Month: September 2019

  • March Madness Crib Notes For Sundays Games

    West RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 1 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Oregon (87.3) at 7:45 p.m. EDT on TruTVIN DEPTHWisconsin (87 percent) vs. OregonPlayer to watch: Frank Kaminsky, WisconsinOregon’s offense — far and away the strength of the team — came to the rescue against Oklahoma State in the round of 64 as the Ducks shot 55 percent from the floor to outgun the Cowboys in a 79-73 win. But securing enough stops to beat Wisconsin might be a struggle for the defensively challenged Ducks. According to Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, Wisconsin easily owns the best offense in the country, a unit primed to take advantage of Oregon’s weak shot defense and inability to force turnovers. The Ducks also lack the risky traits that sometimes help heavy underdogs chance their way into upsets. But one path the Ducks might navigate to victory is to force the tempo and make the Badgers play at their pace. Oregon had the 33rd-fastest offense in the country this season (as measured by seconds per possession), while Wisconsin had the third-slowest. While Saturday’s top-billed matchups (specifically, Arizona-Ohio State and Kentucky-Cincinnati) looked sexier on paper than any in store on Sunday, day No. 2 of the round of 32 offers some solid games of its own — as well as fewer sleepers. Keep a particular eye on the trio of 2-versus-7 matchups, each of which should be reasonably competitive by the standards of this round.Here’s what else to look for:South RegionalGame to watch: No. 1 Duke vs. No. 8 San Diego State (a harmonic mean of 88.0) at 2:40 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 7 Iowa (27 percent win probability) vs. No. 2 Gonzaga at 7:10 p.m. EDT on TBSIN DEPTHDuke (85 percent win probability) vs. San Diego StatePlayer to watch: Jahlil Okafor, DukeAfter taking care of Robert Morris with ease in its opener, Duke moves on to face the slow-paced, defensively focused Aztecs. San Diego State has a tall team that ranks among the nation’s best at limiting opponents’ shooting efficiency and keeping them from getting to the line. But watch for Duke’s offensive rebounding (spearheaded by All-Everything center Jahlil Okafor) to offset some of SDSU’s defensive advantage. And when the Aztecs have the ball, scoring might be an ordeal. Neither of San Diego State’s two go-to guys on offense — Winston Shepard and Dwayne Polee — could even match the Division I average for efficiency when they ended an Aztec possession, a trend that figures to continue against a solid Blue Devils defense. East RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 7 Michigan State (89.5) at 12:10 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 5 Northern Iowa (55 percent) vs. No. 4 Louisville at 9:40 p.m. EDT on TBSIN DEPTHVirginia (72 percent) vs. Michigan StatePlayer to watch: Anthony Gill, VirginiaVirginia didn’t exactly look dominant against a stubborn Belmont team Friday, and now the Cavaliers must face an even tougher opponent in Michigan State. The Spartans have the talent to stick with Virginia — they’d have a 37 percent chance of the upset here if we based our prediction on preseason ratings alone — and their coach is familiar with deep tournament runs. Plus, Virginia operates its offense at a veritable crawl, slowing down the game and inviting the kind of variance that can prove deadly for a favorite. But other than their snail-like pace, the Cavaliers play a sturdy style as upset-proof as any, relying primarily on two-point shooting, ball security, rebounding, and an old-fashioned big, tough interior defense. It all makes for a team with few clear weaknesses, something Michigan State will likely learn the hard way.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions. Midwest RegionalIN BRIEFGame to watch: No. 2 Kansas vs. No. 7 Wichita State (87.6) at 5:15 p.m. EDT on CBSUpset alert! No. 5 West Virginia (55 percent) vs. No. 4 Maryland at 8:40 p.m. EDT on TNTIN DEPTHKansas (57 percent) vs. Wichita StatePlayer to watch: Fred VanVleet, Wichita StateWichita State’s offense clicked in the second half of its victory over Indiana on Friday, but the points may not come as easily against a strong Kansas defense that ranks ninth nationally in Ken Pomeroy’s schedule-adjusted ratings. The game may come down to whether Wichita State can execute its pick-and-roll — according to Synergy Sports, the Shockers’ pick-and-roll ball-handling efficiency ranked in the 93rd percentile of Division I schools; the Jayhawks’ defense was in the 85th percentile at stopping the play. At the other end, it’s worth watching whether the more interior-focused Kansas offense can adapt to take advantage of a Wichita State defense that dares opponents to move the ball around and shoot from the outside. read more

  • Women Get Equal Pay But Not Equal Billing At Wimbledon

    WOMEN’S SHARE OF MATCHESTIME Wimbledon’s scheduling isn’t just a matter of gender equality. It’s also about logistics. The scheduling can backfire on men. They don’t want to have to change courts mid-match or, worse, finish a match on what should be their day off. That’s more likely when they’re playing the second men’s match in a day on a court without lights, since as we’ve seen, men’s matches, on average, are longer than women’s. On three successive days of play this year, the second men’s match on No. 1 Court went five sets and had to be suspended or moved because of darkness.No. 1 Serena Williams and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki criticized the scheduling in media conferences here. “The women really haven’t gotten the opportunity here to play on the big courts,” Wozniacki said. She pointed out that on most days this year when men and women were both playing, No. 1 Court and Centre Court each had only one women’s match. (Men were less critical: Roger Federer said of the schedulers, “of course, they would try to be fair,” and Gilles Simon said, “I don’t see any big problems about the scheduling.”)Williams and Wozniacki have less to complain about than some of their peers, though: On days when she was competing with men for court time, Williams was on Centre for three of her four matches and on No. 1 for the other one. Wozniacki got one match on each of the two big courts.Yet former No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who has two major titles to Wozniacki’s none, didn’t get on the two biggest courts in any of her first four matches. Neither did Lucie Safarova, the sixth-ranked woman and French Open finalist, in her four singles matches. Serena Williams’s sister Venus Williams, a five-time champ here, played three matches off the big two courts before finally getting to Centre — against Serena.A spokesman for the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, which hosts and runs Wimbledon, declined to comment beyond providing the club’s general position on order of play. “The major marquee players will normally be scheduled on the stadium courts with Centre Court and then No.1 Court seeing the leading names,” the club said in the statement. “This is expected by both the paying public and TV audiences alike.”Without further comment, it’s hard to know how the club determines who the major marquee players are.One factor I thought might have driven the unbalanced scheduling is the high-profile upsets in the women’s tournament, which might have left fewer marquee women available to feature.I checked, and that doesn’t seem to be the case, at least using several possible definitions of “marquee players.” Nine women who’d won Grand Slam titles (with a combined 41 major titles, 13 of them at Wimbledon) competed in singles at Wimbledon, compared with seven men with Grand Slam victories (46 majors, 13 of them at Wimbledon). The women major winners had 27 matches through this Monday. Their male counterparts had just 23 matches. Just 44 percent of these marquee women’s matches made it onto Centre or No. 1 — barely half the proportion of the men’s matches, with 87 percent. Add in former No. 1s and top 10 seeds, and the picture is even worse: The top women made it onto the top two courts 35 percent of the time, while the top men did 74 percent of the time.Simon and other male players have argued that women should get less prize money than men because, according to them, the men’s game is more popular than the women’s. With Wimbledon’s scheduling this year, the women have had half the opportunity to gain an audience and a fan base. Australian Open54%42% French Open4939 Wimbledon3828 U.S. Open5242 LONDON — It wasn’t until 2007 that Wimbledon became the last of the four tennis Grand Slams to award equal prize money to women and men. Women are still waiting on equal playing time in the tournament’s biggest stadiums.At Wimbledon this year, women got just 38 percent of the assignments to Centre Court and No. 1 Court (which is, confusingly, the second-biggest court) through Monday, including just 39 percent on Centre Court. That rate is different from the other Grand Slams. At the most recent editions of the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open, schedulers maintained balance between men’s and women’s singles on prime courts, at least by number of matches. At each event, when they were competing with men for prime court assignments, the women got between 49 percent and 54 percent of matches on the top two courts — including at least half the matches on the biggest court.1The gory details for this analysis: Along with Centre Court and No. 1 Court at Wimbledon, I used Rod Laver Arena and Hisense Arena for the Australian Open, Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne-Lenglen at the French Open, and Arthur Ashe Stadium and Louis Armstrong Stadium at the U.S. Open. I only included days in the tournament when both men’s and women’s singles matches were scheduled on more than one court — generally through the fourth round or quarterfinals, until the early or middle part of the second week of the tournament. I didn’t count walkovers. And I counted matches based on which court and day they started on. The websites of the Australian Open, French Open and U.S. Open don’t list total minutes of the match, so I added the minutes for each set. Any slight differences with official stats shouldn’t affect comparisons between men and women. For one French Open match that had no times listed, I estimated time based on the average time each point took in the other women’s singles matches that day.Who gets on which court is up to tournament schedulers. The top players want to play on a Grand Slam’s two main courts, which each have more than 10,000 seats. That’s where the most fans get to watch them and where journalists and broadcasters focus their attention. For the first week and a half or so of each two-week event, organizers must decide how to allocate that valuable real estate to matches from the men’s and women’s singles competitions.Counting matches understates the extent to which men’s tennis has hogged the spotlight at Wimbledon this year. Men’s matches, on average, take longer because men play best-of-five-sets while women play best-of-three at Slams. As a result, women got just 28 percent of match time on the top two courts at Wimbledon, compared with 39 percent to 42 percent at the other three majors. read more

  • Significant Digits For Friday March 25 2016

    0.015 rating pointsThere are close matchups, and then there are close matchups. Tonight’s Notre Dame-Wisconsin tilt belongs in that second category, with the teams separated by just 0.015 points in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings. It’s basically as close to a coin flip as you can get — our prediction model lists the game as exactly 50-50 for both teams. [Kenpom.com]19 percentage pointsIn a Sweet 16 field largely devoid of Cinderella candidates, 10th-seeded Syracuse will have to do. According to the FiveThirtyEight model, they started the tourney with a 1 percent chance of making the Final Four; now that probability is 19 percentage points higher, the biggest gain of any team left standing. [FiveThirtyEight]1995 seasonThe University of Virginia will be looking to make its first Elite 8 appearance since the 1995 tournament when it takes on Iowa State Friday evening. By most measures — including winning percentage, the AP poll and the Simple Rating System — this year’s Cavaliers are better than the 1995 version, but they’ll have to win to prove it — the bracket doesn’t lie. [Sports-Reference.com]3,950 winsNorth Carolina and Indiana are two of the most storied programs in the history of college basketball, having combined for 3,950 victories in 5,728 games since 1901, and they’ll face each other in Friday’s late game. With a 73 percent chance of winning, UNC has the edge to take win No. 3,951, according to our model. [Sports-Reference.com]118 winsThe University of Connecticut women’s basketball team has been completely unstoppable with Breanna Stewart leading the way these past few seasons. They’ve won 118 of their last 119 games — all by double-digits, and all but 18 by 20 or more points. UConn looks to extend their run against Mississippi State Saturday morning. [FiveThirtyEight]If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.And if you see a significant digit in the wild, send it to @WaltHickey — or to @Neil_Paine, I guess, if you feel like it. Welcome to Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news. Regular host Walt Hickey is still on vacation, and NCAA basketball is still happening. As a result, I’m still here with another all-March Madness SigDig. Enjoy! read more

  • The Thunders Big Men Could Stop The Warriors Lineups Of Death

    As you may have heard, the NBA’s most unstoppable units reside in the Bay Area, in the form of Golden State’s small-ball “Lineups of Death.” Assuming those lineups are intact for the Western Conference finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder will have an interesting matchup on their hands in a series being billed as a battle of big versus small. In contrast to the Warriors’ small-ball lineups, OKC’s two most common postseason units have contained the hulking frontcourt pairing of 6-foot-10 Serge Ibaka and 7-foot Steven Adams.When on the court together for the Warriors this season, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green scored the most points per offensive chance (1.26) of any five-man unit in the NBA,1Minimum 200 chances, averaged between offense and defense. allowed the 13th-fewest points (0.83), and had the best per-chance scoring margin (+0.43).And that’s only the deadliest variation of the Death Lineup. Golden State also owned five of the next 10 best lineups by per-chance point differential, all of which contained a variation of Curry, Green and either Thompson or Iguodala or both. Four of those additional lineups featured one of Golden State’s traditional centers, Andrew Bogut or Festus Ezeli, as the lone conventional big; the other was a small lineup that swaps out Iguodala for guard Shaun Livingston. 3Curry | Thompson | Green | Iguodala | BogutGSW+0.34 10Lin | Lamb | Kaminsky | Williams | HawesCHA+0.21 11Curry | Thompson | Green | Rush | BogutGSW+0.21 Minimum 200 average chances between offense and defense.Source: NBA Player-Tracking Data 8Curry | Livingston | Barnes | Thompson | GreenGSW+0.22 With Curry injured for most of the first two rounds, those Lineups of Death haven’t spent much time fully assembled in the postseason. The Warriors’ most crucial three-man combos — Curry, Green and Thompson, and Curry, Green and Iguodala — have logged only 94 total minutes together in 10 playoff games thus far. (They still outscored opponents by 61 points in that limited playing time!) But after Curry returned for the closing two games of Golden State’s series against Portland, at least one of those trios was on the floor for 62 minutes — a total in line with the 27.7 minutes per game they spent on-court together during the regular season.All this is bad news for the Thunder because the Warriors have a history of going small to combat good teams with lumbering big men: According to the Lineup of Death’s origin story, the tactic was only fully realized last year when head coach Steve Kerr had an epiphany during the NBA Finals and moved Iguodala into the starting lineup. That’s when the record-setting Warriors really took off, first against Cleveland and then against the rest of the league. An inability to match up with the same strategy could end up being Oklahoma City’s undoing as well.But we shouldn’t assume the Thunder’s big lineup won’t be able to hold its own. During the regular season, only 19 five-man units2With a minimum of 20 chances, averaged between offense and defense. broke even against Warrior lineups containing both Curry and Green. OKC had two of them — No. 7 and No. 13 — and both were of the big variety that the team has been using extensively during the playoffs: Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Ibaka and Adams, with either Andre Roberson or Dion Waiters on the wing. So in the matchup of preferred lineups, the Thunder might not be quite as outgunned as it seems at first glance.Of course, there are a bunch of caveats to tack on here. We’re talking about only 60 to 70 chances of track record from the regular season, and lineup data is notoriously noisy anyway. Plus, even though the Thunder’s big lineup did stick with the Warriors, the Dubs swept the regular-season series anyway.But as an exercise in figuring out how a 31 percent underdog could fight those odds, things might begin with Oklahoma City’s ability to slow down Golden State’s Lineups of Death. And what extremely limited data we have right now suggests that they could fare better than most.Check out our latest NBA predictions. 6Curry | Green | Livingston | Iguodala | EzeliGSW+0.27 The NBA’s best regular-season lineups in 2015-16 2Lowry | Ross | Patterson | DeRozan | ValanciunasTOR+0.37 1Curry | Thompson | Barnes | Iguodala | GreenGSW+0.43 5Curry | Thompson | Green | Iguodala | EzeliGSW+0.30 4Lin | Walker | Williams | Batum | JeffersonCHA+0.31 LINEUPTEAMPTS/CHANCE DIFF 7Paul | Redick | Griffin | Stephenson | JordanLAC+0.22 9Paul | Redick | Crawford | Griffin | JordanLAC+0.21 read more

  • Lakers Lock Up Andrew Bynum For Another Year

    It was a year of significant improvement for the Los Angeles Lakers’ Andrew Bynum. The 7-foot center stayed healthy, for one, and he used his court time to blossom into arguably the best center in the NBA. At the very least, he has challenged Orlando’s Dwight Howard for that title.Such improvement has its rewards. For Bynum, it was a $16.1 million option the Lakers picked up for next season, according to the Los Angeles Times.Bynum, 24, was at times mentioned in trade discussions, but stuck around to play 60 games this season of the lockout-shortened season for the Lakers, averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds with 1.9 blocks. His scoring and rebounding totals were the highs of his career.His play was at times offset by unorthodox comments and moments where he did not appear to extend maximum effort. But his youth and talent trump his youth indiscretions — for now, anyway. read more

  • Tiger Woods to Open PGA Season at Torrey Pines

    Tiger Woods has not been seen on a golf course in more than a month, a period during which he said he was more daddy than golfer. And the change suits him well, he insists.At 37 with two children, Woods has mellowed some from his days of nonstop golf. He took a break from the game he used to dominate and hopes to regain. And limited off-season golf just might be the key to achieving his ambitions.“I didn’t play much golf after the World Challenge,” Woods told ESPN.com via email Friday. “I putted and hit some balls with [son] Charlie, but that was about it. Since it was Christmas break, I spent a lot of time with the kids, which was great. That was exactly what I wanted to do. Because I was healthy most of the year, I played a lot of golf and was ready for a break.”He said he focused on shots from 120 yards and in, as it was a part of his game that let him down at key points last year.“I did mostly fine-tuning after the break and continued working on my short game. I’m really happy where it is right now. I didn’t start practicing hard until the first week of January. I feel good about my game and I’m ready to get back to Abu Dhabi.”Woods will play there next week and open the PGA Tour the last weekend of the month at Torrey Pines, where he has won six times in his amazing career.“Obviously, I’ve had good success at Torrey Pines,” said Woods, who won the PGA Tour event there in 1999, 2003, ’05, ’06, ’07 and ’08. Further, Woods has been in the top 10 all but one time.Woods tied for third at the Abu Dhabi event last year, finishing two strokes behind a shot behind Rory McElrory, who also will make his season debut next week. He and McEloy will be grouped together for the first two rounds.Although he was coming off a victory at the World Challenge a year ago, Woods feels much better about his progress than he did then. He won three times on the PGA Tour in 2012, had nine top-10 finishes and was second on the money list.It is encouraging to Woods that he only had one injury all last season.“I was able to play and practice,”  Woods said “I was able to implement what Sean and I had been working on. It was the most I was able to play and practice in a long time, and it paid off.”He is the No. 3 player in the world behind McIlroy and Luke Donald, which matters to him, but not as much as winning major championships. The first opportunity is at the Masters in April. Last season he was in the mix of three titles, but did not hold his game together to win one.“I do focus on the majors because it’s the four most important weeks, but there’s also plenty to be excited about this year,” Woods said. “It’s the start of a new season, there’s a lot I want to accomplish and build on and I’m opening 2013 at a tournament I like. It’s pretty easy to balance everything out.” read more

  • Gabby Douglas is Moving Beyond Criticism to New Projects

    Gabby Douglas wins her third gold medal at the Olympic Games (Twitter)Fresh off her turn at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, Gabby Douglas is putting the criticism behind her. Critics targetted the gymnast for her hair and lack of enthusiasm. But now, she’s looking ahead to a judging position in the 2017 Miss America pageant in September.“Miss America has been such an amazing event for so many years and I am excited to have the opportunity to judge the competition this year,” Douglas told USA Today in a statement Monday. “The contestants are a great example of strong women across America and I especially look forward to hearing the platforms that each of them will represent!”Douglas will critique 52 contestants in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The show will air live Sept. 11 at 9 p.m. EST on ABC.On top of judging Miss America, Douglas is also the new spokesperson for Venus razors.The athlete’s new roles follow her third Olympic gold medal win with the U.S. women’s gymnastics team dubbed the “Final Five.” Though she increased her Olympic wins, Douglas was the center of critique during the event.Complaints about her hair resurfaced from 2012. She stood at attention during the national anthem instead of putting her hand over her heart. That caused some backlash as well. Then, viewers pounced on her for not cheering for Simone Biles during the competition.“It was hurtful. It was hurtful. It was. It’s been kind of a lot to deal with,” she said at a press conference during the Olympics.Despite the negativity, today the 20-year-old is in good spirits.She told People magazine she had a “fantastic” time in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.“I had fun,” she said. “Maybe people weren’t being fair on social media, but that’s social media for you.”To mitigate the poor attitudes online, she stayed off social media for much of the games.“I just found things to be positive about,” she explained. “And there’s a lot to be happy about. We won the gold medal as a team, and it was just such an amazing experience. I came to the Olympics and won a gold medal! That’s still really awesome. I can only do what I can do and if people want to say their stuff on social media, I can’t stop them.” read more

  • And Now The Roy Awards For The Best NHL Playoff Goaltending Performances

    UPDATE (May 14, 7:28 a.m.): Game 7 between the Rangers and Capitals on Wednesday night featured more top-notch goaltending from Lundqvist (35 saves) and Holtby (37 saves). The Rangers won 2-1 — every game in the series was decided by one goal — and both goalies beat their combined save percentage for the series. Mike Richter1997NYRNJD5.236.7+1.9 Marc-Andre Fleury98.8-3.7-3.7 Most of the Roy winners in this category comport well with the conventional wisdom. Four of the top six goaltenders — Roy in 1993 and 2001, Thomas in 2011 and Jean-Sebastien Giguere in 2003 — also won the Conn Smythe Trophy for being the MVP of the NHL playoffs.Finally, the Roy for the best lifetime playoff performance goes to … Patrick Roy.Best Performances Marc-Andre Fleury2010PIT13.3-12.3-1.6 Patrick Lalime2002OTTPHI5.337.6+2.0 Chris Osgood127.53.3+4.2 Jaroslav Halak2010MTLWSH5.727.6+1.6 Henrik Lundqvist105.84.4+4.6 Martin Brodeur2003NJD24.810.7+2.6 102004Maple Leafs (Belfour)Senators (Lalime)7.9361.70+2.3 Curtis Joseph2001TOROTT4.238.5+1.6 Patrick Roy1996COLFLA4.735.4+1.7 71994Rangers (Richter)Devils (Brodeur)7.9291.96+2.6 Greg Millen1988STL10.0-15.8-1.6 Jean-Sebastien Giguere52.86.2+3.3 In the chart, MP/60 stands for minutes played divided by 60. Since a regulation NHL game is 60 minutes long, it essentially just means games played, although goalies will get extra credit for games that go to overtime.5Dominik Hasek, for instance, is credited with playing the equivalent of 8.1 games in the 1994 Sabres-Devils first-round series because one of the games went to four overtimes. The next column shows the goalie’s net change in win probability per 60 minutes played. Multiplying this number by MP/60 produces net wins — how many wins a goalie added or subtracted from his team relative to an average playoff goalie. That’s what we use to hand out Roys.So the Roy for best goaltending in a single playoff series goes to… Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, for his performance in the 2011 Stanley Cup Final against the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks had been the NHL’s highest-scoring team in the regular season and launched more than 35 shots per game at Thomas. And yet he allowed only eight goals in the seven-game series, including a shutout in the final.Thomas is followed by his fellow Bruin, Tuukka Rask, who allowed just two goals against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in the 2013 Eastern Conference finals. He was even more effective than Thomas on a per-shot basis, with a .985 save percentage. Perhaps he was too good for his own good, in fact — the Bruins swept the series, so he played substantially fewer minutes than Thomas. In third place is Ottawa’s Patrick Lalime, who allowed two goals in five games against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2002.The performance by Buffalo’s Dominik Hasek in the Sabres’ 1994 opening-round series against the New Jersey Devils ranks fourth, and Hasek also holds a couple of other distinctions. First, he wins the Roy for the best performance in an individual game, stopping all 70 New Jersey shots in a legendary four-overtime shutout in Game 6 of the series. And he and the Devils’ Martin Brodeur share the Roy for the best combined goaltending performance in a single series: Patrick Roy2001COL24.213.0+3.2 Jean-Sebastien Giguere2003MDAMIN4.537.2+1.7 From 1988 onward, Roy was 15 wins better than an average playoff goaltender, easily outdistancing second-place Ed Belfour. And that under-rates Roy, since it doesn’t give him credit for 1986, when Roy, then 20 years old, had a 1.92 postseason GAA in leading the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup. Roy also does really well by conventional playoff statistics — he had 151 career playoff wins, easily the best all-time — but he earned them.In other cases, however, the advanced stats provide some insight that isn’t as clear from traditional stats. While Brodeur had a considerably better career playoff GAA than Roy, for instance, he’s relatively far behind him in net wins, since the Devils’ neutral-zone trap prevented him from facing all that many shots and since he played in a low-scoring era.Meanwhile, the Penguins’ Marc-Andre Fleury ranks as the third-worst playoff goaltender since 1988 despite a winning (53-44) career playoff record. That’s because it’s easy to win games when you have Crosby scoring goals for you. Our support-neutral stat detects that Fleury really hasn’t been much good in the playoffs.Lundqvist, meanwhile, ranks as the sixth-best playoff goaltender since 1988, while Holtby ranks ninth — despite being in just his fifth NHL season. After Wednesday night, one of them will have the chance to add to his legend, while the other will have plenty of time to watch Patrick Roy clips on YouTube. Patrick Roy1993MTLQUE6.325.3+1.6 Ron Hextall1988PHI6.3-25.6-1.6 Tim Thomas2011BOSVAN7.0+34.2%+2.4 Braden Holtby34.810.5+3.7 41997Rangers (Richter)Devils (Brodeur)5.9611.15+2.6 11994Devils (Brodeur)Sabres (Hasek)7.9431.61+3.3 32011Bruins (Thomas)Canucks (Luongo)7.9362.16+2.6 62002Senators (Lalime)Flyers (Cechmanek)5.9611.05+2.6 Ed Belfour2004TOROTT7.425.3+1.9 Tuukka Rask2013BOS24.414.8+3.6 Jean-Sebastien Giguere2003MDA23.515.8+3.7 John Vanbiesbrouck1996FLA22.218.3+4.1 51993Maple Leafs (Potvin)Blues (Joseph)7.9382.06+2.6 Jonathan Quick78.14.3+3.3 Who says low-scoring hockey games are boring?The New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist and the Washington Capitals’ Braden Holtby have put on a heart-stopping and spectacular goaltending duel in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which will conclude with Game 7 in New York on Wednesday night. So far, every game in the series has been decided by one goal, with Lundqvist and Holtby combining for a 1.80 goals against average (GAA) and a .943 save percentage.Lundqvist and Holtby have been among the better playoff goalies in recent NHL history, and the Rangers-Caps series has been in the upper echelon of goaltending battles. But a few have been even better. In their honor, we’re going to be handing out some Roy Awards for the best postseason goaltending performances since 1988. (Why are they called Roy Awards? That will become clear in a moment.)How to measure goaltending success is a subject of debate among hockey geeks. But here’s one approach, which is inspired by Baseball Prospectus’s Support Neutral Win-Loss (SNWL), a statistic designed to evaluate baseball pitchers. As SNWL seeks to evaluate pitchers while controlling for their run support, our goalie statistic will seek to give goaltenders credit for wins and losses without being biased toward those goalies who have better offenses scoring goals for them. It will also control for the number of shots the goaltenders faced and the quality of their opponents. Allowing three goals — as Lundqvist did Sunday — is not that impressive, but it looks a lot better when you consider he faced 45 shots against the Capitals, who have one of the NHL’s best offenses.Here’s how it works. I downloaded data from Hockey-Reference.com on all NHL playoff games since 1988. (Hockey-Reference, as terrific as it is, doesn’t have detailed game-by-game data before then.) For each game, I compared each goalie’s actual GAA against a benchmark GAA that represents how you’d expect an average playoff goalie to perform under the same circumstances. The benchmark GAA is calculated1Via a linear regression analysis. based on the number of shots the goalie faced, his opponent’s goal-scoring and shooting percentage during the regular season, and whether he was playing at home or on the road. During Friday’s Game 5, for instance — with the Rangers playing at home and the Capitals generating relatively few shots — Lundqvist’s benchmark GAA was 2.17. But on Sunday, on the road and with the Caps taking 45 shots on goal, his benchmark GAA was 3.56.The next step is to translate the benchmark GAA and the goalie’s actual GAA into win probabilities,2Win probabilities are calculated using a Poisson distribution. assuming that the goalie had average offensive support.3Average offensive support is calculated based on leaguewide goal scoring per game during the NHL regular season, adjusted slightly downward because playoff games are lower-scoring on average. For Friday’s Game 5, for instance, Lundqvist’s benchmark 2.17 GAA translates into a 52 percent win probability. But Lundqvist’s actual performance, allowing just one goal, raised the Rangers’ win probability to 80 percent. So Lundqvist gets credit for +0.28 net wins, the difference between the two figures. (Actually, he gets credit for slightly more than that, since the game went to overtime.)4More specifically, Lundqvist is credited with +0.28 wins per 60 minutes of ice time. Since he was actually on the ice for 69 minutes, counting overtime, the number is scaled up proportionately to +0.32 wins.First up, here are the Roys for goaltending in a single playoff series:Best Performances GOALIEMP/60NET CHANGE IN WIN % PER 60 MPNET WINS Patrick Roy227.7+6.6%+15.0 Dan Cloutier22.7-16.9-3.8 Patrick Roy1989MTL20.114.7+3.0 Trevor Kidd1995CGYSJS7.2-24.3-1.8 Ron Hextall1988PHIWSH6.3-25.6-1.6  Worst Performances Patrick Roy1993MTL21.6+19.6%+4.2 Worst Performances John Vanbiesbrouck47.511.3+5.4 Dan Cloutier2003VAN13.9-17.9%-2.5 COMBINED STATS Trevor Kidd1995CGY7.2-24.3-1.8 Kirk McLean1994VAN25.711.8+3.0 Why does that Devils-Sabres series rank so highly? Hasek and Brodeur’s conventional statistics were great, but not obviously better than some other goaltending duels, like that between the Canucks’ Roberto Luongo and the Dallas Stars’ Marty Turco in 2007. One reason is because of that quadruple overtime game, which made the matchup the equivalent of an eight-game series. But another is because the series was played in 1994, when goal-scoring was about 20 percent higher than it is now. So it stands out more by comparison.The current Rangers-Caps series ranks as the 17th-best goalie duel so far: Holtby has contributed 1.0 net wins and Lundqvist 0.8, for a combined 1.8. It could plausibly move into the top 10 if Game 7 is low-scoring.We can also award a Roy for the best goaltending in a single playoff season. It goes to … Patrick Roy, who added 4.2 wins in the 1993 NHL playoffs. Roy’s performance ranks highly in part because it came against some high-flying offenses. His playoff opponents — the Nordiques, Sabres, Islanders and Kings — had each averaged about four goals per game during the regular season.Best Performances Tuukka Rask2013BOSPIT4.647.2+2.2 Felix Potvin1993TORSTL7.721.5+1.7 172015Rangers (Lundqvist)Capitals (Holtby)6+.9431.80+1.8 81999Maple Leafs (Joseph)Flyers (Vanbiesbrouck)6.9461.46+2.3 Jean-Sebastien Giguere2003MDADET4.834.8+1.7 Mike Vernon1997DET20.512.8+2.6 GOALIEYEARTEAMMP/60NET CHANGE IN WIN % PER 60 MPNET WINS Worst Performances GOALIEYEARTEAMOPP.MP/60NET CHANGE IN WIN % PER 60 MPNET WINS GOALIEYEARTEAMOPP.MP/60NET CHANGE IN WIN % PER 60 MPNET WINS Craig Anderson26.812.3+3.3 Dominik Hasek1994BUFNJD8.124.2+2.0 Corey Crawford2014CHILAK7.4-27.8-2.1 GOALIEYEARTEAMMP/60NET CHANGE IN WIN % PER 60 MPNET WINS Tuukka Rask50.85.9+3.0 Tim Thomas2011BOS25.712.5+3.2 92002Hurricanes (Irbe)Maple Leafs (Joseph)6.9501.25+2.3 Ed Belfour165.76.3+10.4 Arturs Irbe2002CARTOR6.427.9+1.8 Kelly Hrudey65.3-6.8%-4.5 Martin Brodeur211.93.6+7.7 Antti Niemi61.0-4.5-2.8 SEASONSERIES WINNER (MAIN GOALIE)SERIES LOSER (MAIN GOALIE)GAMESSAVE%GAANET GT WINS 22007Canucks (Luongo)Stars (Turco)7.9511.36+2.9 SEASONHIGHER SEED (MAIN GOALIE)LOWER SEED (MAIN GOALIE)GAMESSAVE%GAANET GT WINS Curtis Joseph135.12.6+3.5 GOALIEMP/60NET CHANGE IN WIN % PER 60 MPNET WINS Dominik Hasek1999BUF20.312.4+2.5 Dan Cloutier2003VANMIN6.9-31.3%-2.2 Olaf Kolzig46.66.9+3.2 Martin Brodeur1995NJD20.413.3+2.7 Curtis Joseph1999TORBUF4.6-33.2-1.5 John Vanbiesbrouck1996FLAPIT7.026.9+1.9 Sean Burke35.8-9.1-3.2 Tim Thomas51.98.3+4.3 Dominik Hasek121.96.2+7.6 Patrick Roy1996COL24.211.6+2.8 Jonathan Quick2012LAK20.614.1+2.9 Martin Brodeur1994NJD19.513.6+2.6 read more

  • Enes Kanter May Be One Of The Last Players To Cash In

    At a glance, Kanter is the kind of young post player whose services teams line up around the block to pay for. The list of big men who snagged at least 15 points and 8 rebounds a game as 22-year-olds, as Kanter did last year, is littered with Hall of Famers, to say nothing of players whose numbers Kanter matched (18.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG) after a midseason trade to the Thunder. Decades ago, Kanter would have been seen as one of the league’s rising stars.Today, though, players are judged on their advanced metrics in addition to per-game averages and the eye test. And few players benefit less from this development than Kanter.Granted, it doesn’t take supercharged data to suspect Kanter of playing poor defense. He has a reputation for ineptitude at that end of the floor, and his block totals are routinely anemic. But defense is also a complex area of the game that statistics have traditionally been ill-equipped to measure accurately. And without reliable data, defensive deficiencies were easy to deny or downplay as more opinion than fact.Modern advanced stats, though, help quantify the defensive inadequacies of players such as Kanter with far greater precision than was previously possible. Without Real Plus-Minus (RPM), for instance, you wouldn’t know that Kanter had the worst on-court defensive influence of any center last season. And without SportVU player tracking data, you wouldn’t know Kanter allowed the highest field goal percentage at the rim of any qualified1Minimum 500 minutes played. big man a year ago. The recent advent of deeper NBA data has made it tougher for poor defenders to hide their shortcomings.Surprisingly (at least to me), Kanter’s offense also suffers on the sabermetric front: He doesn’t appear to help his teams score as efficiently as would be expected from his basic statistics. Only a few players have scored as much, and with as much efficiency,2As respectively measured by usage rate and true shooting percentage. as Kanter has over the past three seasons, but it doesn’t seem to matter. During Kanter’s career, his teams have scored 1.5 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor than without, and — perhaps not coincidentally — he had the second-worst offensive Box Plus/Minus (BPM) of any player in the aforementioned group, and the fifth-worst offensive RPM.The single most important component of a player’s on-court offensive influence3As measured by offensive RPM. is scoring efficiency, and that’s not a trouble spot for Kanter. But even more important (when taken collectively) are a player’s assist rate and his ability to get to the line and to take 3-point shots, and Kanter sets the team back in both areas.That may not seem important because Kanter is still personally scoring points, but basketball is a tricky sport that way. The fascinating thing that happens when you search for links between component categories and overall offensive performance is that unexpected relationships fall out of the data. A player’s passing can amplify (or diminish) the potency of the threat his scoring talent represents; his ability to stretch the floor or collapse defenses into the paint can open up opportunities for teammates. Kanter’s own numbers might not be affected, but his weaknesses show up in his team’s rates of shooting efficiency, turnovers and, ultimately, offensive success.The idea of players being hollow stat-stuffers is hardly new, but the ability to quantify it with enough certainty to resist the lure of the potential “20 and 10” guy4Kanter averaged 19.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per 36 minutes last season. at the negotiating table is a novel development. Too novel, in fact, since OKC did eventually cave and match Portland’s offer to Kanter, putting the Thunder above the luxury-tax line they’d traded James Harden to avoid less than three years earlier. But if the rapid acceptance of advanced metrics is any indication, Kanter might be one of the last of his kind.In other words, don’t be surprised if the days of a player cashing in on hollow numbers are, well, numbered. In the history of NBA free agency, there have been worse moves — particularly when you consider the crazy money that teams have shelled out to big men over the years. And through a certain prism (one that used to be the norm not so long ago), it even seems perfectly reasonable. But the Oklahoma City Thunder’s decision to match Portland’s maximum-level ($70 million) offer sheet to center Enes Kanter received mostly scorn from the Internet after it was announced late Sunday. read more

  • The ServeAndVolley Works But Womens Tennis Players Arent Using It

    Women at this year’s U.S. Open have displayed incredible athleticism and shrewd strategy. We’ve seen blistering serves and masterful groundstrokes in the nearly two weeks of play. But we’ve been missing a powerful, ancient weapon: the serve-and-volley. The tactic is all but extinct from women’s tennis, despite still being incredibly effective.Through the quarterfinals in Flushing Meadows, on points in which women followed their serve by rushing to the net for a volley, they won a remarkable 76 percent of the time, according to U.S. Open data from IBM. But confoundingly, the strategy was deployed only 84 times — less than 1 percent of all points played.Serena Williams, for her part, flashed the potential of the serve-and-volley in her semifinal win Thursday over Anastasija Sevastova. Williams came to the net five times immediately after serving, taking four of those points.After the match, Williams said she usually approaches the net “only to shake hands,” but she wanted to try something different against Sevastova. It was a reminder of just how potent the tactic can be.The serve-and-volley appears to be used more on the men’s side of late. At this year’s U.S. Open, men served and volleyed 488 times through the quarterfinals, for just less than 3 percent of all points played. Though they couldn’t quite equal the gaudy success rate of the women, they still did very well with the tactic, winning 66 percent of the time. No matter who’s doing it, statistically, the serve-and-volley is an effective way to win points.Why this play is underutilized has long been a topic of discussion in tennis. Some have chalked up the change in tactics to advanced racquets and strings that improve passing shots, while others have blamed slower courts at Wimbledon and this year’s U.S. Open.1Theoretically, slower courts allow players more time to tee off on returns, blowing by net rushers. But there’s no doubt that women have been giving serve-and-volley the cold shoulder.During the late 1970s and ’80s, Martina Navratilova dominated the sport using an attacking serve-and-volley style with monsterous success, propelling her to 18 Grand Slam Championships. Even in the 1990s, serve-and-volley was still in a heyday in the women’s game. To illustrate, look at Wimbledon. It’s a place where serve-and-volley has historically been a favorite tactic because of the ability of the server to dominate on grass, where the ball bounces are low. Returners must put loft on their shots to ensure they clear the net. That’s a feast for a volleyer.Wimbledon first released serve-and-volley data in 1997, and it included tournament totals for the first time in 2002. Jana Novotna served and volleyed her way to the final that year, losing to Martina Hingis. For the tournament, Novotna employed the serve-and-volley 339 times, winning 213 of those points. In the final against Hingis, she used it 76 times — almost as often as the entire women’s field through five rounds at this year’s U.S. Open. It’s an astounding drop of a tactic and a big shift in the way women play tennis.Wimbledon is the only Grand Slam that releases historical data, but we can look at its last 17 tournaments to track the decline of serve-and-volley as a strategy in the women’s game: Assuming the point does not end on an ace or double-fault, serving players essentially have two choices: serve and move forward or serve and stay at the baseline. Since the 2000s, players who prefer to remain mainly at the baseline have taken over tennis, despite the unshakably consistent success rates for serve-and-volley over the years. But the difference between the strategies has been stark at this year’s U.S. Open: Through the quarterfinals, women have won just 48 percent of points at the baseline — 28 percentage points less than the share of points won on serve-and-volley.All sports go through trends. As the games change, different approaches fall in and out of vogue. The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl last year on the strength of the RPO — run/pass option — in which backup quarterback Nick Foles had the option of handing off or passing. But the play wasn’t new. The option has been around in college football since the 1960s. But it’s taken a backseat as more teams have gone to pro-style offenses.This happens all the time in sports: What’s old becomes new again. Tennis is no different. Strategies experience revivals.Women in tennis have been relegating themselves mostly to the baseline. But perhaps Williams’s use of the serve-and-volley Thursday will spark a new trend. read more

  • Ohio State mens lacrosse suffers first loss of season 169 at Massachusetts

    OSU then-junior attacker Carter Brown (14) during the Buckeyes’ 15-12 win against Johns Hopkins on March 5 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Courtesy of OSUThe Ohio State men’s lacrosse team early-season winning run came to an end on Saturday.The Buckeyes lost to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen by a score of 16-9 for their first loss and the Minutemen’s first win of the season.In similar fashion to their first two games, the Buckeyes fell into an early deficit. UMass won the opening faceoff, and junior attacker Gianni Bianchin scored his first of three goals in the half to give the Minutemen an early 1-0 lead.The Scarlet and Gray rebounded, however, and went on a 4-1 run to end the first quarter. Junior midfielder John Kelly scored two of his four goals in the quarter, and senior attacker Carter Brown threw a strike into the upper corner of the net for his third goal of the season to give OSU a 4-2 lead heading into the second quarter.However, on a mission to defend its home field, UMass came out of the gate strong in the second quarter.Bianchin scored two early goals to tie the game at four, and sophomore midfielder Buddy Carr scored his first of four goals with 8:23 left to cap a 4-0 Minutemen run and give the home team a 6-4 lead.OSU was unable to get any offensive momentum in the second quarter until Kelly scored with 4:47 remaining. An additional goal for each team to end the half gave UMass a 7-6 lead heading into the break.The Minutemen outshot the Buckeyes 20-13 in the first half, while OSU had a 7-5 advantage in faceoffs, leading to a relatively even first half between the two teams.Such was not the case in the second half.UMass blitzed the Buckeye defense in the second half, outscoring OSU 9-3 en route to a 16-9 finish. The Minutemen held a significant advantage in time of possession, leading to a 17-11 advantage in goal attempts.One reason for the disparity in goals scored in the second half was how UMass was able to capitalize on its opportunities. The Minutemen were able to score off OSU turnovers and empty-netters late in the game.On the other hand, the Buckeyes were unable to capitalize on extra-man opportunities following UMass penalties the entire game, including a small stretch when the OSU had a two-man advantage.One bright spot for the Buckeyes was the play of junior midfield specialist Jake Withers. Although he was unable to gain an extreme advantage in faceoffs like the previous two games, he did win the overall faceoff battle 13-12, extending his streak of positive differentials to three games.The Scarlet and Gray will try to rebound from the loss when they are set to go up against University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Friday at Ohio Stadium. The game is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. read more

  • Five takeaways Ohio State football might have figured it out just in

    OSU redshirt sophomore safety Malik Hooker (24) returns an interception during the second half of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes won 62-3. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorIt’s time to breathe a little easier if you are an Ohio State fan. Questions were swirling for weeks about how bad the Buckeyes looked on offense, and how the defense had suddenly lost the ability to stop teams when they needed to. A 62-3 win over No. 10 Nebraska might just have quenched the thirst of OSU fans begging to see the team dominate once again.“Dominate” is an understatement when a team holds its opponent to just 204 total yards and a measly three points on the board. From the moment the first play from scrimmage commenced, there was a sense of arrogance by the Buckeyes, but not in a bad way.The team looked like it was unstoppable.Connecting on long passes and bulldozing the Nebraska defensive line while also stuffing the run and picking the ball off twice is a recipe to make any head coach smile. Even Urban Meyer, who decided to participate in an “O-H-I-O” chant led by the student section near the end of the game.It was more than just a blowout of a tough conference opponent. It was a statement. A statement by players who were itching to prove they weren’t just riding the coattails of the name emblazoned on their jerseys and in the endzones. There was passion and fire in the eyes of the Buckeyes, and just in time too.Here are five takeaways from the 62-3 beatdown of Nebraska.OSU corrected mistakes on defenseIn back-to-back weeks, the Buckeyes defense known as the “Silver Bullets” looked like its nickname should be demoted to copper or bronze. Although statistically still performing well in consecutive weeks against Northwestern and Penn State, OSU gave up big-time chunk plays when the team was trying to get stops.That all changed on Saturday.Cornhuskers’ senior quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. presented a dynamic threat like Penn State redshirt sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley did two weeks ago, with the only differences being that Armstrong has a cannon-arm and runs like an agile running back. Unfortunately for Nebraska, he was not in for most of the game.After a scary few minutes at Ohio Stadium where he lay motionless, Armstrong returned to the field out of pads. His presence in the game, both playing or cheering, was far from enough to push the Cornhuskers’ offense. And it wasn’t because Nebraska struggles on offense.Simply put, OSU made the corrections from last week it needed to. The secondary played airtight coverage for nearly every deep pass play. The defensive line created a big push up front to register five tackles for loss, even though it failed to register a sack for the first time this season. And, most importantly, there was crisp communication throughout the entire OSU sideline.If this defense has fixed the dilemmas from early this year, the Big Ten should be warned.J.T. Barrett regained some confidenceRedshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett looked scared to throw the ball down the field ever since throwing a pick and struggling to find wide receivers open against Indiana. He was hesitant to chuck the ball more than 10 yards downfield, and seemed to be comfortable with playing pitch-and-catch with his running backs and tight ends. Against Nebraska, the freshman phenom Barrett was on full display.Although he missed a few deep throws that might have lead to a couple more points on the board, Barrett looked on the same page with his wide receivers and the rest of the offense for the first time since OSU defeated Rutgers 58-0.“We’ve not been explosive at receiver this year,” Meyer said. “And when you throw for 300-plus yards, and obviously (junior H-back Curtis Samuel) is very explosive, but I thought our receivers all day they were running very sharp routes, very crisp routes against a good secondary. And J.T.’s delivering the ball, but I thought the receivers were outstanding.”Meyer must have felt the confidence of Barrett growing since he decided to draw up the old Tim Tebow jump pass. A four-touchdown performance on a grand stage might have been all he needed to get back on the right track.Barrett had a little help though.Curtis Samuel utilized to his full potentialSamuel received one less touch on Saturday than he did last week. Last time he had a dip in touches, it seemed like the entire OSU fan base was set to erupt. Meyer was heavily criticized for keeping the ball out of his hands and even had some saying that was the main reason for the loss against Penn State.Less touches this time around was a non-factor, as Samuel ran rampant for 178 total yards, most of which came through the air. He led the team in receiving touchdowns with two, and even got in on a punt return. The punt return went backwards five yards, but at least he didn’t muff the punt.Although a gifted runner, the pass-catching ability of Samuel was utilized to perfection, as the junior cashed in a performance reminiscent of the Bowling Green game to start the season. In the future, the idea might be to continue the trend of more looks for Samuel lined up as a receiver instead of in the backfield.When asked about Samuel, Meyer asked how many touches his H-back got. When media members responded with 13, the Buckeyes’ head coach had a simple response.“So he’s okay,” he said.Either way, the guy can find his way to the endzone.A fast-paced offense is a happy offenseAnyone who loves offensive football had to be giddy watching the way OSU orchestrated its offensive drives. Like an artist carefully crafting a masterpiece, Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff drew up an offensive game plan to put the Buckeyes in multiple scoring opportunities, and the players executed.Execution was a question mark for OSU coming into the game, but there should be few question when analyzing the drive summary from this week. Only one drive took longer than five minutes for the Scarlet and Gray, and the team marched 75 yards or more for a touchdown on five separate occasions.“It is a little relief to know that right now I saw some explosiveness that we kind of have been lacking in some positions,” Meyer said. “And I think relief is probably the correct word, that we’ve all been waiting for that to happen.”The quick-punch and crisp movement by OSU made it seem as though the team was unchallenged on either side of the ball, even if both Meyer and his players insist it was a tough game for them.“I think tonight is an example of that, you know late in the season we get it going,” junior tackle Jamarco Jones said. “Hopefully we can just build off this and keep the momentum rolling and keep winning.”Speaking of getting it going late in the season…OSU is back in the playoff pictureJones hit on a key element to the blowout victory. “Late in the season we get it going” kind of summarizes OSU in games this year as well. The team has been a second-half unit, although Bowling Green and Nebraska are kind of the outliers.After Texas A&M received the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff poll, the Aggies promptly dropped their next game against Mississippi State, pushing OSU up. The Buckeyes are right there, but still need some things to go their way to earn a playoff spot.Winning the Big Ten title is definitely a priority for OSU at this point, but Michigan needs to remain unbeaten until the two rivals square-off, or hope Penn State drops another conference game. OSU still has to win out as well.Simple, right?Meyer and the rest of the team will try to say they are just looking ahead to Maryland. That seems unlikely given how few games are left this year and how close they are to earning their way back into the playoff.Crazy stuff happened in 2014 that eventually led to a Buckeye playoff berth and an OSU national championship, so why can’t it happen again? read more

  • Football JT Barretts improving accuracy tight end most improved position and more

    Nine spring practices have come and gone for the Ohio State football team and the depth chart appears more definite just a week-and-a-half before the spring game.Coach Urban Meyer discussed the ongoing position battles and some standout performers in spring practice, while also revealing that sophomore linebacker Malik Harrison has undergone shoulder surgery and will miss the remainder of the spring. Meyer added that Harrison has been “having a tremendous spring” and “will compete for a starting spot” once he is healthy again.Here are five takeaways from Meyer’s Tuesday’s press conference.Barrett improving accuracyComing off a season where redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett completed his lowest percentage of passes in his career, Barrett has been working with co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day on improving his accuracy and trying to rediscover the success he found in his redshirt freshman season.Last season, Barrett completed just 61.8 percent of passes, 1.5 percent worse than his 2015 season and 2.8 percent less than his redshirt freshman season.“I thought his freshman year, he was a very accurate player and the last two years weren’t quite as accurate,” Meyer said. “Our deep ball percentage was the best that it’s been since we’ve been here last week. We were charting everything and JT and the boys did a really good job. We didn’t catch all of them, but as far as accuracy, it was almost something like 90 percent and that’s what we’re looking for.”Burrow leading the race for backup quarterbackThere was never really a competition for the starting quarterback job with Barrett’s return, but Meyer offered insight on the battle for the No. 2 at the position.Redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow currently stands out among the quarterbacks to serve as Barrett’s backup in the upcoming season, but freshman quarterback Tate Martell is still taking plenty of reps, Meyer said.“I’d say Joe is ahead of them, but they’re both getting reps,” he said. “Tate had his best day, too, the other day in the scrimmage, so it’s good competition there and that brings out the best in people. We all know what happened a couple years ago where all of a sudden someone taps you on the shoulder and says, ‘You’re the starter. Go beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.’ And they did it. So that position is a key guy.”Offensive-line recruiting has ‘missed’ in the pastPart of the reason the offense struggled to produce at its same level in 2016 was because of an offensive line that did not provide the same level of pass protection that it had in years past.Meyer said that two of his offensive-line classes “didn’t turn out” the way he had hoped, but that he has a trio of offensive lineman who are really coming along in practice and should be able to help improve the play of the line in 2017 .“Yes we have (missed a few). More than a few. You can’t do that. That’s what happens is you have a year like we did last year where guys — you know, true freshmen should have not played then,” Meyer said. “Demetrius Knox is running with the ones and Malcolm Pridgeon is still learning the offense, but Matt Burrell is probably one of the most improved offensive lineman at this point and the other guys are much improved as well. Very pleased with where we are at on the offensive line.”Tight end is most improved position in spring practicesThere has been improvement in the offensive line and the quarterbacks so far, but the position that has stepped up its game in spring the most has been the tight ends, Meyer said.Even with senior tight end Marcus Baugh missing spring practice so far with offseason shoulder surgery, the tight end position has looked promising thus far and has been “the most improved position on the team.”“A.J. Alexander is really coming on and Luke Farrell is a little bit ahead of Jake Hausmann, but they’re both very comparable,” Meyer said.Defensive line will be backbone of the teamThe defensive line will be returning a lot of stars from last season, including all defensive ends and the team will count on them to once again be the backbone of the defense in the upcoming season.With a returning group of defensive ends that include Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year Tyquan Lewis, redshirt junior Sam Hubbard, sophomore Nick Bosa and senior Jalyn Holmes, the defensive line will be “as good as anybody in America,” Meyer said. “I think as of right now, it’s the strength of our team on defense,” Meyer said. “Dre’Mont Jones is really turning into a fine player here for us. On the other side, we’re really hoping Tracy Sprinkle can give us some depth and be the guy that we thought he was going to be before he got hurt.”Meyer added that Hubbard, who finished third on the team in sacks and second in quarterback hits, is “the definition of elite” and works as hard as anybody to perfect his craft.“We call it 10-80-10 around here and it’s elite self discipline, self respect and incredible work ethic, that’s how you identify the characteristics of an elite player and he’s as elite as I’ve ever been around,” Meyer said. Other notes:A battle for the position of kicker will continue on over the remainder of the spring and the summer between junior kicker Sean Nuernberger and recruit Blake Haubeil, Meyer said, with Nuernberger in “much better shape than he’s ever been,” though he will still have to win over the spot.Sophomore wide receiver Binjimen Victor has “a bit of a sore shoulder,” Meyer said, but he’s making progress and has the talent to do “anything he wants.”Meyer said that senior safety Damon Webb is “a much improved player than he was in the spring” and credited Webb’s success to recent weight loss read more

  • Womens Lacrosse Ohio State and Detroit Mercy both looking for bounceback wins

    Ohio State then-freshman goalie Jillian Rizzo saves a shot against Vermont Credit: Walt Middleton – Courtesy of OSU AthleticsComing off a loss in its season opener, the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team has an opportunity to bounce back in its home debut against Detroit Mercy at 7 p.m. Friday. Ohio State (0-1) fell to No. 10 Navy in a 9-7 road loss its last time out, while the Titans (0-1) were suffered a 21-2 loss to No. 11 Northwestern to open their season. Detroit Mercy was picked to finish fourth in the Southern Conference by the conference’s coaches prior to the season and had the most players picked to the preseason all-conference team.Despite her team’s loss, Ohio State head coach Alexis Venechanos said the team looks strong defensively. “Playing Navy early in the season, I think we were able to kind of see [the areas] that we’re strong in,” Venechanos said. “We feel like right now we did a good job of competing and I feel like defensively we did well.” Leading the defense is sophomore goalie Jillian Rizzo, who had a career-high 17 saves against Navy and held the Midshipmen to a 21-minute scoring drought. Her coach praised her as being one of the main reasons the team stayed in the game against Navy.Rizzo, the only captain who isn’t a senior, has had a positive impact on the team in both games and practice. “She has so much love for her sport, so much confidence and so much joy,” Venechanos said. “She brings it every day at practice, she works hard, and it’s exciting to see her perform like that on the field and her teammates respond so well to her.”Offensively, the Buckeyes look to capitalize behind senior attacker Molly Wood, junior midfielder Baley Parrott and sophomore midfielder Liza Hernandez. Venechanos said the team relies on the trio to be the catalysts for the team’s offense in its upcoming matchup.Hernandez and Parrott led the team in goals against Navy with two each. The collaborative effort provided a triple-threat offense against the Midshipmen. “Molly had some great draw controls. Baley I felt like was the fastest kid on the field … and then Liza was Liza, doing her thing on attack,” Venechanos said. “We’re going to need those performances and also a few more on attack this weekend for sure. “The team is looking to improve by taking advantage of big playmaking opportunities when presented with them. “We’re mindful that we have to execute even though we compete,” Venechanos said. “We talked about that as finishing the play, capitalizing on the shots, capitalizing the ground ball [and] the clears.”The Buckeyes host the Titans at 7 p.m. Friday. read more

  • Softball Ohio State bats silenced in 31 loss in Game Two against

    Emily Clark follows through on her swing, hitting a double against Wright State on Sep.24. Credit: Gretchen Rudolph | For The LanternNothing seemed to go the way of the Ohio State softball team (20-8, 1-4 Big Ten) in its 3-1 loss to Wisconsin (16-12, 2-1 Big Ten) on Saturday. The Buckeyes were coming off of a thrilling late comeback victory in the first game of this three-game series, but the spark didn’t carry over to Game 2.“I think we were a little bit too passive,” Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach Schoenly said. “When we play our more aggressive style we’re more successful and I think we need to do that.”Ohio State scored just one run off an RBI single from junior second baseman Emily Clark that scored senior center fielder Taylor White in the bottom of the third inning. Wisconsin freshman pitcher Haley Hestekin held Ohio State to just five hits and zero walks, striking out five Buckeyes.“We let her control what we were going to do,” Clark said. “She had us guessing and I think we just need to be more aggressive.”Junior pitcher Kat Duvall started out on the mound for Ohio State after closing out Wisconsin in the first game where she struck out the side in the seventh inning to clinch the Buckeye win.The first two innings went quietly, but Wisconsin senior shortstop Brooke Wyderski changed that when she homered to left-center in the top of the third. Freshman third baseman Taylor Johnson followed her teammate with a long ball of her one, cranking one over the left field wall to extend the Badgers’ lead to 2-0.An error by the Buckeyes in the top of the seventh allowed Johnson to get home, providing the Badgers with insurance to bring the score to 3-1. read more

  • Gallery Mens Basketball vs Penn State

    Ohio State junior forward Andre Wesson (24) takes a shot in the first half of the game against Penn State on Feb. 7. Ohio State won 74-70. Credit: Ethan Clewell | Senior Lantern Reporter The Ohio State Men’s Basketball team beat Penn State 74-70 at the Schottenstein Center on Feb. 7. Photos by Ethan Clewell

  • Female bankers are the least likely to conceive through IVF

    first_imgTeachers, with thier long summer holidays and ability to control their diaries more, have greater IVF success Credit:Dave Thompson /PA What’s ironic is that investment banks have the most generous fertility perks, but that the culture very much works against all of thatJake Anderson-Bialis, FertilityIQ Women working in investment banks have among the worst chances of success from IVF treatment, but teachers are the most likely to conceive, new data has revealed.Despite enjoying lavish health benefits that often include access to reproductive therapy, city high-flyers are so stressed and at the whim of volatile markets they tend to miss appointments and vital windows to self-administer medicine.Research presented today at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual congress shows that female investment bankers are 60 per cent less likely to conceive from IVF than women working in other jobs with a similar salary. Teacher Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. The findings, he said, reflect research into assisted fertility rates at large technology companies such as Apple and Google, where success rates are low despite generous employee health benefits.The new 2015 survey of 1,123 IVF patients in the US also found that women who worked in sales, marketing and public relations jobs were twice as likely to benefit from treatment as those in different roles with the same salary.The chances of patients working as doctors, lawyers and nurses, however, were found to be roughly similar to women in the same pay bracket.Overall, women who reported earning a combined household income of more than £81,200 had an 80 per cent higher likelihood of success than patients below that threshold, even though they only recorded having 21 per cent more treatment cycles. IVF Teachers, however, were found to be six times more likely to conceive than peers of a comparable age, geography and take-home pay.Researchers believe that long summer holidays, which allow teachers to exercise rigorous control over their diaries, as well as a more supportive female-friendly work environment, contribute to the profession’s high rates of assisted reproductive success.Jake Anderson-Bialis, the founder of FertilityIQ which conducted the research, said: “IVF is a corridor that’s incredibly fragile, where timing is down to the minute and patients are responsible for an enormous amount of their own care.“If you are hours too early or too late, you can lose your cycle. What’s ironic is that investment banks have the most generous fertility perks, but that the culture very much works against all of that.” Female investment bankers may find it harder to conceive through IVFCredit:SEBASTIAN KAULITZKI /Getty  Pregnancy test The Silicon Valley entrepreneur, who began research in the field after he and his wife embarked on IVF, also said the findings reflect already published research showing that stress levels can harm chances of assisted reproduction.The study coincides with an announcement from the University of Nottingham that they have developed a new hair test that can measure levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which an negatively affect IVF by up to 30 per cent.Published the in the journal Psychoneuoendocrinology, the study says the test will help boost success rates by allowing doctors to ensure women’s hormonal conditions are favourable before beginning treatment. Stress levels can harm chances of assisted reproductionCredit:Peter Cade Mr Anderson-Bialis said the comparative figures on investment bankers and teachers showed that IVF success can be as much down to the patient’s environment than having access to multiple rounds of treatment.“What these [investment banker] women typically tell us is they’re leading a double life,” he said.“They feel they have to sneak out of the office for treatment. The demands of the job are insane.“If the market is crashing that day or you have to go and visit a client, you’re going to have to cancel an appointment. That’s bad – you cannot have that happen.”last_img read more

  • Winter Wonderland attraction branded a rip off and shambles after customers complain

    first_imgA Winter Wonderland attraction near Derby has been branded a “shambles” and shamed on social media after customers complained they were forced to walk through a muddy field only to find there was no Santa. Visitors criticised the Bakewell Winter Wonderland after discovering there were also no reindeer at the attraction when it first opened on Friday.  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. Santa’s Grotto was still being built, it was alleged, while some complained of two-hour queues to meet Father Christmas when he eventually turned up. Pictures of the festive attraction, which cost up to £7 for a ticket as well as £5 for parking, showed a few stalls and fairground rides dotted around a field covered in mud.Jean Sanderson, who travelled to the Winter Wonderland from her home 13 miles away in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, described it as “horrendous”.She said: “The entrance was not fit for push chairs and disabled people and the Santa’s grotto was not even finished yet.”Some children were upset and I expected to see more stalls; there were not many. I know the weather doesn’t help but the organisation was poor. There was no atmosphere at all. Bakewell Winter Wonderland's ice rink They wrote: “Due to the weather we have experienced we have had a lot of set backs this morning due to the mini hurricane.”We can only apologise for any inconvenience caused however we cannot avoid the awful weather we have experienced!”All winter wonderland is now open including Santa’s grotto, ice rink and our reindeers.”But the attraction’s posts were met with a barrage of negative comments. Emma East wrote: “I have opened a case with PayPal. Hoping for a refund. We went on Friday and it was horrible. I know the weather doesn’t help but the organisation was poor. There was not atmosphere at allJean Sanderson “There was no Santa and they were building the grotto when we got there. Apparently Santa came later.”Miss Sanderson was later refunded by the organisers after she complained during her visit on Friday.She added: “We were really looking forward to it. I don’t blame the stall holders who were there, I actually feel sorry for them, but it’s just not fair on the public and children.”Hundreds of other visitors took to social media to brand the festive attraction a “Winter Blunderland”. Catt Haswell tweeted: “Bakewell ‘winter wonderland’ what a joke, no Santa, no Christmas cheer & had to pay £7 before we knew.”Lorraine Taylor wrote on Facebook: “Absolutely horrendous and a rip off! £7 entry fee plus £5 to park! No Christmas gift stalls like I thought there would be just loads of food stalls & fair ground rides!” Bakewell Winter Wonderland’s ice rinkCredit: SWNS.com She added: “It was all hyped up to be such a great event. Very disappointed don’t blame people for wanting their money back – don’t waste your time or money.”Gabby Medgyesy said the attraction was “OK if you want to eat a burger and take your kids on eight fair ground rides”. But she added that queues for Santa took an hour and said: “It is nothing like they have advertised for the past month”. The Bakewell Winter Wonderland started on Friday and ran over the weekend until Sunday. It is due to return again from December 9-11.Organisers apologised to visitors on Friday in a post on their Facebook page blaming the poor conditions on a “mini hurricane”. “No Santa, no atmosphere, hardly anything that was advertised. I feel bad for the stall holders, I am sure they paid a lot of money to have stalls in what can only be described as a shambles.”Katrina Anderson added: “I too have opened a case with PayPal. Total disappointment, not festive at all just a big fairground and 1 small marquee with stalls crammed in.”The ground is treacherous while I saw countless people having real difficulty with pushchairs and wheelchairs getting through.”Not a winter wonderland at all! I wish we’d never travelled over an hour and queued for around 40 minutes to get in. Oh and to top it all off £5 to park. Ridiculous don’t waste your money.” Bakewell winter wonderland….. don’t bother #ripoff #disgusted— Steve Hatherley (@shatherley1970) November 19, 2016 @DerbyTelegraph really disappointing night last night at Bakewell Winter Wonderland, £7 entrance fee to stand on a muddy field, not good— Maria Castrignano W (@MiaCastrignano) November 20, 2016 The Bakewell Winter Wonderland is being held at Bakewell Showground but a spokesman said they were not involved in the organisation of the event.When asked who was in charge, she said she did not know.The showground spokesman added: “The event had some initial setbacks on the Friday due to a bad storm in the early hours of the morning.”Unfortunately this delayed the arrival of some traders and resulted in damage to the grotto, which the event organiser rectified within two hours of opening.”This is the only time Santa and his reindeer were unavailable. Visitors requesting a refund during this period were given one.”last_img read more

  • Policeman who froze to death could have died in stagemanaged fake suicide

    first_imgTimothy Frohwein A pre-inquest review had heard the officer had been overlooked for promotion on two separate occasions.There were also marital issues and he had recently undergone knee surgery which may have “contributed to his mental state”.But Briony Ballard, representing Derbyshire Police, submitted that given the toxicology and post mortem evidence there was nothing to support a conclusion “beyond reasonable doubt” that he had taken his own life.But Paul Clark, for the Frohwein family, argued that it was important to look at all the events that took place before the tragedy and consider it as a possibility.Dr Hunter replied, saying the evidence pointed to Mr Frohwein dying as a result of “exposure to the elements”.”We know that he left the house on Sunday lunchtime and we also know he sent text to his wife and son about intimate issues,” he said. “These texts in themselves might be evidence to suggest intent, but they are not proof of intent.”One can envisage a scenario were he has voluntarily left the house, gone up into the High Peak, sent texts to put people in a state of panic or fear.”He may have poured half a bottle of whisky on to the ground or drunk it. He also placed a number of blister packs of pills in crevices of the stone butt. He may have taken some, but that contradicts the toxicology reports.” Dr Hunter added: “One scenario could be that the whole thing was staged by Mr Frohwein, the drugs, the half empty bottle, the text messages, in the hope that people would come looking for him and he would be rescued. What he did not account for was the weather.”With the visibility affected by fog and darkness falling he may have thought it prudent to stay where he was and that people would come to the rescue.”However, things went tragically wrong because of the weather and that took its toll before he was found.”On the balance of the evidence I can’t be sure that Mr Frohwein necessarily had the intention to take his own life or that it was a direct result of his own actions.”It’s possible that while a suicide was stage managed to get the desired effect, things took a turn for the worst.” Timothy Frohwein’s body was found on Grouse Moor in the Goyt Valley. File picture Goyt Valley Tim Frohwein walking down a residential road after leaving his Buxton home  on November 17, 2013 One scenario could be that the whole thing was staged… in the hope that people would come looking for him and he would be rescued. What he did not account for was the weatherCoroner Dr Robert Hunter A senior policeman froze to death when he might have tried to “stage manage” a fake suicide attempt that went “tragically wrong”, a coroner has said.Ch Insp Timothy Frohwein, who the inquest heard had been twice overlooked for promotion, was found dead on moorland in the Peak District surrounded by pills and a whisky bottle.  Minutes after walking out of his family home, he sent text messages to his wife and son that led them to fear for his safety.But Chesterfield Coroners’ Court was told no trace of alcohol was found in his body and levels of the drugs in his system were way below levels considered toxic, let alone lethal.Derbyshire Senior Coroner Dr Robert Hunter said he could not safely say that the father of three meant to kill himself. The coroner added he may have had a row and simply gone for a walk to calm down, but he said “there is certainly not enough evidence to suggest suicide”.Dr Hunter told Mr Clark if he was to consider a conclusion of suicide he would have to hear “warts and all” evidence about every aspect of Mr Frohwein’s private and professional life.Mr Frohwein, a member of the Christian Police Association, had 20 years’ service in the police.  He had served widely across Derbyshire, headed up roads policing and was the operations chief inspector at Chesterfield at the time of his death.The inquest continues. Timothy Frohwein was a father of three from Buxton, DerbyshireCredit:SWNS He said one potential scenario was that the policeman had arranged the scene to look like he intended to take his own life believing he would be rescued, only for freezing weather and darkness to descend before anyone could.”It is possible, that while a suicide was stage-managed to get the desired effect, things took a turn for the worst,” he told the hearing.Mr Frohwein was last seen alive as he left his home in Buxton, Derbyshire, on November 17 2013. He was spotted walking in the direction of the hills near his home.Six days later, his body was found on Grouse Moor in the Goyt Valley by family friends helping to search for the 48-year-old.Pathologist Dr Andrew Hitchcock told the inquest Mr Frohwein died of hypothermia. He told the court it was not possible to say exactly when death had occurred.The pathologist said there were no signs of a heart attack. However, his lungs and stomach showed signs of hypothermia.Toxicologist Dr Paul Smith said Mr Frohwein was found next to a half-empty bottle of whisky, but tests showed there was no alcohol found in his blood or urine.He said this could be that the alcohol was broken down in the hours and days after death, or that it was not ingested.Blister packs of pills were found stuffed into the stone walls of the “butt”, which is used by grouse hunters, he was found next to. However, toxicology tests showed levels only consistent with “therapeutic use”. Tim Frohwein walking down a residential road after leaving his Buxton home  on November 17, 2013Credit:SWNS 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

  • Volkswagen emissions scandal Britons dying due to toxic fumes travelling across North

    first_imgBritons are dying because of the Volkswagen emission scandal with dozens killed from fumes travelling across the North Sea from Germany and ‘many times’ more killed by pollution from cars on UK roads, a study suggests. Between 2008 and 2015 Volkswagen rigged diesel cars so they could pass stringent environmental tests while emitting dangerous levels of pollution.More than one million VW cars in Britain were fitted with ‘defeat devices’ which pumped deadly nitrogen dioxide into the atmosphere at banned quantities.Environmental researchers at MIT studied the impact of the scandal across Europe and found that based on the 2.6 million cars sold in Germany alone, 2,600 people will die up to 10 years early even if a complete recall is completed by the end of this year.Yet only 1,100 of the deaths will actually occur in Germany, with more than 60 per cent of the premature mortalities affecting neighbouring countries, including Britain, Poland, France and the Czech Republic because pollution spreads on the wind. The team estimates that 30 people will die in Britain from fumes which have travelled across the North Sea, but said the final death toll could be ‘many times’ greater. If the research was extrapolated to Britain’s 1.2 million VWs more than 450 people may die as a result, although pollution in the UK is mitigated to a certain extent because we are an island.“Pollution doesn’t care about political boundaries; it just goes straight past,” said study co-author Steven Barrett, Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. The scandal could cost British taxpayers nearly £300 million in healthcare and social costs.The team found  If Volkswagen can recall and retrofit affected vehicles to meet European standards by the end of 2017, this would avert 2,600 additional premature deaths, or 29,000 life years lost,The research was published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. “Thus, a car in Germany can easily have significant impacts in neighboring countries, especially in densely populated areas such as the European continent.”We estimate that about 30 early deaths in the UK are attributable to the excess VW emissions in Germany. If the impact of UK emissions were added to this then the figure would be very significantly higher — possibly many times higher given the additional million affected vehicles in the UK.”Great Britain is an island so emissions from the UK will likely cause fewer deaths per tonne of Nitrogen Oxide than in Germany. But it’s remarkable that emissions as far away as Germany can contribute to UK air quality degradation.”  In addition to the increase in premature deaths, previous research has shown that the excess emissions are likely to contribute directly to more than 31 cases of chronic bronchitis and 34 hospital admissions involving respiratory and cardiac conditions.Individuals will also experience more than 120,000 minor restricted activity days, including work absences, and about 210,000 lower-respiratory symptom days. Paul Willis, the managing director of Volkswagen Group UK answering questions in front of Transport Select Committee The mortality rate was calculated on the basis that there is a one per cent extra risk of dying early in a given year per microgram per meter cubed of fine particles a person is exposed to.Prof Barrett added: “Typically that means that someone who dies early from air pollution ends up dying about a decade early.“It seems unlikely that Volkswagen is the only company with issues with excess emissions.“We don’t know if other manufacturers have these defeat devices, but there is already evidence that many other vehicles in practice emit more than the applicable test-stand limit value. So we’re trying to do this for all diesel vehicles.”In the wake of the scandal, the Department of Transport began a £1.1million retesting programme of 37 vehicles from 20 different carmakers to determine if others were also using similar defeat devices to pass emissions tests.center_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. VW Group claims to have fixed 470,000 cars in the UK and say they are now repairing cars at a rate of 20,000 a week although the company insists that vehicles in Britain never had defeat devices and were only being recalled to give drivers “peace of mind”.However last month MPs accused Volkswagen UK boss Paul Willis of telling “absolute blatant lies” when he repeated the stance at the Transport Select Committee. Researchers at MIT also warned that Europe was more severely affected by the scandal than the US, not only because far more cars were sold, but also because of higher population density and atmospheric conditions.Europe’s average population density is about three times higher than the US average, and historical data has shown that diesel cars are driven on average 20 per cent more, in terms of annual mileage, compared with the average American car. Paul Willis, the managing director of Volkswagen Group UK, answering questions in front of Transport Select Committee The atmosphere in Europe also contains more ammonia than in the US, so more deadly particulates may form the same amount of nitrogen dioxide.“It takes time for nitric oxides to get converted into particulates, at which point, they could be 100 to 200 kilometers or further away from their source,” added Prof Barrett.last_img read more