Florida 9-1881435%23% ▲ 214% Oregon 7-32310284%<1% ▲ 21<1% TeamCFPEloFPIConf. TitlePlayoffNat. Title Michigan 8-212181714%9% ▲ 211% College Football Playoff (CFP) rankings as of Nov. 17. Baylor 8-11022214%16% ▲ 216% Notre Dame 9-1478—a26% ▲ 216% Northwestern 8-22029610%<1% ▲ 21<1% Same old, same old. The college football playoff committee had it easy this week. After a week of games where all their top teams won, they didn’t have to shake things up in their rankings much. The top five remain the same: Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Iowa. After suffering crushing losses last week, Baylor and Stanford fell back in the rankings. Meanwhile, the Sooner state made headway: Oklahoma State and Oklahoma rose up to the No. 6 and No. 7 spots, respectively. But while the Big 12 looks ascendant, they both can’t stay there long: they play each other Thanksgiving weekend.The FiveThirtyEight model has bad news for Notre Dame fans: last week it was Baylor that was projected to elbow out the Irish by season’s end; this week it’s Oklahoma. The model continues to think an undefeated or one-loss Big 12 champion will most likely surpass Notre Dame. Our model simulations — which predict where the committee will land in its final rankings on Dec. 6 — are shown in the following table: Alabama 9-121361%63% ▲ 2119% North Carolina 9-11791536%9% ▲ 211% Clemson 10-013562%68% ▲ 2115% Stanford 8-211111144%11% ▲ 212% Utah 8-213262312%1% ▲ 21<1% Iowa 10-05132928%22% ▲ 212% LSU 7-21524100%<1% ▲ 21<1% Memphis 8-22136430%<1% ▲ 21<1% RankingProbability of … Florida State 8-21419160%<1% ▲ 21<1% Houston 10-019143739%1% ▲ 21<1% Navy 8-116164422%<1% ▲ 21<1% Oklahoma St. 10-0641335%25% ▲ 215% Mississippi 7-3222894%<1% ▲ 21<1% Oklahoma 9-175146%45% ▲ 2118% USC 7-32417734%1% ▲ 21<1% Michigan St. 9-1962211%12% ▲ 211% Ohio State 10-032445%62% ▲ 2118% TCU 9-1181265%5% ▲ 212% Wisconsin 8-22520241%<1% ▲ 21<1% Oklahoma might eventually edge out Notre Dame, but they have two awfully tough games remaining: against TCU this Saturday and on the road versus Oklahoma State. While the Sooners are our favorite for the fourth slot, the model still only gives them a 45 percent chance of making it in.Lurking at the edges are a slew of hopefuls: Oklahoma State and Iowa, though each doesn’t have a loss, stand but a 25 percent and 22 percent chance to make it; one-loss stalwarts Florida, Baylor, and Michigan State — along with two-loss Stanford — all have above a 10 percent shot.For those of you who want more nitty-gritty about our projections, check out our original methodology manifesto, as well as last week’s methodology update.
Despite a week and a half of rumors, this year’s NBA trade deadline turned out to be mostly uneventful — save for one big-name star switching teams.1Nerlens Noel also qualifies as a newsworthy trade, but since Dallas, his new team, is unlikely to reach the postseason, that deal feels like more of a move for the future. Neither Paul George nor Jimmy Butler was traded, and even smaller rumored deals, like one that would’ve sent Derrick Rose to Minnesota and Ricky Rubio to New York, didn’t happen. Most of what did take place was smaller in nature, or merely marginal in its scope.And then there are the Toronto Raptors. While they didn’t necessarily move heaven and earth before the trade deadline, they better positioned themselves in the East just in case Cleveland is still vulnerable come the playoffs.Last week, they dealt for Orlando power forward Serge Ibaka, giving up swingman Terrence Ross and this year’s first-round pick in the process. Then on Thursday, minutes before the deadline, they parted ways with Jared Sullinger and two second-round picks to acquire Phoenix’s P.J. Tucker, a hard-nosed small forward who doesn’t need the ball much on offense. Both qualify as welcome moves for the Raptors, who badly needed a jolt after losing 11 of their last 16 games and falling from second to fourth in the conference in less than a month.In many ways, it’s already been decided that Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri won the trade, since he filled an obvious need for Toronto at the power-forward spot without giving up the farm. Before the deal, that position was the Raptors’ weakest, and one at which they’ve struggled defensively more than any team in basketball thus far.The Ibaka move, paired with the one for Tucker (which gives Toronto another potential body to throw onto LeBron James and alleviates some pressure from DeMarre Carroll, who has struggled) gives the team a handful of lineups that should be relatively solid on either side of the ball.Offensively, Ibaka and Tucker don’t hurt the Raptors’ dribble-happy, guard-oriented approach. (If anything, Ibaka helps stretch the floor for them, and Tucker, a low-usage option that would fit nicely with Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, will fire up fewer forced looks than Ross off the bench.) Defensively, the additions give Toronto versatility, as both Tucker and Ibaka can adequately guard two positions, depending on the team’s lineup. (That option could be helpful in certain matchups, given the team’s problems on defense — particularly if lead-footed center Jonas Valanciunas struggles against shooting bigs.)Some will point to Toronto as being the anti-Boston here, because of the Raptors’ willingness to make trades in hopes of challenging the Cavaliers, who beat them in the Eastern Conference finals last season. But that’s not a fair comparison.Unlike Boston, who is blessed with high-level draft picks, Toronto doesn’t have the option of looking to the future and waiting out James’s reign in the Eastern Conference. For this team’s core, the time is now. And while these transactions alone may not put the Raptors over the top of a club like Cleveland, the gamble — and the logic behind it — makes perfect sense.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more
It was Chris Kreider and Ryan McDonagh’s turn to play hero for the New York Rangers on Friday. Kreider’s goal to tie the game against the Washington Capitals with 1:41 left in regulation and McDonagh’s overtime winner saved the Rangers from elimination and sent the Eastern Conference semifinal back to Washington for Game 6 on Sunday.The Rangers aren’t a bunch of scrappy underdogs, exactly. They reached the Stanley Cup Final last season. They won the Presidents’ Trophy this year by being the NHL’s best regular-season team. And they play in New York.But they’re unusually well-balanced, running three or four lines deep with quality forwards and defensemen. They don’t have a superstar with the wattage of the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, however. What about their goalie, Henrik Lundqvist? He’s almost certainly the most popular Ranger, and he’s among the best goalies in the NHL. But Lundqvist started only 43 of the Rangers’ 82 regular-season games; he missed several weeks of action after being hit in the throat with a puck Jan. 31. Fortunately for the Blueshirts, Lundqvist’s backup, Cam Talbot, was just as effective.Here’s one way to measure whether an NHL team is star-dominated, like the Capitals, or balanced, like the Rangers. Take what’s essentially each team’s first line — their top three forwards, top two defensemen and best goaltender — according to Hockey-Reference.com’s point shares (an all-in-one statistic that’s equivalent to wins above replacement) and divide the first line’s point shares by the total for all players on the team.For the Capitals, the top forwards by point shares are Ovechkin (12.6), Nicklas Backstrom (8.1) and Marcus Johansson (5.4), the top defensemen are John Carlson (10.0) and Mike Green (8.6), and the top goalie is Braden Holtby (14.4), who’s been spectacular in both the regular season and the playoffs. Together, they accounted for 56 percent of the 104.7 point shares the Caps accumulated during the regular season. That’s a reasonably high figure.For the Rangers, the top forwards are Rick Nash (11.4), Derek Stepan (7.0) and Derick Brassard (6.9), the top defensemen are McDonagh (7.3) and Kevin Klein (6.5), and the top goalie is Lundqvist (9.2). As good as they were, they were responsible for just 42 percent of the Rangers’ team point share total.That’s a low figure. In fact, it’s the lowest for any Presidents’ Trophy winner1The Presidents’ Trophy wasn’t officially created until the 1985-86 regular season. For seasons before that, I assigned it to the team with the most points in the regular season, giving it to the team with the most wins in the event of a tie. in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68):So, by this measure, the Rangers are one of the most balanced great teams ever — the hockey equivalent of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs or the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons. The second-most-balanced team was the 2003-04 Detroit Red Wings, although they were something of an unusual case, with a combination of rising stars (Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg) and waning ones (Steve Yzerman, Brett Hull, Brendan Shanahan).The list of the most star-dominated teams will come as no surprise. It includes Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers, Mario Lemieux’s Pittsburgh Penguins, and the early 1970s Boston Bruins, led by Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito. (The 1973-74 Bruins have the top slot; 64 percent of their point shares come from their top line.) The 1993-94 Rangers, who won both the Presidents’ Trophy and the Stanley Cup, also had a top-heavy roster, with Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov.Unfortunately for the Rangers, neither the star-dominated nor the well-balanced Presidents’ Trophy winners have had all that high a success rate at turning regular-season success into a Stanley Cup. So they’ll have to find a few more heroes to survive against Washington and bring the Stanley Cup back to New York. read more
Carmelo Anthony isn’t shooting as well as he used to, but the Oklahoma City Thunder are still better with him on the floor than when he’s on the bench.
By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On Thursday’s show (April 19, 2018), Neil, Kyle and Chris take stock of the NBA playoffs, focusing on the three series that are tied 1-1: Philadelphia vs. Miami, Indiana vs. Cleveland, and Utah vs. Oklahoma City. Should the Sixers’ Joel Embiid come back from injury to face the Heat? Who will step up to help LeBron James? Is Donovan Mitchell good enough for the Jazz to beat the Thunder? They discuss those questions and more.The crew will be back next week for more coverage. In the meantime, keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions, which are updated after every game. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code
Senior midfielder Olivia DiCarlantonio (17). Credit: Courtesy of OSUAs a young girl, Olivia DiCarlantonio would wait for her uncle to return from his business trips to bring her the complimentary toiletries from the hotel rooms in which he had stayed. Whatever he gave to her, she would donate to local homeless shelters. A lot has changed for DiCarlantonio, now an Ohio State lacrosse player and fourth-year in public health, but one thing has remained constant: She is still collecting toiletries and giving back. DiCarlantonio started The Little Things this past September. The service allows student-athletes to donate complimentary toiletries collected on away trips to the Van Buren Center, a homeless shelter based in Columbus.“There’s close to 1,500 student-athletes at this university, so getting them involved in this service is powerful,” DiCarlantonio said. “It’s cool to have people back home know we are thinking about them on game day.”DiCarlantonio said it was important to leave her legacy at OSU, but in something other than her sport.“I realized that women’s lacrosse isn’t necessarily a ‘football sport’ where I could just leave my mark by winning the Heisman (Trophy),” DiCarlantonio said. “I wanted to do something that other lacrosse players and the Buckeye family can remember me by years down the road.”There are donation boxes all across campus, but mostly in buildings that athletes frequently visit, such as the Student-Athlete Support Services Office, the Younkin Success Center, the Fawcett Center, the French Field House and the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.“I wanted to make it as easy as possible for athletes to be able to donate,” DiCarlantonio said. “All we have to do is put the toiletries in the boxes on our way out to practice or when we get back from an away trip.”Andrea Kacsits, a senior middle blocker on the volleyball team, said The Little Things allows student-athletes to take something most people overlook and turn it into something helpful and impactful.“It teaches us that nothing is ever small,” Kacsits said. “The things we see as small have an impact much bigger than their stature, even if it’s not blatantly obvious.”The university has been an integral part in the service’s success.“I thought this would be a simple project, but nothing with Ohio State is ever small as they’ve gone above and beyond already,” DiCarlantonio said. “They’ve connected me with creative services and graphic design, as well as helped me to create logos and fliers for The Little Things.”DiCarlantonio, who encouraged students and faculty to contribute by donating toiletries at any of the box locations, said she is happy with the service’s progress, but she also is excited to see how its impact can continue to develop.“I already have two huge boxes of donations, and I’m not stopping anytime soon,” she said. “I would love to get this program started at other universities and share my process; why stop here?” read more
The flood of two-out run production has run dry.The Ohio State baseball team had displayed a knack for key hits with two outs in its previous two Big Ten series, but it left 27 runners on base during last weekend’s contest with Penn State.In six games against Michigan State and Indiana, the Buckeyes scored half of their runs (21 of 42) with two hitters retired. OSU won both of those series. That clutch hitting was absent against the Nittany Lions, who took two of three from the Buckeyes.Right fielder Brian DeLucia, who had four of those 21 RBIs, acknowledged that relying on two-out runs is a dangerous game to play.“You’re not always that lucky and you’re not always that fortunate,” DeLucia said. “With runners on first and second with no outs or one out, we got to find a way to get those runners around and not wait till we have two outs.”Unfortunately, the team waited too long and dropped the final two games of the series while leaving potential runs on the bases.Coach Bob Todd was not worried about two-out production but offensive production in general.“You’re always worried any time that you’re not going to be productive offensively, but it doesn’t matter when you get runs, the key is to get them,” Todd said.Though Todd downplayed the importance of timing, he added that two-out hitting is something that is regularly emphasized in practice.“We do drills … situations weekly with two outs,” DeLucia said. “That’s something we practice and we got to look for the right pitch.”Finding the right pitch is more important for this team than handling the pressure of two outs, DeLucia said.“We have talked about it as a group that the way you win a lot of close ball games is to come through with some big two-out base hits,” Todd said.The Buckeyes hope to return to their clutch ways by doing just that as they look to hold onto their place atop the Big Ten standings.OSU takes a break from Big Ten play against Marshall at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday at Bill Davis Stadium. read more
The Ohio State women’s basketball team is in another funk — and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. The Buckeyes (13-9, 4-6 Big Ten), unranked for the first time this season, are now in the midst of their second three-game skid after Sunday’s 74-68 loss to Northwestern (16-8, 5-6 Big Ten) at the Schottenstein Center. Northwestern, which won its first game in Columbus since 1997, was led by senior center Amy Jaeschke. Besides scoring a game-high 29 points, Jaeschke helped the Wildcats launch a 19-2 run in the second half and overcome an eight-point deficit to win the game. But Northwestern did not secure its victory until the final seconds. There were no substantial offensive runs in the first half, and momentum swung back and forth as the Buckeyes took a narrow 34-32 lead into the break. Trying to avoid getting their ninth loss of the season, OSU coaches and players adopted an unusual strategy. OSU coach Jim Foster engaged in a heated discussion with referees during the first media timeout with his team trailing, 11-10. Foster, who needed to be restrained by assistant coach Ed Baldwin, admitted he intended to spark his players with his animated behavior. “I didn’t like some of the things I saw,” Foster said. “Nor did I like the laissez-faire attitude that I saw.” Junior Samantha Prahalis was also a surprise factor in the rebounding category, pulling down 10 boards and scrapping for many more. The 5-foot-6 guard provided her typical accurate passing as well, dishing out a game-high 10 assists. Senior center Jantel Lavender, who finished the game with 16 points and 10 boards, said Prahalis’ rebounding demonstrated the team’s focus on avoiding more conference losses. “I think (Prahalis’) rebounding effort is amazing,” Lavender said. “She tried to do everything she could.” A layup from freshman center Ashley Adams gave the Buckeyes a 52-44 lead with 13:05 remaining. The Wildcats then “imposed their will” on OSU, Foster said, in the form of a 19-2 run that resulted in a 63-54 lead with just more than three minutes to play. Then Jaeschke took over. Northwestern’s prolific center clinched the victory with a lucky bounce on her 3-point attempt. Jaeschke then completed a three-point play on Northwestern’s next possession to extend the lead to 69-55. Prahalis, sophomore guard Tayler Hill and redshirt freshman guard Brianna Sanders pulled OSU close, at 70-65 with under a minute to play after each hit a 3-pointer. Time ran short on the Buckeyes as they struggled to foul senior Wildcat guard Beth Marshall with under 20 seconds remaining. Marshall hit four free throws in the final 11 seconds to seal the win for Northwestern. All the praise from Northwestern coach Joe McKeown went to Jaeschke after the game. “I wish I had her for another year,” McKeown said. “She just went crazy at the end of the game. That’s why she’s such a special player.” After the game, Jaeschke cited the season sweep of OSU as evidence of the Northwestern program’s growth. “I think we’ve grown a lot as a team,” Jaeschke said. “It feels great; it’s really nice to see how far our program has come. (Ohio State) is a hard team to beat.” Foster spoke about the mental makeup of his team after the game. “We’re not a team that handles adversity,” Foster said. “We need to get a mentality of stopping the other team and facing adversity.” The Buckeyes return to action when they tipoff against Purdue at 6 p.m. Thursday at Nationwide Arena. read more
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema butted heads last winter over the first-year Buckeyes coach’s recruiting practices, but the two came to agreement about one thing on Tuesday: the meeting between OSU and Wisconsin this weekend will add another chapter in the “rivalry” between the two schools. Now, the two don’t play for some special trophy, as seen in some of college football’s more celebrated rivalry games. And, historically, there has been little parody between the Buckeyes and Badgers. In fact, OSU holds a 54-18-5 all-time record against Wisconsin. But has the series developed into a rivalry? Absolutely, and it isn’t going anywhere. Since 1999 OSU and Wisconsin have traded punches, with OSU holding a 6-5 advantage heading into Saturday’s Round 12. In that span, the programs have combined to win at least a share of the Big Ten title nine times. “What makes a good rivalry is when two good teams play significant games,” Meyer said Tuesday. The games have been significant. The results even more so. In 2003, OSU, the defending national champions at the time, entered Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium riding a 19-game winning streak, but couldn’t extend it to 20 after falling to the Badgers, 17-10. In 2010 the Buckeyes returned home from Madison, Wisc., in a similar fashion, after Wisconsin upset then-No.1 and undefeated OSU, 31-18. Sensing a theme here? The lower-ranked team has achieved an upset in 5 of the past 11 meetings. This includes OSU’s improbable 33-29 win last year, which Bielema called “heartbreaking.” And that cuts right to the heart of this rivalry. It’s about more than just beating your opponent. It’s about devastating them; it’s about squashing their lofty aspirations. “We’ve had a big rivalry with them, almost as big as (the rivalry with Michigan),” said senior linebacker Zach Boren, while referring to the Wolverines as “the team up north.” Will Wisconsin henceforth be referred to only as “the team to the west?” Will the OSU-Wisconsin rivalry reach a similar boiling point to that of OSU and Michigan? Probably not. “The Game’s” sentimental history will always loom large over any other rivalry in Buckeye lore. But from a pure-football standpoint, it’s becoming just as significant, if not more. For one, the OSU-Wisconsin series has been more competitive. While the Buckeyes and Badgers went back-and-forth in recent years, OSU has largely dominated Michigan. It was a similar, but flipped script in the 1990s, when Michigan went 7-2-1 against the Buckeyes. More importantly, when the Big Ten went to a two-division setup in 2011, we entered a world in which OSU’s most important contest will annually be against Wisconsin. Think I’m kidding? Including OSU, there are six teams in the Big Ten’s Leaders division. One is Wisconsin, which poses a legitimate threat to complete Buckeye dominance of the division during Meyer’s tenure in Columbus. The other four are sanctioned-Penn State, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue, which simply don’t. Playing in the same division, OSU and Wisconsin are guaranteed to hook up every year. The same can be said for OSU and Michigan, but because they are in separate divisions, there is a chance that “The Game” could be played twice in consecutive weekends if the two teams were to again meet up in the conference’s championship game. Don’t you think a November meeting between OSU and Michigan will be diminished, just a little bit, when we know we’ll see the same matchup just a week later? Won’t the sequel feel like, well, a sequel? The rivalry with Wisconsin won’t, simply because it can’t. The Buckeyes and Badgers have just one shot at each other each year, no exceptions. There will be a winner and a loser, and that loser will have no choice but to spend the next year counting the passing days, waiting for their chance at payback. One team’s countdown will begin Saturday night. “I want to win in the worst way because Ohio State has set the standard for winning in this league,” Bielema said Tuesday. Translation: I want to win in the worst way because I can’t stand seeing these guys beat us, I can’t stand seeing them win. It’s a sentiment that I imagine is shared by both sides in what’s becoming the Big Ten’s most important rivalry. read more
Addressing the judge directly as the case neared its close, Miss Yates said: “Charlie has one shot, one chance of life.”Without this treatment, Charlie’s only alternative is death.”Charlie deserves his chance to improve and get a better quality of life.”Miss Yates said Charlie was not suffering and treatment was “safe to try”. “All I ask now is for you to give him that chance for the treatment proposed,” she said.”Charlie’s best interests have always been at the forefront of our mind.” She added: “I feel that anybody would be the same as us in our position.” Victoria Butler-Cole, representing a guardian appointed by the court to act in Charlie’s interests, said continuing life-support treatment would would not benefit him but “prolong the process of dying”.”The guardian has … concluded that it is not in Charlie’s best interests to travel to America,” said Ms Butler-Cole as Miss Yates, 31, listened in tears. His parents want to take Charlie to a hospital in the United States for pioneering treatmentCredit: Family handout read more