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The Heat Do as Much Damage in the Fourth Quarter as in

With just over five minutes left in Game 2 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals and the Miami Heat trailing by three, LeBron James threw a wild alley-oop attempt toward Dwyane Wade. The ball sailed 10 feet over Wade, off the backboard and into the hands of Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert. At that point, the win probability models at InPredictable gave the Heat just a 29 percent chance of winning.Then the Heat turned those probabilities inside out, outscoring the Pacers 15 to 8 in the last five minutes of the game; James and Wade scored all 15 points.Poof! After a frustrating fourth-quarter performance by Indiana, its home-court advantage was gone. The series is tied 1-1.Maybe we should have seen this coming; end-of-game struggles have been all too common for the Heat’s opponents in these playoffs. Through Tuesday night, the Heat have outscored their opponents by an average of 14.7 points per 100 possessions in the fourth quarter, the best mark by any team in the playoffs.Miami Heat Point Differential Per 100 PossessionsThe Heat’s differential by quarter was fairly even in the regular season, although there’s a tilt toward the second half. Miami has often gotten off to slow starts in the playoffs, but, more often than not, the Heat have finished by blowing teams apart down the final stretch. If we narrow the focus to those mystical “clutch” moments (less than five minutes left in the game, neither team ahead by more than five points) the Heat’s per 100 possession point differential jumps to a ludicrous +82.1 (of course, that’s in a sample of just 14 minutes, three of which came in Tuesday night’s game).Seeking matchups to exploit in the fourth quarter has been part of a consistent pattern in the Heat’s rotations. Nine different five-man units have played at least five or more fourth-quarter minutes for the Heat in the playoffs, compared with just four such units in the first quarter. Of those nine units, six have a positive point differential. Only one of those first-quarter units does.Case in point: In Game 2, guard Norris Cole and big man Chris Anderson gave the Heat a boost of energy and defensive intensity off the bench in the first half. Seeing how effective those two were early in this game, Erik Spoelstra, the Heat’s coach, left them in for almost the entire fourth quarter. The key stretch, when the Heat turned a four-point deficit into a six-point lead, came when Cole and Anderson were playing with James, Wade and Chris Bosh. That lineup had not played a single minute for the Heat in the playoffs before Game 2.The Pacers have shown they can compete with, and beat, the Heat. But doing that four times in a series will require much more in-game consistency, because on most nights the Heat are building toward something. read more

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The NFLs New Defensive Rules Probably Arent Going To Make A Difference

Every offseason, NFL officials make an instructional video that highlights new rules and gives players a warning about which existing ones will be called more tightly in the upcoming season. This year, officials say they’re going to key in on defensive holding and illegal contact, ensuring they’re called correctly.According to reporting by ESPN’s Jeffri Chadiha, officials became concerned that those particular penalties were not being called as often as they were a decade ago. (Conspiracy theorists, on the other hand, blamed the Seattle Seahawks’ dominant defensive performance against Peyton Manning’s record-setting Denver Broncos offense in the Super Bowl.) With an assist from the data of Pro-Football-Reference.com, we wondered if the official rationale holds up: Have illegal contact and defensive holding really been called less (on a per-pass basis) in recent seasons?In the case of illegal contact, yes. In 2004, Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian spent the offseason lobbying the NFL Competition Committee to more strictly enforce the illegal contact rule in the wake of his team’s 24-14 playoff defeat against the New England Patriots (a game in which Manning — then playing for Indianapolis — tossed four interceptions).As the chart below shows, referees began calling the penalty much more often the very next season, a 15-year high point. Since then, the penalty’s frequency has steadily receded.However, the pattern is less obvious with defensive holding, which also peaked around the middle of the decade but reversed its decline by 2010, and was near its 15-year high just last season. It doesn’t seem to be a penalty in need of greater emphasis.Then again, concerns about the wisdom of placing more restrictions on defenders in an already pass-happy league may be largely academic. At least in terms of illegal contact and defensive holding, there doesn’t seem to be any relationship between the frequency of either penalty being called and the NFL’s overall level of passing efficiency (as measured by Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt).The last time the NFL cracked down on holding and contact by defenders, it didn’t make any noticeable dent in the rising trend of passing efficiency. Pass offenses have steadily become more and more efficient over the last decade and a half — but that’s part of a longterm trend of increased passing efficacy, not because of the rule changes inspired by Polian a decade ago. The same will likely be true for the changes made this offseason as well. read more

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Paul George Blasted by NY Judge in Paternity Case

Paul George, the Indiana Pacers star forward, was lambasted by New York judge Matthew Cooper in his paternity case involving a 5-month-old he fathered with former stripper Daniela Rajic.“Even though it is all but certain that [George] is the father of the 5-month-old baby girl at the center of this case,” the New York Post reports that Cooper wrote, “he has gone to every length imaginable to avoid taking responsibility for his actions.”Those lengths include requesting the case be heard in federal court. That was denied, and so Paul then brought a competing proceeding in Florida, where they first had sex, at the Fontainebleu Hotel in Miami. The baby, however, was conceived in California and born in New York, so the fatherhood question rests in New York.Insulting to Cooper was that George, while trying to avoid paternity in New York, is asking for full custody in Florida because Rajic is unemployed.“It is beyond comprehension how [George] could vouch for his skill at caring for the child while disparaging [Rajic’s] abilities when he has never even seen the child, asked to see the child, or offered to provide for the child’s needs,” Cooper wrote in the 10-page decision.George missed a court appearance after breaking his leg in August, which did not sit well with Cooper because the player was still “able to attend press conferences, travel for recreation and ride in his new Ferrari.”Cooper blames the lawyers of Gordon & Rees for bringing the failed federal claim with statements that were “complete and utter fabrication.”The lawyers, C. Anthony Mulrain and Mercedes Colwin, tried to move the state court matter to federal court under false pretenses, claiming it was a child support case when Rajic was only asking for paternity to be resolved. Cooper called the move “an egregious abuse of court resources” that likely violates the state’s professional conduct code.”Rajic’s lawyer, Raoul Felder, said, “On behalf of our client we are, of course, gratified.” read more

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The Packers Need To Depend On Aaron … Jones

Aaron Rodgers is arguably the greatest quarterback of all time,1By career quarterback passer rating, he is. so it’s hard to imagine that there could ever be too much Rodgers in a game plan. Yet this seemed to be the problem for Mike McCarthy and Green Bay through the first nine weeks of the season. On Sunday, though, the Packers flipped the script for a 31-12 victory against the Miami Dolphins, a win keyed by one of the best rushing performances in the Rodgers era.The Packers entered Week 10 last in the NFL in share of running plays on first down (39.6 percent) despite being second in the league in play success on those runs (48.5 percent).2A successful first-down play is defined as getting a first down or touchdown or gaining at least 40 percent of the yardage needed to convert a first down. But on Sunday, they ran on more than half of their first downs (51.85 percent) and gained 142 yards on their 14 carries, including 117 yards on nine carries by Aaron Jones.Even with their Week 10 performance, the Packers still stand out when we juxtapose how often they run on first down with how well they run: On Sunday, the Packers weren’t just taking advantage of a soft run defense to make this kind of structural change: Miami entered the game in the middle of the pack in play success allowed to opponents running on first down. Instead, a renewed focus on the run has been in the works in Green Bay for several weeks.Just giving the ball to Jones was a massive step in the right direction for Green Bay. He only recently became the Packers’ primary running back. After serving a suspension the first two games of the year for a substance abuse violation, Jones split snaps with Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams largely because of the Packers’ passing emphasis. McCarthy saw him as an incomplete running back because of his shortcomings as a blocker and as a receiving threat.“There’s more to playing the position than just running the football,” McCarthy said in early October. And that’s especially true if running the football is not remotely a point of emphasis for a team.But that’s changing now. And why shouldn’t it? Let’s compare the first 19 games of Aaron Jones’s career to the first 19 games of another back with a Hall of Fame quarterback who ended up changing his team’s scheme:Jones: 154 carries for 942 yards (6.12 yards per rush), 8 rushing TDsAlvin Kamara: 157 carries for 869 yards (5.54 yards per rush), 10 rushing TDsWhile NFL teams generally run too much — especially on first down — it’s a problem specifically when defenses are geared to stop the run. But that’s not the case for teams facing Green Bay. Like Kamara and the Saints last year, Jones has a quarterback whom defenses fear so much that they don’t dare put an extra defender in the box to stuff the running back.This season, the Packers have faced eight or more defenders in the box on first down just eight times in 272 snaps, a league-low rate of 2.94 percent (8.75 percent is average). Defenses are pretty much willing to concede the run — similar to how teams defend the Los Angeles Rams, who face stacked boxes almost as infrequently (3.8 percent). But the Rams, who are the only team better than the Packers in rushing success rate (51.1 percent), run the ball on first down 56.3 percent of the time, including 49.4 percent in the first half, when the score of the game is less likely to influence these play calls.Can the Packers, at 4-4-1, maintain this newfound offensive balance and ride their running ways to the postseason? Their first test will be Thursday at Seattle before they travel to Minnesota in Week 12 in a game that could determine an NFC wild-card spot. The promos and advertisements for that Sunday Night Football contest will spotlight Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers featuring less of him may be the key to getting that victory.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

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How Much Did Having Ryan Lindley At QB Cost The Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals won 11 games this year — the long-suffering franchise’s highest single-season win total since 1975. But Arizona went 2-4 down the stretch of the regular season, then were handled rather easily by the Carolina Panthers in a playoff contest where the Cardinals’ win probability broke 50 percent for just three plays.There was a certain injustice to a team like Arizona (the runner-up in what our Elo ratings consider far and away the best division in football), having to travel to Carolina for a playoff game against the Panthers, winners of one of the worst divisions in NFL history and only the second team ever to qualify for the playoffs with a losing record (excluding strike seasons). But the Cardinals also squandered their chances to avoid such a scenario during the regular season.Going into Week 12, Arizona was an NFL-best 9-1 and had a 71 percent probability of winning the NFC West, which would have guaranteed it home-field advantage in its opening playoff game. (There was also a 66 percent chance the Cardinals wouldn’t even have to play a divisional-round game, because the top two seeds in each conference are awarded first-round playoff byes.)However, starting quarterback Carson Palmer had also been lost for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee shortly before. And while Palmer’s understudy, Drew Stanton, played admirably in his stead, he, too, was sidelined indefinitely several games later. That left third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley to close out the team’s regular season in poor form, then post one of the worst QB performances in playoff history as the Cardinals lost in Carolina on Saturday.So, what might have been for the Cardinals had Palmer not been injured?They certainly might have fared better against Carolina with their No. 1 quarterback under center. Lindley’s -0.59 adjusted net yards per attempt (ANY/A) in Saturday’s game was 6.44 below that of Cam Newton, his counterpart on the Panthers, and there’s a definite relationship between ANY/A differential and winning football games. Based on a logistic regression model for all games since the league opened up the passing attack with major rule changes in 1978, there’s just a 3.7 percent chance that a team would have a -6.44 ANY/A differential in a game and somehow find a way to win.For Palmer’s part, his career ANY/A index is 104 (where average is 100, and every 15 units represents one standard deviation in performance), which would translate against the 2014 Panthers’ defense to an expected ANY/A of +0.23 relative to Newton’s performance. That differential would buy a team the win about 53 percent of the time. But in fairness, Saturday’s terrible game was something of an outlier for Lindley as well; although his career ANY/A index of 58 is rather ghastly, if he had even played to that norm, the Cardinals could expect to steal a win nearly 20 percent of the time. That means Palmer’s absence may have cost the team something like a third of a win.Back when Palmer was last healthy, Elo graded Arizona as the fourth-best team in football, with the league’s second-highest probability of winning the Super Bowl (narrowly trailing New England). But on the other hand, those Super Bowl chances were still just 19 percent at their peak, while the betting markets were nowhere near as high on the Cardinals as Elo was (largely because statistics say a chunk of their success was the product of unusually good luck).We’ll never know how high the Cardinals might have soared if not for their epic spate of QB injuries, though — and that’s a shame for a franchise that almost never has seasons as magical as 2014 was shaping up to be. read more

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The Neymar Deal Was Certainly Crazy But Was It Smart

NAMECLUBAGESCORINGBALL PROGRESSION Lionel MessiBarcelona301.317.64 Among the younger players, Douglas Costa just moved to Juventus and is likely unavailable. Likewise, Eden Hazard is under contract with Chelsea and is also unlikely to be sold. That leaves three Neymar replacement options: Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele, Napoli’s Lorenzo Insigne and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho. The fact that Dembele makes this list based on the strength of his performance when he was only a teenager is particularly impressive. If he can be pried from Borussia Dortmund, the French attacker could immediately replace a major chunk of Neymar’s production for Barcelona, and would have room to grow into a superstar.With the right purchase at wide forward, Barcelona could take advantage of PSG’s unprecedented spending. But Barca has less than a month until the transfer window closes. The Catalans are flush with cash, but they need to get busy shopping. Scoring measured by expected goals + expected assists per 90 minutes (XG+XAOP/90) — excluding assists notched off set piecesBall progression measured by progressive passes or runs per 90 minutes (PPR/90)Position measured by share of time in the position of wide forwardSource: Opta Sports NeymarBarcelona250.944.69 Scoring measured by expected goals + expected assists per 90 minutes (XG+XAOP/90) excluding assists off set piecesBall progression measured by progressive passes or runs per 90 minutes (PPR/90)Players who registered 0.6 or more Expected Goals + Assists Per 90 (XG+XA/90) qualified as scorers; min. 4000 minutes played in club league and Champions League playSource: Opta Sports Lorenzo InsigneNapoli260.564.44964.80 Paris Saint-Germain didn’t break the transfer record when it signed Neymar from Barcelona on Thursday, it destroyed it. Over the last decade, the transfer record has been nudged forward by small increments, 5 to 10 percent every few years: Real Madrid’s 2009 signing of Cristiano Ronaldo for $110 million was surpassed four years later when Madrid dropped $117 million on Gareth Bale. And last summer Manchester United set a new record by spending $123 million on Paul Pogba. Then PSG cut a check to Barcelona for just over $260 million.1These figures are based on 2017 conversion rates. The conversion rate between euros/pounds and dollars shifted between 2013 and 2016 such that Pogba’s fee, while the largest in history in pounds or euros, comes in as fewer dollars based on the exchange rate at the time. It’s unprecedented. Neymar’s reported wage of $53 million per year could lead to Pogba, stuck on a piddling $20 million, demanding a raise himself soon.Neymar isn’t twice as good as any other top soccer player, as you’ll see below. By any normal accounting, PSG overpaid. But the precise mechanics of the transaction may explain the why the club forked over all that money. All Spanish contracts must by law include a buyout clause, under which the player can pay to sever the contract. Barcelona set Neymar’s buyout well beyond his presumed market value. But the buyout meant Neymar was available for a fixed price. If Neymar offers a combination of skills and value which cannot reasonably be replicated on the transfer market, then overbidding the market at least leads to a return that couldn’t be replicated any other way.And Neymar does offer unusual value as a forward. He provides an elite goal-scoring threat, ranking sixth among all players in the top five leagues2The Premier League in England, La Liga in Spain, Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy and Ligue 1 in France. in combined non-penalty goals and assists in his last two seasons for Barcelona. He is also a playmaker, using dribbling skills and creative passing to open up opposition defenses. There are a good number of strikers who get shots and goals at similar rates to Neymar, and there are midfielders who provide great ball progression value, but the combination of the two in one player is rare.To measure Neymar’s production, we can use two sets of statistics. The first, expected goals and expected assists, estimates the quality of scoring chances. The second, progressive passes and runs, identifies actions which advance the ball 10 or more yards in attack, or into the 18-yard-box. A successful progressive pass or run doubles the likelihood that the attacking team will score within the next seven seconds, on average.Of the 32 players with at least 0.6 expected goals and assists per 90 minutes in the last two seasons,3Excluding assists off set pieces. only seven have created more than three progressive passes or runs per 90 minutes as well. Dries MertensNapoli301.013.40 Raheem SterlingManchester City220.613.33 Neymar has a rare combination of playmaking and scoringThe major European league scorers with the highest rate of progressive passes and runs in the past two seasons NeymarPSG250.944.6998%0.00 Dries MertensNapoli301.013.40385.29 NAMECLUBAGESCORINGBALL PROGRESSIONPOSITIONSIMILARITY SCORE Angel Di MariaPSG290.675.72944.19 Gareth BaleReal Madrid280.873.76 Angel Di MariaPSG290.675.72 Alexis SanchezArsenal280.835.79714.24 Neymar’s possible replacements at BarcaThe players rated most similar to Neymar based on scoring, progressive passing and share of time spent in the wide forward position Ousmane DembeleDortmund200.574.64674.38 Eden HazardChelsea260.455.50855.19 Douglas CostaJuventus260.474.81895.17 Gareth BaleReal Madrid280.873.76873.19 Philippe CoutinhoLiverpool250.586.16815.34 Other than Raheem Sterling, whose expected goals production is far short of Neymar’s, the other players on this list are well into the primes of their careers and unlikely to maintain peak production through a five-year contract. If PSG is aiming to get the full possible return on a five-year contract, Neymar is the best bet. The best bet just happened to cost $261 million in this case.At the same time — if you ignore age — the Brazilian forward falls well short of his now former teammate, Lionel Messi. Neymar may be the best creative forward of his generation, but his generation did not produce a Messi. Barcelona will still have the better player leading its attack, at least for now.The weakening of Barcelona may be a side benefit for PSG. The French side has been eliminated by Barcelona from the Champions League knockout round three times in the last five years. In those five seasons, PSG has never made the semifinals. Last season, in league play and Champions League competition, only Barcelona and Real Madrid had a better expected goals difference per match than PSG. If Barcelona does struggle to replace Neymar, it may benefit PSG in European competition.The problem is, Paris Saint-Germain just gave Barcelona hundreds of millions of Euros to spend to improve its team. Barcelona will be able to claw back some of Neymar’s production from the wide forward position, and then spend the remaining cash on another star. To identify players that will fit Barca’s needs, I created a similarity score to Neymar based on the key creative forward statistics listed above — as well as minutes played in a wide role over the last two seasons:4This similarity score compares other players to Neymar across five statistics: xG+xA/90, ProgPassRun / 90, combined xG + Prog, % of minutes played at wide attacker, and combined ratio of xG to xA and ratio of prog passes to prog runs. Alexis SanchezArsenal280.835.79 read more

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Beside The Points For Thursday Jan 25 2018

See more NBA predictions All newsletters NBA See more NFL predictions Oh, and don’t forgetSHOCKER: Klement’s out as sponsor of Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe Things That Caught My EyeFuture of U.S. Soccer to be decided soonFollowing the end of Sunil Gulati’s run as president of U.S. Soccer Federation — a term that culminated in the men’s team failing to make the World Cup — U.S. Soccer is poised to select its next president to lead the troubled organization in the coming weeks, and eight people are gunning for the job. Of the 500 people who cast ballots, they’re essentially in four constituencies: the youth council, the adult council, the professional council and the athletes council. The first three comprise around 25.8 percent each of the tally and the athletes who account for 20 percent. [ESPN]Sports entertainment magnate to pivot to sportsVince McMahon is poised to announce a new football league that would try to compete with the NFL, a move that comes just weeks after he filed paperwork to sell $100 million of his stake in the WWE to fund a new venture called Alpha Entertainment. [ESPN, Sports Business Daily]Caroline Wozniacki may be the Slam-less GOATWozniacki is the second ranked player in the world, has a 542-223 record, has won 27 WTA singles titles and has 314 net wins. She also has not won a Grand Slam title, and may go down as the best player to never win one. [FiveThirtyEight]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?Vladimir Guerrero, the indie band of baseballThe best seasons of new MLB Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrer were with the Montreal Expos, but despite having a 29.5 Wins Above Replacement from 1998 to 2002 he also had the lowest average attendance per game on record among Hall of Famers in their prime, with an average 10,038 people attending each magnificent game. [FiveThirtyEight]Momentum is not a thing at Super BowlsSorry, Eagles fans: just because the Birds trounced the Vikings in the NFC Conference Championship doesn’t mean they’re any more likely to beat New England, a team that slipped past the Jags with moments to go. There’s no relationship between conference championship blowouts and winning the Super Bowl. Well, not exactly: Since 1970 Super Bowl losers won their conference championship game by 14.2 points on average, while the winners won theirs by only 12.8 points. Advantage, New England? [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number43 percentPercentage of the top 40 free agents who signed in the 82 days since the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series. That is remarkably low, in historical context: by this point (from 2006 to 2016) an average of 76 percent of the top 40 free agents had signed. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slack, Sunday Night: cwickkobe bryant just got nominated for an oscar.tchow:Going for the EGOT post retirementchris.herring:Silly that he’s nominated. But that short film is so cool. He hired an Academy Award-winning animation artist and I think he had John Williams write the score.So it’s not all that surprising in that sensejody:Someone told Kobe about “storytelling” two years ago and here we are.Predictions NFL read more

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Clemsons Run Game Could Give Notre Dame Fits

The Tigers have a punishing ground gameClemson’s rushing attack by season* under head coach Dabo Swinney 2011158.54.1924.326.0 Percentage of … 2013174.64.1726.723.9 2015223.04.9327.218.6 2017194.14.7027.520.9 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group SeasonRushing Yards per GameYards per RushFirst Downs or TDs Per RushRushes For zero or Negative Yards 2015Alabama91.62015Boston College97.0 2016169.74.3126.620.8 2014146.53.5322.424.7 The Irish rank second nationally in passing yards allowed per pass attempt (5.35) and passing yards allowed per completion (9.54). Specifically, the Notre Dame secondary is adept at taking away play-action throws. Only three teams allowed fewer yards per play on the play-action. Eight of Notre Dame’s 20 takeaways this season came against play-action looks.2Only five teams in the nation forced more turnovers against play-action passes.However, the interior of the Irish defense has been suspect, and this year’s team is among coach Brian Kelly’s worst at stopping the run, with -10.9 expected points added on run defense. Opponents pick up 2.52 yards after contact per rush against Notre Dame, placing the Irish 70th of the 130 FBS teams. This will be the best secondary Lawrence has faced, but it might not matter if Etienne can find the running avenues he’s grown accustomed to breaking through this season.Will Clemson’s NFL-ready defensive line raze the Irish?Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables’s defensive line is formidable, probably the best in the country. It’s certainly the most NFL-ready — ESPN projects that three of its members will be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. As Irish quarterback Ian Book put it, “In terms of their defensive line, everyone knows about them.”The quartet of Christian Wilkins, Clelin Ferrell, Dexter Lawrence3Lawrence may be ineligible for the playoff after he tested positive for a banned substance. and Austin Bryant is an embarrassment of riches that keeps opponents up at night. It’s the teeth of a defense that ranks first in efficiency (92.3), yards allowed per play (4.2)4Tied with Miami and Mississippi State. and yards allowed per carry (2.6); second in points allowed per game (13.7); and a dismal third in stuff rate (27.0 percent), which is the percentage of carries stopped at or before the line of scrimmage, and sacks (46). This year’s Clemson squad is in line to rank first in expected points added on rush defense and fourth in defensive efficiency among all FBS teams since 2005, the first year ESPN tracked both stats. 2016Alabama97.42018Clemson109.4 This Clemson defense is among the bestThe top five FBS teams since 2005 by defensive efficiency and expected points added on run defense 2010139.03.9521.424.5 Etienne amassed 1,463 rushing yards this season, the fifth-most in the country and the second-most by a Clemson running back in the past 15 years. Nearly half of those yards came after contact — and despite his collision-inviting style, the loping Etienne is among five major-conference running backs to tote the rock at least 175 times without fumbling. He has cleared the goal line on 21 carries, one shy of the national lead. It appears that Wide Receiver U has itself an elite running back.Behind Etienne on the depth chart are Lyn-J Dixon and Adam Choice, each of whom has more than 50 carries and 500 rushing yards on the season. Clemson features three of the 15 best players this season in yards per carry (among players with at least 50 carries).An imposing run game opens up the field for Trevor Lawrence, the freshman quarterback and No. 1 national recruit from the 2018 class. The 19-year-old ranks 12th in FBS in Total Quarterback Rating, at 79.1, and has proved to be more than capable since usurping veteran Kelly Bryant’s starting spot. On play-action looks, he leads the nation in touchdowns per attempt.As it happens, Notre Dame likely has the best pass defense of any team in the playoff. 2009170.44.8125.825.0 2018Clemson92.42016Alabama99.5 7Alabama84.36 Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group rankingTeamPass defense EPA 120Oklahoma-94.92 2018259.86.7533.6%16.0% Clemson and Notre Dame have a lot in common. The programs put together two of the quietest undefeated regular-season campaigns in recent memory. The Tigers’ credentials were diluted by an unspectacular ACC, the Irish by independent classification and lack of a conference title. Each team has a first-year starting quarterback who won the job in late September. Both have breakout running backs and elite defenses.Admission to the playoff has become the expectation for Clemson.1This will be the fourth consecutive appearance for the Tigers, who are a combined 53-4 since 2015. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has rebounded from a four-win campaign in 2016 to find itself on the doorstep of the national championship game for the first time in six years.Though the teams may be similar in many ways, there’s still plenty that separates them. Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t see the matchup as being particularly close, opening with the Tigers as 10.5-point favorites. According to FiveThirtyEight’s college football prediction model, Clemson has a 36 percent probability of winning the national title, while Notre Dame’s probability is considerably lower, at 11 percent.Here’s what to look for when the two programs meet in the Cotton Bowl semifinal Saturday at 4 p.m. Eastern.Can Notre Dame temper Clemson’s run game or run-pass option attack?In the words of Notre Dame linebacker Drue Tranquill, “You’ve got to stop the run in order to beat this team.”Behind the fearless Travis Etienne, the Tigers feature one of the best inside rushing attacks in the nation. Most of the successful action is funneled inside the tackles, as evidenced by the Tigers ranking inside the top 15 nationally in rushing yards on carries taken up the middle, toward the left guard and toward the right guard. The team averages 6.8 yards per carry, which leads the Football Bowl Subdivision, and has compiled 46 rushing touchdowns, good for third best nationally. For a program that had six running backs selected in the NFL draft over the past decade, this is undoubtedly the best ground game that head coach Dabo Swinney has overseen. 2011Alabama94.52007Oregon State103.1 SeasonTeamDefensive EfficiencySeasonTeamRun defense EPA 2012191.14.2228.221.6 They get teams off the field, having helped force the most three-and-outs (81) in the country — at a clip of 44.3 percent. This is largely because offensive plays tend to go the opposite direction against Clemson. A measly 30.6 percent of plays earn five yards or more against Venables’s defense, the best rate in the country, while 40.5 percent of plays earn zero or negative yards, the third-best rate in the country.The Irish offensive line has done a commendable job keeping Book upright. Notre Dame is among the best 35 teams in sack rate and in the top 15 in sack rate on passing downs. However, Notre Dame’s offensive line has been pushed around, as evidenced by the team ranking outside the top 100 in line yards, passing downs line yards per carry, opportunity rate and stuff rate.Clemson has controlled games in the trenches all season. To pull off the upset, Notre Dame must first temper the Tigers’ quartet.Check out our latest college football predictions. The Irish can stop air attacksThis year’s playoff participants in expected points added (EPA) on pass defense 2014Clemson92.52012Rutgers102.6 * In full seasons under Swinney, who took over as head coach midway through the 2008 seasonSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group 2Notre Dame96.95 15Clemson68.46 read more

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How Our 2019 Womens World Cup Predictions Work

Before a match, we can determine each team’s rate of scoring based on the number of goals it’s projected to score over the entire match. This rate isn’t constant over the entire match, however, as more goals tend to be scored near the end of a match than near the beginning.2The rate of scoring in the 85th minute is about 1.4 times the rate of scoring in the fifth minute. We account for this increase as the match progresses, which results in added uncertainty and variance toward the end of the match.We also account for added time. On average, a soccer match is 96 minutes long, with two minutes of added time in the first half and four minutes of added time in the second half. The data that powers our forecast doesn’t provide the exact amount of added time, but we can approximate the number of added minutes in the second half by looking at two things:The number of bookings so far in the match. Historically, each second-half booking tends to add about 11 seconds of time to the end of the match.Whether the match is close. There tends to be about 40 extra seconds of added time when the two teams are within a goal of each other in the 90th minute.Our live model also factors in overtime and shootouts, should we see any in the knockout phase of this World Cup. Our live shootout forecasts follow the same methodology described in this 2014 article.Finally, we make three types of adjustments to each team’s scoring rates based on what has happened so far in the match itself.Red cards are important. A one-player advantage is significant in soccer and adjusts scoring rates by about 1.1 goals per match, split between the two teams (one rate goes up; the other down). Put another way, a red card for the opposing team is worth roughly three times home-field advantage.Consider a match in which our SPI-based goal projection is 1.50-1.50 and the home team has a 37 percent chance of winning before the match. If a red card were shown to the away team in the first minute, our projected goals would shift to 2.05-0.95, and the home team’s chance of winning would go up to 62 percent.Good teams tend to score at a higher rate than expected when losing. The most exciting matches to watch live are often ones in which the favored team goes down a goal or two and has to fight its way back. An exploration of the data behind our live model confirmed that any team that’s down by a goal tends to score at a higher rate than its pre-match rate would indicate, but the better the team that’s behind is, the bigger the effect.Take the 2014 Brazil vs. Croatia match. Before the match, Brazil was a substantial favorite, with an 86 percent chance of winning, but it went down 1-0 after Marcelo’s own goal in the 11th minute. Without adjusting for this effect, our model would have given Brazil a 58 percent chance to come back and win the match, but with the adjustment, our model gave the team a 66 percent chance of winning. (Brazil went on to win the match 3-1.)Non-shot expected goals are a good indication that a team is performing above or below expectation. Anyone who has watched soccer knows that a team can come very close to scoring even if it doesn’t get off a shot, perhaps stopped by a last-minute tackle or an offside call. A team that puts its opponent in a lot of dangerous situations may be dominating the game in a way that isn’t reflected by traditional metrics.As a match progresses, each team accumulates non-shot expected goals (xG) as they take actions near the opposing team’s goal. Each non-shot xG above our pre-match expectation is worth a 0.34 goal adjustment to the pre-match scoring rates. For example, if we expect non-shot xG accumulation to be 1.0-0.5 at halftime but it is actually 0.5-1.0, this would be a swing of 1.0 non-shot xG, and a 0.34 goal adjustment would be applied to the original scoring rates. This isn’t a huge adjustment; at halftime, the away team in this example would have about a 5-percentage-point better chance of winning the match than if non-shot xG were proceeding as expected.In the case that there has been a red card in a match, the red card adjustment takes precedence over the non-shot xG adjustment.We took particular care to calibrate the live model appropriately; that is, when our model says a team has a 32 percent chance of winning, it should win approximately 32 percent of the time. Just as important is having the appropriate amount of uncertainty around the tails of the model; when our model says a team has only a 1 in 1,000 chance of coming back to win the match, that should happen every 1,000 matches or so. The 2019 Women’s World Cup is only 52 matches, so it’s unlikely that our model will be perfectly calibrated over such a small sample, but we’re confident that it’s well-calibrated over the long run.The U.S. — as usual — is one of the favorites this year, and we hope you follow along with us as the tournament plays out.Check out our latest Women’s World Cup predictions. Editor’s note: This article is adapted from an article about our 2018 World Cup predictions.The Women’s World Cup is back, and so is another edition of FiveThirtyEight’s Women’s World Cup predictions. For those of you familiar with our World Cup forecast for the men in 2018, or our club soccer predictions, much of our 2019 forecast will look familiar. We show the chance that each team will win, lose or tie every one of its matches, as well as a table that details how likely each team is to finish first, second or third in its group and advance to the knockout stage. Our predictions also incorporate in-game win probabilities that update in real time.Below is a summary of how the forecast works, including a description of FiveThirtyEight’s Soccer Power Index (SPI) ratings, how we turn those ratings into a forecast and how we calculate our in-game win probabilities.SPI ratingsAt the heart of our forecast are FiveThirtyEight’s SPI ratings, which are our best estimate of overall team strength. In our system, every team has an offensive rating that represents the number of goals that it would be expected to score against an average team on a neutral field and a defensive rating that represents the number of goals that it would be expected to concede. These ratings, in turn, produce an overall SPI rating, which represents the percentage of points — a win is worth 3 points, a tie worth 1 point and a loss worth 0 points — the team would be expected to take if that match were played over and over again.To generate our SPI ratings, we run through every past match in our database of women’s international matches — back to 1971 — evaluating the performance of both teams with four metrics:The number of goals they scored.The number of goals they scored, adjusted to account for red cards and the time and score of the match when each goal was scored.The number of goals they were expected to score given the shots they took.The number of goals they were expected to score given the nonshooting actions they took near the opposing team’s goal.(These metrics are described in more detail in our post explaining how our club soccer predictions work. In matches for which we don’t have play-by-play data, only the final score is considered.)Given a team’s performance in the metrics above and the defensive SPI rating of the opposing team, it is assigned an offensive rating for the current match. It is also assigned a defensive rating based on its pre-match defensive rating and the attacking performance of the other team.These match ratings are combined with the team’s pre-match ratings to produce new offensive and defensive SPI ratings for the team. The weight assigned to the new match’s ratings is relative to the game’s importance; a World Cup qualifier, for example, would be weighted more heavily than an international friendly.Match forecastsGiven each team’s SPI rating, the process for generating win/loss/draw probabilities for a World Cup match is three-fold:We calculate the number of goals that we expect each team to score during the match. These projected match scores represent the number of goals that each team would need to score to keep its offensive rating exactly the same as it was going into the match.Using our projected match scores and the assumption that goal scoring in soccer follows a Poisson process, which is essentially a way to model random events at a known rate, we generate two Poisson distributions around those scores. Those give us the likelihood that each team will score no goals, one goal, two goals, etc.We take the two Poisson distributions and turn them into a matrix of all possible match scores, from which we can calculate the likelihood of a win, loss or draw for each team. To avoid undercounting draws, we increase the corresponding probabilities in the matrix.1There has been some debate about what kind of distribution best models scoring in soccer. We’ve found that two independent Poisson distributions work well with the addition of diagonal inflation. That is, we generate the two distributions independently but increase the value of each cell in the matrix where the scores are equal by some constant (somewhere around 9 percent, but this differs by league and is based on the degree to which we would have undercounted draws had we not inflated the diagonal). Take, for example, the 2014 men’s World Cup opening match between Brazil and Croatia. Before the match, our model was very confident that Croatia would score no goals or one goal. Brazil’s, distribution, however, was much wider, leading to its being a significant — 86 percent — favorite in the match. Although there is evidence that home-field advantage in soccer is shrinking, teams still get a boost in performance when playing the World Cup on home soil. Similarly, teams from the same confederation as the host nation experience a smaller but still measurable improvement in their performances. In the 2019 Women’s World Cup, we’re applying a home-field advantage for France of about 0.15 goals and a bonus about one-half that size to all teams from the UEFA confederation. These are both a bit smaller than the advantage that historical World Cup results suggest.Tournament forecastOnce we’re able to forecast individual matches, we turn those match-by-match probabilities into a tournament forecast using Monte Carlo simulations. This means that we simulate the tournament thousands of times, and the probability that a team wins the tournament represents the share of simulations in which it wins it. As with our other forecasts, we run our Women’s World Cup simulations hot, which means that each team’s rating changes based on what is happening in a given simulation.Live match forecastsOur live match forecasts calculate each team’s chances of winning, losing or drawing a match in real time. These live win probabilities feed into our tournament forecast to give a real-time view of the World Cup as it plays out.Because we lack enough play-by-play data for women’s international soccer to build a live model from scratch, the parameters described below were initially established while building our live model for the 2018 men’s World Cup. When possible, we’ve verified that these parameters and decisions carry over to the women’s game.Our live model works essentially the same way as our pre-match forecasts. At any point in the match, we can calculate the number of goals we expect each team to score in the remaining time. We generate Poisson distributions based on those projected goals and a matrix of all possible scores for the remainder of the match. When the matrix is combined with the current score of the match, we can use it to calculate live win probabilities.For example, in the 65th minute of that same Brazil vs. Croatia match, with the score tied 1-1, our projected distributions for the remainder of the match had narrowed considerably. A Brazil win was still the most likely outcome, but much less so than at the start of the match. read more

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Myles Martin and Kyle Snyder return to Ohio State as NCAA champions

OSU freshman Myles Martin celebrates after winning the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 19 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Credit: Courtesy of OSUAfter another grueling and taxing season of wrestling for the Ohio State team, two champions returned home after winning individual crowns at the NCAA tournament. Freshman Myles Martin and sophomore Kyle Snyder picked up their first national championships Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.Each Buckeye won five bouts to claim titles in their respective weight classes. Martin defeated Bo Nickal of Penn State in the 174-pound class, while Snyder upset top-seeded Nick Gwiazdowski of North Carolina State to capture the 285-pound crown.The wins by the Scarlet and Gray wrestlers propelled the team to a third-place finish. OSU entered the final day in fifth place but passed Iowa and Virginia Tech. A Big Ten rival, Penn State, led coming into the final day and won by a significant margin.Pandemonium ensued after Martin took an 11-9 decision in the championship match, becoming just the 15th true-freshman champion in the 86 years of the tournament. The crowd erupted as the New Jersey native embraced OSU coach Tom Ryan before bolting to the stands to find his loved ones.A similar scene occurred when Snyder drove Gwiazdowski to the mat in sudden victory for a takedown. The youngest world champion ever from the United States thwarted Gwiazdowski’s 88-match win streak, sending shockwaves through a sold-out Madison Square Garden.  Although Snyder faced Gwiazdowski for the first time in a match on Saturday, Martin had squared off against Nickal three times prior to the championship bout. All three were losses for the freshman.“I felt like if those matches that I had before with (Nickal) weren’t under my belt, my wrestling would have been different in that match,” Martin said. “Just being able to have the confidence and the ability to stay in that position and wrestle through it and end up on top was pretty cool.” Taking what has been learned from previous experiences has been a keystone of Ryan’s coaching tenure at OSU. A belief in focusing more on what can be improved on rather than winning or losing clearly showed as Martin gained the advantage and picked up the win. Ryan was one of the first people Martin embraced post-victory. The bond between the two has grown since the beginning of the year.“I just love that guy so much,” Martin said.OSU sophomore Kyle Snyder enters the arena during the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 19 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Credit: Courtesy of OSUAs for Snyder, the path to being named the NCAA’s top heavyweight has been intensely watched by wrestling enthusiasts from around the world. Earlier this year, Snyder captured a Big Ten title after winning a world championships at 97 kilograms. Until January, Snyder wasn’t even supposed to be competing this year. The Maryland native was amid a redshirt season to train for the Olympics before he opted to don the Scarlet and Gray again as a heavyweight. The removal of the redshirt turned out to be the right choice.Even after just 11 matches, Snyder captured the top spot among 285-pound wrestlers. Those bouts, he said, served as a precursor and a learning experience.“I think overall the more you can compete against anybody, doesn’t matter what size or what level, it’s going to make you a better wrestler,” Snyder said. Snyder continues his preparation for the Olympic trials, where he might be joined by a teammate. Martin said he received an invite after winning the championship, but he said he needs to discuss the matter with coaches before making a decision on the matter.  Martin finishes the year at 33-6, the highest win total for the team this season. Snyder finished with a perfect 11-0 record. Although the two individual titles and third-place team finish certainly add up to a successful trip for OSU, a national champion from last season suffered a tough defeat during the tournament. Redshirt sophomore Nathan Tomasello, who captured the 125-pound crown in 2015, had his 43-match win streak severed in the semifinals by Iowa’s Thomas Gilman. Tomasello was pinned in overtime. The Parma, Ohio, native rebounded from the defeat, though. He would go on to win two more matches to finish in third place, which helped vault OSU into a third-place team finish. Another OSU wrestler, Bo Jordan, also grabbed a third-place victory. The redshirt sophomore lost to his cousin, Isaac Jordan, for the fourth time on Friday, but he came back to top Virginia Tech’s David McFadden 8-2 for the bronze. read more

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Buckeyes embracing fresh start as conference tournament begins

The start of the postseason serves as a fresh start for the Ohio State men’s hockey team. “The slate’s wiped clean,” coach John Markell said. “I think that’s how everyone looks at it, not just us.” Markell and the rest of the team admitted they didn’t have the success in the regular season that they were hoping for. But the playoffs offer new life.The Buckeyes begin the postseason this weekend when they host Notre Dame in the first round of the CCHA Tournament. In the first two rounds, teams will play a best-of-three series to determine who advances.Defenseman Matt Bartkowski acknowledged how imperative it is for the Buckeyes to win the first game in a short series. “It’s very important. It sets the tone for the whole weekend,” Bartkowski said. “In a potential three-game series, it’s important to take the momentum and take it into Saturday night.” Markell agreed with the defenseman’s assessment, adding, “You can’t afford to drop the first one. Obviously your ultimate goal is to win the first game.”The start of the postseason serves as a clean slate for Notre Dame as well. While the Fighting Irish had only one win in their last six games, the Buckeyes certainly will not be taking them lightly.“They had a few injuries and we’re aware of that. A lot of those guys are coming off their injuries right now,” Bartkowski said. “It’s going to be Notre Dame, it’s not going to be half their team, or their second- and third-line guys. We’re definitely going to be prepared.”The Buckeyes might also be getting healthier this weekend, according to Markell. “We might get Sean Duddy back this weekend, which is good. And we should be full go,” Markell said. Duddy missed the past two series with a leg injury. His return would add another key piece to a defense that’s been playing its best hockey of the year as of late.“I thought that was one of the best defensive games all year,” Bartkowski said of their last game against the Miami Redhawks. “And that’s something we’re going to need to take into the playoffs.”The Buckeyes will move over to the Ohio State Ice Rink for this weekend’s series. The Buckeyes play their regular season games at the Schottenstein Center, so although they are still at home, it is a change of venue. But many of the Buckeyes are welcoming the move.“I like it,” Bartkowski said of the Ohio Sate Ice Rink. “We practice there all the time. The ice surface is a little bit smaller which could benefit us because we’re a little more used to it than Notre Dame.”Forward Zac Dalpe, who finished the season just one point shy of the lead in the conference, said the change in venues may change the game. “I think the neutral zone is clogged up a little bit more. And neutral zone play is a big part of the game, that might play to our advantage. We’ll see. It’s something I’ve noticed during exhibition games and past playoff games there,” Dalpe said.Last season, the Buckeyes opened their conference tournament by hosting Bowling Green. The Buckeyes promptly dismissed the Falcons with a two-game sweep and will look to do the same to the Fighting Irish this season.The teams face off Friday, Saturday and if necessary, Sunday, at 7:05 p.m. read more

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Incoming freshmen provide added depth for Ohio State mens basketball

Thad Matta has done it again. Ohio State’s men’s basketball team welcomes another highly ranked recruiting class to help replace David Lighty, Jon Diebler and Dallas Lauderdale. Bucknuts.com managing editor Steve Helwagen and Buckeyegrove.com’s Kevin Noon help break down the future Buckeyes. Amir Williams Williams will give the Buckeyes some much-needed depth inside. The 6-foot-9 center from Beverly Hills, Mich., was a McDonald’s All-American his senior year in high school and figures to help replace Lauderdale down low. “Amir can spend his freshman year either working alongside (Jared) Sullinger or being his backup,” Helwagen said. “And then, theoretically, by his sophomore year, he’ll have a chance to be the guy inside for the Buckeyes.” As a freshman, Williams won’t have the size to be a dominant physical presence inside, but his athleticism and ability to run the floor make him a threat on both ends of the court. “He should give Ohio State some much needed size down in the paint,” Noon said. “But he’s not going to be a banger, at least at first.” Sam Thompson A 6-foot-6 small forward from Chicago, Thompson is a versatile scorer with a knack for making plays. If he transitions smoothly to the college game, Thompson could play some valuable minutes for OSU. “He definitely has the ability to create,” Noon said, “and that’s something Matta definitely will be looking for.” Because of his length and athleticism, Thompson is able to defend multiple positions on the floor, much like Lighty. “Now that the program has lost Lighty and Diebler, (Thompson) has got a chance to come in, and if he can show them something right away, he has a chance to play quite a bit,” Helwagen said. “He’s maybe the next David Lighty.” Shannon Scott Also a McDonald’s All-American, Scott may be the most college-ready player of his class. Noon and Helwagen both said they believe Scott has the best chance to see significant playing time his freshman year. “I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that we’re going to see him and Aaron Craft out on the floor at the same time,” Noon said. The 6-foot-2 point guard from Alpharetta, Ga., won a state championship his junior year of high school and is known for his high basketball IQ. Though experts say he needs to extend his shooting range, Scott’s diverse range of skills make him a threat to make an immediate impact for the Buckeyes. “He’s a great table setter and he can score as needed,” Helwagen said. “Scott is just a dynamic guy. He and Craft, if they get it together, are going to be awesome together.” LaQuinton Ross Ross is a 6-foot-8 small forward with three-point range, and knows how to score. “He’s definitely a scorer,” Noon said. Ross was considered by some experts as one of the top five players in the 2011 class early in his high school career, but saw his stock drop because of injuries. “He’s got a tremendous upside,” Helwagen said. “It may take him a year or so to really adjust to the college level, but I think he’s got the potential. The sky is the limit for him, and he could be the sleeper of this class.” Ross is from Jackson, Miss., but transferred to Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J., to finish high school. Trey McDonald McDonald isn’t expected to make a big contribution during his freshman season at OSU, but could be a valuable asset in time. “He’s a program player who, perhaps by his junior or senior year, will be a meaningful on-court contributor,” Helwagen said. “For now, his role is to grow and learn.” At 6-foot-9, 230 pounds, the power forward from Battle Creek, Mich., has the ability to score inside, but experts say his game lacks polish. “I think he has the most work to do coming in from this class,” Noon said. read more

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With awards in tow Ohio State footballs Braxton Miller still focused on

Nearly three months after his sophomore season ended, Braxton Miller is still being praised for what he accomplished in 2012. At Ohio State’s men’s basketball game against Northwestern Thursday, the quarterback received his Big Ten Player of the Year trophy on the court amid a standing ovation from the crowd during a media timeout in the first half. Miller, smiling, held the Silver Football, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune, high above his head for all the people in attendance at the Schottenstein Center to see. Miller enjoys the recognition. It humbles him. The trophies and cheers help Miller realize how his hard work – and that from the rest of his team – can pay off. “I’m just thankful for all the things I can do out (on the field) and receive awards like this,” Miller said, moments before accepting his trophy while wearing a black T-shirt, black sweatpants and red Nikes. “It’s a blessing.” Miller, though, would much rather focus on the present and what lies ahead of him. His mind is dead set on preparing for the 2013 season. At the forefront of that emphasis are the dual-threat signal caller’s fundamentals. “I had bad mechanics last year,” Miller said. “I want to focus on it this year.” To better his footwork and throwing motion, Miller traveled west over OSU’s winter break to work with San Diego-based coach George Whitfield Jr. The quarterback guru – who has helped notable NFL gunslingers Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck, along with 2012 Heisman winner Johnny Manziel – trained Miller on the beaches of California. Part of those workout sessions centered around “chaos mechanics.” When a play breaks down, Miller said he needs to be just as fundamentally sound as he would be in a standard three-step drop. “You got to keep your composure and just keep your mind on your mechanics and it gets you through it,” Miller said. “I’m just getting comfortable right now.” If Miller, who set a school-record for total yards in 2012 with 3,310 during the Buckeyes’ 12-0 season, can better the small details of his game, 2013 could be a Heisman season for OSU’s signal caller. Consistency will be the key for the Big Ten’s most heralded offensive threat. “When he’s good, he’s really good, and when he’s bad, he’s bad. We need him to be really good more often,” said OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman Thursday. “His good is really, really stinking good and he just needs to continue working on the consistency of it, because he’s capable of that.” Miller will have some new skill-players to work with in 2013. The Buckeyes signed multiple high-level prospects that helped OSU attain one of the top-three recruiting classes in the country this winter. When asked if he is excited to play with the new talents, Miller grinned widely and replied, “Heck yeah.” On-the-field skills aren’t the only aspect of his game that Miller is working on during the offseason.  OSU’s players are currently in a no-contact period with their coaches. Players are holding lifting sessions and position-centered workouts on their own. Miller might be one of the Buckeyes who is taking on a significant leadership role during this time. “Every year, you’ve got to be a leader and just push the team and we got to start up from what we did last year,” Miller said. Coming off a record-setting and undefeated year, expectations are quite high for Miller and the Buckeyes heading into next season. Miller is at the head of nearly all preseason Heisman lists. OSU finds itself ranked in the top-5 of all the early poll projections. The Buckeyes’ playmaker said he wouldn’t have it any other way. Miller will keep on working and preparing as he always has. “No change, been this way my whole life,” Miller said. read more

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LaQuinton Ross Ohio States goto liability

Junior forward LaQuinton Ross (10) drives to the basket during a game against Iowa Jan. 12 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 84-74.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAt any level of basketball, when a team needs a key bucket or big play down the stretch, it typically gets the ball to its best player and lets him take the lead to victory.Such a leader is vital at both ends of the floor, having the ability to come up with the key defensive play or knock down a potential game-winner.But what happens when your go-to guy becomes such a liability that he might not be the best option to be on the floor come crunch time?Welcome to the dilemma that is Ohio State junior forward LaQuinton Ross.Ross led all Buckeyes with 22 points and seven rebounds in an 84-74 loss to then-No. 20 Iowa, but his five turnovers and other mental errors cost OSU, who dropped from No. 3 to No. 11 after back-to-back losses, when it needed him most.“Obviously we need LaQuinton to play well. He had the two fouls on rebounds where he shoved the guy,” coach Thad Matta said following the loss to the Hawkeyes. “We needed him to take and make some big shots, handle the ball a little bit better.”With his team clinging to a 65-64 lead with 5:05 to play, Ross air mailed a 3-pointer and turned the ball over on consecutive possessions.Iowa took the lead back for good and send OSU to its first loss at the Schottenstein Center since Feb. 10, 2013 against then-No. 1 Indiana.Senior guard Aaron Craft said after the loss that a reason for the team’s offensive struggles at times is because the guys on the floor might not all be on the same page.“We’re at our best when we’re connected. You can hear that when we’re talking, you can see that on offense and for stretches in both these past two games we haven’t been connected,” Craft said. “We’ve had stretches where we have been. It’s very easy to see when you go back and watch the film, the times when we are and the times when we aren’t. We really have to minimize the times that we aren’t.”Ross said his main concern is making sure he’s in position to score.“I try to do what I can to help the team win. That’s it,” Ross said after the loss. “Scoring is what I do to help contribute to this team, so that’s what I try to do.”In OSU’s game prior to Iowa — a 72-68 overtime loss at the hands of then No. 5 Michigan State — Ross was nowhere to be found, scoring just five points and playing the least minutes of any of the five starters.It’s clear Ross is a scorer (he leads the team with an averaage 13.6 points per game), but Matta’s teams are predicated on defense, and in a game like the one against the Spartans when OSU fell behind 55-38 with eight minutes to play, defensive stops are needed. Ross, however, said missing a part of the comeback against MSU was a motivator to improve.“I don’t think it was because I watched my teammates out there. I think (freshman forward) Marc (Loving) did a great job at the end of the game. Seeing him put in work like that as a freshman, that was good to see,” Ross said. “They made a huge comeback at the end of the game, so I didn’t feel no type of way about sitting out at the end of that game. Today I think I wanted to redeem myself from last game. It was a bad performance, (and) I think any player would want to do that if they came in off a bad game.”The junior from Jackson, Miss., has scored in double figures 12 times this season, but in the remaining five, he is averaging a meager 4.2 points. That could raise questions about OSU’s supposed top scoring threat being inconsistent. It’s not just about one guy though, Matta said.“We have to have a certain level of consistency in everything that we’re doing — offensively, defensively, transition,” Matta said. “Those are things that across the board, not just LaQuinton, everybody has to do your job and do it with great energy and great focus on making everybody on the floor around you better.”Whether it’s Ross, the coaches or the team as a whole, the Buckeyes need to get it figured out quickly, with a Thursday visit to Minnesota (13-4, 2-2) looming.“It doesn’t get any easier for us. We go on the road here starting on Thursday,” Craft said. “A lot to be learned from this game.”Tipoff between the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers is set for 9 p.m. read more

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Mens Basketball Ohio State faces toughest challenge of the season in Gonzaga

Ohio State senior forward Jae’Sean Tate (1) waits for the Buckeye offense to run in the second half of the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State (4-0) will face its toughest test of the season upon traveling across the country to Portland, Oregon, to play in the PK80 Invitational, starting with No. 17 Gonzaga (3-0) at midnight Friday morning.The Scarlet and Gray look to build off of an undefeated start to the head coach Chris Holtmann era, taking on some of the best basketball programs in the nation. Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and senior forward Jae’Sean Tate have led the way for the Buckeyes, averaging 19.3 points and 10.0 rebounds, and 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds, respectively.“It’s a great opportunity,” Bates-Diop said. “There’s a lot of great teams out there. There’s a chance you get to play them all in a three- or four-day stretch. It’s great for us.”Traveling more than 2,000 miles across the country and playing multiple games in a short time period might appear grueling, but not in the age of AAU tournaments. Tate said most of his teammates have previously played three to four games in a day, let alone a weekend.Tate expressed excitement at the opportunity to play against top-tier college basketball programs, but emphasized the importance of the team not getting ahead of itself.“I think it’s going to be the biggest stage we’ve been on in a while,” Tate said. “But we’re just prepping for Gonzaga. We’re just taking it one day at a time.”The Buckeyes need ample preparation to be ready for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs are coming off of a runner-up finish in the NCAA tournament and have consistently enjoyed success during head coach Mark Few’s 19-year tenure.Holtmann is well aware of Gonzaga’s sustained success. From what he’s seen, he said Gonzaga appears capable of making another deep run in the NCAA Tournament this season.“I think they’re just really disciplined. You can tell they’re a program that’s won at a really high level for a number of years because they don’t beat themselves,” Holtmann said. “They’re big. They’re talented. They’re well-coached. They’re one of the very best basketball programs in the country.”The Bulldogs have had the tall task of replacing Nigel Williams-Goss, Przemek Karnowski and Jordan Matthews, who were their top three scorers last season. They also watched sixth man Zach Collins taken 10th overall in the NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers.However, Gonzaga has replaced its key contributors of the past with a mix of returning and new players. Returning to take on bigger roles are redshirt junior guard Josh Perkins and sophomore forward Killian Tillie. The duo is currently leading the team in scoring with 13.3 points, and 12.3 points, respectively.Freshman forward Corey Kispert and redshirt freshman guard Zach Norwell have already become critical cogs in the Bulldogs’ scheme. Kispert averages 11.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, shooting 54 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arc. Norwell has been a do-it-all sixth man, averaging 10.7 points, three rebounds, three assists and 1.7 steals in only 18 minutes per game.Gonzaga ranks No. 17 in the nation in scoring with an average of 94 points per game. Gonzaga has not relied on any one player in particular for production. Instead, the Bulldogs have counted on a balanced attack featuring six players averaging more than 10 points per game.Given the tournament style and prestige of the teams participating, including No. 1 Duke, No. 4 Michigan State and No. 9 North Carolina, comparisons have been made between the PK80 Invitational and the NCAA Tournament. Tate was asked if it felt like the Buckeyes were preparing for the NCAA Tournament.“Definitely,” Tate responded. “We play three games and no matter what — all three games — we’re going to have to come out and play. We’re going to have to be the best team we can be because every team in there on their best night can beat anybody in my opinion. We’re just going to prepare for the first one and keep the train rolling.”Beyond GonzagaIf the Buckeyes win, they will play the winner of the Florida-Stanford matchup. If Ohio State loses to Gonzaga, it will play the loser of the Florida-Stanford matchup.No. 7 Florida (3-0) averages 98 points per game and shoots better than 40 percent from the perimeter. Its leading scorers, redshirt senior guard Egor Koulechov and junior guard Jalen Hudson, average 20.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, and 18.0 points and 4.0 rebounds, respectively.Stanford (3-2) has struggled early, losing to North Carolina and Eastern Washington. The Cardinal only defeated Northeastern (2-2) by 14 points, whereas Ohio State defeated Northeastern by 25 points. Redshirt junior forward Reid Travis and senior forward Michael Humphrey average 21.2 points and 6.6 rebounds, and 12.2 points and 10.6 rebounds, respectively.“We feel like every game we play is an opportunity,” Tate answered. “Any game you lose is going to hurt. Any game you win is going to help you. So we’re just taking it one game at a time. As long as we keep stringing the wins together, I feel very confident that we’ll be in the tournament.” read more

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Bride whose brother died weeks before wedding has him added to miracle

first_img“She asked if I could add her brother to her wedding photos and I thought it would help,” she told the BBC.”I gave her a warning that I was sending the photos over and asked her if she was ready, just in case, and she said she cried all over the phone. I never knew how much it would mean to Catherine.”Hundreds of people have commented on Mrs Flower’s enhanced pictures, saying they wanted loved-ones added to their own photographs, after she posted them online. Seeing him in the pictures was a miracle, I couldn’t stop cryingthe new Mrs Flower Ms Duncan – who creates personalised gifts for birthdays and weddings – responded to many of the posts, urging them to send her their family photos to be enhanced.She added: “I could never have imagined the response I have had since this was posted online.” Shaun Carter, who died in a construction site accident, is pictured with his arm around the bride, his sister, in this graphically-enhanced photograph When Catherine Carter’s brother died in an accident just weeks before her wedding, she was devastated that he would miss her big day.But, thanks to a graphic artist, the bride’s wish for her late sibling to stand beside her in the family photographs has come true.The full-time mother commissioned Rachel Duncan to enhance the pictures from her marriage to John Flower so they incorporated her brother Shaun. His sister married at St Paul’s Church, in Chippenham, Wiltshire, in July before deciding to ask Ms Duncan, of Aberdeen-based firm Jelly Penguin Graphics, to incorporate her brother into the pictures.”Seeing him in the pictures was a miracle, I couldn’t stop crying,” said the new Mrs Flower.”I really wanted him to be in my pictures. He was supposed to be there and it looks like he is there – I love them so much.center_img “It means so much to me to have a photo of him standing with us. I’ve framed it and have it in my living room now.”Ms Duncan, who charges £25 per image that she enhances for customers, said Mrs Flower’s request had been “heartbreaking”. 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. In one adapted picture, a faint ghost-like image of the late Shaun can be seen with his hand on his sister’s shoulder while she stands next to her mother and step-father after tying the knot.Another enhanced photograph shows an image of Shaun, who was 29 when he died in an accident at a construction site in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, in May, with his arm around the bride. Shaun Carter, who died in a construction site accident, is pictured with his arm around the bride, his sister, in this graphically-enhanced photographCredit:JELLY PENGUIN GRAPHICS/ CATHERINE FLOWER last_img read more

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Top 100 world universities 201617 – QS World University Rankings

first_img75= TOHOKU UNIVERSITY (74)     77.   UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS (68)     78.   UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHAPEL HILL (79)     79.   KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT LEUVEN (82=)   80.   UNIVERSITY OF ZURICH (85=)   81.   THE UNIVERSITY OF AUCKLAND (82=)   82.   UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM (76)     83.   POHANG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (POSTECH) (87=)   84.   THE UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD (80)     85= UNIVERSIDAD DE BUENOS AIRES (124=)   85= UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS (UCD) (85=)  87.   UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON (81)    88.   OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY (99)    89.   BOSTON UNIVERSITY (91)     90.   RICE UNIVERSITY (106)      In total, 38 of the UK’s 48 top 400 universities dropped down the rankings this year. Cambridge, Oxford, UCL and Imperial remained within the top 10, but the latter slipped from eighth to ninth this year.Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, argued that a combination of uncertainty over immigration and long-term funding issues could have influenced the UK’s performance.View the complete rankings here: Top 800 universities He added that “the ability to hire and retain the top young talent from around the world seems to be damaging the reputation of the UK’s higher education sector”.However, in terms of cities, London continues to host more top 40 institutions than any other city in the world, with nearly half of its 16 featured universities rising in the rankings.QS World University Rankings – Top 100Last year’s rankings in brackets.1.   MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT) (1)     2.   STANFORD UNIVERSITY (3=)   3.   HARVARD UNIVERSITY (2)     4.   UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE (3=)   5.   CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (CALTECH) (5)    6.   UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD (6)     7.   UCL (UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON) (7)    8.   ETH ZURICH (SWISS FEDERAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY) (9)     9.   IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON (8)     10.   UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO (10)     11.   PRINCETON UNIVERSITY (11)    12.   NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE (NUS) (12)      74. Durham UniversityCredit:Rex 13.   NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY (NTU) (13)     14.   ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE FÉDÉRALE DE LAUSANNE (EPFL) (14)    15.   YALE UNIVERSITY (15)     16.   CORNELL UNIVERSITY (17)     17.   JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY (16)     18.   UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA (18)     19.   UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH (21)     20.   COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY (22)     21.   KING’S COLLEGE LONDON (KCL) (19=)   22.   AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (ANU) (19=)  23.   UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN (30=)  24= DUKE UNIVERSITY (29)     24= TSINGHUA UNIVERSITY (25)    26.   NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY (32)   27.   UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG (HKU) (30=)   28.   UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY (UCB) (26)     29.   THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER (33)     30.   MCGILL UNIVERSITY (24)     31.  UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES (UCLA) (27)     32.   UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO (34)     33.   ECOLE NORMALE SUPÉRIEURE, PARIS (ENS PARIS) (23)    34.   THE UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO (39)     35.   SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (SNU) (36)     36.   THE HONG KONG UNIVERSITY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (HKUST) (28)    37= KYOTO UNIVERSITY (38)     37= LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE (LSE)  (35)     39.   PEKING UNIVERSITY (41)     40.   UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO (UCSD) (44)     41.   UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL (37)     42.   THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE (42)     43.   FUDAN UNIVERSITY (51=)   44.   THE CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG (CUHK) (51=)   45.   UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (50)      7. University College London The University of Cambridge has dropped out of the top three global universities for the first time in over a decade, the annual QS World University Rankings have revealed.According to the list, the elite institution is the highest ranked in the UK, but has fallen from third place to fourth – its lowest ranking since the league tables were launched in 2004.The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been named the world’s best for the fifth consecutive year. 61.   SHANGHAI JIAO TONG UNIVERSITY (70=)   62.   DELFT UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (64)     63= OSAKA UNIVERSITY (58)63= UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW (62=)   65.   MONASH UNIVERSITY (67)     66.   UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AT URBANA-CHAMPAIGN (59)     67.   UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN (77)    68= LUDWIG-MAXIMILIANS-UNIVERSITÄT MÜNCHEN (75)     68= NATIONAL TAIWAN UNIVERSITY (NTU) (70=)   68= UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN (69)     71.   GEORGIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (GEORGIA TECH) (84)    72.   RUPRECHT-KARLS-UNIVERSITÄT HEIDELBERG (66)     73.   LUND UNIVERSITY (70=)74.   DURHAM UNIVERSITY (61)     75= THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM (70=)    91.   UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI (96=)   92.   PURDUE UNIVERSITY (89=)   93.   UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS (87=)   94.   UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA (96=)   95= PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY (101)     95= UNIVERSITY OF GENEVA (89=)   97.   KTH, ROYAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (92)     98= KIT, KARLSRUHER INSTITUT FÜR TECHNOLOGIE (93)     98= KOREA UNIVERSITY (104)     98= TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN (TCD) (78)    98= UPPSALA UNIVERSITY (102)   © QS Quacquarelli Symonds – www.TopUniversities.com Durham University University College London 46= KAIST – KOREA ADVANCED INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (43)     46= NEW YORK UNIVERSITY (NYU) (53)     46= THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY (45)     49= BROWN UNIVERSITY (49)     49= THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES (UNSW) (46=)   51= THE UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND (UQ) (46=)   51= THE UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK (48)    53= ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE PARISTECH (40)     53= UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON (54)     55.   CITY UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG (57)     56.   TOKYO INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (56)    57.   UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM (55)     58.   CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY (62=)   59.   UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON (65)     60.   TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITÄT MÜNCHEN (60)      Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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Sir Cameron Mackintosh musicals ban understudies from announcing show dates

first_img 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. Glenn Close reprised the role of Norma Desmond in the West End production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard  Cast members take the final curtain call in the long-running musical Les Miserables on Broadway Natasha Barnes (Fanny Brice) during the curtain call ‘Funny Girl’ musicalCredit:Rex Actress Ria Jones on stage at the curtain call after she stepped in for Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard  “We’ve had a number of complaints from leading actors who said they think it’s a little off that our understudies are tweeting when they’re off, either ill or on holiday,” he said.“It’s not something we’d ever thought of before, so we reminded our casts that in their contracts for a very long time it has said that a member of the cast should not disseminate information about the show without the approval of the management.“What we felt was that it’s only right that information about schedules and acting performances should come from us, and not individual members of the cast.“Once that information is out there, then obviously everyone should feel free to do what they want. Natasha Barnes (Fanny Brice) during the curtain call 'Funny Girl' musical Jonathan Pryce (Engineer) ‘Miss Saigon’ musical 25th Anniversary Gala at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, in 2014Credit:Rex Glenn Close reprised the role of Norma Desmond in the West End production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard  This year has seen the role of the understudy propelled into the headlines after Natasha Barnes stepped in to perform in Funny Girl while Sheridan Smith took last-minute time off.Ria Jones won over a hostile audience at Sunset Boulevard at the London Coliseum, after Glenn Close fell ill with a chest infection.Jones received a standing ovation for her performances, despite furious ticket-holders initially demanding their money back, while Barnes was awarded a five star review by the Telegraph as theatre critic Dominic Cavendish proclaimed her “every bit as good” as Smith. Cast members take the final curtain call in the long-running musical Les Miserables on BroadwayCredit:AP For a rising star, it could be the most important moment of their career, stepping into the limelight on the West End stage to take the lead role for the first time.But understudies are to be banned from announcing their appearances without permission, as Sir Cameron Mackintosh’s company clamps down on social media.Actors working in Sir Cameron’s shows, which include Les Miserables, Miss Saigon and Phantom of the Opera, have been warned they are not to post the dates of their performances online ahead of shows without the blessing of those in charge.Critics accused the company of “disrespecting” understudies and blocking fans from seeing their shows, with one saying: “In other words producers are afraid it will hurt box office.” “Social media is a fact of life and a very useful way of communicating with the public, but when you’ve got employees tweeting information about other employees by association, then you need to control that.”He added the company had huge respect for all understudies and had a long history of promoting them, saying they remained at liberty to contact friends, family or fans individually to let them know they are performing.A spokesman for WestEnd Understudies, a social media feed which alerts fans to when their favourite actors are on stage, said: “The reason most understudies currently post their performance dates on social media is because there is no announcement by producers currently, and if there was, it would only be for the main two or three roles.“It does affect their careers.” Jonathan Pryce (Engineer) 'Miss Saigon' musical 25th Anniversary Gala at the Prince Edward Theatre, London, in 2014 Actress Ria Jones on stage at the curtain call after she stepped in for Glenn Close in Sunset Boulevard  Nicholas Allott, the managing director of Cameron Mackintosh Ltd, said the social media guidelines were merely an extension of long-held contracts, which have always prohibited actors from announcing major changes to their shows without permission.Equity, the actors’ union, and the Society of London Theatres are now working with West End companies to create standard guidelines for social media use, after members complained there was inconsistency between shows.Performers who work for Sir Cameron will now be expected to wait until cast changes are officially announced by theatres before tweeting, The Stage revealed, in a move fans argued could damage the understudies’ careers. The guidelines apply not just to understudies for high profile star performers, who would only step in at very short notice in the event of illness or the unexpected, but those working on longer-running shows where they are covering pre-booked holidays.Then, many actors have previously taken to social media and their own promotional websites to alert fans to the dates they are performing.Such tweeting, fans said, was invaluable for understudies, allowing them to build a profile in a theatre industry which often failed to announce cast changes in advance.Mr Allott said the move was in fact aimed at averting public confusion or unnecessary alarm about absent actors, with understudies usually stepping into West End shows without a hitch.last_img read more

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Carer spared jail for sex activity with boy while she was very

first_imgGatt was set to face trial in September but pleaded guilty to one count of  sexual activity with a child.  The mother was visiting the area, and claims to have had drank far too much to recollect what had happened.Prosecutor Virginia Hayton told Carlisle Crown Court that after being caught naked with the boy on top of her, drunken Gatt fell and injured herself, and so paramedics and police were called to the scene.Miss Hayton said: “She was described as being fairly aggressive to them. She asked if she could just go home as she had made a fool of herself. She was then arrested.”Despite accepting that Gatt was a woman of “hitherto good character”, Miss Hayton told the judge that the crime crossed the custody threshold due to the 22-year-age disparity between Gatt and the boy.The victim is said to be embarrassed that he cannot remember what happened and has had the “mickey took out of him” by his friends since the incident.Brian Williams, defending, said: “She has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and it is a brave plea because no one can remember what actually happened that evening.”Judge Barbara Forrester then interjected by telling Mr Williams that the relative who caught her engaging in the act does remember what they saw.He added: “The consequences of this conviction have been substantial, upsetting  and distressing for her. She faces hostility within her local community and she’s lost some of her work.”Mr Williams said that the worst consequence was that the single mother was  no longer allowed to be alone with the two young daughters that she has raised be herself.He said: “This is a very unusual case of its kind. One usually finds people facing these offences to be men with a predilection for young boys or girls.”That is not the case here. This offence was committed when she was drunk and she has no interest in young men.  She is not a paedophile.”She was very, very drunk and did something very, very silly and now must face the consequences along with the heavy price she has already paid.”Judge Forrester told Gatt that she took her offence very seriously as it was clear in her initial interviews with police that she did not understand the severity of what she had done.She said: “There is a significant disparity of age, a serious breach of  trust and you had both drunk alcohol but I accept that you did not provide it to him.”What happened after that, we will never know.”Judge Forrester handed Gatt a 20-month prison sentence suspended for two years.She also made her subject to a sexual harm prevention order, placed her on the sex offenders register for 10 years and ordered her to pay £1,000 costs.She also gave Gatt, of Dalrymple, 30 days of rehabilitation work which could be carried out in Scotland.  A mother-of-two has been spared jail after engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old boy while she was “very very drunk”.Angela Gatt, 37, was caught in the act after a night of heavy drinking in  North Cumbria in the summer of last year. Neither Gatt, nor her young victim, remember anything about the incident and her barrister said she was “brave” for pleading guilty to her crime. The cleaner, from Ayr, Scotland, was caught in a compromising position by a relative of the boy at the house where she had been drinking Prosecco and her victim had been drinking alco-pops. The boy then fled the room saying he felt sick and Gatt asked the relative, “What is your problem?”, to which she was reminded that he was only 14-years-old. This offence was committed when she was drunk and she has no interest in young men. She is not a paedophileBrian Williams, defendingcenter_img 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.last_img read more

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Police chief exposed herself and said look at these as she lectured

first_imgAssistant Chief Constable Rebekah SutcliffeCredit:Manchester Evening News I deeply regret what happened and in particular the upset I caused to someone I hold in very high regardACC Rebekah Sutcliffe 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. I deeply regret what happened and in particular the upset I caused to someone I hold in very high regard.Assistant Chief Constable Sutcliffe Sutcliffe was suspended from her £96,500 a year post at Greater Manchester PoliceCredit:CAVENDISH PRESS Ms Sutcliffe, who earned £96,500 a year in her post and was the highest-ranking female GMP officer at the time, had opened the conference and also delivered an opening address at the gala dinner.The dispute then broke out when the group moved to the public mezzanine bar.In her statement to the hearing which she did not attend, Supt Jackson said Ms Sutcliffe had appeared “quite drunk”, was slurring her words and demanding cigarettes and alcohol.Supt Jackson said she recalled the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, Ian Hopkins, telling her: “Sarah, please don’t leave me on my own with Rebekah. She is drunk, she is driving me mad.”It was after 2am that Supt Jackson said Ms Sutcliffe called her a “laughing stock”. Supt Sarah Jackson She said: “I was shocked, really shocked and struggling to process at first what she said to me. I was mortified, embarrassed and ashamed to think that is how I was perceived. At this time I had no reason to disbelieve what she had said and began to cry.”She said she was “acutely aware” of Ms Sutcliffe’s superior rank and said she felt obliged to listen to her.Ms Jackson, who is now a Superintendent with Cumbria Constabulary, said she suffered “great anxiety from the night itself and since” and added: “It has been the most distressing and hurtful experience of my life”. A female police chief told a junior colleague she was “silly, vain and frivolous” for getting a “boob job”, before exposing her own breasts and saying “look at these” during a Women in Policing conference.Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe, 47, had been drinking wine at the event in Manchester’s Hilton Hotel when she confronted Superintendent Sarah Jackson and condemned her for having a “tit job”.A misconduct hearing heard twice-married, mother-of-three Ms Sutcliffe exposed her breasts after claiming Supt Jackson was not being taken seriously due to the cosmetic procedure.She said Ms Jackson’s credibility was “zero”, warned she would miss out on promotion and claimed the officer was a “laughing stock” amongst senior male colleagues, the panel sitting at Greater Manchester Police HQ heard. To prove her point, Ms Sutcliffe opened the front of her dress and said: “Look at these – look at these. These are the breasts of someone who has had three children. I know they’re ugly but I don’t feel the need to pump myself with silicone to get self-esteem.”In the hour-long exchange, Ms Sutcliffe went on to say: “Sarah, it doesn’t matter how hard you work now because you will always just be known as the girl who had the tit job.”The haranguing concluded when Ms Sutcliffe told her colleague she was no longer going to support a further promotion for her.The hearing was told the incident took place while the two women were attending a three-day conference, which had the theme “Profile and Perception”.It included 300 guests, senior female police chiefs from around the UK, plus former MI5 chief, Baroness Eliza Manningham-Bull.center_img Sutcliffe was suspended from her £96,500 a year post at Greater Manchester Police Supt Sarah JacksonCredit:CAVENDISH PRESS The day after the incident, Ms Sutcliffe made repeated attempts to apologise Ms Jackson by email and text message, saying: “Too much wine, v sorry. I think you are a fab and brilliant professional.” Assistant Chief Constable Rebekah Sutcliffe Later, in an interview with senior colleagues, she said: “I deeply regret what happened and in particular the upset I caused to someone I hold in very high regard.“I am determined to learn from my mistakes and I am committed to serving the public as a police officer. I hope I may be able to return to duty as soon as possible.” Counsel for the hearing Fiona Barton QC, said Ms Sutcliffe’s conduct at the conference was so serious that dismissal would be justified.Ms Barton said: “ACC Sutcliffe opened up the police service and Greater Manchester Police to ridicule. She was a critical role model and was supposed to lead by example.” Ms Sutcliffe, a serving officer with GMP for 23 years, also claimed she had been using alcohol as an “unhelpful coping mechanism” due to being under “intense stress due to prodigious hours and work”.John Beggs QC, representing Ms Sutcliffe said her misconduct over a short period of time when in drink was to be contrasted against her “many years of distinguished and impressive public service”.The police officer, who is currently suspended, admits misconduct but denies gross misconduct, which could lead to dismissal.She faces two alleged breaches of standards of professional behaviour in that her conduct was discreditable and she failed to treat Ms Jackson with respect or courtesy and abused her position and authority.The hearing continues. I felt I had the right to defend myself to her what she said was completely utterly out of orderSupt Jacksonlast_img read more

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