More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On this week’s show (April 5, 2018), Neil, Chris and Kyle break down the Eastern Conference ahead of the playoffs.First, the Philadelphia 76ers have clinched a spot, but the team has also lost star center Joel Embiid to injury. Embiid may miss the beginning of the postseason. How will the Sixers function without him?Next, the Toronto Raptors are on track to be the No. 1 seed in the East, but the team’s past several playoff runs have been disappointing. The crew takes a look at why Toronto is playing better this season. Plus, a significant digit on Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers.Here are links to what the podcast discussed this week:Keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s 2017-18 NBA predictions, updated after every game.ESPN reported on Embiid’s surgery to fix his fractured orbital bone.Sports Illustrated took a look at how the 76ers are surviving without Embiid.Foreshadowing? The Cavs took down the Raptors on Tuesday.Significant Digit: 8. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Victor Oladipo is on track this season to become the eighth player in the past decade to have a usage rate of 30 percent or higher and a true shooting percentage of 57 percent or higher while 25 years old or younger.
If there have been breakout stars at this year’s World Cup, they’re certainly the bold hairstyles sported on some of the world’s top teams. There are seemingly countless mohawks, faux-hawks and ‘dos that can really only be called a “Macklemore” on the pitch at the premier soccer tournament.Countless, that is, before today.We pored through each of the 56 World Cup games so far to inventory the haircuts of the starting lineups for each of the 32 teams in the tournament. We counted up every striking mohawk, all of the slightly less committed faux-hawks and, of course, the lamentable-in-retrospect Macklemores.All told, in the group stage we counted 24 honest-to-God Mohawks, 31 faux-hawks and a whopping 36 Mackelmores.Neymar of Brazil, of course, is in a league of his own.So is Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Ermin Bicakcic:At five apiece, the Ghanaian and Cameroonian contingents had more mohawks than any other squad. Together, those two teams composed more than 40 percent of all inventoried mohawks. The Nigerian team had the most faux-hawks, and the Chileans had the most Macklemores (five and four, respectively). Russia, Costa Rica, Honduras and Australia were the only nations with unexciting, uninspiring hair.Now we wouldn’t think hairstyle would have any effect on performance. And it doesn’t. We plotted the combined number of mo’s, faux’s and ‘mores against the number of points each team picked up in the group phase:That’s pretty hairy (forgive us). But when we break it down by style, something fantastic emerges. It appears that Macklemore-style haircuts are positively correlated with victory, and mohawks with defeat.And the trend has continued into the first knockout round. Of the eight games in the Round of 16, four matches had a team with a higher number of Macklmore-style haircuts than their competition. In those four contests, the team with more shaved sides and gross tops won 75 percent of the time.Is it a small sample size? Yes. Is it completely meaningless? Yes. Is there a shred of evidence that the hairstyles of a team member has any sort of impact on the athletic performance of a team? Absolutely not.But still.
OSU junior safety Vonn Bell (11) dives toward the end zone after interception in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 7. OSU won, 28-14. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorThe number of vacancies on the Ohio State depth chart keeps growing, as the count of starters not returning has climbed to 16 on Tuesday with Vonn Bell’s declaration for the NFL draft. “I have decided to make myself eligible and enter the 2016 NFL Draft,” the junior safety said in a press release through the university. “It has been an honor and a privilege to play at the best university in the country, to play for the best coach in the country, and to help bring the 2014 national championship to The Ohio State University and the best fans in the country.”A two-year starter for the Scarlet and Gray, Bell finishes his career in Columbus with 176 total tackles, nine interceptions and two fumble recoveries. In the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame on New Year’s Day, the Rossville, Georgia, native recorded a pair of tackles. Bell found his way to the end zone twice in 2015, the first on a 14-yard fumble recovery against Hawaii and the second on a 15-yard interception return versus Minnesota. In what turned out to be his final collegiate season, the 5-foot-11 Bell received first-team All-American honors by the Associated Press. Bell’s announcement comes just hours after redshirt junior wide receiver Michael Thomas announced his plans to turn pro, as well. The duo joins seven other OSU underclassmen who have declared for April’s draft. In addition to the nine underclassmen leaving Columbus, seven starters that were seniors will no longer be with the program in 2016. Bell’s declaration is likely to be the last one for coach Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, as all the players rumored to be mulling to turn pro have done so thus far. Bell’s draft projection varies amongst analysts but many have him graded as a second- or third-round pick. “My time here has been very special to me and my family,” Bell said in the release. “And I thank all Buckeye fans for their love and support.”
It was a tale of two games.After the men’s hockey team dominated No. 10 Ferris State Friday night, it fell just short on Saturday.Special teams proved to be the difference for the Buckeyes on the weekend. On Friday, the Buckeyes came up with two power play goals, which proved to be necessary for the 5-3 victory.The Buckeyes never trailed in Friday’s contest, due in part to great goaltending from Cal Heeter, who made a career-high 46 saves.“I thought Cal played well,” coach John Markell said. “He faced 49 shots. He made some big saves when he needed to and got on some rebounds.”The script was flipped Saturday night, as it was the Bulldogs who took charge and struck first. Ferris State was able to kill four Buckeye power plays in the first period, and then wasted no time in scoring seven seconds into their own power play opportunity.After falling behind 2-0 at the beginning of the second period, the Buckeyes stormed back, scoring twice in 40 seconds to tie the game.“At that moment, we’re on the road and we’ve got a two-goal lead and it evaporates,” Ferris State coach Bob Daniels said. “Now it’s two to two. Momentum is completely in their favor and the building is rocking.”However, the momentum shift was short-lived as Ferris State added a third goal in the second period and headed into the second intermission leading 3-2.In the third period Kyle Reed ended the Buckeyes’ power play drought — the Buckeyes were previously 0-5 on the power play — with his second goal of the season.The game remained tied throughout regulation and overtime, leading to a shootout.The Buckeyes would eventually succumb to Ferris State on the fourth shooter.John Albert scored for the Buckeyes in their first attempt, but was the only player to mark for his squad. Ferris secured the shootout victory when the Bulldog’s Chad Billins slid the puck past goaltender Dustin Carlson.The Buckeyes finished just 1 for 9 on the power play after converting twice on four opportunities Friday.“[Zac] Dalpe had one on the power play that hit the cross bar, which would have been great to have,” center C.J. Severyn said. “But we were 1 for 9. We had our chances [but couldn’t convert].”The Buckeyes also allowed two power play goals Saturday after killing all of the Bulldogs’ power plays the night before. After the game, coach Markell was more upset with the number of penalties called than the goals surrendered.“There seemed to be some crazy calls that interrupted the flow of the game, I thought,” Markell said. “[The referees] didn’t let us play.”Markell was, however, pleased with the team’s play on the weekend.“I like the way our team is playing,” Markell said. “I like the effort. Our job is to take that on the road.”
With the Ohio State men’s soccer team’s roster in limbo and its schedule loaded with tough opponents, coach John Bluem seems to have his work cut out for him in 2012. Despite the obstacles, the team’s goal remains to compete for a Big Ten title. The Buckeyes begin regular season play Friday with a roster comprised of 9 returning starters, 13 letter winners – seven freshmen and four transfers – and an injured Ben Killian, the senior defender who started 16 matches for OSU last season. OSU is also rebounding from the losses of former all-Big Ten goalkeeper Matt Lampson, who signed with the Columbus Crew after the 2011 season, and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, David Tiemstra, who was drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in Major League Soccer’s Supplemental Draft. Bluem is confident as the season’s opening kick draws near. “I’m pretty happy where we’re at right now,” Bluem said. “We have a long ways to go still, I think, and a very difficult schedule.” Minor injuries have affected several players, but Bluem said he expects to see players integrated back in the lineup throughout the season. Killian, who is out six to eight weeks with a broken foot, is a different story. “Losing Ben was tough,” Bluem said, “because he had been a starter for three years.” Senior midfielder and team captain Austin McAnena said the team was keeping their eyes on the Big Ten Championship prize through the pain. “I think we can for sure win,” McAnena said. “We’ve got to be in it 100 percent.” Junior defender and captain Sage Gardner agreed that the season focus is conference play and conference wins. “I want to win a Big Ten championship really bad, and coming back from last year and not being able to make the championship,” Gardner said. “I want a chance to go after it again.” With McAnena and Gardner leading the team, the 11 new players also bring opportunities for the team. McAnena said freshman forward Louie Berra and defender Zach Mason could make a difference. “Zach works super hard, and Louie is very confident and very comfortable around the ball,” McAnena said. With ranked competition in No. 12 Indiana, No. 20 Northwestern, No. 7 Louisville and No. 10 Akron on the schedule, Bluem said no game will be an easy win, but he still feels positive about the season with the returning starters and new players alike. “As a group of players, our target every year, first and foremost, is to win a Big Ten Championship,” said Bluem. Noting that team chemistry helps win games, Bluem said the team is bonding very well and supporting each other ahead of Friday’s opener against the Dayton Flyers. “The core values that we look for in players (are) to be competitive, to work hard, to be a good teammate,” Bluem said. “It’s there.” Friday’s game against the Flyers is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. in Dayton.
It seems that for every story to emerge from the NFL Scouting Combine about the honest, hardworking former collegians trying to fight their way onto an NFL roster, there’s another about a drug fiend or a failed attempt at online dating. It is likely many players at the Combine can tout a lifetime of obeying societal norms and laws, showing up for class and making the grade – the good guys. However, the good guys find themselves jockeying for a draft selection against athletes who have faced widespread public ridicule from being kicked out of their respective college programs to even drug rehabilitation. Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., site of the Combine, is ground zero for this intersection of good and bad, the law abiding and the criminal, the internet savvy and the potentially gullible. Players of diverse and textured backgrounds speak to NFL coaches, general managers, scouts, the press, occasionally mere feet from each other, about the paths they chose in life. Good or bad, each player is trying to argue that his life’s path should include a stay in the city where that concerned NFL general manager or eager member of the media has traveled from. Take Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, the former Brigham Young University linebacker, for instance. Ansah was born in Accra, Ghana, and you could hear it in his accent as he fielded questions during a Saturday press conference. Ansah spoke of his African homeland with a toothy smile and expressed gratitude for the opportunity to work out at the Combine and pursue an NFL career despite not being formally introduced to the game until after he enrolled at BYU. “It’s a blessing,” Ansah said during his Saturday press conference. “This is a really humbling experience for me. I know a lot of people want to be in my shoes.” Hours later, Manti Te’o, a former Notre Dame linebacker, finalist for the 2012 Heisman Trophy and later an alleged victim of an online dating hoax, took to podium “C” in the Combine’s media room as a sea of reporters let fly with camera shutters and questions about his now-public personal follies. The story of Te’o’s victimhood is convoluted, but he maintains that his supposedly deceased girlfriend – Lennay Kekua – never existed. Te’o’s once-inspiring story of perseverance went up in smoke, and he claimed he was the victim of a hoax. At a Saturday Combine press conference, Te’o attempted to deflect questions (one reporter asked if he was currently dating anyone “in real life”) about the incident. “I understand that people have questions,” Te’o said during his Saturday press conference, his first since news of Kekua not existing broke, “but I think I’ve answered everything I could. For me, I’d really like to talk about football … It’s pretty crazy. I’ve been in front of a few cameras. But not as many as this. I said all I needed to say about that.” Te’o was calculated in his remarks about the hoax, causing some pundits to wonder about whether getting caught up with a fake girlfriend could actually cause him to drop in April’s NFL Draft. Tyrann Mathieu was a little more candid while remarking on his very public missteps. Mathieu, a finalist for the 2011 Heisman Trophy as a cornerback, was kicked off the LSU football team after two marijuana-related incidents and an arrest. Mathieu was stirred from his sleep on Sunday at 4 a.m. for a drug test, but wide eyes and a smile accompanied this plea to the NFL during his afternoon press conference: “I’m not totally asking them to trust me right now, but what I am asking is for them to give me a chance.” It’s hard not to think that the bad guys outshone the good guys when you look at the attention paid to athletes like Te’o ad Mathieu versus that paid to Ansah and even the seven Ohio State football Combine invitees. Just as Ansah expressed appreciation for his Combine invitation through his thick Ghanian accent, the Buckeyes said they were thankful for what OSU football did for their careers. “Going through this process, wherever I get drafted, I’m blessed to even be here,” former OSU defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins said during a Saturday interview session. “Wherever I go, I’m happy with that … All the OSU coaches supported me.”
OSU Freshman goalie Jill Rizzo saves a shot against Vermont Credit: Walt Middleton – Courtesy of OSU AthleticsThe Ohio State women’s lacrosse team fell to Michigan 9-7 in its first conference game of the season. The Buckeyes (3-5, 0-1 Big Ten) tied the game at 7-7 with less than four minutes left to play, but the Wolverines (4-5, 1-0 Big Ten) reclaimed the lead and sealed the win with goals by sophomore midfielder Molly Garrett and junior attacker Adriana Pendino. Ohio State and Michigan traded points throughout the first half. Pendino scored with 25 seconds left to gain the lead at 4-3 going into halftime. Buckeyes junior midfielder Baley Parrott led the half with two goals and junior attacker Sara Dickinson finished with two assists. Michigan extended its lead by three early in the second half, but Parrott went on a 3-0 run that tied the game at 6-6 with less than 10 minutes left to play. The Wolverines quickly responded with a goal by sophomore midfielder Chandler Kirby. Despite the effort by Ohio State freshman midfielder Lindsay Epstein to tie the game, the Buckeyes were unable to maintain the momentum to finish with a win. Both teams finished with 17 ground balls. A strong defensive effort of 11 saves by sophomore goalie Jillian Rizzo helped Ohio State hold an advantage over Michigan, who finished with five. Parrott finished the game with a career-high five points with four draw controls, three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Senior attacker Molly Wood broke the program record for the most career draw controls. In the first half, Wood had two draw controls to break the record and finished the game with three to bring her overall career total to 223. The Buckeyes will take on Rutgers in Columbus at 7 p.m. Thursday.
A Church of England spokesman said: “The Church of England published new guidance in 2015 emphasising that: ‘The pastoral response to alleged victims and survivors is of top priority, and needs to be separated as far as possible from the management processes for the situation, and from legal and insurance responses.’ Richard Scorer, another leading lawyer representing more than 50 victims in the ongoing Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, said: “This confirms what we have long suspected which is that when they would offer apologies they were deliberately constructed in a way to avoid any meaningful responsibility.“I’m sure they will be embarrassed at the language here but it reflects a reality that we have come across time and again with the churches that they will take an apologetic tone but that is combined with an unwillingness to admit responsibility.”New guidelines produced by the Church of England in June last year effectively repudiate the earlier advice, insisting that the “pastoral response” to victims should be the top priority and must be separated from legal and insurance responses.But it goes on to add that apologies should be discussed with insurers, communications officer and ecclesiastical lawyers. They should say we need to stop this nonsense but they wash their hands like Pontius PilateJoe This is a naïve document, it is legalistic and doesn’t take into account the needs of survivors of child sexual abuseDavid Greenwood, lawyer Survivors of child sexual abuse have accused the Church of England of “acting like Pontius Pilate” as a previously unseen document revealed that bishops were explicitly instructed only to give partial apologies – if at all – to victims to avoid being sued.Legal advice marked “strictly confidential” and circulated among the most senior bishops, told them to “express regret” only using wording approved by lawyers, PR advisers and insurers.The guidance – written in 2007 and finally replaced just last year – also warns bishops to be wary of meeting victims face to face and only ever to do so after legal advice.It speaks of the “unintended effect of accepting legal liability” for sexual abuse within their diocese and warns them to avoid “inadvertently” conceding guilt.The paper, seen by The Telegraph and confirmed as genuine, advises bishops to use “careful drafting” to “effectively apologise” without enabling victims to get compensation. Joe tried to contact the Archbishop of Canterbury While accepting that they might “understandably want to express their regret”, it adds: “Because of the possibility that statements of regret might have the unintended effect of accepting legal liability for the abuse it is important that they are approved in advance by lawyers, as well as by diocesan communications officers (and, if relevant, insurers).“With careful drafting it should be possible to express them in terms which effectively apologise for what has happened whilst at the same time avoiding any concession of legal liability for it.”On the possibility of bishops meeting victims, it adds: “This may be the right course in some circumstances but great care will be needed to ensure that nothing is said which inadvertently concedes legal liability.”One of Britain’s leading child abuse lawyers, David Greenwood of Switalskis, who represented Joe, said: “With Church organisations you expect a higher standard than just a legalistic approach.“This is a naïve document, it is legalistic and doesn’t take into account the needs of survivors of child sexual abuse.“I think this is more naivety than nastiness – but the effect definitely can be nasty.”
Ms Daniel said she was determined to keep promises made to bereaved families, who had been told that information would be released, in a bid to ensure openness after previous cover-ups.She told Health Service Journal: “We did receive a letter indicating that they would injunct us. I have given a commitment to the family of Joshua Titcombe to release the information and I was concerned to do the right thing.“This doesn’t do anything to build confidence that we are working in an open and transparent environment. It completely misses the bigger picture. My judgement was clear about doing the right thing.”Mr Titcombe said the actions of the union were “immoral” and said the deal given to Ms Parkinson looked like an attempt to hide the truth. He called on Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, to resign.The RCM last night declined to comment. ‘This doesn’t do anything to build confidence that we are working in an open and transparent environment. It completely misses the bigger picture. My judgement was clear about doing the right thing’Jackie Daniel, chief executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust Ms Parkinson was employed at Morecambe Bay Foundation trust as a “maternity risk manager” from 2004 to 2012.But she was also a former RCM union official, who acted as staff representative – in what an investigation would later identify as a major conflict of interest.The scandal in Morecambe Bay prompted a national review of maternity services, after a string of failings and cover ups, with Ms Parkinson accused of leading collusion among midwives to hide their failings. It followed a long campaign by James Titcombe, whose baby son Joshua died in 2008, after midwives repeatedly missed chances to spot and treat an infection.Jackie Daniel, the current chief executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust, said the midwives’ union this week threatened to injuct the trust, and prevent it publishing the findings of its review. The midwives’ union tried to gag health officials, in a bid to protect the ringleader in a scandal which saw 11 baby deaths, an investigation has revealed.Jeanette Parkinson was one of a group of midwives in Morecambe Bay who she dubbed “the musketeers” as she they colluded to cover up critical blunders.Yesterday leaked documents revealed that she was “significantly overpaid” – receiving 14 months’ salary in a farewell deal in 2012 which prevented investigation of her conduct.The manager who signed off the terms is now being hauled in front of regulators.Now it has emerged that the Royal College of Midwives has threatened legal action to prevent the NHS trust publishing a report into the matter. Joshua Titcombe with sister Emily. A coroner accused midwives of ‘colluding’ to cover up mistakes that led to Joshua’s death in 2008 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.
“All horses were subsequently returned to the stables and are making a good recovery.”The Ministry of Defence is particularly grateful to members of the local community, the police and veterinary staff from Nottingham University, who helped to get the situation under control and the horses home so quickly.”A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: “Some of the horses were involved in minor collisions but no one from the vehicles have reported being injured. The Household Cavalry rehearse in Hyde Park A woman told how she thought she and her mother would be killed as the horses charged towards their car.In a post on the Melton Police Facebook page, she said: “ Very lucky to be here to tell the tale as I honestly thought me and my mum would be killed.“After avoiding a head on with another vehicle to emergency stopping on the verge to then have 21 horses charging at you smashing the car as it passed with glass landing all over me while screaming at my mum to stay down trying to cover her while whipping her seat back. “Such a horrific incident. I hope when the mindless people are caught they get the book thrown at them as this could have resulted in numerous fatalities. “We understand the shock and anger the incident may have caused but we ask that people don’t speculate on social media.”He added: “We would like to speak to anyone who may have been driving in the area and witnessed the incident or were involved in a collision with any of the horses and haven’t yet reported the incident to police to contact us.”We’d also like to thank everyone who assisted officers in locating and securing the horses.” “Luckily for us were just shook up and aching from the collision although I have to add this has really upset my mum who is a very strong woman.”The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said all were safety returned, while the police appealed for information.Residents said it was a “miracle” none of the horses were killed, with a scene of “absolute carnage” narrowly avoided when some of the horses were stopped just short of a dual carriageway.One woman claimed a collision with one animal had written a car off, with smashed glass feared to have injured horses.The incident took place at around 11.15pm on Friday, with horses finally returned to the stables by 2.30am.In a statement, the MoD said: “We can confirm that a number of military horses were released from the Defence Animal Training Regiment fields late on August 4. Police are investigating after 21 horses belonging to The Household Cavalry were let out of their field, causing “absolute carnage” on a nearby road.The horses, which were resting from their duties with the Queen’s Life Guard, bolted when they were released from the RAVC Defence Animal Training Regiment in Melton Mowbray, Leics.They were reportedly seen being chased by three people on motorbikes, beeping their horns and revving engines.Several were hit by vehicles as they cantered up to six miles away from the base, before all were eventually rounded up by members of the public, police and vets using cars and horse boxes. 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. Horses of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment photographed at Royal Hospital Chelsea in 2016