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The Gold Gloves Are Finally Going To The Best Fielders

ALPDallas Keuchel1 Because MLB has expanded (offering more starting slots at a given position, and therefore the opportunity for more variance relative to average) and the quality of defensive metrics has improved (allowing metric creators to be more confident in handing out highly positive ratings), the average defensive quality of an “All-Defense” team selected purely using metrics has gradually increased since 1958.4That is the first year when two players at each position, one in each league, got Gold Gloves. Gold Gloves were first awarded in 1957, with one at each position across both leagues. But the average quality of actual Gold Glove winners’ fielding had stayed relatively flat for over 50 years — right up until the introduction of the SDI.The gap between the real Gold Glove winners and what we’ve defined as the sabermetric ideal reached an all-time high of 14 runs in 2005. That year, voters infamously gave Derek Jeter a Gold Glove for what was one of the worst defensive seasons ever at shortstop according to the numbers. Defensive metrics were improving all the time, but the voters didn’t appear to be paying attention.The tide turned, however, with the adoption of the SDI in 2013. Immediately upon its inclusion in the voting process, the average statistical quality of a Gold Glove winner skyrocketed, from 10 runs below the sabermetric ideal in 2012 to half that a year later. Obviously, this is a bit of a circular finding: We’re judging Gold Glove winners against a statistical standard determined by one of the same metrics that goes into the SDI itself. But the leap between the pre- and post-SDI eras is still striking.So striking, in fact, that it even goes beyond what would be expected from the direct influence SDI has on Gold Glove voting by dictating 25 percent of the vote.“We think it’s influenced the managers’ and coaches’ voting,” Vince Gennaro, SABR’s president and a member of the SDI committee, said about SDI in a telephone interview Tuesday. On top of the SDI numbers’ algorithmic role in the voting process, Gennaro believes they have had a pronounced effect in combating incumbency bias and other reputation-based flaws in the human side of the voting. In other words, because they’re so widely available (they’re even listed on the ballots given to Gold Glove voters), the advanced metrics have also influenced the other 75 percent of the vote they don’t directly control.“[Say] you’ve got a guy who’s not a perennial Gold Glove guy, but he really caught your eye this year,” Gennaro said. “Then you see he had 17 runs saved, versus a guy who won it last year at 7. I think it could be very much a validating thing, and it might tip you to make that vote.”Because it essentially involves measuring players against the plays they didn’t make, defense has always been one of the toughest areas of baseball to evaluate statistically. And the absence of detailed defensive data in the past might have caused voters to err on the side of a reputation that was no longer valid (or never was deserved). But now, advanced metrics provide evidence to either support or tear down commonly held beliefs about a player’s defensive prowess, giving them a large amount of sway over both the human and computerized aspects of the Gold Glove process.This isn’t to say that every Gold Glove now conforms to the advanced metrics. For instance, Kansas City Royals teammates Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez won this year despite ranking sixth and seventh at their respective positions in SDI. But aside from Hosmer and Perez, every other Gold Glover ranked in the top three in SDI at his position, and 10 of the 18 winners ranked first. AL3BManny Machado1 ALLFYoenis Cespedes1 NLRFJason Heyward1 NL1BPaul Goldschmidt2Brandon Belt AL2BJose Altuve3Ian Kinsler LEAGUEPOSITIONGOLD GLOVE WINNERSDI RANKSDI LEADER (IF DIFFERENT) NL3BNolan Arenado1 ALRFKole Calhoun1 NLCFA.J. Pollock3Odubel Herrera NL2BDee Gordon3Danny Espinosa From Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier to San Francisco’s Brandon Crawford, it was hard to tell this year’s list of Gold Glove winners, announced Tuesday night, from a list of players with the best advanced defensive metrics. That’s no coincidence: Since 2013, Rawlings, the mitt-maker that annually hands out the Gold Glove hardware, has incorporated a statistical component known as the SABR1Which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research. Defensive Index (SDI), giving it at least 25 percent weight in the voting. (The rest of the vote belongs to Major League Baseball managers and coaches.)2SDI gets “at least 25 percent” because SDI can receive more weight — as much as 30 percent, in practice — depending on how many human voters fail to send in their ballots. But the impact of analytic tools is probably undersold by that number. Instead, the case can be made that the advanced stats have almost completely taken over the Gold Glove competition.You can see this effect in how much more closely recent Gold Glove winners have matched the selections that would have been made using only defensive metrics:3In this case, using Baseball-Reference.com’s measure of fielding runs above average, adjusted such that the average MLB player (across all positions) has a value of 0 runs saved. The precision of Baseball-Reference.com’s metric — which uses defensive runs saved for seasons since 2003 and Total Zone for years before that — has changed over time. In recent years, it uses metrics that correspond very closely with those that make up SDI. NLLFStarling Marte2Christian Yelich NLCYadier Molina3Buster Posey ALCSalvador Perez7Caleb Joseph NLSSBrandon Crawford1 ALCFKevin Kiermaier1 NLPZack Greinke1 ALSSAlcides Escobar1 AL1BEric Hosmer6Mike Napoli Likewise, it isn’t completely clear that a wholesale metric takeover of the Gold Gloves would be a good thing. While we can measure whether Gold Gloves are getting closer to the sabermetric ideal, it will take further research to see whether that development means having a Gold Glover in the field leads to his team playing better defense.But since the introduction of the SDI, the Gold Glove process has undeniably become more quantitative. And that’s a pretty big shift for an award that used to be as allergic to meaningful statistics as any in the game. read more

Hakeem Nicks College Records Have An Asterisk

Four years later, after an NCAA investigation discovered troubling information at North Carolina, the school has decided to mark receiver Hakeem Nicks’  school records with an asterisk because he played while academically ineligible as a senior.In its investigation, the NCAA found that Hakeem Nicks — now a star receiver on the Super Bowl champion New York Giants — benefited from “academic fraud.” His violation: He received improper academic help in 2008 from a tutor implicated in the scandal at North Carolina, the Raleigh News and Observer reported.In a sweeping discovery in March, the NCAA found UNC responsible for violations including academic fraud, impermissible agent benefits, participation by ineligible players and a failure to monitor the football program. UNC received three years’ probation and a ban from the 2012 postseason. The school also chose to vacate all 16 wins for 2008 and 2009, reduced nine scholarships over the next three academic years and put the program on two years of probation.It was a stinging punishment but could have been worse; the level of improper conduct and lack of control was that widespread.The school had not specifically acknowledged Hakeems’ ineligibility by adding an asterisk by his name in school records until Thursday.Nicks, a speedy, sure-hand receiver, holds the Tar Heels’ record for career receiving touchdowns with 21, and TDs in a season with 12 in 2008. He also holds records for receiving yards in a career with 2,840, in a season with 1,222 in 2008, as well as the career receptions record with 181 and season record with 74 in 2007.He was a first-round pick of the Giants in 2009 and has had an outstanding NFL career so far, helped lead them to a Super Bowl champion this season.The asterisk next to Hakeem Nicks’ name will refer to a note that says “participation later vacated due to NCAA penalty,” the News and Observer reported. read more

It Wasnt Easy But US Men Bring Home Hoops

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James: Gold medalistsIt was not supposed to be like this. Kobe Bryant and LeBron James said Team USA could beat the 1992 Dream Team of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, et al.But could they beat Spain in Sunday’s gold medal game in the London Olympics?Turns out, they could, but only after a late-game finish – keyed by tough defense and  – that pushed the United States to a too-close-for-comfort 107-100 victory.It was hardly resounding, but it was good enough – for the gold and to squash discussions about comparing it to the ’92 team that crushed opponents by an average of 43 points a game.In the scheme of things, it was only about the mission: winning gold. And the U.S. did that. How uptight and relieved were the Americans? When Chris Paul scored a layup in the final minute to put the United States up by 13 points, coach Mike Krzyzewski jumped as if his team had won the national championship.Players, one-by-one hugged each other in exaltation in the waining seconds, their mission completely, if not dominant.They had to overcome a strong effort by Spain’s Pau Gasol, who had 15 of his 24 points in the third quarter. The Los Angeles Laker took advantage of the Americans’ smallish interior defense.When Bryant scored on a bank shot off an offensive rebound with 4:25 left, the U.S. built a 97-87 lead. But Bryant and Carmelo Anthony had turnovers and Spain battled back to within six points.The Spainards went to a “box and one” defense against Kevin Durant, who had 30 points early in the fourth quarter.James swooped in for on a dunk with 2:46 to play to put the U.S. back up 99-91, setting the stage for the climatic finish. Marc Gasol scored on the other end and James answered with a three-point jump shot with 1:59 to play to put Team USA in front, 102-93.That turned out to be enough to bring home the gold for a team that would not have been welcomed back to America had it not. read more

Trump Appears to Know Why Colin Kaepernick Isnt Back

Kaepernick settled a 2017 lawsuit against the NFL in February in which he alleged collusion. The athlete, who filed the litigation with Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, claimed the league blacklisted the two after they began kneeling during the national anthem at 49ers games. The demonstration, which Kaepernick began during the 2016 preseason, was in protest of the killings of Black Americans by police. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” he explained to NFL.com. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” “If he’s good enough, and I think if he was good enough, I know the owners, and I know Bob Kraft and so many of the owners. If he’s good enough, they would sign him,” Trump said to reporters at the White House August 9 before heading to his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf resort for his summer vacation. “So if he’s good enough, I know these people, they would sign him in a heartbeat. They will do anything to win games. So I would like to see it. Frankly, I would love to see Kaepernick come in if he’s good enough.” By spring 2017, Kaepernick became a free agent and has remained unsigned ever since. His ongoing unemployment is something for which Trump has taken some credit. The president even called for any NFL star who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to be fired. To Trump, kneeling rather than standing as the anthem plays is a sign of “disrespect” to “our flag.” Days after Colin Kaepernick declared he’s ready to go back into the NFL, President Donald Trump appeared to give him a vote of confidence — at least somewhat. Trump’s remarks on Kaepernick, who has not responded to the president, come two days after the free agent quarterback indicated he’s gearing up to get back to work as a signed pro football player. On Twitter Wednesday, the former San Francisco 49ers player said, “5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready.” Kaepernick’s actions drew fierce criticism from Trump, who became one of his biggest detractors. The tweet accompanied a video of Kaepernick doing a weight-heavy workout that said he’d been denied work for 889 days. Speaking to reporters Friday, the leader of the free world said Kaepernick ought to have a shot at coming back to the league if he’s up to par. “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that?” Trump said at a Kentucky rally in 2017. “I said if I remember that one, I’m going to report it to the people of Kentucky. Because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag, right?” read more

Streaks Like Zack Greinkes Require A Ton Of Luck

Sometimes a great pitching performance is about spreading excellence over an entire season. Pedro Martinez, for instance, produced arguably the two best pitching seasons of all time, in 1999 and 2000, by consistently overwhelming hitters over the span of months and even years.1Over a two-year span, no starter has ever struck out a higher percentage of batters he faced or walked fewer opponents relative to his strikeouts than Martinez did in those seasons. His dominance could certainly be glimpsed in specific moments as well, but the magnitude of Martinez’s accomplishments is best described with broad numbers (for example, he has the lowest single-season ERA, relative to the league, in major league history).For others, though, pitching greatness manifests itself in far shorter sequences. When Orel Hershiser unanimously won the 1988 National League Cy Young, it was more about his 59 consecutive scoreless innings — which broke fellow Dodger Don Drysdale’s then-20-year-old major league record — than his season-long numbers. Although Hershiser tied Cincinnati’s Danny Jackson for the NL lead in wins, he wasn’t No. 1 in winning percentage or ERA — to say nothing of newer metrics such as fielding independent pitching (FIP), on which he lagged well behind league leaders.2It’s tough to fault Cy Young voters from 1988 for not knowing the finer points of defense-independent pitching statistics and cluster luck. But in retrospect, almost half the wins generated by the Dodgers with Hershiser on the mound could be attributed to aspects of the game relatively beyond the pitcher’s control, such as defense and stranding runners by scattering opposing hits.That year, Hershiser’s historic streak meant more than performance over the season as a whole. And the same thing might be playing out in the NL this season. With eight scoreless innings Sunday against the Nationals, another Dodger, Zack Greinke, has extended his own scoreless streak to 43⅔ innings. Greinke is one of the best pitchers in the game, but just like Hershiser, he’s being oversold by The Streak.Greinke leads the majors in ERA with a microscopic 1.30, but he’s also been the beneficiary of good fortune. Similar to Hershiser, almost half the wins generated by LA’s run-prevention corps with Greinke on the mound can be attributed to factors outside his own pitching skill. Take those wins away, and Greinke has been only the sixth-best pitcher in baseball this season. (He ranks fourth even if we just look at the past 30 days.)During Greinke’s streak, his fielders have converted into outs 82.4 percent of the balls he allowed to be put in play, a far greater rate than the league average of 70.6 percent. And it doesn’t seem to be possible to produce a historic consecutive-innings streak without benefiting from that kind of defense (and luck). Behind Hershiser, 81.4 percent of the balls in play were turned into outs, and for Drysdale, the rate was 81.6 percent.We can debate whether Greinke’s pursuit of the streak is easier or harder than Hershiser’s or Drysdale’s was. Greinke has had to throw more pitches per inning,3During the streak, 30 percent of the batters Greinke has faced either struck out or walked — both of which are typically more laborious from a pitch-count perspective than a standard plate appearance. That proportion was only 21 percent for Hershiser. but he has also spread his innings over a greater number of starts, which has allowed him to benefit from a reduced “times through the order” penalty. The bigger takeaway, however, is that these kinds of streaks — even those of the 59-inning variety — cover only a few starts, too small a sample for us to easily untangle the effects of luck and skill.Streaks are nothing if not one of baseball’s favorite preoccupations, but they also take a fundamentally long-term game and focus it on the short term. Joe DiMaggio won the 1941 AL MVP in large part because he hit safely in 56 straight games, but Ted Williams was easily the better player over the entire season.4In fact, Williams famously had the higher batting average during the span of DiMaggio’s streak! Hershiser won the Cy Young but probably wasn’t the NL’s best pitcher in 1988. And Greinke’s streak, impressive and exciting as it is, shouldn’t obscure the other fantastic pitching seasons we’re seeing across MLB this year. read more

Bill Belichicks Call Wasnt Entirely Stupid

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. BASED ON DATA FROM PRO-FOOTBALL-REFERENCE.COM 2nd exchange25474113 Estimated probability of winning overtime, 2012–15 1st exchange6730%31%39% FIRST TEAM TO … 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

Ohio State womens hockey enjoys undefeated weekend at Minnesota State

OSU freshman forward Maddy Field (22) fights for the puck during a game against Minnesota State on Oct. 23 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won 5-3.Credit: Courtesy of OSUThe Ohio State women’s ice hockey team recorded a tie and win this weekend at Minnesota State, providing some temporary joy in its disappointing 2015-16 campaign.On Friday, the Buckeyes and Mavericks ended regular time in a 3-3 tie and then the Buckeyes won a shootout 2-1. The next, the OSU offense exploded for eight goals, while only giving up three.In the first game, the Buckeyes jumped out to a two-goal lead after the first period off of goals from senior forward Kendall Curtis and freshman forward Erin Langermeier, with Langermeier’s being the first of her collegiate career. Minnesota State was able to cut the deficit in half in the second period with a goal from forward Emily Antony.At 13:45 in the third period, Mavericks freshman Jordan McLaughlin knocked in a goal to tie the game. The Buckeyes answered with a goal from captain Melani Moylan to recapture the lead shortly after, but the Mavericks scored on a power play with 1:15 left to send it to overtime, where neither team was able to score.In the shootout, Curtis found the net first for the Buckeyes. Mavericks defenseman Anna Keys scored on Buckeye goalkeeper Alex LaMere to notch the shootout at one goal apiece. Then, sophomore forward Julianna Iafallo scored to win the shootout for the Scarlet and Gray and grab an extra point.On Saturday, the Buckeyes jumped out to a two-goal lead for the second day in a row. The goals for the Buckeyes were scored by junior forwards Claudia Kepler and Katie Matheny. Minnesota State followed that up with two goals of their own to tie the game. Antony and Katie Johnson were the first-period goal scorers for the Mavericks.Matheny scored in the second period to once again give the Buckeyes the lead but the Mavericks’ Antony scored her second goal of the game and third in two days to tie the game at 3-3. Unlike Friday, however, the Buckeyes did not let the score remain that way.OSU added two more goals in the second period. One came on a power play by Kepler and the other was a short-handed goal by senior forward Julia McKinnon.In third period, the floodgates opened, as the Buckeyes scored three more times. McKinnon scored her second goal of the game off an assist from Iafallo 5:13 into the period. Curtis was able to add another goal for the Buckeyes three minutes later. Then Moylan scored the final goal with less than two minutes left in the game.The eight goals scored on Saturday are the most by the team this season. Kepler and McKinnon each tallied four points.The Buckeyes have another road series on the agenda next weekend when head back to Minnesota to play Minnesota Duluth. The games are scheduled to start at 8:07 p.m. on Friday and 5:07 p.m. on Saturday. read more

OSU Michigan headed in opposite directions

Following Saturday’s 21-10 victory, Ohio State coach Jim Tressel dodged questions and comments from reporters about his 8-1 mark against Michigan, the best win percentage of any Buckeye coach against the Wolverines.“I was looking for 1-0. That’s as far as I look,” he said.When asked if his sparkling record in the rivalry amazed him, he modestly said, “Yeah, I guess so.”Tressel has always cautiously erred on the side of humility, but OSU’s domination over Michigan in the past decade has completely shifted the landscape of the rivalry.Neutral field?The atmosphere Saturday at The Big House epitomized the notion that the programs have been headed in opposite directions the last few years.A sea of scarlet was scattered throughout the Michigan Stadium crowd of 110,922, and by the fourth quarter, easily audible chants of “O-H-I-O” circled the stands.The fans in blue and gold had drowned out the Buckeye cheers for three quarters, but as the Wolverines folded on the field, the Michigan fans appeared defeated, as well.For a program rich with excellence and proud tradition, Michigan’s restless fans are finding it difficult to  adjust to a rebuilding project.RichRod on the hot seatAfter the loss to OSU, Michigan athletic director Bill Martin awarded coach Rich Rodriguez a vote of confidence, declaring that the second-year coach will return next season.Lloyd Carr received heat at the end of his tenure for struggling to beat OSU. But Rodriguez and the Wolverines need to focus on fending off the likes of Toledo, Purdue and Illinois before worrying about the Buckeyes.Michigan never expected to hit rock bottom with a 3-9 showing in 2008. But that should have given Ann Arbor a clear indication that the Wolverines were transitioning and in a rebuilding phase. Rodriguez was trying to fit Carr’s leftovers into his spread offense, and the results were deplorable. The Wolverines improved a bit this season, even though they relied heavily on freshmen and sophomores to run the spread attack.It goes without saying that another bowl-less season doesn’t live up to Michigan standards, and for that, Rodriguez deserves to be under fire. But he should get one more year to develop the players he recruited and see how his system fares when featuring the necessary components.Losing to a much more talented, in sync OSU squad shouldn’t be the final nail in Rodriguez’s coffin. But a proper burial must be planned in case Michigan falters for a third straight year in 2010.Bucks need DucksThe Civil War will determine Ohio State’s Rose Bowl opponent. Oregon State will travel to Eugene to face its in-state rival, Oregon, with the winner earning a ticket to Pasadena, Calif.The Ducks would give OSU a better punch (with or without running back LeGarrette Blount), and the Buckeyes need a defining victory in their bowl game. Beating Oregon could provide a stepping stone to next season.With victories over USC, California, Arizona and Utah, Oregon is more highly regarded than Oregon State. The Ducks have been ranked in the Top 15 for much of the season.The Beavers, on the other hand, wouldn’t offer as much of a marquee matchup. Although Oregon State kept it close in each game, the Beavers lost to Cincinnati, USC and Arizona in its three challenging contests. A win over a talented Oregon squad would seal a successful season for OSU and boost the Buckeyes’ big-game confidence heading into 2010. read more

Ohio State mens tennis slices Baylor moves to NCAA semifinals

The No. 4-seeded Ohio State men’s tennis team has advanced to the NCAA Championship Tournament semifinals after defeating No. 5-seeded Baylor, 4-2, in the quarterfinals Saturday. The Buckeyes continue their run at the NCAA Championship against No. 1-seeded Virginia today. Virginia defeated the Buckeyes, 4-1, on Feb. 20. OSU seniors Balazs Novak and Shuhei Uzawa listed the Cavaliers as one of the toughest opponents the team could face in this tournament. “We’re really excited to play them,” redshirt sophomore Devin McCarthy said. “We lost to them at National Indoors (Feb. 20) and thought it was close enough that we could win.” The match against Baylor was the first in the tournament that the Buckeyes didn’t win, 4-0. It was also the team’s first match against a seeded opponent. OSU had to fight hard for the doubles point but was eventually able to secure it, allowing the team to lead, 1-0, in the beginning of the match. The Buckeyes started down by one match in doubles action when Baylor sophomore Roberto Maytin and senior John Peers defeated senior Matt Allare and redshirt freshman Peter Kobelt, 8-3. After the initial loss, OSU doubles pairs, Novak and freshman Blaz Rola, and junior Chase Buchanan and Uzawa, were able to secure the doubles point for the Buckeyes. Uzawa and Buchanan rebounded from a 5-4 deficit in the match against Baylor seniors Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux to win their match, 8-6. Novak and Rola also contributed to the doubles point by beating Baylor juniors Julien Bley and Kike Grangeiro, 8-3. McCarthy said the team needs to keep working on the doubles point to continue to be successful. “Everyone has their own individual things they need to work on,” he said. “But the doubles point is really big.” The two teams moved onto singles action where OSU only surrendered two points and picked up three more to give the team the win. Rux was able to defeat OSU freshman Ille Van Engelen, 7-5, 6-1, and Maytin defeated Allare, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, for Baylor’s only two points of the match. Buchanan, Rola and Novak provided the last three points OSU needed to win the match and advance to the next round. Buchanan finished with a 6-2, 6-2 victory against Ramirez, and then Novak defeated Bley, 7-6, 6-3. Rola took the remaining singles point, defeating Peers, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3. The winner between OSU and Virginia will face the winner of the match between Georgia and Southern California on Tuesday. read more

Ohio States Carlos Hyde I always want the ball more

Senior running back Carlos Hyde (34) breaks through the line on a run during the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 7 in Indianapolis. OSU lost to Michigan State, 34-24. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorINDIANAPOLIS – Heading into the Big Ten Championship Game, the Michigan State Spartan defense was only allowing 64.8 yards rushing per game during the 2013 season.The Ohio State Buckeyes ran for 273 yards against the Spartans in Saturday’s title game — more than four times as much as their season average — but ended up on the wrong side of a 34-24 decision, ending any dream they had of making a trip to Pasadena, Calif. to play for the BCS National Championship.Despite the big rushing total, OSU senior running back Carlos Hyde felt like he could have done more on the ground, as is the case with every game.“I always want the ball more. I always want the ball more, just (to) get that momentum going for the offense,” Hyde said after carrying the ball 18 times for 118 yards in the loss.Hyde’s backfield mate, junior quarterback Braxton Miller, finished the night with 21 carries for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Miller also got the call on arguably the biggest play of the season — a fourth and two from the OSU 47 — and was stuffed.“I thought it was a great call. I felt like we had them,” Hyde said of Miller’s failed attempt to keep the drive and OSU’s undefeated season hopes alive. “A guy came off his block and made a great play right there.”OSU coach Urban Meyer said he “wanted to put the ball in the hands” of his best player (Miller) to try and get a first down, saying it was ultimately his call.Miller had his fair share of success rushing the ball in the second half — 11 carries for 68 yards — but as the game wore on, Hyde felt like he could have been getting whatever yardage needed for his team.“I felt like I could have got any yardage we needed that second half,” Hyde said. “Me and the offensive line was doing a great job. I just felt like we could have ran the ball the whole game in the second half … but you can’t question the coaching calls.”Meyer’s response was short when he was asked if in a perfect world, Hyde would have gotten more touches against the Spartans.“Yeah,” Meyer said.OSU punted seven times against Michigan State and Miller only threw for 101 yards on eight completions.“There’s always a thousand different things you could have done different in games like this,” OSU offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said after the loss, noting how he did not experience thoughts about giving Hyde the ball more when the outcome was decided. “So sit back and watch the film and figure out what those are and make sure those don’t happen again. But coming off the field, I didn’t feel that.”Hyde entered Saturday night’s game with 1,290 yards on the season, tallying those in only nine games after being suspended for the first three after his involvement in an incident at a Columbus bar in July. In OSU’s last three games against Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, he picked up 589 yards on the ground.“I think we could have gotten him (the ball) a little more,” redshirt-senior center Corey Linsley said after the loss. “I thought going into this game we had a great, great plan. That number (of carries) is cool, you know whatever … they thought that was best and we just didn’t get the job done.”The Spartans beat the Buckeyes with 17 straight unanswered points down the stretch. A lack of execution on both sides of the ball led to the end of the nation’s longest winning streak, but Hyde was brief in his response when asked about the lack of times his number was called.“I mean, it happens,” Hyde said with a shrug of his shoulders and a glance at the floor. read more