World Cup Final Crib Notes Germany vs Argentina

Could the World Cup Champion Beat the Best Club Team in the World?World Cup Shooters Keep Misfiring From Long-RangeMan vs. Machine Either way, we’re in for a deserving final between what are probably the two best national teams in the world. The story lines abound, from Germany’s scary-good young core to the impossible brilliance that is Argentina’s Lionel Messi. Let’s start breaking it down.Germany vs. Argentina: 3 p.m. EDTIN BRIEFSee our World Cup predictions for the latest probabilities.GERMANY IN DEPTHIf ever you believed in momentum, this German team seems to have it after punching its ticket to the final with a colossal 7-1 blowout of Brazil, probably the most shocking result in the history of the World Cup. Riding that wave, Germany catapulted to the top spot in ESPN’s Soccer Power Index (SPI), deposing the World Cup host and knocking it down to fourth place in one fell swoop.It was a good week for the Germans. But we also have to be careful not to read too much into their destruction of Brazil; it was, after all, only one match. Looking at the history of the World Cup’s knockout phase, a team’s goal differential in its previous match has no bearing on its probability of winning the following match, after controlling for the Elo ratings of the two teams involved. (Elo is another type of world soccer power rating that tracks well with our own SPI numbers and is available for all of World Cup history.)The FiveThirtyEight forecast, which is generated using SPI’s ratings, says Germany has about a 63 percent probability of beating Argentina in the final. It would be imprudent to think that number should see a boost — above and beyond SPI’s revised estimate of Germany’s true talent — because of some notion of momentum from the Germans’ landslide win Tuesday. (Besides, our model already has Germany favored slightly more than the betting markets, which list Germany as a 59 percent favorite in a straight-up wager to win.)At any rate, the Germans are favored in large part because of their offense, and you don’t have to be shell-shocked Brazilian goalkeeper Julio César to realize that Germany is a scoring powerhouse. It easily ranks first in the offensive component of the SPI ratings, at nearly two-fifths of a goal per game better than any other team in the world.Germany has adopted many of the “sabermetric” philosophies we highlighted before the tournament. Its players relentlessly maintain possession of the ball, eschewing crosses from the wing in favor of attacks through the middle of the pitch. They make endless short passes rather than dribbling the ball into traffic. They wait for high-percentage chances to open up inside the box, rather than firing shots from the outside. Although they haven’t completely cut the long ball out of their repertoire, most of what the Germans do on offense meshes perfectly with what correlates best with goal-scoring.Of course, it helps to have a huge amount of offensive skill on your roster, as Germany does. Any team in the world would love to have the likes of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger in their starting 11, with Mario Gotze, Miroslav Klose and Andre Schurrle coming off the bench.But by the estimation of SPI’s individual player ratings, Germany only has the third-most talented set of offensive players among national teams. It’s not implausible to suggest that the gap between its actual offensive SPI (3.4) and what we’d predict from its component players (2.8) is driven by how those parts have been used. And to manager Joachim Loew’s credit, that extra 0.6 goals per game more than expected is the most of any team in this World Cup.Any concern about Germany may be the same as the concern going into the tournament: defense. But relative to the offensive SPI ratings of their opponents, Germany has allowed 0.49 fewer goals per game than the average World Cup team, which is the third-best defensive showing of any team in the field thus far. Although Argentina is still probably the better team defensively, Germany has done a lot over the past month to quell any pre-tournament worries that its ability to prevent goals was far behind its ability to create them.We’ve had our eye on this German squad for a while now, and it appears it’s the worthy favorite in the final. Ultimately, it will come down as much to luck as skill. As researchers Gerald Skinner and Guy Freeman found, a single match is a poor arbiter of which team is truly the best — but the Germans have positioned themselves well to pick up their fourth World Cup title. — Neil PaineARGENTINA IN DEPTHIn this year’s World Cup, Argentina hasn’t trailed for a single second of a single game. Both its defense and goalkeeping has been stellar, having only allowed three goals, one of which was in garbage time against Bosnia-Herzegovina, and the other two coming against Nigeria in a game played after Argentina had clinched its group. In other words, Argentina has yet to concede a goal in meaningful play.Plus, it has this guy named Lionel Messi (who is pretty good), arguably playing the best he ever has for Argentina.Yet the Argentines head into the final as underdogs — not surprising given Germany’s form and the history between these two teams.Since Messi’s national team debut in 2006, Argentina is undefeated (13-0-1) in World Cup matches against teams not named Germany. In 2006, Germany eliminated Argentina in the quarterfinals in a penalty shootout (with Messi on the bench). The only match Argentina has lost with Messi playing was the 2010 quarterfinals against Germany.The last time Argentina beat Germany was the last time it won the World Cup, in 1986.But that’s history. The more present concern is that Germany just put the smack down on what was the No. 1 ranked team in the world, has an offense that scored as many goals last game as Argentina’s has this whole tournament, and been almost as good at keeping the ball out of the net — conceding only four goals (to Argentina’s three). Oh, and Germany has played a tougher schedule, and it has only trailed for eight minutes (against Ghana, before equalizing for the tie).So let’s look a little deeper at the things Argentina has going for it:Against the Argentine defense, opponents have only gotten off 9.5 shots and 2.5 shots on goal per 90 minutes, ranking fourth and third, respectively, among all teams in the tournament.On top of that, Argentina has a great goalkeeper, Sergio Romero. He has four clean sheets in six games. His 1.01 goals against below average (GABA) — a TruMedia metric for how many goals a keeper prevents relative to the expectation of the shots opponents took — is the sixth best of the tournament, comparing favorably to the likes of “Secretary of Defense” Tim Howard and Germany’s much-celebrated Manuel Neuer.The Argentina defense also does a good job making plays that create possessions for its offense. If we add up a defense’s tackles, clearances, interceptions, offsides drawn, aerials won, etc. (weighting interceptions and offsides a little higher), we can estimate the number of possessions gained per minute by defensive playmaking. Argentina’s defense is well above average, gaining about 3.5 more possessions per 90 minutes than Germany’s.Similarly, we can add up all the shots, missed passes, offside calls, turnovers and dispossessions that a team makes relative to its opponents to find out how many possessions it takes per 90 minutes relative to its opponents (note that, unlike basketball, possessions in soccer aren’t symmetrical, because many “end” with loose/cleared balls that may be recovered by either team). From this, we find that Argentina typically earns itself about 7.25 more possessions per game than its opponents, while Germany earns 1.05 more, giving Argentina about a six-possession advantage. (So Argentina’s defense may be doing a bit better than we would estimate, and/or the whole team is generally good at winning possessions).How much is that worth? Some but not a lot: The typical number of possessions per side per 90 minutes is about 120, so that gains Argentina about 5 percent more opportunities.And then there’s the guy named after Lionel Ritchie: If you’ve never heard of him, The Onion Sports describes him as “one to watch”:Based on his YouTube highlights, expect Messi to dribble through the entire German team and score a goal every time he gets the ball.Messi has four goals (plus a made shootout attempt in the Netherlands game), second-best of the tournament, plus the dramatic game-winning assist to Angel di Maria against Switzerland. Messi’s success at taking on defenders (59.1 percent), his passing/chance creation (leads all players), and his defense (making nearly twice as many defensive plays as he normally does in club play) have all been stellar, even by his standards.So, what is Argentina up against?Its offense stinks. Messi is incredible; everyone else is terrible. Further, Messi has been playing more of a center-attacking midfielder role than usual, which has led to chance creation but cut down on his shots and his number of possessions inside the box. This has resulted in some stellar long-range shooting from Messi, but his teammates are taking the theoretically “easier” shots and missing them.If we use ESPN/TruMedia’s Expected Goals model to assess how well Messi and his team are doing on their shots, we find that Messi has earned 2.5 goals above expectation (on only 19 shots), while the rest of his team has cost 3.5 goals relative to what it should have scored on its 79 shots (21 of which were created by Messi).Part of this could be bad luck, which would be good news for Argentina: Say the team’s just running below average at shooting and its true shooting ability were exactly expectation: That would be worth more than a half a goal per game. Get Messi to take a couple of more shots, and there’s another quarter of a goal. Assume that the ridiculous Brazil stomping was as much about Brazil cracking under pressure as Germany’s awesome skill, and the whole thing could turn around.  — Benjamin MorrisYESTERDAYThe third-place World Cup match seemed to be a continuation of the semifinal for Brazil, as the home team fell 3-0 to the Dutch. Prior to its 7-1 semifinal drubbing against Germany, Brazil had lost by three goals just once in its first 102 World Cup matches (the 1998 final against France). It then happened in back-to-back matches.Overall, Brazil conceded 14 goals in this tournament, its most in a single World Cup, and the most by any team in a World Cup since Belgium conceded 15 in 1986.Robin van Persie opened the scoring Saturday with a third-minute penalty. Brazil conceded again in the 17th minute, as Daley Blind scored. Brazil conceded 10 goals in its past two matches, its most ever in consecutive World Cup matches. By comparison, Brazil conceded 10 goals in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 World Cups combined.The Netherlands’ three goals gave it 15 for the tournament, tied for the most the Dutch have scored in a single World Cup (1974 and 1978). The Netherlands also set a record by substituting in backup goalkeeper Michel Vorm in the 93rd minute, making it the first team ever to use 23 players in a single World Cup, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. — Jacob Nitzberg, senior statistics analyst, ESPNFURTHER READING The 2014 World Cup ends Sunday with a final between Germany and Argentina, respectively the third- and fourth-most successful teams in the tournament’s history. If Die Mannschaft wins, Germany would tie Italy for second place all-time with four World Cup victories, behind Brazil and Italy; meanwhile, Argentina is hoping to grab its third title and tie the Germans in championships. Germany’s Thomas Mueller Adrian Dennis / AFP / Getty Images read more

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Odell Beckham Jr Goes Viral After Video Surfaces of

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was caught on Snapchat last week appearing to smoke a blunt in bed with a model.Alongside a box of pepperoni pizza, Beckham’s apparent gal pal also seems to be using a suspicious substance that folks allege is cocaine in the Snapchat video.“…Tryna get you to sleep with [sombody],” he appears to say in the clip before Ferfeli kisses the sleeping athlete at the end.The New York Post reported Friday, March 9, the day the clip went viral, that the Giants were aware of the video and had no other comment.It’s not clear if the video is new or not, but the WR himself, who hopes to become the NFL’s highest-paid receiver after his rookie contract ends, seemed to indicate it’s an old one.Old news still makes a good story….I guess. #CatchUpWereIn18’— Odell Beckham Jr (@OBJ_3) March 9, 2018Yet the model in the clip, identified as Laura Cuenca, of France, told the New York Daily News she recorded the video on Thursday, March 8.When asked about the apparent marijuana and cocaine in the clip, Cuenca said, Beckham “did not take any drugs!” but she wouldn’t respond when asked if there were drugs in the room. As for what she says Beckham was holding in his hand, she said it was “a piece of pizza.”The model also said she didn’t find out the man in the clip was Beckham until after the video was uploaded. Once Beckham told her who he was, he asked her to remove it.The clip went viral regardless and folks online have made their thoughts on it known.“So Odell Beckham Jr. isn’t allowed to have sex with people who do drugs?” someone tweeted. “What is even the point of being rich and famous then?”NFL: A video has surfaced of Odell Beckham Jr smoking a blunt with a girl who appears to have cocaineRoger Goodell: pic.twitter.com/iChE3l13eK— Lunden (@LundenRTR) March 9, 2018 read more

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MarcAndre Fleury Is Having One Of The Best Playoffs In NHL History

It used to be difficult to imagine hearing “best goalie in the playoffs” and “Marc-Andre Fleury” in the same sentence, unless that sentence read, “Marc-Andre Fleury is most certainly not the best goalie in the playoffs.” But it also used to be difficult to imagine that Alexander Ovechkin would defeat Sidney Crosby in a playoff series, and yet here we are.Up is down, left is right, and Marc-Andre Fleury has been the best goalie in the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs — and he’s doing it for an expansion team from Las Vegas. And depending on how Fleury plays from now until the end of spring, he might go down as the goalie with the best playoff performance in NHL history.Through his first 10 starts, Fleury — affectionately referred to as “the Flower” by fans and pundits — has pitched four shutouts. For his Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup,1We didn’t think they’d win the Stanley Cup, but we didn’t not think they’d win the Stanley Cup either. they have to win eight more games. If Fleury were to continue his current shutout pace of two in every five games — and conservatively assuming that the Golden Knights win each series in a sweep, limiting their netminder’s chances for shutouts — he’d tie Martin Brodeur for the most shutouts in a single Stanley Cup playoffs with seven. If the Golden Knights were to play the maximum number of games they could play for the remainder of the playoffs (14) and if Fleury continued his two in five shutout pace, he would finish with roughly 10 shutouts.And to be clear, shutouts aren’t just the cherries on top of a successful netminder’s playoff sundae — there have been 14 goalie-seasons from 1979-80 to 2016-172Or, since the NHL went to a 16 team playoff format. in which four or more shutouts were posted in a single playoff run, and in six of those, the goalie’s team won the Stanley Cup. E. BelfourStars20004Lost in final T. ThomasBruins20114Won Cup 1997-98O. Kolzig2.64 2017-18M. Fleury2.97 O. KolzigCapitals19984Lost in final N. KhabibulinLightning20045Won Cup M. BrodeurDevils20037Won Cup M. BrodeurDevils20014Lost in final 2001-02D. Hasek, P. Lalime2.62 M. FleuryGolden Knights20184? And while shutouts are good — they literally guarantee victory in the playoffs — it’s not just in the shutout column that Fleury has impressed: As it stands, he ranks ninth all-time in goals against average for a single playoffs among goalies post-1980 and second all-time in save percentage for a single playoffs among all goalies in the history of the NHL. All this even though the Golden Knights are giving up the most shots per game among teams that are still fighting for the Cup. And despite his reputation as a uniquely bad playoff goalie.That reputation cost Fleury last summer: Pittsburgh didn’t protect him, and the Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the NHL expansion draft. Despite being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft — and despite being part of three Penguins teams that won the Stanley Cup — Fleury was effectively cast off to the desert. The Penguins preferred to move forward with their newer, shinier model, Matt Murray. That decision didn’t pay off for Pittsburgh this spring: Murray had the worst playoffs of his young career, recording quality starts in just 50 percent of his games and stopping an abysmal 91 percent of the shots he faced. The top two playoff scorers to this point are Crosby and his teammate Jake Guentzel, yet the Penguins are no longer playing playoff hockey. The problem for Pittsburgh in these playoffs wasn’t putting pucks into the opponents’ net — it was keeping pucks out of their own. If only they’d hung onto that Fleury guy.To be fair to Fleury’s detractors, his playoff numbers before this season are right next to “bad playoff goaltending” in the hockey dictionary: His quality starts percentage in the playoffs is just 50, versus 55 in the regular season. For most of his career, the Flower has experienced a dip in play from regular season to the postseason. This season — for whatever reason — that dip has transformed into a massive ascent. So far this spring, Fleury’s quality starts percentage is an astonishing 80.Fleury’s metamorphosis has been especially impressive when viewed alongside the historically great playoff performances of his goaltending forebears. The majority of goalies on the list above made their mark in a season when scoring was notably down. From 2001-02 to 2003-04, the average goals scored hovered around 2.6 per team per game. It was in this window of dead-puck hockey — right before the NHL lost a season to the lockout — when the top five goalies on this list were tending net. In the 2017-18 regular season, scoring was up to almost 3 goals per team per game during the regular season. The only two goalies on the list who played in a more free-scoring season in this span were Mike Richter and Kirk McLean, who both posted four shutouts in the spring of 1994 en route to the Stanley Cup Final. 2000-01P. Roy, M. Brodeur2.76 GoalieTeamYearShutoutsTeam Result P. LalimeSenators20024Lost in second round 2002-03J. Giguere, M. Brodeur2.65 J. GiguereMighty Ducks20035Lost in final Fleury is blanking teams in a high-scoring seasonGoalies to post at least four shutouts in one season’s playoffs and the average goals per game that season, 1979-80 to 2017-18 D. HasekRed Wings20026Won Cup 1993-94K. McLean, M. Richter3.24 R. LuongoCanucks20114Lost in final SeasonGoaliesAvg. Goals Per Game The Flower is already among the eliteGoalies to post at least four shutouts in an NHL playoff run, 1980-2017 Source: Hockey-Reference.com 2010-11R. Luongo, T. Thomas2.79 M. RichterRangers19944Won Cup 2003-04M. Kiprusoff, N. Khabibulin2.57 P. RoyAvalanche20014Won Cup Source: Hockey-Reference.com K. McLeanCanucks19944Lost in final M. KiprusoffFlames20045Lost in final 1999-2000E. Belfour2.75 Who knows if the Flower will continue to bloom this spring, but history shows that he’s probably already done enough to earn his Golden Knights a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. And even if Fleury joins Patrick Lalime as the only goalie since 1980 to post four shutouts and not reach the Stanley Cup Final, a conference final berth is a decent consolation prize. And whichever way the pucks bounce going forward, Fleury will have gone further in these playoffs than the team that cast him off last summer. As the Penguins and their younger, shinier goalie march toward the beach, Fleury’s run to the Stanley Cup Final continues. read more

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Big Ten suspends Coleman

The Big Ten suspended Ohio State senior safety Kurt Coleman on Monday for one game after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the final minute of Saturday’s 30-0 victory over Illinois.Coleman, a team captain, was flagged for a personal foul after an illegal hit on Illini backup quarterback Eddie McGee.“Obviously, we will abide by the one-game suspension from the Big Ten Conference, but we feel as if there was poor judgment throughout,” said Director of Athletics Gene Smith and coach Jim Tressel in a statement.After a four-yard rush, McGee was wrapped up by linebackers Tom Ingham and Andrew Sweat before Coleman entered the action.The Big Ten prohibits helmet-to-helmet contact, and the league said Coleman targeted a defenseless player, a motion that Smith and Tressel disagreed with.“We concur that Kurt’s hit was late and a result of poor judgment; he was thus penalized and removed from the game by his coaches,” they said in the statement. “We do not agree that it was ‘pre-meditated’ or that he was ‘targeting a defenseless’ player.”The Big Ten can review any questionable offense, and since Coleman wasn’t ejected from Saturday’s game, his suspension signals that the referees viewed the play differently, Smith and Tressel said. “The decision to suspend points to the Conference office’s feeling as if there was poor judgment by the game officials for their decision not to eject at the time,” they said.Though they don’t agree with the penalty, Smith and Tressel said they will abide by the final ruling.“In our estimation, the final ‘poor judgment’ is in levying a one-game suspension in this particular case,” they said. “We will abide by the decision, learn from it, and move forward.”Coleman is second on the Buckeye defense with 29 tackles. Senior Anderson Russell, who lost his starting job to Jermale Hines two weeks ago, is expected to start in Coleman’s place on Saturday.University officials declined to comment further on the suspension. read more

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The Tiger effect Woods presence boosts business excitement

Tiger Woods’ impact is expected to extend past the score card when the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer plays in the Memorial Tournament this weekend in Dublin, Ohio.When Woods announced that he would be playing in Columbus, local-area businesses and the Muirfield Village Golf club, the host of the event, raised expectations for attendance and sales.“With Tiger coming back to the tour, I see an increase in business,” said Jon Leach, part owner of the Bogey Inn bar in Dublin.The Bogey Inn normally anticipates between 6,000 and 9,000 people for Memorial Tournament parties, and Woods’ participation will increase that number by 30 percent, Leach said.Some officials at the tournament are less certain about the effects.“We don’t know what impact (Tiger playing) is going to have yet simply because it is the first year that he has been here since his off-course life became more public,” said Tom Sprouse, director of communications for the Memorial.Other employees appear more confident.“When Tiger is in the field, there are definitely more people here. There’s going to be a lot more interest,” said Dick Murray, Memorial security guard. “I would assume that, that same level of excitement will be here.”Increased attendance cannot be confirmed because the tournament does not keep track of crowd numbers, Sprouse said.Murray said he doesn’t need to see the numbers to notice a difference and is sure “that once it was announced that Tiger was going to be here, ticket sales went up.”Woods’ presence not only affects the numbers, but the attitudes of the patrons.The younger kids are always a lot more excited when Tiger is in the field, said John McKitrick, who has been working with the tournament for four years.Despite the larger galleries that will follow Woods, the tournament does not make any security arrangements for the popular golfer, Sprouse said.The Bogey Inn, however, does make adjustments, increasing its staff when Woods plays, Leach said.With each day Woods tees off this weekend, large crowds both on the course and in local bars are likely to follow. read more

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Blaz Rola helps lead No 1 seed mens tennis team to Big

The Ohio State men’s tennis team has done well for itself this season, and freshman Blaz Rola has helped to lead it. With an overall season record of 27-2 (10-0 in Big Ten), and winning its sixth consecutive Big Ten season title, the team has earned the No. 1 seed going into the Big Ten Tournament this weekend. While the team may be focused on another Big Ten win, it is also looking forward to the NCAA Championship, which will take place May 14–15. Freshman Ille Van Engelen said winning the NCAA Championship is “the biggest goal of the season” for him and his team. Standing at 6-foot-4, the Slovenia native is ranked No. 3 in the nation in singles and No. 9 in doubles with his partner, junior Chase Buchanan. “I just want to play and get better and better,” he said. “I hope we’ll play good. We have a chance to go all the way, but it’s a long way and there is a lot of hard work still left.” Although Rola is at OSU now, his original plan for his tennis career didn’t involve playing at the collegiate level. “First I was thinking about going pro,” Rola said. “But after 18 months of Ty calling and emailing me, I decided to come here and take a look. And I really liked it.” According to the official OSU athletics site, Rola has won two doubles titles and a singles title on the professional circuit in 2010. And in 2008 he won the title of the La Vie Sport Junior Cup Villach Champion and has been ranked as high as No. 388 in the world. Like so many other players on the team, Rola got his start in tennis at an early age. “My whole family played,” he said. “I started playing with my dad, but I never thought, ‘I’m going to be a tennis player.’” But, he said, the more he practiced, played in and won different matches and tournaments, the more he liked the game. Rola brings a lot of strengths to the team. He lists his serve, his left-handed ability and his quick movement on the court as some of the strengths he has brought to OSU. “Lefties cause a lot of problems for righties,” Rola said. While he does play doubles, Rola said he prefers to play singles. “I like singles better,” he said. “But I know I need to develop my doubles game. I have to play it to make my singles game better.” Rola continues to succeed in doubles and he, along with the rest of his team, will begin play in the Big Ten Tournament beginning Thursday in Madison, Wis. read more

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Buchanan Rola march on for Ohio State tennis

Most of he Ohio State men’s tennis team might already be back in Columbus after its weekend loss against UCLA, but two members of the team are still on the road chasing national championship dreams. The No. 5-seeded Buckeyes were eliminated by No. 4 UCLA Saturday, 4-2, but senior Chase Buchanan and sophomore Blaz Rola remain in Athens, Ga., to compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships. Rola and Buchanan received at-large selections for the singles tournament and, after posting a 30-4 record in doubles matches this season, will also team up for the doubles championship. NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship action begins Wednesday in Athens at the University of Georgia’s Dan Magill Tennis Complex and will last throughout the day. “We would like to be playing in the Final Four but it wasn’t in the cards for us,” said OSU coach Ty Tucker. “There was no shame losing to UCLA. We needed to be about 5 percent better in every spot.” The Buckeyes finished the season with a 34-4 overall record and their quarterfinal berth marked their seventh consecutive NCAA quarterfinal appearance. After Buchanan and Rola’s loss Saturday, the top-ranked doubles pair in the nation dropped an 8-6 decision to the No. 44-ranked doubles team from UCLA, made up of redshirt junior Alex Brigham and sophomore Adrien Puget. Buchanan said while the loss was disappointing, the best thing to do is move on. “You try to forget about it. You can’t take it too hard,” he said. “It was tough playing as my last time with the team, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play with Blaz.” For the senior, looking forward was a bit easier than for the sophomore from Slovenia. “It’s been tough. I didn’t regroup yesterday (Monday),” Rola said. “Not at dinner, I couldn’t talk in the press conference, but I slept through it – thank God – and I have some time to get ready.” Tucker said both players have good momentum after the loss and Buchanan said he is preparing for his final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the program. “Mentally and physically, I have prepared all season. I took a day off yesterday,” he said. “There’s a lot of great teams and we need to prepare hard and take everyone seriously so we can come out on top.” Though both players said they are sad to compete for the last time together, the nation’s top-seeded doubles pairing agreed they are still excited for the task ahead. “It’s a great feeling to be the first seed, but I never go into a match thinking we’re No. 1 in the country,” Rola said. “Maybe I should, but I stay humble to keep the pressure away.” Both players said they welcome the challenges presented by the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, as well. “This atmosphere is intense,” Rola said. “It’s unbelievable. (It’s) the best place to play in college tennis.” read more

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Ohio State mens hockey travels almost 4000 miles to face Alaska

Ohio State men’s ice hockey coach Mark Osiecki said the biggest obstacle this weekend for his team might not be its opponent. After all, Central Collegiate Hockey Association foe Alaska is almost 4,000 miles away from the Schottenstein Center. “The challenge is just getting there and trying to get back to normal as quickly as you can,” Osiecki said of the trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, for its series against the Nanooks. Only one point separates OSU and Alaska for fifth place in the CCHA standings and a first-round bye in the conference’s tournament which starts on March 8. Osiecki called Tuesday’s practice “an outstanding day” and said he believes his team will be ready for Alaska’s high-speed attack. “They’re fast and they get after you,” Osiecki said. “Their system is their transition, is their speed, is their compete level. They’ll be tough to play against up there.” OSU (11-11-6, 10-6-4-1 CCHA) left for Fairbanks Wednesday in order to get acclimated with the four-hour time difference. The team is coming off a win against Notre Dame Friday and a shootout loss against the Irish Saturday. Sophomore forward Max McCormick said Tuesday he was looking forward to the trip across the country. “It’ll be a long trip, but I have never been to Alaska, so that will be kind of cool and it will be interesting to see (what) it’s like up there,” McCormick said. Junior forward Chris Crane will be making his second trip to Fairbanks and remembers travel issues two years ago, the last time OSU played there. “We got there and none of our luggage is there, our hockey bags aren’t there,” Crane said. “We can’t even brush our teeth.” Alaska (12-10-4, 10-9-3-1 CCHA) is coming off two losses at Miami last weekend which snapped a six-game win streak. The Nanooks house one of the few Olympic-sized ice sheets in the country. Crane said he believes the larger rink will be beneficial for the Buckeyes. “I think the Olympic-sized sheet actually helps us with our speed,” Crane said. “We are a high-end speed team.” McCormick said previous long trips to places such as Lake Superior State have helped he and his teammates learn how to get their bodies ready to play. Crane said he agreed with McCormick that staying focused is important. “I think it’s important to emphasize just staying concentrated, staying hydrated throughout the day,” Crane said. “Getting the rest and maybe carrying a pillow on the plane so you’re comfortable and not sore when you get off it.” The series is the only road trip for OSU in February. The teams are set to square off at 11:05 p.m. EST Friday and Saturday night at the Carlson Center. read more

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Braxton Miller to sit out against Florida AM

Junior quarterback, Braxton Miller, sits on the field after a hit that took him out of the game against San Diego State University Sept. 4 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-7.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State junior quarterback Braxton Miller will miss his second consecutive game Saturday versus Florida A&M after suffering an MCL sprain in his left knee versus San Diego State on Sept. 7, an OSU spokesman confirmed.Redshirt-senior Kenny Guiton, who was named Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week after completing 21 of 32 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for 92 yards on 14 attempts in the Buckeyes’ 52-34 win against California, will start his second consecutive game in Miller’s place.Miller was injured on the first possession of the Buckeyes’ 42-7 win against SDSU. He has completed 17 of 24 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns, and has rushed for 82 yards on 18 attempts in parts of two games this season.Guiton has completed 41 of 61 passes for 449 yards for seven touchdowns this season, and has rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts.The Buckeyes are looking to improve to 4-0 against Florida A&M (1-2), which is scheduled for a noon kickoff Saturday. read more

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Heathrow third runway looks more likely after SNP backing

first_imgHeathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye He said: “An expanded Heathrow would create up to 16,000 jobs in Scotland.”It would facilitate more airlines flying routes to Scottish airports, meaning more flights, more competition and choice for families and businesses across the nation.”That also means more visitors to Scotland, more destinations for Scottish tourists and more opportunity for Scottish businesses to reach new export markets.”This partnership demonstrates how Heathrow expansion can work for every region and nation of the UK. Now is the time for the UK Government to make the right choice and back Heathrow.”Mr Brown warned that without Heathrow expansion the UK’s position of having a hub airport would be weakened – to the disadvantage of Scotland and the environment – due to competition from cities such as Amsterdam, Dubai and Istanbul.He added that there were a range of positives for Scotland from the building of an additional runway at Heathrow.”There’s a benefit to passengers, there’s a benefit to the tourist industry, there’s a benefit to the construction industry,” he said. He said the proposal from Heathrow would lead to the creation of 16,000 new jobs in Scotland and a reduction in landing charges paid by airlines operating services from Heathrow to Scotland.The plan could also see Glasgow Prestwick Airport used as a logistics hub for the construction of a third runway, and the potential for a “substantial increase” in direct flights between Heathrow and Scotland.Mr Brown told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “In the absence of action from the UK Government, we have made this decision and we would urge them to act as quickly as possible.” In the absence of action from the UK Government, we have made this decision and we would urge them to act as quickly as possibleKeith Brown, Scottish economy secretary A third runway at Heathrow has become more likely ahead of a decision by ministers next week after the Scottish Government backed the plan.Ministers claimed expanding the west London hub will provide a number of benefits for Scotland, including new jobs and more flights.Economy Secretary Keith Brown insisted that building an extra runway at Heathrow rather than Gatwick would be “the best deal for Scotland”. 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. Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye Credit:EPA Gatwick claimed that its passenger figures for September demonstrate the “appetite” for an expansion at the West Sussex airport, which can be delivered “quickly with less risk and lower impact” than Heathrow.Some 4.3 million passengers travelled through Gatwick in September, up 6.9% on the same month in 2015.The airport said that it will begin serving flights to and from Cape Town and Moscow in the coming weeks, in addition to the 20 new long haul routes this year including destinations in China, Peru, Canada, Costa Rica, Nigeria and the US.Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “Gatwick’s continued record-breaking growth shows we can deliver for Britain. We are already decades ahead of predictions on passenger and long haul growth and the demand for expansion at Gatwick is clear to see.”Airport expansion has failed to get off the ground in the past because of insurmountable obstacles such as the air quality and noise impacts that make Heathrow undeliverable.”It is time for a new solution.” Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed last week that the UK Government would “shortly announce” a decision on which airport expansion project will get the go ahead.The Davies Commission recommended in July last year that a third runway should be built at Heathrow. Other shortlisted options are extending the airport’s existing northern runway or building a second runway at Gatwick.Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye claimed a third runway would “work for every region” of the UK.last_img read more

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