During TNT’s studio show following the Houston Rockets’ victory over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, Charles Barkley ripped Rockets GM Daryl Morey — and the NBA’s burgeoning advanced stats movement by extension — saying: “I’ve always believed analytics was crap. … I never mention the Rockets as legitimate contenders ’cause they’re not. And, listen, I wouldn’t know Daryl Morey if he walked into this room right now.”“The NBA is about talent,” Barkley added. “All these guys who run these organizations who talk about analytics, they have one thing in common — they’re a bunch of guys who have never played the game, and they never got the girls in high school, and they just want to get in the game.”The debate over using advanced metrics in sports is nothing new, and Barkley’s comments aren’t out of place with what baseball traditionalists were saying after “Moneyball” was published more than a decade ago. But what I found humorous in Barkley’s remarks is that there are no greater champions of Barkley’s legacy as a player than proponents of advanced metrics.As Will Leitch pointed out, Barkley’s sentiments echo those of baseball’s Joe Morgan, the player-turned-broadcaster who famously hated sabermetrics despite posting numbers that statheads could only drool over.Yes, Barkley is well-regarded by the establishment — he is a Hall of Famer, after all. But his career has been dogged by the criticism that weighs more on stars in the NBA than any other sport: He never won a championship. Fellow power forward Tim Duncan, on the other hand, has won five — and counting. Barkley also lacked the sheer stat totals of Karl Malone, another contemporary at the position, who came within 1,459 points of setting the NBA’s all-time scoring record. These time-honored considerations are what keep Barkley a distant third behind Duncan and Malone on most mainstream “Greatest Power Forward Ever” lists.Statheads, on the other hand, often decry the outsize role that championships have taken in assessing NBA players’ legacies and have little use for raw numerical accumulation. Instead, they marvel at numbers such as Barkley’s outrageous per-possession offensive efficiency rating, which is the highest ever among players who used as many possessions as he did.Malone may have outscored Barkley by 13,171 points (and Barkley even trails Malone in points per game), but according to more advanced metrics, there’s little doubt that Barkley was the better player. Over a common range of ages (22-36), Barkley was worth about 2.1 more points per 100 possessions to his team’s efficiency differential than Malone (in the estimation of Box Plus/Minus) and produced about 10 more wins of Value Over Replacement Player (VORP). For BPM nonbelievers, Barkley also leads in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and Win Shares per 48 minutes.And as much respect as we have for Duncan, it’s not clear that he performed better in his prime than Barkley did, either. Over the same range of ages, Barkley leads Duncan in BPM — by a whopping 1.8 points per 100 possessions — VORP and WS/48. (Granted, Duncan’s PER does edge out Barkley, 24.7 to 24.6.)Now, Malone and Duncan each logged more minutes than Barkley — in Malone’s case, about 323 full, 48-minute games’ worth — and there’s value to be added in simply showing up and playing at a high level day in and day out. But when you look at the career leaderboard for VORP, which blends per-possession effectiveness with durability, Barkley outpaces Duncan and is within 9.0 units of Malone’s total despite the latter’s huge playing-time advantage.In other words, the advanced stats tend to hold Barkley in much higher esteem than the conventional wisdom does. Barkley may not care for analytics, but his legacy as a player would benefit from greater acceptance of the analytical point of view.
While veteran stars including Nolan Arenado, Chris Sale and Mike Trout all signed massive extensions this spring, players with little major league experience made up the majority of the deals. Fourteen of the players — including reigning NL Rookie of the Year Ronald Acuna, who signed a $100 million extension last week, and fellow Brave Ozzie Albies, who signed a much-discussed extension Thursday — were so early in their careers that they were not yet eligible for salary arbitration, which generally requires a player to accrue three years of major league experience before becoming eligible to negotiate for significant raises. Eight others were at least a year shy of six years of service time, the amount required to become a free agent. In 2019 to date, players signing extensions have forfeited 51 combined arbitration-eligible seasons and 69 future free-agent years. The deals also include club options covering 25 seasons.Buying out the arbitration and free agency years of younger stars for the purpose of controlling and reducing payroll costs was a practice pioneered in the early 1990s by John Hart, then general manager of the Cleveland Indians, who watched great Pittsburgh Pirates teams broken up prematurely because of escalating player costs. While extensions had since become common practice, the activity had slowed in recent seasons as young stars like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado seemed intent on hitting the open market as soon as possible.So what’s behind the extension surge this spring? Why are MLB teams intent on avoiding arbitration and locking up young stars? It may be because arbitration wasn’t working to begin with — at least from the perspective of the teams.Under arbitration, a player and a team each puts forth a salary amount to a panel of arbitrators, who then must decide on one of the two figures. In the past two offseasons, players have totaled more wins than losses in arbitration cases against the owners — the first time that’s happened in back-to-back years since 1989-90. Through 2015, owners had won 58 percent of all arbitration cases, according to Forbes.This winter, Gerrit Cole ($13.5 million) and Trevor Bauer ($13 million) were among the six players to win their cases against their clubs. Arenado and the Rockies avoided a hearing, which is common practice, by signing a one-year, $26 million deal — a record for a player eligible for arbitration.“We’re going to be seeing $20 [million] and $30 million salaries regularly in arbitration,” one agent told us. “They [MLB teams] are going to try and push back on that. How do you do it? You pull those guys out of the system.“Every time the teams see a seam in the defense, they exploit the shit out of it and they are really good at it,” the agent said. “They are capitalizing on good players they have been watching through the draft, through the minor leagues, and who are represented largely by unqualified or under-qualified agents. The teams have scouting reports on agents the very same way they have on opposing hitters and pitchers. They have heat maps. They know our tendencies, they know who will go to arbitration, who won’t, whose business is failing and they need to vest their fees.”The agent noted that teams look at arbitration as an important battleground and have scores of analysts that compile data for these cases. By taking players out of the arbitration system, the teams not only cap earning potential for those players, but they also reduce salary comps for other players. Agent Scott Boras described the MLB’s aggressive approach with young players and extensions this spring as “snuff contracts” — or an attempt to snuff out future markets.Greg Dreyfuss, an associate general counsel for the union and the MLBPA’s director of analytics and baseball operations, also sees a link between the wave of extensions and players’ recent arbitration wins. The union and players have closed the data gap between clubs in making their cases. Dreyfuss says agents and players are educated on the market. While MLB payrolls remain stagnant, the records for largest arbitration salaries have been set in the past two years. The average salary of an arbitration-eligible player in 2011 was $2.73 million; that increased to $3.97 million this year, a 45 percent jump, according to analysis of MLBTradeRumors.com data.The total dollars and players in the arbitration system has jumped from $393.6 million and 144 players in 2011 to $789.6 million spread among 199 players this last offseason, growth in part due to the game trending younger — meaning that there will be more 20-somethings entering arbitration.“Nine of the 10 largest one-year contracts in the history of salary arbitration have come in the past two years, and overall, arbitration salaries have kept pace with the rise in industry revenue over a 10-year period,” Dreyfuss told FiveThirtyEight. “Recently a lot of really good players in that process have stood up and said, ‘No, I’m not just going to take what you give me,’ and they’ve fought for what they consider a fair salary. So, I do think there’s some correlation between players succeeding in arbitration and clubs wanting to take players out of that process.”While spending efficiently is always a goal for teams, how these clubs have handled free agency in recent winters may be a motivating factor in some players’ decision-making. Even Trout, the game’s best player, expressed reservations about entering the open market when he signed a record extension (which is also a bargain for the Angels) this spring.“I kind of saw what Bryce and Manny went through and it drew a red flag for me,” Trout said. “I talked to Manny and Bryce. It was a tough couple months in the offseason. They put it perspective in my mind.”Not all extensions are club-friendly. Drefyuss notes that there have also been a number of veteran players who have agreed to extensions that will pay them lucratively into their mid-30s.“Players agree to extensions for a variety of valid reasons, and there are any number of factors involved in their decisions,” he saidOne key decision a player must make when considering an extension is how much financial upside to concede for the sake of job and financial security. In dealing with future risk, teams face less downside than individual players do. While a team can absorb a poor contract, a player is one injury or decline in performance away from having his career trajectory significantly altered.Acuna and Albies look like future superstars, yet they signed deals that could potentially cost them nine figures in future earnings. White Sox top prospect Eloy Jimenez signed a six-year deal with two club options before he ever took a major league at-bat, limiting his financial upside. Those are the types of club-friendly deals that some on the players’ side have criticized. There is also an argument that individual players ought to consider not just themselves but their peers and future major leaguers when considering a long-term deal — and that they should wait until they are at least arbitration-eligible.“If guys aren’t going through the system, if all the young [stars] are signing before they get there, then we are not going to have those posts to hold on to,” the agent said of salary comps. “I don’t think this is teams trying to screw with the free agent market. They are trying to take the best young players out of the arbitration system.”Toronto outfielder Randal Grichuk, 27, said the Blue Jays began negotiating with him last month during spring training in the midst of the extension spree. He eventually signed a five-year, $52 million extension.“The way I looked at it was taking guaranteed money, setting my family up for life, it’s hard to turn down,” Grichuk said. “If I leave a few dollars on the table now, I’m going to just be finishing my 31 season [after his deal expires] going into free agency. If I produce well, I’m going to be young enough to make some more. And if I’m not able to, whether due to injuries, failures, anything happens, I’m still set for life.”Grichuk was into his arbitration years when he signed his extension, but he didn’t take issue with young stars like Acuna opting for financial security earlier along in the process.“He could have probably waited and got more, but it’s tough to talk negatively about a guy who just got $100 million and is set for life,” Grichuk said. “What’s the difference between $100 [million] and $200 [million]? His kids’ kids’ kids won’t have to work? … I think it’s one of those things where his life changes completely.”Neil Paine contributed researchCheck out our latest MLB predictions. On Feb. 13, 25-year-old ace Aaron Nola agreed to a four-year contract extension with the Phillies. A day later, 26-year-old Max Kepler and 25-year-old Jorge Polanco agreed to five-year extensions with the Twins. The following day, Yankees ace Luis Severino, who turned 25 a few days later, signed a pact with the Yankees. The deals marked the beginning of a historic spree of extensions.From mid-February through Thursday, 27 players had agreed to extensions worth a total of 132 years and $2.045 billion, according to data from the MLBTradeRumors.com extension database analyzed by FiveThirtyEight. There has never been a flurry of activity like this: March represented the most dollars ($1.126 billion) and years (58) awarded in contract extensions in a one-month period that we’ve seen.
After losing 2-1 to Belgium on Tuesday, the U.S. men’s national team will be left to contemplate its future; after years of steady improvement, there are hints U.S. men’s soccer has hit a plateau. But one American left the tournament with a strong argument for his international quality: Goalkeeper Tim Howard.Howard was FIFA’s Man of the Match despite conceding Belgium’s two goals — both in extra time. The award is deserved. In fact, Howard’s game probably was the best by a goalkeeper in the World Cup to date.So far in the tournament, there have been three saves for every goal conceded (excluding penalties and own goals). If we account for shots in the same way that the National Hockey League does — a shot must result in either a goal or a save by the goalie, while shots stopped by another defensive player are considered “blocked shots” instead — this implies that every shot has a 25 percent chance of scoring. (In practice, soccer statisticians usually consider blocked shots to be shots on target as well, but we’ll go with the NHL’s definition as it better isolates goalkeeper performance.)Howard faced 18 shots from Belgium by this definition. If 25 percent of shots score on average, that implies Belgium would typically score 4.5 goals on this shooting volume. Instead, Howard conceded two goals. That means he saved a net of 2.5 goals for the United States.That +2.5 score — which we’ll call Howard’s “net goals saved” — was the best single-game performance in Brazil so far. The second-best belongs to Ecuador’s Alexander Dominguez, who made nine saves and allowed no goals against France for +2.25 net goals saved. That’s pretty good but slightly behind Howard’s total; Howard’s seven extra saves slightly outweighed the two goals he let in.The worst single-game performance belongs to Jung Sung-ryong of South Korea, who allowed four goals and made just one save in a poor performance against Algeria — a net goals saved score of -2.75. Spain’s Iker Casillas was nearly as bad in conceding five goals against the Netherlands, but he at least made five saves to go with them.Howard has not quite had the best overall tournament, however, because his net goals saved was exactly average (+0.00) entering the Belgian match. Instead, that honor goes to Colombia’s David Ospina, who has made 18 saves and allowed just two goals in four games so far, for a net goals saved of +3.00.
Part of me wants to hop on Interstate 70 West and drive to Indianapolis to revel in the misery of the Indianapolis Colts fans on this trying day. You see, I’m from Northwest Indiana and that’s Chicago Bears territory. Compounded by the fact that Peyton Manning has his only Super Bowl at the expense of the Bears, today should be a day of celebration for me. But it’s not. I have far too much respect for what Manning has accomplished during his 14 years with the Colts’ organization. He made Indianapolis a football city. For anyone who has ever driven through or had the chance to visit Indianapolis, it is clear that Manning was considered nothing short of a god. Manning’s likeness could be found around every corner. In short, Peyton Manning was Indianapolis. That will no longer be the case as the Colts officially announced Wednesday that they will be releasing Manning. The decision came one day before the team was scheduled to give Manning a $28 million bonus and begin the second year of the five-year $90 million deal that he signed before last season. Manning choked back tears as he thanked Colts fans and expressed his gratefulness to the city of Indianapolis. It was apparent that Manning truly didn’t want to leave. Manning and Colts’ owner Jim Irsay insisted the decision had nothing to do with money, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that Irsay would have been making a significant financial investment in a player who missed an entire season to recover from a neck injury. On one hand, it’s hard to understand Irsay’s reasoning in letting Manning go. If your quarterback of 14 seasons tells you that he is confident he’ll play again, and at the same high level that he was at, wouldn’t you listen to him? And on the other hand, it’s rather impressive how Irsay has been able to emotionally remove himself from the situation and assess the situation from a neutral standpoint. If Manning isn’t healthy, $28 million is a lot of money to invest in a damaged asset. Irsay’s decision has no doubt been made easier by the knowledge that his organization owns the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. In Manning’s first season the Colts finished 3-13. That was 1998. With Manning under center, the Colts would only have one more losing season (2001) until last season. He is a four-time MVP, owns every major Colts franchise passing record and helped the team to eight division titles, two AFC championships, and a Super Bowl win during the 2006-07 season. He’s had a hall of fame-caliber career up to this point and still believes he has more left in the tank, telling reporters at his press conference that he is “confident” that he will play again. Manning will never again suit up in Colts’ blue and white and put on that customary No. 18 jersey. And according to Irsay, neither will anyone else. “It’s a difficult day here of shared pain between Peyton, myself, the fans, everyone,” Irsay said at the press conference. “I think in that vein as well. The 18 jersey will never be worn again by a Colt on the field.” Fans in Ohio are all too familiar with bad divorces. Irsay and Manning seem to have proven that it is possible to leave on good terms. Any team that lands Manning in the future will be lucky to have him. He’s a classy individual who clearly wants nothing more than to be back on the field playing football. Here’s hoping that the team doesn’t happen to reside in the NFC North.
Ohio State redshirt senior tight end Jake Stoneburner and redshirt junior offensive lineman Jack Mewhort have been removed from their athletic scholarships-at least until the end of the summer. In a statement released Friday night from Urban Meyer via an OSU department of athletics spokesperson, the two football players “will each be removed from athletic scholarship beginning with the summer term, and they will continue to be suspended from team activities until stipulations are successfully met.” “We are disappointed with the decisions made recently by two of our football players,” the release said. “(Stoneburner and Mewhort) will have an opportunity to return to the team in good standing following the summer session.” The decision comes nearly two weeks after Stoneburner and Mewhort were suspended June 3 after being arrested for obstructing justice. According to a police report from the Shawnee Hills Police Department, police said they spotted Stoneburner, Mewhort and a third person, Austin Barnard, urinating on what appeared to be an early childhood education school called The Oxford School near the Bogey Inn in Dublin, Ohio. After shining a bright light, police said the three suspects ran away. Police said they found Stoneburner and Barnard crouched between cars while Mewhort fled to a nearby wooded area before turning himself in after threatening to use a police dog. Stoneburner and Mewhort were expected to be starters for the upcoming season. In 2011, Stoneburner caught 14 passes for 193 yards and had seven touchdown catches. Stoneburner was recruited out of Dublin Coffman High School. He has caught 37 passes in his career at OSU. Meyer listed Stoneburner after this year’s Spring Game on April 21 as one of his “top offensive playmakers.” Mewhort was a highly recruited prospect out of St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy in Toledo, Ohio.
As the first opponent of Ohio State football in Urban Meyer’s tenure as head coach, the Miami (Ohio) RedHawks football team could soon be the answer to a trivia question. Miami coaches, however, say they have been preparing for the trip to Ohio Stadium like any other game. “The first thing you do is you take care of yourself,” said offensive coordinator John Klacik. “You take care of your base, your fundamental things that you’re going to do no matter who you’re playing. We don’t know what they’re going to come out and do, so we’ve got to be ready for everything. I think if you have a base package that can handle everything they can throw at you, then you’ll be much better off.” The RedHawks are looking to improve upon a regular season record of 4-8 from last season, which was coach Don Treadwell’s first season at Miami after four years as Michigan State’s offensive coordinator. Treadwell said the focus of Saturday’s game is on what he can control within his own team rather than on its opponent. “Obviously we just have a tremendous challenge in front of us on this first game,” Treadwell said. “We just lock in to us playing and performing at a level that we believe is our best. We’ve just got to keep playing every play and then continue to do that from play one to whenever the last play is.” Still, Treadwell said his team is “aware of the tremendous team that Ohio State is.” “We see (OSU) in our mind as a top-five program,” Treadwell said. “We do have familiarity of knowing and appreciating and respecting the great Ohio State.” The RedHawks ranked 14th nationally with 299.1 passing yards per game last season. That offense was led by two returning players - senior quarterback Zac Dysert, who had 3,513 passing yards in 2011, and junior wide receiver Nick Harwell, who ranked fifth nationally with 1,425 receiving yards. Klacik said the play of the offensive line will have a major effect on Dysert’s ability to pass against the OSU defense. “The first thing you’ve got to do when we get any quarterback like Zac (Dysert) is you’ve got to protect him,” Klacik said. “If we give him some time, I think he can make some plays for us. If we have trouble protecting then it doesn’t matter who we’ve got playing quarterback for us, it’s going to be a tough day.” Another concern for the Miami offense is its ability to run the football. With only 886 rushing yards for the entire season last year, the RedHawks were the only team in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, which was 120 teams, to have less than 1,000 total rushing yards for the season. Klacik said he expects the rushing offense to be better this year as a result of a more experienced offensive line. “If you looked at our first game last year, when we had our (offensive) line going into the season, we were actually pretty good against Missouri, and then we got some injuries,” Klacik said. “We’re hoping that we’ve got a solid front of guys that are ready to play, they’re more veteran, they’ve played in some games.” Klacik added that he thinks OSU is “solid from top to bottom” on defense. “I think the whole defensive front stands out,” Klacik said. “I like (OSU’s) front four guys, and then their linebackers are so quick, very impressive. They’re a total team because they’ve got some secondary guys that can run and cover, and aren’t afraid to come up and hit you either.” Harwell said he and his teammates are not setting specific goals for the season opener. “It’s a privilege to play against Ohio State,” Harwell said. “We’ll just go out and play hard. We really don’t have any expectations, we’re just going to go out and play as hard as we can, and if we take care of business then the score will take care of itself.” Opening kickoff at Ohio Stadium is scheduled for noon on Saturday.
Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki (88) celebrates one of his two first-quarter touchdown reception against Pitt on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, at Beaver Stadium. Penn State won, 33-14. Credit: Courtesy of TNSOhio State junior linebacker Jerome Baker said he can jump as high as the ball is thrown. Even that might not be enough Saturday when he and the Buckeye defense attempts to cover Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki.The massive receiving target is listed at 6-foot-6, 250 pounds, but looking at him, he might be even bigger. He towers over defensive backs and runs faster than linebackers. But Gesicki’s most impressive skill is his vertical leap as he consistently corrals passes above the outstretched arms of defenders.“He’s a very, very good athlete. He makes catches that men his size usually can’t make,” defensive coordinator Greg Schiano said. “Great flexibility in his upper body, can torque his body in all different ways and he has good hands.”Before the season, Gesicki was named to the Mackey Award watch list — given to the nation’s top tight end — and honored as a preseason first-team All-American. He’s lived up to his billing through seven games as he has pulled down 24 receptions for 228 yards, including five touchdowns.The Nittany Lions have talent at every skill position on offense — five players have between 16 and 32 receptions — so they don’t need to force feed Gesicki. They can pick and choose when to use quarterback Trace McSorley’s largest target.“He’s another wide receiver, really,” Schiano said. “He’s positionally called a tight end but he has the skillset of a wide receiver.”Defenses have not found any easy fixes for covering massive, skilled tight ends like Gesicki. “Because the kid can run so well in cover, you’ve got to put an athlete [on the tight end], well now you’ve got a matchup problem: size,” co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson said. “You put a big guy who can match up size, a lot of times that guy can’t cover.”OSU junior linebacker Jerome Baker (17) prepares for a play during the season opener vs Indiana. OSU won 49-21. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe Buckeyes have already to try to cover a receiver-like tight end once this season in Week 2 when they had to deal with Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews, a massive 6-foot-5, 254-pound weapon in the Sooners’ receiving game. Andrews got hurt in the first quarter and did not return, but he stayed healthy long enough to make two catches for 23 yards and to demonstrate how the Buckeyes defend against talented receiving tight ends.In the first drive, five different defenders lined up to cover Andrews on different plays — cornerbacks Kendall Sheffield and Damon Arnette, safety Damon Webb and linebackers Malik Harrison and Baker. Safety Jordan Fuller has also garnered reps in the slot this season, where Gesicki often lines up, and Schiano hinted he might be used there Saturday night. Ohio State will not — and can not afford to — use just one player to cover Gesicki. If the Buckeyes were to solely use cornerbacks and safeties to cover the tight end, Gesicki could jump over them. And if they just used linebackers, Gesicki could out-run them, find open holes for McSorley to throw or pull them away from the line, leaving space for running back Saquon Barkley to make plays.For a defensive coordinator, Gesicki is a matchup nightmare as each position group seems potentially exploitable by the massive tight end.“[Gesicki’s] about 6-foot-7,” Schiano said. “We’ve just got to have different ways to try to get people on him.”Though Ohio State’s defense has not faced many talented tight ends this season, it has struggled against the ones it has faced, as well as taller receivers like Indiana’s 6-foot-4 wideout Simmie Cobbs. When asked how the Buckeyes will be able to stop, or at least contain, Gesicki, Baker paused and pondered the question for five seconds before answering.“Don’t allow it to be a jump ball,” Baker said. “Be physical on him before he even gets the chance to jump like that. When it’s that high, he’s going to be a tough one. Just got to play through his hands and some way, some how get it out.”Baker and a multitude of other defensive players will be called on to outjump the 6-foot-6 former volleyball player, a nearly impossible task. Even Schiano was still searching for solutions. When Schiano was asked by a reporter which defender could stop Gesicki, he said, jokingly, “You tell me who is the best matchup.”
The Ohio State women’s hockey team listens to head coach Nadine Muzerall during a timeout in its game against Bemidji State on Feb 8. Ohio State lost 3-2. Credit: Cori Wade | For The LanternOhio State women’s hockey entered the WCHA tournament semifinal likely needing a win to have any chance of qualifying for the NCAA tournament.On Saturday, Wisconsin redshirt senior forward Annie Pankowski likely dashed those chances with a third period goal to send the Badgers to their fifth-straight conference tournament championship game.No. 9 Ohio State (20-13-2, 12-10-2 WCHA) dropped to No. 2 Wisconsin (31-4-2, 18-4-2 WCHA) in a 3-2 loss that saw three lead changes Saturday in the WCHA Final Faceoff in Minneapolis.Pankowski, the WCHA Offensive Player of the Year, scored her team-leading 22nd goal on a game-winner assisted by junior forward Abby Roque 15 minutes into the final period.Wisconsin tripled the Buckeyes in shot output at 42-14, which was its fifth-straight game of the season dominating Ohio State in shot discrepancy. Just four Buckeyes attempted more than one shot in the game, while 12 Badgers had multiple shot attempts.Ohio State freshman goalie Andrea Braendli, the WCHA leader in save percentage at .939, stopped 39 shots from the NCAA’s second-highest scoring team, but it wouldn’t be enough for the Buckeyes.Badgers’ redshirt junior goalie Kristen Campbell earned her NCAA-leading 31st win amid her WCHA Goaltender of the Year campaign.Wisconsin battled back from a 2-1 second period deficit to end the game with two unanswered goals in the final 21 minutes.A hooking penalty on Ohio State senior forward Jacyn Reeves allowed the Badgers a first period power play opportunity that Wisconsin freshman forward Britta Curl converted 10 minutes into the action.Curl’s 21st goal of the season came assisted by junior defenseman Mekenzie Steffen on Wisconsin’s first shot of the power play.Wisconsin entered the game with the most power play goals in the WCHA with 28 on 112 opportunities, while the Buckeyes lead the conference with 7.1 penalty minutes per game.Ohio State sophomore forward Tatum Skaggs retaliated eight minutes later with her team-leading 17th goal on a rebound from a long range shot by redshirt junior Jincy Dunne to enter the first intermission locked at 1-1. Senior forward Charly Dahlquist extended the Buckeyes’ lead when she deflected senior defenseman Lauren Boyle’s shot past Campbell 12 minutes into the second period.Wisconsin knotted the game up again in the second period’s final minute with freshman forward Sophie Shirley’s 20th goal of the season to send the semifinal to the third period tied at 2.Following Pankowski’s third period strike, Ohio State played with an empty net in the final two minutes, but to no avail.The Badgers advance to the WCHA Final Faceoff championship game Sunday where they seek to avenge last year’s 3-1 loss to Minnesota.The Buckeyes, who achieved their first back-to-back 20-win seasons, await Sunday’s NCAA selection show where they hope to sneak into their second straight national tournament.
“If you put this puzzle into a chess computer it just assumes a black win because of the number of pieces and positions, but a human will look at this and know quickly that is not the case,” said Sir Roger.“We know that there are things that the human mind achieves that even the most powerful supercomputer cannot but we don’t know why.“There is now evidence that there are quantum effects happening in biology, such as in photosynthesis or in bird migration, so there may be something similar happening in the mind, which is a controversial idea.“If we find out how humans differ from computers then it could have profound sociological implications. People get very depressed when they think of a future where robots or computers will take their jobs, but it might be that there are areas where computers will never be better than us, such as creativity.” The original Bletchley Park crossword, published in The Telegraph in 1942 In 1942, codebreakers at Bletchley Park, released a similar crossword puzzle in the pages of The Telegraph in the hope of recruiting new cryptographers, which played a crucial role in helping the Allies crack Enigma and win the Second World war. Readers were asked to solve the puzzle in 12 minutes.The new chess puzzle is one of several which will be released in the coming weeks by the Institute in an attempt to crack the code of human ingenuity. James Tagg, inventor of the LCD touch screen who will lead the Institute said: “We are interested in seeing how the Eureka moments happen in people’s brains. For me it is an actual flash of light but it will be different for others.“This chess position is designed to show the difference between artificial intelligence (AI) and human intelligence (HI) and the nature of human understanding.“A human looking at it for a short while will ‘see’ what white must, and more particularly, must not do, and use very little energy to decide this.“But, for a computer, the puzzle requires an enormous number of calculations, far too many for even today’s supercomputers.”The institute is also hoping to develop new technology to improve the treatment of brain disease and anesthetics, develop a new type of telescope to detect dark matter and even resolve the Schrodinger’s Cat paradox, which suggests a cat in a box could be alive and dead at the same time. The chess problem as drawn by Sir Roger PenroseCredit:Sir Roger Penrose It might look like a simple chess problem, but this puzzle could finally help scientists uncover what makes the human mind so unique, and why it may never be matched by a computer.75 years after Bletchley Park sought codebreakers in the Second World War by placing a crossword in The Telegraph, scientists are again inviting readers to pit their wits against a new conundrum to find the quickest minds.The puzzle coincides with the launch of the new Penrose Institute, founded by Sir Roger Penrose, emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute of Oxford, who shared the World Prize in physics with Professor Stephen Hawking in 1988 for his work on black hole singularities.The new institute, which will have arms at UCL and Oxford University, has been set up to study human consciousness through physics and tease out the fundamental differences between artificial and human intelligence.If successful, it could prove for the first time that the human brain is not simply a gargantuan supercomputer, but may exhibit quantum effects far beyond the realms of current imagining – a controversial theory that many scientists believe to be impossible.The chess problem – originally drawn by Sir Roger – has been devised to defeat an artificially intelligent (AI) computer but be solvable for humans. The Penrose Institute scientists are inviting readers to workout how white can win, or force a stalemate and then share their reasoning.The team then hopes to scan the brains of people with the quickest times, or interesting Eureka moments, to see if the genesis of human ‘insight’ or ‘intuition’ can be spotted in mind. Sir Roger Penrose Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Swap Lisbon for the Algarve, Zadar for Porec, and Ibiza for the Costa Blanca if you want to save money on a beach holiday this summer. This is the verdict of the Post Office’s annual investigation into the cost of holiday staples around Europe.And with the pound down nine per cent on the same time last year, and uncertainty surrounding the UK’s departure from the European Union likely to hurt it further, British holidaymakers’ hunt for value might never have been tougher.Sunny Beach in Bulgaria has again – for the fourth year running – proved to be the cheapest destination surveyed by the currency experts, with a basket of tourist staples, including a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer and a three-course evening meal for two with a bottle of wine, coming to just £37.33. But it is the idea of changing one destination in a country for another offering a lower cost that could be more appealing. Europe’s cheapest – and most expensive – holiday destinationsSunny Beach, Bulgaria (£37.33)Algarve, Portugal (£58.38)Costa del Sol, Spain (£60.65)Marmaris, Turkey (£68.13)Paphos, Cyprus (£74.32)Costa Blanca, Spain (£75.56)Porec, Croatia (£79.08)Limassol, Cyprus (£79.89)Crete, Greece (£81.84)Zante, Greece (£82.36)Kefalonia, Greece (£84.29)Majorca, Spain (£88.98)Corfu, Greece (£90.05)Sliema, Malta (£95.31)Lisbon Coast, Portugal (£99.33)Zadar, Croatia (£108.89)Nice, France (£116.64)Sorrento, Italy (£118.51)Ibiza, Spain (£131.02) Spain and Croatia, too, had offerings of varying expense in the report. Porec on the Istrian peninsula in Croatia would save a couple – eating out each evening for six nights – £180 over the same in Zadar, farther south. Spain’s resorts provided yet greater differences. The Costa del Sol was ranked the third cheapest destination, with a basket of items costing just £60.65. A meal out costs just £28.61, according to the Post Office. At the other end of the spectrum was the Balearic island of Ibiza, where a meal costs £65.52 and the total comes to £131.02, more than twice that of resorts on the Spanish south coast. The Costa Blanca ranked sixth overall (£75.56) and Majorca 12th (£88.98).The Post Office also found that a fall in resort prices around Europe would help mitigate the damage done by a weakened pound. Compared to five years ago, costs in the Costa del Sol are down 21 per cent, 15 per cent in Porec and 9 per cent in the Algarve. Sorrento in Italy and Nice, France, have seen the steepest rises since 2012, 61 per cent and 44 per cent respectively. The Post Office highlights how staying in the Algarve, the second cheapest destination surveyed and boasting golden beaches framed by wrought limestone rocks and sensational seafood, is nearly half the price of the Lisbon coast. The former’s shopping basket cost £58.88 next to Lisbon’s £99.33.“If you haven’t already booked a holiday, do your homework to find a resort which best fits your budget,” said Andrew Brown, of Post Office Travel Money. Porec on the Istrian peninsula in CroatiaCredit:© annete / Alamy Stock Photo/annete / Alamy Stock Photo “Greece, too, is looking very popular this year, with tour operators reporting increases of up to 40 per cent in bookings, but it will pay bargain-hunters to factor resorts’ costs into the overall price they pay for their package.“Swapping resorts could save a lot of money, and this applies to popular resorts all over Europe as well as Greece.”The survey found disparities in the cost of holiday essentials across the four Greek islands examined, with Crete the cheapest (£81.84) and Corfu the dearest (£90.05).