Month: September 2019

DeMarcus Cousins Is A Usage Monster

Some of Cousins’s big scoring numbers are owed to the Kings’ style of play. According to data from Synergy Sports Technology, only two bigs — Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and Cousins’s teammate Willie Cauley-Stein — get a higher proportion of their offense out of the transition game than Cousins. These are easy buckets that are a byproduct of the team’s rapid-fire pace and Boogie’s ability to beat his man down the floor. (Although he’s only middle-of-the-pack in efficiency on these possessions — mainly because of adventures in ball-handling; when leading the break or attempting to finish it on the wing, Boogie turns the ball over nearly as often as he scores1Twenty-five percent of his transition plays end in a turnover; 35 percent result in a score. — a mediocre transition possession is still far more valuable than a pretty good half-court one.)And some of it simply comes from old-fashioned post-ups: Cousins sees six plays per game (fourth-most in the league) and is one of the game’s more efficient finishers in the post. In that sense, Cousins is cut from the same time-worn cloth as big men from the days of yore. With the rest of the league obsessed with the pick-and-roll, Cousins has a far smaller proportion of his offense generated from the NBA’s current bread-and-butter play than his frontcourt peers. This is partly because Cousins’s point guard, Rondo, is a miserable free-throw shooter and can’t shoot from range — two important parts of keeping PNR defenders on a string. But it’s also because the Kings remain happy to dump the ball down to the post and let their big, punishing center eat up possessions. (Cousins is also great at pinning his man when he’s being fronted, allowing Rondo to toss an entry pass over the defender for an easy basket.) The philosophy isn’t limited to Cousins (see: Gay, Rudy), but it’s what lets Boogie shine in quite the way that Boogie does.This collision course between basketball’s past and its future (Boogie is only 25 years old) is part of what makes Cousins so exciting. Amid a wave of seemingly modernized bigs like DeAndre Jordan, Serge Ibaka and even Rudy Gobert — defensive specialists who excel at their roles, but whose narrowed archetype is built on explosive pick-and-roll finishes and weak-side cuts off action generated by somebody else — Cousins’ offensive game is different, more self-sufficient, more like the one-man-army style center that roamed the league’s frontcourts throughout the 1990s. Thirty-seven percent of Cousins’s buckets have been unassisted this season — a relatively high proportion for a big man. Rondo has certainly done his share of creating for others, but Cousins chips in there as well, with the third-highest assist rate on the Kings.All of this might be why the box score itself has been found wanting when it comes to quantifying Cousins’s true offensive impact this season. Then again, it also isn’t clear how we should interpret a center vying for the single-season usage crown in 2016, on a fast-paced offense that’s barely more efficient than league average. Cousins could just as easily be a statistically perplexing anomaly on a statistically perplexing team as he could be the prototype for a future generation of high-scoring bigs. But one thing is certain: Cousins’s quixotic bid to surpass O’Neal, Chamberlain and Co. will be one of the more entertaining statistical subplots of the season’s second half, for no reason other than the closer Cousins comes, the more Cousins we get.Check out our latest NBA predictions. With a 20-26 record, compiled against the still-comparatively-tough Western Conference, the Sacramento Kings are the picture of an average NBA team. They aren’t outright bad — unlike during most of the franchise’s recent history — but the best they can hope for this season is to outduel the likes of Utah and Portland for the West’s eighth and final playoff berth and then be served up as first-round fodder for the mighty Golden State Warriors.It isn’t an exciting fate, particularly if you subscribe to the treadmill theory, which says average is just about the worst place an NBA team can be (and which powers the dim, devolutionary logic behind long-term tank projects like the 76ers or the more insane short-term variety like the notion that the Clippers should tear down and trade Chris Paul). But despite the Kings’ collective mediocrity, there are a lot of interesting things going on in Sacramento. Leading the league’s fastest-paced offense, Rajon Rondo is having a resurgent season; Omri Casspi has morphed into one of the NBA’s top long-distance snipers, even going toe to toe with the unstoppable Steph Curry, at least for a few minutes; and Rudy Gay continues to defy advanced metrics and attract trade interest.Oh, and DeMarcus Cousins is thundering around the league this January, averaging 32.6 points, 12.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists on 49.5 percent shooting, 57.6 percent true shooting and 42.9 percent from 3-point range. He’s been a monster, as you may have gathered over the last week, when he slapped up back-to-back 48- and 56-point games. Those point totals are stunning, of course, but they’re also underpinned by something even more impressive: Boogie is having damn near the highest-usage season by a big man in NBA history — even more alarming for a guy who plays one of the most violent, impactful, forearm-shiver-to-the-sternum-type styles in the league.Cousins’s current usage percentage is 35.8 percent — practically an unheard of number for a center. Among post-merger bigs, only Jermaine O’Neal’s 36.2 mark, set in 44 games with the post-Artest 2004-05 Pacers, is higher, and that was a one-season oddity born out of necessity when injuries and suspensions left Indiana bereft of offensive firepower. (O’Neal’s next-highest seasonal usage was 30.2 percent — still sizable, but not off-the-charts.) Cousins has already played 38 games this season, and his prolific usage is actually part of a three-year trend that’s seen his scoring volume soar ever skyward: And Cousins’s offensive load has only gotten heavier in the 2016 calendar year. Since Jan. 1, Cousins’s usage has been a staggering 37.8 percent, including several recent stretches in which he eclipsed 40 percent usage over multiple-game stretches. As a point of historical comparison, it’s estimated that even Wilt Chamberlain barely scraped past 36 percent usage during his immortal 1961-62 season, when he famously averaged 50.4 points per game. (Thanks, inflated early-1960s pace factors!) So we may be on our way to witnessing Cousins shoulder the largest share of a team’s offense ever conducted through a big man.Cousins does it with a skill set that scarcely resembles that of his fellow frontcourt anchors. A typical team’s best big man looks a lot like Utah’s Derrick Favors or Denver’s Kenneth Faried: solid all-around players who, first and foremost, can rebound, defend and score with efficiency. (Volume scoring and passing are nice skills too, but they aren’t as indispensable for a big to possess.) Cousins flips that formula around, particularly on offense, where his physique and thunder-dunks often draw comparisons to Shaq, who was hugely dominant but also hugely traditional by big-man standards. Unlike the Big Aristotle, Cousins’s scoring efficiency has been something more like middling while his raw volume has been off the charts, and he counterbalances some of those missed shots with the touch and willingness to set up teammates with his passing. (He doesn’t receive quite the same gushing as other passing bigs, but he’s behind only Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol, Joakim Noah, Pau Gasol and Al Horford in points created through assists by big men, according to SportVU.) read more

Crunch Time Of The NFL Season Is Right Now

In the NFL, every single game is important. Each one represents more than 6 percent of a team’s season, and one win is often the difference between making the playoffs and not, between getting a bye and playing on wild-card weekend, or between playing at home and playing on the road. But even within the every-game-matters paradigm, the first weeks of the NFL season are special.For us fans, early-season games set the agenda. They reveal surprises, like the 1999 Rams, who — starting an Arena league quarterback and coming off a four-win season — won their first three games with a combined score of 100-27 (including a 35-7 romp over the Atlanta Falcons). It would be weeks before people really started taking the team seriously, but if the Rams had started 0-3, they could have been safely written off. Early-season games also reveal busts, like the 1999 Atlanta Falcons, who — coming off a 14-2 season — lost their first three games by a combined score of 76-28.In other words, these games are doubly important because they reveal both who won and who is likely to win going forward. This new information can supplement — and often supercede — a whole offseason of analysis. Yes, we have considered opinions about who’s strong and who isn’t, who did well in free agency or poorly in the draft, but outside of a small number of sure things, predicting which teams will rise or fall from year to year can be nigh impossible. Of course, we do our best.But for the moment, let’s simplify and pretend we don’t know anything except the results right in front of us. How much is a win worth?Late in the season, a win is worth close to face value. Each win is worth 0.5 wins above random expectation. For example, if your team is 7-7 going into the last two weeks, you’re expected to win 8 games. If you win in Week 15, you’ll be expected win 8.5, and if you lose, you’ll be expected to win 7.5.But in the beginning of the season, wins give you one mark in the win column, while also indicating that you’re more likely than average to win going forward. To see this, let’s start with the expected fortune of any generic team with any given record. In the chart below, match up wins and losses along the axes to find the average number of wins that teams with that record have finished with since 1995: Now, one win being the equivalent of two wins may not sound like much, but again, one win in the NFL can make a huge difference. Thus, unsurprisingly, early-season results have serious playoff implications: The first two weeks of the season alone mark the difference between having a 61 percent chance of making the playoffs (for a 2-0 squad) and a 10 percent chance (for 0-2).Indeed, early-season wins are so important that these games are nearly comparable in leverage to late-season games by playoff contenders: Since 1995, teams who win their opening game have averaged around 9.1 wins, while teams losing their opener average 6.9. So the information a win conveys makes it worth more than double its face value.If you combine how much wins and losses tell us about every team, Week 1 is the most informative of the season, followed closely by Week 2, then big dropoffs in Weeks 3 and 4. While only 16 games are played in Week 1, we get nearly 70 wins and losses worth of information out of them: (Incidentally, I keep a copy of this chart on my desk for quick reference, so every time a commentator says something like a 6-2 team is “on pace” to win 12 games, I can say, “Nuh-uh, they’re on pace to win 10.8.”)Using the above chart, we can easily compare wins and losses for a given record and see which games convey the most about a team’s eventual win tally. You’ll never guess: And when you consider that every team in the league starts and 0-0 before Week 1 and enters Week 2 at 1-0 or 0-1, but only a few teams will be sitting at 9-6 in Week 17, the changes to teams’ playoff fates that take place in these first few weeks really start adding up.For example, teams that win their opening game have made the playoffs 51 percent of the time, while teams who lose their first game have made it only 25 percent of the time. That 26 percent difference isn’t quite as high as the difference for a team that’s 7-6 (for whom each game carries a 29 percent difference), but on the other hand, every single team goes through that 25 percent difference-maker in Week 1, while relatively few will see that 29 percent game in Week 16.If you combine how much we learn about playoff chances from week to week (as we did above for wins), you find that the first two weeks are by far the most significant of the regular season: Each of the first two weeks tells us roughly as much about who will or won’t make the playoffs as four win-or-go-home games, which would decide eight teams’ fates. So it’s almost as if the season starts off with two rounds of playoffs — except that all the excitement is spread thin across the entire league.Now, I know you’re a smart readership, so you’re probably thinking this is all just a bit too clever, because we have reams of knowledge about these teams already, so to some extent this “information” value is going to reflect stuff that we already know.So give yourself a pat on the back, you’re right. But you’re also pretty much wrong. Much of what you think you know, you don’t know. And much of what you know is just a different baseline. Even for very strong and very weak teams (such as those with 12+ wins or losses the year before), the outsized leverage of first weeks of the season has been borne out.When it comes to the NFL, there isn’t much signal and there’s a ton of noise (hi, boss!). But while individual wins and losses in September may not seem like the clearest signals you’ll ever hear, they’re deceptively strong, and they’re coming at you from 32 directions. So listen carefully. read more

Ohio State lands two more fivestar recruits for 2017 class

OSU coach Urban Meyer and members of the OSU football team run into the field before the spring game on April 16 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern file photoOhio State coach Urban Meyer has a tendency to create a lot of buzz during the offseason with his recruiting classes. Monday, two more targets for the Scarlet and Gray announced their commitment to playing football in Columbus, further solidifying the strength and legitimacy of the 2017 recruiting class for OSU.When asked about the success of OSU recruiting this year, Meyer smiled and said, “I know I heard a big boom out there on the field today.” That boom, of course, was in reference to the commitments of two of the best receivers in the upcoming class, Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey.The Buckeyes now have 16 players from the ESPN 300 list, which is the highest total in the nation.OSU wide receivers coach Zach Smith understands the hype, but is not sold on everyone just yet. “Yeah, probably on paper,” Smith said when asked if this is the best class he has ever seen. “You never really know until they get here. But, it’s up there. That’s for sure.”Grimes, a five-star wide receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is ranked as the 15th best player in the 2017 class, according to the national composite ranking. The 6-foot-3 receiver hauled in 27 receptions for 496 yards and 7 touchdowns last season.Lindsey is the No. 1 overall player from Nevada according to 24/7 Sports. Dubbed a playmaking machine by many, Lindsey raked in over 1,000 yards receiving to go along with 14 touchdown receptions and two punts returned for touchdowns during his junior high school season. Now, with the additions of the two standout wide receivers, OSU has six five-star players coming to Columbus in 2017.The incoming of such a large magnitude of young players comes at a price for OSU. That price is 13 more players than scholarships allowed than by NCAA rules. “Our situation right now with how successful we’re doing in recruits and how tight we are on scholarships has really built competition just amongst the staff alone,” Smith said. “Like, you better bring in a big-time dude or we might not be able to take him, because somebody else has a big-time dude that might come.”Regardless of competition and limited spots on the roster left, the Buckeye coaching staff feels confident in the upcoming players and how the team will manage taking on so many new faces. read more

Ohio State mens tennis earns outright Big Ten title with win against

The No. 4 Ohio State men’s tennis team beat No. 63 Purdue, 7-0, in its last match of the season, giving the Buckeyes their sixth consecutive Big Ten title. The Buckeyes technically clinched the title Friday when they beat Indiana, 5-2, but the victory against Purdue allowed the team to claim the title outright. “It was a good match,” coach Ty Tucker said afterward. “We played very well today. They knew Purdue was a dangerous team.” The afternoon began with doubles, and OSU was able to win all three of the matches, earning it the doubles point and its first point of the match. Junior Chase Buchanan and freshman Blaz Rola, the No. 11 doubles pair in the nation, won their match, 8-4, while teammates senior Balazs Novak and freshman Ille Van Engelen went on to win their match, 8-2. Seniors Matt Allare and Shuhei Uzawa also contributed to the Buckeyes’ doubles success by beating their Purdue opponents, 8-3. “I think I did pretty well today,” Uzawa said of his last regular-season match as a Buckeye. “I was happy to play with my teammates, and I’m going to miss the tennis team.” After the doubles matches, the two teams moved on to singles, in which the Buckeyes were able to continue their shutout of the Boilermakers. Buchanan was the first to finish his match, quickly winning both of his sets, 6-2, 6-1. Following close behind was Allare, who gave the Buckeyes another point with his match win of 6-2, 6-3. Also earning points for OSU were Novak, who beat his opponent, 6-3, 6-3; Rola, who won, 6-0, 6-1; and redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy, who won, 6-2, 6-1. The longest match of the day was Van Engelen’s, which was the only singles match to go into a third-set tiebreaker. Van Engelen had a slow start, losing his first set, 6-3. He came back in the second to shut out his opponent, 6-0, and win the third set, 10-6. The Buckeyes will compete in the Big Ten Championships beginning April 28, and will then move on to the NCAA Championships two weeks later on May 14 and 15. read more

Buckeye brainteasers Five questions for Ohio State against Penn State

What is Penn State’s mindset coming into Saturday’s game at Ohio Stadium? Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said he doubted that interim PSU coach Tom Bradley’s preparation for Saturday’s game would be affected by the off-field issues in State College, Pa. “I’m sure (Bradley) is not too worried, exactly, about that. There are a lot of other things,” Fickell said at a Tuesday press conference. “You have to go with what you’ve got. He’s a team guy. He’s been around it. He understands what the situation is, and he’s going to do what he thinks is best for his program and his team.” Fickell said his main concern ahead of Saturday’s game is the players that will suit up in Scarlet and Gray for the contest, and he feels Bradley will likely share those sentiments. “I’m sure coach Bradley is focused on the 70 that he’s going to bring over here, and I’m going to be focused on the 105 that we’ll dress.” With so much discussion about the off-field issues surrounding OSU and PSU, what is at stake for the two programs when they take the field Saturday? Once the game begins Saturday and the off-field issues take a back seat to the actual contest, the teams, fans and media alike will have a game with significant implications for the Big Ten title race on their hands. A win against the Buckeyes would clinch at least a tie for the Leaders Division crown for the Nittany Lions. PSU is very much in control of its destiny heading into the final two games of the season. By contrast, OSU’s Big Ten title hopes are flickering. OSU players and coaches stopped just short of conceding the Big Ten race after their 26-23 overtime loss to Purdue Saturday. “We got plenty more years to go,” said freshman linebacker Ryan Shazier, who recorded seven tackles, one tackle for loss and a forced fumble against the Boilermakers. “We’re just going to do what we can to finish out strong.” A win would up the Buckeyes’ record to 7-4 overall and 4-3 in the Big Ten. Even with a victory against the division-leading Nittany Lions, OSU would remain a longshot for a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis. What players’ on PSU could hurt the Buckeyes Saturday? Sophomore running back Silas Redd has already eclipsed the thousand-yard mark for PSU, and has rushed for 1,059 yards on 210 carries through 10 games. Redd has also tallied seven touchdowns on the ground. The Nittany Lions’ quarterback tandem of redshirt junior Matt McGloin and sophomore Rob Bolden could also pose a significant threat to the OSU defense. OSU’s Sept. 10 game against Toledo and Saturday’s loss against Purdue stand as examples of the Buckeyes’ defensive struggles against teams that employ a two-quarterback offense. The Buckeyes beat Toledo, 27-22, but junior quarterback Austin Dantin and sophomore quarterback Terrance Owens combined for 292 passing yards and two touchdowns, forcing OSU to make a last-minute defensive stand in order to preserve the win. Boilermakers’ junior quarterback Caleb TerBush and senior quarterback Robert Marve’s 234 combined passing yards were enough to derail the Buckeyes Saturday. Fickell said OSU will need to be aware of which passer PSU has in the game as both McGloin and Bolden have different abilities. “They’re still going to be similar in what they do,” Fickell said. “They’re not going to change up their entire offense for which quarterback they have in … you still have to focus on what you can do to be successful, and adjust a few things when they switch quarterbacks, kind of like (Purdue) did last week.” What will OSU need to do to beat PSU? The Buckeyes need to get teams off the field on third down, and make the tackles they’re supposed to make. Fickell said as much at his Tuesday press conference. “Ultimately… you have to get off the field on third down. We have to do a better job whether that’s getting to the quarterback, covering up receivers. We know that, and that’s where we’re focused.” OSU’s offense is averaging 25 points per game. If the defense holds up its end of the bargain, the Buckeyes will beat PSU and notch their third victory against a ranked opponent in 2011. Score prediction: Ohio State 23, Penn State 17 read more

Ohio State baseball wins weekend series against Murray State

Freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson rounds the base path during a game against Murray State April 19 at Bill Davis Stadium. OSU lost, 7-5.Credit: Tim Moody / Lantern photographerIn the midst of a slump on the field, the Ohio State baseball team decided to loosen things up in order to get back on track.The Buckeyes were playing tight in their losses to West Virginia and Ball State earlier in the week, redshirt-junior first baseman Josh Dezse said. So to loosen players up and help boost team morale, the coaches decided to have the team play wiffle ball during practice Thursday, which Dezse said helped against Murray State this weekend.“It was nice to just have fun all of us together, I know we’ve been grinding lately. Obviously losing is not fun so that was really nice to do,” Dezse said. “Coming into this weekend, it was the mentality that we’re just playing wiffle ball, we’re out playing a game with each other and it was nice to see us play loose, play fast and play fun.”The Buckeyes (23-18, 4-8) got themselves on the winning side over the weekend, taking two out of three against the Murray State Racers (17-20, 9-9) at Bill Davis Stadium. After cruising to a 3-1 victory Friday, the Buckeyes lost 7-5 Saturday and had to fight to win rubber game Sunday, ultimately winning, 7-3.After Sunday’s win, OSU coach Greg Beals said the team entered the weekend with a new mentality that stayed with it throughout the series.“I liked how our team played today, it was a game that was kind of a must-win situation for us,” Beals said. “When you look at it one walk, no errors, when you look at our team when we do that and force our opponent to get everything on their own, we’re going to be tough to beat.”In Sunday’s game, OSU’s starting pitcher sophomore Jake Post threw three scoreless innings before being pulled because of a back injury.“We’re not exactly sure what it is but we’re erring on the side of caution and got him out of there and started some treatment on him and hopefully we’ve got him back for next weekend,” Beals said.Offensively, freshman outfielder Ronnie Dawson notched his team-high 17th multi-hit game of the season Sunday. One of those hits appeared to be a two-run homerun in the first inning, however Dawson overran redshirt-sophomore shortstop Nick Sergakis who was standing near first base in case the ball was caught. Dawson was given an RBI-single because Sergakis still scored.Dawson attributed the team’s success against Murray State to “just having fun.”“Everyone was like, ‘Let’s just slow down and go back to the way we were playing at the beginning of the season,’” Dawson said. “We were just having fun down in Florida, everyone is laughing and dancing and just having a great time and that’s what we started doing again.”Sergakis was also efficient at the plate going 3-for-4 with a walk and one RBI.Freshman Zach Farmer came in to relieve Post, pitching five innings, giving up three runs and throwing three strikeouts to pick up his team-high sixth win of the season.Saturday, OSU trailed 7-2 in the bottom of the ninth when the team began mounting a comeback. A pair of errors and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, however, the Buckeyes only got three runs across before recording their final out, losing 7-5.Friday’s game was dictated by OSU’s starter pitcher. Freshman Tanner Tully went seven innings and gave up seven hits, one run and four strikeouts.“We recharged our batteries (Thursday), cleaned our slate and I like how the guys played,” Beals said after the win Friday. “When you’re scuffling a little bit, you need your starter to come out and do what Tanner Tully did tonight. He really set the tempo by throwing strikes and forcing them to do something offensively.”Junior pitcher Trace Dempsey picked up his fifth save of the season after recording three strikeouts as he closed out the game’s final two innings in relief of Tully.Next for the Buckeyes is a weekend series on the road against Purdue. Game one is scheduled for Friday at 6:35 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind. read more

Football Urban Meyer praises Penn State offense in Big Ten Teleconference

Head coach Urban Meyer walks into Ohio Stadium for his first game since returning from his suspension. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorEven though Penn State now has a new offensive coordinator in Ricky Rahne, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in Tuesday’s Big Ten Teleconference he does not see much of a difference between the Nittany Lions’ offensive approach this season compared to the 2017 season with Joe Moorhead. He said the Penn State offense still revolves around both the running game, with junior running back Miles Sanders, and the dual-threat ability of redshirt senior quarterback Trace McSorley. “You give them credit because Miles Sanders pops right in there and he’s an outstanding player,” Meyer said. “We kind of saw glimpses of that last year, so a lot of respect for him, but the quarterback is the guy that gets this thing going.” Meyer added that the Penn State offensive line is a major factor in each of the rushing successes of both McSorley and Sanders, saying it’s one of the best groups he has ever seen. However, with McSorley, a player he has coached against before, Meyer sees the same thing he has seen each year he has played Penn State. “His competitive spirit is unique to great players and that is what he is,” Meyer said.  With this, Meyer said he will have to have all hands on deck facing the No. 1 scoring offense in the Big Ten, including redshirt sophomore linebacker Tuf Borland. Meyer said in the teleconference that Borland has been on a snap count as he recovers from an Achilles injury, but is a full-go moving forward, something Meyer said, a coach would not necessarily expect after an injury like this. “We’ve had him in somewhat of a limited role and really watching him because a lot of times with an Achilles injury, he would not be back until November,” Meyer said. “But he fits his name. He’s tough as steel.”Running game needs to stay on schedule Even when facing a defense that has a number of new starters, Meyer said the offense, specifically the running game, will have to be in top form on Saturday. “You have to stay in schedule and this is a team that takes great pride in taking you off schedule with their pressure,” Meyer said. “It’s going to be a move-the-chains type of game and continue to get first downs and get field position.”  In last Saturday’s win over Tulane, sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins led all Ohio State rushers with 55 yards. Also, redshirt junior running back Mike Weber was sidelined after the first half with a foot strain, something Meyer said, Monday, would not hinder him from playing against Penn State. However, Meyer said the defensive scheme is very similar from Penn State teams of the past. “Very active front, schematically, they are pretty much the same as they have always been, which is they can rush you from both sides and both edges of the offense,” Meyer said.  Playoff Talk With a top-10 matchup this weekend between No. 4 Ohio State and No. 9 Penn State, Meyer was asked about the College Football Playoff system and whether it was a good representation for the best teams. He said he thinks the committee does a solid job, but it would not be able to please everyone. “I think they do a great job,” Meyer said. “If you have six, then it’s the seventh, eighth team going to be unhappy. If it’s eighth, ninth and 10th team is going to be unhappy, so I don’t know exactly. I know Gene Smith is involved, but we rarely talk about it.” The playoff is not something Ohio State is focused on at this point. Meyer said the focus is solely on McSorley and Penn State on Saturday.  “There is no issue with that,” Meyer said. “This is all about getting ready for a very good team.” read more

Prince Philip admitted to hospital with infection and misses State Opening of

first_imgPrince Charles accompanies his mother the Queen in place of his father in the House of Lords on Wednesday morning Prince Philip with the Queen at Royal Ascot on Tuesday afternoon Prince Charles accompanies his mother the Queen in place of his father in the House of Lords on Wednesday morningCredit:Carl Court/Getty The Duke of Edinburgh has been admitted to hospital with an infection, Buckingham Palace said as it announced the Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot without him.Prince Philip is understood to have been taken to hospital by car from Windsor to London on Tuesday evening, as a precautionary measure on the advice of his doctor. He has been out of bed today, and is said to be in good spirits. 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. In June 2013, he had an exploratory operation on his abdomen which was said to have gone “as planned”. He also suffered a serious health scare over Christmas 2011, which he spent in hospital for treatment for a blocked coronary artery.He underwent a “minimally invasive procedure’’ of coronary stenting to unblock it, which was declared a success and was discharged four days later. The heart operation caused courtiers to carry out a radical rethink of the couple’s working partnership from the beginning of 2012 with the Duke carrying out just one public engagement in January and one in February, the anniversary of his wife’s accession. Later the same year, during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, he was admitted to hospital with a bladder infection, spending five days on a ward and missing the final part of the jubilee festivities. Prince Philip with the Queen at Royal Ascot on Tuesday afternoon hours before being admitted to King Edward VII HospitalCredit: Chris Jackson/Getty The Duke of Edinburgh and Her Majesty The Queen  The Duke of Edinburgh and The Queen on the first day of Royal Ascot on TuesdayCredit:John Walton/PA News of the Duke’s illness comes shortly after he announced he would stand down from official public duties from the autumn.Just yesterday, he attended Royal Ascot, accompanying the Queen for a full day of activity in hot temperatures. The Duke of Edinburgh has missed the State Opening of Parliament 11 times since 1956. The Prince of Wales has accompanied the Queen twice, in 1994 and 1996. Today he sat beside the Queen on the throne in the place usually taken by his father. Prince Charles has accompanied the Queen instead of his father to the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday.A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “The Duke of Edinburgh was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital in London last night, as a precautionary measure, for treatment of an infection arising from a pre-existing condition. “Prince Philip is in good spirits and is disappointed to be missing the State Opening of Parliament and Royal Ascot. “The Prince of Wales will accompany The Queen to the State Opening.”Her Majesty is being kept informed and will attend Royal Ascot as planned this afternoon.” In 2016, however, he carried out official meetings and visits on 110 days of the year, remaining patron or president of around 800 organisations and taking an active interest in his Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. At the time of his 90th birthday, he had declared that he intended to cut back on his public duties, but remained a stalwart presence at a range of engagements throughout Britain. Prince Philip with the Queen and Prince Charles on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the annual Trooping the Colour parade on June 17Credit:Anwar Hussein/Wireimage On Saturday, he appeared at Trooping the Colour, appearing in good spirits for the carriage ride and with his family on the Buckingham Palace balcony.Despite news of his retirement, the Duke has seemed in good health following several years of minor illness. Trooping the Colourlast_img read more

Judge hits out at unnecessary delays as Oxford students twoyear rape case

first_imgIt comes after Scotland Yard announced a review of every one of its sex crime investigations, where a suspect has been charged, following the collapse of two rape prosecutions in a week.The CPS offered no evidence against both Liam Allan and Isaac Itiary after the late disclosure of evidence that could have assisted the defendants. Ms Lindop said: “There were some disclosure matters, but this is not a disclosure case per se. There was a diary produced. Part of that was disclosed, we asked for the full copy of it.”The court heard Mears’ lawyers had been asking for the diary since October last year and the prosecutor explained: “The police have been trying to secure that.””I have been made aware of it coming into the possession of the Crown last week. That contains material that was not of assistance to the prosecution.”She said the diary was not the only reason for the decision, adding: “The situation is we were waiting for third party material, which included matters of a sensitive nature to the complainant in the case.”We were also awaiting confirmation from the police in terms of the digital devices that were secured.” Isaac Itiary, left, and Liam Allan 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. A spokesman for the force said: “The CPS have decided to discontinue this trial for a number of reasons.”Following this decision we, Surrey Police, are undertaking an internal review of our investigation and we will continue to liaise with the CPS following the hearing on Friday.”A file was passed to the CPS in May 2017 and the decision to charge Mears was made the following month.A CPS spokesman said: “We keep all cases under continual review. Following a review of this case, prosecutors were not satisfied there was a realistic prospect of conviction as the evidential test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors was not met. We therefore decided to offer no evidence.”center_img A judge has criticised police and prosecutors after a rape case against an Oxford University student was dropped just days before his trial.Oliver Mears, 19, spent two years on bail accused of raping and assaulting a woman in July 2015.But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decided to offer no evidence against him on the basis of fresh evidence, including a diary that supported his case, which was passed to the CPS just last week.On Friday, prosecutor Sarah Lindop told Guildford Crown Court the case was “finely balanced” from the start and the new material “tips the balance” in favour of Mears.Judge Jonathan Black demanded the head of the CPS Rape and Sexual Offences (RASO) unit write to him within 28 days “with a full explanation of what went wrong” before he decides whether any action is required “at CPS or police level”.He said: “It seems to me in a case which is as finely balanced as you say it was, there have been unnecessary delays in investigating… leading to what seems to be a completely unnecessary last-minute decision in this case.”Both Oliver Mears and the complainant have had this matter hanging over their heads for two years in circumstances, had the investigation been carried out properly in the first instance, would not have led to this position.” Surrey Police have launched an internal review of the force’s investigation. Defendants Isaac Itiary, left, and Liam Allan saw the rape cases against them collapse within days because police withheld vital evidenceCredit:Instagram and Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shuttersto​cklast_img read more

Christian magistrate sues Lord Chief Justice for religious discrimination over sacking for

first_imgHe maintained in the hearing that he did not apply his Christian beliefs to the adoption case, but did admit his beliefs would have helped form his thought process.The hearing continues. He is now suing both the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice for religious discrimination at Croydon Employment Tribunal in south London.Setting out his decision in the adoption case, he said: “I hold the view that it is in the best interest of the child to have both a mother and a father, and I believe this to be a lawful and reasonable position for a family court judge to hold.”It could be that an adoption by a same sex couple or a single person is in the best interest of the child, but a report would need to satisfy me of that.”I believe this is a reasonable and fair position, and not one of discrimination.”Mr Page said: “While my colleagues are of course entitled to their views that one must be homophobic to disagree with same sex parenting, I am equally entitled to the view that a child needs a mother and a father, and that experimenting with a child is unethical and likely to add to an already unhappy life.”There is a subtle difference between believing that a child should have a mother and a father, and being prejudiced to same sex couples. Sadly I was portrayed as homophobic and I refute this.” Mr Page also lost his role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership TrustCredit:Henry Nicholls/ There is a subtle difference between believing that a child should have a mother and a father, and being prejudiced to same sex couples. Sadly I was portrayed as homophobic and I refute this. Mr Page also lost his role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust A few days later the NHS Trust Development Authority suspended him from his role as a non-executive director at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust. A Christian magistrate who was sacked for his views on gay adoption is suing the Lord Chief Justice for religious discrimination.Richard Page, 71, told a tribunal that he lost his role on the bench after expressing his personal view that a child up for adoption would be better looked after by a man and a woman rather than a gay couple during a BBC interview.The comments came after Mr Page, along with two other magistrates, considered an application by a same-sex couple to adopt a child in Kent in July 2014.After the case his fellow magistrates made a formal complaint, claiming he had applied his Christian beliefs to make his decision. He later told BBC Breakfast: “My responsibility as a magistrate as I saw it was to do what I considered best for the child, and my feeling was therefore that it would be better if it was a man and a woman who were adopted parents.”He was sacked for serious misconduct in March 2016 by then Justice Secretary Michael Gove and Lord Thomas who said his comments to the media suggested he was “biased and prejudiced against single sex adopters”. 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.last_img read more