30 09 19

Besides getting treatment for her back injury, Williams said she also received therapy since giving birth, and it was after she lost the 2018 U.S. Open to Naomi Osaka. The mother of one said she sent an apology letter to Osaka, and it took her some time to return to tennis. Serena Williams talked about when she plans to retire during a recent panel discussion. (Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images) For example, she had to drop out of the Rogers Cup and the Cincinnati Masters due to a back injury, and despite making it to four Grand Slam finals since giving birth, she hasn’t won a title yet. Osaka then responded to Williams and wrote: “People can misunderstand anger for strength because they can’t differentiate between the two,” she wrote. “No one has stood up for themselves the way you have and you need to continue trailblazing.” “[I plan to] transfer out, you know, in 20 years,” said Williams about retirement, according to Yahoo. Her words were met with cheers. Serena Williams has faced some on-the-court challenges since she delivered her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. on Sept. 1, 2017. Williams was hit with violations on that day, after she argued with the umpire’s call and broke her racket. And during the trophy ceremony, the crowd booed Osaka since they seemed to be on Williams’ side. It’s something she revealed Wednesday during a panel discussion for Advertising Week New York, and reportedly Williams wants to win her 24th Grand Slam title, which would tie a record established by Australian tennis player Margaret Court. “Days passed, and I still couldn’t find peace,” wrote Williams in an essay for Harper’s Bazaar. “I started seeing a therapist. I was searching for answers, and although I felt like I was making progress, I still wasn’t ready to pick up a racket.” But that hasn’t seemed to discourage Williams, and at 38 she said retirement isn’t in her immediate plans. read more

29 09 19

That’s pretty good company. But the crucial thing to remember is that these players aren’t just valuable — they’re scarce. The vast majority are core contributors on playoff teams. Replacing them, or Thompson, with the kind of player who’s readily available — say, Kyle O’Quinn? — simply wouldn’t work. So while it’s funny to crack jokes about the Cavs dropping a 5-year, $82 million contract on a guy who “only” crashes the boards and defends, the difference between having a guy with those skills and not is the difference between competing for a title and not.3-and-D: J.R. Smith/Iman ShumpertThere was a time not long ago when Smith and Shumpert were about as likely to occupy the same slot in a taxonomy as a slender-horned gazelle and, say, a Ford F-150. Smith was a remorseless gunner who could also run the offense with surprising proficiency from time to time. Shumpert was known as a defender with a broken jump shot and a more broken handle. But this season, things are all turned around.Smith is being used as the Cavaliers’ primary defender for opponents’ best perimeter players. So far in the playoffs, this has spurred Smith to new defensive heights. Shumpert, meanwhile, seems to have learned to shoot. He shot 36 percent from three during the regular season, but he has been good for 47.1 percent from distance during the playoffs.Neither Smith nor Shumpert are among the very best 3-and-D guys in the league, even on their very best days. Patrick Beverley, Andre Iguodala and Danny Green would all come off the board ahead of them. But while the Cavs’ role players are weakest at 3-and-D, there are two major mitigating factors:First, true 3-and-D players are surprisingly rare, considering the league has been actively seeking them out for more than a decade. So having anyone who can competently fill the role is something of a win. Second, LeBron is one of the best 3-and-D players on the planet.So these two are playing the part for now, even if it’s imperfect casting. But if things turn south, the Cavs can always turn to LeBron to take on more of the load.Bench Shooters: Kyle Korver/Channing FryeFurther down the bench, Korver (the hired gun) and Frye (a stretch 4 out of central casting) fill the role of instant shooting off the bench, and they’re both extremely good at it. Korver shot 48.5 percent from three once he was traded to the Cavs, though he’s fallen off to a more mortal 40.8 in the playoffs. Kyle Korver and Channing Frye come firing off the bench Talent tends to win out in the NBA. But talent also needs to fit a role. Take Draymond Green, for instance. How many players in the league can fulfill the defensive and playmaking role that Green does from night to night? LeBron James and … Chris Paul riding Rudy Gobert’s shoulders? Paul Millsap with a jetpack and a crowbar? Point is, Green is one of the best players in the league, but other, similarly talented players couldn’t begin to fill his shoes, and Green’s Golden State Warriors wouldn’t be nearly the same team without him.The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly have talent beyond James. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving would each be the best player on many NBA teams. But more important than the number of all-star appearances they could run up is the way their skillsets work in concert — more specifically, the way that each player fits into the model of how best to play on a team with LeBron James.Cleveland is a team of specialists — each player fits a role that doesn’t maximize his talents so much as the team’s collective ability. That’s a theme among many NBA teams, but what’s unique about Cleveland is that even players as talented as Love and Irving are refashioned into role players.Star Microwave: Kyrie IrvingThis obviously raises some flags. How on earth does Irving qualify as a role player, particularly after his 42-point performance on Tuesday (that’s the most points that any teammate of James’s has had in the postseason)? It was a standout game that reminded us all of what we’ve known for years: Kyrie Irving is ice cold.But Irving isn’t the first legitimate NBA star to become the de facto second option to LeBron. Dwyane Wade was at the tail end of his prime by the time James arrived in Miami, but he was still undeniably a better all-around player than Irving ever has been. Wade at his best operated as the centerpiece of an offense nearly as well as LeBron does and was one of the top perimeter defenders in the league — claims that can’t be made about Irving.1Wade’s averaging more than a block per game over the first 10 years of his career is one of the more outrageous quirks of recent league history. He also didn’t fit nearly as well with LeBron as Irving does.The obvious difference is the shooting. Kyrie is a career 38 percent 3-point shooter, and he shot 40 percent during this past regular season. Wade is 29 percent from three for his career. Irving can keep defenders on him — and thereby away from James — much better than Wade ever could, even with the off-ball motion that the Heat eventually built in to alleviate spacing issues. Irving’s effective field goal percentage on spot-up jumpers was 68.5 this season, second in the league, behind Kemba Walker, among players who took at least two spot-ups per game. He shot 47.9 percent on spot-up 3s.Like Wade, Irving can be self-sufficient. LeBron may run the rest of the offense, but when he needs a break or when the offense stagnates, as it did in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday, Irving can step in and generate offense all by himself — and often all for himself. Go ahead and count how many of the plays in that highlight reel above include Cavs other than Irving. (Not many.) He has one of the best handles in the league, can get to the rim at will and is a good finisher once he gets there. And if the defense sags off too far to anticipate the drive, Irving can pull up from three.Another component to Irving’s fit with James is his tendency to operate on the right side of the floor. James operates almost exclusively from the left side of the court and has a history of forcing teammates who prefer that space to find somewhere else to set up shop.It shouldn’t be a surprise that a player who can shoot threes, use a bunch of possessions and pass is rare in the league. As a rough measure, I defined that as a 37-percent 3-point shooter who had at least a usage rate of 25 and an assist percentage of 20 in at least 20 minutes per game. Of the 11 players who fit that description this season, Irving ranked fifth in win shares, behind four guys who are asked to do more for their teams than he is. Irving’s workload isn’t exactly light, but compared with his peers here, having him in the role the Cavs do looks like high luxury. PLAYERTEAMOFF. REBOUND %BLOCKS %DEF. BPMWIN SHARES Jason TerryMIL11611218.470.442.7 Tristan Thompson is indispensable Stretch 4/Elite Rebounder: Kevin LoveIn Miami, Chris Bosh turned himself into the ideal counterpart to James — an excellent, mobile defender, a reliable spot-up jump shooter to spread the floor, and a very good rebounder. The role minimized Bosh’s other abilities, but it served the Heat’s biggest needs. And more importantly, it allowed the team to fill the other frontcourt spots with more limited players, such as Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen and Joel Anthony. Bosh wasn’t scoring 20-plus a night, but he was providing the kind of anchoring presence that Green now provides to the Warriors.That’s hard to reproduce, even with a Big 3. In Cleveland, the defensive rebounding and shooting falls to Kevin Love; the defensive anchorage, rim protection and offensive rebounding fall elsewhere. This has worked out well for the Cavs, but only because Love has a set of set of skills no other NBA player shares.That’s not to say things have come easy. Many of the things Love did best in Minnesota have proven to be extraneous in Cleveland. His elbow touches have all but vanished from 2013-14 — his last season in Minnesota — to this season, and his post-ups have fallen off over the same time and are far less effective than they used to be, falling from 91.7 points per 100 plays to 86.5. And without Ricky Rubio finding him for quick hits off of the pick-and-roll — or even the freedom to slip a screen or run to space — Love has become an afterthought on high screens. In short, Love is a completely different player.Even now, with Love in the middle of a breakout playoff run, he’s much more of a system player than ever. He’s taking more than half of his shots from three (and making 47.9 percent). More of his threes came from the corner this season than in any other season, and that share has gone up in the playoffs.Take a look at Love’s shot charts from 2013-14 (the season before he teamed up with James) and 2016-17, via StatMuse: Juan HernangomezDEN11711213.650.440.7 Kemba Walker29.229.139.9+8.1 Dwight HowardATL15.03.6+2.8+8.3 Includes all players for whom 3-pointers are at least 30 percent of their shots, who make at least 35 percent of their 3-point attempts and whose defensive rebound rate is at least 25 percent, during any regular season.Source: basketball-reference.com For players who played at least 20 minutes per game with at least a usage rate of 25 percent, a 20 percent assist percentage, and a 3-point percentage of at least 37, in the 2016-17 regular season.Source: basketball-reference.com 2016-17Kevin LoveCLE44.937.329.3+6.4 Dion Waiters26.323.839.5+1.6 Jeremy Lin26.635.537.2+2.1 Patty MillsSAS11410721.957.241.3 Stephen Curry30.1%31.1%41.1%+12.6 C.J. MilesIND11511123.463.241.3 Joe InglesUTA11210524.061.944.1 2014-15Kevin LoveCLE41.236.726.3+8.7 2015-16Kevin LoveCLE44.936.028.4+8.5 Mike Conley26.334.540.8+10.0 OK, so there are obvious differences between Love and Murphy, who was a useful but limited role player for a succession of middling teams. But the takeaway from this list shouldn’t (only) be that Love has been reduced to Troy Murphy comps. The real finding is that it’s hugely unusual for a big man to be able to rebound at an elite level and shoot (and make) a ton of threes. Love isn’t just the best at what he does — he’s the only one who does it.Defender/Offensive Rebounder: Tristan ThompsonThompson takes over where Love leaves off. His role is probably the most traditional: He crashes the offensive boards and protects the rim. When he’s pulled further out, he can pick up ballhandlers in pick-and-roll coverage, and doesn’t look totally lost when he has to defend in space. And on offense, he runs the floor, can fill a lane in transition, and can catch and finish at the rim. He’s the image of a modern, live-bodied NBA big.If we define what Thompson does as offensive rebounding, rim protection and general defensive presence,2Among players with a minimum of a 10 percent offensive rebound rate, a block percentage of 2, and a defensive plus/minus of at least 1. Thompson comes in just behind some of the best big men in the league: PLAYERUSAGE RATEASSIST %3-POINT %WIN SHARES Kyrie Irving’s unique profile Kyle KorverATL/CLE11611126.269.7%45.1% Steven AdamsOKC13.02.6+1.2+6.4 Clint CapelaHOU12.54.2+1.0+6.0 2013-14Kevin LoveMIN35.5%37.6%29.5%+14.3 For non-starting players who took 3-pointers for more than half their shots, played less than 30 minutes per game and qualified for minutes per game leaderboard, in the 2016-17 regular season.Source: Basketball-reference.com Hassan WhitesideMIA12.85.0+1.5+9.5 SEASONPLAYERTEAM3-POINT RATE3-POINT %DEF. RB %WIN SHARES Jerryd Bayless27.729.440.0-0.1 Tristan ThompsonCLE14.02.9+1.5+7.3 Marcin GortatWAS10.62.1+1.2+6.8 Isaiah Thomas34.032.637.9+12.6 Includes players with a minimum of a 10 percent offensive rebound rate, a block percentage of at least 2 percent, and a defensive box plus/minus of at least 1 for the 2016-17 regular season.Source: Basketball-reference.com PLAYERTEAMOFF.DEF.MINUTES PER GAME3-POINT RATE3-POINT % Goran Dragic27.129.040.5+7.5 DeAndre JordanLAC13.34.3+3.0+11.8 Rudy GobertUTA13.6%6.4%+4.5+14.3 Korver is 36 years old and can’t escape the limitations of his age, but on the Cavs, he, Frye, Richard Jefferson and even James Jones can get run that they couldn’t on other teams because so much of the Cleveland offense is based on surrounding LeBron with three or four shooters and letting him go to work.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Andre DrummondDET15.13.1+2.9+6.7 2008-09Troy MurphyIND46.745.032.0+8.5 Kyrie Irving30.829.740.1+8.9 Damian Lillard31.528.737.0+10.3 Nikola JokicDEN11.62.1+2.2+9.7 Love and Murphy are long-lost soulmates Channing FryeCLE11510918.964.440.9 2009-10Troy MurphyIND41.038.428.5+7.8 You can see that Love has had to make drastic adjustments, dropping huge pieces of his game to fit into the Cavs system.Stripped of that excess, the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love turns out to be … Troy Murphy.Don’t look at me like that! It says so right here. These are the only players in league history to take 3-pointers on 30 percent of their shots, shoot at least 35 percent from three (league average), and have a defensive rebound rate of at least 25 percent (meaning that they collected 25 percent of available defensive rebounds while on the floor): Jordan Crawford25.522.738.9+0.9 RATING read more

29 09 19

All-star games occupy a weird place in today’s sports universe. Once upon a time, they served the semi-important function of showcasing great players for fans who seldom — if ever — got to see them play. These exhibitions used to hold some level of romantic appeal for fans. But now, we can watch every player play every game if we want, and with so much money at stake every time a player risks injury by stepping onto the field or court, these showcases seem absurd. By 2019, the all-star game has become a kind of awkward relic that still provides entertainment but whose raison d’être recedes further into history with every passing year.One way we’ve kept the all-star concept alive is through the addition of countless gimmicks, the most high-profile of which is currently the NBA’s schoolyard-style draft. (This year’s was held last Thursday.) There are also various skill competitions around the festivities, too, which often transcend the game. But beyond novel framing devices, the games themselves have also developed into bizarre offshoots of the competitive versions of their respective sports. Depending on how difficult it is to play a given sport at reduced speed and effort with minimal contact, its all-star game may bear little resemblance to the “real” game as experienced in its day-to-day existence.So which sport changes the most when converted to an all-star format? One simple way to measure this is to look at how the scores of the all-star games change, as compared with the ordinary averages from the leagues during their regular seasons. And since 2000 — excluding NHL All-Star Games since 2016, when the league adopted a 3-on-3 format that makes regular-season comparisons impossible — no sport saw more of a difference in scoring between all-star and regular-season games than hockey. National Hockey League*5.5018.45+235.6% Per-Game Scoring Avg. Major League Baseball9.128.16-10.5 National Football League43.6865.37+49.6 *Excluding NHL All-Star Games since 2016, when the league adopted a 3-on-3 tournament format.Source: Sports-Reference.com LeagueRegular SeasonAll-Star GamePct. Change Which game is warped most by its all-stars?Change in total per-game scoring average between all-star games and the regular season by league, 2000-2018 National Basketball Association197.80285.74+44.5 An ordinary hockey game averages about 2.75 goals per team, give or take yearly scoring variations. But the NHL All-Star Game this century has seen such un-hockey-like scores as 11-10, 12-11, 14-12 and 17-12 (!). All told, before it finally abandoned any pretense of attempting a regulation hockey game, the All-Star Game saw a 236 percent increase in scoring compared with the regular-season NHL average, easily the largest change of any “big four” North American sport.The NBA All-Star Game and the NFL’s Pro Bowl both see a very similar increase in scoring compared with the regular season, with each sitting between a 45 and 50 percent boost. Neither game is known for its tough defense, and for the NFL, that is particularly logical — unless Sean Taylor was involved (RIP), hard hits are not encouraged in the Pro Bowl, and defenses are hamstrung by playing at less than full effort or aggressiveness. The NBA has less of an excuse, since contact is much less fundamental to gameplay, but the All-Star Game has always prioritized flashy offense over lockdown defense — or any defense for that matter. This even manifests in the way players are selected — when doing research for my All-Star Draft simulator, I found that a player’s points-per-game average was by far the statistic most correlated with historical All-Star voting. It makes sense that when a bunch of offensive-minded players get together on the court, defense goes out the window.But that is definitely not true in the league many hail for having the best all-star game — Major League Baseball. MLB is the only one of the big four whose All-Star scoring rate actually decreases relative to regular-season games. With 4.08 runs per team, per All-Star Game since 2000, the stars put 11 percent fewer runs on the board during their big showcase.That wasn’t always the case: From 2000 through 2007, the stars scored 4 percent more runs than in an ordinary game. But from 2008 through 2017, All-Star scoring fell with an incredible 30 percent decrease relative to the regular season — perhaps not coincidentally as bullpens accelerated their takeover of modern baseball and All-Star managers began deploying more and more of their pitchers in extra-short stints. If the NHL needs to nudge its All-Star offense/defense mix more toward the defensive side of the puck, baseball has had the opposite problem, with even the game’s greatest hitters struggling to produce runs against what is essentially a supercharged procession of Hall of Fame-caliber relievers.Baseball’s offense did bust out of its All-Star slump last season with 14 total runs — the most combined in the midsummer classic since 2002’s ill-fated 7-7 tie in Milwaukee. But in the big picture, baseball also still maintains a level of relative normalcy in its All-Star Games not seen in the other major sports. The NHL embraced the crazy scoring and took on an entirely different format; the NFL and NBA continue to play a version of their games that is normal in only the most superficial sense. All the while, we’ll continue to wonder whether we need all-star games in the modern sports landscape, but we’ll watch them anyway — partly out of nostalgia, partly out of entertainment and partly because it still beats anything else we’d probably be doing on a Sunday night in mid-February. From ABC News: read more

28 09 19

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Aug. 16, 2016), FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver joins us to talk about his Olympics viewing schedule and what would happen if the medal table were weighted toward the most popular sports. Then we talk to FiveThirtyEight’s Allison McCann, on location in Brazil, about the quarterfinal loss by the U.S. women’s national soccer team. Finally, we discuss Usain Bolt, who on Sunday won his third straight Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters. Is he already the greatest Olympian of all time? How can we quantify that anyway? Plus, a significant digit on the amount of money spent by English Premier League teams during the summer transfer window.Links to what we discuss are here:Nate Silver investigates which countries medal in the sports that people watch the most.Carl Bialik writes that according to FiveThirtyEight’s odds, the USWNT probably wasn’t going to win Olympic gold anyway.ESPN’s Stats & Information Group breaks down the numbers behind the U.S.’s loss to Sweden.Laura Wagner at Slate thinks the USWNT will be fine as long as it dumps goalkeeper Hope Solo.The New York Times uses a series of graphics to show how Bolt compares with 100-meter Olympic champions of the past.The Times breaks down how Bolt came from behind to win.Significant Digit: £794 million. That’s the amount of money spent by EPL teams in the 2016 summer transfer window, through the beginning of August. There are still two weeks to go before the window closes, and spending looks like it will break the EPL record of £870 million that was set last year. Embed Code read more

28 09 19

It wasn’t pretty, but for the second time this season, Ohio State traveled to the state of Florida and came out with a win. In a game with 37 turnovers and 71 missed shots, No. 2 OSU beat Florida State 58-44 Tuesday night as a part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. OSU scored the first seven points of the game, but the Buckeyes seemed uncomfortable on the offensive end for most of the first half. They shot just 38 percent in the first 20 minutes and were forced several times to take contested, low-percentage shots near the end of the shot clock. But as off as the Buckeyes were to start the game, FSU was worse. The Seminoles made only six of their 23 first-half shots and were out-rebounded by 14 as OSU took an 11-point lead at the break. OSU opened up a 17-point lead in the second half, but the Seminoles answered with a 7-0 run to cut the lead to 10. The remainder of the game went back and forth with the Buckeyes’ lead hovering around 10 points as both teams continued their offensive struggles. A 3-pointer from FSU’s Deividas Dulkys cut the lead to seven with about four minutes to go, but that was as close as the Seminoles would get. OSU senior Jon Diebler got a steal and an easy basket in transition, giving the Buckeyes an insurmountable 11-point lead with just more than two minutes remaining. Diebler led all Buckeye scorers with 12 points but was just 3-of-12 shooting from the field. Freshman Jared Sullinger finished with 11 points and grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds, recording his third double-double of the season. Junior William Buford fouled out with just less than eight minutes to go and finished with nine points, going 4-for-12. The Buckeyes finished 19-of-59 from the field and 4-of-20 from beyond the arc. OSU is off until Dec. 9, when it hosts IUPUI. read more

28 09 19

The Ohio State football team is buying into what new strength coach Mickey Marotti is feeding them — literally and figuratively. And with a new “no loafing” rule in effect the players are quickly buying into Marotti’s plan. While working in an ultra-competitive weight room environment, OSU players have responded to their new program instituted by Marotti, the assistant athletic director of football sports performance. Players and coaches have already seen positive results, Marotti told reporters Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. OSU is in week five of its five-days-a-week program, which Marotti described as a hybrid program that attempts to maximize the genetic potential of each player. “We do Olympic lifting. We do power lifting. We do strength training. We do speed training,” Marotti said. “We want (players) faster. We want them quicker. We want them leaner. We want them meaner. We want them stronger, more explosive.” Marotti said each player’s flexibility, body fat and strength were assessed, and players are getting a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in the program. “Everything is done in a very disciplined, accountable fashion,” Marotti said. “So if someone doesn’t do something right, the whole group suffers or — I hate to say ‘suffers’ — the whole group has a consequence of doing it again.” “Disciplined” might be an understatement. Marotti has created a breakfast club for “high-needs players” that need to cut or gain significant amounts of weight, and for all freshmen. A dietitian is present at on-campus eateries to guide the players in their dining selections during set hours. Marotti also helped overhaul the student-athlete meal menu at The Fawcett Center. “We re-did the whole menu,” Marotti said, “and it’s all stuff you’re supposed to eat as an athlete.” Additionally, the players are adjusting to new statistics that team managers keep track of during drills called loafs. A loaf is credited to a player during a moment of deceleration during a drill, Marotti said. When a second loaf is credited to a player, they’re given a lavender shirt that must be worn around the training facility. Redshirt junior linebacker Etienne Sabino, who said he has lost weight and feels faster after five weeks in the new program, has yet to wear a lavender shirt. “You don’t want to wear those shirts at all,” Sabino said. “Just loafing in general, you don’t want to get those. The lavender (shirt) is definitely motivation not to get any loafs.” Sabino, who said he has dropped to 235 pounds from 245 pounds, said the challenges of Marotti’s comprehensive plan have produced results. “We’ve all seen great changes in our bodies,” Sabino said. “We’re really pushing ourselves. It’s definitely been challenging. It’s harder than I thought.” Junior defensive lineman John Simon agreed and said each player has been tested. “I think the workouts have been tough for everyone. The whole workout, there’s no let up,” Simon said. “Everyone’s getting great workouts in. A lot of people are getting in shape, myself included. Everyone’s improving.” Marotti has also instituted some combative events into the program, such as offense versus defense tug-of-war. Marotti said the new workouts, while foreign to some players, are designed to back the players into a corner and force them to fight their way out of it. “The response has been great,” Marotti said. “Competition — it’s everything. It’s not just push-ups or beating a guy around a cone … All the players know who beat who, … who came in last, who came in first. It’s all about competing on a daily basis.” OSU begins spring football drills on March 28 with the 2012 Spring Game set to take place on April 21. read more

28 09 19

Fresh off a last-second overtime victory against then-No. 8 Penn State last weekend, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team comes back to Columbus for part two of their four-game run against top-10 competition when No. 10 Denver comes to town Saturday afternoon. Sophomore midfielder Jesse King, who scored Saturday’s game-winning goal, said he understands the importance of the victory, but that it wouldn’t take away from his focus on Denver. “I’m glad that (freshman attacker Carter Brown) trusted me enough to throw it in there,” King said. “But I know that we’re really focused on getting ready for Denver.” Junior defender Darius Bowling, who won 8 of 15 face-offs against the Nittany Lions, said he knows the importance of using every practice this week to prepare for OSU’s conference rivals. “We know offensively they have a lot of playermakers that we’re definitely going to have to respect,” Bowling said. Several players have contributed to the Buckeyes’ offense so far this season, with senior attacker Logan Schuss leading OSU with 18 points on the year and Brown and King tied for second with 16 apiece. Denver has been one of the better teams in the Eastern College Athletic Conference over the past couple of seasons, ending the season in the top 15 the past three seasons. OSU coach Nick Myers said he knows the level of talent the Pioneers will bring into Columbus. “They’re a heck of a team,” Myers said. “They’ve got an offense that’s going to put a lot of pressure on you, and defensively they’re sound.” After back-to-back outings of double-digit goals from the Buckeyes, King said he is excited about the prospect of playing another stout defensive team this week and hopes to help keep the offense rolling. “I’m excited we’ve got Denver coming to town, it’s almost like a new season when you’ve got your big ECAC rival coming in,” King said. Following the matchup against Denver, the Buckeyes are scheduled to hit the road for a three game stretch against No. 8 Virginia, No. 2 Notre Dame and Bellarmine. Myers said he is keeping the locker room calm despite the pressure of the team’s tough slate. “The message this week’s been clear,” Myers said. “We’re looking for our first ECAC win.” OSU looks to continue its four-game win streak this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium against Denver. read more

28 09 19

Screenshot of TwitterUrban Meyer’s first tweet sent on Aug. 27.Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer has officially joined the Twitterverse.On Aug. 27 he sent out his first official tweet: “My good friend Bob Stoops talked me into this Twitter stuff – lets see how it goes. 3 more days till game time!”That first tweet from Meyer was accompanied with a picture showing a countdown leading up to the OSU’s season opener against Buffalo. Bob Stoops, the head coach at Oklahoma, was the one who convinced him to join Twitter, according to Meyer. Stoops has been on Twitter since September 2012.In less than an hour, Meyer had more than 10,000 followers, and as of late Thursday, he had more than 38,600. The first person he followed was his Heisman hopeful quarterback and active tweeter, junior Braxton Miller.Meyer never really voiced any opinion about Twitter before actually creating one. According to documents obtained by The Lantern the university is spending $360,500 to monitor student athletes on social media.Meyer’s presence on Twitter, as well as numerous players and coaches, makes it seem that the Buckeyes are a Twitter-friendly team. However, this is not the case for a few other college football programs.Florida State, another perennial national powerhouse, banned players from using Twitter in July 2012 after several Seminole players tweeted objectionable material many people found offensive. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher made the decision to ban the social networking site from his team. He has since also banned Facebook and Instagram.Possible negatives to the Twitter bans are a loss of potential recruits, upset players, disgruntled fans, etc. The positives are a more focused team and a lack of distractions, according to the coaches that have banned social media. Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has expressed his disgust with Twitter.“To me, there’s nothing good that can ever come from Twitter … The only thing that is going to happen through Twitter is bad, in any regards.” Pelini said to the Lincoln Journal Star.The majority of Meyer’s tweets are promoting the Buckeyes and OSU. His Twitter profile picture is of him and his family. read more

28 09 19

Senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (32) takes a free throw during a game against Michigan March 15 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Michigan won, 72-69.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe whistle blows, the official bounces the ball and every eye in the arena is focused on a single player. Standing at the free throw line with the game on the line, even the simplest things can go wrong.Players spend years perfecting the technique of the shot, just to be placed under the spotlight and wither.In the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s contest against Michigan Saturday in the Big Ten Tournament semifinal, the pressure finally caught up to the Buckeyes.“We knew it was going to bite us in the butt sooner or later, and unfortunately it happened today,” junior guard Shannon Scott said after the loss.On the season, OSU (25-9, 12-9) shot 68.9 percent from the free throw line, 210th out of 351 teams in Division I.But in Big Ten Tournament wins against Purdue and Nebraska, the Buckeyes’ struggles at the line weren’t enough to lose them the games.OSU went a combined 12-14 from the charity stripe in the final two minutes of play against the Boilermakers and Cornhuskers, despite shooting less than 65 percent in each of the games.Against the Wolverines though, the problems at the free throw line were exposed. Senior guard Aaron Craft missed two free throws with 2:27 remaining that would have put OSU in the lead, and junior forward LaQuinton Ross missed one of two with 44 seconds remaining.One more point could have led to a less desperate situation for OSU, which would have only needed two points to tie instead of having to rely on a 3-pointer that slipped out of Craft’s hands right before the buzzer.Senior guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. said free throws are starting to become worrisome for OSU, but that the team managed to stay in the game was impressive.“Free throws are obviously big and this is where you see how big they can become,” Smith Jr. said. “All-in-all, even with us missing free throws down the stretch, we still had a chance to win the game. We were one rebound away, they miss a free throw and get the ball back, that’s a dagger. In the end, that takes the momentum away from our team and it just turns everything in their favor. But we start making those free throws and we have a chance to ice the game and we wouldn’t even be in this situation.”Craft said he wasn’t happy with his own performance down the stretch.“I’m disappointed in myself, obviously,” Craft said. “Came down the stretch and didn’t make some free throws, missed a couple shots that our team needed us to make.”Less than a week before, against Michigan State in Columbus, OSU struggled at the line again late, only hitting two of its eight attempts at the line in the final two minutes. But like the first two rounds of the Big Ten Tournament, OSU managed to squeak by with a win despite shooting poorly at the line.Smith Jr. said the free throw shooting has turned into a consistent problem late in games, but if OSU can fix the problem, it will become a dangerous squad.“We’re not making free throws down the stretch,” Smith Jr. said. “Those are things that we can correct and once we get (those) corrected, I’d be afraid of us. We’re definitely going to be a better team because of it. We take that with the type of fight this team has, and the effort we’re going to dig ourselves out of holes, I think that’ll be something good for us.”The No. 6-seeded Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Dayton Flyers (23-10, 10-6) Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Tipoff is set for 12:15 p.m. read more

28 09 19

OSU sophomore forward Marcus McCrary (19) dribbles the ball in a game against University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Sept. 4 in Baltimore. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State AthleticsEntering FirstEnergy Stadium-Cub Cadet in front of a large crowd of 3,889 fans, the Ohio State men’s soccer team ended its four-game losing streak in a thrilling game.OSU (1-4-1) and No. 11 Akron (4-1-1) battled each other from start to finish, resulting in the game going double overtime that stood as a 3-3 tie.OSU junior defender and co-captain Tyler Kidwell had the first opportunity of the game to put the Buckeyes on the board. However, his shot was blocked by Akron junior goalkeeper Jake Fenlason..Redshirt senior forward Kenny Cunningham was the second Buckeye to register an attempt on goal, but his shot hit off the bar, allowing Akron to clear the way to try and get a point on the board.Akron registered its first shot in the eighth minute of the game when junior forward Sean Sepe chested a shot into goal, giving the Zips a 1-0 lead over the Buckeyes.The Buckeyes did not give up, though, as they continued to try and equalize the match.OSU earned a third corner in the 10th minute of the first half, but a whistle was blown for a foul against the Buckeyes, denying it the chance for the corner kick.In the 30th minute, Akron went for another goal, but OSU senior goalkeeper Chris Froschauer grabbed a big save as he stopped the ball with his knees, keeping the score at a 1-0 deficit.As the half continued on, senior midfielder and co-captain Zach Mason was fouled on a shot attempt and a yellow card was given to the Zips in the 43rd minute.Senior defender and co-captain Liam Doyle attempted a shot to the near post late in the half, but Fenlason made another save.The Buckeyes trailed the Zips 1-0 at the end of the first half. However, things would turn around in their favor during the second half.In the 48th minute of the game, junior forward Danny Jensen collected a loose ball in front of the net and punched it in, giving the Buckeyes their first goal, which leveled the match. Jensen’s goal was his first goal of the season.Both teams were now neck-and-neck, and neither was giving up without a fight.Assisted by junior forward Yaw Amankwa, senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson scored the Buckeyes’ second point of the game in the 55th minute to put OSU up 2-1 against Akron.Down by one point, Akron redshirt freshman Tyler Sanda scored the team’s second goal in the 68th minute, tying the game at 2-all with 20 minutes to go in regulation.The Buckeyes seemed to not be phased by Akron’s point, because within the next minute another goal was scored by freshman midfielder Abdi Mohamed, putting another Scarlet and Gray point on the board and giving OSU the lead. Mohamed’s score was his first career goal.OSU might have been up a point, but the Zips were not giving up.Akron sophomore midfielder Adam Najem scored another goal off a header to tie the game at 3-all in the 76th minute.With only about 14 minutes left in regulation, the battle continued amongst both teams, but neither team could find the back of the net, forcing the game to go into overtime.Sophomore forward Marcus McCrary had the best chance in overtime to give the Buckeyes a lead. However, Fenlason saved his shot from eight yards out in the 91st minute.Jensen had the next best opportunity, but Fenlason also saved his shot moments later.Both teams went back and forth, but neither could execute, sending the game into double overtime, which then resulted in a final score of 3-3.Froschauer had a season high of six saves during the game. He now sits at 1-4-1 on the year.Overall, the Buckeyes gathered a game-high eight shots on goal.The Buckeyes are scheduled to host their first conference opener of the season against No. 13 Penn State at 3 p.m. on Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more