Last Tuesday, I crunched some numbers on which NCAA men’s tournament coaches exceeded expectations the most since the tourney expanded to 64 teams in 1985, based on their teams’ seeds at the start of the tournament. Perhaps not surprisingly, Michigan State coach Tom Izzo ruled all, with his Spartans winning 14.6 more games than would be expected based on the way they were seeded. And after Izzo won two more games over the weekend to secure the Spartans’ seventh Final Four bid under his watch, we thought we’d update the numbers1With a slight tweak to the SRS adjustment that forces the sum of each tournament’s field-wide expected wins to equal 63. to reflect the latest results.Izzo is still No. 1 of course, with 16.2 wins above expectation now (after adding in his two wins over the weekend, plus Michigan State’s expected future wins according to the FiveThirtyEight tournament predictions), while the coach he beat in the East Regional final, Rick Pitino, ranks second since ’85.Two of Izzo’s fellow Final Four coaches also rank among the top 10. John Calipari of Kentucky (whom the Spartans could face for the national championship in a week) places third. And Mike Krzyzewski, whose Duke Blue Devils will play Michigan State on Saturday, ranks 10th. Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan may seem like the odd man out, but Ryan’s teams have still exceeded expectations — though only by 2.7 wins over his career, which ranks 31st since 1985.
Few colleges had more success in the first decade of this century than the University of Texas, whose football and men’s basketball programs regularly brushed shoulders with the nation’s elite. But what’s been happening in recent years has been nothing short of bewildering.With Mack Brown at the helm, the football team won 158 games in 16 seasons, for a win percentage of .767. That span included the Longhorns’ famous undefeated season of 2005, when Vince Young helped defeat USC and win the school’s first undisputed national title in 35 years. On the court, the Rick Barnes-era was the most successful in the school’s history. Barnes won 402 games in 17 seasons, for a win rate of .691, and took the Longhorns to their first Final Four in 56 years. Under Brown and Barnes, who both coached their first game for the Longhorns in 1998, the University of Texas represented dominance and stability. But after the football team fell to 4-5 on the season under Tom Herman last Saturday and with the men’s basketball team set to open its new season on Friday coming off of an 11-22 record last year, it’s the women’s basketball and volleyball teams keeping the Longhorns from total irrelevance.Don’t get us wrong, the Longhorns will survive regardless of what happens to their two largest sports for generating revenue, especially if the women’s hoops team continues to make it to the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament. But it’s certainly baffling how much this former juggernaut of football and men’s basketball has declined considering the resources at its disposal to hire top coaches and recruit the best talent. It reportedly cost Texas $19 million to fire Charlie Strong from the top football coaching position and hire Herman from the University of Houston. And the deal to hire current men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart — who had numerous schools trying to secure his services after taking Virginia Commonwealth, a mid-major, to the Final Four in 2011 — wasn’t cheap either, costing Texas about $22 million over seven years.The regression has been significant: Since Brown and Barnes departed, the football and men’s basketball programs combined to win less than half of their games.1Longhorn football has a .435 win percentage since 2014 while the basketball team has a .470 win percentage since 2015. To give this some context, we compared Texas to some of the other schools that have been consistently competitive in both sports — in other words, not one-sport powers like Kansas (basketball) or Georgia (football). Specifically, we looked at every school that ranked inside the top 50 in all-time wins for both football and men’s basketball and calculated the harmonic mean of their football and men’s basketball Elo ratings since 1988, the earliest we have data for both sports.2We used a harmonic mean instead of a straight average to make sure a team was performing well (or poorly) in both sports at the same time. This allows us to see how these teams compare in the combined success of their two biggest programs. UT’s decline has been rapid and, for Longhorns fans, the results will be depressing. Texas is finding its way back onto the recruiting mapUniversity of Texas men’s basketball and football recruiting class ranks *2018 basketball team rank as of Nov. 9, 2017; 2018 football team rank as of Nov. 8, 2017**For basketball, the year of a recruiting class is for freshmen whose first season begins that fallSource: ESPN 20114.5885.615 RECRUITING CLASSTEAM RANKWIN PCT.TEAM RANKWIN PCT. 201515.6069.417 201327.68616.615 20094.7063.929 201611.33310.417 20176?33.444 201421.58816.462 201812?2? 20108.7782.417 BASKETBALLFOOTBALL 20124.4713.692 The basketball program’s recruitment problem hasn’t been attracting top talent — the Longhorns have produced several NBA stars in recent years, including Avery Bradley, Tristan Thompson and, most recently, Myles Turner. Instead the Longhorns have failed to translate their NBA-caliber talent into postseason success — the Longhorns have failed to make the Elite 8 in the NCAA Tournament since 2008.But things may finally be turning around. After its rough recruiting class in 2017 — which was disrupted by the firing of Strong and hiring of Herman — the football team has rebounded to secure 16 commitments from the ESPN Top 300 so far for the 2018 class and is No. 2 in team rankings. And Smart has the basketball team ranked No. 12 as of Thursday, which is impressive considering that the school is coming off its worst season in decades. Smart’s class could improve after the early signing period, which is happening now. The Longhorns are in the hunt for No. 7 Keldon Johnson and No. 13 Quentin Grimes. Currently, only Missouri ranks worse than Texas, and Missouri’s problems in and away from the sports world have been well documented (sorry to drag you into this, Mizzou fans). For more context, Wisconsin is currently the best two-sport school.3Greg Gard took the men’s basketball team to the Sweet 16 last season, and Paul Chryst’s football team is currently 9-0 and ranked No.8 in the College Football Playoff rankings. Based on this measure, it’s fair to say that the Longhorns are in the midst of one of their worst stretches in almost 30 years.On the football side, the problem can be traced to recruitment. Between 2009 and 2012, Texas registered four consecutive top-5 recruiting classes, according to ESPN’s team rankings. In the next five years: zero. Last season, they ranked No. 33. Think about that for a second: The University of Texas with the 33rd-best crop of freshman football talent. The turnover from Brown to Strong to Herman is certainly a factor here. Since NCAA rules stipulate that football players must stay in school for three years, talented high-school players seek stability — not knowing who your head coach will be next year can be the difference between a top recruit committing to your program and going elsewhere.But another disconcerting thing about the Longhorns’ recent dip in recruitment is that Texas plays in the epicenter of high school football — no state produced more recruits in ESPN’s Top 300 rankings in 2016, and only Florida produced more in 2017. But recently, it has lost its hold on the best prospects from within its own borders. As a result, the top Texas high school recruits are increasingly looking outside of the state. Among the top 30 recruits in Texas in 2017, LSU was the most popular destination (five players chose to go to Baton Rouge, compared with the three who picked Austin). Although the school has been rocked by huge personnel turnover over the past four years, there’s a little light on the horizon. The football team has three games remaining on its schedule and is just one win away from being bowl eligible, so Herman’s team could end another tough year on a positive note (Granted, Texas’s boosters won’t be doing backflips over a trip to the Cactus Bowl — but it’s something.) As for Smart and the basketball team, they’re resting their hopes on freshman center Mohamed Bamba, who is ranked No. 4 among incoming freshmen by ESPN heading into the new season. With a fresh start kicking off Friday, Smart will be looking to take his team back to the NCAA Tournament.
OSU senior defenseman Josh Healey (47) corrals the puck during the Buckeyes game against Robert Morris University on Nov. 4. The Buckeyes lost 6-2. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorWinners of four straight and undefeated through seven games, the Ohio State men’s hockey team had a rare opportunity in the nonconference schedule to play on home ice at the Schottenstein Center. Ranked No. 11 in the nation, OSU looked to continue its hot play against Robert Morris before heading to Pittsburgh for the second half of the home-and-home series on Saturday.However, three second-period goals from the Colonials unseated OSU from the unbeaten, 6-2. OSU fell to 5-1-2 on the season.“Anytime you lose a hockey game it hurts,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “Against good hockey teams, if you don’t play your best you’re going to get beat and I think that’s what happened tonight. The better team won, for sure.”Rohlik said on Wednesday that the team had worked extensively in practice on cleaning up the defensive zone. Whatever holes and inconsistencies the Colonials saw on film, they were exploited on Friday; mostly by sophomore left wing Alex Tonge.Tonge put the Colonials on the board in the first period off an assist from defenseman Eric Israel. The forward sat in front of the net and Israel centered a pass from the end boards that OSU couldn’t steer away.Then in the second period, Tonge scored again on an even-strength goal, putting Robert Morris up, 3-1. The front line of Robert Morris finished the game with three of the team’s six goals.“They capitalized on their chances and that was the difference tonight,” senior captain forward Nick Schilkey said. “We’re going to have a short memory and be back ready tomorrow.”Coming into the matchup, Tomkins was a catalyst for OSU’s success between the pipes. In four of his five starts before Friday, he had allowed two or fewer goals. When senior goaltender Christian Frey went down with an injury against Air Force in the team’s second game of the year, Tomkins came in relief and stopped 10 shots, including seven in overtime. Rohlik said that despite pulling him after the fifth goal, tonight can be looked at as an outlier for Tomkins.“We have a few other guys out in front of him that weren’t their best either, but I think all the credit goes to (Robert Morris),” Rohlik said. “We just didn’t get it done tonight.”Special teams play was a large factor in the lopsided decision on Friday night. Both OSU and Robert Morris were tied fifth nationally in powerplay efficiency, converting on one of every four powerplay opportunities. The Buckeyes were 0-for-5, while the Colonials were 2-for-2 in the game.Robert Morris ranked second to last in the NCAA in penalty kill coming into the matchup.After the Robert Morris’ second powerplay goal came at 13:39 in the second period, just 20 seconds into the penalty kill, Rohlik called a timeout.OSU didn’t score the rest of the period, despite having a man-advantage to end the second and begin the third period. Robert Morris’ leading scorer Brady Ferguson added a goal just two minutes into the third period giving the Colonials a substantial four-goal lead.“We forced a couple plays from the goal line or something … if something’s not there you can’t force it,” Schilkey said. “We got some good chances too. They’re not going to go in every night but you hope to come back tomorrow and pop a couple of those in.”A bright spot for OSU was junior forward Matthew Weis, who was coming off the best two-game stretch of his career last weekend against Niagara where he scored two goals and contributed on four others. On Friday night, he backed up his Big Ten first-star of the week honor by scoring the first goal of the night, at 3:14 in the first period.The team repeatedly said in the offseason that this was the closest group of players the program has had in the last four years. The response from Friday’s letdown will truly test the character of the team. Schilkey said that the message for Saturday’s game against Robert Morris is to stick together as a unit.“We got to have a quick turnaround. We play a team that should be very confident against us,” Rohlik said. “You find out your true character when you have adversity. And obviously for us, things aren’t going to go well all the time and you’re going to have bumps in the road. Right now, we’ll find out about our character and I believe in the guys in our locker room. I believe in our leadership. One loss isn’t the season but we got to learn from it and get better.”
Former Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle was selected in the sixth round of the NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. Rolle, the 193rd overall pick, is undersized for his position in the NFL, at 5-foot-9, but his ability to defend against the pass makes him an asset for any defense. He will join another former Buckeye, Kurt Coleman, on the Eagles defense, and may get consideration at the strong safety position. He is expected to be a special-teams player as he develops his game, much like his career at OSU. Rolle started two seasons at OSU at the middle linebacker position, and was named first-team All-Big Ten his senior season with fellow Buckeye Ross Homan. Rolle recorded 76 total tackles and two interceptions in the 2010 season. Rolle ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, and benched 225 pounds 28 times at the combine. He is the cousin of the New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle, and the Eagles hope Brian will offer the same success. The Eagles finished last season 10-6 and won the NFC East before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.
For Ohio State football fans, life hasn’t been the same since December 2010.Buckeye fans grieved when the news broke that one former and five current OSU football players had sold memorabilia and received improper benefits. Then prognosticators and so-called experts foretold of the NCAA punishment that awaited OSU, and fans’ fears grew.Speculation of seemingly certain NCAA sanctions kept OSU supporters on edge throughout the spring, even as the football team commenced spring practice.Then, on April 23, the day of the OSU Spring Game, the atmosphere at Ohio Stadium just wasn’t the same as previous Spring Games. Sure, the game’s ridiculous scoring system that no one understood probably had a bit to do with it, but there some was something more.It was something about you, the usually boisterous, scarlet-and-gray-clad fans — you didn’t have your swagger.And before you could recover it, the casualties began to mount.Former coach Jim Tressel was forced to resign and embattled former quarterback Terrelle Pryor left the school.On Thursday, Pryor was granted eligibility for the NFL’s supplemental draft but will serve a suspension through Week 5 of the NFL season.Why bother regrouping from the losses of Tressel and Pryor, though? After all, television commentators would have had us believe that the city of Columbus itself would disappear off the map on Aug. 12, the day OSU was to meet with the NCAA.The night of Aug. 11, was like the night prior to the predicted expiration of the Mayan calendar. Recovering your mojo was out of the question. Now, it was a matter of simply surviving the coming day’s NCAA scrutiny of OSU football.But then a miraculous thing happened.The meeting with the NCAA came and went without incident and the parties whom attended dispersed about four hours later. New OSU football coach Luke Fickell came back to Columbus after the meeting and, presumably, continued with his preparations for the 2011 season.True indeed, NCAA punishment may be delivered to Buckeyes football in eight to 12 weeks, but preparations continue for the upcoming season.Your prep work as fans, which could include everything from stockpiling tailgating supplies to selecting new outfits to wear to the ‘Shoe this fall, should continue as well.When the kicker for either Akron or OSU steps to the tee on the 35-yard line around noon on Sept. 3 to kick the ball off and commence the 2011 campaign, what will you do in your seat in the ‘Shoe?Will you “boo?” Will you sit on your hands? Will you hesitate to clap and cheer?Will you do nothing?As of Friday, kickoff is just 15 days away, so I recommend you quickly decide how you’ll receive this 2011 edition of the Buckeyes.It’s true — the NCAA could administer a postseason bowl ban or take away scholarships or prevent OSU from competing in the inaugural Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis. On top of that, it could make the announcement right in the middle of a season that figures to see the Buckeyes compete for supremacy in the newly formed Leaders Division.There’s only one 2011 season, though, and even if the postseason isn’t available to the Buckeyes by regular seasons’s end, 12 games of Ohio State football would be a terrible thing to waste.Consider and appreciate the football team’s new freshmen class that, for the time being, appears to have committed itself to OSU and serving whatever punishment could be coming from the NCAA.Relish in the Big Ten’s expansion and the arrival of Nebraska football to the conference. Many OSU fans will likely make the trip to Lincoln, Neb., for the first in-conference meeting between the Buckeyes and the Cornhuskers — truly a historic moment.And why not continue to rabidly anticipate the next installment of “The Game”? I have a feeling that another victory against the hapless Wolverines will cure what ails weary Buckeye fans.Ready or not, the 2011 season is nearly upon us. It may have seemed as though the fog of the NCAA’s investigation would never lift, but it has, even if only for the few months until the NCAA’s final decision is announced.So, what will you do when the kicker strides toward the tee to kick the 2011 season off? Boo? Clap? Cheer? Sit on your hands?Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you find your seat in the ‘Shoe in time to see the marching band enter the playing field and perform Script Ohio.The sight of Script Ohio should help you rediscover your swagger as a fan base, and the wins that follow certainly will.
Urban Meyer is the biggest name Ohio State has ever hired as head football coach. At least that’s how Jack Park, long-time OSU football historian, sees it. Meyer, who won two BCS national championships with Florida and served as an assistant coach at OSU under former coach Earle Bruce, was hired as the Buckeyes’ next head coach Monday. On top of his national titles, Meyer also brings a résumé which includes coaching a Heisman Trophy winner (former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow), a No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft (former Utah quarterback Alex Smith), two SEC championships and several coach of the year honors. Park said no other head coach at OSU has taken the job with that kind of pedigree. “In terms of what the coach has done before he took the Ohio State job, it doesn’t get much bigger than this one,” he said. The only other coach who came close, Park said, was Bruce. Bruce served as head football coach at OSU from 1979-1987. Prior to coming to OSU, Bruce amassed a 36-32 record as head coach at Iowa State, and also served at Massillon High School, leading it to its only undefeated season in school history. Other head coaches at OSU had respectable backgrounds — John Cooper won a Rose Bowl over Michigan while helming Arizona State and Jim Tressel won four Division I-AA titles at Youngstown State — but none have measured up to the name Meyer has built for himself. “In a way, it’s kind of breaking with tradition that Ohio State has done this,” Park said. Still, Meyer does have, in some respects, the same qualities previous OSU head coaches had. Meyer was born in Toledo and raised in Ashtabula, Ohio, where he attended St. John High School. Meyer went to college at the University of Cincinnati and played defensive back on the school’s football team. He got his masters degree from OSU and served as a graduate assistant at OSU during Bruce’s tenure. From there, he later went on to become head coach at Bowling Green State University, where he won MAC Coach of the Year and Sporting News Coach of the Year in 2003, before leaving for Utah, where he won a BCS bowl (the Fiesta Bowl), and later shipping off to Florida. Meyer left Florida citing health concerns last season and took a job with ESPN as an analyst. OSU athletic director Gene Smith made note of Meyer’s Ohio ties during the press conference announcing his hire Monday. “Being from Ohio, born and raised, having an opportunity to coach here under Earl Bruce, fortunate enough to marry his boss from Ohio; he gets it,” Smith said. “At different times in organizations, teams, groups, whatever, there’s the right time for certain leaders. This is the right time for Urban Meyer to lead our football program.” Meyer isn’t shy about his Ohio ties. Meyer has a photo of Woody Hayes hanging in his house. He said the relationship he built with Bruce was “extremely close, second only to his father.” He also said seeing Script Ohio while calling a game for ESPN this season made him emotional. “I’m up there with Chris (Spielman) and (ESPN announcer) Dave Pasch getting ready to broadcast that game, and that band came out of that tunnel — I was wiping tears out of my eyes and all the memories came back,” Meyer said. Park said those Ohio ties have helped him, and other coaches, get hired at OSU. “I would think that many of the people he’s going to bring on his staff here … a lot of those assistant coaches will have Ohio ties,” Park said. “It’s good to do that but I don’t think it’s mandatory anymore. Football has become so national anymore.” For example, in terms of players, Park said only a “handful” on OSU’s 1954 and 1961 national title teams came from outside Ohio, but now, the team can have about half of its roster from outside the state. “It’s an advantage to have Ohio ties but I think there’s probably other things more important,” Park said. One of those “more important” things could be recruiting. OSU has recruited players outside of the state of Ohio, but under Tressel, was able to “build a fence” around Ohio, per se, to keep many of the state’s top talents instate and signed by OSU. However, with Meyer taking over, who was able to rake in recruiting classes with Florida talent ranked higher than his in-state competitors such as Florida State and Miami, Park said he expects Meyer to take advantage of his Southern ties and recruit the same type of players to run his spread offense. “I think what we saw at Florida and the type of offense he ran at Florida, the type of defense he ran at Florida, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s pretty much what we see here,” Park said. That system will be noticeably different from what OSU is known for. OSU built a reputation for the bruising, “three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” offense Hayes implemented and the conservative “Tressel-ball” style that Tressel ran. Meyer, however, will be running the spread, which will focus more on the passing game than previous schemes. Steve Helwagen, managing editor of Bucknuts.com, said Meyer will use what he has at his disposal now, then work to find the athletes required to run the spread, which he doesn’t believe will be a big deal. “I don’t know that it will be as big a transition as some people think it might be,” Helwagen said. “I think he’ll play to his team strengths on the field next year and take it on a year-to-year basis. He and his staff are obviously going to be looking for guys who fit what they want to do. They need to have wide receivers and skill-position athletes to make that happen.” With Meyer on the recruiting trail preparing for a 2012 season with already-high expectations, fans can take solace knowing Meyer is “home.” “This is my home state,” he said. “And it’s great to be back home.”Ohio
Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany said it best while presenting the trophy presentation at the conclusion of the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game: “Wow.” Wisconsin beat Michigan State, 42-39, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., in the first-ever Big Ten Championship Game and clinched a second-consecutive berth to the Rose Bowl. The Badgers jumped to a 21-7 lead after a quarter against MSU before trailing the Spartans, 39-34, with less than four minutes to play in the game. Badgers junior running back Montee Ball scored four touchdowns and added 137 yards on the ground to help lead Wisconsin to its second-consecutive berth to the Rose Bowl. Saturday’s game featured 816 total yards of offense between the two teams and MSU took a 29-21 lead into half. The Spartans’ lead held until the 3:45 mark of the fourth quarter when a seven-yard run by Ball put Wisconsin up for good. Trailing by three points with 1:37 to play, MSU forced a Wisconsin punt and would have had one last shot at a score. Sophomore safety Isaiah Lewis was flagged for roughing the kicker and the Badgers were awarded a first down and began to celebrate its championship. Kevin Noon, managing editor of buckeyegrove.com, had a field-level view of MSU’s late-game penalty and said he wasn’t as sure the correct call was made after seeing replays. “I was standing on the field right by it and I felt a lot better about it when I saw it live than when I saw it on the replays,” Noon said. “I thought there was a little bit of embellishment by the punter and I still think there may be a question whether or not Isaiah Lewis was pushed into the punter. “But I think ultimately by definition of the rule, it was the right call.” For MSU, it’s the second consecutive year the Spartans have come just short of making the Rose Bowl and have instead had to watch the Badgers represent the Big Ten. MSU coach Mark Dantonio said he thought his team played well, but the loss would be difficult to stomach. “I thought both football teams showed a tremendous amount of maturity and toughness in terms of battling back,” Dantonio said on MSU’s website. “We started a little bit slow and played extremely well the entire first half on offense. Tough to lose it as we did, but tough take the tough times sometimes. So very difficult, the end of the football game, the way it all went down, but we’ll rise again.” The Badgers’ record improved to 11-2 on the year with both losses, including one earlier in the season to MSU, coming in the final seconds. Their only other loss came to Ohio State under the lights at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 29, when OSU freshman quarterback Braxton Miller connected with classmate and wide receiver Devin Smith for a touchdown to take the lead with 20 seconds left in the game. Sophomore linebacker Chris Borland said that despite the heartbreaking losses earlier in the season, the team was ecstatic about Saturday’s victory. “It’s a dream come true for us,” Borland said on Wisconsin’s athletic website. “To get here after what we suffered in the middle of the season, it’s the highest of highs.” The Badgers will travel to Pasadena, Calif., for the Rose Bowl to take on Oregon on Jan. 2.
The NCAA Tournament is about four months away, but the Ohio State men’s basketball team will get to experience a postseason-like environment this weekend in Connecticut. OSU is scheduled to play in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic Saturday and Sunday in Uncasville, Conn. The No. 4-ranked Buckeyes (1-0) take on Rhode Island (0-2) Saturday, and depending on the outcome of the game, will play the winner of the Seton Hall (2-0) – Washington (1-1) contest Sunday. It’s only November, but OSU coach Thad Matta said playing two games in two days will help prepare OSU for March. “It’s more of a Big Ten tournament, NCAA Tournament type feel,” Matta said. “I think doing this early, the two games in two days, will tell us quite a bit about our team. You play the first day, win or lose, you’ve got to go back and prepare for your next opponent.” Coming off a Final Four appearance and a third consecutive Big Ten regular season championship , the Buckeyes are still trying to figure out what type of team they are. After this weekend, they should be further along in that process. “Most of the time when you’re playing on the road, you have to find different ways to win. You have to do extra stuff,” said junior guard Lenzelle Smith, Jr. “It’s actually a little harder to win out on the road. That’s what helps us build more as a team.” Smith Jr., who scored 18 points in OSU’s 82-60 season-opening win against Albany Nov. 11, said the Buckeyes are in the beginning stage of coming together as a cohesive unit. They still have plenty to work on and get better at, but OSU’s main concern right now might be rebounding. OSU seems to have its scoring down with Smith Jr., junior forward Deshaun Thomas and junior guard Aaron Craft all dropping more than 18 points in the victory against Albany. On the other end of the floor, redshirt senior forward Evan Ravenel said OSU has the potential to be the “best defensive team in the country.” Rebounding wise, there is still a lot to be done. OSU had even rebounding margins against Albany and Walsh University, its NCAA Division II exhibition-game opponent. “We got to find a way to rebound the ball. We can’t just depend on one person to grab 10 to 15 rebounds. We have to gang-rebound, because that’s just the team we are,” Ravenel said. OSU lost one of the nation’s best rebounders from last season in former forward Jared Sullinger, who now plays for the Boston Celtics. Sullinger averaged almost 10 rebounds per game in his two seasons with the Buckeyes. Ravenel, along with sophomore centers Amir Williams and Trey McDonald, is trying to fill in for a former two-time All-American in Sullinger. In order for the Buckeyes to be successful on the glass, they need to be hungrier, Ravenel said. “Nobody wants to go against an overly-aggressive guy for 40 minutes in a basketball game,” he said. While OSU is yet to face a Big Ten-caliber team after one regular season game, an exhibition game, and a canceled Carrier Classic contest against Marquette, the team should face some bigger teams this weekend. Rhode Island’s leading rebounders are 6-foot-7 senior Nikola Malesevic and 6-foot-8 freshman Mike Aaman. Washington, which suffered a 63-62 Tuesday loss to the same Albany team that OSU handled easily, has several lengthy forwards that could give the Buckeyes trouble. Seton Hall has five players on its roster 6-foot-9 or taller. Matta said he is looking forward to the challenges this weekend will pose for his Buckeyes. But more than anything, the OSU coach said he is excited to get out on the road and actually play a game after the Buckeyes’ season opener scheduled aboard an aircraft carrier was canceled due to condensation. “We’ve got the travel part down. We’ve got all the way to tip-off – warm-ups, everything on an away court. Now we’ve just got to play a game,” Matta said. OSU and Rhode Island are set to tip off 5 p.m. Saturday night on ESPN3 at Mohegan Sun Arena. With a win, OSU would advance to Sunday’s championship game, which is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
The Ohio State women’s basketball team was given the ninth seed in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket Sunday after beating No. 5 seed Michigan at home earlier that afternoon, 66-55. The Buckeyes (17-12, 7-9 Big Ten) outshot the Wolverines (20-9, 9-7 Big Ten), making 54 percent of their shots compared to Michigan’s 50 percent. OSU, however, made 11 of 15 free throws, while Michigan only made 5 of 6, allowing the Buckeyes to hold on to the lead they had grabbed with 8:32 left in the first half. After the game, redshirt senior guard Amber Stokes said the win was an ideal note to head into the conference tournament. “We needed the confidence-booster going into the Big Ten tournament, so this is great,” she said in a press release. OSU is scheduled to take on No. 8 seed Minnesota (18-12, 7-9 Big Ten) in the first round of the tournament Thursday. The Gophers hold a 2-0 record against the Buckeyes this season. They first beat OSU in Minneapolis, Minn., on Jan. 10, dropping the Buckeyes to a 0-3 Big Ten record for the first time since 2001. On Feb. 21, the Gophers came to Columbus and beat OSU, 57-56, thanks to a last-second jumper from Minnesota sophomore guard Rachel Banham. OSU coach Jim Foster said after Sunday’s game against the Wolverines that his team had taken the Minnesota loss to heart and improved as a result of it. “You lose a game like the Minnesota game and some folks are going to use the ‘woe is me’ approach and I think this group did just the opposite of that,” he said in a press release. “They came out and were resilient.” The Buckeyes have won four tournament titles, three of which came from consecutive tournaments from 2009-2011. OSU heads into its contest against the Gophers with several Buckeyes who earned Big Ten honors this past week. Freshman guard Ameryst Alston earned her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors for the week of March 4, while senior guard Tayler Hill was named First Team All-Big Ten for the second season in a row. Hill was also named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team for the third consecutive season, along with Stokes, who made the list for the second year in a row. Redshirt sophomore Amy Scullion received the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award for OSU. OSU is set to take on Minnesota at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The winner of that game is scheduled to face No. 1 seed Penn State Friday at 7 p.m.
Ohio State senior forward Shayla Cooper sizes up Western Kentucky guard Kendall Noble at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky, in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 17. Credit: Dana Lewin | Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe No. 5 seed Ohio State women’s basketball team (27-6) utilized strong defense to hold off the No. 12 seed Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (27-7), winning an ugly game, 70-63, in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Lexington, Kentucky.Both teams fought a back-and-forth battle in the first half as each struggled to find consistent offensive production. The Hilltoppers hit just 10-of-35 shots in the first half, but stayed within striking distance as they headed to the second half down 37-30. The Buckeyes ended the first and second quarters on runs of 7-0 and 7-2, respectively. Junior guard Asia Doss, a reserve who averages just 5.4 points per game, paced the Buckeyes early, as the team struggled to find its rhythm in the first half. She led both teams with an efficient 11 first-half points, hitting 4-of-6 shots, including two from beyond the arc. Redshirt sophomore Kelsey Mitchell scored just four first half points. The Big Ten Player of the Year continued her struggles in the second half as the Buckeyes’ leading scorer missed her first four second-half shots. This is the second game in a row Mitchell has struggled to find an offensive flow, shooting just 3 of 22 in a Big Ten tournament semifinal loss to Purdue.The Buckeyes stayed ahead in the second half as OSU never led by less than 3 points. They shot 53 percent from the field in the final quarter, but did no favors for themselves as they turned the ball over five times. Mitchell began to heat up as OSU pulled away in the fourth quarter. She finished with 15 points. Western Kentucky set a school record with 233 3-pointers this season and continued hoisting shots from downtown in Friday’s game. Over half of the Hilltoppers’ shots were from 3-point range. They hit just 9-of-37 3-point attempts.OSU connected on 8 of its 20 3-pointers.The Hilltoppers struggled not just from deep, but from inside the arc as well. Western Kentucky made just 29 percent of her shots from the field.Western Kentucky redshirt senior guard Kendall Noble led the Hilltoppers in scoring and rebounding with 19 points and 12 boards. The first-team Conference USA player made 7-of-22 shots.Redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga, a gametime decision according to OSU coach Kevin McGuff, did not play against WKU on Friday. The North Carolina transfer has been dealing with a right foot injury that has held her out of action since she injured it in a practice in early February. Freshman forward Tori McCoy started in place of Mavunga, as she has in every game since the injury happened. She scored 12 points before fouling out. Senior forward Shayla Cooper scored 6 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.OSU relied on its depth off the bench as the Buckeyes’ reserves contributed 28 points off the bench compared to the Hilltoppers’ 12 points from bench players.Redshirt junior guard Linnae Harper transferred from Kentucky midway through the 2015-16 season, and she will face off against her former teammates as the Buckeyes will take on No. 4 seed Kentucky (22-10) in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday in Lexington, Kentucky. The Wildcats snuck past No. 13 seed Belmont (27-6), beating the Bruins 73-70 in first round on Friday afternoon.
Ohio State junior wide receiver Parris Campbell (21) runs the ball while redshirt junior wide receiver Terry McLaurin blocks an Army defender in the fourth quarter of the 2017 OSU- Army game on Sep. 16. OSU won 38-7. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State quarterback J.T. Barrett has two completed passes this season that have exceeded 31 yards.Neither were thrown beyond 10 yards down the field.Despite the deep ball being a point of emphasis for both the offense and head coach Urban Meyer heading into this season, Ohio State has yet to mold the deep aerial attack into its gameplan. But as long as short passes are picking up yards in bulk, the offense will take what it can get.And members of the offense believe bubble screen passes and short crossing routes can be the key to success against any team.“I think those plays can work against anybody, and I say that because I think we’re one of the best perimeter blocking receiver groups out there. That’s all it is,” wide receiver Johnnie Dixon said.But what is the key to making those short passes work?“You block good out there and it pops,” Dixon said. “A guy like [H-back Parris Campbell] touches the ball and you see what he can do. He’s quick. Give him the ball in space and lights out.”The longest pass of the season came on a short crossing route to Campbell two yards in front of the line of scrimmage that he took 74 yards for a touchdown in the season opener against Indiana. The second-longest came on a pass two yards behind the line of scrimmage to Campbell that the speedy wideout took 69 yards to the house in last Saturday’s game against UNLV.Beyond the receiver, the constant in both plays were blocks on the perimeters by wideouts that freed up a lane on the sideline for Campbell to explode. The first by redshirt junior Terry McLaurin and the second by sophomore Austin Mack.Blocking is not an easy mindset for receivers to get into, particularly those who are younger, Dixon said. But once those involved in the passing game are given a sense of the value placed on blocking in the offense, it becomes less of a chore and more of a glorified responsibility.“I mean I guess when you first come in, like you really don’t know the system as well, I guess. But you see a guy like [former Ohio State wideout] Evan Spencer out there, pouring it out every block. You realize like that’s a big part of what we do,” Dixon said. “Definitely gains you a lot of respect.”Sometimes, however, blocking can lead to penalties. If executed poorly, a receiver can be called for holding.This happened twice in Ohio State’s game against Army. Early in the game, Mack caught a pass for 17 yards that was brought back 10 yards by a holding call on McLaurin. Two drives later, Campbell took a handoff out of the backfield and carried it for a long touchdown, but it was brought back on a holding penalty on Mack.Ohio State redshirt junior H-back Parris Campbell races to the end zone for a touchdown that was called back due to a holding penalty during the second quarter of the Buckeyes’ game against Army. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media Editor“I think the reason we had those holds against Army, it wasn’t a technique issue, it was more of an effort issue,” Campbell said. “When we block, we try to finish guys. You know, so we just take a lot of pride in that. So I think that’s where a lot of those holding issues come from. But, yeah so it’s not a technique issue, I think it’s an effort issue . . . You don’t need to put a guy on his back every single time.”The ability to block has become a crucial part of the offense, and Meyer said he expects it out of all his wide receivers.“We take great pride, whether we are or not is of opinion, but we expect to be the best blocking wide receivers in America, and there’s a group right there that go really hard downfield for each other and for other skill guys with the ball,” Meyer said in his press conference Monday.However, that blocking skill is not something that comes easily. To effectively block, a player needs more than just the skill and the mindset to block. That player also needs the size and strength to hold off the defender.Even after sophomore walk-on H-back C.J. Saunders caught six passes for 102 yards and a touchdown on Saturday against UNLV, he was far from securing playing time because of that size and inability to block. Standing at only 5-foot-11, 176 pounds, Saunders has a long way to go before he is ready to see regular playing time.“C.J., you can’t be a hood ornament. That means you’ve got to be able to block and be able to do all the things. We’ve had trouble before with the smaller guys. They can’t play,” Meyer said after the game Saturday. “And so his issue is can he get strong enough to play at this level because he’s got the shake. He’s got the hands. He’s got the courage. He’s got the go-to, will-to. But gotta get stronger.”For Ohio State, the ability to block and open up lanes for the receivers could be one of the most important keys to success for the offense moving forward. And even though the offense would like to connect on more deep passes, the players believe if they block well, the deep ball will eventually emerge as a weapon.“I think it makes people aware more like you’ve got to come up and attack that bubble hard because it’s like I said, once Parris touches it, it’s over, even K.J.,” Dixon said. “I think it would be big once we get to hitting [deep passes].”
Ohio State senior heavyweight wrestler Kyle Snyder runs out of the tunnel prior to his match in the the dual meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe Ohio State wrestling team will have a chance to win its second Big Ten championship in a row when it heads to East Lansing, Michigan, Saturday to face off against wrestlers from 11 teams ranked in the top 25.The Buckeyes have an opportunity to win a team title, but also have multiple wrestlers in contention for individual championships. Ohio State finished the regular season ranked second in the country, but sophomore Luke Pletcher believes the important part of the year has not yet begun.“Everything before this really doesn’t matter too much,” Pletcher said. “Now we get to the postseason, some people either crumble or they rise to the occasion. I think that just speaks to how we handle the pressure.”Ohio State (14-1, 8-1 Big Ten) has two No. 1 seeds at their respective weight classes this weekend, but 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist and second-seeded heavyweight Kyle Snyder is not one of them. Snyder entered the season as a heavy favorite to earn a third national championship, but lost his first match in nearly three years on Feb. 11 to Michigan heavyweight Adam Coon, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound behemoth who did enough to defeat Snyder. In order for Snyder to capture an individual conference championship, he would likely have to defeat Coon. So in this case, at least, Snyder finds himself as the rare underdog.Ohio State’s Joey McKenna wins against Vince Turk in the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor“You base somewhat the future by what you’ve seen in the past, right? And the past says that when the stakes are really high he performs really really well,” head coach Tom Ryan said. “Coon is going to get the very best Kyle has to offer. That I can guarantee.”Ohio State junior 141-pounder Joey McKenna and redshirt sophomore 197-pounder Kollin Moore are both top seeds in their weight classes. But both of them will enter the tournament with wildly differing trajectories. McKenna has climbed up to No. 4 nationally after upsetting North Carolina State’s now-No. 5 Kevin Jack in the last dual meet of the season. McKenna also upset now-No. 8 Nick Lee of Penn State on Feb. 3, but Lee will be searching for revenge as the second seed behind McKenna.Moore spent the majority of the season as the top wrestler at 197 pounds, but lost two of his past three matches. He lost to Penn State’s unranked Anthony Cassar in what was the main turning point of that dual meet, which the Nittany Lions won. Moore rebounded against Michigan’s Kevin Beazley, delivering a major decision win over the four seed for the Wolverines. However, Moore also dropped a bout with Michael Macchiavello, a top-10 wrestler from North Carolina State. Ohio State’s drastically different directions are one of the reasons Ryan believes his team has not yet reached its potential.“In no one weekend did we really wrestle 10 guys the way they can, and we are banking on this is the first of two weekends where that happens,” Ryan said.Ohio State’s Bo Jordan wrestles Michael Kemerer in the dual-meet against Iowa on Jan. 21 in the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAlong with Snyder, Pletcher, a 133-pound wrestler, and 174-pound Bo Jordan enter the tournament ranked second in their weight classes. To capture a conference title, Pletcher will need to beat Michigan’s Stevan Micic, who defeated him on Feb. 11. Jordan is the underdog to Penn State’s Mark Hall, but also lost to Michigan’s Myles Amine.“I was ahead in both matches and got taken down in the third period on both to lose, so I’m excited for both of those rematches,” Jordan said. “Usually at this time heading into the Big Tens and nationals I haven’t been tested, and I haven’t really wrestled anyone in the top five.”That is not the case this season. Jordan has faced plenty of competition against the best guys in his weight class. Last season, Jordan beat Hall 6-4 to win the Big Ten championship at 174 pounds, but Hall got revenge at nationals, beating Jordan 5-2 in the championship. Bo Nickal of Penn State is the top seed at 184 pounds, with Ohio State junior Myles Martin one spot below. The pair has wrestled seven times in their college careers, and there will likely be an eighth matchup this weekend. Nickal leads the series 5-2 versus Martin.Ohio State senior 125-pounder Nathan Tomasello lost against Iowa’s Spencer Lee on Jan. 21 and didn’t wrestle against Nick Suriano of Rutgers when the Buckeyes beat them on Jan. 7 because he was recovering from an injury. “We love Nate. It’s his senior year, he’s going for his fourth Big Ten title, and he’s got an opponent that’s real,” Ryan said. “This guy has won three world titles. He thinks he’s going to win. We think we’re going to win, so that’s when the fun starts.”Tomasello finds himself seeded third behind Suriano and Lee, and would likely wrestle both if he has a chance to win the Big Ten championship. At 157 pounds, Ohio State No. 4 seed Micah Jordan will be looking for revenge against Michael Kemerer of Iowa. Kemerer is tied with Jason Nolf of Penn State for the top seed, since it is still unknown if Nolf will wrestle after suffering an injury on Jan. 28 against Rutgers. Jordan did not match up with Nolf on Feb. 3 because of the injury. None of the Buckeyes’ 10 wrestlers is seeded lower than ninth, and nine of them are seeded in the top five. Ke-Shawn Hayes is seeded fifth at 149 pounds and Te’Shan Campbell is slotted ninth at 165 pounds.Ohio State has aspirations beyond this weekend, which puts an emphasis on being mentally prepared.“It’s kinda difficult cause as much as you want to have a great performance at the Big Ten’s it’s important. But the endgame is the NCAA tournament,” associate head coach J Jaggers said. “So we can’t dial back our training too much to peak for Big Ten’s because we still have twelve days until NCAA’s start.”
Ohio State sophomore forward Kyle Young looks for a pass during the men’s basketball game between the Buckeyes and Spartans on Jan. 5. Ohio State lost 86-77. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternOhio State is in the midst of the longest losing streak in the Chris Holtmann era, but the Buckeyes have a longer-lasting record on the line against Purdue.Though Ohio State had never lost more than two games in a row since Holtmann took over as head coach, it has not lost more than four games in a row since the 1997-98 season. The Buckeyes lost 17 straight games that season after starting the year 7-3, finishing with an 8-22 record.In the 21 seasons since the losing streak, the Buckeyes have lost four games in a row six separate times, but have never pushed it to five games.To avoid the longest losing streak in more than two decades, Ohio State must defeat the Boilermakers, and do so without sophomore forward Kyle Young, who Holtmann said would miss “several weeks” with a stress fracture in his right leg.“Kyle has performed really well as a sophomore, and come into his own a little bit, in a lot of ways, and really made a step forward as a player,” Holtmann said. “He’s been an instrumental part of this team in every way.”Projected StartersOhio State (12-5, 2-4 Big Ten)G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 13.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.8 apgG — Keyshawn Woods — Redshirt senior, 7.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.0 apgG — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 9.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.1 apgF — Andre Wesson — Junior, 7.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.8 apgF — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 15.9 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.6 apgPurdue (12-6, 5-2 Big Ten)G — Carsen Edwards — Junior, 24.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.4 apgG — Ryan Cline — Senior, 12.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.3 apgG — Nojel Eastern — Sophomore, 6.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.1 apgF — Grady Eifert — Senior, 4.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.3 apgC — Matt Haarms — Sophomore, 7.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.3 apgPurdue comes in winners of its past three games, including a 35-point win against Rutgers six days after the Scarlet Knights picked up their first in-conference win of the season against Ohio State.Even though the Boilermakers come into the game unranked, KenPom.com has them as the No. 8 team in the NCAA and the third-best team in the Big Ten.Holtmann said Purdue will come in as hot as Maryland did in Ohio State’s previous game, and it is something for which he knows his team must prepare.“They’re playing as well as any team in our league right now,” Holtmann said. “I think they have a great understanding of what they’re trying to do on every possession, they’re extremely well connected as a group, they’ve obviously got very gifted players.”Junior guard Carsen Edwards leads the Boilermakers with 24.6 points per game, No. 4 in the NCAA, while hitting 37.9 percent of his shots from deep and 85.7 percent of his free throws.Holtmann is preparing for Edwards, along with senior guard Ryan Cline, a duo he said is among the best in the nation.“All of us know the effectiveness of Carsen Edwards and how dynamic he is,” Holtmann said. “I think he and Ryan Cline are two of the best shooters in the country, I really do. They are fantastic together.”The Boilermakers shoot the 30th-most 3-pointers per game and hit on 37.1 percent of them, No. 59 in the NCAA.Purdue also dominates in the turnover battle, with a plus-3.4 turnover margin per game, No. 33 in the country.Where Purdue struggles is away from home, something Ohio State will have the opportunity to take advantage of on Wednesday.While the Boilermakers are 9-0 at home, they have won just one of five games on the road. Ohio State is 9-3 at home this season.Junior forward Andre Wesson sees the upcoming matchup as a chance to shift momentum in the conference.“They’ve been playing well as of late,” Wesson said. “Obviously we haven’t, but this is a game that we need, especially if we want to continue to get better and continue to rise this year, so it’s a game that we need, and we’re gonna be ready.”Ohio State takes on Purdue in the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
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. Compared to the single group, which comprised 90 people, the married group of 180 patients exhibited a significantly lower BMI, an average of 26.5 and 24.5 respectively, as well as a lower average body fat mass and lower rate of metabolic syndrome.Among patients with type 2 diabetes, being overweight increases insulin resistance and further worsens blood sugar control. “These findings suggest that social supportive care is needed to help single patients with type 2 diabetes manage their body weight,” said the authors.The research also found that men who were married and lived with their spouse exhibited a risk reduction of 58 per cent for metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity. Living with a partner can half the risk of becoming overweight for people at risk from unhealthy lifestyles, new research suggests.A study of patients with type 2 diabetes revealed that those who cohabited with a spouse or partner had approximately 50 per cent less risk of being above the 25 body-mass index (BMI) thresholds than patients who do not, regardless of their gender. The findings suggest that a second pair of eyes to guard against unhealthy eating helps diabetics control their blood-sugar levels, the researchers said.The study by Yokohama City University tracked 270 patients with type 2 diabetes over six years.
It is fast becoming the modern way of dying, appreciated by some but frowned on by others.A growing number of crematoriums are fitting web cams in their premises to allow mourners to observe funeral proceedings from thousands of miles away.The development is being welcomed as a way of allowing grieving friends and relatives who would otherwise miss the occasion to take part.But many– particularly more traditional undertakers – fear web cam funerals may be used as an excuse for not attending services in person, denying the family of the dead the personal support crucial to the grieving process.One of the country’s leading funeral directors has said that while it may be useful for relatives living abroad there is a danger live-streaming will “pander to people’s laziness”.A recent survey of funeral directors found that 61 per cent of them had received requests for live-streaming of services and around a fifth of Britain’s 281 crematoriums already have webcams in place. Mr Childs, a retired book keeper, said: “Wayne was able to see it as it happened, it meant the world to him.”I would of course recommend it to other families. It was successful and wasn’t all that expensive either, around £50. I got a CD of the whole thing as well.” But there are now warnings modern technology could “let people off the emotional hook”.Paul Allcock, president of the Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors, said it would be a shame if live-streaming became ubiquitous.“In many cases there’s an appropriate request for it, such as when mourners live a distance away. But my main concern is that it’s too convenient for those that don’t want to make the effort of attending when perhaps they should,” he told The Telegraph.Mr Allcock pointed out that a few kind words with the bereaved at the service or the wake that follows form an integral part of a funeral, and no amount of sophisticated technology can substitute for the personal touch.“It’s wonderful for those relatives who live abroad, but there’s also a danger of pandering to people’s laziness and not attending personally and sharing your condolences, which is such an important part of the grieving process.“Many funeral directors will tell you that a few kind words shared over a sandwich after the funeral can never be replaced by watching the event from a distance via a web-camera.”One company which specialises in live-streaming funerals reports receiving one request a week for its services and currently has cameras at more than 25 locations. A digital camera discreetly set up the crematorium chapel captures the service, which is live-streamed online from where it can be watched at any computer terminal around the world, usually accessed using a secure user name and password issued to the viewer. James Crossland, whose firm Obitus charges from £1,000 to install and manage the required technology, says Britain’s changing demographic has led to a surge in the popularity of live-streamed funerals. Many funeral directors will tell you that a few kind words shared over a sandwich after the funeral can never be replaced by watching the event via a web-camera.Paul Allcock, Society of Allied and Independent Funeral Directors Wayne was able to see it as it happened, it meant the world to him. I would of course recommend it to other families.John Childs, 87 He points out that with five million Britons living abroad, and a rise in the number of migrants living here, there is growing demand for technology that will allow mourners to witness a funeral service without having to journey long distances to be there in person. Elderly people also find it difficult to attend funerals in person.John Childs, 87, welcomed the opportunity to live stream his wife Joan’s funeral so their son Wayne would be able to watch from his home 9,500 miles away in Australia.Mrs Childs, of Calmore, Southampton, Hants, was married to Mr Childs for 51 years before she died of lung cancer in March 2008 at the age of 69.Though Wayne and his family were able to come and be with her in her last few weeks, he had to leave to return to work in Perth, Australia, and as a result would miss the funeral.The Southampton Crematorium offered the service for an additional £50 charge which would allow Wayne to watch the entire funeral as long as he had a working internet connection. 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’ve made enormous strides, with Kirsty [Wark] and people like that, but in terms of editors and correspondents there’s a backlog to make up,” she said.Former Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster also spoke about sexism in the industry in an interview with The Mail on Sunday’s You magazine.Speaking about the macho culture, she said: “Oh it was bad. The producer would automatically talk to the male rather than the female, even if I was the lead presenter.“But I didn’t ever question whether I should be there. I’m passionate about sport, I know my subject and it’s always been important to show that people like me can become whatever we want to be.” During her career, Dame Joan, 83, has worked on Granada Television’s Reports Action, BBC’s Newsnight, Radio 4’s PM programme and Heart of the Matter, as well as presenting and narrating numerous documentaries. She is currently presenting the Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year.She warned, however, that the BBC was “changing out of all recognition” and risks being left “exposed” by its failure to commission popular arts shows.“Look at Bake Off,” she said. “They couldn’t stop it going to Channel 4. It leaves them very exposed. The old BBC is over. It’s a shrinking operation. In terms of popular arts programming Sky is roaring away.”The Labour peer, who was appointed the government’s Voice of Older People in 2008, also criticised the dearth of older women on television. 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. Dame Joan Bakewell has said her designation as “the thinking man’s crumpet” would never happen today because of “out of hand” political correctness which is hindering free speech.The veteran presenter was assigned the moniker by former BBC raconteur Frank Muir during her time on the BBC’s Late Night Line-Up in the 1960s and 70s.But Dame Joan said such comments would be frowned upon by today’s hypersensitive society.“It was a silly remark by Frank Muir, a friend,” she told The Mail on Sunday’s Event magazine.“Don’t you think people would be offended if it was tweeted now? I’m sure there would be trouble.“It’s very strange these days. You’ve got to be very very careful about what you say haven’t you? The laws are there so people can’t stir up racial hatred but it has bred a whole series of attitudes that you mustn’t offend by what you say.“You mustn’t offend the lesbian, gay, trans department; you musn’t offend the Jews, the fat, the thin. Hate crime has given way to offence crime, and, frankly, you do have to offend people from time-to-time and you have should have the freedom to do it. It’s got a bit out of hand.” The Labour peer says the BBC is failing to commission enough popular arts showsCredit: Andrew Crowley Joan Bakewell was dubbed ‘the thinking man’s crumpet’ by raconteur Frank MuirCredit:Evening Standard/Getty
Virtual assistants – such as the iPhone’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana – are included on smartphones and computers to make life easier, allowing users to issue commands, such as “call mum”, or easily search for nearby facilities such as restaurants and petrol stations. This happens because people are lonely and bored…. It is a symptom of our societyIlya Eckstein Ilya Eckstein, the chief executive of Robin Labs, said his company’s virtual assistant – Robin – was used by some men for up to 300 conversations a day. He told The Times it was “mostly teenagers and truckers without girlfriends” who were turning to the virtual world.”This happens because people are lonely and bored…. It is a symptom of our society,” he said. “As well as the people who want to talk dirty, there are men who want a deeper sort of relationship or companionship.”He added to Quartz that people who use engage with their virtual assistants in such a way “want to flirt, they want to dream about a subservient girlfriend, or even a sexual slave”. But Eckstein believes five per cent of interactions with his company’s chatbot are now sexually explicit. He also claims a third of conversations take place for no particular reason, with many users just wanting to chat. Deborah Harrison, a writer for Microsoft’s Cortana, told the Virtual Assistant Summit earlier this year that “a good chunk of the volume of early-on inquiries” were about the chatbot’s sex life. The issue has inspired films such as Her, which was released in 2013 and tells the tale of a lonely writer, who becomes obsessed with his operating system’s virtual assistant, voiced by Scarlett Johansson. The film Her tells the tale of a lonely writer who becomes obsessed with his chatbot, voiced by Scarlett Johansson Credit:Kevin Winter Men are increasingly turning to virtual assistants to have sexually explicit conversations, it has been claimed. Some teenagers and “truckers” who do not have partners are also developing feelings for female and male-voiced chatbots such as Siri, one expert said. 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.
James Hughes, a father-of-six from Northern Ireland, died at a hospital in Harrow A surgeon who served a jail sentence over the death of a patient at a private hospital has won an appeal against his conviction.David Sellu, now 69, was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter in November 2013 and handed a two-and-a-half-year prison term at the Old Bailey.On Tuesday, three Court of Appeal judges in London allowed his challenge against the conviction relating to the death of father-of-six James Hughes, from Northern Ireland. Mr Hughes, 66, died at the Clementine Churchill Hospital in Harrow, north-west London, after falling unexpectedly ill following knee surgery.The retired builder had a planned left knee replacement on February 5, 2010. The operation went well, but while recovering, he developed abdominal pain and was transferred to Mr Sellu’s care. It was the standard of the doctor’s care of Mr Hughes over a period of approximately 25 hours that formed the basis of the case against him.Appeal judges previously heard that the “essence” of the prosecution case was that the doctor, a “respected consultant colorectal surgeon”, should have performed an operation to repair a perforated bowel “at a much earlier time”.But a QC argued on behalf of Sellu, of Hillingdon, who served 15 months before being released in February last year, that his conviction for gross negligence manslaughter was “unsafe” on a number of grounds.Mr Sellu was present in court to hear Sir Brian Leveson, who heard the case with Lord Justice Irwin and Mr Justice Globe, announce that the conviction should be quashed.Sir Brian gave the prosecution 24 hours to make an application if they wish to seek a re-trial. 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.
Attempts at reconciliation failed, and when 70-year-old Mrs Jackson died in 2004 her will made no provision for her daughter.Martin Oliver, partner at Wright Hassall solicitors, who represented Mrs Ilott, said in a statement: “Heather is naturally very disappointed with the outcome of the Supreme Court judgment.”She is a hard-working mother who brought a claim to seek reasonable financial provision from her mother’s estate under legislation which has been around for over 80 years.”The Court of Appeal’s award comprised the £143,000 to enable Mrs Ilott to purchase her home, the reasonable costs of the purchase, and payments up to a maximum of £20,000 structured in a way that would allow her to preserve her state benefits.In his judgment Lord Hughes said that the original decision had been correct because the District Judge had already taken into account the impact on Mrs Ilott’s benefits. The decision had been overturned because Court of Appeal judges incorrectly said that the cash award could reduce her entitlement to these. Lawyers said the decision would make it more difficult for children to claim against a parent’s will.Scott Taylor, of law firm Barlow Robbins, said: “This judgment has potentially helped to stem the floodgates for claims by adult children who feel disappointed with the level of provision made for them in a will and has confirmed that only adult children who can demonstrate particularly straitened financial circumstances are likely to succeed.” The Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals argued that the appeal judges “fell into error” when deciding to increase the maintenance payout.The previous judgment said that donations left to charities should be seen as a “windfall” and and that they would have to demonstrate their need for the money outweighed the needs of disinherited family members. Mrs Ilott, from Great Munden, Hertfordshire, made an application under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 for “reasonable financial provision” from her mother’s estate.The Act confers the right on a child of a deceased parent to apply for an order if a will does not make reasonable provision for their maintenance.It is the first time an appeal under the 1975 Act has reached the Supreme Court.The law is normally used to benefit children or dependent relatives. This case is unusual because Mrs Ilott was an adult and financially independent from her mother when she made the claim.A panel of seven Supreme Court justices, headed by president Lord Neuberger, restored the order made by a district judge in 2007 that the sum should be £50,000.In the judgment Lord Hughes said that not enough weight had been given to Mrs Jackson’s wishes and that the good works the charities would do with the money added weight to their claim. A six-figure award to a woman who was left out of her estranged mother’s will has been overturned by the Supreme Court after three charities appealed the decision. Melita Jackson left the majority of her £486,000 estate to three animal charities, but her estranged adult daughter Heather Ilott made a claim against the estate, arguing that her mother had not made provision for her. An original settlement of £50,000 made by a district judge was appealed by Mrs Ilott, who said it was not generous enough. The Court of Appeal ruled that Mrs Ilott should be awarded £160,000, including £143,000 to buy her housing association home. This has now been overturned by the Supreme Court, which restored the original award.The judgment means that adult children are less likely to be able to make a successful claim against parents’ estates if they are disinherited. Mrs Ilott has no pension and lives on state benefits. She has five children and lived in a “modest” way, working as a bookkeeper for her actor husband who had “intermittent” work, the judgment said.But it added that significant weight should be given to the wishes set down in a person’s will and that family relationships do not automatically override the needs of charities who would use the money to do good works. He said: “Charities depend heavily on testamentary bequests for their work, which is by definition of public benefit and in many cases will be for demonstrably humanitarian purposes. The property in Hertfordshire which Mrs Ilott was awarded money from her mother’s estate to buyCredit:John Nguyen/JNVisuals “More fundamentally, these charities were the chosen beneficiaries of the deceased. They did not have to justify a claim on the basis of need under the 1975 Act, as Mrs Ilott necessarily had to do.”The judges also said that children would be entitled to more if they had had a close relationship with the parent and therefore a greater expectation of receiving something in a will. The judges also said that the law around wills should be clarified to avoid similar cases arising in future. In a separate judgment Lady Hale said: “I have written this judgment only to demonstrate what, in my view, is the unsatisfactory state of the present law, giving as it does no guidance as to the factors to be taken into account in deciding whether an adult child is deserving or undeserving of reasonable maintenance.”I regret that the Law Commission did not reconsider the fundamental principles underlying such claims when last they dealt with this topic in 2011.”Only child Mrs Ilott was rejected by her mother at the age of 17 after she left home without her knowledge or agreement in 1978, to live with her boyfriend Nicholas Ilott, who she later married. A spokesman for the charities said: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has given welcome reassurance that – save in limited and specific circumstances – the wishes recorded in a person’s will must be respected.”Blue Cross, RSPCA and RSPB and the charitable sector as a whole rely on generous gifts left in wills, without which much of their valuable work could not be done.”This judgment will allow us to continue to honour the wishes of individuals who choose to remember charities in their will.” 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.
“Let’s see what happens when he’s free. But you know I spend probably more time with him than any other man socially, which is very odd,” Anderson said in a Swedish TV talk-show appearance in March. Anderson, who is currently promoting the new Hollywood “Baywatch” movie in which she has a cameo role, made no comment on Friday on the Swedish decision other than to retweet the smiling photo Assange posted of himself in his first reaction to the news.In April, Anderson said that “our ‘affair’ and the curiosity surrounding that might bring some attention to his situation. That’s fine, but I’d rather not go into private details. Let’s just say everyone deserves love.”Earlier this month, she blogged again about Assange in a post called “We have more than a romantic life,” in which she said that the romance rumours were “a distraction when so much is at stake.”The blog post was accompanied by a black-and-white picture of the two of them cheek to cheek. “You may be an enemy of the state but you are not an enemy of humanity,” Lady Gaga told Assange in the video interview, which was released by Wikileaks on Wednesday.Assange has said nothing about his closer relationship with Anderson, and she has been coy about characterising it as dating or romantic. Assange, 45, is a cyber hero to some for exposing government abuses of power and championing free speech. To others he is a criminal who has undermined the security of the West.To Anderson, he is “the most intelligent, interesting and informed man in existence. Yes – I think he’s quite sexy,” the 49-year-old actress, former Playboy model and animal rights campaigner said in a March blog post. Photographers have snapped Anderson, often carrying take-away food, making numerous visits to the Ecuadorean embassy in the past six months.Anderson is not Assange’s only celebrity supporter. Pop singer Lady Gaga visited him in 2012 and filmed him for a video that was distributed this week to mark the release from a U.S prison of Chelsea Manning, who provided Wikileaks with more than 700,000 classified U.S. army documents. 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. “Baywatch” actress Pamela Anderson retweeted a smiling selfie of Julian Assange on Friday after Sweden dropped its investigation into the Wikileaks founder, reviving intrigue around the couple’s rumoured romance.Anderson’s blog posts about her numerous trips to the Ecuadorean embassy in London to visit Assange have proved one of the more fascinating aspects of the Australian’s five-year bid to avoid extradition to Sweden to face rape and molestation allegations, which he denies. pic.twitter.com/dDvB1Vekhg— Julian Assange (@JulianAssange) May 19, 2017 Wikileaks founder Julian AssangeCredit:AFP/Getty Images Pamela Anderson at the Oxford UnionCredit: Oxford Union/REX/Shutterstock