Month: September 2019

  • Elton Brand Finds New Home In Dallas

    Unceremoniously released Wednesday through the amnesty clause by the Philadelphia 76ers, Elton Brand became the subject of something like a silent auction. On the NBA’s new “amnesty waivers,” teams had a chance to make offers on the 6-foot-9 forward with the most lucrative deal the new destination for the 33-year-old former all-star.Late Friday, the league announced that . . . drum roll, please. . . the Dallas Mavericks had the winning waiver bid, so to speak.“Excited,” Brand said when reached Friday by ESPN.com. “I figured that I’d be claimed [off waivers] and that’s definitely the destination I was hoping for.”Just as exciting for the Mavericks is that they get a quality big man and do not have to pay his $18.2 million salary for the upcoming season; the 76ers must pay it.“It’s going to be great playing with someone of Dirk Nowitzki’s caliber,” Brand said. “Chris Kaman is still a really good player and is going to show everybody that. And I’ve heard a lot of good things about coach [Rick] Carlisle.”Only teams under the salary cap were eligible to bid on claiming Brand off waivers. He would have become an unrestricted free agent had he cleared waivers, but the Mavericks were determined not to let the opportunity to claim Brand pass as they continue their recovery from missing out on top free-agent targets Deron Williams and Steve Nash.The Mavericks have rallied this week to add Brand, the former All-Star center Kaman and starter-level point guard Darren Collison all to n one-year deals, enabling Dallas to preserve maximum salary-cap flexibility for the summer of 2013 and its planned pursuits of stars such as Dwight Howard and Chris Paul.Brand said he knows he’ll be expected to play center alongside Nowitzki, despite the fact that the German is taller, but the former All-Star, said he welcomes the opportunity.“I did it all last season,” Brand said of guarding centers. “Of course, there’s a few guys we all have trouble with, but I’m not worried about it all.” read more

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  • Laker Coach Mike Brown Gets Jim Buss Endorsement

    Jim Buss, Los Angeles Lakers executive vice president, hardly content with his team’s 1-4 start, but he has “no problem” with coach Mike Brown, Buss said.“You don’t start 0-3 for the first time since we’ve owned the franchise without being on top of it,” Buss told ESPNLosAngeles.com. “No matter what, you have to be aware. That doesn’t mean change is coming. That just means you have to be aware.”Much of the blame from observers has been toward Brown and the offense he has installed that is failing miserably despite the addition of all-star center Dwight Howard and now-injured point guard Steve Nash to go with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant..“I have no problems with Mike Brown at all,” Buss said. “He just works too hard and he’s too knowledgeable for this to be happening.“So either the system is flawed or something’s going on. Or, like the Triangle, it’s very hard to pick up and understand. I’m not a basketball mind like he is or the players are, and the players are fine with it, so I just have to be patient.”Buss said he has been gauging player reaction to the Lakers’ new Princeton offense, Brown and how they’re dealing with the slow start by reading their public comments and talking to them directly. On Tuesday afternoon, he went down from his office to the court during practice to take their temperature, and he said he found things to be rather calm.“Kobe and I have a relationship where he can just look at me and say, ‘Everything’s cool,’ ” Buss said. “So yesterday during practice, I gave Kobe a quick glance, and everything was cool.”Bryant has continued to preach patience as the Lakers have struggled. Last week he said, “Everybody shut up. Let us work,” when asked about fan reaction to the Lakers’ slow adjustment to the system. But in Wednesday’s loss to the Jazz, even Bryant’s frustration seemed to elevate and he was caught on camera starting down Brown during a timeout in the waning moments of the fourth.When asked about his frustration level after the game, Bryant deadpanned it was, “Just a little bit.” read more

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  • The Packers Hot Streak May Have Come Too Late To Save Their

    2016, weeks 12-143-01st30th4th26th9th Rankings are among all 32 NFL teams.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group How Green Bay turned it around Going into Week 12, the Green Bay Packers were in deep, deep trouble. They’d lost four games in a row, and five of their previous six — the first time either type of skid had happened to the franchise since late in the 2008 season. According to FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings (our pet metric for determining each team’s quality), Green Bay was the ninth-worst team in the NFL, and it had a mere 6 percent probability of making the playoffs.Since then, however, it’s hard to find any team running hotter than the Packers. Green Bay has won three straight — by an average margin of 17 points per game — and they’ve risen to 10th-best in Elo after a stunning 38-10 rout of the Seattle Seahawks on national TV Sunday afternoon. Over the past month of action, no team has improved its Elo rating as much as the Packers have. The only question now is whether this late charge will be enough to save Green Bay’s season.Through 11 weeks, the 2016 Packers were looking like a team with an average passing attack and a terrible defense and special teams — no recipe for success in today’s NFL. In fact, Green Bay had been pretty mediocre in most phases of the game for a couple seasons at that point, despite the presence of future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers under center. Rodgers had one of the top two dozen or so passing seasons ever in 2014, but he’d slumped in 2015 without many of his usual receiving weapons, and he merely had a good — not great — start to 2016.And the Packers desperately needed Rodgers to be great in 2016, because with an injury to Pro Bowl linebacker Clay Matthews (among others), the team’s defense had slipped badly from its form of the previous few years. After giving up 42 points to Washington in Week 11, Green Bay had the NFL’s sixth-worst defense by expected points added,1Even after adjusting for the strength of opposing offenses faced. and it ranked fourth-worst against the pass in particular. The 34.2 total EPA below average (i.e., they allowed the equivalent of 34.2 more points through the air than the average defense would have) Green Bay’s pass D yielded against the Titans and Redskins in Weeks 10 and 11 represented the worst back-to-back performances against the pass by any team in the 2016 season.The Packers had thrived with a poor defense in the past — they went 15-1 in 2011 despite having the league’s 13th-worst defense by EPA — but that was back when Rodgers was carrying the team with historic passing numbers. Without those, there was little reason to think a Green Bay turnaround was imminent.But over the last three weeks, the Packers have rediscovered what made them perennial Super Bowl contenders. In spite of a nagging calf injury, Rodgers still has the NFL’s best Total QBR since Week 12, producing a league-best 12.6 EPA above average per game over that span. (It’s the team’s best three-game passing stretch since late in 2014.) And perhaps even more importantly, Green Bay’s defense has played far better over the past few games than it did all year long. With 6.2 EPA above average per game since Week 12, the team is having its best three-game defensive showing since the end of the 2015 season. 2016, weeks 1-114-612th7th29th4th31st EPA PER-GAME RANKING 201510-618th11th8th27th12th 201412-42nd11th13th9th31st Granted, the bulk of that defensive improvement came in a single game, against Seattle on Sunday. By holding the Seahawks’ passing offense to 24.9 EPA below its usual per-game output — including a staggering five interceptions of Russell Wilson — Green Bay had the fourth-best defensive outing against the pass by any team this season. It’s still an open question, however, whether that game was more of a fluke or a sign that this defense is finally coming around. Three of Wilson’s five picks were tipped, so Green Bay enjoyed some good fortune Sunday. And although the Packer D was improving in the two games leading up to its outburst versus Seattle, that meant playing “slightly below average” instead of “historically atrocious.”Even if Rodgers is healthy enough, and even if the defense has straightened out its issues, this late-season push may simply be coming too late to salvage Green Bay’s playoff hopes. Our Elo simulations currently give the Packers a 30 percent chance of making the postseason, most of which comes from their hope of winning the NFC North (and not the wild card, for which Green Bay would need to leapfrog three teams instead of two). According to The New York Times’ playoff simulator, the Packers probably need to beat both the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions in the season’s final two weeks in order to make the playoffs — and even then, the postseason wouldn’t necessarily be assured.If it doesn’t happen, Packer fans will find themselves looking back at Sunday’s rout of Seattle and wondering where that version of their team was all year — and why it couldn’t have emerged sooner.CORRECTION: (Dec. 12, 4:00 p.m.): A previous version of this article misstated Julius Peppers’ condition. Although Peppers is listed on the Packers’ injury report for Week 15 (http://www.packers.com/team/injury-report.html), the team said his presence on the list was “not injury related.”Check out our latest NFL predictions. SEASONRECORDPASS OFFRUSH OFFPASS DEFRUSH DEFS/T read more

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  • The Devil vs Richard Sherman

    From the middle of the second millennium to the pontificate of John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church had an office of the promotor fidei (“promoter of the faith”). While this prelate’s role varied slightly from century to century, his primary function remained consistent: to ensure no one was elevated to the sainthood injudiciously. This meant seeking out and presenting the best possible arguments against each Servant of God, no matter how revered he or she may have been. Thus the office earned the nickname advocatus diaboli — the devil’s advocate.On Friday, my colleague Neil Paine laid out a compelling argument for why the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman is likely a better cornerback than the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson, who has lately been claiming otherwise.Paine primarily uses four pieces of evidence:Pro Football Focus’s play-by-play ratings favor Sherman.Passes thrown toward Sherman have had much worse outcomes (by a variety of metrics, including how often they’ve been intercepted) than passes thrown toward Peterson.Teams throw fewer passes toward Sherman.Seattle’s pass defense is better than Arizona’s.This is about as open and shut as statistical arguments in the NFL get (though I might add that Sherman has had four forced fumbles to Peterson’s zero). And let’s not forget that Sherman also made probably the greatest individual play by a cornerback in recent memory, accompanied by the greatest post-game interview.But before we canonize the man, let me play advocatus diaboli.Peterson claims his job is harder than Sherman’s. Paine puts this aside to focus on tangible statistical outcomes, which is probably the right approach to establish who is objectively more likely to be the better cornerback (especially with the balance of evidence so decidedly in Sherman’s favor).But while we may not be able to test a counterfactual — How would Sherman do on Arizona’s defense, and vice versa? — we can examine the stats for hints that Peterson’s theory is at least plausible.I found one particularly  interesting stat: Peterson made 151 of his career 161 tackles (94 percent) by himself, compared to 138 of 167 (83 percent) for Sherman. This suggests the possibility that Peterson carries a heavier individual burden than Sherman, which could be one reason why Peterson’s stats don’t seem as impressive.Pretty thin gruel, I know, but that’s the point: Statistical arguments in football often rest on a razor’s edge. That’s partly because nearly every statistical sample in the NFL is tiny (these two players have played only 48 regular-season games each). Beyond that, there are three major reasons to be skeptical of statistical comparisons, even open-and-shut ones, between players:Opponents adapt their strategies to the quality and types of players they’re facing. For example, they may throw toward a tough cornerback less often, or only in certain situations.Teams sometimes ask for more from certain players. Better cornerbacks may be given added responsibilities so the rest of the defense can focus on other things. To give an absurd scenario, imagine if one corner could cover two receivers adequately but not spectacularly. His stats might not look impressive, yet you’d be able to send a free blitzer on every down. How valuable would that be?One player’s stats are highly dependent on others. All the others. A cornerback’s stats depend on support from the rest of the secondary, but also on how well the defense pressures the quarterback (into making bad throws, for example). Shutting down the running game forces opponents to pass in less-efficient situations, such as third and long. A good offense also helps a defense. It creates more late leads, and thus more desperate and obvious plays by the opposing offense as it takes (necessary) risks to try to get back into the game.To sum up: Statistics are extremely unreliable indicators of player value, especially over short periods of time and in limited situations. How many flash-in-the-pan defensive standouts have we seen? How many free-agent signings go sour because the player is nowhere near as effective in a different system? (Other than quarterbacks and Deion Sanders, I’d like to say most of them.)In this case, both Sherman and Peterson have only three years of play for us to evaluate, and each has played in only one situation on one team. Thus, a single confounding possibility — that Peterson has considerably more difficult responsibilities than Sherman — if established, could make the entire multifaceted case for Sherman collapse.With that, the devil rests. read more

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  • Ohio State offense shines under JT Barrett delivers 497 clobbering of Rutgers

    Correction: An earlier version of the story said last year’s game between Ohio State and Michigan was on Nov. 27, when it in fact was on Nov. 29. PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Led by redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett making his first start at quarterback in 10 games, No. 1 Ohio State thoroughly dominated Rutgers on both sides of the ball to walk away with a 49-7 victory.Barrett, who last started against Michigan on Nov. 29 of last season before going down with an ankle injury and lost the starting job to redshirt junior Cardale Jones for the first seven games of the 2015 season, picked up 324 yards: 223 in the air and 101 on the ground.“J.T. doesn’t surprise me,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said. “I think he’s back … I think he’s in full swing again.”The OSU defense held Rutgers (3-4, 1-3) to 293 yards, while the offense gained 530 yards of its own, led by Barrett’s 14-of-18 effort through the air.“It’s getting close to the end of the season, and it’s really time for the best teams in the country to start showing it,” junior defensive end Joey Bosa said. “We’ve got to get going, and I think this was a good start.”While not reflective of things to come, OSU (8-0, 4-0) looked vulnerable on the game’s opening drive, giving up plays of 18 and 25 yards to senior wide receiver Leonte Carroo and redshirt senior running back Paul James, respectively. The Buckeyes came away unscathed from Rutgers’ red-zone trip, however, when a 29-yard field-goal try bounced off the right upright.The Buckeyes then embarked on a long, but fruitless, drive of their own. Barrett ran the ball four times for 55 yards, but on his final one he collided with OSU redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas. The ball came out of Barrett’s hands after the friendly fire and was picked up by the Scarlet Knights.Thomas said after the game that he will not know what specifically went wrong on the play until he views film later in the week.OSU used a combination of aerial and ground attacks on its second drive to achieve a better result. Barrett completed two of three passes for 32 yards, while Elliott received four carries, the last of which was a two-yard touchdown run up the middle with 10 seconds left in the opening quarter to put the Buckeyes up 7-0.Later in the second quarter, Thomas was atoned for his inadvertent tackle by hauling in a pass from Barrett in the open field and cutting past a defender to take it to the house untouched. The 50-yard connection was good for Thomas’ sixth score of the year and gave OSU a 14-0 lead.“I had to make a play for my team, spark the offense, get them going, show Coach Meyer that we could exploit the secondary,” Thomas said.Redshirt senior Braxton Miller took over the heavy lifting on OSU’s following drive to bring its lead to 21-0 late in the first half. Barrett aired out a slightly underthrown ball for the H-back 45 yards downfield. Miller juggled the ball but pulled it in while on the ground. He then followed that up with a 16-yard run out of the wildcat formation, before Barrett put the finishing touches on the scoring drive with a two-yard sneak up the middle.“Braxton is a very unique athlete, an elite athlete, so nothing he can do surprises me,” OSU offensive coordinator Ed Warinner said. “I’ve seen him do things that make me say ‘wow’ every time, but he’s getting better and better at catching the ball and tracking it with his eyes and hands, so it’s good for him and it’s good for us.”At the intermission, OSU led Rutgers in total yards 248-145, with 64 of the Scarlet Knights’ output coming on their opening drive.Barrett was 5-of-7 for 136 yards in his first half as a starter in 2015 and also gained 85 yards on the ground. Rutgers redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Laviano was 9-of-15 at the half for 99 yards, with 55 of them coming on three connections to Carroo.Despite only picking up 15 yards on the ground in the first half, Elliott came out strong in the second. On the Buckeyes’ opening drive, he had three carries for 46 yards, setting up Barrett to find sophomore H-back Curtis Samuel open in the end zone from 30 yards out to extend the score to 28-0.Barrett added a 10-yard rushing score on the next drive, a 10-play, 72-yard trek. “He played awesome,” Elliott said about Barrett. “We had great momentum today, everybody made plays when their number was called. We can’t ask for more from this.”Just eight plays after redshirt sophomore cornerback Gareon Conley intercepted Laviano on Rutgers’ first play of its drive, Barrett shoveled it to redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall, who looked to throw — albeit illegally — but then trotted into the end zone to make it 42-0. The scores were Barrett’s fourth and fifth of the night — three passing and two rushing.In the final offensive possession for the starters, Elliott took a draw play up the middle for 55 yards and a score. The drive was set up at midfield from a blocked punt by Conley.Jones entered the game with the win safely at hand in next drive and engineered a lengthy 15-play drive, though it ended with a turnover on downs.Rutgers spoiled the shutout with 13 seconds to go, as a 58-yard reception set up a four-yard touchdown pass.“We were pretty upset,” Bosa said. “Of course as a defense we try to go and shut teams out, and we were that close to it. But overall we played really well, so we can’t really be upset.”Laviano only completed one pass in the second half in five attempts, while Barrett was 9-of-11 for 87 yards in the latter stanza. Thomas finished as the Buckeyes’ leading receiver after piling up 103 yards in five catches.Elliott finished with 142 yards on 19 carries, extending his streak of consecutive games with over 100 yards on the ground to 13 games.“I think we’ve improved every week. I think we’re playing at a very high level right now,” Meyer said. “There’s a good mindset in there.”The Buckeyes have beaten Rutgers by a combined 105-17 in the programs’ two all-time meetings after topping the Scarlet Knights 56-17 a season ago.The Buckeyes are next set to resume action — following a bye week — against Minnesota on Nov. 7. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. at Ohio Stadium. OSU players do “quick calls” before a game against Rutgers on Oct. 24 at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway Township, NJ . OSU won 49-7. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor read more

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  • Field hockey riding unbeaten streak

    It has been two weeks since the Ohio State field hockey team last lost a game.At the start of the season, against superior competition, the Buckeyes struggled, dropping three games to higher-ranked teams.While OSU was ranked No. 18 in the nation, it suffered defeat three times in four games, to No. 12 James Madison, No. 3 Syracuse and No. 7 Princeton. Each loss was by a single point, with the latter two concluding in overtime. Suffice to say, the Bucks have fought through their rough patch.Since the 1-3 start, the No. 20 Buckeyes have rolled off five consecutive victories, by a combined score of 17-2. During the stretch, senior Lindsay Quintiliani has been a force at goalie. She has been named Big Ten defensive player of the week for two straight weeks.Quintiliani allowed just two goals in 210 minutes of play last week. She has posted three consecutive shutouts, blanking Vermont, Central Michigan and Ball State.Quintiliani has started every game but one since arriving at OSU as a freshman in 2006.Freshman forward Berta Queralt was awarded Big Ten offensive player of the week honors after compiling four goals and an assist during OSU’s winning streak.Now at 6-3, the second-best record in the Big Ten, the Buckeyes welcome No. 17 Indiana (5-2) to Columbus on Sunday to kick off the conference schedule.Both teams are looking up at Northwestern (8-2) in the Big Ten standings. The Wildcats finished the 2008 season in last place.Sunday’s contest between Ohio State and Indiana is at the North Turf Field at 1 p.m. read more

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  • Chimdi Chekwa and Cameron Heyward to return for senior seasons

    Ohio State won’t have to revamp its entire defensive line. Junior Cameron Heyward announced his decision Tuesday to remain at OSU for his senior year.“I am excited about next season and am looking forward to being one of the senior leaders of our team,” Heyward said through a press release. “I sat down and talked at length with my family about my situation, and they totally support my decision. I’ve been blessed to this point. I am just having fun being a college student.”Despite being a central part of a team that won the Rose Bowl, Heyward declared his intentions to help the Buckeyes reach higher goals during his senior campaign.“I want to help our team achieve the goals of winning another Big Ten title and possibly accomplishing a national championship,” he said. “If I could win some recognition, that would be great as well. I think I can be a leader for our team, and I know another season will help me become a better player.”Heyward said he wants to follow in the footsteps of the current departing seniors, who paved the way for a young OSU squad to win 11 games.“I learned a lot from seniors like Doug (Worthington) and Kurt (Coleman) and all they were able to accomplish during their senior year,” he said. “I would love to be a part of Buckeye tradition like that. I think the upside is very positive.”Heyward paced the Buckeyes with 7.5 sacks during his junior year, and had 11 tackles for loss.Cornerback Chimdi Chekwa will return to Ohio State for his senior season, he announced through a press release Tuesday.“I am not ready to leave Ohio State,” he said. “I am looking forward to my senior season. I prayed about this decision and talked about it with my parents, and I know this is the right decision for me.”Chekwa expressed his excitement for the high expectations the Buckeyes will carry into next season.“I will graduate next fall, and I am looking forward to being a leader on what can be a very special defense for the Buckeyes,” he said. “After the Rose Bowl win, we are working toward accomplishing more great things, including another Big Ten title and a run at the national championship.”Chekwa has recorded 103 tackles in his three-year career and led the Buckeyes with seven pass break-ups during his junior season. He also nabbed one interception. read more

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  • Back in action Turner could return as soon as tonight

    Ohio State guard Evan Turner, who was injured in early December, might be returning to the court much sooner than expected. The junior practiced with the team Tuesday night and, depending on how he feels today, could be in the line-up for the Buckeyes’ game against Indiana tonight.Turner told a source close to The Lantern on Dec. 15 that he expected to return in three weeks.The junior had tests done Monday to check the progress of the fractures in his lower back that have kept him sidelined for the Buckeyes’ last six games. Coach Thad Matta is awaiting news from team doctors and says he’s hoping to get word soon that “everything is good to go.”If Turner is able to return, it would be nearly a full month earlier than the eight weeks he was expected to miss immediately following the injury, but Turner himself had previously indicated that his rehab was coming along faster than expected.“He was telling me the Minnesota game [on Jan. 9] or the Purdue game [on Jan. 12],” Matta said about Turner’s possible return. “Honestly, I’ve stayed out of it. I’m not a doctor.”Matta did say, however, that he will not rush Turner back into the mix, citing a concern for his player’s future.“It’s an unfortunate situation, but I’ll take my competitiveness and I’ll take all that out the window to protect one of my players,” he said.If he was to return tonight, it would likely not be in a starting role, but rather he would come off the bench. Either way, a final decision might not be made until game time, Matta said. His return, be it tonight or later this week, could not come at a better time for the Buckeyes, who have begun the Big Ten season with back-to-back losses and have dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time all season.The Buckeyes are in desperate need of a win against the Hoosiers and can ill-afford to begin the Big Ten season 0-3, especially given the two-game road trip to Minnesota and Purdue that awaits them following tonight’s home game.“The main thing is we just have to stay positive,” junior guard Jon Diebler said. “We’re eager to play again. We just came off two losses, but we’re still positive and our margin for error is really small right now.” Though Matta agreed that the Buckeyes need to get back on track, he was not necessarily willing to deem this game a “must-win.”“I think that any time you’re in a conference race, to me every game is crucial,” Matta said. “There’s so much basketball to be played, not just by us, but by every team in the league. The good thing for us is after next Tuesday we’ll be halfway done with our road games.”Matta said that it is “very” rare for a team to begin a conference schedule playing four out of five games on the road and joked that he planned to find every coach in the country that was faced with a similar schedule, and take them and their families on a Hawaiian vacation.“My wife asked me, ‘why would you want to go by yourself?’” he said. “But I don’t even care. It’s the schedule they gave us and we have to play it.”As for Indiana, the Hoosiers arrive in Columbus on the heels of a 71-65 win over Michigan last Thursday. However, their leading scorer, Maurice Creek, fractured his knee early in the second half of a Dec. 28 game against Bryant University, and is likely out for the remainder of the season. Matta said that even without Creek, and even though Indiana finished last year last in the conference, he expects the Hoosiers to be tough.“They are looking to push the ball up the floor and try to hit quick in transition,” he said.”From what I’ve seen, they’re playing well.”Though Diebler seconded his coach’s sentiments regarding the Hoosiers, he knows that if Turner were to return, the Buckeyes will be tough to beat. “You can’t say enough about Evan because he does so much on the court,” Diebler said. “Yeah he fills up the stat sheet, but the little things he does that don’t show up on the stat sheet, that’s what really makes us go as a basketball team.“Getting him back to complete the unit is going to make us that much better.” read more

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  • Ohio State earns 2seed in NCAA Tournament East Region will play Loyola

    The Ohio State men’s basketball team is headed for the NCAA Tournament as a No. 2 seed in the East Region and will continue postseason play March 15 against No. 15-seed Loyola University, Maryland on Thursday. The Buckeyes (27-7) cemented their placement in the East bracket, in which the regional championship will be held in Boston, with a run to the Big Ten Tournament Championship Game Sunday. There, OSU lost to the tournament’s top seed, Michigan State, 68-64. OSU will meet the Loyola University Greyhounds of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Greyhounds defeated Fairfield, 48-44, to win the MAAC conference championship March 5. Game time for Thursday’s contest between the Buckeyes and Greyhounds at CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh has not been set. read more

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  • Ohio State mens soccer coach John Bluem I dont see anybody thats

    Despite the hardships its faced, there’s no quit in the Ohio State men’s soccer team. OSU coach John Bluem hasn’t seen evidence of that, anyway. It’s hard to deny the obstacles OSU has faced. Early in the season, it was injuries. Recently, it was the Buckeyes’ 3-2 overtime loss at Michigan that has set the team back. The loss also dropped the Buckeyes’ record to 4-6-1 on the year. With a week between games, OSU is using its time away from game action and on the practice field to right itself. OSU’s next Big Ten Conference test will come Sunday at home against Michigan State. “I’m satisfied with the work of most of the guys at practice,” Bluem said. “I don’t see anybody that’s quit. They all want to be successful still. They all want to win games and they’re all trying their best. This week will be very good for us, a little time off to catch up on some injuries that have been bothering us.” OSU senior co-captain and midfielder Austin McAnena agreed that time off will help the team rest up. “Everyone’s been working hard, and there have been a lot of guys in and out,” McAnena said. “We’re a deep team, and any guy that comes off the bench could be a starter one day.” Some OSU players have taken advantage of the injury problem, said junior co-captain defender Sage Gardner. “I think the guys injured at the beginning of the year are starting to improve their fitness, and that’s the key,” Gardner said. “I think they’ve all contributed pretty well.” With plenty of team depth, McAnena said he sees more players coming back as opportunities for players to get on the field remain. Gardner agreed, saying that the more healthy players there are, the better off everyone will be. “We need pretty much everybody now, everybody that we can have healthy because we’re starting to get into the real meat of the season, with the rest of the Big Ten coming up,” Gardner said. McAnena said having different players come back throughout the season is better for the team as a whole. “Every guy that comes off the bench gives us a spark,” he said. OSU’s match against the Spartans (3-6-1) is scheduled to kick off Sunday at noon at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

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