Who Needs The MVP Mike Trout Might Be The GOAT

We all want to witness history, so it can be tempting to baselessly hype up current stars as all-time legends. But that can make it more difficult to appreciate true greatness in the moment. What’s the truth and what’s the narrative? In Trout’s case, the hype is justified and then some.After hitting the cover off the ball in the minors, Trout had a mediocre call-up year in which he hit 11 percent worse than the league average, judging by OPS+ (adjusted on-base plus slugging percentage).1Although even then, he was ahead of the curve; the average 19-year-old non-pitcher since 1901 had an OPS+ of 78. But he retained his rookie status for 2012 after missing the cutoff for eligibility in 2011 by seven at-bats.Since then, it’s been nothing but sustained greatness for Trout. Playing a full schedule for the first time in 2012, the 20-year-old Trout dominated, posting the 22nd-best season by a position player in MLB history according to WAR. While he may have peaked with 10.8 WAR that year — only four players (Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays) have had two seasons with that many WAR in their careers — his 37.3 WAR between 2012 and 2015 ranks as the 31st-best four-year stretch in major league history. And he’s the only player to put up such a run between the ages of 20 and 23; the next-youngest were Mantle and Ty Cobb, each of whom did it from age 22 to 25.What remains to be seen, though, is whether Trout being the best young player ever means Trout is tracking to be the best ever, period, full stop. Among the WAR leaders through age 23, some were like Cobb, producing good years into their late 30s and beyond; others, such as Andruw Jones, saw their performance fall off considerably after turning 30. Trout already has more career WAR than 96.9 percent of all players in major league history, but can he pass the other 3.1 percent?A quick-and-dirty way to estimate Trout’s end-of-career WAR pace is to use Baseball-Reference.com’s similarity scores in the spirit of projection systems like PECOTA or CARMELO. Through age 23, the most similar players to Trout include Mantle, Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr.,2Miguel Cabrera is a fun inclusion at No. 5 — he beat Trout for MVP in both 2012 and 2013. although Trout’s WAR has been about 47 percent higher than his cohort of comparables. From age 24 onward, that group of similar players3Excluding still-active players. produced an average of 68.2 WAR. So if we think Trout will continue to be 47 percent better than them over the rest of his career, we would expect Trout’s future to hold 100.6 more WAR before he retires. Adding 100.6 WAR to his current total of 37.9, we arrive at a career forecast of 138.5 WAR.That’s a heckuva lot of WAR, but it’s not No. 1: That total would rank sixth among position players since 1901. If he plays until age 40, Trout will have to average 7.4 WAR per season4Essentially top-5-in-MLB production by 2015’s standard. to catch Ruth as the best position player. (And that’s not even considering the 20.6 wins of value Ruth added as a pitcher.) Being the best ever through age 23 is no guarantee of what will happen over the next decade and a half.Even so, Trout’s career has started off unlike anyone else’s in MLB history. Although he has only one MVP to show for it (for now), it’s a remarkable achievement to be the G.O.A.T. through any age — much less every season you’ve played. The MVP snubs keep piling up for Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. On Thursday, Josh Donaldson of the Toronto Blue Jays bested Trout for Most Valuable honors in the American League. It’s the third time that he’s lost in a year when he led the league in wins above replacement (WAR). (The guy’s only been in the league for four official years, mind you.) Aside from his win over a not-so-crowded field a year ago, voters seem determined to find reasons that Trout shouldn’t be MVP.But Trout can take solace in this: He might be on pace to become the greatest player of all time. Each year that Trout has played a full season, he has ended the season as the all-time MLB leader in career WAR for his age. read more

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Bill Belichicks Call Wasnt Entirely Stupid

2nd exchange25474113 BASED ON DATA FROM PRO-FOOTBALL-REFERENCE.COM Estimated probability of winning overtime, 2012–15 DRIVES INTO OVERTIMEGAMESRECEIVEKICKSTILL TIED Every so often, Bill Belichick seems to get a little too cute in a high-leverage situation for his own good. At a glance, Sunday’s loss to the Jets, in which the Patriots won the coin toss and elected to kick off to begin overtime, seems to be a major example. But although the execution (and, certainly, the result) were about as undesirable as could be, it wasn’t exactly a major blunder, because the decision to kick or receive in overtime is more minor than it appears.From the jump, the move was snakebit. After receiving his marching orders from Belichick (in quadruplicate!), special teams captain Matthew Slater mistakenly phrased the call so that New England chose to kick — not which goal to defend. Belichick says he was playing for field position, so the wind, which reached 18 mph at times, was pretty clearly a factor. By electing to kick in the first place, Belichick was already going off the reservation: It was only the 13th time in NFL history1The NFL didn’t adopt sudden-death overtime until 1974. that a coach had won the overtime toss but did not choose to receive the ball first, practically inviting second-guessers. But to make the move and then have the NFL’s Byzantine rulebook begin parsing parts of speech at the precise worst time, well, that’s just piling on.Still, although the numbers say Belichick’s strategy to kick would have been ill-considered even if Slater hadn’t misspoken, it wasn’t as big a mistake as it might have seemed.For one thing, getting the ball first in OT doesn’t give the receiving team a huge advantage. Since the NFL adopted its current regular-season overtime rules in 2012, teams that win the toss and receive the ball first have gone on to win only 51.5 percent of the time. That’s a bit lower than ESPN’s modeled probability of 53.8 percent, but a drive-based model also suggests that getting the ball first is not of earth-shattering importance. Since 2012, teams receiving the ball to start OT have scored an opening-drive touchdown (thereby winning the game while denying the opponent a possession) about 16 percent of the time. They’ve also failed to score at all 64 percent of the time — and those failed drives can have a big effect on the outcome of the next drive.Conditional on how its opponent’s previous drive ends, the average team kicking at the start of OT can have a pretty good opportunity to quickly counter-attack and end the game. Although a team that allows an opening touchdown by definition loses 100 percent of the time, and a team that allows an opening field goal loses 69 percent of the time, the kicking team scores a game-winning touchdown or field goal on 49 percent of drives that follow a zero-point opponent possession to begin overtime. (One big reason? Such drives start roughly 11 yards closer to the opponent’s goal line than drives after an opponent field goal.) If the kicking team can force a stop on the first drive of OT, it briefly finds itself very well-positioned to win the game. FIRST TEAM TO … 1st exchange6730%31%39% 3rd exchange752444 After the first “exchange” of possessions,2For our purposes, an exchange includes two teams alternating possessions, as well as cases in which the game ends before the second team’s possession because the original receiving team has a walk-off score. things start to go poorly for the team that kicked off at the beginning of OT. Because sudden-death rules take over, the team has to rely on joint probability — the odds of getting a stop and the odds of scoring — to win after any given pair of possessions. Its opponent, meanwhile, can strike first and end the game then and there. So to maximize its odds of winning, the original kicking team must capitalize on the brief window of opportunity it has at the end of overtime’s first exchange of possessions.Belichick must have believed his Patriots could do just that. You can kind of see the grumpy old wheels turning: His defense had allowed fewer points through the end of regulation than the league average, and the Jets have basically been an average offensive team this season, so a defensive stop may have seemed more likely than the baseline NFL rate of 64 percent. And despite the furious pass rush Tom Brady faced much of the day, New England probably would have had a better-than-average chance of answering a potential zero-point possession with a game-winning drive, particularly if the wind had been on the Pats’ side.In a sense, that’s all abstract odds-making. In reality, Belichick, Slater and the coaching staff botched the coin-toss decision, and the Jets orchestrated a brilliant series of big plays against the New England defense en route to the winning touchdown. Amid all that, the choice to kick is drowned out by all the other noise once overtime play starts.Read more: FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions read more

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Michael Vick Will Not Return to Eagles Next Season

Michael Vick’s frequent injuries have turned off the Philadelphia Eagles, who have decided not to re-sign the quarterback who lost the starting job to Nick Foles last season.The Eagles will seek another backup to Foles, a veteran who will be comfortable in the role, according to cbssports.com.Vick has said he believes he is a starter, an indirect indication that he wanted out of Philly.Sources say Vick’s injury history has given Philly pause, and he will explore other options in free agency. The Jets, Raiders and other teams are monitoring Vick. Vick played previously for Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in Philadelphia.Vick joined the Eagles in 2009. In 2010 he won the Comeback Player of the Year award after throwing for 21 touchdowns and running for nine to lead Philly to the playoffs. read more

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The NBA Is Giving Teams No Excuses To Sit Stars In Big

If you want a sense of what it was that forced the NBA to alter the way it schedules games, take a close look at a one-week stretch in mid-March.On March 11, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs — separated in the standings by a mere game-and-a-half — each sat out their best players during a nationally televised Saturday game on ABC. A week later, the Cleveland Cavaliers did the exact same thing, sitting LeBron James among others in a marquee, ABC-carried game against the Los Angeles Clippers.1ABC is a part of Disney, the same parent company as FiveThirtyEight/ESPN.Asked whether the league contacted the Cavs about the team’s decision to rest its stars during the contest, David Griffin, Cleveland’s general manager at the time, said an NBA official called him almost immediately. “Seven minutes after it was announced. Yeah, they were not happy,” he said. “I feel bad for the league. I really do. But it is what it is from an injury standpoint.”In response to such concerns — including the fact that NBA teams have begun resting players earlier and earlier in the calendar each season, even when they aren’t in contention — the league made sure to build in a decent number of rest days around its biggest, most-hyped games this season to prevent clubs from using that rationale to sit star players in those contests.Perhaps the clearest shift in this regard: The league did its best to ensure that ABC will not be left showing the Warriors without Steph Curry, Kevin Durant or the Dubs’ other stars. Golden State, the NBA’s most televised team2This is the case again this year. They were the most-televised club last season, too., played five games on ABC last season, with four of those matchups being part of a back-to-back set.3A back-to-back is a stretch in which a team is forced to play games on consecutive days, without any true rest — a scenario that arguably waters down the quality of play, since players are fatigued for the second game. But this year, Golden State is slated to play six games on ABC with none of those being part of a back-to-back.More broadly, league officials were able to reduce each club’s number of back-to-back showings by beginning the season a week earlier than usual. The average team will now play just over 14 back-to-backs over the course of the season, down from 16 last season. And for the first time in league history, no team will be forced to play four games in a five-night span.Over the past few years, the notion of resting players has almost become commonplace, even after the Spurs got hit with a massive $250,000 fine in 2012 for holding out a number of its best players in a high-profile game against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. But there is an argument to be made that the league was overstepping its bounds in that case. After all, what if a team runs out of gas in the postseason, largely because it overexerted itself during a regular season in which players were all but forced to play in high-profile, nationally televised games? Aside from the injury risk, it’s also taking a key coaching decision — when and how to push your players, versus when to relax them — out of a coach’s hands.By striking the balance it did Monday night, the league may have found a way to keep players more happy, and fans at home more interested. read more

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3 notes from Urban Meyers Monday press conference

OSU coach Urban Meyer claps on the sideline during a game against Penn State at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 17. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo Editor Ohio State coach Urban Meyer spoke to the media on Monday to talk about the top-ranked Buckeyes’ 38-10 win over Penn State and the team’s upcoming week. Meyer declined to answer the most pressing question about who his starting quarterback for Saturday’s contest against Rutgers will be, but he acknowledged that in his mind he has an idea of who it will be.Here are three highlights from his press conference.Best foot forwardMeyer expressed high praise of the Buckeyes’ effort in the victory over the Nittany Lions. “Probably our best all-around effort,” he said.To relay it in a quantitative way, 19 players graded out as “champions” for their performances against Penn State.Offensively, there were two players of the game in redshirt sophomore quarterback J.T. Barrett and senior left tackle Taylor Decker.Meyer said Decker “probably” played his best game of the year, while also touting the entire unit’s showing on Saturday.Junior defensive end Joey Bosa was the defense’s player of the game. Meyer called the performance from Bosa, who finished the game with seven tackles and one sack, “dominant.”On special teams, junior punter Cameron Johnston garnered the nod for player of the game. The Geelong, Australia, native had four punts downed inside the 10-yard line, including one at the 4-yard line and another at the 2.“He’s really, really good at his job,” Meyer said of Johnston.The coach admitted that the Buckeyes did have a couple weaknesses in the game, but he remained positive about the win.“Overall, really proud of our guys,” he said.Good guys touching the ballMeyer has mentioned throughout the season that he and his staff brainstorm the amount of touches that players will get during each forthcoming game. On Monday, he offered insight as to why the staff does so.“We have a big belief that scheme isn’t what wins games. That’s very important. That’s not what wins,” Meyer said. “What wins are the dynamic players that touch the ball.”He referenced Barrett’s 13-yard touchdown run in the second quarter against Penn State as proof for his point.Meyer admitted the called play was “probably the perfect play” for that situation, but why it worked was not because quarterbacks coach Tim Beck radioed it in; it’s what the guys on the field did, Meyer said.“(Barrett) read the defensive end. The end grabbed the tailback. The tight end came up and fit up on the corner, who squeezed. The wide receiver blocked the X at tackle, grabbed the mike linebacker, and J.T. went in for a touchdown,” Meyer said. “So you can spend all your time on scheme, and they don’t come out and play. So more important than scheme is who is physically touching that ball.”Meyer said sometimes there might be a temptation to force the ball to certain players based on the number of touches the coaches set before the game, but he doesn’t believe it is an issue.“That’s how we do that. I’ve always believed that,” Meyer said. “The good guys have got to touch the ball. They’ve earned that right.”Torrance GibsonFreshman Torrance Gibson’s name is talked about often, despite him never seeing the field for the Scarlet and Gray through seven games. The former five-star recruit from Florida came to Columbus as a quarterback but opted to spend his freshman campaign at wide receiver in an attempt to play.Gibson suffered a foot injury in August that set him back in his quest to contribute for OSU, but he has been healthy for the past few weeks. However, against Penn State, he was not in uniform.“You just have to earn your right to dress, and he didn’t do it last week,” Meyer said. “Just academics and that kind of stuff. Nothing serious. It’s just to go out there, you have to do a series of things.”Meyer said that Gibson is still on the team and he anticipates the freshman to be back shortly.As for his transition to pass-catcher, Gibson is doing great, Meyer said.“His production and grasp has been better,” he said.Gibson’s 2015 campaign appears to spurious as he switched to wide receiver to avoid having to redshirt. Now, it looks like that there is real possibility he will.“We haven’t made that decision,” he said. “He was playing so good and got dinged, and all of a sudden right in the season do you burn his redshirt? Those are things we’re going through right now.” read more

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Womens basketball Buckeyes dominate the paint struggle defensively in win versus Cleveland

OSU redshirt sophomore Makayla Waterman (25) attempts a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Cleveland State on Nov. 16. Credit: Carlee Frank | For The LanternTwo days removed from its first loss of the season, Ohio State recovered to down the Cleveland State Vikings 96-78 on Wednesday evening in Columbus.Despite struggling defensively throughout, the No. 7 Buckeyes (2-1) used their size and athleticism as an advantage to take over the game. The Buckeyes outscored the undersized Vikings 60-24 in the paint.“They’re not very big, so a point of emphasis was to get the ball around the basket,” coach Kevin McGuff said.The inside effort was led by redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga, who put up 12 points and 10 rebounds in 14 minutes. Freshman forward Tori McCoy had the best night of her young career, adding 12 points and six boards.Cleveland State had its chances to score in the first half, but they struggled to finish. OSU junior guard Kelsey Mitchell led all scorers with 14 points at the half and OSU senior forward Shayla Cooper added 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting.The Vikings outscored the Buckeyes 8-4 over the first 1:24 of the third quarter, but that’s the closest they would get in the second half. A 17-0 run gave OSU a 30-point lead and the Buckeyes would close out the quarter leading 79-52.Cleveland State would go on to outscore the Buckeyes 26-17 in the final quarter. OSU held its largest lead of 33 with 6:43 left in the final frame, but the Vikings climbed to within 18 before the final buzzer sounded.“We still let them shoot a lot,” Mitchell said. “Our defense still was not good.”Mitchell finished with a game-high 31 points on 12-for-19 shooting from the field, including a 7-for-14 mark from 3-point territory. Cooper and freshman guard Kiara Lewis each added 12 points.The Buckeyes shot 51.9 percent from the floor, while Cleveland State shot just 39.4 percent.“We missed, I thought, some open shots,” McGuff said. “Especially Sierra [Calhoun] and Asia [Doss], they usually shoot it a little better, but it wasn’t there tonight.”Defensive struggles continueThe night was highlighted by the Buckeyes’ interior play, rebounding and a strong night for Mitchell, but the underlying issue of OSU’s defensive play was still evident. The Buckeyes were sluggish to start the game and allowed Cleveland State to get plenty of good looks.“We had a lack of communication on several possessions,” McGuff said. “I thought we had a good third quarter defensively and just were real spotty to end the game; kind of lost our focus and intensity down the stretch.”In the third quarter, OSU’s defense held the Vikings to just two points in the paint and five turnovers, and Cleveland State managed to convert on just four shots from the field.In the fourth, however, with the game in hand, the Buckeyes reverted to less-than-stellar defensive play. OSU allowed nine fast-break points and 12 points in the paint.“It’s a lack of effort,” Mitchell said. “And that’s the whole team; myself on down, coaches on down.”OSU overcame some of its defensive issues thanks to solid work on the boards. The Buckeyes outrebounded the Vikings 51-32 and limited the opponent’s second-chance opportunities throughout the contest.Even though the Buckeyes’ defensive issues were covered up by other aspects of its game on Wednesday, Mitchell said that OSU still needs to take pride in its defensive efforts.“You can’t teach it,” Mitchell said. “You can do all the help defense, you can do all the drills that we need to do, but at the end of the day it’s about you and yourself.”Up nextLIU Brooklyn will travel to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes on Saturday, Nov. 19. Tipoff is set for noon. read more

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Womens lacrosse Trio of freshmen to help the Buckeyes through weekend doubleheader

Ohio State freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez looks to score against Vermont. Credit: Courtesy of Walt Middleton – OSU AthleticsThe Ohio State women’s lacrosse team has had a stellar class of young talent come in and make an immediate impact.Freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez has swept all of the Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards this season, with her third coming after her four-goal, two-assist outing against Cincinnati. But her fellow freshman, goalie Jillian Rizzo (3-0), has been just as hot from the start of the season, and just this week won her first Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week award.Rizzo, who had 11 saves in the Buckeyes’ previous game, has the Buckeyes at No. 2 in save percentage (.508) in the Big Ten, and is 15th nationally with 30 saves on the year. Her play has not gone unnoticed by her team, but an individual award is not something that she is focusing on.“It feels pretty cool,” Rizzo said. “I don’t really dwell on that. It’s exciting for the day and then I’m looking forward to the next game. It’s cool but it doesn’t mean that much.”Hernandez’s 16 points through the first three games have her sitting second in the Big Ten and tied for 23rd nationally in points. Seventeen of her 19 shots on the year have been on target.“She’s a great teammate,” OSU coach Alexis Venechanos said. “The upperclassmen are giving her the green light to take those shots. She’s playing fearlessly right now, she’s great.”Freshman attacker Alex Vander Molen has also been influential on the offensive end for OSU. She has started in two of three games so far and has assisted on nine goals this season, tying her for tenth in the NCAA.Two California teams make the trip to ColumbusThe Buckeyes will be hosting a weekend double-header against the Stanford Cardinal (1-3) and California Golden Bears (0-2), which will wrap up their three-game homestand. Both are teams that OSU is familiar with, having played Stanford 14 times and California 10.Each time against Stanford, OSU has been anything but phenomenal. Stanford has beaten the Scarlet and Gray four consecutive times, and the Buckeyes have won only four of their 14 total matchups against the Cardinal.“We’re always going to see something new when we play Stanford,” Venechanos said. “They’re always changing defenses, their rides have always been impressive in the past, a really unselfish team on the attack.”OSU will look to repeat a similar start to last weekend against Cincinnati by dominating the early minutes. Senior midfielder Morgan Fee could be the key to having the same success, winning seven draw controls during the game. Fee got her first start on Sunday against the Bearcats and helped the Buckeyes jump out to an early lead.“We need to figure out how to win the draw (control),” Fee said. “How to gain possession and hold possession throughout the first five minutes because during our previous games we had kind of gotten off to a rocky start.”While the Stanford Cardinal looms as more of an imminent threat to the Buckeyes, OSU squeaked out a narrow overtime victory against the Golden Bears in Berkeley, California, last season. California is currently winless on the year but they are returning eight seniors from last year’s team, including attacker Jena Fritts who led them in points (30) and assists (20) a season ago.Both games will be played at Ohio Stadium, and with Friday’s game against Stanford set for a 6 p.m. start the Buckeyes will get their first action under the stadium lights. Sunday’s game against California will start at noon. read more

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Bucks earn tournament berth after sweeping through conference rivals

The women’s volleyball team finished big at home this weekend, upsetting No. 12 Michigan and defeating Michigan State en route to an NCAA Tournament berth.A 3-0 sweep of Michigan earned the Buckeyes their second win over a ranked opponent this season. OSU won the three sets 25-20, 25-22 and 25-22.The Buckeyes had the edge over Michigan in hitting. They had four ace serves, two of which came from the hands of Kelli Barhorst. Several players shared match-highs against Michigan, including Katie Dull’s 16.5 points and three blocks.  The Buckeyes entered their last regular season match at St. John Arena on Saturday evening.With the momentum from blowing past Michigan and the Big Ten tournament on the horizon, the Buckeyes were on the attack.The Buckeyes took an early 17-12 lead in the first set but got stuck behind a five-point run by Michigan State. Holding a 24-20 lead, the Buckeyes took the set off a Michigan State error.  In the second set, senior Ashley Hughes began to rack up the 25 assists, five blocks, five kills and four digs she earned across the match.   Dull added to her match-highs on the weekend with 17.5 points, 13 kills, and a career-tying three solo blocks.    The Buckeyes added another 3-0 sweep to their weekend, winning all three sets against MSU, 25-21, 25-20 and 25-15.  Following two big wins to close the season, seniors Kristen Dozier, Ashley Hughes and Chelsea Noble were joined by their families on the court.  Dozier and Hughes played for the Buckeyes for four seasons, and Noble has contributed for two seasons.  Each player was recognized for her career achievements and received her own framed jersey.    In their final singing of “Carmen Ohio” in St. John Arena, the seniors joined arms with their families to remember every match played on their home court.  The Buckeyes finished the season 23-9 overall and 12-8 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes finished tied for fourth in the Big Ten with Michigan.    OSU concluded its perfect weekend by earning an NCAA Tournament berth Sunday. The Bucks will host Cincinnati in a first-round matchup Friday at St. John Arena. If OSU beats the Bearcats, it will advance to face the winner of Lipscomb-California at home Saturday. read more

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Ohio State womens soccer nets win No 200 in program history

Ohio State women’s soccer’s Friday game proved to be a milestone occasion.  The Buckeyes used two goals from junior forward Lauren Granberg to defeat the Fighting Illini, 2-1, on a chilly Friday night at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for the 200th victory in the program history. “I actually wasn’t even aware of that,” coach Lori Walker said. “200, that’s great.” Walker, who has been a part of 164 of the 200 Buckeye wins, said she was especially happy that this milestone occurred on the team’s alumni weekend. “I’m really happy with where the program is and what we’ve been able to do over the years,” Walker said. “It’s nice to recognize this milestone because it includes everyone who has been a part of it.” Senior goalie Katie Baumgardner denied seven Fighting Illini shots, six in the second half with OSU protecting a one-goal lead. “I was just trying to get a hand on everything and anything,” Baumgardner said. “[Baumgardner] was tremendous,” Walker said. “Goalkeepers … you need them when you need them and she came up big tonight. She was player of the game.” OSU held Illinois well below its average of 3.33 goals per game. The Buckeyes (6-3-1, 1-0-1 Big Ten), broke a 1-1 tie in the 56th minute when senior forward Paige Maxwell played a cross that found the head of Granberg, who leaped between two Illinois defenders to finish her second goal of the game. The assist was somewhat of a redemption for Maxwell, who minutes earlier had hit the post with a header off a corner kick. Granberg’s first goal opened the scoring in the 25th minute. OSU defender Megan Fuller sent a long pass that was flicked by Maxwell and found Granberg in the center of the box. With her back to the goal, she was effective in shielding her defender from the ball while turning to fire a shot from just outside the six-yard box to put the Buckeyes up 1-0. “Without [Maxwell], I wouldn’t have been able to make those goals,” Granberg said. “She had two great assists.” The Fighting Illini (6-3-1, 0-1-1 Big Ten), leveled the game in the 37th minute when an attempted clear was deflected back into the box to a wide open Jannelle Flaws. The Illinois forward put a ground shot to the right of a diving Baumgardner for the equalizer. The Buckeyes continue conference play Sunday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium as they take on the Northwestern Wildcats at 12 p.m. read more

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Taco Tuesday to benefit LiFE Sports during Ohio State Michigan basketball game

Senior guard Aaron Craft holds up a Taco Tuesday T-shirt Feb. 10 during interviews at the Schottenstein Center. The shirts are $20 and are set to be sold in the southwest entrance of the Schottenstein Center as well as the team shop inside, and proceeds will benefit OSU LiFE Sports.Credit: Eric Seger / Sports editorThe fans who attend the college basketball showdown between No. 22 Ohio State and No. 15 Michigan Tuesday at the Schottenstein Center are set to have a chance to cheer on their teams with a belly full of tacos.Courtesy of senior guard Aaron Craft’s roommates — who run the Twitter account @CRAFTroomies — and OSU, students and fans are set to have a chance to participate in Taco Tuesday, complete with a taco stand and T-shirt sales.The shirts are slated to be sold at the southwest (student) entrance at the Schottenstein Center, as well as the team shop inside. The shirts cost $20 each, and patrons will be able to purchase three tacos for $5 at a taco stand in the southwest rotunda. The tacos are from the Schottenstein concessions and are not catered, according to an OSU athletic spokesman.All proceeds benefit OSU LiFE Sports, a program that allows underprivileged kids to participate in athletic camps on campus during the summer.Craft said Monday he and his roommates came up with the idea over winter break “to make it more than just about ourselves and make it more than just fun for us to have.”“We were trying to think of what shenanigans we are probably most known for, and it’s definitely the tacos,” Craft said. “It goes back a few years with some of the guys I’ve lived with. Hopefully doing tacos and making it a night, we can do it more than just at a basketball game.”Craft and his roommates hosted another Taco Tuesday Nov. 19, where 1,000 OSU students got the chance to ask the senior and his roommates questions, tour the basketball facilities at the Schottenstein Center and even sit at center court on the roommates’ couch and get their photo taken.Craft said he hopes for Taco Tuesday to become an annual event.“I have a baseball roommate and a golfer so, maybe at a baseball game sometime this spring and then beyond when I’m here … you can have an annual taco night or something just to continue hopefully helping the kids and everything,” Craft said.Craft said he got the idea to give the proceeds to an organization from former OSU walk-on Mark Titus, who started “Club Tril,” sold T-shirts and donated money to the nonprofit called A Kid Again.Titus’ goal as founder of “Club Tril” was to play in a college basketball game and record no statistical significance other than minutes played, thus having his box score have a number one in its first slot followed by eight zeros and look like the number one trillion.Titus and the organization continue selling T-shirts and donating today, and OSU coach Thad Matta said Monday he’s pleased to see his players reach out and give back.“I love that,” Matta said. “As I’ve always said to our players, take the opportunity you have here to make the most not only for yourself but for the people around you. I think that Aaron is definitely doing that in his time at Ohio State and I think it says a lot about him that he would do something like that. He’s an amazing kid.”Tipoff between the Buckeyes (19-5, 6-5) and Wolverines (17-6, 9-2) is set for 9 p.m. Tuesday. read more

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