In 2007, the sports media couldn’t stop talking about “Spygate,” in which the New England Patriots were caught illegally taping sideline defensive signals from New York Jets coaches during the teams’ opening week matchup. It soon became known that Patriots coach Bill Belichick had been engaging in such activity since 2000, and although the league had only expressly clarified the practice as forbidden in a September 2006 memo, the perception still lingers that New England gained an unfair advantage during the first seven seasons of Belichick’s tenure with the team. That period happened to include three Super Bowl championships and five division titles.Such sentiment bubbled to the surface again this week, when Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Cary Williams ripped the Patriots as “cheaters” ahead of the two teams’ mid-August joint practice.Williams’ comments are nothing new. In the years after Spygate, many players and coaches have alluded to the incident as a means of questioning the legitimacy of the Patriots’ championships. But what does the evidence say about the actual effect of the Patriots’ taping?We can count the rings: three Super Bowl wins while taping, zero after. But given that the best team in the NFL wins the Super Bowl only about 24 percent of the time, it’s possible such a split could occur due to chance alone.A more legitimate way to examine the question is to compare the Patriots’ total record under Belichick before Spygate broke (including the offending Sept. 9, 2007, game against the Jets) to their record after. While the Patriots were taping opposing signals, they won 69.3 percent of their 127 games (including the playoffs), but since they ostensibly quit the practice, their winning percentage has been even higher — 75.6 percent — in 123 games. At a glance, it seems rule-bending didn’t add much of note to the Patriots’ chances of winning.Of course, that’s also a simplistic approach; it just uses binary team-wide outcomes and ignores complicating factors like differences in talent between the two eras of New England football. A more rigorous study would track the Patriots’ offensive performance only (aside from whispers about additional tapes of offensive signals, the Spygate scandal focused mainly on the Patriots’ theft of defensive play calls) and control for the team’s fluctuating ability level.To that end, I gathered data on the Las Vegas point spread and over/under point total for each New England game back to 2000. Because the taping was of defensive signals, I focused on the Patriots’ points scored relative to that which Vegas predicted (we can compute “predicted points” in any game by subtracting the spread from the over/under and dividing the result by two). And because whatever advantage the tapes yielded could only be gleaned upon postgame review, for use when the Patriots faced that opponent again, I limited my sample to regular season and playoff games where New England was playing an opponent they had already faced earlier in the season.Those filters produced 61 games — 31 while taping, and 30 since the practice was ceased:Relative to Vegas’s expectations, the Patriots scored 2.4 more points per game than they “should” have during the pre-Spygate era. That might lend credence to the idea that taping defensive signals gave them an advantage, if it weren’t for the fact that they also outscored Vegas’s expectations by exactly 2.4 in the post-Spygate era as well. That means New England’s offensive overachievement was more likely due to great coaching and quarterback play, which persisted across both eras, than to any illicit edge.But before we close the book on Spygate, there is the not-so-small matter of the playoffs. In the postseason, New England’s pre-Spygate record was 12-2; after, it’s fallen to 6-6 (that’s a difference just on the edge of what could occur due to random variation in a small sample). Things get more complicated if we look at New England’s scoring relative to Vegas in the postseason. In eight playoff games against repeat opponents before Spygate, the Patriots exceeded offensive expectations by 4.0 points per game, beating the market forecast five times. In nine tries since, they’ve fallen short of expectations by an average of 6.6 points per game, failing to meet the forecast seven times.Using conventional testing techniques, this difference is, again, right on the edge of statistical significance. With a two-tailed t-test (which evaluates the hypothesis that a difference could occur by chance in either a positive or a negative direction), there’s a slightly greater than 5 percent chance that such a split could be observed randomly (p=0.061). But under a one-tailed t-test (which only considers the possibility of a change in one direction), the probability of the split is below the threshold of what can be explained by chance alone (p=0.030).Because we would only expect taping to improve the Patriots’ performance, a one-tailed t-test is probably the appropriate choice, which, in turn, suggests there’s something real to the Patriots’ before-and-after Spygate split in the playoffs. But there’s also one more consideration: the Wyatt Earp Effect, which we’ve covered several times at FiveThirtyEight. In short, it’s a phenomenon that can cause conventional significance testing to understate the probability of an event occurring due to chance. Because we pre-selected the Patriots as our test subject on the basis of Spygate — and then specifically selected their playoff games out of that sample — it’s possible that our p-values are not answering the right question (what are the odds that any NFL team would observe a similar split in offensive performance?).As is usually the case when dealing with real-world data, the answer isn’t totally conclusive. From a holistic viewpoint, using all repeat-opponent games in the regular season and playoffs, there hasn’t been any difference — significant or otherwise — in the Patriots’ offensive performance since the league mandated the team stop taping opposing play calls. Looking at the playoffs alone yields a more nebulous picture but also introduces methodological questions about the aptness of conventional significance testing. And we must always keep in mind that splits happen if we look for them hard enough.All of this means that, even almost a decade later, the controversy over Spygate isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison said he has endured more than 10 concussions over his decade-long career, prompting him to begin using a special layer of padding inside his helmet last fall to offset the potential for more brain-rattled symptoms.He is the first NFL player to use the CRT padding inside his helmet developed by Unequal Technologies. The results have been outstanding, Harrison said.“I haven’t seen any spots or had any blackouts,” Harrison said Tuesday.Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick began using a flak jacket lined with military-grade Kevlar during the 2010 season, but Harrison was the first player to put the quarter-inch padding in his helmet.He’s been joined around 100 players over the last 12 months and said the extra three or four ounces is worth the feeling of safety it provides.“To protect my head I’d take a pound more,” Harrison said.The outspoken 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year said the movement to this protective measure could catch on. One of the NFL’s fiercest hitters, Harrison said he played through concussion-like symptoms in the past but as he’s aged has become more wary of the long-lasting impact repeated head shots can have on a player’s future health.“If something works, I’m going to use it,” he said.The green padding uses material developed to protect combat military personnel. The padding square packs that can be cut into different shapes then stuck inside helmets from various sports, including hockey and baseball.Harrison became aware of the product while looking for a little extra protection after fracturing his right orbital bone last season. Pittsburgh backup quarterback Charlie Batch, a member of the NFL Players Association’s executive council, introduced CRT to player representatives from around the league, which quickly helped expand usage.Unequal Technologies president Robert Vito said the product doesn’t claim to prevent concussions but that anecdotal evidence from players from all levels seem to indicate the material can help minimize the recurrence of concussions.Harrison noted the NFL has gone to great lengths to address concussions and hand out “crazy fines” to players who make illegal hits but haven’t taken aggressive action in trying to update the equipment.“The league is mandating next year that we wear thigh and knee pads,” Harrison said. “I don’t know how many people’s career has been ended on a thigh or knee bruise. We have guys now that are 30, 31 years old that are having to quit the game because they have severe headaches … I think you should be focusing more on (the helmet) than knee or thigh pads.”
Baseball Hall of Fame voters issued a demonstrative rejection to Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa Wednesday, denying the trio who were embroiled in the sport’s steroids scandal entry into the hallowed Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine.In fact, none of the eligible players for Hall of Fame consideration received the 75 percent of votes needed to get in, which has not happened since 1996.Bonds won a record seven MVP Awards and hit more home runs than anyone in baseball history — he received just 36.2 percent of the vote. Clemens won a record seven Cy Young Awards, and an MVP, while surpassing 300 victories and 4,000 strikeouts — and he got just 37.6 of the votes. Sosa, who slugged 609 home runs and was reported by The New York Times to have tested positive for steroids in 2003, was named on just 12.5 percent of the ballots.They were rejected by the voters who took to heart their strong connection to steroid use that plagued the game during their era.The Hall of Fame will induct three new members in Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer, but all of them are deceased: the umpire Hank O’Day, owner Jacob Ruppert, and a catcher, Deacon White. All three died in the 1930s and were voted in by the veterans committee in December.So, baseball will hold its annual Hall of Fame ceremony next July without a single living honoree on stage.Craig Biggio, a star with the Houston Astros, received 388 votes and was named on 68.2 percent of the ballots cast. He was the highest vote-getter.Every player on the ballot was active in the era before steroid testing, which began, with penalties, in 2004. Biggio, who fared well in his ballot debut and is likely to be inducted in the next few years, was never suspected of steroids use.
As if the Clippers weren’t an easy enough target already, as one of the worst franchises in the history of North American professional sports, instances like Monday night happen and drive the point home even further.A quick recap, in case you missed it: The Clips swung a blockbuster trade, sending five-time All-Star Blake Griffin and spare pieces to the Detroit Pistons — all this just seven months after Los Angeles put on an elaborate free-agency pitch for Griffin, complete with a mock ceremony in which the team pumped in noise and lifted a banner into the arena rafters to simulate retiring his jersey.The optics of this are embarrassing for Los Angeles, a franchise that’s already overfed its fans with humiliation. Still, as cringeworthy as the change of direction seems, the Pistons could be the ones left with egg on their face as the deal all but puts a hard ceiling on the development of this club, which also gave up what could end up being a valuable first-round pick1Pistons fans know all too well from the last two drafts how painful it is to barely miss on star talent. Aside from watching their team take Luke Kennard over budding Utah star Donovan Mitchell, they also saw Detroit take Stanley Johnson over Devin Booker..Depending on who you ask, the Pistons look either smart or desperate here. If you buy into the notion that this move was smart for them, it’s because you believe Griffin is still one of the 10-to-15 biggest stars in the league, and that the 28-year-old has simply been hindered by fluke injuries in recent seasons. If you feel it reeks of desperation, it’s because you see the writing on the wall: That the Pistons have lost eight in a row, and that Stan Van Gundy, one of the few men in the NBA who holds a dual title as both coach and team president, may need a playoff run to justify holding onto both of those jobs.In any case, this certainly qualifies as a shakeup, and it’s undoubtedly one that could quickly reap benefits. Griffin brings a playmaking ability that the Pistons lacked badly prior to the deal.On paper, Detroit’s offense — at 21st in the league out of 30 — is bad, but not awful (Van Gundy, without injured starting point guard Reggie Jackson for the past month, has in turn given speedy backup Ish Smith an unthinkable 30 minutes per game). But a deep dive, both statistically and on film, shows how much of a challenge it can be for the Pistons to score; particularly in half-court scenarios, where they’re forced to grind things out. They rank 29th out of 30 in average length of possession in half-court offense after surrendering a made shot and are almost just as bad — 27th out of 30 — in efficiency following an opponent score, according to advanced stats site Inpredictable.Van Gundy and his assistants revamped the Pistons’ offense before the season to include more handoffs and ball movement, a strategy that might have gone overboard at times, given who the recipients were. Detroit sometimes looked as if it was bending over backwards to create shots for Avery Bradley by running dozens of off-ball screens for him — the most in the NBA, at 51.5 per 100 possessions, per Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats — even though he’s been below average as a shooter this year.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/avery.mp400:0000:0000:46Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.In trading both Bradley and Tobias Harris, who’s in the middle of a career year and leads Detroit in scoring, the Pistons might need a while to figure out the pecking order with the remaining roster — particularly among their younger wing players like Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock and Luke Kennard. With Jackson still out, Griffin will be called upon to handle the ball a ton, meaning it will likely be out of the hands of Andre Drummond a bit more, despite him having nearly quadrupled his assist rate this season.That dynamic between Griffin and Drummond is the enormous bet here; one that resembles a less versatile version of what the Pelicans decided they’d do last season when trading for DeMarcus Cousins to pair him with Anthony Davis. One where a club’s two best players are both big men, despite the league having moved in a direction that favors smaller, quicker teams.The gamble, though, is less a matter of tactics and more of sheer cost. By the 2019-20 season, Griffin and Drummond alone will cost more than $61 million in salary. To give that context, as of right now, that would make the Griffin-Drummond duo just one of five NBA pairings that exceeds the $60 million mark2A number of other teams like Golden State, Houston, New Orleans, Minnesota and San Antonio figure to join that list in the near future, assuming their All-Stars (Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Kawhi Leonard) stay put and sign the sorts of big-money deals they’re eligible for. in combined salary during that season, according to ESPN front-office insider Bobby Marks. Looking at the others — Washington’s John Wall and Bradley Beal; Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams; Boston’s Al Horford and Gordon Hayward; and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan — highlights that other clubs who’ve invested in that way have already had perennial playoff success to justify that spending. It’s unclear whether Detroit would ever reach that point; especially without cap space to address the backcourt imbalance.Griffin and Drummond themselves will likely fit just fine. Griffin has shot uncharacteristically bad from midrange — at 24 percent, he’s the second-worst in the NBA from there among players with 50 attempts or more — but he knocks down 3s at a decent enough clip to create space between him and Drummond. Both men are good passers, and Drummond, one of the best rebounders in the game — approximates some of what DeAndre Jordan does on offense for the Clippers, as far as rolling to the basket and catching lobs. (Drummond isn’t nearly as good as Jordan on the other end of the court, and is a bit inconsistent with how he aggressively he defends pick and rolls.)Whether the Pistons can develop or find the right talent to put around these two remains to be seen. By trading Harris, Bradley (who was slated to be a high-priced free agent this summer anyway) and Boban Marjanovich — who is the most efficient scorer ever, but often unplayable — Van Gundy made this roster more top-heavy than before, which is risky, given Griffin’s injury history. The ex-Clipper has only played in 66 percent of his games the past four seasons after playing in 99 percent of his contests during his first four years in the association, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group. Detroit’s first-round pick — one that could easily land in the lottery — could also be valuable for the rebuilding Clippers, too, given how many of those Doc Rivers essentially gave away in recent years.The deal is far easier to make sense of from the Clippers’ perspective: They’re finally embracing the idea of a full-on rebuild, and didn’t want to continue to carry the burden of the 5-year, $171-million contract they gave him in July. (The decision to offer Griffin a fifth year in exchange for leaving out the no-trade clause here looks brilliant in hindsight.) If anything, this deal should further embolden them to see what sorts of packages they can get in return for Jordan and Lou Williams, who is all but a lock for the Sixth Man of the Year award, and narrowly missed out on making the All-Star team. Depending on who all they get back in such deals, there’s a slight chance they could even remain in playoff contention while building a strong foundation — one that looks far different now that they’ll have the cap space to make runs at star-level free agents in the near future.For the Clippers, it was about knowing when to abandon ship, and finding a partner to help them kickstart the process. Only time will tell whether this enormous gamble pays off for Van Gundy and his Detroit club. By trading for Griffin and the weighty contract that comes with him, the Pistons just went all-in on something that might only marginally improve their hopes of reaching the playoffs this season and beyond.
It was 55 degrees and lightly raining in London, just as I imagine it always is, as the grandmasters Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Fabiano Caruana of the United States sat down to begin playing for the 2018 World Chess Championship. The gray meteorology belied the volcanic and lengthy chess on Day 1 of the World Chess Championship. Over seven hours and 115 moves, the players fought a fiery and oscillating battle to open the match, which will likely stretch to the end of the month. The American was lucky to emerge, largely unscathed, with a draw.The players’ venue is in central London, in a place called The College, about a 15-minute walk north of the Thames. Carlsen, 27, and Caruana, 26, are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, respectively. Carlsen is the three-time defending world champion. Caruana is vying for the first American title since Bobby Fischer beat Boris Spassky in 1972.Following a drawing of lots, Carlsen chose to begin the best-of-12-game match on defense with the black pieces. Wins here are worth 1 point, draws a half-point for each, and losses zero points. If the 12th game ends with each player having 6 points, a series of tiebreaker games will ensue. And that’s exactly what happened at the last world championship, in 2016, when Carlsen edged out Sergey Karjakin of Russia. There may still be a lot of chess left.But there was a lot of chess Friday, too. Carlsen began with the combative Sicilian Defence, and the two entered into something called its Rossolimo Variation. Carlsen was likely pleased — he had beaten Caruana in this very variation in an attacking game in 2015.After move 9, Caruana went into what the official match broadcast called the first “deep think” of the match, and the game ground to a near-halt as the position ventured into uncharted territory. By Caruana’s 11th move, a board like this had never been seen before at the game’s high levels, according to ChessBase’s database.Carlsen donned a puffy jacket. Caruana removed his blazer.Time soon became an issue. The players each get 100 minutes for their first 40 moves, with 30 bonus seconds after each move. After that, they get 50 minutes for the next 20 moves and 15 minutes for any moves after that. Nevertheless, while contemplating his 22nd move, Caruana’s clock ticked down to less than 10 minutes. Carlsen, across the board, moved quickly. With his 25th move, Caruana’s clock had dropped to six minutes. On his 32nd move, less than two minutes. On his 34th move, 6 seconds. If his clock had hit zero, he would have forfeited the game instantly.Forestalling the end, Caruana fought for his life in the lower right corner of the board. The time pressure — and the pressure from the powerful pieces controlled by the best player in the world — were obviously too much to handle. It was over, and the players would surely head to an early dinner. The computer engines and the chess cognoscenti assessed Carlsen’s position as “surely winning” and Caruana’s as “sad.”Carlsen’s troops were standing over Caruana’s king, ready to kill and take a devastating early lead in the championship.But black slipped. The Norwegian champ captured a juicy-looking pawn he oughtn’t have, giving the American a chance to scurry to safety with seconds to spare. You can see what happened below. Carlsen, playing black, captured the pawn on c3 with his bishop. The better move, according to a chess engine whirring on my laptop, would have been to venture deep into the American’s territory, moving the black queen to g1. Carlsen’s advantage, according to the computer, dropped from roughly three pawns to roughly nothing. The rooks and kings traveled around for what seemed like an eternity. But the lava that had flowed over the game earlier in the day had finally cooled — and finally (finally!) hardened into a draw. Here’s the whole dang thing, compressed into less than a minute: Game 2 begins tomorrow at 3 p.m. Greenwich Mean Time — that’s 10 a.m. Eastern. I’ll be covering it here and on Twitter.Read more: The American Grandmaster Who Could Become World Champion
OSU sophomore defender Janik Möser (20) during a game on Nov. 13 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Courtesy of OSUThe Ohio State men’s hockey team is set to travel to Minneapolis to take on reigning Big Ten champion Minnesota for a two-game series opening up conference play.The Buckeyes (3-9) are coming off a weekend in which they were swept by sixth-ranked Nebraska-Omaha. For the Golden Gophers (4-7), it’s much of the same, as they’ve lost three straight games, including being swept at home by No. 7 St. Cloud State.The stage is set for a rematch of last year’s Big Ten tournament semifinal, a game that the Golden Gophers won 3-0 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.One thing the Scarlet and Gray are looking to improve on is winning tight games. OSU trailed Nebraska-Omaha by one goal late in each game last weekend before an empty-net goal sealed its fate.On Saturday night, the Buckeyes trailed the Mavericks 5-1 before almost completing a monumental comeback, bringing the score within one before losing 6-4.OSU outshot Nebraska-Omaha 24-8 in the final period of Game 2, which left coach Steve Rohlik simply wanting answers as to why the Buckeyes were so dominant late in the game.“The first answer was ‘desperation,’” Rohlik said. “That’s the key. We have to start desperate from the drop of the puck in the first period because it’s in us. We have shown a lot of glimpses of it. The consistency has to be there. We have been in one-goal games all year long. We have got to figure out how to play consistent and play desperate from the first period on.”Minneapolis, we have a problemMinnesota is one of college hockey’s premier programs, but right now it’s in a slump. The Golden Gophers own 35 NCAA tournament berths, including four consecutive trips, 21 Frozen Four appearances and five NCAA titles, which means there’s undoubtedly a lot of pressure for coach Don Lucia to turn his Golden Gopher program around.Given its 2-5 record at home, one might think it is bound to come out this weekend with a wounded-animal mentality.“I think we should look at them in that way,” senior captain Anthony Greco said. “We have both struggled. Last weekend, we proved to ourselves the team that we can be and I think we need to take advantage of that against this team and come out firing right away.”Rohlik knows all too well that lack of success in Minneapolis is not received positively.“People forget how many people they have lost and how young they are,” Rohlik said. “They can’t be undefeated every year. They are very talented, very skilled, very young and they are a good hockey team. They are going through some of those growing pains as well.”Minnesota’s roster contains 10 freshmen, including starting netminder Eric Schierhorn, five sophomores, 10 juniors and just three seniors.OSU enters Minneapolis with an 0-6 record on the road this season.A new seasonHeading into conference play after a brutal nonconference slate of games, the young OSU team is looking forward to a change of pace and getting to play on one of college hockey’s biggest stages in Minnesota.“The past is the past, you can’t change that but it is a new opportunity,” freshman forward Mason Jobst said. “Basically, preseason is over for us and now the real season starts. I’ve heard the boys talking in the locker room about how it is a whole different level. I’m excited to get out there and see what it’s all about.”So far this season, Jobst has two goals, three assists and has quickly become OSU’s top faceoff man.Friday’s game is something he said he has been looking forward to since he stepped onto campus.“This is why I came to Ohio State, to play Big Ten hockey,” Jobst said.Puck drop on Friday and Saturday is set for 8 p.m.Early Christmas presentsOSU is 3-19-1 all-time against the Golden Gophers.The only Buckeye win at Mariucci Arena came on Dec. 28, 1998, as the Scarlet and Gray beat the Gophers 6-5 in the Mariucci Classic.OSU is 14-21-6 in two seasons of Big Ten Conference play.Anthony Greco has points in five straight games, including three goals and four assists.
The Ohio State men’s soccer team gathers up prior to the start of the game against BGSU. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s soccer team (8-9-1, 3-5-0 Big Ten) stunned No. 8 Michigan State (11-3-3, 5-0-3 Big Ten) in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, beating the Spartans 2-1 at DeMartin Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan, on Sunday.The Buckeyes were able to strike first in the eighth minute as junior forward Michael Prosuk took the feed from freshman forward Joshua Jackson-Ketchup and buried it in the back of the net.The Buckeyes were not finished in the first half as junior midfielder Abdi Mohamed extended the Buckeyes lead to 2-0 in the 42nd minute with a strike from 23 yards out, closing out a strong first half for the underdog.The Spartans came out strong in the second half as they cut the lead in half in the 50th minute when junior defender John Freitag scored from eight yards out.The Spartans had one final opportunity to tie the game with 31 seconds remaining as junior forward Ryan Sierakowski took a free kick at the top of the box, but his shot hit the post allowing time to run out.The Buckeyes played a bend, don’t break defense as they were outshot by the Spartans 20 to five, and the Spartans had 16 corners compared to the Buckeyes’ two.Sophomore goalkeeper Parker Siegfried helped the Buckeyes’ as he had five saves preventing the Spartans from scoring the equalizer, giving the Buckeyes the win.The win snapped the Spartans’ 18-game home win streak and also gave the Spartans their first conference loss of the season. Ohio State ended its eight-game losing streak that began Oct. 1 against Michigan State.The game began at 1 p.m., but due to lightning, play was suspended in the third minute for an hour and five minutes before both teams retook the field at 2:20 p.m.The Buckeyes will play the winner of the No. 2 Indiana versus Penn State at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Westfield, Indiana.
Ohio State sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson (34) makes a free throw during the second half of the game against South Carolina State on Nov. 18. Ohio State won 89-61. Credit: Amal Saeed | Assistant Photo EditorFor Ohio State, its next game against Cleveland State is more than just getting another win. It’s more than continuing a five-game win streak to start the season, keeping that No. 23 ranking heading into next week’s game against Syracuse in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. It’s winning in a building that the Ohio State men’s basketball team has not played in since 2010, the building the Buckeyes played in from 1956-1998. It’s walking in the same steps of Jerry Lucas, of John Havlicek. The undefeated Buckeyes will try and continue its winning ways in St. John Arena against Cleveland State. Projected Starters No. 23 Ohio State (5-0) G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 11.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.8 apgG — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 9.4 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.2 apgF — Kyle Young — Sophomore, 6.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1 apgF — Andre Wesson — Junior, 6.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.4 apgF — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 13.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 0.8 apgCleveland State (2-3) G — Tyree Appleby — Sophomore, 13.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.6 apgG — Dontel Highsmith — Senior, 5 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.8 apgF — Stefan Kenic — Sophomore, 10.4 ppg, 5 rpg, 1.6 apgF — Algevon Eichelberger — Sophomore, 8.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 0.4 apgF — Seth Milner — Freshman, 7.8 ppg, 3 rpg, 1.8 apg For Ohio State sophomore forward Kaleb Wesson, this game means a lot. He will be playing in the same building his father, Keith Wesson, played in for Ohio State from 1982-1987. But he has another thought on his mind as well. “Our next game, like I said, is the biggest game of the year. That’s how you have to approach it,” Wesson said. “I feel like that, and my dad played there, so it’s a lot of family history. There is going to be a lot of family there, so it’s going to be fun.” Ohio State, coming off a 68-50 win against Samford on Tuesday, will face a Cleveland State team that has had its share of struggles early on in the 2018-19 season. The Vikings have a 2-3 record heading into Friday’s game, falling to Samford 73-60 on Nov. 18, and rank No. 312 out of 353 teams, according to advanced statistics website KenPom.com. Sophomore guard Tyree Appleby has been the main offensive threat for Cleveland State through the first five games this season. Averaging a team-high 13.8 points per game, he is shooting 39.2 percent from the field, attempting 51 total shots this season, 13 more than any other player on the roster. Sophomore forward Stefan Kenic has been the Vikings main threat in the paint, averaging five rebounds per game and making 46.9 percent of shot attempts from the field. He is also a threat from deep, making eight of 17 attempts from 3-point range this season. But Cleveland State’s leading rebounder is not usually in its starting lineup. Junior forward Jaalam Hill averages six rebounds per game off the bench for the Vikings, is shooting 60 percent from the field, making three of four attempts from 3 and is averaging 9.6 points per game. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said he is excited for Friday’s game against the Vikings, saying he is excited about the atmosphere that a sold out St. John Arena brings. But he also said this is something that could work against the Buckeyes, who are aiming to get their sixth win of the season. “We have to make sure our guys have the right approach on Friday as well because I think sometimes those things can work against you,” Holtmann said. “When you have, I guess we are wearing new uniforms, different uniforms I guess, and all the environment, the stuff that goes into it. So we need to have the right mindset. We need to be about playing to win.” But the excitement is there and Holtmann is excited for what’s to come on Friday. “It’s obviously a place that is beloved,” Holtmann said. “St. John Arena is a fantastic environment, from what I understand. I know we are all excited about it.” No. 23 Ohio State takes on Cleveland State at St. John Arena at 8 p.m. on Friday.
Ohio State acting head coach Ryan Day speaks at a press conference on Sept. 3, 2018. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorBefore Ryan Day officially takes over as head coach on Jan. 2, he has earned the commitment of the most important recruit in the upcoming 2019 class.On Wednesday, defensive end Zach Harrison announced his commitment to Ohio State.Harrison, a five-star recruit and No. 4 member of his class, according to 247 Composite Rankings, is the highest-ranked recruit in Ohio State’s 2019 class, which ranked No. 10 in the NCAA prior to Harrison’s signing.A 6-foot-5, 243-pound strong-side defensive end at Olentangy Orange High School, Harrison is the top-ranked recruit from Ohio and visited Michigan and Penn State before ultimately choosing the Buckeyes.Harrison is the top-ranked strong-side defensive end in his class, and joins wide receiver Garrett Wilson and center Harry Miller as the five-star recruits Ohio State has committed for the class of 2019.
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. Niall Dickson, the GMC’s chief executive, said: “We are here to protect patients, not doctors. “We are not part of the medical establishment, as we might have been seen in the past.” The GMC took on responsibility for the quality of training of junior doctors in 2010, in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal, where short staffing meant some junior doctors were left to cope with vast numbers of patients.In total, 79 hospitals – around one in four of those in Britain – have now been placed under “enhanced monitoring”.This measure is only used when a hospital has failed to improve after local concerns have been raised, and if the GMC feels the quality of training could put patients in danger or significantly damage doctors’ training. Mr Dickson described the process as “a form of special measures”.In June, it issued this threat to one of London’s busiest hospitals, after finding patients placed at “serious risk”. The GMC said the major teaching hospital had fallen behind on its plans to tackle the problems, which stem from warnings dating back to 2014.“We won’t hesitate to take action and blow the whistle if we are not happy,” Mr Dickson told Health Service Journal. “Educational problems can be the canary down the mine.” At Barts Hospital in London, trainee paediatric doctors warned last year that they were being forced to work dangerously long shifts, and threatened by consultants that if they refused they would be reported to the GMC. Mr Dickson said the GMC was “absolutely different in size, scale ambition and responsibilities” since the Stafford Hospital scandal, and now took a more proactive stance in uncovering problems.”Mid Staffs told us more than anything else that you have to be on the pitch, you can’t sit in the tower and say ‘well, nobody told us,’” he said.NHS Regulators in England are currently drawing up a formal list of hospital departures which will be closed amid the worst financial crisis in the history of the health service, with a record £2.45 billion deficit reported last year. Hospitals will embark on a “glut” of closures, with A&E units and key services for the elderly among those to be stripped and centralised, in coming months.In recent weeks, a number of A&E units have already closed, restricted their hours, or stopped treating children, because of concern about safety risks amid widespread shortages of doctors. Soon after that, the North Middlesex Hospital was branded “inadequate” and its chief executive forced to resign after inspectors found a litany of failings – including a dead body which went unnoticed in Accident & Emergency for four and a half hours.The new data show that hospitals from 63 trusts across the UK have been placed under the measures, including hospitals which have been barred from employing trainee doctors because their standards are so poor.The database shows that at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King’s Lynn, Norfolk acutely ill patients were found to be getting “lost” with no one responsible for them because of failings in handover systems at nights and weekend.Inspections of Great Ormond Street Hospital in London found “serious and persistent concerns” about patient safety in children’s cancer services and haematology – resulting in eight training posts being suspended in 2014. A Great Ormond Street spokesman said it had put an action plan in place and placements would resume next month.Addenbrooke’s, in Cambridgeshire is under close supervision over shortages of doctors working in ophthalmology, poor training, and “inappropriate” and “undermining” behaviour from consultants. Niall Dickson said the GMC was not there to protect doctorsCredit:Telegraph Educational problems can be the canary down the mineNiall Dickson, GMC chief executive Hospitals under GMC enhanced monitoring: Aberdeen Royal InfirmaryAddenbrooke’s HospitalAlder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation TrustAltnagelvin Area HospitalBasingstoke and North Hampshire HospitalBeatson West of Scotland Cancer CentreBelfast City HospitalCaithness General HospitalCharing Cross Hospital (London)County Hospital (Stafford)Cumberland InfirmaryEdinburgh Royal InfirmaryFurness General HospitalGrantham & District HospitalGreat Ormond Street Central LondonHairmyres Hostpial (Lanarkshire)Harrogate District HospitalHeartlands Hospital (Birmingham)Hull Royal InfirmaryJohn Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford)Kent & Canterbury HospitalKing’s Mill Hospital (Sutton-in-Ashfield)Leeds General InfirmaryLeicester Royal InfirmaryLeicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (University Hospitals)Leighton Hospital (Crewe)Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Trust HQLuton & Dunstable HospitalManchester Royal Eye HospitalMonklands District General HospitalMedway Maritime HospitalNorth Manchester HospitalNorth Middlesex HospitalNewham General HospitalNoble’s Hospital (Isle of Man)Pinderfields General Hospital (Wakefield)Pontefract General InfirmaryPrincess of Wales Hospital (Bridgend)Royal Blackburn HospitalRoyal Hospital for Children (Glasgow)Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh At Little FranceRoyal Lancaster InfirmaryRoyal Sussex County HospitalRoyal Victoria Hospital (Belfast)Salford RoyalSt George’s Hospital (Tooting)St James’s University Hospital (west yorks)Southampton General HospitalTameside General HospitalThe James Cook University HospitalThe Queen Elizabeth HospitalThe Royal London HospitalThe Royal Marsden Hospital (London)University Hospital AintreeUniversity Hospital (Coventry)University Hospital of North DurhamVale of Leven General HospitalWatford General HospitalWarrington HospitalWest Cumberland HospitalWest Heath HospitalWestern Eye HospitalWestern General Hospital (Edinburgh)Weston General Hospital (Weston-super-Mare)Wexham Park HospitalWhipps Cross University HospitalWhiston Hospital (Prescot)William Harvey Hospital (Ashford)Wishaw General Hospital (Lanarkshire) The GMC had concerns about ophthalmology at Addenbrooke’sCredit:Chris Radburn/PA Almost 80 hospitals have been placed under surveillance by health watchdogs over concerns about patient safety and their ability to train doctors.The General Medical Council said it had taken the “special measures” as part of efforts to prevent a repeat of the Mid Staffs scandal. It said ‘Concerns most commonly relate to a specific concern, or to a particular department or unit where issues need to be addressed and do not relate to a whole hospital’.The regulator stepped in after finding alarming levels of bullying, handover systems so poor that desperately ill patients got “lost” and left at risk of serious harm during weekends, unmanageable workloads and bed shortages in intensive care.