No matter how the NBA Finals plays out, by the end of this season fully half of the 16 finals since the breakup of the second three-peat Chicago Bulls in 1998 will have been won by the San Antonio Spurs or the Miami Heat. When these teams met in the 2013 finals, it marked the first time since the 1980s that both teams had multiple championships in their recent history. This year, both teams feature multiple players — Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker for the Spurs; Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem for the Heat — with at least three rings (all from their present teams).How does this stack up with other finals in NBA history? Very well. Counting total rings owned by players on both squads when entering their series, this is the second-blingiest matchup in the post-merger era (counting championships back to 1963, 10-ring minimum):Amazingly, the Spurs are the team with less championship pedigree in this matchup. The Heat have 11 players with championship-winning experience (unsurprising for the defending champs). But though the Spurs’ Big Three (Duncan, Parker, Ginobili) have more rings (10) than the seven held by the Heat’s Big Three (Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh), no other Spurs were around for their last title in 2007, and none has won a championship with another team. This 12-ring difference is large historically, and teams with such a disparity don’t have a good record:Teams with an eight-or-more ring advantage are 18-4 in finals series, though a lot of those were mismatches between a dynasty and a flavor of the month. But the Spurs this year are the better team on paper, with both the better record (62 wins in the regular season vs. Miami’s 54) and the better statistics (Spurs SRS was 8.0 vs. Miami’s 4.15). Additionally, the Spurs have a lot more rings than most ring underdogs. This year’s squad ties last year’s for the third-most rings ever owned by the less pedigreed team entering a finals:For a team with multiple championships to be the least decorated going into a finals is extremely rare. The Lakers in the 1987 Los Angeles/Boston matchup tops the list; the Lakers had 14 rings, fewer than the Celtics’ 20. That matchup had an interesting combination of NBA greats in their primes combined with NBA greats past their primes:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar seemed to be an ageless wonder and averaged nearly 22 points per game in the 1987 finals. But Bill Walton — in his final NBA season — played only 24 minutes in five games against the Lakers (after having played in only 10 games the entire regular season). Without his two rings, even that stacked finals would only be tied with this year’s. And if these two teams meet again next year, they will surely break the record.UPDATE (June 5, 6:48 p.m.): I only counted the rings of players who were on their teams’ active rosters in the NBA Finals. There are players such as Matt Bonner, who received a ring with the Spurs in 2007 but wasn’t on the Spurs’ finals roster. Bonner and his ilk aren’t included.(June 5, 8:28 p.m.): The first chart in this article originally omitted the 2005 series between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons but has since been updated.
Noah Syndergaard, the New York Mets’ phenomenal young starting pitcher, throws 99 mph fastballs and hits home runs to straight center field. Dillon Gee, the guy Syndergaard replaced in the rotation in May, does not do those things. After a trip to the disabled list, Gee is back, but the Mets couldn’t just send a rookie nicknamed Thor back down to the minors. They also couldn’t keep Gee, a perfectly solid back-of-the-rotation pitcher, there either.So, flush with pitching talent, the Mets are trying something novel: They are deploying a six-man rotation. It might just be a brilliant way to safeguard the health of their pitchers.Earlier this year, sabermetrician Russell Carleton wrote that six-man rotations offer few obvious benefits in terms of pitching performance: The extra day of rest doesn’t seem to increase pitcher strikeout rates or reduce walk rates. And, because the extra man entails splitting up the workload among a larger group of people, it tends to dilute the effect of truly great starting pitchers. Over a full season, a six-man rotation results in about 30-50 fewer innings per starter. For a top-heavy Mets rotation that can send Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard to the mound, reducing their workload appears costly and counterintuitive.1Carleton estimates a team’s cost of this reduced workload, for an average No. 1 starter, at about 1.6 wins (and Harvey might be better than an average No. 1 starter).If there is a potential benefit of a six-man rotation, then, it must be its health effects. And the Mets could use some preventive medicine. As others have noted, the number of pitchers with elbow injuries has spiked.2Even so, the epidemic is not as bad as it seems. The injury concern goes double for the Mets, whose rotation relies on a recently recovered Harvey, 42-year-old Bartolo Colón and fresh-off-the-DL Gee. (The Mets also saw another young pitcher, Zack Wheeler, undergo Tommy John surgery this year.) Since the greatest predictor of future pitcher injury is previous injury, the Mets are in a precarious position.Previous attempts to figure out whether six-man rotations help pitchers’ health haven’t suggested much of a connection. When Carleton did it, he couldn’t find any benefit, but he looked over a long timeframe (going all the way to the 1950s). Because we have detailed injury data going back only about 10 years, Carleton had to use a model that incorporated both injuries and other factors that might remove a pitcher from the rotation (such as poor performance). Accordingly, Carleton found only a modest effect on injury probability for starters going on three days’ rest, and only in the past couple of decades.On the other hand, Eno Sarris pointed out that six-man rotations are standard in Japan’s highest professional league, and the rate of Tommy John surgeries is much lower there. This lower rate exists despite a similarly abusive3Or perhaps even worse than abusive schedule for young pitchers. Furthering Sarris’s point, Yu Darvish, the Texas Rangers ace and recent victim of elbow surgery, argued that such a change might reduce wear and tear on the arm. Nevertheless, there are many distinctions between Japanese professional baseball and MLB, and it’s hard to confidently pin the responsibility for fewer injuries on the rotation strategy alone.I took a more direct look, using injury information accrued by Baseball Prospectus (specifically, Corey Dawkins) from 2006 through 2014. Over this period, starting pitchers have been primarily used in a five-man rotation, usually getting 4.2 to 4.5 days of rest, on average, over the course of a year. As a result, we need to look at individual pitcher outings to see some evidence of an injury-prevention effect. By linking the injury data with the time between starts of every pitcher,4Using data from Retrosheet we can get an idea about whether a six-man rotation would help reduce injury risk.I found that there is a strong link between rest and injury rates. Looking at starts on three days of rest, 1.7 percent of pitchers suffered a reported injury within the next two weeks.5These results hold for time windows going out to about 60 days, after which the correlation between rest and injury rates trails off. At four days of rest, the typical amount in the modern age, that number drops precipitously to 1.0 percent. (Maybe that helps explain why the five-man rotation came to be.) Then the injury risk falls even further: at five days of rest — which would be standard for a six-man rotation — just 0.8 percent of pitchers are injured in the next 14 days, for a 20 percent decrease compared with four days of rest. That is a potentially meaningful drop in injury risk.6The difference in injury probability over two weeks hovers right at the edge of statistical significance (p=.06, using a two-tailed Fisher’s exact test), partially because the probability of an injury occurring over any two-week span is quite low. If you extend the test to consider longer time windows (such as 21 days), the p-value drops below .05.Despite the drop in injury risk, when injuries were suffered, they were no more severe for pitchers operating on short rest. On either four or five days’ rest, pitchers lost a median of about 21 days of time.7There were too few injuries after three days’ rest to make any comparison meaningful. So more rest may prevent injuries, but injuries on shorter rest are no worse when they do happen.There are still potential issues of correlation and causation. Managers might change usage patterns for pitchers depending on their injury risks. Alternatively, injury risk could be correlated with some other factor that dictates usage patterns. Furthermore, though the additional day of rest seems to reduce short-term injury risk, there’s no guarantee that it would work as well in the long term — perhaps more rest merely delays the inevitable.8You might expect this scenario if pitcher injury results primarily from the progressive buildup of damage in the ligaments of the arm. If that’s the case, you can delay the date of injury by reducing the frequency of starts and the workload, but you can’t really prevent it from happening.Even if you accept that longer rest periods lead to fewer injuries, it’s difficult to come to any hard and fast conclusions regarding the optimal strategy. Although it appears that starting with more rest is correlated with a lower injury probability, the benefit that might be gained will be different for every team and every rotation. Top-heavy rotations that deploy a Cy Young candidate will suffer from seeing their excellent pitcher throw fewer innings, but at the same time, they may be guarding against that pitcher’s suffering an untimely injury (at least in the short term).This is the situation in which the Mets find themselves. With Harvey anchored as a dominant starter who’s also recovering from a dangerous injury, the reward (potentially reducing his risk of relapse) could outweigh the risk (losing some of his innings in the near term). And, as noted above, Harvey is not the only injury risk on the staff.Regardless of whether the six-man rotation is a good idea for other teams, it seems to fit the Mets and their injury-prone rotation. The question now becomes whether their slick strategy will come to cost them a win or two, as Harvey or Syndergaard gives way to the less-talented Gee. Perched on the edge of playoff contention this year, but with a still-brighter future ahead, the Mets must carefully balance the reduced risk of injury with the possibility of a surprise October run.
You’re reading Significant Digits, a daily digest of the telling numbers tucked inside the news.1 coachThat’s the number of female coaches in the NFL after Jen Welter was hired by the Arizona Cardinals as an assistant coaching intern. The NBA also has one female assistant coach, while MLB and MLS have no female coaches. As my colleague Leah Libresco tweeted: “We were going to graph the share of female coaches in men’s sports, but the bars were too small to see.” [FiveThirtyEight]4 jokesConan O’Brien is being sued for stealing jokes from Twitter. A man who says he was a longtime writer for Jay Leno claims an airline joke (wow, I’m laughing already) as well as jokes about Tom Brady, Caitlyn Jenner and the Washington Monument were pilfered from his feed and used on O’Brien’s show. Conan’s production company believes the suit is without merit. Coco, I’m gonna do you a solid: I’m tweeting a joke right now, just for you. I waive all rights, please feel free to use it in tonight’s monologue. [The Hollywood Reporter]8 farmsI’ve got my tent firmly pitched in the pro-cilantro camp, but my allegiance is being tested. The FDA has banned some cilantro imported from Mexico after investigators discovered “human feces and toilet paper in and around growing fields.” Eight of the 11 farms and packing houses investigated in the Mexican state of Puebla had “objectionable conditions” and five were linked to hundreds of outbreaks in the U.S. of cyclosporiasis. [CNN]15 percentShare of Americans who do not use the Internet. They must be so happy. [Pew Research Center]63.5 percentHomeownership in the U.S. is at a 48-year low. The seasonally adjusted homeownership rate is now 63.5 percent, down from pre-recession highs of above 69 percent. Both the homeowner and rental vacancy rates, however, have also fallen. This means a tight housing market — to which I can anecdotally attest, having recently hunted for an apartment — and a possible boon to the economy in ensuing construction. [The Wall Street Journal]200 to 400 feetAmazon has proposed that some prime (get it?) airspace, from 200 to 400 feet off the ground, be reserved for high-speed drones. The company has visions of one day delivering its packages by drone. [The Guardian]10,000 textsTom Brady’s four-game “Deflate-gate” suspension has been upheld by the NFL. In a statement on the decision, the league said Brady had destroyed his cellphone, despite investigators’ requests to access it. The phone had been used to exchange 10,000 text messages over four months — or just more than 80 texts a day. Even still, Brady’s got nothing on the 18 to 24 set — those kids send and receive more than 125 texts a day! [The Washington Post]$50,000 in bunny careAfter 103 rabbits were seized from her home, a Brooklyn woman has been ordered to pay $50,000 for their care. The bunnies had become celebrities in their neighborhood. [New York Post]$2 million a yearYou have to pay about $1,500 to license the song “Happy Birthday.” Yeah, that “Happy Birthday.” Two filmmakers upset by that fact have uncovered evidence that they say negates Warner/Chappell Music’s 1935 copyright and puts the song in the public domain. The copyright has at some points netted its owners about $2 million a year. [Ars Technica]304 million core usersTwitter’s stock price slumped more than 11 percent Tuesday, after slower than expected growth in its average monthly users. The company said it now has 304 million “core users.” That’s up from 302 million last quarter, but the growth was the slowest since the company went public. [Reuters]Don’t worry, Walt Hickey’s return is nigh. But today, for those of you who a) use the Internet and b) are on Twitter, if the significance of a digit moves you, please tweet it to me @Ollie. And have a super Wednesday!If you haven’t already, you really need to sign up for the Significant Digits newsletter — be the first to learn about the numbers behind the news.
Just about everything that could go right for the 2016 Texas Rangers did. Flying in the face of preseason projections that called for them to finish around .500, the Rangers rode stellar seasons from Adrian Beltre, Cole Hamels and Elvis Andrus (among others) all the way to 95 wins, the AL West crown and the league’s best record. At the same time, however, they relied on a combination of metrics that confounded sabermetricians all season long: a 36-11 record in one-run games — the best mark in MLB history — and on top of that, a better run differential than we’d expect from their underlying stats, too.In other words, number-crunchers suspected the Rangers had been massively, historically lucky last season — and were probably due for a downturn in 2017. But even the statheads didn’t see Texas’s fortunes reversing quite as much as they have. After that record-setting mark in close games a year ago, the Rangers somehow have the league’s second-worst winning percentage in one-run contests this year, and they’ve also scored fewer runs (and allowed more) than their statistics would predict. All the things that went right last season are now going wrong; as a result, Texas is in fourth place with little chance of making the playoffs.Here’s the funny thing, though: Deep down, the Rangers’ 2017 squad is probably every bit as good as its 2016 iteration, and possibly a little better, despite the huge decline in winning percentage. According to wins above replacement (WAR),1Averaging together the Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com versions of WAR. Texas had the 16th-best team in baseball last season with 32.4 total WAR. (For a sense of scale, the average team has about 33 WAR,2A .500 record in 162 games is 81-81, and WAR sets the replacement level at about 48 wins for an entire season. 81 minus 48 equals 33 WAR for the average team. meaning the 95-win Rangers were basically a middle-of-the-road ballclub after stripping away their good fortune in high-leverage situations.) This season, the Rangers are on pace for 32.8 total WAR over 162 games — ever so slightly more than they posted a year ago, and good for 13th-most in MLB.Some Texas players have been even better than last year (Andrus) and some disappointingly worse (Rougned Odor), but on the whole they’ve played basically the same at an individual level. The only real difference between the two versions of the Rangers has been in sequencing — that is, scoring more (and/or allowing fewer) runs than the underlying stats would predict, because events were timed right within an inning — and performance in close games. As Texas is learning, those categories can be extremely fluky, and teams who overachieve in them one year tend to see their records dramatically regress to the mean in the following season.We can measure how much a team benefited from each kind of good fortune with a couple of metrics: Base runs, which estimate how many runs a team “should have” scored and allowed based on its underlying stats, and the Pythagorean expectation, which estimates how many games a team “should have” won based on its run differential. Deviations from each estimate come, respectively, from fortunate sequencing and good luck in close games. And by those standards, last year’s Rangers — who beat their estimated record by a staggering 13 wins — were one of the luckiest teams in baseball history. According to TheBaseballGauge.com, they tied for the third-biggest difference between a team’s actual and expected records during the expansion era.3Since 1961. 2008Angels10062+5+12+17-3 ACTUAL RECORDWINS OF LUCK 2007D-backs9072+2+11+13-8 1969Mets10062+6+8+14-17 1962Reds9864+6+5+11-12 1973Reds9963+7+5+12-1 1987Cardinals9567+10+3+13-19 2006Athletics9369+6+8+13-17 1982Red Sox8973+7+4+11-11 2013Yankees8577+6+6+12-1 1977Orioles9764+2+9+11-7 YEARTEAMWINSLOSSESSEQUENCINGCLOSE GAMESTOTALCHG. IN WINS NEXT SEASON 1985White Sox8577+8+2+11-13 1985Angels9072+5+6+11+2 1987Twins8577+5+6+11+6 1984Mets9072-1+12+11+8 Change in wins is the difference in wins between this season and the next. In cases where an uneven number of games were played, the change is derived by pro-rating the team’s change in winning percentage over the number of games they played during the “lucky” season.Source: The Baseball Gauge 1963Dodgers9963+6+7+13-19 1972Mets83730+11+11-4 2012Orioles93690+11+12-8 1961Reds9361+1+10+110 2016Rangers95670+13+13-15 After the luck has goneMLB teams with the most extra wins of luck from sequencing and close games, 1961-2017 1989Astros8676+3+7+11-11 Even among those lucky teams, the Rangers’ fall this season has been especially steep. They’re on pace for a 15-win decline from 2016, in part because their luck has actually turned in the opposite direction. So far this season, they’ve managed to win one fewer game than they would have with neutral sequencing and normal luck in close games. And this fickle twist of fate is basically the difference between Texas comfortably returning to the playoffs and being on the outside looking in: The Rangers are currently two games out of the American League’s second wild-card spot, with five teams ahead of them to leapfrog as well. If they had last year’s luck again, they’d be five games clear of the New York Yankees for the first wild-card.Instead, the Rangers serve as yet another reminder of just how unpredictable baseball can be. A team can boast practically identical talent in consecutive seasons,4According to The Baseball Gauge’s meta-metric that mixes the various types of WAR available online, here were Texas’ 2016 ranks in batting, fielding, starting pitching and relief pitching value: 16th, 9th, 13th and 21st. Those same ranks in 2017: 14th, 13th, 9th and 22nd. and still see their record fluctuate wildly from one year to the next. In the face of such a cruel and random universe, the best a team and its fans can do is to relish the breaks when they go their way, and enjoy the small blessings of a season when they don’t.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
A new study estimates that 83 percent of gay male youth athletes in the United States are keeping their sexual orientation hidden from some or all of their teammates. Lesbian athletes in the same age group (under 22 years old) were more willing to be public about it — 63 percent said they were hiding their orientation.The reason for the secrecy — even in an age when polls show that acceptance has been increasing — is often fear. Nearly half of gay men and 44 percent of lesbians around the world who kept their sexual orientation hidden said they did so in order not to be bullied. In addition, fear of discrimination from coaches or officials was mentioned by 32 percent of gay men and 28 percent of lesbians.The survey found that 80 percent of the respondents, both gay and heterosexual, had witnessed or experienced homophobia in sports.Titled “Out On The Fields,” the report was based on a survey of nearly 9,500 gay, bisexual and heterosexual people and claims to be the largest-ever study on homophobia in sports. (The questions only related to sexual orientation, not gender identity, so the study offers no information about transgender athletes.)After publicizing the anonymous online questionnaire through various media outlets,1 They included Outsports, Gay News Network, Star Observer, Same Same, Fairfax Media, The Guardian, ESPN, EILE Magazine Ireland, Gay NZ, GayStar News, Daily Xtra and Pink News UK. the researchers received answers from several English-speaking countries. The highest numbers of responses came from Australia (3,006), the United States (2,064), the United Kingdom (1,796), Canada (1,123), New Zealand (631) and Ireland (501).The United States received the lowest overall “inclusion score” of all the countries analyzed, with a high number of respondents saying the U.S. was not accepting of gay athletes. (Though because of the small sample sizes for respondents from New Zealand and Ireland, it isn’t necessarily fair to say that the U.S. ranks worst.)In a phone interview, the survey’s lead author, Erik Denison, said attitudes about privacy among athletes are often related to the perception of homophobia in sports.“I made that decision myself when I kept in the closet,” he said. “Implicitly it is about discrimination, though. The straight men can talk openly in conversations about what you did at the weekend, the women they met. If you’re gay though, you either have to make up stories or be excluded. It’s not the same.”The large scale of the survey, though, doesn’t mean that it is the definitive word on homophobia in sports. Even in countries that had a high number of respondents, it can be difficult to tease out more detailed trends because the subgroups are far too small. Responses were split into youth and adult sports (i.e. under age 22 and over age 22) but also broken out by sports played and the sexual orientation of the respondents.What’s more, not everyone even said they played sports — among U.S. respondents, for example, 81 percent of gay women and 75 percent of gay men said they participated in youth sports, while 63 percent of gay women and 42 percent of gay men said they participated in adult sports. As a result, the finding that 83 percent of gay male youth athletes keep their sexuality hidden from teammates is based on just 114 individuals.Denison and his co-author, Alistair Kitchen, both members of Australia’s first gay rugby team, said they were are aware of those limitations. Their international approach was partly informed by the fact that past smaller-scale studies on homophobia in sport have been dismissed for being too limited in scope. The final methodology and findings were reviewed by seven academic experts prior to publication.Overall, these results should be treated as estimates in an under-researched area filled with speculation, rather than definitive numbers about gay athletes.Gay respondents were more likely than heterosexual ones to say that homophobia was more common in team sporting environments than in general society. But LGB athletes also related positive reactions to revealing their orientation to their teammates. In its write-up of the report, the gay sports site Outsports.com acknowledged many of the issues cited by respondents but added that “people in sports behave very differently when an athlete actually comes out,” often welcoming the LGB athlete and apologizing for language used in the past.Denison also described what he called “the snowball effect” — the notion that the more LGB athletes there are who are open about their sexual orientation, the more accepted gay athletes will become in sports. As evidence for that, Denison pointed to the higher share of lesbian athletes in the U.S. who are open about their sexuality with their teammates and the fact that lesbian athletes around the world are more likely to say teams offer them a “supportive and safe environment.”Because of their visibility, LGB professional athletes are likely more influential than amateurs in getting the snowball effect rolling, but few seem comfortable speaking publicly. The survey allowed respondents to submit detailed stories about themselves — around 1,600 did so. Denison said that about three dozen of those who provided narrative accounts were professional athletes, including at least two on their respective countries’ national teams.Last year, after the professional football player Michael Sam told ESPN and The New York Times that he is gay, he said he received messages from many fellow athletes who “had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out.”So far, Sam’s decision has not created a snowball effect in the U.S. — partly because there will need to be other outspoken gay athletes before the sport reaches what Denison describes as “a critical mass.”
101991Duke682.868.8+14.0+6.0 171998Kentucky685.772.3+13.3+3.7 82008Kansas675.060.8+14.2+6.5 SeasonChampionGamesTeamOpponentAveragevs. Expected Which champion had the most impressive tourney run?Best NCAA tournament points per game margin vs. expected (based on Elo ratings) for men’s champions, 1985-2018 321997Arizona678.272.8+5.3-0.2 181995UCLA686.372.0+14.3+3.6 291994Arkansas687.576.3+11.2+0.3 301987Indiana689.278.7+10.5+0.1 251986Louisville685.573.7+11.8+1.6 In the battle between the nation’s best (Villanova) and hottest (Michigan) teams, it was the latter that started Monday’s NCAA men’s national championship game right on script. The Wolverines led by 7 about a quarter into the game, and it looked like Michigan was tracking for a title-game upset that would rank alongside Syracuse over Kansas in 2003, UConn over Duke in 1999 and Arizona over Kentucky in 1997.1Just to name a few comparable upsets from recent memory.Soon, though, reality set in, and the superior Wildcats asserted themselves. With its 79-62 victory over Michigan, Villanova ended any debate about who was No. 1 this season — and instead opened up the discussion about where coach Jay Wright’s team should rank among NCAA champions from history.When things were going well for Michigan, the Wolverines were perfectly playing to their strengths — and shutting down Villanova’s. Led by the versatile 6-foot-10 forward Moe Wagner, Michigan had the big advantage over Nova in Ken Pomeroy’s effective height metric (which measures frontcourt size), and it flexed that muscle early on. Michigan outrebounded Villanova 7-4 in the game’s first seven minutes, while Wagner scored 9 quick points in the same span. At the same time, Michigan’s staunch 3-point defense — which held opponents to the sixth-lowest rate of attempts from beyond the arc during the season — gave Villanova few clean looks from deep. Uncharacteristically, the Wildcats missed eight of their first nine shots from the outside.But after the textbook start, the wheels fell off for Michigan. Midway through the first half, Nova embarked on a 16-5 run that saw them take the lead for good. The rest of the game was a clinic for Villanova; the final stats for the title game bore little resemblance to the numbers that generated Michigan’s early lead. Nova ended up outrebounding the bigger Wolverines 38-27 and knocked down 10 of 27 3-pointers. (In the end, it was Michigan — another team heavily reliant on the three — that went cold from deep, missing 20 of 23 attempts from long range.)It helped Nova that sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo saved the game of his life for the championship. Despite starting the game out on the bench, DiVincenzo poured in 31 points, including 15 from 3-pointers alone. Every time Michigan appeared to be on the verge of mounting a comeback, DiVincenzo came up with a big shot to quell the rally. Monday’s performance, on the heels of a mega-efficient 15-point outing in the national semifinals, earned DiVincenzo well-deserved most outstanding player honors for the tournament.Now the only real question that remains is where Villanova ranks in history. By winning two championships in three years, the Wildcats have already earned some measure of immortality: Before Villanova, just three teams in the 64-team bracket era — since 1985 — have won twice in three seasons. (The others were Duke in 1991/92, Kentucky in 1996/98 and Florida in 2006/07.) But this season’s team is also in elite company by deeper metrics than simple ring-counting. According to KenPom.com’s power ratings, Villanova ended the season as the second-best NCAA men’s champion since 2002, trailing only Kansas in 2008. The Wildcats also rank eighth among champs in the 64-team era according to our Elo ratings,2Behind 1992 Duke, 1996 Kentucky, 2001 Duke, 2016 Villanova, 1993 North Carolina, 2008 Kansas and 2009 North Carolina. which estimate a team’s quality at a given point in time, and their impressive title run should elevate them on anybody’s list of all-time champs.How to judge a champion’s tournament performance? One way is to look at how much more it outscored opponents than we’d expect based on those opponents’ Elo ratings. During the 2018 tourney, Villanova trounced opponents by an average of 17.7 points per game — never winning by fewer than 12 and covering the Vegas spread in all six games — against a set of foes that we’d expect the average champ3With an Elo rating of 2150. to beat by just 9.8 per game. That difference of 7.9 points per contest ranks fifth among men’s champs since 1985: Points/GameMargin 11996Kentucky689.267.7+21.5+13.0 111993North Carolina684.568.8+15.7+5.7 22016Villanova683.562.8+20.7+12.9 32009North Carolina687.867.7+20.2+10.2 132000Michigan State671.756.3+15.3+4.6 241992Duke682.369.8+12.5+1.7 52018Villanova683.866.2+17.7+7.9 162010Duke671.356.8+14.5+4.2 62001Duke686.870.2+16.7+7.5 122013Louisville679.563.3+16.2+5.4 41990UNLV695.276.5+18.7+8.2 332003Syracuse677.068.0+9.0-0.4 311988Kansas673.865.0+8.8-0.1 222017North Carolina681.770.5+11.2+2.1 341985Villanova655.050.0+5.0-2.6 232004Connecticut677.263.8+13.3+2.0 201989Michigan690.080.2+9.8+2.4 92006Florida672.756.7+16.0+6.1 142005North Carolina684.270.3+13.8+4.4 282014Connecticut671.763.8+7.8+0.9 192007Florida682.768.5+14.2+2.5 152002Maryland683.569.5+14.0+4.4 212012Kentucky681.369.5+11.8+2.1 262011Connecticut666.356.0+10.3+1.5 72015Duke671.856.3+15.5+7.0 Show more rowsExpected margins were generated for an average champion with an Elo rating of 2150. 271999Connecticut675.864.0+11.8+1.1 Of course, as impressive as Villanova was this season, Elo still thinks more highly of the team’s championship run two years ago. So it’s not completely open-and-shut where this season’s Wildcats even rank relative to themselves in terms of recent champs. But after the way Nova dismantled Michigan and Kansas in San Antonio, it’s run out of yardsticks from 2018 with which to compare anyway. The only opponents left to vanquish at this point are the ghosts of the past.UPDATE (April 3, 2018, 1 p.m.): This post has been updated to reflect the latest data from KenPom.com, which shows Villanova as the second-best NCAA men’s champion since 2002. (Villanova’s new +33.76 rating moved them ahead of Duke’s +33.29 mark from 2010.)
Then-OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) runs with the ball to the end zone during a game against Michigan on Nov. 28 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Columbus City Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it will not be pursuing domestic violence charges against former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. The news was first reported by Drew Davison, a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.On July 22, Elliott was accused of domestic violence by a woman alleging to be an ex-girlfriend. The woman, Tiffany Thompson, claimed Elliott had struck her multiple times while in a parked car. Thompson posted pictures on Instagram of her bruises. According to a press release from the prosecutor’s office, Thompson claimed instances of domestic violence on five separate occasions during an interview with the Columbus Division of Police.Elliott was never arrested for the allegations, and the investigation hit a stalemate after conflicting reports and a lack of evidence.The prosecutor’s office declined to press charges “primarily due to conflicting and inconsistent information across all incidents resulting in concern regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the filing of criminal charges,” the release said.
Roses might have been the only things on the Buckeyes’ mind for a few hours Saturday after a game-winning kick in overtime vanquished Iowa and clinched a share of the Big Ten title.But after the 27-24 thriller, the mood quickly went from joyful to serious as OSU began preparation for its game against Michigan.“Someone described this month as tough, tougher and toughest,” coach Jim Tressel said Monday at his weekly press conference. “We’ve battled through the tough and the tougher, and now we’re excited about the toughest and there’s just a special feeling about this week.”Tressel’s Buckeyes have locked up at least a share of the Big Ten crown with back-to-back victories over Penn State and Iowa.Michigan week, however, is about a fierce rivalry and tradition that goes deeper than any conference championship, season record or bowl berth.Still plenty at stakeAlthough the Buckeyes have already clinched a share of the Big Ten title, a win over Michigan would make that title outright.A win by OSU would also keep Michigan at home this postseason, as the Wolverines need a win over the Buckeyes to become bowl eligible.“It’s exciting for a lot of reasons. One is it’s Ohio State-Michigan and there’s nothing like it,” Tressel said about the rivalry. “Two, it’s your last regular season game and you’d like to think that you’re going to be playing your best football in all phases, offensively, defensively, special teams, and we’ve certainly got a lot of work to do for that to be the case, but we’re looking forward to a great week of preparation. Our kids are excited.”Senior captain Kurt Coleman said regardless of records, the Buckeyes have just as much to play for because a loss would diminish everything they have worked hard for this season.A loss for the Wolverines would mean a second-straight season in which Michigan watches the rest of the Big Ten play in bowls, while the team sits at home.“Playing Michigan is always important to us,” senior defensive lineman Doug Worthington said. “It is the biggest game of the season for us, just like it is for them. Just putting the added pressure that this is what it will take for them to get to a bowl game and knowing that we can stop them is big, it’s huge. We definitely want the victory, and if that keeps them from going to a bowl game, that’s just a little added sugar on top.”Lopsided rivalrySince Tressel took over at Ohio State, the rivalry has been dominated by the man in the sweater vest.At 7-1 since taking the helm at OSU, Tressel has turned a rivalry that used to be dominated by the Wolverines into an annual victory for the Scarlet and Gray.Even when OSU isn’t favored, Tressel seems to find the necessary ingredients to upset the school up north.Tressel said that to an outsider, the rivalry might have lost some of its luster, but to those involved, OSU-Michigan is always the most important game of the year.“Well, not if you’re a part of it. If you’re an observer, perhaps,” Tressel said, responding to a question about the rivalry losing steam. “But if you’re a part of it and you’ve felt those feelings and had those experiences and just know what it means to both schools and so forth, that would never occur to the participants.”The players also feel no different toward their rival regardless of their unimpressive record. Beating Michigan every season is still a goal, no matter what has happened in the first 11 games.“You can’t be worried about the success we have had the last few years,” Worthington said. “This year is a different year and they are definitely a different team. They are very capable, and what’s up for the bowl game for them is huge. We’ve already been blessed with a bid to the Rose Bowl but I was telling the team to get that out of their head, and make sure we take this game like we have every other game, one at a time because that’s how they’re going to take it.”Wildcat offenseIn victories against Penn State and Iowa, the Buckeyes unveiled a new wrinkle on offense.The Wildcat formation has swept through college and pro football, and the Buckeyes have joined the party.“I think the first discussion of it came up when Terrelle was a little banged and our tailbacks were a little healthy,” Tressel said.Sophomore running back Dan Herron has taken most of the direct snaps, and on Saturday he scored on an 11-yard run. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor lines up at wide receiver during the formation, and is still lobbying to make a play.“He’s hoping for us to throw it to him. You know how that is. He thinks he’s a great route runner,” Tressel joked. “I said, well, you’ve got to have somebody who can throw it. So I think he’s reminiscing about when Todd [Boeckman] was throwing to him. Todd’s not here, so any little thing we can have to add preparation time for people to add pressure to our opposing defenses we think is good.”Throwing tradition out the window with “throwbacks”While some teams embrace changes, OSU has built its history on tradition.The Buckeye uniforms have sported mostly the same look for the last several decades, but on Saturday, for one day only, OSU will look drastically different.The Buckeyes will wear a throwback uniform designed by honoring the 1954 National Championship team.The new Nike Pro Combat uniform design will offer several technologically advanced features, while also being designed in a scheme to pay tribute to Buckeye legends from decades ago.“I’m excited,” junior receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said. “Obviously it’s something different, change it up a little bit, so it will be fun.”The most drastic change will be the helmets. The silver and traditional stripe will be replaced with an all-white helmet and numbers on the side, a single red stripe will also run down the middle.Coleman expressed satisfaction with the new throwbacks, but said he doesn’t think it will have any effect once the ball is snapped.Worthington said he and the rest of the linemen will look their best in the slender-fitting new digs.“We’re going to look great, fantastic. I’ve been doing some extra curls and stuff, getting my wristbands ready,” Worthington said. “I got my Vaseline so I can look shiny and big. … It is a great thing to be able to represent the 1954 team and being serious about it. They are great uniforms and Nike did a wonderful job of creating a replica throwback.“It’s just going to be great to go out and play with those uniforms on, but at the end of the day, when the ball’s snapped, it doesn’t matter what we have on, we have to get after the Wolverines,” Worthington said.
Following a record 40-point performance from freshman Jared Sullinger in its last outing, No. 2-ranked Ohio State (8-0) featured a much more balanced attack Sunday afternoon, easily handling Western Carolina (4-8), 85-60. On a snowy Columbus day, OSU traveled just down the street from the Schottenstein Center to historic St. John Arena, the Buckeyes’ former home, and got off to a hot start on both ends of the court. “I thought today we came out and had a little more intensity to our defense,” said OSU coach Thad Matta. “Offensively, especially in the first half, we did a good job of sharing the ball. … I was pretty pleased with how guys played.” The Buckeyes garnered double-digit scoring from five players, including 17 from Sullinger, as the team shot 51.9 percent from the floor. OSU stormed out of the locker room, putting together an 18-4 run in the game’s first nine minutes. The Buckeyes would not relinquish their double-digit lead the rest of the afternoon. “I felt like a little bit early in the game we almost gave them too much respect,” said WCU coach Larry Hunter. “They came out and jumped right on us to their credit.” Paced by 12 first-half points from Sullinger and nine from junior guard William Buford, the Buckeyes took a 42-25 lead going into halftime. Defensively, OSU was just as dominant in the contest’s first stanza. The Buckeyes’ defense forced 14 first-half Catamount turnovers, which led to 14 OSU points. “Coach Matta said we needed to let them know we’re there on defense and try to push the turnovers,” Sullinger said. “The whole practice, the last couple practices have been about toughness, and I think we showed that today.” OSU opened the second half with another big run, this time an 18-8 surge, extending its lead to 27 points. Despite the Buckeyes’ overall dominance, the Catamounts held a distinct advantage over OSU on the glass as they outrebounded it 39-26. “We didn’t rebound at all tonight,” Sullinger said. “They were a real scrappy team and they’re going to be a good team by the end of the year and they outrebounded us just because they wanted it more.” Still, Matta said he was content with his team’s effort overall. The Buckeye coach was able to get all 11 of his available players on the court. “I think the more we can build our bench, the better off we will be,” Matta said. Buford, Deshaun Thomas and Dallas Lauderdale each contributed 13 points apiece, and Jon Diebler added another 10 of his own to OSU’s balanced scoring. After completing final exams Dec. 9, the Buckeyes will be out of class until Jan. 3. Sullinger said this period of time is of the utmost importance for the team. “Right now this is where players are made,” he said. “You can relax and just go clubbing and have a good time, or you can be in the gym, getting better and hitting the weights hard. “We really have a tough basketball team and I think we are going to be mentally tough to handle the obstacles that are going to come our way.” The Buckeyes will return to action Dec. 15 as they welcome Florida Gulf Coast University to the Schottenstein Center for a 6:30 p.m. tipoff.
OSU then-redshirt freshman Nathan Tomasello during a match against Minnesota on Feb. 6 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern File PhotoOhio State Nathan Tomasello said Friday his right knee was injured while competing at the U-23 World Team Trials on Oct. 8. Ohio State announced shortly thereafter the 125-pound wrestler would miss an indefinite amount of time to start his redshirt senior season.He said he received an MRI last week and had his right knee scoped Wednesday along with a trim of his meniscus. Head coach Tom Ryan felt more optimistic after the knee scope. “We thought it was significant and we feel way better about it,” Ryan said. “He got scoped and he’s going to be back I think sooner than we thought.”Originally, Ohio State expected Tomasello to return to the Buckeyes’ lineup in January. Ryan said a December return might be feasible at this point. Tomasello agreed with the possibility, but is taking his rehab one step at a time. “We’ll see,” Tomasello said. “I’m not going to put it out there. I think it is, but I know the doctor is pretty conservative. They’re thinking January, but it’s all about how I’m feeling. I feel like once I get on the mats in a few weeks from now, if it’s feeling good, I’m definitely going to want to be back earlier.”Before the injury, Tomasello was focused on his return to the 125-pound class after competing at 133 pounds last season. He was previously in the 125-pound class the two seasons prior to his redshirt junior campaign. The redshirt senior is looking to become a four-time All American before his time at Ohio State ends. While attempting to qualify for the U-23 World Championships a couple weeks ago, Tomasello said he felt good on the mat during his match in the finals with Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix and that he continued to wrestle after knowing he had sustained the injury. “I wrestled well and had a good opponent in the finals and we had some good battles,” Tomasello said. “In the second match, I was finishing a shot, landed on my knee wrong and felt it pop. I was able to continue the match, but after the match it started swelling up and it was pretty tough to walk on the next day.”Tomasello would miss 12 Ohio State wrestling events if he does not compete for the remainder of the calendar year. At wrestle-offs Thursday night, freshman Brakan Mead defeated fellow freshman Brady Koontz and will serve as Tomasello’s replacement until the former NCAA champion returns.The redshirt senior has experience navigating his way back from injury. While competing at the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships during the end of his redshirt sophomore year, Tomasello injured his shoulder and re-injured it while trying to compete at Olympic trials afterwards. He then underwent rotator cuff surgery and endured six months of rehab before returning for another All-American season. “Just knowing what it takes and having a mindset of being patient and knowing my body, I think it’s important looking back at that knowing with this injury, how to deal with it,” Tomasello said.Ryan has nothing but confidence in the return of his redshirt senior and said the rehab will be just as much mental as it is physical. “The most important thing is where Nate’s mind is,” Ryan said. “And his mind has never been more ferocious and focused at what he’s got to do to get back.”
Ohio State freshman Kyle Young looks to pass into the post against Walsh in an exhibition game on Nov. 5 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Jacob Myers | Managing Editor for ContentOhio State’s forward depth continues to wane thin as freshman forward Kyle Young is out with an ankle injury for the Buckeyes’ game against William and Mary, an Ohio State spokesperson said Saturday. With center Micah Potter’s continued absence from the team, Ohio State now will turn to sophomore forward Andre Wesson as the primary backup to center Kaleb Wesson and forwards Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop. Young has averaged 2.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.2 assists per game. He registered a career-high six points and four rebounds against Michigan in the team’s 71-62 win against the Wolverines Monday.
Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey2018 record: 1-11Head coach: Chris Ash (fourth year, 8-31)2019 record so far: 1-2Record against Ohio State since 2010: 0-5What’s happened so far in 2019: Rutgers had a bye week during Week 4. After looking sharp in a 48-21 win over Massachusetts in Week 1, the Scarlet Knights have allowed 60 points and scored only 16 total in two games since. They were shut out 30-0 against then-No. 20 Iowa in their second game and lost 30-14 to Boston College the following week. Senior quarterback McLane Carter, the Week 1 starter, has been out since midway through the second game due to concussion-like symptoms. This has prompted head coach Chris Ash to turn to sophomore Artur Sitkowski to throw the ball and lead the offense. Key offensive player:Junior wide receiver Raheem Blackshear brings versatility to the Rutgers offense. Blackshear is No. 5 in the Big Ten with 255 total receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns on the season and two games with more than 125 receiving yards. However, Blackshear’s skills do not rely solely on catching the football. He led the team in rushing and receiving yards in 2018, with 586 rushing yards and 367 receiving yards and currently has 77 rushing yards this season. He was named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List for the most versatile player in college football prior to the start of the season.Key defensive player:Junior linebacker Tyshon Fogg has proved to be a defensive force. He currently leads the team with 30 tackles and has been heavily relied upon by the Scarlet Knights after they lost two starting linebackers from 2018 in Deonte Roberts and Trevor Morris. Fogg’s 15 solo tackles are already more than his total a year ago, and his numbers will likely continue to increase.Weaknesses:The Scarlet Knights have the fewest first downs in the Big Ten with 11, due in part to their 30 percent third-down-conversion rate. Penalties have afflicted Rutgers so far, as it averages a conference high 80.3 penalty yards per game. Rutgers has turned the ball over eight times over its three games, with a minus-six turnover margin. Ball security and disciplined play will be important moving forward.
when it sinks in that your life ends tomorrow #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/8VhkFpwK7Z— Nathan ~ (@TypicalAriTrash) August 24, 2016 12. Some jokes Me on results day lol #gcseresults2016 pic.twitter.com/gG4JB6DnrT— zahira (@adrianazahir) August 24, 2016 15. Life choices Guess who’s results are spelling out DUDE tomorrow #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/apta1Xvx0F— Jamie Young (@Psychotic_J) August 24, 2016 2. Some looked on the bright side 10. Drama 16. The end of all happiness I’m dressing in all black tomorrow in remembrance of my happiness,confidence and what was once a potentially good future #GCSEresults2016— ㅤheterophobic megan (@haethenharley) August 24, 2016 6. Some sleepless nights 7. And some explaining to do Explaining my results to my parents #GCSEResults2016 https://t.co/6Ph6PpGplb— Niall (@NiallGamesYT) August 24, 2016 Thousands of teenagers will find out their GCSE results today and it’s fair to say many of them are absolutely dreading it.Many of them shouldn’t worry about their results, it seems, judging by the creative talent behind some of the tweets using the #gcseresults. 19. Welcome to the real world GCSE results day – in tweets1. Oh the dread me tomorrow when I open up that envelope #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/XrF4NkCqSk— brooke (@magicalgilinsky) August 24, 2016 25. Some denial #GCSEResults2016 parents: so..can you show us your results?me: pic.twitter.com/YwmChZefWh— hansol devotee (@OMGCHWE) August 24, 2016 21. Avoidance 17. Career decisions to make From leaving the country as quickly as possible to that moment you have to face your parents, here are the best tweets about GCSE results day.Follow the day live here. Meanwhile, former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has offered some very important life advice to A-Level students. Can you guess what these celebrities got in their GCSEs? Take the quiz! 11. Analysis When you finally fill yourself with confidence for results day then you see the grade boundaries 😩 #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/gfpJnuxoSz— Charlie Jones (@CharlieJones) August 24, 2016 27. And finally, regret 3. Others were more reflective 13. Others looked to the future Don’t focus on your results, tomorrow it’s exactly 4 months until Christmas! ☃ #GCSEResults2016— Félicité (@fizfizfiz) August 24, 2016 “You said you thought you’d done well on your exams” #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/u2p6HdC17Z— |Kayleigh| (@Space_Cvnt) August 24, 2016 When you know aqa are going to screw you over as well #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/zoeGQbWBX8— hannah (@vlogforjim) August 24, 2016 “Grade boundaries are higher then ever” #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/ySr9zISwlC— Jo (@JodieEmily99) August 24, 2016 All year 11’s are like this bread #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/c4oSyq9Sf7— azy (@azymanzur) August 24, 2016 18. Inspirational quotes when you’re enjoying your summer but then you remember results day is tomorrow #GCSEResults2016 #gcseresultsday2016 pic.twitter.com/HX2xGPYOgZ— abbie (@_abbieroberts_) August 24, 2016 24. Train tickets were booked 9. Running away Whatever you get, you’re not silly. 👌#GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/RRp97pGgf1— Radio X (@RadioX) August 24, 2016 Looking at the unofficial mark scheme for maths v Looking at the grade boundaries #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/VNTE0MXpZD— GCSE Problems (@GCSEProbIems) August 24, 2016 5. There was some classic English literature LOLs 26. Acceptance 23. Hoping for a miracle Tomorrow. #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/MV8xDGvPNo— S T E E P L E S (@Steeepless) August 24, 2016 When people ask me how I’m feelin rn #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/UsfAtHy9uE— eve (@evebennettx) August 24, 2016 20. Some grade boundary issues 8. Blame when I give my parents my results card #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/pVZdCzHWiw— esme (@Esme_grace9) August 24, 2016 my career plans before VS after seeing the grade boundaries #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/zAk4YjF0Nh— Gucci (@hesology) August 24, 2016 4. It’s a big day for teachers too Retweet for good luck. Don’t risk it #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/8wfpeZkx3Y— Jay.*・° (@recoverpurpose) August 24, 2016 #GCSEResults2016 “Did you get the GCSE results that you wanted?” pic.twitter.com/d1I5OsDE8b— Mahel Khan (@Mahelx) August 24, 2016 #GCSEResults2016 Teachers today looking at my results and being like: pic.twitter.com/BA1EK1d5xz— Jamie Young (@Psychotic_J) August 24, 2016 #GCSEResults2016 well it was nice having a family while it lasted— søph (@Sophie_Brxce) August 24, 2016 14. Probable tears #GCSEResults2016 no hope pic.twitter.com/6SHJnIGqu1— Tom (@_tomfr) August 24, 2016 22. Fear Tonight’s the night every 16 year old wishes they had started revision in November like every teacher had told them to #GCSEresults2016— Katherine (@katherinedyer_3) August 24, 2016 If this isn’t pathetic fallacy, I don’t know what is #GCSEResults2016 pic.twitter.com/Fh5s5V47Zo— rupa (@RupaaXx) August 24, 2016 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.
The victim has been left extremely distressed by this attack which took place in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoonJamie Oprey, Richmond CID The man rode off and the victim ran to join her friend who was hiding nearby to Teddington Cemetery, in Richmond, London. They then both made their way home and told their parents what had happened.Police were called and found a funeral was taking place at the cemetery.The three boys were described as white, with short blond or brown hair, and wearing blue suits made of shiny material and white shirts.They were all believed to be under the age of ten and police think they were in the cemetery to attend the funeral. Inquiries have continued to trace group.Pc Jamie Oprey, of Richmond CID was leading the investigation.He said: “The victim has been left extremely distressed by this attack which took place in broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon.”I am keen to speak to anyone who was in the cemetery at the time of the incident and could help us identify the boys responsible.”I am also keen to speak to the man on the bicycle who intervened and stopped the attack – his information could prove invaluable in helping to find these boys.” A girl aged just 11 years was sexually assaulted by a group of three boys thought to be under the age of 10 while she walked through a cemetery with a friend.The girl and her friend were approached by three boys at 3.30pm on Thursday, October 20, but the victim’s friend managed to run off.The boys kissed the victim and sexually assaulted her. As the assault took place, a man cycled through the cemetery and shouted at the boys to stop. The group then walked off from the scene. 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.
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. Credit:AFP/Getty “I think we can probably all agree on what failure looks like,” he said, but added that “doing your own thing, being a bit maverick” and “being able to push some boundaries” could mark out a good leader.”From my point of view I would eliminate the outstanding grade,” he told education professionals, “I like the three levels of inadequate, requires improvement and good and, once you’re on good, you’re left to your own devices.” Currently, there are four grades awarded by Ofsted, the schools watchdog, after inspection; outstanding, good, requires improvement – which replaced ‘satisfactory’ in 2012 – and inadequate. The lastest figures show that 21 per cent of all schools are rated outstanding. Speaking at today’s conference, Amanda Spielman, the incoming chief inspector of Ofsted, reiterated her plans to review the ‘outstanding’ grade, following similar comments made in June. Ms Spielman told MPs earlier this year that she intended to have “discussions” over getting rid of the grade.”I’m quite uncomfortable about some of the effects you see it having in the system,” she told the Education Select Committee.Commenting today on the ‘outstanding rating’, Ms Spielman added: “There have been enough concerns expressed here today that I do recognise that our work on the impact of our inspections does need to include this, among other aspects. How it’s used, could be a key issue.”Mr Hobby said that Ofsted – the schools watchdog – should be focused on eliminating failure and should leave the top performing head teachers to be “free and innovative”.”A phrase I hear more often than I would like among school leaders is ‘I’m expecting Ofsted in the next year to 18 months, I’m not going to make any changes in my school until I’ve got that out of the way. I’m not going to take any risks, I’m just going to make sure I’ve got everything in place’.”That is pretty dreadful that people are putting their school development on hold because they are worried about what comes next,” he said. Top performing schools should no longer be labelled ‘outstanding’ as the Ofsted grade is holding many head teachers back, the general secretary of a head teachers’ union has warned.Russell Hobby, head of the NAHT, called for the top grading to be “eliminated” as the “threat” of losing the ranking leads many head teachers to avoid taking risks and making changes within their schools.Speaking at an education conference run by the Education Policy Institute, Mr Hobby warned that it “can be as hard to recruit a new head to an outstanding school as it is to recruit a head to a school in special measures.”The only way is down,” he said.”The existence of an outstanding grade in practice appears to me to constrain the behaviour of some of those school leaders that should be most independent, autonomous and confident in their own judgements,” he continued.”I think once you’ve got to ‘good’, the state and Government should have far less to do with what you’re up to than before.”
A feuding neighbour accidentally killed his rival by stuffing a potato in his flue in a row over gas bills.Daniel Burgess blocked the inflow and outflow gas pipes of Michael Horner’s house during a Christmas holiday attack in which he also superglued the door locks.He used a large raw potato to shut off the pipe through which exhaust gases should have been vented, with the result that 48-year-old Mr Horner died of carbon monoxide poisoning.Burgess was taking revenge because he believed Mr Horner had stolen his pre-paid gas cards, with the result he could not heat his home in Newlyn, Cornwall, over Christmas 2015. He wants to express his very deep regret. He is profoundly sorry. His intention was to stop the boiler working and that is what would have happened but for the tragic coincidence of the faultKate Brunner QC He told him: “You accept your unlawful and dangerous act in interfering with the flue of Mr Horner’s boiler in the way you did caused his death. He had serious health issues and you knew of his disability and vulnerability.”Mr Horner was your neighbour and had been your friend but you had fallen out and you acted to get your own back against a perceived grievance that he was the cause of the loss of your heating.”You did what you did deliberately. You went to considerable lengths and you knew what you were doing. Of crucial importance is that you had no intention of doing any physical harm.”Your plan was simply to stop his boiler from working and make him cold. I accept your remorse is genuine and your culpability is at the lower end.”Mr Paul Dunkels QC, prosecuting, said there was a background of ill feeling with accusations of theft and a previous confrontation at a bus stop.Mr Horner suffered from Huntingdon’s Disease and had heart problems, both of which restricted his mobility.He returned home after visiting friends for Christmas dinner in 2015 to find his flat was cold because the gas was turned off at the outside meter.He turned it on again but when he woke up on Boxing Day it had been turned off again and he was trapped inside because all his locks had been superglued and filled with foam.Police freed him and visited Burgess. They found dents in the communal wall where he had hit it with a hammer and warned him to leave Mr Horner alone.A friend alerted the police on December 29 and Mr Horner was found dead in his living room. The true cause only emerged when police found the flue blocked by a large potato and expanding foam.Traces of foam were found on Burgess’s clothing, his fingerprints were on an empty can in his garden and a partial DNA match was found on the potato.Mr Dunkels said a safety device should have made the boiler cut out rather than carry on pumping out carbon monoxide but a cap had been removed.Kate Brunner QC, defending, said Burgess suffers from paranoid schizophrenia which led him to blame his neighbour for the theft of his gas cards.She said: “He wants to express his very deep regret. He is profoundly sorry. His intention was to stop the boiler working and that is what would have happened but for the tragic coincidence of the fault.”He did not intend or foresee any harm. He could not perceive the boiler’s safety system would fail. His mental illness may go some way to explaining his bizarre actions.” His plan was to make his neighbour Mr Horner suffer in the same way by sabotaging his heating, but a fault in his boiler meant that the automatic fail-safe system did not work and the neighbour’s house filled with gas.Police found Mr Horner dead on his living room floor wearing just underpants and with the heating turned up to 60C.Tests showed that the fumes would have become fatal in his kitchen within 14 minutes of the boiler being switched on, with the carbon monoxide spreading to other rooms shortly afterwards.Burgess, 38, of Newlyn, admitted manslaughter and was jailed for two years and eight months by Judge Geoffrey Mercer QC, at Exeter Crown Court. 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. Exeter Crown and County Courts buildingCredit:Washington Imaging / Alamy Stock Photo
Arlene Phillips, the choreographer, has still not been given a “real reason” for why the BBC axed her from Strictly Come Dancing, she has claimed, saying she fears she will never know the answer.Phillips left the show in 2009 at the age of 66 to be replaced by 30-year-old Alesha Dixon, amid accusations it was the result of BBC sexism and ageism. The choreographer, who has not previously commented on the details of why she was axed, has now said: “I’ve never really been given a real reason [as to why I was axed]. I don’t think I will ever know the answer.” “I always say this to young people. The only way is to go through the pain, the hours, the constant repetition of one small exercise. Arlene Phillips, the choreographer “That said, if you do have the ambition the work is extraordinary. This generation of elite dancers and sports stars is doing things you could never imagine was possible 30 years ago.”The full interview appears in the July issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale from June 1. Arlene Phillips said she had just learned of the death of her manager when she was axed by StrictlyCredit:Good Housekeeping She told the magazine: “Working is my passion and it keeps me alive. I love getting up in the morning and having to be here and there. It drives me – it’s where I get my energy.”Asked whether that same work ethic had echoed down to a new cohort of performers, Phillips said: “You can’t generalise, but I do feel younger generations believe they can obtain more for less in terms of actual slogging.“If you’re in the arts, or anything that requires great discipline, the only way to achieve it is to put in the hours. “But I have a 48-hour rule – it’s what I tell dancers and it’s what I tell my children – give yourself 48 hours to moan and groan, then just get up and get on with it.”Now 74, Phillips has been signed up to take part in a new BBC show Holding Back The Years, exploring ageing with colleagues former BBC Breakfast host Bill Turnbull, 60, comedy star Maureen Lipman, 70, TV chef Ainsley Harriott, 59, and broadcaster Angela Rippon, 72. Earlier this month, the BBC appointed Shirley Ballas, 56, to join the Strictly judging panel, replacing veteran head judge Len Goodman. In an interview with Good Housekeeping magazine, Phillips said of her dismissal: “Certainly after Strictly I was in a very vulnerable situation.“Prior to finding out that I was not going to be on the panel I had lost my manager of 30 years to cancer. Shirley Ballas, Strictly’s new recruit “I couldn’t think about fighting, I couldn’t think about losing a job. I was in despair and grief-stricken.“I didn’t stand up or make my voice heard. I wasn’t in a place to be able to do that. The Strictly Come Dancing panel in its latest incarnation, including Darcey Bussell 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.
Nearly one in five young children believes fish fingers are made from chicken, a survey has revealed.Nearly a third (29 per cent) of five to seven-year-olds thought that cheese came from a plant, not an animal, while one in four older primary school pupils (aged eight to 11) thought the same.In addition, just over one in five (22 per cent) of the infants, and 13 per cent of the older primary group believed that animals provide us with pasta.While 73 per cent of five to seven-year-olds and 92 per cent of eight to 11-year-olds knew that fish fingers are usually made from haddock or cod, 18 per cent of the younger pupils thought they were made of chicken, along with six per cent of the older group.There was also uncertainty about other foods, with 22 per cent of five to seven-year-olds saying prawns come from plants and 20 per cent suggesting that chips are made of animals. 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. The children were questioned as part of the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) poll for its Healthy Eating Week. Among the eight to 11-year-olds questioned, there was slightly less confusion, although 10 per cent thought that bread came from animals.Around one in 10 (11 per cent) of 11-14-year-olds and a similar proportion of 14-16-year-olds (10 per cent) thought that tomatoes grow underground, with 40% of the younger age group saying they grow on a vine and 22 per cent saying on a bush (49 per cent and 18 per cent respectively for the older age range).Some 11 per cent of both 11-14-year-olds and 14-16-year-olds thought that fruit pastilles counted towards their five-a-day, while 27 per cent of the younger group and 26 per cent of the older range thought that they could include strawberry jam as part of their daily fruit and veg.The findings did show that 31 per cent of 11-14-year-olds and 28 per cent of 14-16-year-olds say that they know lots about healthy eating and try to follow it, while almost half of the younger group and 48 per cent of the older children say they know lots but either do not follow it or do not always follow it.Roy Ballam, BNF managing director and head of education said: “Schools and families can and should successfully work together to, in turn, educate children and then motivate them in their endeavours to make healthier choices.”Furthermore, the links between physical activity, health and diet should be frequently highlighted by the Government’s programmes.”The survey questioned 5,040 UK children between April 24 and May 12. Fruit pastilles, unsurprisingly, do not count towards your five-a-dayCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley
Officials at the arm’s-length statutory body last night said the “shocking” statistics were most likely a significant underestimate of the true scale of childhood vulnerability.They hope that by compiling data relating to childhood ill-health, abuse, neglect and criminality in one place for the first time, they will prompt a joined-up Government approach to protecting disadvantaged children.They found that almost 670,000 children are living in families that have vulnerabilities, including more than 15,499 children living with an adult receiving alcohol treatment and nearly 11,624 living with an adult in drug treatment.”It is shocking that half a million children need direct intervention or care from the state because they are living vulnerable lives,” said Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner. The launch of the report is the first stage in a programme of work on children’s vulnerability.It will start by tackling the confusion over what “vulnerability” means, and the commissioner will now consult on the definitions and develop a framework that can be used widely.The Children’s Commissioner report argues that Government should improve its data collection, and questions how effectively the problems outlined in the report can be tackled if departments and agencies do not know how many children are affected or cannot agree on how to define and therefore identify them.”The truth is nobody knows the exact number of vulnerable children,” she said.”We can trace in minute detail the academic progress of a child from four to 18 and beyond, but when it comes to describing and assessing the scale of negative factors in a child’s life which will hamper their progress, we are floundering.” The Minister for Children and Families, Robert Goodwill, said: “Every single child should have their voice heard and receive the care and support that they need to realise their potential.”Across government, we are taking action to address this issue – whether through reforming children’s social care, prioritising mental health, or better protecting victims of domestic violence and abuse.”For some of the most vulnerable, our new What Works Centre for children’s social care will ensure social workers across the country are able to learn from best practice in keeping children safe.”We recognise the scale of this challenge – and, while the number of children in need has remained relatively static since 2010, there is always more to do.”Emma Lewell-Buck MP, Shadow Minister for Children and Families, commenting on the Children’s Commissioner’s report on measuring the number of vulnerable children, said:“The shocking findings of this report should serve as a wake-up call to this Government who have so far refused to even measure the scale of the problem let alone come up with effective policy solutions.“From the 800,000 children suffering from mental health difficulties, the 46,000 thought to be in gangs, or the 119,000 homeless or in unstable housing, these figures lay out the startling facts about the lives of vulnerable children who have largely been ignored by this Government. “On top of that there are many hundreds of thousands of other children growing up in potentially high-risk situations.”Yet even more shocking is that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The actual numbers are likely to be much higher.”Currently different agencies involved with children may apply different criteria to the term “vulnerable”, and sometimes the same criteria is used but the term “vulnerable” is not. Around 46,000 youths are members of gangsCredit:Christopher Furlong/Getty More than 800,000 children are suffering from mental health problems, the first official estimate of the nation’s vulnerable minors reveals.The report by the Children’s Commissioner for England also found that 580,000 young people – equivalent to the population of the city of Manchester – are receiving interventions from the state due to a range of causes from endemic parental unemployment to alcohol abuse.Around 46,000 young people aged from 10 to 18 are also members of street gangs, while 1,200 children are newly identified as victims of modern slavery every year. It is shocking that half a million children need direct intervention or care from the state because they are living vulnerable livesAnne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England 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.
Speaking to the BBC in 2014 about his illness he said: “I have seen, and looked after, patients with so many neurological and other disorders that I am not surprised I have acquired an illness,” he said at the time.”It’s in the nature of things, there’s a gentle irony to it.”Bannister was the first Chairman of the Sports Council and was knighted for his service in 1975.In response to the news of his death, British Athletics tweeted: “All at British Athletics are incredibly saddened by the passing of Sir Roger at the age of 88. “A legend in every sense of the word.” Bannister retired in August 1954 after winning the 1,500 metres at the European Championships in Berne, Switzerland. He devoted his life to medicine and has always said his career as a neurologist, and not his landmark run, was the achievement of his life.The current mile world record is held by Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj, who ran a time of three minutes 43.13 seconds in Rome on July 7, 1999.Bannister was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011. Wes Santee, of the United States, and John Landy, the Australian, had both gone close to the mark before Bannister finally achieved the feat at the Iffley Road track.As with his previous attempts, he had Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher, his Great Britain team-mates, to set the pace. Brasher took the runners through the first 880 yards before Chataway took over until the end of the third lap.Bannister kicked for home with 275 yards remaining and crossed the finish line in three minutes 59.4 seconds. Sir Roger Bannister reflects on his legendary mile run Credit:Eddie Mulholland Credit:MJ KIm/Getty Sir Roger Bannister has diedCredit: Andrew Crowley Sir Roger Bannister, the first athlete to run a sub-four minute mile, has died aged 88 in Oxford, his family have said. His time of three minutes 59.4 seconds, set at Iffley Road sports ground in Oxford on May 6, 1954, stood as a record for just 46 days but his place in athletics history was assured.He also won gold over the same distance at the 1954 Commonwealth Games and later became a leading neurologist.A statement released on behalf of Sir Roger’s family said: “Sir Roger Bannister, died peacefully in Oxford on 3rd March 2018, aged 88, surrounded by his family who were as loved by him, as he was loved by them.”He banked his treasure in the hearts of his friends.” Prime Minister Theresa May, meanwhile, wrote: “Sir Roger was a great British sporting icon whose achievements were an inspiration to us all. He will be greatly missed.”Fellow sporting stars also paid tribute. Olympic champion Amy Williams wrote: “Sad to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister. First athlete to break the 4-minute mile, and going on to do groundbreaking work in medical science.”You redefined what could be achieved by the human body & showed us nothing is impossible.”Olympic sprinter Iwan Thomas added: “Sorry to hear of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister what a true legend that man was, an awesome athlete & a true gent.” 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. Bannister studied medicine at the University of Oxford and went on to become a consultant neurologist after retiring from athletics in 1954.The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes said: “My wife and I were very sad to hear about Roger Bannister’s death. We offer our condolences to his family. He was not just one of the great athletes of the last century but a superb doctor and servant of Oxford University.”He was a man of great distinction and honour in every sense. At the age of 88 he was still an active supporter of the University and we will miss him enormously.”After missing out on a medal when he finished fourth in the 1,500 metres at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952, the then medical student made it his goal to become the first athlete to run a four-minute mile. Roger Bannister (centre) with Chris Chataway (right) and Chris BrasherCredit: Norman Potter/ HULTON ARCHIVE