Month: September 2019
Novak Djokovic isn’t just chasing the records of his sport’s all-time greats. He’s accelerating in his pursuit.After winning his first French Open title on Sunday, Djokovic holds all four major titles at the same time, the first man to do so since Rod Laver in 1969. He is halfway to winning all four in one year, leaving him closer to winning a Grand Slam than any man since Jim Courier won the first two in 1992.1Mats Wilander was the only man other than Courier to win the Australian Open and French Open back-to-back since Laver’s 1969 Grand Slam. Wilander did it in 1984-85 (back when the Australian Open was in December) and in 1988. He has won 12 major titles, just two behind Rafael Nadal and five behind all-time leader Roger Federer. And on Monday he will be No. 1 in the rankings by the enormous margin of 8,045 points, leaving him in a strong position to overtake Federer’s record for the most weeks at No. 1 as soon as 2018.History suggests Djokovic should be slowing down, not speeding up, at age 29. Even all-time greats have rarely won many major titles so close to 30. While the sport has become kinder to veterans, just two majors were won by a man 29 or older in the last decade: Federer, at Wimbledon in 2012; and Stan Wawrinka, over Djokovic at last year’s French Open. Three factors are speeding Djokovic’s chase:1) He’s playing outstanding tennis, the most dominant of the Open era. Our Elo ratings at the end of last year showed Djokovic topping all other men since 1968, an era that encompasses just about every contender for the greatest career of all time, though it omits many of Laver’s best years. More conventional stats confirm Djokovic’s dominance. Men’s tennis has three types of events that feature nearly all of the best players who are fit to play: the four majors, nine Masters and the World Tour Finals. Djokovic has reached the final of 21 of the last 22 of these events he has entered, winning 17 of them. No man has ever had a stretch that dominant.Andy Murray should be Djokovic’s biggest rival. Murray was born exactly a week before Djokovic, has an eerily similar game and has dealt him three of his biggest recent losses: in the finals of the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 Wimbledon, and in the 2012 Olympics semifinal. But since Murray’s Wimbledon win, Djokovic has beaten him in 13 of their 15 meetings, including all five of their matches at Grand Slams. The reasons were evident in Djokovic’s defeat of Murray in Sunday’s final: In just about every facet of the game, Murray is great but Djokovic is greater. Murray has an edge in one scenario: When he’s lobbing the ball and Djokovic is smashing it. That doesn’t happen often enough to swing a tennis match.2) The men who used to hold Djokovic back when they were at their peak are fading as he continues to soar. If Federer and Nadal hadn’t been around, Djokovic probably would have won many more majors by 2010. He faced them 11 times at majors through the 2010 U.S. Open and lost nine of those matches. Since then, Djokovic has beaten them in 11 of 17 meetings at majors, including the last five. And he may not meet them many more times at majors, with both men struggling with injuries. Federer withdrew from the French Open before it began, and Nadal withdrew after the first two rounds.3) Djokovic doesn’t yet have any younger rivals. That is stunning for a man at age 29. Players younger than him have won just two majors combined: Marin Cilic and Juan Martín del Potro, both born a year after Djokovic, have one apiece. Neither has made more than one major final. And men born in 1989 or later have not won a single title of note. No major, no Masters, no tour final. The entire generation of men younger than Djokovic who should be leading the sport hasn’t lifted a single significant trophy. By this stage of the season two years ago — when he was the same age as the 1989ers — Djokovic by himself had won six majors, three tour finals and 19 Masters titles.This might look like a chicken-and-egg problem: Have players younger than Djokovic struggled because he is an all-time great who keeps ousting them, or because they’re not very good? The answer is a little of both, but more the latter. Djokovic has ousted men younger than him from Slams in the fourth round or later only 17 times in his career. None were in a final. The primary reason the younger guys aren’t breaking through isn’t because Djokovic keeps stopping them. It’s because other older guys are.While the men ages 23 to 28 might retire as a collective lost cause — a weird void in the tennis record books — the men younger than them show real promise, including Dominic Thiem, who will enter the Top 10 on Monday, and Nick Kyrgios. They will have to grow up in a hurry if they are to slow Djokovic’s run at the record book. At the moment, aging or injury look likely to be his biggest obstacle.
Belgium has clinched advancement but would do so as the second-place team if it loses to South Korea and Algeria beats Russia. Any other outcome advances the Belgians in first.Algeria clinches advancement by beating Russia, or if it draws Russia and Belgium beats or draws with South Korea. If Algeria draws Russia and South Korea beats Belgium, then Algeria and South Korea would be in a second-place tie — although Algeria would be strongly favored to advance on the basis of goal differential. If Algeria loses to Russia, Algeria is out of the tournament.Russia can advance only if it beats Algeria. In fact, it almost certainly will advance if it beats Algeria. The exception would require South Korea to beat Belgium by multiple goals.South Korea is not technically eliminated, but its chances of advancing are only about 1 percent. Its prospects require it, among other things, to beat Belgium by at least three goals in the event of an Algeria-Russia draw, or by at least two goals in the event of a Russian win.An interesting scenario might unfold in Group H if the U.S. beats Germany. Then Belgium might have an incentive to lose to South Korea and hope that Algeria overtakes it. That would set the Red Devils up with a Round of 16 match against the Americans instead of the Germans. The World Cup has been a roller-coaster for the United States, which nearly drew with Ghana before beating it and nearly won against Portugal before drawing it. But overall, the Americans’ position is improved. It has about a 76 percent chance of advancing to the knockout stage — slightly more than double its odds before the tournament began.The U.S. will kick off against Germany at noon Eastern time in Recife, Brazil. By 2 p.m., its fate will be determined. If the Americans beat Germany, the math is simple: They’ll win Group G and will face the second-place team from Group H in the Round of 16. Their opponent would probably be either Algeria, whom the U.S. would be favored against — or Russia, against whom they would have about even odds.Draw with Germany, and the U.S. will also advance — but as the second-place team from Group G likely to face Belgium in the Round of 16. (The 2-1 and 1-1 scores in the chart below are some of the most common for wins and draws, respectively.)If the Americans lose, they’ll have to sweat the results of the other Group G match between Ghana and Portugal, which will take place simultaneously in Brasilia. They’ll get a reprieve if the Ghana-Portugal match is drawn, in which case the U.S. is guaranteed to advance in second. But a U.S. loss in Recife, coupled with a victor in Brasilia, could knock them out of the tournament.The table below describes what will happen if the U.S. loses its match, for all losing scores up to 4-0 Germany, and for all possible outcomes in Brasilia up to four goals scored by each team. For example, if the U.S. loses to Germany 2-0 and Portugal beats Ghana 3-1, the U.S. will advance over Portugal on the basis of FIFA’s goal-differential tiebreaker. Portugal, still disadvantaged from its 4-0 loss to Germany in its opening game, has to make up a net of five goals with the U.S. to make the knockout round.Although Cristiano Ronaldo might think otherwise, we can’t put it completely past Portugal to accomplish this: The Portuguese can score goals in bunches when in good form, and they have about a 5 percent chance of backing into the knockout stage. There’s even a remote chance that FIFA would have to draw lots to resolve a tie between the U.S. and Portugal: If Portugal beats Ghana 2-0 and the U.S. loses to Germany 3-0, both teams would be stuck on four goals scored and six allowed, and FIFA would resort to the luck of the draw.However, the bigger problem for the U.S. would be if it loses in Recife and Ghana wins in Brasilia. Then, any Ghana win by more than one goal, or any U.S. loss by more than one goal, would send Ghana forward. The U.S. does have the head-to-head tiebreaker against Ghana by virtue of having beaten it, but that will come into play only if the two matches finish with the same score line (there’s about a 2 percent chance of that happening).This could yield some interesting strategy and psychology at each venue. Say, for example, that about 75 minutes into Thursday’s matches, the U.S. trails Germany 2-1 while Ghana leads Portugal by the same margin. If those scores held, the U.S. would advance — so it might want to play quite defensively rather than seek an equalizer. But in Brasilia, the Portuguese would have almost nothing left to play for (merely drawing their match against Ghana or even winning it by one goal wouldn’t do them any good), and the Ghanaians would. If Ghana added a garbage-time goal against an indifferent Portuguese back line, the U.S. would be out.Incidentally, the Germans also have something to play for Thursday — at least in theory. They have not technically clinched advancement: They could be out of the tournament if they lose to the U.S. and there is a victor in Brasilia. However, the outcomes would need to be exceptionally lopsided given Germany’s +4 goal differential so far, which is why Germany has a 99.7 percent chance of going forward.Later Thursday, the final matches of Group H will take place.
NWSL salary54.0 Sponsor appearance15.0 Ticket revenue22.9 World Cup roster bonus15.0 Subtotal without salaries240.0 Friendly wins$18.9K Olympic qualifying bonus15.0 USSF World Cup victory75.0 The men earned bonus money for every point earned in the World Cup group stage, as well as $5,500 for each group-stage match for which they were rostered. The women earned no such bonuses.The caveat here, of course, is that the women draw a salary for playing on the national team, while the men are only paid by U.S. Soccer for participation in camps, friendlies and tournaments. If the women’s salaries were replaced with the men’s bonus figures for friendlies, players would have earned $109,600 in 2015, nearly $40,000 more than their $72,000 national team salary — and that’s before we include any other bonuses or fees they’d receive for being named to tournament rosters and other non-game events.3The men’s national team did earn a salary from U.S. Soccer for a period of time, because of the lack of a professional domestic league in the United States from 1984 to 1996.While U.S. Soccer is not responsible for FIFA prize money, it’s worth noting that the men’s prize money for losing in the round of 16 amounted to $9 million. The women’s prize money for winning the whole tournament was $2 million. If we distribute these totals evenly across the 23-player rosters, Lloyd’s and Solo’s earnings increase to $326,976 each. Dempsey’s and Howard’s, meanwhile, increase to $819,326 and $789,799, respectively. The 2014 men’s World Cup generated approximately $4.8 billion in revenue for FIFA. Revenue for the 2015 Women’s World Cup have yet to be reported but will certainly be much lower.On top of the specific financial disparities laid out above, the women’s inability to specify what kind of field surface they play on, when such consideration is offered to the men, is surely a sore spot, one that blew up in December when the USWNT boycotted a friendly over concerns about the quality of the artificial turf at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium.Another footnote in the memo of understanding concerns travel arrangements. The women’s national team is booked to fly economy for the majority of its travel, while the men exclusively fly business class.Granted, the women’s and men’s national teams both collectively agreed to these respective compensation structures — and since the men are neither salaried by the federation nor play in a league owned and operated by the federation, it could be argued that their compensation should be distributed differently than the women. But it is interesting to observe the discrepancies in areas where one would assume they would be equitably compensated. Also, the USWNT players’ complaint to the EEOC could expose the lack of transparency by U.S. Soccer relative to the revenues the women’s national team generates, which may have artificially depressed the players’ market value.The court will decide whether U.S. Soccer’s memo of understanding with the players union is a valid labor agreement at the end of May; dates for potential action on the EEOC complaint have yet to be determined. Regardless of either outcome, it appears that the U.S. women’s national team has a real case regarding the gender pay gap. Negotiations for their next collective bargaining agreement will continue all year, and the likes of Lloyd and Solo intend to leverage their recent success for better treatment by their employers. The U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup title in 2015 — an achievement never equaled by a U.S. men’s team — but the glory doesn’t come with full benefits. On Wednesday, five women’s team players filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming that the U.S. Soccer federation engaged in wage discrimination by paying the women far less than the men.The complaint, filed by Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan, says the men’s team takes home far more than the women’s team for no discernible reason other than being male. After the filing, the soccer federation issued a statement wherein it highlighted its support for women’s soccer in the United States and across the globe. It did not address the specific allegations of pay discrepancy. The complaint also contains the minutes from a federation meeting in which the budget shows the federation expects the women’s team to produce more revenue than the men’s team in fiscal years 2016 and 2017.Based on our findings — using financial statements released by the soccer federation for fiscal year 2015, along with the USWNT’s collective bargaining agreement and memo of understanding released in court after the federation sued the players union over an earlier negotiating dispute — top men’s players earned almost twice as much as top women’s players from the federation during their respective World Cup years, despite the women’s victory in 2015 and the men’s early knockout elimination in 2014.We compared the differences in how male and female players are compensated by the federation under similar working conditions — namely, preparations for and participation in the 2014 FIFA men’s World Cup in Brazil and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Because not every member of a national team is paid the same, and to properly compare apples to apples, we focused on two similar sets of players from the women’s and men’s national teams — Lloyd and Solo for the women, and Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard for the men. Here, we have two major goalscoring threats and two veteran goalkeepers who played every minute (or, in Dempsey’s case, all but three minutes) of their respective World Cups.The first thing we need to do is set aside the salaries that Lloyd and Solo earn, because USWNT compensation works a little differently than setups across the world. Typically, a club pays a player a salary, and a national federation compensates the player for caps and other appearances. For the USWNT, however, it’s the federation that pays the club salary; the women then draw a second salary for their national play — a departure from the U.S. men. (If you think this arrangement is odd, you’re not wrong. The National Women’s Soccer League is owned and operated by the federation, which pays the club salaries for national team players to offset costs for club owners.)In the case of Lloyd and Solo, this salary totaled $126,000 in 2015 — $72,000 for falling into the “Tier I” salary bracket (reserved for veterans who also were named to the 23-player World Cup roster) and an additional $54,000 for playing in the NWSL.1Should a player wish to play for a club outside the U.S., she forfeits that portion of the salary. In 2015, however, all national team players did play in the NWSL.Now that we have salaries separated out, we can see from the collective bargaining agreement and memo of understanding that the women’s national team is paid in a similar fashion as the men: appearance fees for U.S. Soccer sponsors; bonuses for qualifying for major tournaments (along with bonuses based on tournament finishes); a share of ticket revenues in friendlies played on U.S. soil; and bonuses for winning those friendlies. The USWNT also earned a $1.8 million bonus for the Victory Tour, 10 friendly matches played in the U.S. from August through December of last year. INCOME SOURCELLOYD/SOLO 2015 EARNINGS For each friendly, including the send-off series, the men earned between $7,500 and $14,100 per win, based on the FIFA ranking of the opponent. They earned between $5,000 and $6,500 for draws and $4,000 for a loss. The women earned $1,350 for wins, receiving no bonus for draws or losses. Total366.0 The men’s bonus for being named to the final 23-player World Cup roster was $55,000 each; the women earned $15,000 each. This is an itemized breakdown of the projected non-salary earnings for Lloyd and Solo in 2015, based on all the data contained in the memo of understanding. When it comes to shared bonus pools, we assume the money is being divided evenly among all players on the roster. However, that may not be true, as there is no language in either the collective bargaining agreement or the memo of understanding that would stipulate even distribution. In fact, based on comments Solo made in her 2013 memoir, veteran players may get a larger share of the bonus pools.Below we compare Lloyd’s and Solo’s estimated 2015 earnings with Dempsey’s and Howard’s earnings for 2014, when the U.S. men’s team lost in the World Cup’s round of 16. The men’s earnings are based on U.S. Soccer’s financial statements for fiscal year 2015 (which ran from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015).2Women’s earnings are projected estimates for fiscal year 2016, which ran from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2016. Lloyd and Solo: $240,019 eachDempsey: $428,022Howard: $398,495Dempsey is pocketing almost $200,000 more than Lloyd; Howard gets almost $160,000 more than Solo. How can that be? (U.S. Soccer declined to comment for this story.)While the men’s team’s bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer is confidential, Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl discovered some figures before the 2014 World Cup that would account for at least some of the disparity:The men’s shared bonus for qualifying for Brazil totaled $2 million. The women’s total qualifying bonus for Canada was $300,000. The men played 16 qualifying games, whereas the women played only five, but that is still a difference of $125,000 per game vs. $60,000 per game. In addition to the share of ticket revenues for home friendlies, the men earned $1,500 per game in the three-match send-off series leading up to the World Cup. The women earned $1,350 per game, and only if they won them. Victory tour bonus78.0 NT salary72.0
201790.013.9 201684.118.3 SEASONEXIT VELOCITYLAUNCH ANGLE And Harper’s not just hitting the ball better. Even his plate discipline has improved: He’s currently posting a career-best walk rate and showing better strike-zone judgment than ever. So far this year, Harper is back to combining the willingness to wait for a hittable pitch with the strength to knock that pitch out of the park.With all those improvements working together, Harper is a more dangerous hitter than ever. So far, he’s belted nine home runs in only 114 plate appearances, with an outrageous, Bonds-ian slugging percentage (.772) driving an overall offensive performance that’s 123 percentage points better than the league average. That exceeds even the lofty heights he achieved in 2015, when he “only” hit 97 percentage points better than league average. And in just 25 games — about a seventh of the season — he’s already racked up 2.1 WAR. If you project that out over a full season, he’d be on pace for another of the best years in the history of baseball.Even setting aside Harper’s history of yo-yoing between greatness and mediocrity, it’s clear that he can’t stay this hot forever. Eventually, bad luck or injuries will drag Harper, Thames and all the other early-season leaders back to more mortal levels of production. (Indeed, Harper’s exit velocity might already be dropping slightly: Over his last 10 games, he’s averaged a more pedestrian 84.5 mph exit velocity.) But for now, baseball is better off with a superstar like Harper excelling again. AVERAGE Harper hits hard again Source: Statcast The early-season noise around such unexpectedly great hitters as Brewers stud Eric Thames has pulled attention away from the return of another prodigious slugger: Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. Harper is making his triumphant comeback from the injuries that plagued him in 2016, and the advanced metrics show he’s ready to deliver another MVP-level year this season.In his six-year MLB career, Harper has been equal parts incredible and disappointing. He appeared to reach his full potential in 2015, when he produced a .330/.460/.649 slash line en route to a season worth 9.5 wins above replacement. But last year Harper backslid dramatically, struggling with injuries and hitting a pedestrian (by his standards) .243/.373/.441. His drop-off between 2015 and 2016 was one of the largest declines in production ever.But now Harper’s back — and maybe better than ever. It’s early in the season, but we can already see his recovery using MLB’s Statcast system, which tracks the launch angle and direction of every batted ball.Last season, I wrote about how Harper’s batted-ball stats weren’t matching those of his MVP year, which suggested he might be injured.1Harper has hinted that this was the case, although the Nationals denied that he played through an injury in 2016. This season, though, Harper is well on his way to replicating his 2015 performance. For instance, after a down year in exit velocity, Harper’s average batted ball is once again leaving the bat at close to 90 miles an hour. (For comparison’s sake, he averaged 89.6 mph in 2015.)His launch angle has also significantly improved. For most of 2016, Harper was elevating his swing, which resulted in the highest fly-ball rate of his career but also in more weak pop-ups. But this April, he’s back to the flat, line-drive cut that worked so well before. Hard, low-angle batted balls are a good recipe for success, so it’s no surprise that Harper is productive again. 201589.612.9
Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. The Los Angeles Clippers announced Tuesday that All-Star forward Blake Griffin has sprained his MCL and could be out for two months. On this week’s show (Nov. 30, 2017), Neil, Chris and Kyle break down how this could affect the once-promising team and whether there’s any hope for the rest of the Clippers’ season. On Monday, the Memphis Grizzlies fired head coach David Fizdale after the team lost eight straight games. The news took the league by surprise, with many players and coaches speaking out against the firing. We take a look at why Fizdale was fired now and which other coaches might be in trouble. Plus, a small-sample-size segment on the Portland Trail Blazers.Here are links to what we discussed this week:Keep an eye on our 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.Over at The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor asked, “Where do the Grizzlies go from here?”Kyle took a look at the NBA’s best defenders. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller (5) scans the field during a game against Purdue Nov. 2 at Ross-Ade Stadium. OSU won, 56-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAfter allowing 20 points or more in five of its first seven games, the No. 3-ranked Ohio State football team (9-0, 5-0) has buckled down in its last two contests, holding Penn State and Purdue to a combined 14 points.OSU coach Urban Meyer said his defense has come a long way since the team’s 34-24 win over Iowa Oct. 19, the closest margin of victory the Buckeyes have held this season.“The last few weeks is night and day (from) where it was earlier in the season,” Meyer said.Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said the young OSU defense contributed to the team get off to the slow start it did.“We’ve just been working on our passing game a lot more lately. Everybody’s just starting to get on the same page,” Shazier said. “At first, we had a bunch of guys not used to working with each other.”Sophomore defensive linemen Tommy Schutt said he doesn’t expect the defense to take any steps backward this weekend.“We’re getting better every week, and it’s fun to watch us play right now,” Schutt said.Although Illinois has yet to win a game in conference play, Meyer noted the Illini have been very close to pulling out wins in recent weeks.Meyer said Illinois (3-6, 0-5) is “much better on offense” than earlier this season, and the unit should provide “a great test for (OSU’s defense).”The Illini, who scored 35 points last Saturday against Indiana, are 24th in the FBS in passing yards per game (288.9).Schutt said getting to Illinois redshirt-senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase will be key to stopping the Illini’s passing attack.“Every game, one of our goals is to have the quarterback under pressure, uncomfortable in the pocket and really disrupt his game,” Schutt said.Meyer said although he isn’t afraid of the cold affecting his players, he has been checking the weather report for Saturday.“We’re checking the wind in Champaign, Ill.,” Meyer said. “Wind and precipitation is something we always check.”As of Wednesday night, the high for gameday at Memorial Stadium is predicted to be 58 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 53 degrees Fahrenheit, a 50 percent chance of rain and winds at 17 mph, according to The Weather Channel.Along with the weather elements, OSU has to adjust to a different time zone Saturday as well. The game is set to kick off in Champaign, Ill., at 11 a.m. local time, noon EST.“We’ve got to get up an hour earlier than usual, so we got to get our mindset right,” junior quarterback Braxton Miller said.
The Ohio State bench celebrates Janai Crooms’ and-one basket in the second half of the game against Rutgers on March 3. Ohio State lost 66-56. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorAfter losing to Wisconsin 73-63 in the Big Ten tournament, the Ohio State women’s basketball team finished the season with a 14-14 record.As a result, Ohio State failed to qualify for the women’s NCAA tournament.Instead, being the highest-ranked Big Ten seed to not reach the big dance, the Buckeyes earned an automatic bid to the women’s NIT tournament, where they will take on Morehead State.History favors Ohio State in both this game and the entire tournament. This will be the second appearance for the Buckeyes in the WNIT. Their only other appearance was in 2001, when Ohio State won it all, taking down New Mexico 62-61. The past two WNITs were won by two other Big Ten schools, with Indiana winning in the previous season and Michigan in 2017. Projected StartersOhio State (14-14, 10-8 Big Ten)G — Carly Santoro — Redshirt senior, 11.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.2 apgG — Carmen Grande — Redshirt senior, 8.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.0 apgG — Janai Crooms — Freshman, 8.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.1 apgF — Dorka Juhasz — Freshman, 11.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 0.9 apgF — Makayla Waterman — Redshirt senior, 7.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.8 apgMorehead State (23-10, 13-5 Ohio Valley).G — Miranda Crockett — Senior, 18.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.7 apgG — Darianne Seward — Redshirt senior, 9.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.0 apgG — Crystal Simmons-Cozar — Redshirt senior, 6.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.6 apgF — McKenzie Calvert — Redshirt senior, 12.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.1 apgF — Tierra McGowan — Senior, 6.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.4 apgOhio State’s biggest concern will be finding ways to become consistent. Heading into the final few games of the season, the Buckeyes were riding a four-game winning streak that featured wins against Rutgers, a team that made the NCAA tournament, and two wins against Wisconsin. During its final regular season game and its matchup against the Badgers in the Big Ten tournament, Ohio State unraveled late. The Buckeyes recorded 30 turnovers, allowing the Scarlet Knights to come back in the second half. Against Wisconsin, the Buckeyes were unable to find the basket and the Badgers thrived from 3. If Ohio State wants to bounce back and have a chance at winning, it will need to find a way to control the game in the second half. For Morehead State, the main threats the Buckeyes will have to watch out for are senior guard Miranda Crockett and redshirt senior forward McKenzie Calvert. Both are averaging double digits in points for the season and, with three players from the Eagles’ starting five having more than 100 assists on the season, plenty of playmakers will be on the court in Columbus Wednesday night. In addition, Simmons-Cozar is the Eagles’ biggest threat from the 3-point line. She is shooting 36 percent from deep on 72 attempts.Being the better seed, the Buckeyes do have the advantage of playing at the Schottenstein Center. Over the season, Ohio State holds a 9-5 home record. Ohio State will take on Morehead State at 7:00 p.m. Thursday at the Schottenstein Center.
A female art tutor was sacked over an affair with a 17-year-old girl after her policeman father spotted a love bite on his daughter’s neck, a hearing was told on Wednesday.Lecturer Nia Davies, 31, began a “sexual relationship” with her teenage pupil while teaching her A-level art including sharing a bed on trips to London galleries.Miss Davies is facing being struck off for her “sexually motivated” relationship with her former pupil.A misconduct hearing was told media and film lecturer Davies exchanged “thousands” of inappropriate messages with the girl during their ten-month affair. We’ve had a conversation about my sexuality before, and I think there’s a lot of confusion to be honest. Nia was just a supportive lecturerThe teenager An Education Workforce Council hearing was told young girl’s police officer father became suspicious when his daughter brought Davies’ name up in several conversations.Presenting officer Cadi Dewi told it was after he noticed a love bite on her neck that he discovered she was in a relationship with her teacher.Ms Dewi said: “Concerns first came to light about the relationship when the girl’s father made a referral to her college. He noticed she had marks on the side of her neck which he described as love bites.”He was then told by her sister that the girl was ‘seeing’ Davies.”The father, who works in Dyfed Powys Police in West Wales, alerted his colleagues to suspected affair and an investigation was launched at Carmarthenshire College. The girl admitted to police she had spent weekends away in Bath and London with her teacher – and they had shared the same hotel bed.She denied having sex with Davies, but said they had kissed and would sleep together at Davies’ home in Cardiff. The police investigation led to Davies being arrested and bailed.But the hearing was told she was never charged. Her college in Llanelli, West Wales, launched their own investigation which led to Davies’ dismissal in August last year.Ms Dewi told the hearing: “Davies’ conduct amounts to inappropriate misconduct, when you take into account her role as an educator and the girl’s role as a learner.”The girl, now 19, was described as a “outgoing and bright pupil” – and was identified on as “Learner A” when she gave evidence. She told the hearing she had never been in a sexual relationship with Davies.The teenager denied she had previously admitted to police, her father and mother that she had kissed her teacher – saying they must have been “confused.”She said: “We sent texts but they were social texts. They were only in the tens, not the thousands.”I never admitted kissing Nia to my father, it’s completely untrue. That conversation never happened and I can’t explain it.”We’ve had a conversation about my sexuality before, and I think there’s a lot of confusion to be honest. Nia was just a supportive lecturer.”Ms Dewi asked her if she could explain why a hotel manager in London identified her as a girl who had stayed with Davies overnight, to which she replied: “It couldn’t have been me because I wasn’t there.”She also denied she was now living with Davies in Cardiff. Her father told the hearing he confronted his daughter about the relationship which she at first denied before admitting they had kissed.He said: “She was adamant she wasn’t attracted to females at first. She said they weren’t in a relationship.”But then she admitted kissing her and said she’d stayed over at her house.”George Pollitt, representing Davies, said the allegations were a “mess of confusion” and she strenuously denied the affair.He added: “These include allegations of a trip to London to see art museums. Any pupil would would take heart from a teacher showing such interest in their education.”Davies faces eight claims including that she was “engaging in email communication of a social rather than academic nature,” “saw Learner A unaccompanied on a social basis”, “shared a bed with Learner A during a trip to London” and “invited Learner A into her home on at least one occasion.”Miss Davies is also alleged to have “allowed Learner A to sleep at her home”, “kissed Learner A”, “gave Learner A a love bite” and “engaged in sexual intercourse with Learner A”.The hearing continues. Nia Davies is accused of taking the girl on weekends away to London and Bath to conduct their affair in secretCredit: WALES NEWS SERVICE 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.
We are happy to make this clear and apologise to Rohey Hydara. “Since discovering that it was my son that was responsible, I have shed many tears for the people caught up in this horrendous incident.”I wish to make it absolutely clear, so there can be no doubt, I do not condone his actions nor support the beliefs he held that led to him committing this atrocity.”I wish to thank my friends, family and community from the bottom of my heart for the love and support given to us.”Scotland Yard said that, while it had not found evidence linking Masood to the group, he “clearly” had an interest in jihad.Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national co-ordinator for UK counter-terrorism policing, said: “His attack method appears to be based on low sophistication, low-tech, low-cost techniques copied from other attacks and echoes the rhetoric of IS leaders in terms of methodology and attacking police and civilians, but at this stage I have no evidence he discussed this with others. Rohey Hydara: no connection with Khalid Masood or his actions. She said: “I am so deeply shocked, saddened and numbed by the actions my son has taken that have killed and injured innocent people in Westminster. “I know when, where and how Masood committed his atrocities, but now I need to know why. Most importantly, so do the victims and families.” “There is no evidence that Masood was radicalised in prison in 2003, as has been suggested. This is pure speculation at this time.”While I have found no evidence of an association with IS or AQ (al-Qaeda), there is clearly an interest in jihad.”Mr Basu went on: “There has been much speculation about who Masood was in contact with immediately prior to the attack.”All I will say on this point is that Masood’s communications that day are a main line of inquiry.”If you heard from him on March 22, please come forward now, the information you have may prove important to establishing his state of mind. “I express my condolences to the families of the victims that have died, and wish a speedy recovery to all the injured.”I would like to request privacy for our family, especially the children, at this difficult time.”Masood killed four people in an 82-second rampage in Westminster last Wednesday.The 52-year-old was shot dead by armed police after fatally knifing Pc Keith Palmer, 48, in the Palace of Westminster’s cobbled forecourt.Separate inquests into the deaths of the killer and his victims will begin this week.IS called Ajao “a soldier of the Islamic State” following the attack, but the announcement was greeted with scepticism from commentators, with many noting that the terror group has a record of opportunistically claiming attacks. Correction – Rohey HydaraAn earlier version of this report included a picture that purported to show Rohey Hydara, the wife of Westminster terrorist Adrian Ajao / Khalid Masood. In fact it showed a different Rohey Hydara, who is married with 5 children, lives in Gambia and has no connection of any kind with Ajao / Masood or the events in Westminster to which this report refers. Scotland Yard has said there is “no evidence” that the Muslim convert was linked to Islamic State or al-Qaeda.His mother said she is “deeply shocked, saddened and numbed” by her son’s actions.Mrs Ajao said she had “shed many tears” for the victims and did not condone the attack or the beliefs that led Masood to commit the “atrocity”. 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. Reports have claimed that Masood’s phone connected with encrypted messaging service WhatsApp just before the atrocity, sparking debate over authorities’ capacity to intercept suspects’ communications.WhatsApp has said it is “co-operating with law enforcement as they continue their investigations”.On Monday, the family of an American tourist who was killed in the attack said they bore no ill-will over the incident.Kurt and Melissa Cochran, from Utah, were on the final day of a trip to London to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary when they were mown down on Westminster Bridge by Masood’s car.Mr Cochran, 54, was killed and his 46-year-old wife was taken to hospital with a broken leg and rib and a cut to her head.The other victims who died after Masood drove into pedestrians on the bridge were Aysha Frade, a 44-year-old married mother-of-two, and retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, 75.Two men arrested in connection with the investigation remain in custody.The inquests for the victims will be opened and adjourned at Westminster coroner’s court on Wednesday at 2pm, Scotland Yard said.Masood’s inquest will opened and adjourned at the same court on Thursday at 2pm.The force declined to comment on reports concerning the speed Masood reached during the attack. The wife of Westminster attacker Khalid Masood says she is “saddened and shocked” by the atrocity, saying she “condemns” his actions.Rohey Hydara spoke out after Masood ‘s mother, Janet Ajao, said she had “shed many tears” for her son’s victims.In a statement released through the Metropolitan Police, Ms Hydara said: “I am saddened and shocked by what Khalid has done. I totally condemn his actions.
“The events at Westminster took place in less than 90 seconds and were able to be brought to an end because hundreds of officers were in the vicinity. Calum Steele said Scottish officers were not equipped to respond to a fast-moving terrorist attackCredit:PA The emergency motion conference whether the fight against terrorism risked being undermined by cuts to the policing budget and whether officers have enough personal equipment – including firearms – to be able to protect themselves in the event of a terrorist incident.Calum Steele, head of the SPF, claimed officers did not have the equipment to protect themselves or the public.Speaking afterwards he added: “We know that batons don’t work, we know that in 40 per cent of cases spray doesn’t work, we know that unarmed police officers are not only sent to incidents of knives but also to reports of firearms. That’s a disgraceful position to find ourselves in and it’s unforgivable. Police patrolling outside the Scottish Parliament are to carry Tasers in the wake of the Westminster terror attack.However, calls for all officers to be armed with Tasers have been rejected, amid claims that Police Scotland is not equipped to respond to a fast-moving attack such as last week’s terrorist incident in London.MSPs and Holyrood staff were told about the move in advance of an announcement from the force.The change, which is not based on any known intelligence threat, follows the attack by the terrorist Khalid Masood, who killed four people in an 82-second rampage in London last week.The calls for all officers to have Tasers, and for more armed officers, came from rank and file members at the Scottish Police Federation conference.They were rejected by Deputy Chief Constable Johnny Gwynne, who told BBC Scotland the police response to terrorism and organised crime needed to be more nuanced and depended, to a large extent, on community co-operation. The use of Tasers at Holyrood was not linked to intelligence informationCredit:PA “No police force in the world can stop those kind of events, but police should be given the equipment they need to protect themselves and the public if events unfold quickly.”We don’t have anything that would allow us to deal with the immediacy of a very quick attack such as that which unfolded in London.”During the discussion, delegate Chris Thomson called for a complete review of how officers deal with threats from weapons, saying: “Now is the time for all officers to have at least a Taser and more divisional firearms officers carrying a handgun.”It won’t stop all attacks but it will be a better defence than we currently have.”We don’t have all the tools to deal with two neds stabbing each other, never mind a terrorist attack like we saw. Our tactics are wrong and out of date.”David Hamilton, vice-chair of the SPF, suggested looking to the Norwegian policing model where all officers are firearms trained and have a gun safely locked away in their car.He said: “We need to be able to stand up our response quickly and we’re totally ill-equipped for that. We need to have more in the bank.” 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.