Month: September 2019

Penn State Trustee Resigns Amid Jerry Sandusky Fallout

The fallout of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case continues. The latest casualty is Steve Garban, a longtime and influential member of Penn State’s Board of TrusteesGarban resigned, bowing to pressure by some of his fellow trustees who were angry at him for failing to alert them about the Jerry Sandusky criminal investigation in April 2011.The trustees have become increasingly alarmed this week that the NCAA will hand down an extreme punishment, possibly the death penalty for its football program for its “loss of institutional control” during the Jerry Sandusky years.Several trustees flatly argued in private sessions this week that Garban’s resignation was needed to show the public the board was serious about “moving forward.”In a letter to board chairwoman Karen Peetz, Garban wrote: “It is clear to me that my presence on the board has become a distraction and an impediment to your efforts to move forward.”“These past months have been some of the most painful of my life,” Garban wrote. “After absorbing the findings of the Freeh Report last week, the Board of Trustees accepted responsibility for the failures of governance that took place on our watch. Following the release of the report, you also asked each member of the board to evaluate our individual paths forward.”Garban is the first Penn State trustee to quit since the release of the Freeh report, which was highly critical of the trustees’ handling of the Sandusky matter and the firing of coach Joe Paterno.The Board of Trustees hired former FBI director Louis Freeh to conduct the investigation, which interviewed 430 people and reviewed more than 3.5 million documents over eight months. The 267-page Freeh report was released July 12.Only one thing is certain: the fallout is not over. More administrators – and the school at large – will go down. read more


September 30, 2019 0

More of This Should Be Done Stephen A Smith

Smith then said the fair will be held on Sept. 20, where his ESPN show “First Take” will broadcast live. And there will be over 25 HBCUs in attendance as well. “When they brought it to my attention, I realized, OK, there’s an opportunity to bring attention to HBCUs, it’s an opportunity to help folks from disenfranchised communities. … We’re also going to have a college fair.” Stephen A. Smith recently dropped by New York radio station Hot 97, where he talked about being the ambassador of HBCU Week, which began Sept. 15 and ends Sept. 21. It’ll also take place at various locations throughout Wilmington, Delaware. The ESPN host also explained it was an idea he immediately took to because he went to Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina, an HBCU, and grew up in the inner-city community of Hollis in Queens, New York. Plus, any high school student who shows up to the fair with their grades and SAT or ACT scores in hand could get a scholarship from an HBCU right on the spot and be enrolled. There will also be a battle of the bands held during the week. “So they started something [called] HBCU Week, where you have a fair, colleges getting involved, and they were looking for someone to really, really bring attention to it and pump it up,” he explained. Smith said HBCU Week began three years ago, and it was started by Earl Cooper and Ashley Christopher, who work in the office of Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki. Smith learned about the week when he was being honored in Delaware a few months ago. Stephen A. Smith talked about being the ambassador of HBCU week. (Photo: Monica Schipper / WireImage via Getty Images) “This is unequivocally awesome @stephenasmith,” someone wrote Wednesday on Twitter about Smith’s involvement. “I truly hope that there are students that take advantage of this opportunity! More of this should be done within the communities to encourage students to attend college!” “Congratulations, Stephen A, for being the Ambassador for HBC,” wrote someone else. “Great to see, that you are using your platform, to educate young people and to promote HBC. Here’s how I became an ambassador for @hbcuweek. Only a few days away from being there! Thanks @Hot97 for having me… pic.twitter.com/GCe4T05Siy— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) September 18, 2019 read more


September 30, 2019 0

How Two GradeSchoolers Set Off A Tennis Revolution

But Bartkowicz’s backhand was ahead of her time. When she was just 12, a photo of her swinging with two hands at the Southern Girls Tennis Tournament appeared in the Louisville Courier-Journal. The caption began with the all-caps “TWO HANDS!” and called the shot a “baseball backhand.” When she won the 1965 U.S. Open girls title, The New York Times commended her “tremendous marksmanship” with that shot. By the time she closed out her junior career without a loss at the 1967 U.S. Open, the Philadelphia Inquirer called her “the foremost exponent of the two-handed backhand in women’s competition.”Evert is nearly six years younger than Bartkowicz and was unknown when Bartkowicz’s baseball backhand became famous. But Evert soon surpassed her older rival. She played her first Grand Slam at the 1971 U.S. Open — just two months after Bartkowicz played her last major at Wimbledon — and made the semifinals at age 16. In 1974, Evert won her first two Grand Slam titles, and the first two on record by a woman who hits a two-handed backhand. (A few notable men used two-handed backhands in the 1930s and 1940s, but the shot had mostly fallen back out of favor among men, too, when Bartkowicz and Evert were starting out.) By the time Evert won her last major, in 1986, her signature shot was tightening its grip in the sport, thanks also to its use by men’s champions Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg. And two years after Evert’s retirement, Monica Seles won three of four majors while using two hands on both backhands and forehands.By 2014, when The Economist tracked the decline of one-handed backhands in the pro game, just one woman with a one-handed backhand had won a major since 2008: Francesca Schiavone, at the 2010 French Open. In the latest installment in our documentary podcast series Ahead Of Their Time, we look at Bartkowicz and Evert, the innovators who brought the two-handed backhand to women’s tennis in a major way. Evert’s story is well-known: She rode her backhand, accuracy and focus to 18 Grand Slam singles titles. Bartkowicz’s is more obscure: After an extraordinary juniors career, she never reached a Grand Slam semifinal as a pro and played her last Slam soon after turning 22. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed When Peaches Bartkowicz and Chris Evert put their left hands above their right hands to grip their tennis racquets, they were girls in grade school unknowingly defying tennis orthodoxy to hit backhands the way that felt most comfortable. Today, more than half a century later, a little girl who hit backhands without using both hands would be the one defying tennis orthodoxy. One-handed backhands have almost completely disappeared from women’s tennis. And that’s thanks in part to the success that Bartkowicz and Evert had with their two-handed backhands. Embed Code Evonne Goolagong (left) and Peaches Bartkowicz at Wimbledon in 1970. Daily Express/Getty Images By Carl Bialik The two-handed backhand’s dominance has continued: Its users have won 35 of the last 36 women’s major titles. Every woman in the top 10 and 48 of the top 50 use it. It’s also become the dominant backhand in men’s tennis, though with accomplished one-handed holdouts such as Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem. (Tennis-nerd note: Every player occasionally hits backhands with one hand, especially in defensive positions, either to slice the ball or when forced to take a hand off the racquet to reach the ball. What we’re talking about are how players hit the backhand when they have time to get to the ball and drive it offensively.)Bartkowicz and Evert hit their backhands with two hands because they felt just one didn’t give them enough strength. The two-hander took over pro tennis for similar reasons. Using their off hand on backhands lets players hit with additional power, which gives the ball more speed and spin, especially in concert with the latest racquet and string technology. The one-hander’s advantages — better feel for the ball, more equipped for wide reaches and low bounces, smoother transition to one-handed backhand volleys at net — count less in a game played rarely on low-bouncing, volley-friendly grass and usually contested behind the baseline.The two-handed backhand is especially valuable when returning serves, as the extra support helps to absorb and redirect powerful, high-bouncing shots. Tennis analyst Jeff Sackmann has shown that in men’s pro tennis, players with two-handed backhands get the return in play more often, and win the point more often when they do. Data collected through Sackmann’s crowdsourced Match Charting Project for the women’s game shows the same general trends: Players with two-handed backhands have more success returning serves than do players with one-handed backhands. It’s hard to reach firm conclusions because there are simply so few women hitting one-handed backhands.The dearth of top women using one-handed backhands may be the most compelling data point demonstrating the two-handed backhand’s dominance: If it weren’t the best option, more women would be hitting backhands with one hand. Tennis, like all sports, has its share of domineering coaches, but it is also primarily an individual and individualistic sport. Players command their own games and choose the shots and tactics that will win the most. That makes tennis a sport that breeds innovation, whether it’s among pros at a Slam or among two young girls who chose the backhand that best suited them. And if the one-handed backhand ever makes a comeback in women’s tennis, it might begin with a girl defying orthodoxy and taking one hand off the racquet.Emma Morgenstern contributed research.This is part of our new podcast series “Ahead Of Their Time,” profiling players and managers in various sports who were underappreciated in their era. read more


September 29, 2019 0

Does Yachting Make You Worse At Football

Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Jan. 10, 2017), we take a look at the Clemson Tigers’ stunning fourth-quarter defeat of Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game. Next, we explore whether a Miami frolic on a boat is to blame for Odell Beckham Jr.’s poor playoff performance and the Giants’ 38-13 loss to the Packers on Sunday. Finally, we chat with Neil Greenberg, who writes for the Washington Post’s Fancy Stats blog, about winning streaks in the NHL this season — and what it might mean for the playoffs down the road. Plus, a significant digit that’s in part about Hot Takedown’s own Kate Fagan.Links to what we discussed:ESPN’s Edward Aschoff recapped the CFP championship game, which had a particularly wild fourth quarter.Neil Paine wrote about how Clemson made history defeating Alabama.The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren reported on Beckham and his yacht trip last week.Beckham is likely not going to have a fun offseason, writes The Ringer’s Kevin Clark.Last weekend was one of the worst wild-card weekends in NFL history.Last week, the New York Times recapped the game that ended the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 16-game winning streak, just one win shy of tying the NHL record.Do winning streaks in the NHL help us to predict anything about the playoffs? ESPN Stats & Information’s Mike Wilson explores.Significant Digit: 53, the number of consecutive free throws that Lexie Brown, a guard for the Duke women’s basketball team, has hit in a row. This is a new ACC record, and more than our very own Kate Fagan had when she set the Big 12 record. read more


September 29, 2019 0

Madden Challenge Can You Win The Super Bowl With This Dude At

Jumping29 Kick Power20 CATEGORYRATING Consistency0 Catch in Traffic14 Awareness10 Agility23 Juke Move28 Overall12 Catching29 Spin Move24 Ball Carrier Vision8 Injury99 Release7 Good luck out there. Keep us posted on how it goes. ‘Win with Walt’ Madden challenge detailsThe goal: Win the Super Bowl in Madden 2016 with Walt Hickey as your starting quarterback.How to participate:Make a custom player on a team of your choice with the Madden ratings below.In the event we haven’t listed a rating — I wasn’t evaluated for several defensive categories — just enter the overall rating of 12 in that field.Make this person your quarterback, on whatever team you’d like.Release all other quarterbacks on the team and play through a season of football, make it through the playoffs and then win the Super Bowl on an All-Pro or higher difficulty setting.Don’t egregiously cheat. That means don’t tinker with player ratings and don’t spend the whole season just running the ball. Mitigate my weaknesses and take advantage of my strengths (such as they are).UPDATE (Sept. 9, 8:30 a.m.): A few people have written in to ask for more details in creating their Walt avatar. Here’s some more guidance:Height, Weight, Age: 6’2”, 210 lbs., 25College: William & MaryInjury: If you are dropping all your other quarterbacks, you are allowed to give Walt a 99 injury rating. We’ve updated the spreadsheet below. You may also want to create a number of Walts for your roster in order to bring one in if your first Walt still gets injured.Run/pass ratio: In the spirit of fairness, we advise that you try to pass the ball at least 40 percent of the time.The entry: Email podcasts@fivethirtyeight.com with any details of your journey, strategy, photos, screenshots or videos.The prize: The first person to do this gets a shout-out on Hot Takedown and a signed glossy of Walt Hickey in full pads mailed directly to your house, if you’re willing to give us your home address.The ratings: Stiff Arm9 Ever wonder how a normal person would fare in the NFL? Last February, we found out when we teamed up with the folks at EA Sports to turn a normal, lazy, non-athletic lout into a Madden NFL avatar. That lout happened to be me.I attended a private, faux combine and was thrust into a series of simulations to figure out just how bad walk-ons like me would be in the NFL. While I ran around a football field in Florida, the Madden ratings team was measuring my football skills — things like throw accuracy, speed, trucking and kick power.When the EA Sports people used me as a quarterback, the Giants went an average of 2.9 wins per simulated season. Now it’s your turn. Our sports podcast Hot Takedown is launching a crowdsourced challenge to find out if someone has stick skills so profound that they can use a weak, slow and inaccurate average-Joe QB to win it all. Watch us discuss the project here or listen to the latest episode of Hot Takedown; full details about the challenge are below. Strength14 Trucking9 Route Running8 Elusiveness10 Throw Ball Away traitYes Play Action5 Tuck and Run traitSometimes Stamina69 Force Pass traitConservative Toughness40 Deep Accuracy3 Speed33 Carrying15 Acceleration35 Throw on Run15 Sense Pressure traitParanoid Tight Spiral traitNo Kick Accuracy10 Short Accuracy20 Throw Power17 Mid Accuracy13 Spectacular Catch22 read more


September 28, 2019 0

Mens soccer shoots at capturing another Big Ten win versus Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights face a similar issue to the Buckeyes: scoring. “The key to success last year was that we were able to play the same group of guys for 13, 14 games in a row with no injury problems whereas this year we have been riddled with injury problems,” Bluem said. “We shot ourselves in the foot. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was going on but some we had some individual mistakes that lead straight to their goals,” said Danny Jensen, Ohio State senior forward. “We had four critical mistakes in the first half and they didn’t have any.” Buckeyes goalkeeper Parker Siegfried, a redshirt freshman out of Granville, Ohio, has made 16 saves while allowing 10 goals, good for a .615 save percentage. “We have to win from now on,” said sophomore midfielder Abdi Mohamed. “Next game is pretty crucial. Right now we are 1-1 in the Big Ten and we are looking to be 2-1.” Against Northwestern, OSU lost one of their captains, senior defender Tyler Kidwell, after going down with an apparent knee injury when making contact with a Wildcat.  Kidwell did not play against Penn State, but coach Bluem said he is hoping he will be able to return to action against Rutgers. Siegfried was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday after his first collegiate shutout vs. Northwestern. At 1-5, it is going to be an uphill battle for the team to get back to where they would like to be. However, the players are locked in and ready to fight back to the high level they feel they are capable of. Sunday’s game will feature a matchup of two goalies on the opposite ends of the age spectrum. Ohio State then-sophomore Marcus McCrary (19) dribbles the ball through a group of Michigan players during a game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Nov. 4, 2015. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOutplaying them in the box score, down big on the scoreboard. That was the story for the Ohio State men’s soccer team last Tuesday against Penn State. Despite having the advantage in shots at 12-7 and the advantage in corner kicks at 8-1, the team would glance up at the scoreboard at the final buzzer that read 4-2 Nittany Lions. The Buckeyes will look to regroup on Sunday at 2 p.m. as they take on Rutgers at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. The upcoming stretch will be very important for Ohio State, as four of their next five games will be played at home. “It’s time for this group of players to put wins together and start climbing back toward .500 and building confidence,” OSU coach John Bluem said. “We need to settle in on our best lineup and hopefully keep everybody healthy enough to play.” Health has been a big issue for the Buckeyes this season.   Rutgers comes into the game with a record of 0-5. Through their first five games, Rutgers has scored only one goal, the equalizer against Maryland coming from junior forward Dante Perez. That record is deceiving, however, as Rutgers has faced some stiff competition thus far. Three of its five games have come against ranked opponents, receiving losses against No. 7 Creighton, No. 20 Denver, and No. 4 Maryland, whom they took to double overtime before losing 2-1. Rutgers goalkeeper David Greczek, a senior out of Fairfield, New Jersey, has made 26 saves on the season while allowing 14 goals. Greczek has a career .744 save percentage. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Ohio State mens volleyball unable to build off first set win falls

Redshirt-junior setter Peter Heinen (8) sets the ball to redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous (4) during a match against Ball State Feb. 26 at St. John Arena. OSU lost, 3-1.Credit: Kathleen Martini / Oller reporterA five-game homestand ended on a sour note for the Ohio State Buckeyes.After sweeping a pair of matches against Grand Canyon over the weekend, OSU could not keep the momentum going, losing to No. 14 Ball State 3-1 (20-25, 26-24, 25-20, 26-24) Wednesday at St. John Arena.The loss puts the Buckeyes back at .500 for the season at 7-7, with a 4-3 record in the Men’s Intercollegiate Volleyball Association conference.OSU started strong, taking the match early with a score of 25-20 in the first set.“We started off strong and looked good and promising from there, I don’t know if we get complacent but we definitely allowed them some life and let them get back into the match,” junior outside hitter Michael Henchy said.Coach Pete Hanson said the team is going to take a look at its game as a whole as it prepares for its next match, next Wednesday at Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.“We have to keep working on all phases of the game, we don’t have one phase that is consistent in what we need to have happen. We will continue to work on our offense and defense, I think we need some overall improvements, we have been working hard, we just need to stay at it and get better,” Hanson said.The Buckeye offense came off strong in the beginning, but started lacking when the Cardinals turned it up defensively, Hanson said.“Early on, it was our offense that was on,” he said. “Ball State is a team that blocks well and our offense started to get pretty predictable which prevented us from gaining those points.”Three Buckeyes led the team with double digit kills. Freshman outside hitter Miles Johnson had tallied a career-high 16, while redshirt-freshman middle blocker Driss Guessous and Henchy contributed 12 kills each.Johnson said the team needs to work on its unity.“We need to have a stronger team, instead of strong individuals. Tonight, there was too many holes in our core group of guys,” Johnson said.Match time between the Buckeyes and IPFW is set for 7 p.m. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Ohio State searching for 1st win against top15 team under Urban Meyer

Coach Urban Meyer huddles with members of the Ohio State football team prior to a game against Illinois on Nov. 1 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 55-14.Credit: Ben Jackson / For The LanternIn Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer’s three seasons in Columbus, the team has achieved 31 victories — not one of which came against a team ranked inside the top 15.If OSU (7-1, 4-0) wants to achieve that first “signature” victory, its best — and possibly only — shot this year is set to come on Saturday in East Lansing, Mich., when it takes on No. 7 Michigan State (7-1, 4-0).“I think (the players) know that already … this is a game to get the respect that Ohio State deserves and has had in the past,” Meyer said Monday. “You have to go compete and win this game and it’s going to be a task. But that’s real.”The Spartans are currently the only top-25 team sitting on OSU’s schedule.Senior defensive lineman Michael Bennett said he understands the importance of grabbing that signature victory when it comes to regaining national respect and improving OSU’s postseason résumé.“I think people for the past three years have said that we have just beaten up on teams (that) aren’t good or whatever they say, and that when it comes down to it, we can’t win a big game,” Bennett said Monday.“I just think that’s the hype around Ohio State, is that we don’t win big games, but it’s important to win this game because they’re a great opponent, and if you want postseason dreams, you’ve got to keep winning.”OSU had a chance to shake that stigma last season against the then-No. 10 Spartans in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game. However, the Buckeyes were unable to hold onto a fourth-quarter lead, as MSU took them down to win the Big Ten title, 34-24.The Buckeyes then had a second chance to topple a top-15 team in the Orange Bowl, when they took on then-No. 12 Clemson. Again, however, the Buckeyes let a fourth quarter lead slip away as they fell, 40-35.“I think we’re lacking one (a signature win) a little bit, and that win (against Michigan State) would mean a lot,” junior linebacker Joshua Perry said Monday. “It would be great for our goal. Since I’ve been here, we haven’t won a Big Ten Championship and I know that we’d like to do that, so to be able to go up there and win would obviously do a lot for that.”The highest-ranked team that OSU has defeated with Meyer at the helm was then-No. 16 Northwestern last season. The best ranking a team that OSU defeated has ranked at the end of the season under Meyer was No. 24 after the Buckeyes beat then-No.20 Michigan two seasons ago and the Wolverines fell for spots in the poll to end the season.However, tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton said he does not believe that OSU will be intimidated by the tough opponent.“The thing is, when you come to Ohio State University, is there any reason you don’t want to play in these kind of games?” Hinton asked. “You sign up for this. And this is what it’s all about. National TV, prime time and all that kind of stuff and getting an opportunity to play a great opponent and a Big Ten opponent and all those things are exactly why you signed up to come to Ohio State.”Bennett said that being the underdog against a top-10 team is something that his teammates aren’t shying away from.“I think we like it,” Bennett said. “This team is interesting to me because for the first time since I’ve been here, except for maybe my sophomore year, guys have really relished being looked at as overrated, or whatever it is. We’re here to prove something, we’re here to show that we’re a complete team, and it doesn’t really matter where people rank us.”Perry agreed that being the lower-ranked team on the road could actually end up helping with the team’s focus and intensity.“It feels good to be an underdog sometimes, because then a lot of people are looking at you and trying to see what you can do in that scenario,” Perry said. “A lot of the training we do here, you’re in a scenario where you either go or you don’t, so this is going to be a good one for us.”Bennett said the team’s motivating factor in beating its top-10 opponent is not shaking the national perception of the team, but rather winning each game as it comes.“It’s not about making sure everybody loves us in the country or respects us in the country, it’s about winning games and making sure that we have a chance to go where we want to go in the postseason,” Bennett said. “This game is just important for that because it’s the next game, and we have to win because they’re a good opponent.”OSU’s game against Michigan State is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. Saturday. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Marc Loving set for return as Buckeyes take on Spartans in East

After sitting out 3 games with an undisclosed suspension, sophomore forward Marc Loving is set to make his return against Michigan State on Feb. 13.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Lantern photographerThe Ohio State men’s basketball team has won five of its past six games, with the one setback coming in the first game of Marc Loving’s three-game suspension.Coach Thad Matta confirmed Friday the sophomore forward will make his return to the court against Michigan State on Saturday, with the Buckeyes looking to make it three wins in a row.Matta said Loving “definitely” makes OSU a better team, but added the Buckeyes have improved overall in the time he missed.“I like the strides that everybody on this team has made in his (Loving’s) absence,” Matta said.Loving’s suspension was announced just before the Buckeyes took on Purdue on Feb. 4 in West Lafayette, Ind. That game ended in a 60-58 OSU loss, then Loving missed out on the Buckeyes’ next road trip as well.But that time around OSU came out on top with a 19-point shellacking of Rutgers on the road Feb. 8 before trouncing Penn State, 75-55, at home on Feb. 11. Matta stressed the improvement over those three games, and said he’s not sure exactly how Loving will slot into the lineup against the Spartans.“Now where does he come back and fit in?” Matta said. “Hopefully like he did in the Maryland game.”The Buckeyes took on Maryland the game before Loving’s suspension, and the Toledo native made the most of 31 minutes off the bench, going 5-for-5 from 3-point land and tying his career high with 19 points.Against Purdue, the Buckeyes didn’t have Loving’s production as the player behind him — freshman forward Keita Bates-Diop — didn’t attempt a shot. But against Rutgers, Bates-Diop scored a career-high 14 points, and added seven more against the Nittany Lions.Bates-Diop said he took his chance with Loving out of the lineup, but added having him back in the lineup will give OSU a boost.“I saw it (Loving’s suspension) as an opportunity to step up and play well, and I did,” Bates-Diop said Friday. “Having Marc back, it just makes us a better team, it makes us a deeper team.”Senior center Amir Williams said Loving’s return will be “huge” for OSU because of his ability to bring multiple new dimensions to the offense.“(Loving’s) a guy that can stretch the floor,” Williams said Friday. “He can create his own shot by driving to the basket, he can also post up. He just provides different ways of scoring the basketball, so it’s definitely gonna be huge having him back this game.”With Loving’s added dimension out of the equation, the loss to Purdue marked the first time the Buckeyes were held to less than 60 points since a loss to Louisville back on Dec. 2.Matta said the Boilermakers’ defensive scheme is similar to what he expects from Michigan State, with the difference being that the Spartans will have to deal with Loving in addition to the scoring prowess of freshman guard D’Angelo Russell.“They (Michigan State) are a very active gap-oriented type team,” Matta said. “The principles that their defense is based on is very sound, just in terms of keeping guys in front of you, being physical on the cuts, stuff like that.”In addition to tough defense, Williams said the Buckeyes will be playing in one of the most hostile environments the Big Ten has to offer.“It ranks definitely in the top in the Big Ten, that student section can get pretty loud,” he said of Michigan State’s Breslin Student Events Center. “When they score the first basket the arena goes crazy, they start popping things and throwing things in the air.“It’s gonna be tough, we just gotta keep finding ways to continue to play through it.”While Loving will be back to boost the Buckeyes in East Lansing, Mich., Matta said he’s not sure if redshirt-senior forward Anthony Lee will be able to play after he missed the Penn State game with an injury.With Loving in the lineup, and Lee’s status in question, the Buckeyes are set to take on the Spartans at noon. read more


September 28, 2019 0

Opinion Preseason prestige a potentially dangerous burden for Ohio State football

OSU coach Urban Meyer stands during the 4th annual Student Appreciation Day on April 11 at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorComing into the year, it was hard to argue that the Ohio State football team — the one returning almost all of its playmakers and coming off a dominant run in the first-ever College Football Playoff — was not the top college squad for the 2015 season.After the Associated Press Top 25 poll was released on Sunday, however, it is nearly impossible to make a case for any other team heading in.The Buckeyes received all 61 possible first-place votes to secure the title of the first team ever to be selected No. 1 unanimously in the preseason poll — and that’s still without a No. 1 quarterback on the depth chart.It is an achievement for OSU and a testament to the talent coach Urban Meyer — now entering his fourth season with the Scarlet and Gray — and the rest of the staff has assembled and developed.Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, preseason championships don’t typically get pennants hung in the stadium.That’s not to say they won’t make it two-for-two in CFP championships. In fact, it would take a very strong case to convince me that they won’t repeat, barring major injuries or unforeseen circumstances — though that didn’t stop them last year.But, if recent history is any indication, there is nothing resembling a sure championship anymore.Sure, the Chicago Bulls and New York Yankees of the 1990s were sure coming into the year that they would take home the title, and did so with little trouble.But more recently, the 2014-15 Kentucky Wildcats were hyped as one of the best college basketball teams ever. They lived up to the hype with an undefeated regular season, but after narrowly escaping Notre Dame in the Elite Eight, lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four.The 2007 New England Patriots were a similar tale, making a mockery out of their regular season en route to the first 16-0 season, but eventually lost to a seemingly far inferior New York Giants team in the Super Bowl.The 2002 Miami Hurricanes were one of the most impressive batches of future NFL talent ever put together on a college team and were coming off a national title in the previous season. Well, about all OSU fans know how their season ended.Those three examples are teams that did get the job done throughout the regular season only to fall flat at the end. It’s not even including teams such as the 2012-13 Los Angeles Lakers or 2011 Philadelphia Eagles who not only didn’t win a championship, but just barely even made the playoffs.Sky-high expectations can be used as a confidence boost or rallying point, but too many times they can also be used to topple a team from the top.At the 2015 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, Meyer mentioned the difficulties of getting his 2007 Florida Gators team — one coming off a national championship the year before — to maintain that same level of grit and intensity from the year prior. That team, despite possessing a lot of the same talent from the championship team and the Heisman Trophy winner in quarterback Tim Tebow, only went 9-4.Whether it is a massive target on a team’s back, a loss of drive and determination or simply the pressure of living up to the expectations thrust upon you, it is usually easier for a team vastly considered to be the best to fail to get it done. And for the Buckeyes, this is an unprecedented amount of expectations, with every voter the AP has expecting them to be the best.It’s a tall mountain to climb to reach the peak, and sometimes when you start so high up it can be even more difficult to get the momentum to keep climbing.Both repeating as champions and living up to incredible projections are things that can trip up any team. Managing to keep the team upright is something that — having come up flat the year after a championship team before — Meyer doesn’t just monitor, but actively deals with all season long. read more


September 28, 2019 0