Terry Collins And Ned Yost Both Took Their Starters Out Too Late

World Series Game 3 was a tale of two hooks. Managers often get too much credit or blame for how their teams perform, but one of the most important decisions they can make is pulling the starting pitcher at just the right time. In Game 3, neither the Mets’ Terry Collins nor the Royals’ Ned Yost made the best decision, but one manager had his faith in his pitcher rewarded, and one suffered.Against a Royals lineup that doesn’t strike out, Mets starter Noah Syndergaard did as well as could be expected, fanning six batters. His four-seam fastball averaged 97.5 mph, higher even than the lofty baseline (97.1) he’d set in the regular season. From the first pitch of the game — which buzzed Royals leadoff hitter and magical totem Alcides Escobar — Syndergaard looked calm, purposeful, and in control.But in the top of the sixth, Syndergaard had retired 12 consecutive batters before giving up a single to Mike Moustakas and walking Salvador Perez (a rare feat) and Alex Gordon. Bases loaded, two out, Syndergaard had thrown 102 pitches — should Collins pull him? This season, Syndergaard allowed an unimpressive .860 OPS to opposing batters the third time through the order, and one lucky swing could have turned this game into a Royals win.Collins stuck with Syndergaard. It “worked” — the Royals’ Alex Rios grounded out to end the inning, and the Mets’ bullpen took care of the rest. After the game, Collins said, “I just thought that was a situation where, listen, we needed that third out and I thought he was the guy to do it.”The other guy who could’ve done it was Bartolo Colon. Colon, the savvy starter turned postseason reliever, gave up only a .698 OPS his first time through the order, much better than a tiring Syndergaard was likely to do. What’s more, that stat comes primarily from Colon’s experience as a starting pitcher, so he was likely to be even better in that situation coming from the bullpen.Meanwhile, Royals starter Yordano Ventura’s fastball wasn’t at its best, averaging 93.7 mph,1I’m using Pitchf/x data from MLB, scraped with John Choiniere’s script. almost three ticks lower than his average regular season velocity of 96.4. The loss of velocity showed; Ventura gave up seven hits in only 3 1/3rd innings of work and recorded only one strikeout.With the benefit of hindsight, it’s easy to see that pulling Ventura earlier would have been the right move. At the time, Yost may have reasoned that Ventura didn’t have much of a dropoff in the second time through the batting order, allowing a .661 OPS against opposing batters this year with a 2.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. But Ventura was clearly having trouble, and the alternative was a Royals bullpen that was second-best in MLB at preventing runs. Even a relatively mediocre option from the pen like Luke Hochevar posted a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Ventura in the second run through the order, and Yost could have drawn on him or converted starter Danny Duffy to throw a couple of innings each.Instead of pulling Ventura, Yost watched him give up a second homer, to Curtis Granderson in the third, before allowing three straight hits in the fourth inning. That’s three runs overall — and those three proved to be decisive, allowing the Mets to establish a lead they’d carry to the end of the game. Yost made a couple of other puzzling decisions, most obviously calling for Franklin Morales in the sixth. Morales, a back-of-the-bullpen player, gave up a few more runs and forced Yost to call for one of his vaunted relief aces (Kelvin Herrera).So we had two managers with similar decisions, but only one who suffered the consequences. That’s postseason baseball, where decisions are often judged in retrospect. Neither Collins nor Yost made the best choice in the moment, although Yost’s decision to stick with a starter whose stuff was measurably lacking is more egregious. Only Yost saw his starter fall apart, and the Royals lost a game as a result. read more

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Is Nebraskas Preseason Ranking Based On Ability Or Just Pedigree

✓✓ 191990UCLA3-7-1✓✓✓✓ Teams like Nebraska rarely rank in the preseasonEvery team that was ranked in the Associated Press preseason poll after a below .500 season 191958Pitt4-6✓✓ 81950Illinois3-4-2✓✓✓ 181972Purdue3-7 242019Nebraska4-8✓ 252001Alabama3-8✓✓✓✓ 241991UCLA5-6✓✓ 161995UCLA5-6✓✓✓ 171958SMU4-5-1 182012OSU6-7✓✓✓✓ 232006UT5-6✓✓✓✓ 191959MSU3-5-1✓✓✓✓ 181954Oregon4-5-1 181987ND5-6✓✓ 251992Texas5-6✓✓✓ 171969UCLA3-7✓✓✓ 201974A&M5-6✓ 211994Illinois5-6✓✓ 171977ASU4-7 232017Texas5-7✓✓ 111989PSU5-6✓✓✓ 252008Pitt5-7✓ ✓ 252002UW5-7 ✓✓ 251999ASU5-6 181982ND5-6✓✓✓ 251989OSU4-6-1✓✓ 242002PSU5-6✓ rankYearSchoolprevious recordnew qb or coachever champsRecent top-10 finish.600+ YEAR BEFORE ✓✓ When the Associated Press preseason Top 25 was released earlier this month, the names at the top were familiar. Clemson was first, Alabama second, and the rest of the top 10 was littered with recent contenders like Oklahoma, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame. But toward the bottom, there was a bit of a surprise. The Nebraska Cornhuskers were ranked No. 24 (with one voter putting them as high as No. 12) despite finishing each of the past two seasons at 4-8.That puts Nebraska in rare company. Since preseason polls began in 1950, only 31 teams have ever been ranked after a losing season, most recently Texas two years ago. And just five had a record worse than the Huskers.What makes Nebraska even more unusual is the sustained losing entering this season. Just nine other schools have been ranked in the preseason after consecutive losing seasons. None came off consecutive eight-loss seasons — or even had as many combined losses over the previous two years.So, why Nebraska? Do the Huskers deserve the early recognition?A lot of the excitement comes from Scott Frost, in his second year coaching Nebraska. In Frost’s second year at the University of Central Florida, just two years removed from a winless season, his team finished undefeated. Husker fans and the media seem to expect a similar second-year bump.Quarterback Adrian Martinez showed promise last season as a true freshman despite battling injuries. Just 19 years old, Martinez is in the top five of Heisman betting favorites.And in Frost’s first year, the Huskers did finish with a better team than the one that started — possibly only because the one that started was horrible. Nebraska began 0-6, the worst start in program history, before winning four of its last six and losing a one-score game to eventual Big Ten champion Ohio State — though the Huskers’ “signature win” was a touchdown-free 9-6 victory over Michigan State, which finished just 7-6 on the year.Despite finishing 2018 sixth in a weak Big Ten West division, Nebraska is getting a lot of attention, with some even saying it could be a title contender. The question is if that will translate to an improved team this season.Let’s look at the 31 teams who were ranked in the preseason poll after a losing season and see what we can learn from them. Source: Sports-Reference.com 192011UGA6-7✓✓✓ You might think that teams with a new coach or quarterback would get the nod in the polls, with a new regime the sign of a turnaround to come. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Of those 31 ranked teams, 27 had the same coach as the previous season, and 23 had the same quarterback;1The primary passer from the previous year threw at least one pass that year. 61 percent kept both; not a single one had a new coach and a new quarterback. Voters may be expecting an improvement from teams keeping the same core.Most of these teams also didn’t have a “hot” finish to the prior season. Only UCLA in 1995 came in with three straight wins. Just six teams won their last game of the season (1990 UCLA had a tie) and the 31 teams averaged barely one win over the last three games and less than two wins over the last five.These teams do seem to get the benefit of the doubt from their pedigree, something Nebraska certainly has. More than 80 percent had won a championship at some point in team history, and more than half within the past 25 years. All but one played in a major conference.2Arizona State, 1977, was in the WAC. Nebraska seems to fit this category. Most voters probably still remember Nebraska’s three championships between 1994 and 1997, the last two when Frost was quarterback.Unlike Nebraska, however, most of the 31 ranked teams had a more recent track record of success, even within their two previous years. And the majority had a postseason top-10 ranking within just the previous five years. Nebraska, meanwhile, hasn’t won even its division since 2012 and has lost at least four games for 15 straight years.But history may be on Big Red’s side. Of those 30 other ranked teams, we would expect3Given their placement in the rankings, based on the historical share of teams at each preseason ranking that were ranked anywhere in the year’s final poll. 12 or 13 to be top 25 in the postseason. Sixteen were. And of the other nine that were ranked after two losing seasons, six finished top 20, and all finished with more wins than losses.The high hopes in Nebraska are a lot to live up to. But a significant turnaround wouldn’t be unprecedented. Five years ago, TCU went from 4-8 to 12-1 and very nearly made the college football playoff. In 2012, Ohio State rebounded from a 6-7 season to finish 12-0 under new head coach Urban Meyer (though the Buckeyes were ineligible for the postseason). And back in 1964, coming off a 2-7 season, Notre Dame and new head coach Ara Parseghian from Northwestern went 9-1 for a share of the national championship.A lot will have to go right for Nebraska to complete a major rise. We’ll soon find out if they’re up to the task. 231993Clemson5-6✓✓✓ 161960OSU3-5-1✓✓✓✓ 181957ND2-8✓✓✓✓ read more

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Sullinger Aaron Craft is always correcting our English

While Buford and Sullinger did not go into much detail and kept the comments lighthearted, apparently not wanting to give their teammate too hard of a time, Craft did not deny his teammates’ claims. In fact, he said he is a stickler for grammar because it will help his teammates when interacting with others in the future, but more simply, because poor grammar is a pet peeve of his. “I do correct their English because I’m trying to prepare them for a situation where they might be with someone important and they don’t want to have the same mistake there,” Craft said. “And it just bothers me when they use bad English. A lot.” The Buckeyes next play Kansas in the Final Four in New Orleans. Tip is set for Saturday at about 9 p.m. The winner will advance to the national championship game Monday. “He thinks he knows everything, for one,” Buford immediately responded, before leaning over to Craft and joking with him. Sullinger backed Buford up. “That’s on the court and off the court. As a point guard, you kind of need that on the court, but I mean, he’s always correcting our English and our grammar and all that good stuff,” he said. Ohio State sophomore point guard Aaron Craft is known for his ability to guard players on the court, but some of his teammates said he is just as adamant about guarding against their poor grammar off the court. When a reporter asked Craft if he had vices and faults, he replied, “I absolutely do,” before passing the question to two of his teammates – senior guard William Buford and sophomore forward Jared Sullinger. read more

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Ohio State wrestling marching on without Logan Stieber

The Ohio State wrestling team eagerly anticipates the return of redshirt sophomore and team captain Logan Stieber as he works his way back from a leg muscle strain he suffered in early January. Stieber, who is undefeated with a 15-0 record, has been out for the past three matches, and his absence has been felt. The Buckeyes are 1-2 without him in the lineup. OSU coach Tom Ryan said Stieber’s presence has a great impact on how the team performs. “I think when you have a guy like Logan, I mean you have a great leader in there,” Ryan said. After all, Stieber is the defending 133-pound NCAA Champion. “You don’t know how guys are going to react without him in there until you see it, and I think he’s a spark. He’s a spark for the team and we need him back.” As important as Stieber is to the team, his fellow wrestlers aren’t using his absence as an excuse for their losing record during that time. Freshman Mark Martin, who wrestles at 165 pounds,said the team needs to increase its effort without, arguably, its top wrestler. “It basically forces us to step up. Everybody has to step up and make up for him being out, I guess. We all have to do our jobs and pick up our mentality,” Martin said. Because of the injury, which is being evaluated on a week-to-week basis, Stieber has had to tweak the way he leads the team with just his words instead of by example. “(It’s difficult) just being at practice and not being able to wrestle at matches,” he said. “I can always help by talking and getting everyone pumped up, but it’s very different if you’re out there wrestling. That’s the thing that sucks the most.” But the Buckeyes shouldn’t have to wait much longer to see the 2012 All-American and Big Ten Champion back on the mats. Stieber has been pleased with his progress since the injury and said he is set to return against Illinois on Feb. 1. “It’s going good, but we don’t want to rush back into anything,” he said. “I just have to take my time and have a great rehab.” In the meantime, several Buckeyes have the opportunity to fill the hole left by Stieber’s absence. Redshirt freshman Kyle Visconti, who typically wrestles at 125 pounds, has been wrestling in place of Stieber in the 133-pound weight class, going 1-2 in that time span. However, the Buckeyes could be going with a different 133-pounder this Friday away against Indiana, with redshirt sophomore Drew Stone, who also is listed at 125 pounds. “There will be a wrestle-off this week between Visconti and Stone,” Ryan said. “Stone was out with an injury so we couldn’t have a wrestle-off before, and plus it was really last minute who we were going to put in there. So they’ll wrestle off if we don’t figure it out.” After Indiana, the Buckeyes are set to host Wisconsin on Jan. 20 at St. John Arena. read more

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Performance review Thad Matta outstanding for Ohio State mens basketball

OSU oach Thad Matta talks to his players during a timeout. OSU beat Minnesota, 64-46, Feb. 22 at the Schottenstein Center.Credit: Ritika Shah / Asst. photo editorOhio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta received positive feedback in his most recent performance review with athletic director and recently promoted Vice President Gene Smith, but Smith wants Matta to be more involved with promoting the Buckeyes’ early non-conference games.In his most recent performance review dated Sept. 4, Smith used words like “outstanding” and “remarkable” to describe Matta’s performance last season, according to public records requested Feb. 4 by The Lantern and received Monday.In the overall comments portion of the review, Smith said Matta “continues to be one of the premier coaches in the country,” and called his leadership “outstanding.” However, Smith referenced the Buckeyes’ non-conference schedule in the “opportunities for improvement” section.“Needs to assist the department in promoting early non-conference games to strengthen interest and attendance,” Smith said.OSU coasted through its 13 non-conference contests this season, winning each game by at least 10 points except the 64-61 decision against Notre Dame Dec. 21.The weak non-conference slate could have hurt the Buckeyes in the long run, who later lost five of seven Big Ten games in January.As for last season, OSU finished 29-8, won the Big Ten Conference Tournament, earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and made it to the Elite Eight before bowing out to Wichita State, 70-66. Overall, the report indicated Smith was pleased with the job Matta and company did.“This past year was another remarkable performance competing in a 4th Sweet 16 in a row and advancing to the Elite 8,” Smith said in the review. “The team exceeded all public expectations.”Matta’s performance is broken down into eight subheads: Academic Success of Program, Competitive Success of Program, Commitment to Compliance, Student-Athlete Welfare, Leadership, Communication, Budget Management and Public Relations/Donor Relations.Each subhead has different categories to assess Matta’s performance, and all were marked as a “strength,” with the exception of Commitment to Compliance, Budget Management and Public Relations/Donor Relations. Matta “met performance standards” in those three areas, as noted in the report.None of the sections were marked as “opportunity for improvement.”The team’s overall GPA was 2.82, with four players — then-senior guard Alex Rogers, then-junior guard Aaron Craft, then-sophomore forward Sam Thompson and then-freshman guard Amedeo Della Valle — being named Scholar Athletes for finishing the school year with a GPA of 3.7 or above.Matta is in his 10th season at the helm of the men’s basketball program, notably being the only coach in the country to lead his team to four straight Sweet Sixteens. His record is 121-27 in those four years, with each team notching at least 28 wins each season. read more

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Underclassmen play a big part for Ohio State mens lacrosse

OSU junior attacker Carter Brown (14) attempts to move past a Michigan defender during an April 12 game in Ann Arbor, Mich. OSU won, 13-8.Credit: Molly Tavoletti / Lantern ReporterWith just two regular-season matchups remaining, the senior members of the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team can see the finish line to their collegiate careers and are still striving to cross it as Big Ten or NCAA champions.But regardless of this season’s outcome, a prepared group of juniors, sophomores and freshmen are stepping up, allowing those seniors to leave with the assurance that their team remains in able hands, coach Nick Myers said.“You have to lean on seniors because we have a great core group of them, but at the same time you have to look to that younger class who now have three years of experience under their belts, so we need them to play a big part as we come down the home stretch,” he said.Senior midfielder Jesse King leads OSU in goals with 30 on the season, but several younger players closely follow his lead on offense.Junior attackman Carter Brown, who put up two goals in OSU’s April 12 win over Michigan, holds the No. 2 spot with 26 goals. Two attackmen, junior Ryan Hunter, and freshman Colin Chell, are not far behind with 13 and 12 goals, respectively.“I go into every game with the same mindset,” Brown said. “I’m not really focused on points, it’s about offense as a whole, so whatever I can do to help that.”Brown has been an essential piece of the Buckeye lacrosse puzzle for three straight seasons, but he’s reached new heights this season. The attackman has scored goals in nine of the Buckeyes’ last 10 games, including a career-high six goals in the team’s 15-12 conference victory over Johns Hopkins on April 5.Regardless of his numbers, Brown credits his success to the senior leaders he has learned from along the way.“This is the third senior class I’ve been with and they’ve each been so influential on me both on and off the field,” Brown said. “I’m realizing I have to mold into one of them now and be a role model myself.”The junior attackman’s development as a leader has allowed him to return the favor by influencing his younger teammates as well, particularly Chell, Brown said.“Colin and I play similar games, so I try to lead by example,” he said. “I try to do the right things in practice and in games where he can see what I do, and try to resemble that, as well as building a friendship off the field, too.”Against the Wolverines, Chell led the Buckeyes in goals, nabbing his first collegiate hat trick and earning his second Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week Award of the season.From the get-go, Chell has demonstrated his abilities on the field, with four assists and 16 points overall this season.“Colin fit right into our system from day one,” senior midfielder David Planning said. “He’s so mature, fast, strong, all in the same bit. He runs all over, takes hard checks and gets right back up.”Chell, Brown and Hunter have consistently brought a great deal to the offensive table. But on the other side of the ball, the defensive effort from younger players has increased as well.Named Big Ten Specialist of the Week for the second time this season, redshirt-sophomore goalie Tom Carey had 11 saves against Michigan and held the Wolverines scoreless for a 12:17 span in the first half, allowing the Buckeyes to take the lead.Carey has played in every game during his first season with the Buckeyes, beating out seniors Cameron Stephens and Kevin Duffy for the starting spot and earning 127 saves along the way.“You could get concerned when you’re relying on freshmen and sophomores to carry you, but in our case, I don’t think that’s true at all,” Myers said. “They’re contributing in important roles, but they’re learning from veteran guys.”Planning said the seniors carry the responsibility of mentorship, but each player understands the importance of consistently giving 100 percent, regardless of class.“We have a system where we practice hard Monday through Friday, so when your name is called, you’re expected to perform,” Planning said. “We believe we can throw anyone in at any time.”The Buckeyes are set for their final home game of the season, seeking their fourth conference win against No. 3 Maryland on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The “Showdown at the ‘Shoe” is set to take place at 11 a.m. prior the OSU football Spring Game. read more

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Satire Urban Meyer names all six quarterbacks starters

Click to enlargeTired of constant questions regarding Ohio State’s ongoing quarterback battle, coach Urban Meyer revealed he’s already picked a starter — and it’s not quite what people expected.During an impromptu Sunday press conference, Meyer announced that redshirt-senior Braxton Miller, redshirt-junior Cardale Jones and redshirt-sophomore J.T. Barrett will all start for the Buckeyes in 2015. In fact, not only will the trio of returning starters all be in the opening lineup, but Meyer said all six scholarship quarterbacks at OSU have earned starting spots — even though two of them have yet to arrive on campus.“At Ohio State, it doesn’t matter, the best player plays,” Meyer said Sunday. “If our five best players are kickers, then five kickers play. If our best 11 on defense are all linebackers, then we’ll play 11 linebackers. It just so happens that our six quarterbacks are the best six players, so we had to find a way to get them all on the field.“Those six have earned the right to be called starters at the Ohio State University.”Meyer explained that Miller — a two-time Big Ten Quarterback of the Year — will line up at slot receiver, Barrett — the reigning conference Quarterback of the Year — will play tailback and Jones will use his 6-foot-5-inch, 250-pound frame to play tight end.Incoming freshman Torrance Gibson and redshirt-freshman Stephen Collier will be OSU’s outside receivers, Meyer said, and perhaps most shockingly of all, freshman Joe Burrow will be the only one actually taking snaps from senior center Jacoby Boren.Jones, who led the Buckeyes to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon en route to Big Ten and national titles in his first three starts, was visibly confused as he stood alongside Meyer during the press conference.“I finally figured out that I came here to play school, but I’m still pretty sure I didn’t come here to play tight end,” Jones was heard muttering as he left the room. “At least I’m still allowed to tweet.”Burrow, who has yet to take a college snap, is reportedly practicing passes to himself, much like he perfected in his high school playing days.“I am just so excited to throw passes to all of our quarterbacks, but even more excited to throw to myself,” Burrow said at the press conference. “I can’t thank coach Meyer enough for this opportunity.”Meyer, who is confident in Burrow’s abilities to lead the offense, reiterated his usual mantra to the press.“A quarterback is a product of those around him, and in this case they are the products for themselves,” Meyer said. “Zeke was great for us last year, but no one can open up the offense like our quarterbacks.”Barrett, who won 11 games last season, is coming off of an ankle surgery and said he is excited about his new role in the offense.“Did you see my run against Minnesota last year? I ran through all over those Gopher holes,” Barrett said. “I loved playing with Zekiel. But I am the better option.”The Buckeyes will have more than enough options next season, which Meyer said he intends to take full advantage of.“With six guys who can throw, you can really open up the playbook,” Meyer said. “I can’t give you an example, but I can tell you that there is a play where all six guys will touch the ball and Dolo Dale will end up throwing the ball further than Uncle Rico when he threw the ball over them mountains.”Collier, who saw extended action in the 2015 Spring Game said, was thrilled with the announcement.“I’m just happy to be here,” he said.As per usual, Miller declined to speak to the press.Burrow, an Athens, Ohio, native, was the only person at the press conference who didn’t look like he’d recently been hit by a bus. While he was rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, he was widely expected to be the fifth or sixth option under center this season.“I know nobody expected it, but I always knew coach Meyer would give me a chance,” Burrow said. “Cordale, Brandon and J.R. are all great players, but none of them can throw touchdown passes to themselves.”The sextet is set to start for the Buckeyes when they open the 2015 season against Virginia Tech on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg, Va. read more

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Football Billy Price and Tyquan Lewis named to AP preseason AllAmerican list

Ohio State redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis walks into the Hyatt Place to check in for fall camp on Aug. 6. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports EditorA day after the Associated Press’ preseason top 25 poll, the AP unveiled its list of preseason All-Americans, naming redshirt senior center Billy Price to the first team and redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis to the second team.This is the first time either player has been named to the preseason list.Price has already been gaining quite a bit of notoriety this preseason, having already been named to the watch lists for both the Rimington Trophy as well as the Outland Trophy. He will be starting at center on the offensive line for the Buckeyes after making the transition from right guard after the 2016 season.As the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, Lewis has been racking up the preseason accolades this year. He was named a preseason player to watch out of the Big Ten and was named to a pair of award watch lists: the Bednarik Award and the Bronko Nagurski Award.The pair of teammates will be expected to live up to the preseason hype and help defend Ohio State’s No. 2 ranking in the AP Preseason Poll when they travel to take on the Indiana Hoosiers on Aug. 31 at 8 p.m. read more

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Mens Basketball Keyshawn Woods ready to become a playmaker for Ohio State

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann calls out to the Buckeye offense in the second half of the game against Penn State in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals on Mar. 2 in Madison Square Garden. Ohio State lost 68-69. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignThe Ohio State men’s basketball team will be searching for new leaders both on and off the court following the departure of Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate.Senior guard C.J. Jackson said this summer that he looks at this team as his, but he might be getting help from graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods.The redshirt senior guard came to Ohio State following two seasons at Wake Forest. Before that, Woods joined the Demon Deacons from Charlotte, and, during that process, Woods said head coach Chris Holtmann, who previously coached at Butler, attempted to recruit him.“Coach [Holtmann]’s been recruiting me for a while,” Woods said. “He recruited me out of high school, he recruited me when he was at Butler, when I was transferring the first time, so I already had a relationship with Coach [Holtmann].”Holtmann said he still won’t let go the first times that Woods failed to join his team.“You really, as much as possible, try to hold it against him in every day in practice on a regular basis,” Holtmann said.Woods played in 28 games for Wake Forest in 2017, ending the season with 11.9 points per game, good for second on the team, on 37.4 percent three-point shooting while mostly coming off the bench.But Woods only ended last year with 1.9 assists per game, down from the 3.5 per game he averaged in 2016, something Holtmann is looking to bring back with Ohio State this season.“He really does have good feel, good visioning,” Holtmann said. “I think we could play him at a variety of positions, I think he’ll be one of our leading playmakers this year, because of his willingness to move the ball, and it’s been good to see it.”Woods started to make that adjustment during the team’s trip to Spain in the beginning of August. In the game on Aug. 7 against Valencia, Woods led the team with four assists in the 95-63 victory.As he looks to continue making changes on the court, his role as a leader for the team is something he said comes naturally.“When I was at University of Charlotte and Wake, I’ve always been in that leadership role, since I was a freshman,” Woods said. “That’s something I’m real comfortable with and I don’t have a problem with.”Now, with Holtmann and Woods together, after a third recruiting attempt, expectations are high following Ohio State’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2015.Even with the loss of the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year in Bates-Diop, Woods had high praise for this Ohio State roster coming into the season.“This is one of the best teams I’ve probably been on,” Woods said. “As a group, and how they are and how close they are, I probably have not been on a team like that, and I’m really excited to play with these guys for a full season.” read more

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Womens Hockey No 4 Ohio State splits road series with No 3

Ohio State then-redshirt sophomore defender Jincy Dunne (33) gets back on defense in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Managing Editor for DesignThe No. 4 Ohio State women’s hockey team (6-2, 3-1 WCHA) traveled up to Minneapolis to take on the No. 3 Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-1-1, 4-1-1 WCHA) in an early Top 5 matchup that saw a series split. The first game was won by Minnesota by a score of 3-0 and the Buckeyes won the second by a score of 3-2. Game 1Ohio State found themselves overmatched on the road against a tough Minnesota team and despite its efforts, lost 3-0.The first period saw Ohio State coming out hot, getting the first three shots on goal of the game, but none of them found the net and the same went for Minnesota throughout the first period. Both teams notched 10 shots on goal but remained scoreless after 20 minutes. Minnesota took the lead more than 11 minutes into the second period when senior forward Taylor Williamson shot one past freshman goaltender Andrea Braendli off a rebound that got away from the goalie to give the Golden Gophers a 1-0 lead. Senior forward Tianna Gunderson and junior defenseman Patti Marshall earned assists on the play. Throughout the second period, the Buckeyes were outshot by the Gophers 18-5. Momentum did not shift to Ohio State’s favor as the Gophers extended their lead off another rebound shot, this time by freshman forward Catie Skaja with assists by redshirt senior forward Nicole Schammel and sophomore forward Gracie Zumwinkle. In an attempt to mount a late comeback, Braendli was pulled in favor of another attacker for the Buckeyes, but it resulted in an empty net goal with just 32 seconds left for Williamson’s second goal of the game to clinch the victory for Minnesota. Ohio State was severely outshot by Minnesota 19-3 in the period.Fresh off winning player of the week for her efforts against Minnesota State, Braendli notched a career high 44 saves. Game 2On Saturday, Ohio State held off a late Minnesota comeback to win the game 3-2, splitting the series. The Buckeyes took the lead just 5:10 into the first period when freshman defenseman Sophie Jacques scored her first career goal. Minnesota struck back when Schammel got one by Braendli later in the period to tie it up, 1-1. Schammel was assisted by Zumwinkle and freshman defenseman Gracie Ostertag. Moving to just past the halfway point of the second period, sophomore forward Emma Maltais scored a power play goal to shift momentum back to Ohio State and give them a 2-1 lead. Redshirt junior Jincy Dunne recorded an assist on the goal. The Buckeyes extended their lead early into the third period when senior forward Madison Field scored an insurance goal to put Ohio State up two. Maltais and Dunne assisted Field on the play. Minnesota was not to be deterred, and a shot by senior forward Taylor Williamson with just under three minutes left in the game cut the lead to 3-2. However, that one goal was all that the Gophers were able to muster as Braendli put together another strong performance, this time saving 40 shots to give Ohio State the victory.Minnesota outshot the Buckeyes 42 to 27, but Ohio State took advantage of scoring opportunities when they presented themselves, and Braendli and the defense combined to clinch a tough away victory against a Top 5 Minnesota team. Ohio State remains on the road for next week as they travel to Canton, New York for a non-conference matchup against St. Lawrence. Puck drop for the series opener is set for 6 p.m. on Friday. read more

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