With only eight days remaining in the 2014-15 regular season, it’s time to check in on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings. If you’re wondering how these numbers work, the short version is that all 30 NBA teams are ranked according to a projection of their true talent over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. For more details on the methodology,1This week, we tweaked the simulation methodology to include the NBA’s official tie-breaking procedures. Before this week, we had been approximating tie breakers. see our introductory rankings post.The Eastern Conference playoff plot continues to thicken. Last Monday in this space, our model listed the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers with playoff probabilities of 76 percent and 50 percent, respectively, with the Brooklyn Nets (38 percent) and Boston Celtics (25 percent) likely to be on the outside looking in.Now, the tables have turned.The Celtics, aided by a 3-1 record over the past week (and an improved power rating), now sport a 57 percent playoff probability and more expected end-of-season wins than either Miami or Indiana. Likewise, the Nets leapfrogged the Pacers and Heat by an even greater margin after going 4-1 over the past week-plus. Brooklyn’s chances of making the playoffs are now nearly 77 percent, a radical departure from its 17 percent postseason probability of two weeks prior.And if Brooklyn and Boston are now in the driver’s seats for the final pair of Eastern Conference playoff berths, that means the Heat and Pacers are currently both underdogs to make the postseason. Miami has lost four straight games, and its power rating is down because several of its good RPM players (such as Luol Deng, Hassan Whiteside and Chris Andersen) are listed as day-to-day with injuries. And for its part, Indiana went 2-2 on the week-plus, but even at .500, the Pacers lost ground to the surging Celtics and Nets.The Heat have things a bit better than the Pacers. They face an easier remaining schedule, and the league’s tie-breakers favor them in the event of a tie with Boston and/or Brooklyn, which accounts for Miami’s superior playoff odds despite a projected win tally identical to that of Indiana. But for each team, it’s a big reversal from where they stood just a week ago.So while there’s little time left in the schedule, the Eastern Conference playoff picture is no clearer than it’s been the past few weeks — the front-runners to get in are just different.
Former OSU tight end Nick Vannett (81) celebrates after one of his 2 1st-half touchdowns during a game against Rutgers on Oct. 18 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File photoOhio State continued its dominance of the 2016 NFL draft, as tight end Nick Vannett became the 10th Buckeye to be selected. Overall, Vannett is the 94th player picked, after his name was called by the Seahawks.This selection sets a new record, as the Buckeyes are the first program to have 10 selections in the opening trio of rounds of the draft.The Westerville, Ohio, native was used sparingly in the OSU offense throughout his tenure, producing 55 receptions for 585 yards and six touchdowns. After redshirting his freshman year, Vannett played throughout his remaining four years, totaling 53 games played.Although the production numbers were low compared to the rest of the offensive starters for OSU, many NFL scouts valued the 6-foot-6, 260-pound tight end for his athleticism.During the 2014 championship run for the Scarlet and Gray, Vannett enjoyed his highest level of production, hauling in five touchdowns, as well as appearing in a career-high 15 games.It is worth noting that the predecessor to Vannett, former OSU tight end Jeff Heuerman, produced similar numbers (52 receptions, 792 yards, seven touchdowns) to those of Vannett and was selected by the Denver Broncos last year in the third round.Although his athleticism gives Vannett immense upside, there has been some concern over how effective he can be as a blocker, a skill tight ends in the spread offense aren’t called upon regularly to employ. With his large frame and proven strength for the position, the Seahawks will focus on developing Vannett as an establish blocker, while also benefiting from his versatility as a pass-catcher. With Jimmy Graham the primary tight end in Seattle, it seems as though it will take time before Vannett sees consistent playing time.
Ohio State senior Nate Romans (7) swings at home plate in the Buckeyes’ home opener against the Lipscomb Bison on March 15, 2019 at Bill Davis Stadium. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternDespite the cold temperatures, the Ohio State baseball team heated up to end itsfive-game losing streak in its home opener. Ohio State (8-9) routed Lipscomb (9-7) 14-3. The bats came alive for the Buckeyes, producing 18 hits, a season-high, and two home runs. “I told [the team] after the game, ‘That’s us. That’s what we’re capable of. That’s what we can do,’” head coach Greg Beals said. The Buckeyes blew the game open with a seven-run fifth inning. Four of those runs were scored with two outs, and the lead was extended to 13-1. Freshman third baseman Zach Dezenzo erupted with two home runs in the game, his second and third of the year, adding three RBIs. “Both those pitches were up and out,” Dezenzo said. “Just tried to put a good swing on it and hit something hard.”Freshman pitcher Garrett Burhenn shined against a Lipscomb team that came into the game batting .297. Burhenn allowed three runs, one of which was earned, and two hits in six innings of work. “It feels really good to be back at home and being able to start our home series and set the tone for the weekend,” Burhenn said. “I feel like we all did a great job. It was a good team win.”Burhenn struck out five, while walking two. The solid pitching was continued by Ohio State redshirt senior Thomas Waning and junior Joe Gahm. The pair struck out three and allowed only one hit in two innings of relief. With two runners on via walk, Ohio State junior first baseman Conner Pohl opened the scoring with a two-out single in the bottom of the first inning, knocking in junior shortstop Noah West. Pohl would finish the game with three RBIs. West recorded his first two stolen bases of the season. The Buckeyes increased their season stolen base total from five to eight. Lipscomb came into the game with 25 stolen bases, but were unable to steal a bag in the series opener.Lipscomb senior pitcher Chris Kachmar would go on to struggle recording outs in an efficient fashion. He was pulled in the fourth inning after recording only nine outs on 93 pitches. Kachmar came into the game with a 3-0 record and seven walks allowed in four starts. The starter earned his first loss of the season and had an uncharacteristic four walks allowed in only three innings pitched. After a pair of singles by Ohio State junior right fielder Dominic Canzone and senior left fielder Brady Cherry and a walk to redshirt sophomore catcher Brent Todys, the bases were loaded in the third inning. A 10-pitch at bat to fifth-year senior designated hitter Nate Romans ended with a two-run, two-out single to right field to balloon the lead to 4-0. “I was just trying to fight, because I was down to two strikes both at bats. Just fighting off his good pitches and then put a good swing on it,” Romans said. Romans finished the game with three RBIs on two hits. The first hit surrendered by Burhenn came by way of a solo shot in the fifth inning over the left field wall. It was junior Lipscomb junior shortstop Brian Moore’s first home run of the season. Dezenzo hit his second home run of the day when he skied a two-run bomb over the right field fence in the fifth inning. After a triple by redshirt senior center fielder Ridge Winand, West hit him in with a one-out double to extend the lead to 9-1. The Bisons drew more blood in the sixth inning as sophomore outfielder Carson Wright brought in two runs on a two-out single to make the game 13-3. Winand scored his third run of the game on a wild pitch in the sixth inning to end the scoring for the Buckeyes. Burhenn moved to 3-1 on the year with the win. “I think we’re really confident in this home stretch here that we can get things turned around the right way,” Dezenzo said. The Buckeyes will play their second game against Lipscomb at 3:05 p.m. Saturday.
Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri has described midfielder Jean Michael Seri as a “very important” player for the club and has vowed to help build his confidence.Jean Michael Seri signed for Fulham from Nice for a club record of around £25million in July 2018.The Ivorian was impressive in Fulham’s 1-1 draw with Leicester on Wednesday but failed to make much of an impact as they lost 4-1 to United on Saturday.Ranieri believes that once his confidence is back, he can help Fulham stay in the Premier League this season.“It’s important he continues to play because I believe he can improve more,” Ranieri told Sky Sports.“In Nice he played so well two years ago, he was fantastic. In the newspapers it was that Barcelona wanted him.“Maybe he stayed there in Nice and his confidence went down a little – maybe he wanted to go, but he stayed in Nice, and the second year was so-so.Report: Nice has been sold to billionaire Ratcliffe George Patchias – August 27, 2019 French Ligue 1 club Nice has been sold to British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his Ineos chemical company.According to the BBC.co.uk, one of…“For this reason, Fulham had the chance to buy him, and for me, he’s a very, very important central midfielder.“He’s a key player because a lot of the play goes through him, and the other midfielders.“This is very, very important, because he always shows for the ball, plays with the ball, and is important for his team-mates.“I give him a lot of confidence, and him to his team-mates. It’s very important to have the confidence of the manager.“He is very, very important. If you [climb] off the bottom, confidence gets higher and we can do something more.”
Macclesfield Town manager Sol Campbell says he’s delighted to record his first victory after his side beat Crawley 2-0 on Saturday.Elliott Durrell and Harry Smith were both on target against Crawley to hand Campbell his first victory as manager, after the former Arsenal defender was appointed last month on an 18-month contract to manage League Two club Macclesfield Town.“Crawley were coming up and we had a few hairy moments, but you need that,” Campbell told Sky Sports.“For me, that will give the lads great confidence that they got through that game with the wind against them and a team pushing on. That will give them confidence and we can build on that.“For me, it’s all about a learning process. There are good players out there, and you look up and down the league and see teams playing football. We want to be one of those clubs.Cascarino praises Campbell Manuel R. Medina – August 17, 2019 Sol Campbell left Macclesfield Town on Thursday, but the Arsenal legend believes he managed to do a great job at the club.“For me dropping down here, it’s my first job and I want to get on with it, I want to play how I want to play. I’m not looking at the whole league and saying it’s League Two, for me its football.“We need to win and we need to get up. It’s a real thing, it’s not Mickey Mouse football. It’s real-time football with people, players, fans and the whole club, this club needs to stay up.“Saying it’s League Two for me is a bit harsh on it. For me it’s football.”
A Chelsea fan has been handed a three-year ban from attending games after being found guilty by Brighton Magistrates Court last Thursday.George Bradley, 20 pleaded guilty of homophobic chants during Chelsea’s away fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium last month.Additionally, Bradley was also fined 965 pounds.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“We’d like to thank Sussex Police for their assistance in dealing with this unsavoury incident and we are very pleased with the outcome, a Brighton spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Reuters.“It underlines both their and our commitment to a zero tolerance policy on any form of abuse from those attending matches at the Amex.”Chelsea were involved in series of racial abuse claims late last year following a racial abuse on Manchester City striker Raheem Steerling and another during their last Europa league tie against Vid FC.