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Archives for: September 30, 2019

Wimbledon Champion Novak Djokovic Just Bested His Coach Boris Becker

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By beating perhaps the greatest player of all time on his favorite surface in the Wimbledon final on Sunday, Novak Djokovic didn’t just retake the No. 1 ranking. He also surpassed his coach and his opponent’s coach by winning his seventh career Grand Slam title.Roger Federer — whom Djokovic beat in a thrilling five-set final Sunday — and Rafael Nadal have set an intimidatingly high standard for success in contemporary men’s tennis. Djokovic has seven Grand Slam titles, an impressive haul but far short of Federer’s 17 and Nadal’s 14, which is tied for second all-time with Pete Sampras. If Djokovic’s Grand Slam career hadn’t coincided with those of two of the all time greats, he might have 12 major titles.Djokovic might never approach the totals of his illustrious peers, but he achieved another significant milestone Sunday: His seventh major title puts him in front of the six won by his coach, Boris Becker, and Federer’s coach, Stefan Edberg. Those two men and Djokovic are among eight in the Open era with between six and eight Grand Slam titles. The other five are Andre Agassi; occasional TV commentators Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Mats Wilander; and Ivan Lendl, Andy Murray’s former coach.Djokovic, 27, is starting to look like one of the best of this impressive group — with several years of his prime likely still in front of him in a sport where age has become an advantage.Djokovic has the highest Grand Slam winning percentage of the group, and isn’t far behind overall leader Connors in tour-level winning percentage. Though he still has years of competition ahead of him, Djokovic already ranks near the middle of the eight greats in Grand Slam titles, finals, semifinals and match wins, plus weeks at No. 1 — a total he’ll add to starting Monday, when he retakes the top ranking from Nadal. He has a more well-rounded Grand Slam resume than most, with titles at three of the events and two finals at the fourth, the French Open. Only Agassi, who won all four Grand Slam tournaments at least once; and Lendl, who reached two finals at Wimbledon, can match Djokovic there. Djokovic doesn’t look as good on overall match wins, titles and finals, though he has already passed Wilander in all three categories. (Stats via ATP World Tour website, Tennis Abstract and tennis-x.com.)Oh, and even before the end of Sunday’s final, Djokovic had the endorsement of Andy Roddick, the most recent American man to reach the No. 1 ranking and win a major:These numbers don’t account for the degree of difficulty of Djokovic’s accomplishment. The seven greats whose company he keeps had to contend with great rivals, but none had to consistently face Nadal on clay, or Federer on grass. As great as Federer is off grass — winning four of every five matches — he has been even greater on it, winning seven of every eight matches in his career. Even at 32, Federer was near his best on Sunday, and Djokovic was better.“To be able to win against him as one of my greatest rivals on this occasion on a court that he’s been dominating for so many years makes it a very special trophy for me,” Djokovic said in his press conference after the match.Djokovic has now beaten Federer and Nadal at nearly every one of the Grand Slams — he’s missing only the long-sought win over Nadal in Paris. If Djokovic gets that win and a French Open title, he’ll start moving to a level beyond the already impressive company he keeps now with his coach. read more

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Georgia Loses Receiver Michael Bennett For Season

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Georgia, which has had one of the most potent offenses in the county, was devastated to learn that leading wide receiver Michael Bennett has been shelved for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during Tuesday’s practice.Bennett leads the No. 5 Bulldogs with 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns. The sophomore from Alpharetta, Ga., just north of Atlanta, will undergo reconstructive knee surgery at an undetermined date, Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson said Wednesday in a university news release.This injury came a short time after Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said this about his team’s lack of major injuries to this point in the season:“We have been very healthy. We have been blessed without question. Going into the season, we were pretty healthy. Now we are probably healthier at game six than we were when we started the season. So that is a good thing.”Not so anymore. Losing Bennett is a blow that could significantly impact Georgia. He was a reliable receiver that quarterback Aaron Murray relied on it tight situations. Bennett played in the slot and out wide and was able to find the seems in the defense with relative ease.Bennett — seventh in the SEC with 69 receiving yards per game — plays one of the Bulldogs’ deeper positions, though. Marlon Brwon and Tavarres King also are also having strong seasons. Brown (17 catches, 272 yards) is eighth in the SEC with an average of 68 receiving yards per game and King (16-307, 61.4 ypg) is 10th.Malcolm Mitchell, a two-way standout, will play solely on offenses in Saturday’s big game against South Carolina, Richt said.“He’s primarily an offensive player, and he’s in a state of readiness on defense,” Richt said.Without Bennett out, Mitchell’s role likely will increase. read more

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Kevin Ware Cleared to Travel With Cardinals to Atlanta

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Louisville guard Kevin Ware, who sustained compound fractures to his right tibia in the first half of Sunday’s 85-63 victory over Duke, has been cleared to travel with the Cardinals to his hometown Atlanta for Saturday’s Final Four game against Wichita State.Ware, who underwent surgery immediately after sustaining the gruesome injury, gave his first on-camera interview Wednesday morning with ESPN.“A lot of the guys are still trying to get over the fact of me being out, not being able to play,” Ware said. “But I told them, ‘You all are going to be hearing the same out of me.’”The sophomore guard said that his injury was a freak accident, occurring after he contested a jump shot and did not see where he was landing.There was some speculation that Ware may have had a prior stress fracture or shin problems that caused the injury of such magnitude, but he said he did not.“I just want to win at this point,” Ware told ESPN’s Rece Davis. “That would mean so much more to me than anything.”Defeating the Shockers and winning a national championship would be even more  rewarding for Ware, as he would be in his hometown of Atlanta. Ware played high school basketball at Rockdale County High School, just outside the city, before moving to New York to finish his high school basketball career in the Bronx.Ware returned to campus on Tuesday after he was released from an Indianapolis hospital. He will use crutches for the next eight to 12 weeks before he can start rehabilitation, which will take at least a year.“The most important thing to me is he’s going to be fine again some day. He’s going to play basketball,” Cardinals coach Rick Pitino told ESPN Wednesday. “As long as I know that, everything going to be fine.”Ware said he has no intentions of  ever watching the replay of how he broke his leg, because the injury is now in the past. He acknowledged that if he were to see the replay, it would affect his mental state.But he said if the Cardinals win the national championship, he would not hesitate to help his teammates and coaches cut down the nets. read more

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Philadelphia Eagles Riley Cooper Gets into Fight with Teammate

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It doesn’t seem things are back to normal for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper. The player who uttered a racial slur on camera earlier in the summer, recently got into two brawls with his teammate cornerback Cary Williams on Thursday morning in practice.The wide receiver made national headlines early in training camp when a video clip hit the web showing him using the N-word during a conflict with a black sercurity guard at a June concert. At the time it happened, Williams was one of several African-Americans on the team who spoke up about what Riley said on the video.According to ESPN, the fight started when Williams was covering Cooper in a non-contact drill. The two locked up and threw fists until they were separated by cornerback Brandon Boykin.Cooper reportedely walked away from the fight and Williams pursued him after dramatically throwing his helmet to the ground. Quarterback Michael Vick grabbed Williams to calm him down. read more

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African Players Walk Out on Russian Soccer Club After

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Igor Gamula  photo from www.independent.co.uk.comAfter the coach of a Russian professional soccer club made offensive comments last week regarding his African players, the players have refused to train with the team.On Friday, coach Igor Gamula of the Russian club FC Rostov said his club had “enough dark-skinned players, we’ve got six of the things,” according to Thestar.com.Paul Mitchell, agent for Rostov’s South African defender Siyanda Xulu, told thestar.com that the five African players “are not prepared to train under the current coach until such time as the situation has been dealt with.Gamula’s comments are just the latest in a head-spinning spate of racist comments and actions directed at Black athletes. While racism in sports is hardly new, the latest incidents still seem shocking at a time when Blacks seem to be such a dominant force in the sports world.Of course there was the infamous case of Donald Sterling, former owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who was caught on tape making racist comments just before last year’s NBA playoffs. The team responded by dumping their Clippers warmup jackets and pants on the court to show their disgust with Sterling. The NBA owners voted to remove Sterling from the NBA by forcing him to sell the team.More recently, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson offered to sell his portion of the team when he found an e-mail he had written two years ago that he considered to be “inappropriate and offensive.”In the international arena of soccer, racism has been a continual problem. In 2007, Serge Branco, a midfielder from Cameroon who played in a Russian league, endured constant racial abuse from fans of the Zenit St. Petersburg soccer club, according to the New York Times. In 2008, Zenit manager Dick Advocaat reportedly said, “I would be happy to sign anyone, but the fans don’t like Black players.” It was in 2011 when a Zenit fan offered a banana to Roberto Carlos, a Brazilian player. Zenit was also the last top-level Russian club to have never signed a Black player until September 2012, when it signed the Brazilian forward Hulk and Belgian Axel Witsel.In hockey, P.K. Subban, the Black defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens, was bombarded with racist tweets after his game winning goal in double overtime against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the series. Using Twitter, Bruins fans broadcasted their offensive and racist language. read more

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Who Hates The Patriots The Most

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6Denver Broncos13.74Washington Redskins11.3 6Seattle SeahawksNFC West5.431.6 28San Francisco 49ersNFC West4.022.4 20New York JetsAFC East2.426.3 30Cleveland BrownsAFC North1.620.0 16Minnesota VikingsNFC North2.427.5 31Los Angeles ChargersAFC West2.417.0 26Cincinnati Bengals4.626Minnesota Vikings5.5 3Carolina PanthersNFC South2.632.9 2Dallas Cowboys19.12New England Patriots26.2 27Cleveland Browns4.627Jacksonville Jaguars5.4 8New Orleans Saints12.28Green Bay Packers10.6 10Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFC South1.629.5 The NFL season is upon us, and for many fans that means hate-watching rival teams as much as it means cheering for one’s own favorite squad. And for a large subset of that group, that specifically means hate-watching the New England Patriots.It’s no secret that winning five Super Bowls, 25 playoff games and 196 regular season games in a span of 17 years — not to mention breaking some rules along the way — will earn you a few enemies. But has New England’s nearly two-decade reign of terror over the NFL made them as universally despised as it seems? Have they reached the New York Yankees’ Evil Empire status? We decided to put it to a test.We commissioned SurveyMonkey Audience to conduct a poll of NFL fans in early September,1Specifically, the poll was conducted among a national sample of adults ages 18 and older, from Sept. 1-7. Only responses from self-described NFL fans (including those who labeled themselves “casual” fans) were included in the analysis. tracking how many would classify each franchise among their three favorite — and least favorite — teams. The survey also asked respondents to assign a favorability rating to a randomly drawn subset of teams, which we used to further judge the admiration — and, more importantly, the vitriol — between fan bases.It should be noted that the Patriots are among the most popular teams in our database (cough, bandwagon), with more than 16 percent of all NFL fans listing them among their favorite teams. That ranks third in the league, trailing only a pair of historic NFL bluebloods: the Green Bay Packers (23 percent) and Dallas Cowboys (19 percent). But they’re also one of the two teams — along with the Cowboys — who stand head and shoulders above the rest of the league in terms of hatred from other fanbases. More than 26 percent of fans polled listed New England as one their three least-favorite teams; only Dallas checked in higher at 31 percent. (No. 3 were the Baltimore Ravens at 13 percent.) 32Jacksonville Jaguars1.832Kansas City Chiefs3.7 Surveying 2,290 Americans who described themselves as NFL fans, conducted from September 1-7, 2017.Source: Surveymonkey Audience Does this mean the Cowboys and all the Jerry World glitz are actually more disliked than the Patriots? Not necessarily. A good amount of the Cowboys hate is accounted for by deep-seated rivalries with their fellow NFC East teams. Patriots hatred is far more egalitarian.For example, the fan groups who hate Dallas the most — Philadelphia and Washington — really, really hate them: A staggering 50 percent of fans who ranked either the Eagles or Redskins among their top three teams also ranked the Cowboys among their bottom three.The Patriots, by contrast, racked up their high dislike rate without the benefit of such intense hatred from specific fan bases. No single group of fans even cracked 35 percent, in terms of the share who ranked New England among their bottom three teams. But the Pats also collected a good amount of hate from a diverse spread of some of the league’s largest fan bases, which nearly helped them catch the Cowboys as the league’s most disliked team.Here’s the rundown of the fan bases who most frequently listed the Patriots among their three least favorite teams: 5Pittsburgh Steelers14.84Pittsburgh Steelers11.3 4Seattle Seahawks15.14Oakland Raiders11.3 9Philadelphia EaglesNFC East2.929.9 ⋮ 27Tampa Bay Buccaneers4.628Houston Texans5.1 24Oakland RaidersAFC West3.125.6 FAVORITE TEAMIN TOP 3 8Tennessee TitansAFC South1.430.0 3New England Patriots16.43Baltimore Ravens13.2 The most loved — and hated — teams in the NFLShare of NFL fans who ranked a given team among the their three favorite, and least-favorite, teams 7Buffalo BillsAFC East1.430.4 25Kansas City ChiefsAFC West2.025.4 RK▲▼FAN BASE▲▼DIVISION▲▼SHARE OF FANS▲▼PUT PATS IN BOTTOM 3▲▼ 1New York GiantsNFC East3.8%34.7% 24Kansas City Chiefs5.724Detroit Lions5.9 Perhaps surprisingly, given that their favorite team beat the Pats in two Super Bowls over the last 10 years, fans of the New York Giants win the crown as the group that hates New England most, with 34.7 percent of them ranking the Pats among their bottom three teams. (Granted, the poll was conducted in the middle of a pennant race between the Red Sox and the Yankees — so there’s no telling what lingering Boston-New York resentment carried over.) Add in animosity from a handful of other huge fan bases — the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks (all of whom the Pats have beaten in the playoffs this decade) — plus leftover resentment from fans of the Carolina Panthers (who apparently have really long memories) and Indianapolis Colts (for whom it’s unclear how much hate is motivated by DeflateGate and how much by the Peyton Manning-Tom Brady rivalry), and there are very few corners of America where Patriots fans won’t be behind enemy lines.But look on the bright side, Patriots fans: In order to be at the top of the “hate” list, you have to be successful. The top six teams on our list have combined for 24 Super Bowl wins. By comparison, the bottom of the list is filled with teams that are either relatively new or simply inoffensive because they haven’t won many playoff games. And the biggest congratulations are in order for the Kansas City Chiefs, who are currently No. 1 in FiveThirtyEight’s rankings and are also the least disliked team in America, according to the poll. What’s more, this poll was conducted before Kansas City knocked off the Patriots in the NFL season opener.Check out our latest NFL predictions. 2Pittsburgh SteelersAFC North5.333.0 29Los Angeles RamsNFC West1.521.6 29Los Angeles Rams4.229Indianapolis Colts4.8 19Cincinnati BengalsAFC North1.726.4 15Atlanta FalconsNFC South3.028.2 7Chicago Bears12.47Cleveland Browns11.2 14Miami DolphinsAFC East2.528.2 23Detroit Lions5.823Miami Dolphins6.1 4Indianapolis ColtsAFC South1.932.0 13Chicago BearsNFC North4.528.4 9San Francisco 49ers11.19New Orleans Saints9.4 17Baltimore RavensAFC North2.427.3 21Houston TexansAFC South2.526.3 Which fan bases hate the Patriots the most?Among respondents who identified themselves as an NFL fan, share who also put the Patriots in their three least favorite teams 18Detroit LionsNFC North2.127.1 12Green Bay PackersNFC North8.329.1 27Washington RedskinsNFC East2.223.0 26Dallas CowboysNFC East6.925.3 23Arizona CardinalsNFC West2.325.7 11Jacksonville JaguarsAFC South0.629.3 10New York Giants10.410Buffalo Bills9.3 LEAST-FAVORITE TEAMIN TOP 3 1Green Bay Packers23.0%1Dallas Cowboys30.7% 31Tennessee Titans3.931Tampa Bay Buccaneers3.9 25Indianapolis Colts5.325Los Angeles Chargers5.5 30Buffalo Bills4.030Tennessee Titans4.5 5Denver BroncosAFC West4.931.6 22New Orleans SaintsNFC South4.425.8 —New England PatriotsAFC East5.9— Surveying 2,290 Americans who described themselves as NFL fans, conducted from September 1-7, 2017.Source: Surveymonkey Audience ⋮ read more

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OK Should The Cavs Start To Worry Now

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Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed By Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s basketball podcast. On Monday’s show (April 16, 2018), Neil, Kyle and Chris recap the first games of the NBA playoffs. They focus on the weekend’s big storylines: The Pacers trounced the Cavs in Cleveland, the Blazers had no answer for Anthony Davis, and the Sixers looked like real contenders.Here are links to what the podcast discussed this week:Keep an eye on FiveThirtyEight’s NBA predictions, updated after every game.Chris wrote about how Ben Simmons is outsmarting his defenders.

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Tennis Keeps Producing Challengers To Serenas Throne She Keeps Beating Them

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Serena Williams needs just two more wins in this year’s U.S. Open to tie Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles. The record would be impressive on its own, but it’s even more notable for the strength of her opposition: Williams has faced the best in the game, over and over, in the 20 years since she won her first major.The 37-year-old captured her first major title at the U.S. Open on Sept. 11, 1999, beating Martina Hingis. Since then, 58 different players have ascended to the top 10, according to the WTA, and Serena has played 55 of them. She’s also played almost all of the women who have made it into the top 5 since her first title, facing 36 of the 37. And more of Williams’s opponents are likely to make their top 10 debuts soon: Bianca Andreescu, whom she faced in Toronto last month, is ranked 15th and could reach the top 10 for the first time after she won Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open.Some of her former adversaries — players who made it atop the rankings in the past 20 years — have already retired, while Williams continues to compete for major titles. Justine Henin, who is 6-8 all-time against Williams, retired in 2008, staged a comeback in 2010 and left the game for good in 2011. Kim Clijsters, who was 2-7 against Williams, retired in 2012.Somehow, Williams has continued to evolve despite facing a seemingly endless parade of young talent.“I think the sport has come a really long way,” Williams said in her post-match press conference on Tuesday. “It’s the best work in the world that a woman can do in my mind.”Serena’s staying power has been a thing of beauty. From 1999 to 2010, she won 13 major titles. She struggled in 2011 and early in 2012, missing large swaths of time with a foot injury and blood clots in her lungs. But after she started working with Patrick Mouratoglou in 2012, reworking some of her approach to the game and recovering from the injuries, Williams reversed her decline and played her best tennis yet. From 2012 to 2017, she won 10 Slams, an improbable count for her age. And, of course, Williams took a year off from the sport around the birth of her daughter in September 2017, skipping four straight Slams until last year’s French Open.At the U.S. Open, she is close to another record. After beating Wang Qiang 6-1, 6-0 on Tuesday, Williams now has 100 match wins at the U.S. Open. If she wins the tournament without an opponent withdrawal, she will pass Chris Evert, who won 101 matches in her U.S. Open career.Even among her historic achievements, a record 24th major victory for Serena will be on the minds of observers on Saturday. Since her last Slam victory in 2017, Williams has come close to the mark, reaching three finals in the past two years. Tonight, she will battle Elina Svitolina, who has beaten Williams once, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Svitolina hasn’t lost a set at the Open and has looked formidable. Still, Williams has a great opportunity this week to finally tie Court’s record, as none of the three other women left in the U.S. Open — Svitolina, Andreescu and Belinda Bencic — has ever won a major.“It feels good,” Williams said. “This is what I’ve been training for.” read more

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Ohio State womens volleyball looks to keep rolling in rematch with Michigan

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OSU freshman outside hitter Audra Appold (9) during a game against Purdue on Oct. 16 at St. John Arena. Credit: Courtesy of OSUAfter a tough battle with rival Michigan in Ann Arbor three weeks ago, the Ohio State women’s volleyball team is expecting more of the same when the Wolverines visit Columbus this weekend.In what OSU coach Geoff Carlston called “a total grind-out match,” the 14th-ranked Buckeyes (21-6, 10-5) defeated Michigan (16-10, 6-9) in four sets in their Oct. 24 meeting, with two sets going to extra points and all four sets being decided by the minimum of two points.OSU will be going for a sweep of its rivals on Saturday at 7 p.m. in St. John Arena.“It does help knowing that we’ve beat them before, but I think in the second half of the Big Ten, everyone’s a different team,” senior middle blocker Tyler Richardson said. “So we’re still going to prepare for them just like how we would any other team.”Michigan has been reeling of late, losing its last four games — all against ranked teams — by a combined score of 12 sets to one, but Carlston said he knows the Wolverines will be out for revenge on Saturday.“Getting them at their place, that motivates them to come here and beat us,” he said. “It’s nice to be home … so we certainly need to take advantage of being in St. John this week.”In particular, OSU will have its hands full with sophomore outside hitter Caroline Knop, who has averaged nearly five kills per set in her team’s last five matches.Five seniors will be playing in their final regular-season game against Michigan, including Richardson, outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell, outside hitter Katie Mitchell, middle blocker Andrea Kacsits and setter Emily Ruetter.The Buckeyes have split their six games with Michigan since Mitchell and Kacsits arrived in 2012, and the two seniors are looking to break that tie on Saturday.“It’d be nice to finish playing that rival my four years with a win and look back and say, ‘Yeah, we took care of them,’” Mitchell said.Richardson, who came to Columbus in 2014 after transferring from Middle Tennessee State, said she’s eager to “send them home with an ‘L.’”Buckeyes get pair of 2016 commitsOn Thursday, OSU announced that two high school All-Americans have signed letters of intent to join the Buckeyes next season.Brooke Bailey, a native of Canton, Ohio, is a 6-foot-2 outside hitter who was named a first-team all-Ohio player in each of the last three seasons while playing for Jackson High School.Madison Smeathers, of Vargersville, Indiana, plays multiple positions and was an all-Indiana selection the last two years.What’s next?In the first of three straight road games, OSU is set to head west to take on Iowa on Wednesday at 8 p.m. The Buckeyes won the first matchup of the season against the Hawkeyes in four sets. read more

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6seed or not Ohio State coach Thad Matta focused on Dayton

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Coach Thad Matta calls to players. OSU beat Purdue, 63-61, in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament March 13 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorAt first, Thad Matta wasn’t sure what to make of his team’s seeding in the NCAA Tournament.Within the first 10 minutes of the bracket being unveiled Sunday, Matta knew who, where and when Ohio State was playing — Dayton, Buffalo, N.Y., and Thursday.The Buckeyes were given a No. 6 seed in the South region — the first component of the 68-team field to get revealed — but OSU’s coach wasn’t sure if the mark was fair.“Um … yeah, I guess,” Matta said Sunday, his lips curling. “Something — I thought we’d be a five.”The Big Ten collected six bids into the Big Dance — conference tournament champion and automatic qualifier Michigan State and at-large bids Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska and OSU.“I think with as many Big Ten teams that got in … that we may have gotten bumped,” Matta said. “Which is fine.”If the Buckeyes had gotten a No. 5 seed, there was a chance their first game in the tournament would be in Spokane, Wash., or San Diego — three of the four No. 5 seeds are set to play in those locations, three time zones away. The other option was Orlando, Fla., but Matta joked that playing in California wouldn’t have been a problem because of the chance to get away from the seemingly never-ending brisk Ohio weather.“San Diego’s so nice,” Matta said with a laugh. “But no, I always say that’s why I chose an indoor sport.”If the Buckeyes are under-seeded, they aren’t alone, national columnist for CBSSports.com Gregg Doyel said, because No. 4-seeded Louisville was another team who got the shaft by the Selection Committee.“Not only is Louisville a four, if they play Wichita State in the Sweet Sixteen, that will be in Indianapolis,” Doyel said in an interview with The Lantern Sunday, referring to the unbeaten Shockers, who are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest region. “That’s an hour from Louisville. That’s an hour away. That’s a home game for Louisville. A No. 1 seed should never play a road game against a four seed. Ever.“(But) first of all, if Louisville can be a four, (OSU) can definitely be a six.”The matchup between the Buckeyes and No. 11 Flyers is the lone one between schools from the same state in either the first or second round of the NCAA Tournament. That, Doyel said, is “crazy.”“I’m not a big believer in conspiracy theories with the Selection Committee and all that, but this game is just one of many,” Doyel said, referring to potential third-round matchups between teams from bordering states.Among these include how Creighton would take on Nebraska and Kansas State facing Wichita State if all teams survive and advance, which could make it seem like the Selection Committee chose those seed in the interest of television ratings or other rivalries, instead of each team’s tournament résumé. But in the case of Dayton and OSU, Doyel believes the advantage will be on the Flyers’ side.“The emotional advantage will be Dayton’s,” Doyel said. “But I think in this case, you always give the edge to the underdog, try to knock off Big Brother … that’s not just winning a tournament game — that’s making history. If Ohio State wins, they’ve won the first round game. If Dayton wins, that’s school history.”After learning of his team’s whereabouts and adversary, Matta didn’t stick around long to see more of the bracket. The Buckeyes are in the same region as traditional powers Florida, Kansas and UCLA, but Matta’s not concerned about that.“I know we got Dayton, Syracuse and Western Michigan. That’s all I saw,” Matta said. “I don’t even know where, if we win games, where we go, to be honest with you.”If the Buckeyes do get past Dayton Thursday —tipoff is set for 12:15 p.m., they are favored to take on Syracuse, the No. 3-seed, which wouldn’t be easy for them, Doyel said.“I just don’t think they’re all that good. But they can’t beat Syracuse in the (third) round. Syracuse is going to say, ‘Hey, shoot threes,’” Doyel said. “Well, Ohio State can’t shoot threes.”The Buckeyes are shooting 32.6 percent on 3-pointers this season, which is just good enough to tie for 262th in the country out of 351 teams. Opponents have shot 34.6 percent against Syracuse’s 2-3 zone defense this year, though.“I just hope I see it, to be honest with you,” Matta said of the defense. “We need a good three-day prep for Dayton. I have seen Syracuse play, but haven’t started to break them down in terms of that yet.” read more

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