Jody Avirgan: Neil, my favorite little tidbit from the the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was the fact that each day, all the stats nerds streamed into the building toward panel discussions about sports analytics, waltzing right past — actual sports! There was a massive regional volleyball tournament taking place in the same building, and as far as I could tell, no one stopped to check it out. And, honestly, part of me thinks that it could have been an NFL game and people would have still hustled upstairs to talk about sports rather than just watch them. There was a panel discussion called “Is Analytics Taking the Fun Out of Sports.” This felt like a nice parallel to that idea.Neil Paine: “Hey, nerds — get your heads out of those volleyball spreadsheets and try watching a match!” (Said no one ever.) But seriously, the juxtaposition was interesting, particularly considering that we had the opportunity to speak with some people who do sabermetrics for volleyball. It seemed like this should have been a big moment for them — considering their sport was on display for all Sloan-ites to see — but instead it was just another smaller sport that can sometimes go neglected at an event geared more toward basketball, baseball and football.But not by us — right, Jody?Jody: Never. We contain multitudes. That said, I know next to nothing about volleyball. And while there is obvious strategy involved — you can see play fakes and how teammates work together — I hadn’t really thought about how you would evaluate the merit of particular plays. The main thing I learned from Mila Barzdukas and Giuseppe Vinci was to think about the setting pass. Is it one that leaves the team with no options but to flail and punch it over the net? Or is it a pass that multiple people could spike, from a wide range of unpredictable angles? That is, in essence, the goal of every possession — a versatile set pass. And it’s graded on a scale of 0 to 3. If you’ve got three options of attack from a given set, that’s a success.And the thing that makes it so intriguing is that the quality of the set is related to the pass before it, which is related to the serve before it. … It’s impossible to untangle each pass from the others. Which might be kind of unique among all sports, right? And, I imagine, a real metrics challenge. …Which is where I saw your wheels turning. Have we found your new beat?Neil: It’s possible. Not really having played volleyball since high school gym class, I’d never considered how oddly well-structured it is for analysis, in terms of the way each rally progresses and the fact that outcomes for individual players can be counted with relative ease. (Even at the 14- to 15-year-old level we observed, Vinci and Barzdukas insisted that coaches were tracking basic pluses and minuses — that is, positive and negative plays — for their players during matches.) It’s still not as perfectly suited to analytics as baseball (what is?), but it wouldn’t be unfair to liken it more to basketball than sports with more moving parts, such as hockey, soccer and football.The strategy of maximizing your passing options on any given setting opportunity struck me as particularly fascinating because it seems like one of those statistical best practices that can suddenly bring focus to a coach’s entire game plan. It that way, it may be much like how conserving outs should be the all-consuming imperative of a baseball offense or how resisting mid-range jumpers has become the mark of smart offensive basketball. (Even hockey has recently found a version of this: Playing dump-and-chase is the equivalent of cutting off your setter’s passing options.)The beauty of sports analytics, though, is that they’re a beginning, not an end. Finding the right strategy is just the first step in a journey that (hopefully) ends with the right players putting it to use. And with an actual volleyball tournament in such close proximity to analytics experts, both components of the odyssey were placed side-by-side, however briefly.Jody: Well said, Neil. Nice setup. Even the most grizzled volleyball coach would say you’re “passing a 3.” OK, folks, watch the video. Mila Barzdukas, Giuseppe Vinci, Neil Paine and Jody Avirgan in front of a regulation size volleyball. CORRECTION (March 10, 10:37 a.m.): An earlier version of this article mischaracterized the number of passes in a volleyball point. It’s two, not three.
Wayne Elliott, the referee whose controversial call cost the Green Bay Packers a win at Seattle almost two weeks ago, admitted that his granting a touchdown to Golden Tate was a mistake.Packer safety M.D. Jennings appeared to have intercepted Russell Wilson’s desperation, last-second pass in the end zone, even though Tate came into the play by getting his hands on the ball. But Jennings came down with it pressed against his body.The referees came in — one signaling a touchback, Elliott signalling a touchdown. His call, remarkably, was upheld after review, causing an avalanche of criticism at the replacement referees. Two days later the sides come to an agreement, ending the three-month-old lockout. The NFL issued a statement after the game saying that Tate should have been called for offensive pass inteference, but that it stood by Elliott’s call.Elliott, interviewed by Showtime’s “Inside The NFL,” said, after watching the replay of the play: “I’d probably call interception. I learned a rule by screwing up the rule.”Big admission by Elliott on a call that turned his world upside down. He said his phone constantly rang for three days. One of the calls he received was from Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who left Elliott a message.“He called me at my house last week because he had heard I was having a rough week with all the calls and everything,” Elliott said during the segment. “Wanted (me) to know that he thought what I did — controversial and maybe he didn’t agree with it — (but he thought) I handled it with class.”In the replay of the infamous play, Tate clearly pushed off on a defender before leaping to get his hands on the ball. That penalty was in Elliott’s direct line of sight but went uncalled.Elliott said that during training he remembered being told that “you don’t really call interference on a Hail Mary. . . You just let it go.”Despite all the controversy, Elliott said being an NFL referee – if only for a short time – “the time of my life.”
Paul George, the NBA’s 2012-13 most improved player, recently explained how he wasn’t prepared for the role of “leader” of the Indiana Pacers during last year’s NBA season.In an interview with NBA Inside Stuff reporter Dennis Scott, George confessed, “I really wasn’t ready for that moment.”George mentioned that he wasn’t particularly prepared to be the go-to guy on the team at the beginning of last season, but he did what he needed to do to fit into the role.He eventually excelled in the position, leading his team to the 2013 Eastern Conference Finals. There, he and his team went up against league MVP LeBron James and the defending champs Miami Heat, taking them all the way to game seven where they eventually lost.See what George had to say in the video above.
The weakest division of the American League so far this season is the one that has been the most dominant in recent years: the AL East — featuring the Yankees and Red Sox, the two winningest AL teams since the league expanded to three divisions in 1995.Baltimore is leading the division with a puny 16-14 record, the worst for any division leader in baseball. Four of the AL East’s five teams are being outscored. And it could get even bleaker: All five teams have put up these poor results while facing schedules that are significantly weaker than average.There’s plenty of time for things to turn around; four-fifths of the season remain. Even if just one or two AL East teams get better, that could be enough for the division to win another pennant and even the major-league title.Winning pennants and titles has been the forte of the AL East since the majors reorganized after the 1994-95 players’ strike. Teams from the division have represented 36 percent of all AL clubs but have won 11 of 19 pennants and eight of 10 World Series titles for AL teams — twice as many as any NL division. (NL East teams have won four.) The division has also claimed 71 percent of available AL wild-card slots, twice as many as it would be expected to by chance alone.Much of that postseason success was achieved by New York and Boston, and the division has had plenty of underachieving clubs, too. But the AL East’s overall results stand up nicely, too. Its teams won 51 percent of regular-season games between 1995 and 2013. That understates its success because division games each had winners and losers, so they canceled each other out. Against opponents from outside their division, AL East teams won 52 percent of games, including the same proportion against both intraleague rivals and against NL teams.Surprising early-season results often stem from bad luck: Opposing batters’ grounders find gaps in the infield, and their fly balls sail for home runs, at unsustainable rates. One way to measure this luck is to compare teams’ skill-interactive ERA to their ERA. SIERA tries to control for factors beyond pitchers’ control — so it’s roughly what a pitching staff’s ERA would be if it had the same luck, and fielding ability, of the average team. And all five AL East teams have a SIERA below their ERA. The Yankees’ gap is nearly a run per nine innings.Then again, last year, all five AL East teams also had ERAs worse than their SIERAs. And while that doesn’t appear to have been due to bad fielding, this year most of the AL East clubs have below-average fielding.There’s one more sign that its slow start could mean real trouble for the AL’s worst division. A few days ago, Dave Cameron at FanGraphs calculated teams’ expected scoring margins — based on how well they’ve hit the ball, run the bases, fielded and pitched — relative to their actual scoring margins. If the AL East really has been the victim of hard luck, we’d expect its teams to have better scoring margins than they do. Yet overall, they’ve done about as poorly as expected. Because they’ve won even more than we’d expect by scoring margin, if they keep playing as poorly as they have, their luck — and tougher opponents — could make it even harder for AL East teams to maintain the mediocre level they’ve established so far this season.
Members of the OSU football team gather around coach Urban Meyer (center) before a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorAfter falling short of its goal last season, the Ohio State football team earned a second chance in 2014.The Buckeyes — ranked No. 5 in the College Football Playoff standings — are set to match up with No. 13 Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game on Saturday, one day short of a year since they lost to Michigan State in the title game last season.In order to reverse that 34-24 result, senior cornerback Doran Grant said OSU has to work harder than ever before heading into Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend.“Just more effort. More effort, more focus, more everything,” Grant said Wednesday. “It’s championship week, everything has to be more, and we’ve gotta execute and compete.”If OSU pulls out a win against the Badgers, it will mean the 35th Big Ten championship in program history, but first since 2009. That four-year gap means the current Buckeye seniors don’t have a conference title on their resume.Grant said his class’ legacy “wouldn’t be too complete” if the Buckeyes lose on Saturday.“That’s something — especially the guys I came in with, the class of 2011 — we never won one since we’ve been here,” he said. “And we gotta get it.”In order to make their resumes application-ready, the Buckeyes will have to slow down an offense averaging 482.1 yards per game and take on a defense giving up just 16.8 points per contest. OSU will also have to do all that without its starting quarterback as redshirt-freshman J.T. Barrett is set to miss the remainder of the season after fracturing his ankle in a win over Michigan last weekend.Before his injury, Barrett had set the Big Ten record for total touchdowns in a season to go along with numerous program records. With the Wichita Falls, Texas, native coming off a Sunday surgery, the Buckeyes are set to turn to redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones, who has thrown all of 17 passes this season.With Jones at the helm, that means OSU is set to play arguably its biggest game of the season with a player who’s thrown just two career touchdowns passes, while Barrett threw 34 in just 12 games as the starter.But even with his starter out, coach Urban Meyer said he’s comfortable with the Buckeyes’ quarterback situation.“(I feel) great,” Meyer said Wednesday. “After today, (Jones) had a good day today.”Meyer stressed that — while the quarterback matters — an offense’s success is based more off the group than any individual player.“A good quarterback has a common denominator and that’s good players around him,” he said. “And we have a veteran offensive line and some good players around him.”Jones taking the lead won’t be the only change for the Buckeyes, as the team learned of the death of a teammate barely 24 hours after beating the Wolverines.Redshirt-senior defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge — a former wrestler turned football walk-on who had been with the team since August — was reported missing last Wednesday before his body was discovered on Sunday. Karageorge’s funeral was held Wednesday before the Buckeyes practiced.Grant said he attended the funeral, and added it’s not necessarily possible to move on from the tragedy, but the team has to play through it.“You don’t really get past it, we just gotta keep fighting,” he said. “Just keep fighting and staying together.”Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman said the adversity of the past week has made the team closer, and forced the leaders to step up.“I think it’s kinda all brought us together, and kinda all just put our shields up and ‘let’s go,’” Heuerman said Wednesday. “We’ll go wherever.”With Barrett’s injury in mind, Heuerman added that the offensive leadership has to be even stronger with Jones making his first collegiate start.“Especially on offense with a quarterback who doesn’t have a whole lot of experience back there playing,” he said. “I think the older guys on offense — myself, (senior wide receiver Evan Spencer), (senior wide receiver Devin Smith), (junior offensive lineman) Taylor Decker on the line — a lot of that, it’s really been on our shoulders. Step up our game, bring (Jones) up.”With the spotlight in Columbus focused largely on how Jones will perform, the Buckeyes might need to put even more emphasis on trying to stop the Wisconsin offensive attack. And when it comes to the Badgers’ attack, everything goes through the success of redshirt-junior running back Melvin Gordon.Gordon — who was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year on Tuesday — leads the nation with 2,260 rushing yards on just 283 carries, and has scored 26 touchdowns along the way. Those rushing yards mean Gordon alone would be the 45th best running team in the country.As a team, the Badgers are second in the nation with 4,011 yards on the ground this season.Especially in recent weeks, OSU has struggled against the run, giving up more than 100 rushing yards to a single player in three of its past four games.In order to slow down Gordon and the Wisconsin offense, Grant said he has a simple plan.“Pursue him and get him on the ground,” he said.While that might be easier said than done, Grant said the Buckeyes simply don’t have another option.“That’s what we have to do,” he added.Even though Gordon is the focal point, the Badgers have proven successful throwing the ball as well, especially in recent weeks. Redshirt-junior quarterback Joel Stave completed 11 of 14 passes Nov. 22 against Iowa before throwing for 215 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota on Saturday.Grant said Stave’s play in recent weeks shows the Buckeyes have to be ready for all aspects of the Wisconsin attack.“That means we have to be ready for the pass, they’re not just one-dimensional running the ball,” Grant said. “So we have to cover, and we have to be ready to stop the run.”Grant added that the Badgers like to change it up on offense, meaning the Buckeyes have to work as a team even more than normal.“They shift a lot, they motion a lot,” he said. “We have to communicate and be in the right spots so we can fill our gaps in the run game.”And with that focus on the running game, the Buckeyes will also have to be aware of the play action pass.“You have to stay focused every play though, because you never know when they’re gonna throw that,” Grant said.While the Badgers throw multiple looks at the opposition while on offense, Heuerman said the defense is much more vanilla. But he added that doesn’t mean Wisconsin will be easy to move the ball against, even if the Buckeyes know what’s coming.“They don’t really do a whole lot of different things, they’re just really good at what they do,” Heuerman said. “They play just a few different types of defense, which, you know, isn’t tough to figure out what they’re playing. But they’re gap sound and they got a lot of good players on that team (who) have a knack for the football.”As the Buckeyes prepare for Wisconsin, Heuerman said they’ve completed one of their main goals: competing for championships in November.But he added OSU has made it to this point on a path that it might not have expected.“I don’t think anyone thought this was how we would get here, in all the things we’ve encountered along the way, it’s been a wild ride,” Heuerman said. “But we’re there and we’re doing everything we can to prepare.”With the loss to Michigan State still on his mind, Heuerman said the Buckeyes will come in with a different attitude against the Badgers.“We’ve still got that bad taste in our mouth from last year, in that stadium,” he said. “We haven’t been back since, so we’re coming in with a chip on our shoulder.”The Buckeyes and the Badgers are scheduled to kick off at 8:17 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) throws a pass on the run during the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorJ.T. Barrett’s final run through the Big Ten wasn’t supposed to go like this. The redshirt senior Ohio State quarterback holds multiple conference and school records and is three touchdowns shy of matching former Purdue signal-caller Drew Brees’ Big Ten record for most total touchdowns. In his final season as a Buckeye, Barrett and a veteran-laden team, which began the season as the second-ranked team in the Associated Press preseason poll, were expected to be one of the nation’s top teams. But it won’t be easy for the first three-time team captain in program history.The quarterback’s team already has lost 31-16 to Oklahoma in the second week of the season. Penn State’s powerful offense stands in Ohio State’s way. Michigan’s stout defense has stymied Florida and Cincinnati in the first two weeks of the season. The Buckeyes must head to Iowa and Nebraska to take on tough opponents in hostile environments.Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) prepares to catch a snap during the Ohio State- Oklahoma game on Sep. 9. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorBut perhaps most importantly, Barrett must not allow the critics who think redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins or redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow should replace him to enter his frame of mind.Luckily for Barrett, this scrutiny isn’t new. “Back in 2014, lost to Virginia Tech and I was 9-of-28 [passing]. So, I’ve been here before,” Barrett said after Saturday’s loss. “I didn’t play that bad, but I definitely didn’t play as far as putting us in the best situation to win. With that being said, I’m going to go to work and get better and I think just try to rally guys and make sure that when it comes next week that we’re at our best.”The difference between the 2014 home-opener loss to the Hokies and the recent loss to the Sooners is that Barrett no longer has youth as a reason for his struggles. When Barrett was thrust into the starting role as a redshirt freshman after quarterback Braxton Miller reinjured his right shoulder which required season-ending surgery, expectations were low. Early career struggles were easy to explain, and chalked up to inexperience. But now, in 2017, Barrett has no such excuse. He holds 22 Ohio State records including most touchdowns in both a season and career, single-season passing efficiency, and total yards in a season.If someone with Barrett’s experience struggles, like he did against Oklahoma when he completed 19-of-35 passes for 183 yards, including an interception, he earns criticism. Barrett isn’t the only player who deserves criticism. The six-player group of starting H-backs and wideouts — Parris Campbell, K.J. Hill, Johnnie Dixon, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Terry McLaurin— has done little to help its quarterback. But as Barrett and coach Urban Meyer say, this comes with the position. “When you’re winning, I get too much credit. [That is] when I try to give that credit to the guys around me because that’s who I need — 10 other guys to play well. When we lose, I mean, I’m the one to blame too,” Barrett said. “It’s the life of a quarterback.”Regardless of how much blame Barrett deserves, he must overcome any inner doubt. Just two games — one against Army Saturday afternoon and another on Sept. 23 versus UNLV — stand between Ohio State and the remainder of its conference schedule. In Barrett’s time as a starter, Ohio State has lost just two games in the Big Ten. Michigan State defeated the Buckeyes 17-14 in 2015 to hand Barrett his first loss in more than a year. Last season, Penn State upset Ohio State, 24-21. In 2014, Barrett didn’t lose a game to a Big Ten opponent the entire season and was primarily responsible for Ohio State claiming the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship.Ohio State redshirt senior quarterbacks J.T. Barrett heads to Ohio Stadium prior to the 2017 season opener on Sept. 9. The No.2 Buckeyes lost to No. 5 Oklahoma 31-16. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorNegative comments and judgements won’t matter if Ohio State wins, even if it isn’t always pretty. Meyer still believes in Barrett despite the offense’s inability to find an optimal flow and pace. “Any decisions about any personnel is strictly who gives us the best opportunity to win, whether it be right guard, quarterback. And it’s always been the case,” Meyer said Monday. “Right now it’s not even a question.”Neither Army, UNLV nor Rutgers — Ohio State’s next three opponents — has especially potent defenses. But Barrett must retake control of an offense that has looked like anything but the potent offense Meyer’s teams normally possess. Barrett played unexpectedly in 2014 because he was one of the few healthy options at quarterback. That isn’t the case in Barrett’s final run. Haskins and Burrow present themselves as intriguing options who have been in the program for years.The mystery and unknown invoke imagination. “Just how good is Haskins’ deep ball?” some wonder. “Maybe a quarterback change is just what a sputtering Ohio State offense needs,” critics say. If Barrett has his way, no one will ever know.
Ohio State senior forward Jae’Sean Tate finishes a dunk in the first half against Appalachian State on Dec. 16, 2017 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Station ManagerSince playing Michigan on Dec. 4, Ohio State (10-3, 2-0 Big Ten) has dominated three straight nonconference opponents, scoring at least 80 points and allowing no more than 67 points in any game. The Buckeyes will not find their next matchup quite as easy. They travel to New Orleans to play No. 5 North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Here is a rundown of what to expect out of that game.Projected StartersUNC:G — Joel Berry II — Senior, 6-foot, 195 lbs., 17.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.5 apg, G — Kenny Williams — Junior, 6-foot-4, 185 lbs., 13.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.0 apgG/F — Theo Pinson — Senior, 6-foot-6, 220 lbs., 8.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 4.7 apgF — Garrison Brooks — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 215 lbs., 6.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.8 apgF — Luke Maye — Junior, 6-foot-8, 240 lbs., 19.3 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 2.3 apgOhio State:G — Musa Jallow — Freshman, 6-foot-5, 200 lbs., 4.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.3 apgG — C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs., 13.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.4 apgF — Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs., 12.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.9 apgF — Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs., 18.2 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 1.5 apgC — Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 270 lbs., 12.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.8 apgScouting UNCOhio State has played a ranked opponent only once this season, and it was an 86-59 loss to now-No. 12 Gonzaga. The team it faces Saturday might be even better than that Bulldog squad. According to Kenpom.com, North Carolina is the No. 11 team in the nation, one spot ahead of Gonzaga. The Tar Heels have handled a few quality teams to this point, beating Stanford 96-72, Michigan 86-71 and No. 21 Tennessee 78-73. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said in watching the film of those wins, it is clear North Carolina is a team that should be making a return trip to the Final Four in 2018.“There’s a reason they’re the No. 5 team in the country,” Holtmann said Thursday. “We’ve watched them play both home and away, they were up on Michigan by 30 with 10 minutes to go. They just can be really, really explosive. Obviously they have a terrific win at Tennessee. Every time you’re watching them play, you’re trying to evaluate things.”But while North Carolina has several big wins on its resume, it also has several standout losses. In its first real test of the season, it was beat down by now-No. 2 Michigan State 63-45, and lost to Wofford 79-75 Wednesday night. The Tar Heels tend to be one of the more dominant teams in the nation across the board, ranking as both a top-20 team by KenPom in both adjusted offensive efficiency (No. 14) and adjusted defensive efficiency (No. 19). But there is one area that could bode well for the Buckeyes. When Ohio State struggles, it is because it gets into turnover trouble. According to KenPom, Ohio State ranks No. 173 in offensive turnover rate. But the Tar Heels have not been a team to force many turnovers this season, ranking only 267th in defensive turnover rate. In North Carolina’s loss to Wofford, it forced just 10 turnovers and scored eight points off those turnovers. But that is one of the only matchups that looks favorable for the Buckeyes. The Tar Heels typically run a zone defense, a scheme that has caused Ohio State fits offensively all season.The Buckeyes also have not dealt with up-tempo teams well. The three teams that have beaten Ohio State — Gonzaga, Butler and Clemson — average just 16.8 seconds per offensive possession this season. The three Power Five teams Ohio State has beaten — Wisconsin, Michigan and Stanford — average 18.2 seconds per offensive possession. The Tar Heels are the seventh-fastest team in the nation on offense, taking just 14.4 seconds on every offensive possession. Ohio State forward Jae’Sean Tate said the team has spent extensive time at practice this week working on transition defense in anticipation for North Carolina’s faster offense.“The way they get the ball up the court so fast even on made-baskets, going to be key trying to make them play in the half-court is basically what we’re going to have to try to do,” Tate said.How will UNC rebound from its loss to Wofford?Both Ohio State and North Carolina wrapped up relatively easy nonconference stretches of their schedules before the upcoming trip to New Orleans. But unlike Ohio State, North Carolina could not handle its business against Wofford, losing 79-75.Wofford shot 43.8 percent from the field and 31.8 percent from beyond the arc overall, but was exceptional in the second half. The Terriers shot 50 percent (17-for-34) from the field, while also maintaining a 40 percent 3-point success rate with 6-of-15 makes. The Tar Heels, by comparison, shot only 36.4 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3-point range during the game. North Carolina, not known to be a 3-point shooting team, fell behind to Wofford and tried to make it all back up in bulk, but went just 5-for-16 from beyond the arc in the second half.The loss to a 25-point underdog could do one or two things to a team: it could serve as sufficient motivation to play as hard as possible the next time out or it could drag down morale. Holtmann and the Buckeyes are preparing for the former, reflecting on how the Tar Heels responded to its first loss of the season to Michigan State.“After they came back from getting beat by Michigan State, they were phenomenal against Michigan and it was incredible. Like I said, up 30 midway through the second half. I think any time you have a veteran team, that’s typically what happens,” Holtmann said. “You look at it, you say, ‘Absolutely, I’m pretty confident that we’re going to get their very best.’”Prediction:UNC wins 76-68
Ohio State freshman guard Janai Crooms (3) listens to coach Kevin McGuff during a timeout in the game against Penn State on Feb 6. Ohio State won 78-73. Credit: Cori Wade | Lantern PhotographerThe Ohio State women’s basketball team could not stop Iowa Hawkeye senior forward Megan Gustafson enough to get the win on Sunday. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year torched the Buckeye defense, shooting 14-19 from the field for 29 points along with 16 rebounds to give the No. 16 Hawkeyes (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) the 78-52 victory against Ohio State (10-12, 6-7 Big Ten). Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff gave all the credit to Gustafson for beating the Buckeyes. “She’s an incredibly efficient player,” McGuff said. “She had 29 points on only 19 shots, so she really knows how to play the game. She understands angles, and she gives her teammates a great target to throw the ball too. And then she also knows how to function within their offense well to get the ball into the basket.” Despite being down 19-9 early in the first quarter, the Buckeyes fought back in the second quarter, led by freshman forward Aaliyah Patty, who came off the bench to score eight points in that quarter, 11 points total on the game. Gustafson was held to only four points total that quarter.This effort helped Ohio State close the Iowa lead from 19-9 to 31-27 and went into the locker room at halftime with momentum on its side. However, the third quarter was where the game started to unravel for the Buckeyes. Led by Gustafson’s 15 points, Iowa scored 27 to effectively put the game out of reach.Freshman forward Dorka Juhasz felt Ohio State did its best to stop Gustafson, but the senior forward’s experience was a key factor in her success.“In the beginning, I thought that we were guarding her well,” Juhasz said. “But in the second half, that stopped working and we couldn’t get there in time to steal passes and that meant she scored. We knew that she was a great player, and we knew that she would come out of the locker room after halftime and she’s a senior, so she was going to execute.”Juhasz was one of the lone bright spots from the starting lineup for Ohio State. Despite still recovering from an ankle injury sustained back in January against Michigan State, Juhasz had her second consecutive double double, this time scoring 12 points with 10 rebounds. While not feeling 100 percent, Juhasz still felt she made a lot of improvement in Sunday’s game.“I would not say that I am back to full health like before the injury,” Juhasz said. “It’s always worse after the games, but during the game I was not even thinking about it.”Sunday’s game saw very quiet performances from three members of the Buckeye starting lineup. Redshirt senior guards Carmen Grande and Carly Santoro did not find the basket and redshirt senior forward Makayla Waterman put up five points, all of which came in the fourth quarter, with six rebounds.McGuff said Iowa had a very good defensive game plan that factored into limiting its key scorers, but the blame falls on a lack of execution.“We rely on those guys so much and they’ve been so consistently good,” McGuff said. “They just didn’t have the same night as normal for us. We competed for most part of the game, but our focus on execution was not where it needed to be. Against a team like Iowa, you’ve got to keep up with them by scoring the ball, because they are so good on offense.”Freshman guard Janai Crooms had another solid performance scoring 10 points with a season high seven assists. Patty, redshirt senior guard Adreana Miller and sophomore guard Jensen Caretti combined for 25 points out of 52 off the bench. Miller scored 11 and was 2-4 from the 3-point line while Caretti sunk a 3 in the first quarter. McGuff praised the bench for their efforts and gave them credit for keeping the team in the game.“I thought our bench stepped up and really gave us a lot of energy,” McGuff said. “When we substituted, we seemed to play with a little more energy and gave us more offense, so they did a great job.” Ohio State will travel to face Rutgers on Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
A foul-mouthed family doctor used her stiletto high heel to stamp on the feet of police before ranting: “Why the f*** have I been arrested? I’m a f***ing GP don’t you know,” a tribunal heard.Dr Eve Speight, 54, drunk three glasses of wine and a glass of beer in a village pub during a night out with her husband before having a marital bust up.When officers arrived she is accused of turning the air blue and spitting in the street before stamping her high heel on the ankle of one of the officers and scraping the stiletto down his colleague’s leg as they tried to calm her down.As the two officers pulled her to the ground to restrain her, Speight, originally from Vienna, added: “Why the f*** have I been arrested? I just want to go f***ing home, this is not my home, I’m from Austria. 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. Dr Eve Speight, after her MPTS hearing at the GMC in ManchesterCredit: Pat Isaacs/Cavendish Press Bob Sastry, counsel for the GMC, said: “Mr A was a neighbour of Dr Speight at the time and the family of Mr A were celebrating the 3rd birthday of one of the children. At about 6pm there were still family members and children aged three in the garden of Mr A’s home.”Dr Speight went to the garden fence looked over and was said to be under the influence of alcohol. She shouted ‘your f**king dog is annoying’ and then said ‘I will f***ing kill your dog’.”Mr A apologised for the dog barking but it would seem Dr Speight began to ask questions about his personal employment which he found strange.”She then said ‘I will cut your balls off’. She was told that her behaviour was inappropriate because of the children. But she shouted at Mr A ‘I don’t f***ing care about your family, you can all go and f*** off’.”She was repeatedly asked to leave and pushed Mr A with both hands to the chest, leaning over the fence as she did so. She was shouting and spitting at this time. When he asked her to stop she spat directly in his face.”This was seen by Mr A’s partner who called the police. She was asked to leave again and did so after a short time. Dr Speight was also shouting homophobic abuse at Mr A, calling him a ‘gay p***y’.”Police arrived at 6.20pm and spoke to Mr A before going to Dr Speight’s property to arrest her.Mr Sastry said: “They went to hand cuff her but he began to be abusive and emotional in their presence. She spat at one constable with the saliva making contact with the lower part of his face. They took her to the ground.”During police interview Speight denied wrongdoing and asked whether she spat at Mr A, retorted: “No – but I wish I did”.She was freed on bail on June 15 but later that afternoon went to a pub with her husband in the village of Stewkley, Oxfordshire.Mr Sastry added: “A phone call was made from someone in the pub to police and it seemed there had been an argument between her and her husband. At 6pm she was seen on High Street North by two officers who approached her and told her they were going to arrest her for a public order offence due to her behaviour.”She said ‘I’m going to have a f***ing cigarette’ and this was said in the presence of a male with two young children. One of the officers considered her to be heavily under the influence of alcohol as she was slurring her words, unsteady on her feet and spitting when talking.”He took hold of Dr Speight who continued to shout and swear loudly and continued to struggle with them but they managed to hand cuff her.”She shouted ‘what the f*** am I being arrested for?’ And raised her left foot and stamped a stiletto type heel to PC G’s ankle. No injury was caused but he could feel the heel through his boot.”She then stamped on PC F’s leg and scraped it down the side and started to kick at him, hitting him a further two times. He felt a sharp pain and arrested her for assaulting a police officer and she continued to try and kick out. She was taken to the ground.”She could be heard shouting ‘why the f*** have I been arrested? I just want to go f**king home, this is not my home, I’m from Austria. Is this how you treat people here? I’ve done nothing wrong, my husband left me in the pub after eight years, I’ve had enough. I’m a f***ing GP don’t you know?’Speight later pleaded guilty to six public order charges at Aylsbury Magistrates’ court in August 2015. The court heard whilst in the police station she became further agitated and needed medical attention after knocking out a tooth.At the time her lawyer said: “She says that she is really ashamed of what happened.”Speight admits misconduct charges relating to her convictions. She faces other charges relating to her prescribing antidepressants to a 15-year-old girl without fully exploring the youngster’s problems. “Is this how you treat people here? I’ve done nothing wrong, my husband left me in the pub after eight years, I’ve had enough. I’m a f***ing GP don’t you know?”The incident occurred just hours after Speight, from Soulbury, Bucks, had been bailed following another drunken foul mouthed bust up in which she raged at a neighbour during a child’s third birthday party over their family dog barking too loudly.During that incident she spat in the unnamed neighbour’s face saying: “Your f***ing dog is annoying. I will f***ing kill your dog. I will cut your balls off. I don’t f***ing care about your family, you can all go and f*** off’.Speight was subsequently convicted of six charges including assault and threatening behaviour but escaped with a 12 month community order after she said she was “stressed out” and going through a divorce.She was later referred to the General Medical Council.The first incident occurred on June 13 last year when Speight was working a locum GP having earlier been a partner for five years at a GP practice in Bicester, Oxfordshire, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester was told. She was told that her behaviour was inappropriate because of the children. But she shouted at Mr A ‘I don’t f***ing care about your family, you can all go and f*** off’.Bob Sastry, counsel
A mother who “knew” her four-month-old son was dead was forced to leave him with the dog attacking him to save her older child, an inquest heard.Jade Rogers was with her two young sons when the Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog, called Bailey, entered the room and attacked, a hearing at a coroner’s court in Chelmsford was told.Baby Archie Joe Darby died after being bitten by the animal on Oct 13.Essex coroner Eleanor McGann praised Miss Rogers’s “bravery” in fighting off the aggressive animal as she managed to save her other son, Daniel-Jay, who was 22 months old. Daniel-Jay Darby, who was mauled by a dog, with mother Jade RogersCredit: SWNS.com She had moved into the house, in Harwich Road, which belonged to her sister, Clare Ferdinand, and her sister’s husband, John Ferdinand, the week before, and Mr Ferdinand had left around an hour before the attack.Mr Biddle said: “Jade was in the living room with her two children. She had Archie in her arms. She was on the phone to Dan [her partner]. They were ‘Facetiming’ each other.”He said the dog entered the living room while Miss Rogers was on the phone.”It growled and immediately attacked Daniel,” Mr Biddle said. “Jade went to get up and tried to move the dog out of the room.”It went straight for Daniel’s head, started biting and shaking his head while she had Archie in her arms.”She tried to pull the dog off Daniel. It dropped Daniel and pulled Archie out of her arms. 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. “They saw Archie lying on the floor face down with significant injuries and Daniel sitting on the sofa with significant head injuries in a very upset state.”The children were removed to Colchester General Hospital.” Archie was pronounced dead at 4.02pm.Police called specialist dog handlers to remove the dog and it took several officers to achieve this.”We had to use specialist equipment to do that because of his continued aggressive behaviour,” said Mr Biddle. “It never stopped for the whole time until it was put to sleep.”In a statement to police, Miss Rogers said she was alone in the house with her two children at the time of the attack. Det Insp Gary Biddle, senior investigating officer, said the boys’ mother barricaded the dog in the conservatory at the family’s Colchester home, and had to hold the door shut to prevent it from continuing to attack her children.”Jade called the ambulance service and did a heroic job removing the dog from the house to a conservatory area,” he said. “Because of the behaviour of the dog, being very aggressive at the time, Jade barricaded herself against the door to stop the dog getting back into the house.”She could not leave the door and let the ambulance service in.”Fortunately police attended very quickly. They shouted through the letter box to understand why she couldn’t get to the door and she shouted out why.”We were left with no option but to force entry. “It then shook Archie around the room then dropped him.”Jade said she knew instantly that Archie was dead. She decided to save Daniel, thought ‘I can save Daniel’, ran into the kitchen with him, grabbed the phone and dialled 999.”The dog was still having a go at Daniel, grabbed him off the kitchen counter.”On the 999 call you can hear him attacking Daniel and you can hear Jade shouting and screaming, trying to get the dog off.”The inquest heard that Mr and Mrs Ferdinand had owned the dog for around four years.They got it from a dog rescue centre and no previous concerns had been raised about its behaviour.Mr Biddle said officers traced a previous owner of the animal to find out why they had given it up.”She [the previous owner] had a little Jack Russell dog that used to attack Bailey and injure him, so she felt it was unfair to keep Bailey,” said Mr Biddle.A post-mortem examination on the dog concluded that it was healthy and well kept.Police took advice from the Crown Prosecution Service and were satisfied no offences had been committed, he said. Police outside a house near to where a baby boy was killed and a second child injured in a dog attackCredit:Sam Russell/PA Wire