Last week, the basketball website Ballislife.com tweeted a fun exercise, asking NBA fans to pick their dream starting five. The catch? It assigned dollar values to each legend and set up a monetary constraint which no lineup’s total cost could exceed. Do you want Michael Jordan as your starting shooting guard? OK, but he’ll cost you $5 of the $15 you have, so now you have just $10 of cap money to spend on four other players.It’s an entertaining spin on the classic “dream team” debate (although I’ll leave the basketball arguments to others). A few days later, though, Matt Henderson created his own version for hockey, giving us $18 to spend on our post-expansion NHL all-star team:Neil Greenberg, who runs The Washington Post’s Fancy Stats blog, posted his dream team analysis Thursday, and I thought it would be fun to take another look at the pros and cons of dream team building from an advanced stats point of view.GoalieEven at $4, Dominik Hasek is a steal. (As Greenberg noted, Hasek’s save percentage was much better than that of contemporaries like Martin Brodeur, even though Hasek is worth only $1 more than Brodeur by Henderson’s values.) In fact, during his career, Hasek was the outlier of all goaltending outliers. Because of the large influence of random variation in save percentages, most goalies can’t consistently distinguish themselves very much from an average netminder. But Hasek seemed to be the exception. In his career, he allowed 79 percent as many goals per shot as the league did, and was one of the only goalies ever to consistently sustain a very high level of play over a number of consecutive seasons. Hasek’s basically a no-brainer as the goalie for this team.As an aside, if Hasek had not been available, it might have made sense to buy the $1 goalie (in this case, Ed Belfour, a fine goalie who allowed 93 percent as many goals per shot as the league over his long career) and spend more on building a strong lineup of skaters. Because it’s difficult to predict how well a goaltender will play in a given season (much less a series or a game), it doesn’t usually make much sense to sink a huge percentage of a team’s payroll into one of them — a good piece of strategy in this exercise and in life.DefensemenThe four most valuable non-goalie seasons ever according to Tom Awad’s all-in-one stat Goals Versus Threshold (GVT; think Value Over Replacement Player for hockey) belong to Bobby Orr. Orr costs the maximum “salary” here ($5), but the difference between his production at his peak (an average of 45.6 goals above replacement per year in his best five seasons, with a career-high of 49.5 in 1970-71) and that of the next-best defenseman is truly massive. Among the next-best available D-men, neither Paul Coffey, Larry Robinson nor Denis Potvin ever produced a GVT better than 31.1 in any of their seasons.Speaking of Larry Robinson, it’s worth noting that he costs only $2 in salary despite putting up some of the best seasons by a defenseman in NHL history. In 1976-77, Robinson notched 85 points (ranking 12th among all players, not just defensemen) and set the non-Orr record for highest plus/minus in a season with a +120 mark. That performance was worth 30.4 goals above replacement in GVT’s estimation; Robinson also had five other seasons of at least 19.9 GVT, giving him a higher five-year peak than Nicklas Lidstrom despite Lidstrom costing more than twice as much in Henderson’s dollar values.CenterThe second-best non-goalie ever by peak GVT is Wayne Gretzky, who owns the two best non-Orr seasons ever by a skater (each were worth more than 43 GVT). Gretzky also costs the maximum ($5), which, when combined with the salaries of Hasek, Robinson and Orr, will leave only $2 to spread across two wingers. But like Orr and Hasek, Gretzky’s production was such a radical outlier that he’ll be worth the price. (For one thing, there’s plenty of evidence backing up the notion that super-elite playmakers, such as Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, can have a dramatic positive influence on teammates’ shooting percentages.)WingsOn the wings, we’re now essentially “stuck” with $1 pickups Jari Kurri and Johnny Bucyk as Gretzky’s linemates. There are a couple of reasons why this isn’t a bad thing, though. First (and this should be self-evident): Kurri and Bucyk are both Hall of Famers! It’s not like we’re picking from the dregs of the hockey universe here. In fact, Kurri and Bucyk had better GVT numbers in their best five seasons than Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille did in theirs, despite Hull costing four times as much as Kurri and Robitaille costing five times as much as Bucyk. Secondly, statheads have found evidence that — despite the importance placed on strong depth in hockey’s conventional wisdom — building a top-heavy team with a few stars and a bunch of lesser players is not such a bad thing.So, there you have it, the best team our $18 could buy: Hasek, Orr, Robinson, Gretzky, Kurri and Bucyk. According to the average of each player’s best five seasons, our team would produce 200.3 GVT in a hypothetical full season.In a perfect universe, our team would face that of Greenberg (Hasek, Mark Messier, Bobby Hull, Mike Bossy, Lidstrom and Zdeno Chara) and everyone else in the Twittersphere, and settle the matter on the ice. Obviously, that can never happen — and maybe it’s more fun this way anyhow.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code FiveThirtyEight Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Jan. 10, 2017), we take a look at the Clemson Tigers’ stunning fourth-quarter defeat of Alabama in the College Football Playoff championship game. Next, we explore whether a Miami frolic on a boat is to blame for Odell Beckham Jr.’s poor playoff performance and the Giants’ 38-13 loss to the Packers on Sunday. Finally, we chat with Neil Greenberg, who writes for the Washington Post’s Fancy Stats blog, about winning streaks in the NHL this season — and what it might mean for the playoffs down the road. Plus, a significant digit that’s in part about Hot Takedown’s own Kate Fagan.Links to what we discussed:ESPN’s Edward Aschoff recapped the CFP championship game, which had a particularly wild fourth quarter.Neil Paine wrote about how Clemson made history defeating Alabama.The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren reported on Beckham and his yacht trip last week.Beckham is likely not going to have a fun offseason, writes The Ringer’s Kevin Clark.Last weekend was one of the worst wild-card weekends in NFL history.Last week, the New York Times recapped the game that ended the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 16-game winning streak, just one win shy of tying the NHL record.Do winning streaks in the NHL help us to predict anything about the playoffs? ESPN Stats & Information’s Mike Wilson explores.Significant Digit: 53, the number of consecutive free throws that Lexie Brown, a guard for the Duke women’s basketball team, has hit in a row. This is a new ACC record, and more than our very own Kate Fagan had when she set the Big 12 record.
🇷🇺Alexander Grischuk116.9– Based on 1 million tournament simulations using Elo ratings for each player.Sources: 2700chess.com, author’s analysis 🇦🇿Shakhriyar Mamedyarov317.6– PLAYERWORLD RANKCHANCE OF WINNING 🇦🇲Levon Aronian221.2%– 🇷🇺Vladimir Kramnik711.9– The American men’s soccer team is missing out on next year’s World Cup, but members of a different U.S. national team will have a shot at international glory. The elite field for chess’s Candidates Tournament is now set,1The eight grandmasters qualified via a few chess-world paths: the official ratings lists, the just-completed FIDE Grand Prix, the Chess World Cup and an organizer’s wild-card selection. The runner-up in last year’s World Chess Championship also qualifies. and two American grandmasters have qualified: Fabiano Caruana and Wesley So. The winner will go on to play for the World Chess Championship, the game’s pinnacle title, and the probability that it will be either Caruana or So is about 30 percent. An American hasn’t won a world championship since Bobby Fischer did in 1972.The Candidates Tournament, a 14-game double round robin, will take place March 10-28 in Berlin. The winner challenges the reigning world champion and world No. 1, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, in a one-on-one, 12-game match for the title later next year. (The date and location of that match have not yet been announced.) Carlsen successfully defended his title in a tense match last year in New York City; he’s been world champion since 2013.Who is likely to be next to challenge the champ? Using the eight candidates’ most recent Elo ratings, I simulated a million hypothetical Candidates Tournaments and tallied the winners. Here are each player’s chances of winning the tournament based on those simulations: 🇺🇸Wesley So612.3– 🇨🇳Ding Liren108.4– Candidates Tournament simulations 🇷🇺Sergey Karjakin134.2– 🇺🇸Fabiano Caruana317.6– It’s a wide open race: Five players have a better than 10 percent chance of winning the tournament and challenging Carlsen. At the top, Levon Aronian, the world No. 2, has a roughly one-in-five shot. At the bottom, Russia’s Sergey Karjakin, the runner-up in the 2016 World Chess Championship, has a roughly 4 percent chance. The most notable absence from the field is the world No. 5, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave of France, who narrowly missed qualifying on a few different fronts.Both of the Americans in the field transferred to the American team — Caruana from Italy and So from the Philippines. They are now the flagships of a broader movement, fueled by money and imported talent, to make American chess great again. Caruana has roughly an 18 percent chance and So a 12 percent chance of winning Candidates. In the 2016 Candidates, Caruana missed winning by a single point. This will be So’s first Candidates.You don’t need to wait until March to watch these grandmasters do battle, however. Caruana and So are slated to play in two major tuneup tournaments: the London Chess Classic next month and Tata Steel in the Netherlands in January. Many of the candidates will be sparring there — alongside Carlsen himself — before they head to Berlin.Read more: American Chess Is Great Again
Members of the Ohio State football team participate in the pregame “quick cals” drill before OSU’s 28-3 win in Champaign, Illinois on Nov. 14.Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe schedule for No. 3 Ohio State has not been among the nation’s most grueling so far. The 45-56 combined record of its 10 opponents makes its strength of schedule rank just middle-of-the-pack nationally.That is set to change in a big way for the Buckeyes (10-0, 6-0) over the remainder of the season, beginning on Saturday with a meeting at home with No. 9 Michigan State (9-1, 5-1).“I think the elite level of competition and the hype leading up to the game, it just brings the best out of the players,” said OSU sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillan. “You either crumble under pressure or you thrive.”OSU’s matchup with Michigan State stands to have major ramifications on the Big Ten East Division, as will the Buckeyes’ regular season finale at Michigan a week later.If Michigan State wins at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, it will control its own destiny for a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game due to having wins in hand against OSU and Michigan. The same goes for the Buckeyes.However, even with the spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and, quite likely, the College Football Playoff on the line, junior defensive end Joey Bosa said the culture at OSU makes it easy to stay focused heading into the matchup.“I think the great part about being at Ohio State is that everybody’s watching you every week,” Bosa said. “It doesn’t matter how big of a game it is, but of course you come to Ohio State to play in the big games.”The game could feature a pair of large numbers on the scoreboard, as neither team has been held under 20 points in a game this season.The Spartans are anchored by redshirt senior quarterback Connor Cook, a third-year starter for coach Mark Dantonio. Though he left in the second half of Michigan State’s 24-7 win against Maryland last week, OSU co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chris Ash said he fully expects to see the Ohioan out there.“He’s going to be there, we know that,” Ash said. “That’s not really a concern of ours. If he’s not, we’ll move on and we’ll have a plan for whoever is in there.”Ash had nothing but praise for Cook on Monday, calling him the complete package as a quarterback.“He’s got a very strong arm, he can make all the throws, he’s athletic enough to avoid pressure, also. He understands their system, understands defenses, reads coverages well,” Ash said. “You name it, what you want in your quarterback, you see it in him.”OSU coach Urban Meyer echoed his coordinator’s words, referring to Cook as “one of the best quarterbacks in Big Ten history.”Recognizing the magnitude of the game, OSU altered its schedule slightly to prepare for Cook and the Spartans. McMillan said the defense cut the Sunday film session from its 28-3 win at Illinois short in order to start watching tape of Michigan State a day early.“This is probably the most balanced football offense that we’re going to see,” Ash said. “They’ve got a quarterback, they can run the ball with a good offensive line, they’ve got good receivers.”The matchup between OSU and Michigan State is set to begin at 3:30 p.m. at the ‘Shoe.Senior dayGiven that Saturday’s game is the final home game of the season, it is also the final time 18 OSU seniors will get a chance to play in Columbus.Five starters on offense — left tackle Taylor Decker, center Jacoby Boren, right tackle Chase Farris, tight end Nick Vannett and H-back Braxton Miller — will be honored on the field before the game.Additionally, three defensive starters — defensive tackles Tommy Schutt and Adolphus Washington and linebacker Joshua Perry — will be recognized with the senior class.“It’s going to be a tough day,” Meyer said. “Senior day is always a tough day, especially for the guys that are really invested.”One of the 18 seniors, redshirt senior receiver Corey Smith, was lost for the season with a broken leg in OSU’s Week 5 game at Indiana. Meyer said at the time that he could apply for a medical redshirt and return for a sixth year of eligibility, but no announcement on that has been made.Nonseniors who seem likely to leave for the NFL draft after the season, such as Bosa and junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, will not be honored on the field, but Bosa said the situation will still provide extra motivation in what will likely be his final game at the ‘Shoe.“It’s definitely going to be an emotional day for me,” Bosa said.A season agoThe 2014 OSU vs. Michigan State game in East Lansing, Michigan, turned out to be a turning point of the season for the Buckeyes.Slowly climbing in the rankings after a bad Week 2 home loss to Virginia Tech, then-No. 14 OSU took on then-No. 8 Michigan State and walked out of Spartan Stadium with a 49-37 victory.Then-redshirt freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett was 16-of-26 for 300 yards and three touchdowns, including a 79-yard connection with redshirt junior receiver Michael Thomas late in the first half.Cook dueled with Barrett throughout, hitting on 25 of 45 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns, but a three-touchdown second quarter for the Buckeyes was enough to lift the Scarlet and Gray to No. 8 in the country.“That was our best game offensively, by far,” Meyer said. “We threw for over 300 (yards). We ran against not a good defense, a great defense.”Up nextAfter the matchup with the Spartans, OSU is set to conclude its regular season in another key matchup with a rival from the state of Michigan. The Buckeyes’ meeting with the Michigan Wolverines is set for a noon kickoff at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Ohio State freshman midfielder Jake Withers goes down to the ground toward a loose ball while being defended by Michigan sophomore midfielder Chase Brown in the second quarter of OSU men’s lacrosse 15-6 victory April 12 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Dan Hope / Lantern photographerFor the briefest of moments, it seemed like the Michigan Wolverines were going to come to Ohio Stadium and pull an upset against the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team.A three-goal deficit early in the second quarter seemed to be a bad omen for the Buckeyes, who started the year winning one of their first five games.But OSU (5-6, 2-0) held Michigan (4-9, 1-3) scoreless in the second half, and pulled away in front of a season-high crowd of 17,641 to earn a 15-6 win Saturday in Ohio Stadium.OSU coach Nick Myers said the game presented his team with the opportunity to get a huge win in front of a larger than usual crowd due to the Spring Game.“For us, keeping it under the right microscope, it’s a league win and second to that, it’s a chance in front of a really special crowd,” Myers said. “I know our men understand the responsibility of what it means to put on that Block ‘O.’ We were excited about coming out here and defending it against one of our rivals.”Winners of four of their last five, the Buckeyes fell behind early after the Wolverines jumped out to a 5-2 lead less than two minutes into the second quarter.However, led by junior midfielder Jesse King, OSU battled back to even the score at six heading into halftime. King, who finished the game with five goals and an assist, now has 21 points in his last three games.King said the Buckeyes started poor, but found a way to turn things around and calm the game down.“We started rushing things a little bit on our offense, we were getting a little tedious and playing a little fast,” King said. “We just slowed things down and made it really simple.”Senior defenseman Joe Meurer said the job the offense did maintaining possession was a big reason why the defense held Michigan without a goal for the last 35:24 of the game.“Usually the best defense is an offense,” Meurer said. “I don’t think we lost more than three faceoffs in the second half, so that is a tribute to the hard work that the faceoff guys are putting in and the offense. They’ve been playing extremely well lately, and they kept the ball down in their end so we didn’t have to play.”King said freshman midfielder Jake Withers, who won 16 of 25 faceoffs during the game, has been improving week in and week out, and he expects great things to come.“Jake’s a really talented player,” King said. “A freshman coming in and he’s one of the guys that is stepping up really big for us. I can’t wait to see what else comes from him.”Offensively, the Buckeyes had five players register three or more points, including sophomore attackman Ryan Hunter, who scored a career-high four goals in his second career start.Defensively, OSU got another stellar outing from senior goaltender Scott Spencer, who made nine saves to improve to 3-1 on the season in replacement of injured senior goaltender Greg Dutton.Up next, OSU is set to play its final home game of the regular season against Air Force, April 19 at 1 p.m.Meurer said despite the win today, the Buckeyes need to stay the course and focus if they want to finish the season with a chance to make their second consecutive postseason appearance.“It’s huge but at the same time we can’t get complacent,” Meurer said. “We know there is still a long road ahead for us and we are going to continue to work hard and get better every day.”
Junior distance runner Nicole Hilton jumps a fence during the 3000-meter steeplechase as part of the Jesse Owens Track Classic April 19 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Hilton won the race.Courtesy of OSU AthleticsUnder sunny skies, the Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams stood tall at the Jesse Owens Track Classic.Leading the way for the Buckeyes at the two-day meet was the women’s 4×100-meter relay team of sprinters sophomore Aliyah Everson, redshirt-junior Chesna Sykes, senior Alycia Prior and redshirt-senior Ashlee Abraham, who scampered to a time of 44.56 seconds. The result is a season-best time for the squad and the best in the Big Ten this year.Several individual events also scored high, as junior distance runner Nicole Hilton won the 3000-meter steeplechase under the lights Friday with a time of 10:37.78. Saturday afternoon, senior sprinter and jumper Adenike Pedro claimed the long jump title with a personal-best jump of 6.13 meters. Senior jumper Bianca Walton jumped 12.31 meters in the triple jump, earning her second place. In the 100-meter dash, Abraham ran 11.65 seconds putting her in the runner-up position. Finally, junior mid-distance runner Katie Borchers finished third in the 800-meter with a time of 2:11.56Women’s associate head coach Rosalind Joseph was excited by the outcome of the meet and how each of the players built on the foundations they had coming in to the meet.“Everybody was aggressive,” Joseph said. “Everyone came out to get something done. We asked them all to take something away from this meet that we can fine tune.”Pedro agreed with Joseph that the meet helped identify what needs to get done in the next few weeks in practice as the team prepares for the conference meet, scheduled for May 16-18 in West Lafayette, Ind.“There’s always something to improve on,” Pedro said. “From now on, every day in practice I know I have to work hard because there is somebody else out there who is working just as hard as me.”This meet proved to be an emotional one for Pedro — it was the last time she will compete in Columbus wearing the Scarlet and Gray.“(This is the) last home meet, I knew I had to go out there and give it my best,” Pedro said. “I’m just glad we all came out as a team and fought hard and fought together.”Joseph said the women’s team immediately turned the focus back to practice and where each athlete can improve for next week.“We aren’t trying to change a bunch of things or add a bunch of things,” Joseph said. “We are just fine tuning. There are a lot of things to fine tune, but at the same time I think this meet really helped us identify what they were.”In the men’s 4×100-meter relay, sprinters redshirt-freshman Donovan Robertson, junior Nick Batcha, junior Timothy Faust and senior Brandon Blackwell were victorious and ran their fastest time this season of 40.14 seconds. The time earned them a Top 30 performance nationally.The men’s 4×400-meter relay had similar results. The relay, ran by sophomore Armand Austin, senior sprinter and hurdler Jordan Rispress, redshirt-senior Javon Walker and freshman LaMar Bruton, won with a time of 3:10.40.Rispress also ran a personal-best time in the 400-meter hurdles of 51.51, earning him first place. Walker finished second in the 400-meter dash. Sophomore distance runner Jordan Redd finished third in the 3000-meter steeplechase. Finally, two Buckeye runners placed Top 5 in the 1500-meter run. Redshirt-sophomore distance runner Josh Sabo placed second and graduate senior Andy Arnold finished fourth.Women’s coach Karen Dennis said while many athletes have made their way back to the track after injuries, they are still focused on getting everyone 100 percent healthy.“There are things that are going well, but we have to continue to get people healthy, and in a better competitive posture for the future,” Dennis said.Looking head, the men’s team is slated to compete Friday and Saturday at the Ole Miss Open in Oxford, Miss., and the women’s team is set to compete Thursday through Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Drake Relays.
McGuff-led Ohio State has never shied away from playing some of the top teams in the county in its early season nonconference schedule. That will not change this year.The Buckeyes will challenge themselves again this season as the kick off the 2017-18 campaign with top-10 matchups against No. 10 Stanford at 6 p.m. Friday at St. John Arena and versus No. 9 Louisville at 4 p.m. Sunday at Nationwide Arena. “It’s always a big game coming right out,” senior guard Kelsey Mitchell said. “But I think we’ve prepared ourselves. I think we’ve done everything that we needed to prepare for a team like Stanford. It’s all about just going out there and trying to do it.”Though Ohio State returns most of the core players on a team that made the Sweet 16 last season, McGuff said he never truly knows what the team will look like until it steps onto the court for the first regular season game.“We’re going to find out something. We’re going to find out where we’re at one way or another,” McGuff said. “They have a great team, they’re one of the best in the country. We aspire to compete with those types of teams, so we’re going to find out where we’re at.” Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun drives into the lane during the Buckeyes’ 110-80 exhibition win against Ashland on Oct. 29. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorThe stakes are high for the No. 5 Ohio State women’s basketball team. If the Buckeyes fulfill their potential and advance further in the tournament than they have since 1993, they could play host to the Final Four. But if things go wrong, Ohio State could be looking at an early exit from the NCAA tournament and a bleak future, since the team will graduate five key players.Since head coach Kevin McGuff arrived in 2013, Ohio State has yet to reach beyond the Sweet 16, where its season ended the past two years. Preseason All-American guard Kelsey Mitchell has led Ohio State in scoring the past three years and will once again be the offensive catalyst in her final collegiate season. The preseason Big Ten Player of the Year leads a high-paced offense which averaged 85.7 points per game last season, the fourth-most in the country. A first-team All-American in 2016 and a second-team All-American in 2015 and 2017, Mitchell has owns the program record for most points in a single season (889 in 2015-16) and the Big Ten record for most career 3-pointers made (368). Though she would need to average more than 27 points per game, which she has never done in a single season, Mitchell has a chance to break former Washington guard Kelsey Plum’s NCAA record for most career points scored. The 5-foot-8 guard led the Big Ten with 22.6 points per game last season.“She’s an unbelievable player,” McGuff said. “It’s great to see her get the recognition she truly deserves. There’s not a person in college basketball working harder than she is. Those results have been shown on the court. She’s a great kid, great leader, and an unbelievable work ethic.”Mitchell will be joined in the starting lineup by three guards and one post player, redshirt senior Stephanie Mavunga. Mavunga was honored as a preseason All-Big Ten selection and was picked for the second-team All-Big Ten last season, despite missing 13 games due to injuries. She became the third player in program to average a double-double last season with 11.4 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.Guards Linnae Harper, Sierra Calhoun and Asia Doss will accompany Mitchell and Mavunga in the starting five. Harper enters the starting lineup after being named the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year last season. Though Harper stands just 5-foot-8, the redshirt senior offers Ohio State the ability to use her as a guard or inside due to her scrappy style. The former Kentucky transfer averaged 8.4 points and five rebounds per game last season.Calhoun, one of the team’s top shooters, started every game last season and put up 9.5 points per game. She will play a similar role to last year — when she was second on the team with 68 3-pointers made and first with 38.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc— as an off-ball shooter. The team’s most effective defender, Doss finished with 41 steals last game and will be one of the key components of an Ohio State defense which must improve.Last season, the Buckeyes gave up an average of 71.5 points per game, 313th-best in the country. McGuff has focused on improving defense and rebounding in the offseason with the hope of correcting the team’s most prominent weakness.“Overall, our defense has just not been good,” Mitchell said at media day on Oct. 10. “I’m not going to lie to you, it’s been bad all four years I’ve been here. We’ve been good in spurts, but it’s bad because we can’t piece it together for the whole season.”Though Ohio State possesses a talented starting lineup, its depth leaves much to be desired as it has just nine players on scholarship, two of which have scarcely played. The graduation of forward Shayla Cooper and transfers of a pair of talented freshmen — guard Kiara Lewis and forward Tori McCoy — left Ohio State with less-than-optimal depth. Any key injury during the season could devastate the Buckeyes.Senior forward Alexa Hart and redshirt junior forward Makalyla Waterman will be the two most important players off the bench, but both have dealt with injuries which kept them on the bench for the first of two exhibition games. Hart, a 6-foot-3 post player, will be key for situations in which Mavunga gets in foul trouble. A stretch forward, Waterman will help replace Cooper, who averaged 10.5 points and 6.7 rebounds per game last season.McGuff has heralded sophomore guard Jensen Caretti as someone who had a good offseason and could make a substantial leap. She played 17 games last season, but scored just 40 points and dished 20 assists.“We need her to be good,” McGuff said at media day on Oct. 10. “We need her to step up and to have the season she’s capable of having.”
INDIANAPOLIS — Denzel Ward had a decision to make.As a highly regarded NFL prospect who might slot among the top 10 picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, he had to make a choice of whether to play in the Cotton Bowl against USC on Dec. 29. He went back and forth, but ultimately chose to sit out and focus on improving his draft stock.However, had the Buckeyes’ made the College Football Playoff rather than end up outside the top-four teams, he would have played. When asked at the NFL combine Sunday whether he would have suited up in scarlet and gray for either the Sugar Bowl or the Rose Bowl, he had a simple answer: “Yes sir.”Former Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward (12) on the sidelines during the Buckeyes’ Cotton Bowl victory against USC on Dec. 29, 2017. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorWard said he did not tell the coaches he would not be playing on the final day, but it was a late, difficult decision. He said he ultimately sat out the bowl game to “not risk injury.”“It’s not that I didn’t want to play the game,” Ward said. “I wanted to play. It was hard. I’m glad I got the win, though.”He said NFL teams have asked him about the decision, but does not believe teams have held the decision against him.“They just want to hear my thoughts of why I did sit out the bowl game,” Ward said.Though Ward did not play in the bowl game as a junior, he practiced the entire week. He said he practiced to help the younger corners, such as then-freshman Jeffrey Okudah who played the most snaps of his career against the Trojans.Ward played three seasons and had a combined 67 tackles, 24 pass deflections and two interceptions. As a junior, he was named a first-team All-American. Ward has a chance to become the fourth Ohio State cornerback selected in the first round, following in the footsteps of Eli Apple, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley.
The satellite blasts off on board a Soyuz rocked in 2014 Scientists said the maps was as revolutionary as the first chart produced by Galileo 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. Gaia, which is around 32 feet (10m) wide with its solar panels outstreteched, sits in an observing location nine million miles (11.5 million km) from Earth, from where it can slowly spin and scan the sky. The satellite was launched 1,000 days ago and started its scientific work in July 2014.It’s array of powerful cameras have been designed by Chelmsford-based technology specialists e2v and is are powerful they can measure the diameter of a human hair at a distance of 620 miles (1000km). Galileo’s original star map of Orion The Milky Way is a spiral galaxy, with most of its stars residing in a disc about 100 000 light-years across and about 1000 light-years thick.This structure is visible in the sky as the Galactic Plane – the brightest portion of this image –which runs horizontally and is especially bright at the centre.Brighter regions on the map indicate denser concentrations of stars, while darker regions correspond to patches of the sky where fewer stars are observed.Darker regions across the Galactic Plane correspond to dense clouds of interstellar gas and dust that absorb starlight along the line of sight.The two bright objects in the lower right of the image are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, two dwarf galaxies orbiting the Milky Way. The most detailed map of the night sky ever produced, which pinpoints the locations of more than one billion stars, was released today.The image is the result of 14 months of sky scanning by the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite which carries a one-billion pixel camera designed by British engineers.Scientists said the map was one of the most significant produced in modern astronomy since Galileo drew the first star chart of Orion in the early 17th century.Antonella Vallenari, of Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium, Observatory of Padua, said: “In 1610, Galileo took a prototype of a telescope which had been built just for defence purposes and pointed it to the sky. To his great astonishment he discovered that the Milky Way is full of stars in all directions,” she said.“This is what we think of as the birth of modern astronomy. Since that moment people have begun to look at the sky with different eyes. Galileo produced a map showing the Orion cluster of stars which was a revolution and now this is a new revolution.“Gaia is going to provide not only information about the stars in the jy but also about the motion of the stars and information about how the stars formed.” Other nearby galaxies are also visible, most notably Andromeda, the largest galactic neighbour to the Milky Way, in the lower left of the image. Below Andromeda is its satellite, the Triangulum galaxy.A number of features and darker stripes are not of astronomical origin but rather reflect Gaia’s scanning procedure and will gradually disappear as more information is gathered during the five-year mission.“Gaia is at the forefront of astrometry, charting the sky at precisions that have never been achieved before,” said Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science. “Today’s release gives us a first impression of the extraordinary data that await us and that will revolutionise our understanding of how stars are distributed and move across our Galaxy.”The mission is also hoping to map thousands of new asteroids and comets in the Solar System and seven thousand new planets in neighbouring star systems. It is also hunting for exploding stars, called supernovae and distant galaxies.Gaia will observe one billion stars about 70 times each over five years. That’s an average of 40 million observations a day. However one billion stars is one per cent of all the stars in the Milky Way. The cameras work by picking up light and turning it into an electric signal which is then beamed to Earth. The most powerful instrument on Nasa’s Hubble space telescope incorporates two such cameras but Gaia has 106 meaning it can pick up far more data than ever before. “The beautiful map we are publishing today shows the density of stars measured by Gaia across the entire sky, and confirms that it collected superb data during its first year of operations,” said Timo Prusti, Gaia project scientist at ESA. Gaia satellite as seen with the Very Large Telescope Survey Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. The Gaia spacecraft Credit:ESA
Birthday presents also cost parents a lotCredit:Alamy Girls apparently have more expensive tastes with their parties averaging £169 while boys’ are £163.By the time their offspring are 11, parents spend less, averaging a more modest £153, the research by Disney Party found.Over half (58 per cent) of parents say cost is their main concern ahead of a children’s bash, with many choosing to join forces with other parents to host a joint party to keep costs down. Girls have more expensive partiesCredit:Alamy 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. Parties can also prove expensive for the guests, with parents typically buying nine presents for other people’s children each year at an average cost of £10 per gift.Londoners are the most generous, averaging £12.62 per gift compared to the £8.40 spent in the South West. The worst gifts received include used hairbrushes, drawn in colouring books and IOUs. Parents also pay an average £5.19 for each party bag they hand out at their own youngster’s bash.Just over half (51 per cent) of parties are held at home with the remainder at everything from village halls and leisure centres to soft play, bowling, trampolining, laser quest and karting venues.Parenting expert, Anita Cleare commented: “Although it can be a stressful job, it’s great to see that 53 per cent of parents still enjoy hosting parties for their children.”She added: “Parents feel pressured to not only impress their children but other parents too.”Researchers from Disney Party quizzed 2,000 parents of kids aged between four and 12-years-old. Seven-year-olds have the most extravagent birthday parties, with parents splashing out an average of £188, research has found.The figure is more than £20 higher than the average cost of a children’s party across all ages, which was found to be £166.Children typically invite 12 of their friends to celebrate with them, but one in five mothers and fathers (22 per cent) feel obliged to host the whole class.