managed Grenfell Tower and contractors who carried out the recent renovations could face prosecution, it emerged today as the officer in charge of the investigation broke down when describing the scene at the blaze.As the number of deaths rose to 79, Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the investigation, fought back tears as he admitted that some remains may never be identified because of the intense heat of the fire. Commander Cundy said a criminal investigation was looking at ‘how the building was managed and maintained, fire safety measures in the building, the construction and the refurbishment.’ It suggest that Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation, which ran the block on behalf of the council, the contractors Rydon and cladding company Harley Facades Ltd could all face criminal allegations.Before the fire, residents complained about power surges and blocked emergency exits at the tower and David Lammy MP has called for prosecutions for corporate manslaughter. Detectives investigating the fire at Grenfell Tower have on Sunday released new images showing the devastationCredit:Metropolitan Police Police had previously identified 23-year-old Syrian refugee Mohammad Alhajali as the victim of the fire and a woman whose family do not want her name to be released.Speaking outside Scotland Yard, Commander Cundy appeared visibly shaken by the blaze and its aftermath. He said: “On Saturday I was in there myself and went all the way to the top floor and it is incredibly hard to describe the devastation in some parts of that building.“I have investigated major crime for most of my service and I have seen some terrible things. But I don’t think anything prepared me for what I was going to see when I was in there.“It is a truly awful reality that there may be some people that we may never be able to identify because of the intensity of that fire.” Five people have been formally identified including artist Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye, also known as Khadija Saye, 24, Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and Anthony Disson, 65, all of whom lived in the 24-storey block.