The University of Connecticut’s men’s and women’s basketball players won a pair of national titles this week, repeating the feat of their Huskies predecessors in 2004. The championships moved UConn into an indisputable lead as the most successful overall Division I college basketball program, when accounting for men’s and women’s achievements.UConn’s men’s and women’s teams, combined, have the most titles, the most tournament wins, the highest winning percentage and the highest average margin of victory in the NCAA tournament in Division I since 1951. The race was a close one until a few weeks ago, but UConn’s success this year coincided with stumbles by its two closest rivals in the category: Duke and Tennessee. It’s a remarkable achievement for UConn, which two decades ago hadn’t won any Division I basketball titles, men’s or women’s.UConn, Duke and Tennessee all entered two teams into tournaments this March. Four of the six teams were seeded third or better, and the two exceptions — UConn’s No. 7 men and Tennessee’s No. 11 men — were underseeded, according to FiveThirtyEight’s model. UConn went 12-0, while Tennessee’s teams won four games from the round of 64 on (plus a play-in win for the men). The Duke teams combined for just one win.If Duke had run the table while UConn disappointed, Duke would lead UConn in tournament wins and winning percentage. Tennessee could have led in winning percentage if its men’s and women’s programs had won titles, and UConn had struggled. UConn, though, would still lead the trio in titles. Its only real competition there is UCLA, which could have passed UConn with a men’s title.But the Bruins’ success has hardly been balanced: UCLA has won as many titles in the men’s tournament as it has won games in the women’s tournament. In fact, outside of Storrs, Conn., and a trio of Atlantic Coast Conference schools — Duke, North Carolina and Maryland — few of the leaders in combined basketball success have been truly successful in men’s and women’s hoops. Tennessee has a losing record in the men’s tournament even after this year’s run, and Stanford gets most of its wins from the women’s side.Kentucky, Kansas and Florida, meanwhile, have had little women’s success. Nonetheless, they appear on our list of the most successful combined programs, showing the teams with at least 10 wins in the men’s and women’s NCAA tournament since 1951 who have the best combined winning percentage in the tournament during that period. Other programs that have achieved a great deal in basketball didn’t even make the first cut, notably Georgia (little men’s success) and Michigan and Syracuse (little women’s success).Methodology alert: I’m counting the entire history of the women’s tournament, plus the men’s tournament since 1951, which is roughly when it superseded the National Invitation Tournament as the premier season-ending event. Including the earlier games and titles would make little practical difference because the tournament fields were so small — the NCAA men’s tournament through 1950 included just 111 games, compared with an overall total of men’s and women’s tournament games of nearly 5,000. I’m including the so-called play-in or first-round games introduced in 2001 since similar opening rounds counted as official games in earlier tournaments with field sizes that weren’t exponents of 2. Data comes from ESPN Stats & Information and, for this year, from the ESPN.com men’s and women’s brackets.
Tubby Smith, the fiery coach that won a national championship at Kentucky, received the appreciation of his efforts confirmation he desired from the Minnesota Gophers: an eight-year contract extension worth about $1.8 million a season.Smith, who rebuilt Georgia’s program before going to Kentucky and winning the national title in his first season, had been seeking an extension for about 18 months. His Gopher teams have not one an NCAA Tournament game in his five years. They won 23 games last year but only made it to the NIT (lost in the championship game).“I believe that we can get the job done here,” Smith said in a statement. “The commitment from the university is there to continue to grow the program, and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”The most significant part of that commitment is the construction of a practice facility to bring the Gophers up to speed with the rest of the Big Ten and around the country. Smith’s agent, Ricky Lefft, said no specific timetable was spelled out but that a “mutual agreement” has been forged between the university and the coach that the new building is on the horizon.“We needed to make sure there was a commitment to make that investment at the university,” Lefft said to the Associated Press. “It’s been accepted by the institution, and certainly by Coach, that this is necessary to advance the program.”New athletic director Norwood Teague said he looks forward to working with Smith “to help lift Gopher basketball to even greater heights.”Smith took over a probation-ravaged program still reeling from the academic fraud scandal revealed in 1999, but a pair of one-and-done appearances in the NCAA tournament and a 38-52 record in Big Ten play has fallen short of the hopes he brought from Kentucky, where he won a national championship in 1998 and never finished worse than the second round. He is 103-68 with the Gophers.“Coach has made it clear it’s his desire to be at Minnesota and turn Minnesota into a powerhouse,” Lefft said. “He’s excited about getting it done.”
Brock Holt3.4+1.31.6-0.3-1.7 David Price4.9+3.45.2+3.9+0.5 Brandon Workman1.2+0.42.1+1.4+1.0 SeasonTeamPreseason Elo RatingWinsLosses Christian Vazquez2.5-0.33.9+1.7+2.0 2018Dodgers1568514 In the bullpen, the team probably has missed closer Craig Kimbrel, who recorded 1.8 WAR last season but was not re-signed (and remains a free agent today). But mostly the story of the 2019 Red Sox is of the holdovers from last year’s championship team — and most of those have fallen short of the performance standards they set for themselves a season ago.Shortstop Xander Bogaerts has actually played extremely well in the early part of this season, starter David Price and first baseman Mitch Moreland have been solid, and third baseman Rafael Devers has improved on last year’s disappointing sophomore campaign. But those gains don’t make up for declines by Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez and subreplacement starts from Jackie Bradley Jr., Eduardo Nunez, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and — most concerning — Sale. Nathan Eovaldi1.5+1.15.7-2.0-3.1 2000Yankees1565316 2010Yankees1563613 2019Red Sox*1562613 2019221822301727 Rafael Devers4.5+0.56.2+2.5+2.0 The Red Sox’s strengths have become weaknessesMLB-wide wins above replacement (WAR) rankings for the Boston Red Sox, 2018 vs. 2019 seasons Steve Pearce1.5+1.22.1-3.4-4.5 PlayerPlaying timeWAR/162Playing timeWAR/162WAR/162 Diff. Worst 19 Games Andrew Benintendi6.1+4.15.6+2.8-1.3 WAR numbers are through games of April 17, 2019.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs J.D. Martinez6.0+6.16.6+5.0-1.2 201821818653 * Based on plate appearances and (leverage-weighted) innings pitched.WAR numbers are through games of April 17, 2019.Sources: Baseball-Reference.com, FanGraphs Chris Sale4.4+6.54.9-2.5-9.0 * First 19 games of season. Heath Hembree2.0+0.32.4+0.0-0.3 Eduardo Nunez4.6-0.73.8-5.8-5.1 Sam Travis0.4-0.20.6-0.1+0.1 Mitch Moreland4.2+0.85.3+2.2+1.4 Tyler Thornburg0.6-0.21.4-0.2+0.0 Blake Swihart1.9-0.32.4+0.6+0.9 Betts has placed a lot of the responsibility for the team’s slow start on himself. “Basically, what I’m doing is unacceptable,” Betts said Monday. “I have to figure out a way to get something done and help the team.”The reigning AL MVP should start to turn things around sooner or later, though. His batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is an unsustainably low .208 this season, indicating a lot of potential for improvement, and most of his Statcast metrics are in line with his career numbers before last year’s career season — when he still was a .292/.351/.488 hitter with outstanding defensive skills.If Betts will be fine, Sale is a bigger worry. The lanky left-hander’s fastball velocity has been low in three of four starts — though he did reach an average of 96.1 mph against the Yankees on Tuesday (which is near where he was most of last season before a sharp drop-off in September). But radar-gun readings aside, Sale is also walking a career-high2Among seasons with at least 100 innings pitched. 2.5 batters per nine innings and has already given up nearly half as many home runs (five) as he yielded all of last year. The Red Sox have enough other talented players to remain a good team in a down year from Sale, but they might not be able to be a truly great team without him pitching at his best.And are they actually a good team, despite this horrid start? Or will this season eventually spiral into disaster the way Boston’s last championship defense did? As bad as the Red Sox have looked, it still seems foolish to count them out. In a sport where it takes 67 games before a team’s record is even roughly half-luck and half-skill, 19 games shouldn’t matter much to our expectation for a team going forward. Even after this rough start, our Elo model gives the Sox a rating of 1538, which equates to the talent needed to win about 89 times per 162 games. That’s only about five and a half fewer wins of talent than Elo thought they had before opening day.But the problem is that the Red Sox have to live with that 6-13 record they’ve banked for themselves so far. If they play like an 89-win team over the rest of the season, they’d still only end up with 85 wins by season’s end. In a division where the Tampa Bay Rays and even the up-and-down Yankees are on track for 92 or more wins, 85 to 90 wins might leave Boston right on the edge of the playoffs. (And to get to, say, 95 wins, they’d have to play at a 102-win pace over the rest of the season.) Although it is often said that the MLB season is a marathon and not a sprint, don’t be surprised if Boston’s early struggles force it to run ragged down the stretch just to make a bid for the AL’s second wild-card spot.Check out our latest MLB predictions. WAR Rankings Xander Bogaerts5.4%+4.36.2%+6.5+2.2 Tzu-Wei Lin0.7+0.00.1-0.1-0.1 Marcus Walden0.3+0.22.0+0.2+0.0 Sandy Leon2.7+0.00.2-0.7-0.7 1977Reds1566415 Dustin Pedroia0.1-0.11.7-3.2-3.1 Ryan Brasier1.1+1.12.8+1.3+0.2 Most of the Red Sox holdovers are ice-coldPercentage of team playing time* and wins above replacement (WAR) per 162 games for players who were on both the 2018 and 2019 Boston Red Sox 2002Athletics1565415 It’s a bad idea to read too much into any April baseball games, but this week’s two-game sweep at the hands of the archrival New York Yankees appears to have officially sent the Boston Red Sox into a full-blown crisis. The team’s record dipped to 6-13 — tied for the second-worst for a defending champ since 1947 (trailing only the fire-sale 1998 Marlins) — and they landed once again in last place in the American League East.[Our 2019 MLB predictions are updated after every game.]“This is flat-out embarrassing for my family, for my team, for our fans,” Boston ace Chris Sale told reporters after giving up four runs over five innings in Tuesday’s 8-0 loss. “This is about as bad as it gets. I have to pitch better.”“We’re not really playing very well anywhere,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski added. “Our starting pitching hasn’t been very good, our defense hasn’t been overly good, our hitting hasn’t been like it’s been capable of being.”As Dombrowski suggests, Boston has come by its horrible record honestly: Only the dreadful, rebuilding Miami Marlins (-49) have a worse run differential than the Red Sox’s -42 mark this season. Bad stretches happen to good teams sometimes, but ones this terrible haven’t happened often to teams that were supposed to be as good as Boston — especially coming off last year’s 108-win season. Since World War II, only six other teams that started a season with an Elo rating of at least 1562 (like the 2019 Red Sox) had any 19-game stretch in which they won six or fewer games — much less had those be the only 19 games we saw of them. 1955Yankees1568613 Hector Velazquez2.2+1.02.7+1.8+0.8 When bad stretches happen to good (we think?) teamsAmong teams that started a season with an Elo rating of at least 1562, the worst 19-game stretches at any point in the season, 1946-2019 SeasonBattingBase runningFieldingStartersBullpenTotal Jackie Bradley Jr.4.9+2.44.8-4.0-6.4 Brian Johnson2.6+0.91.0-1.9-2.8 (The good news for the Red Sox? Those other teams posted an average of 94.3 wins per 162 games even with the bad 19-game stretch, and none won fewer than 87. But again, those 19 games weren’t the only bits of evidence we had about the teams to begin the season.)It was always likely that the Red Sox would regress some — and perhaps even a lot — after last year’s storybook season. But nobody could have predicted that the wheels would fall off so quickly and thoroughly as they have. According to wins above replacement (WAR),1Averaging together the WAR figures found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. the Red Sox went from the third-best team in MLB last season (behind the Astros and Yankees) to the fourth-worst this year (ahead of the Orioles, Marlins and Rockies). For two categories in which the team ranked among the top six last season — hitting and starting pitching — Boston has dropped into the bottom nine (including the very worst starting performance in baseball), and the bullpen has also dropped from the top five to the league’s bottom half: Rick Porcello5.3+2.93.0-4.8-7.7 Eduardo Rodriguez3.6+2.54.0-1.6-4.2 Mookie Betts5.7+10.66.8+1.5-9.1 2018 Season2019 Season Matt Barnes2.1+1.22.3+3.0+1.9
OSU junior running back Ezekiel Elliott is lifted into the air by senior right tackle Chase Ferris following Eillott’s 15-yard touchdown run in a game against Minnesota on Nov. 7 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead | Photo EditorOhio State redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones took back the reins for the Buckeye offense, and OSU held off a late rally from the Minnesota Golden Gophers to win 28-14 inside Ohio Stadium on Saturday night.Jones played an efficient game, going 12-of-22 passing for 187 yards and a touchdown while adding 65 yards and another touchdown on the ground against a stout Minnesota defense that nearly upset Michigan in its previous game. However, the offense was still never able to find its groove, leaving a lot of people wondering if redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett will take over once again next week at Illinois.In all, the Buckeye offense was able to pile up 376 yards of offense, which featured another strong performance by junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, who added 114 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Buckeyes, despite being held scoreless once again in the first quarter, scored the first 21 points of the game, but the top performers from Saturday night were unquestionably the entire defensive unit.The Buckeye defense played an excellent game, holding Minnesota to only 33 rushing yards on the night. This forced redshirt junior quarterback Mitch Leidner to make plays through the air. Leidner did up passing for 281 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown by OSU junior safety Vonn Bell. OSU was able to keep the Golden Gophers off the board until the fourth quarter.OSU is scheduled to play its final three regular-season games — two on the road — all against teams with winning records, starting with Illinois last week. Minnesota, after dropping two consecutive games since coach Jerry Kill retired, will hit the road to play at undefeated Iowa next week as it fights to reach bowl eligibility for the year.By the numbers:10 – The current win streak for the Buckeyes over the Golden Gophers.2 – Since 1967, Minnesota has only beaten OSU twice (1981 and 2000).8 and 6 – OSU’s football successes are well known, as it claims eight national titles, the sixth most all time. Minnesota, however, has had some great successes as well and claims six national titles, the eighth most all time.14 – Elliott has now ran for at least 100 yards in 14 straight games, which is the longest active streak in the nation.29 – OSU has now won 29 straight regular-season Big Ten conference games. Not only is it the longest win streak ever in the Big Ten, it is also tied for the longest conference winning streak of all time with Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference.22 – The Buckeyes have now won 22 straight games, which is tied for the second longest winning streak in school history. The longest streak in OSU history is 24 straight wins during Urban Meyer’s first two seasons as head coach.
When a team is dominating opponents in basketball, the best thing for it to do to maintain its edge is … lose?That’s right. Losing can be very beneficial to a team that gets too comfortable winning easily.In women’s basketball, some teams have been able to go undefeated and win a national championship, but that is not common. Connecticut is the only team to do so in the last seven years, winning it all while remaining unbeaten last season. Not including Connecticut, championship teams have an average of three losses in each of the last seven years.Ohio State women’s basketball has made it into the NCAA Tournament each of the last seven seasons. Of those appearances, two have resulted in Sweet 16 berths, their deepest runs in the tournament over that span.These seasons occurred in ‘05, with four losses recorded, and ’09, with five losses. Those seasons compare very similarly to this season in the loss column, both in how the team lost and in number. They lost to Duke, a ranked team, after having a big win against California, ranked No. 15 at the time. Their losses against Purdue and Indiana came after a big win against Michigan and a blowout win over Minnesota.Last year’s team won the remainder of its games after two in-conference losses. This year’s team lost two games at about the same point in the year and is doing everything it can to not lose again.Center Jantel Lavender was so intent on improving after the loss to Purdue that coach Jim Foster said she stayed an hour after practice working to get better.“I hate to have a loss to have to learn something or go through ironing out team differences or ironing out little tweaks or minor things that can change the outcome of a game,” Lavender said. “It’s really frustrating to have to go through losing a game and … bringing a lot of things to light that you can really take care of before a loss happens in a game where it can be the difference between winning and losing.”Following the loss at Indiana, the team was more focused than ever. Every answer that players or coaches gave reporters involved improving the team and becoming better players.“We just know that there are things that we need to change and focus in on … we’re making sure we’re doing what we need to do,” center Andrea Walker said. “Attention to detail. We watch ourselves on film and see things we should have done and things that we weren’t doing right.”Since the team lost two of three games a couple weeks ago, it has won both of its games against Iowa and Penn State. More importantly, the Buckeyes are looking like the team that began the year 20-1 by scoring more than 80 points a game and having a sizeable advantage in rebounds.All of this improvement — and it only took two losses that shocked the focus right back into the team.
Tiger Woods answered questions Monday from a large gathering of reporters at Augusta National in preparation for The Masters, golf’s first major, which begins Thursday. It was the first time Woods spoke to the media, aside from a pair of brief, five-minute interviews with ESPN and The Golf Channel, since a sequence of events stemming from a Thanksgiving Day car accident revealed Woods’ involvement with a number of mistresses and his subsequent entry into rehab.Below is audio from Woods’ press conference. Tiger Woods at the Masters by The Lantern OSU
The No. 10 men’s volleyball team was swept 3-0 by No. 1 Stanford in the NCAA Championship semifinals last Thursday.Sophomore Shawn Sangrey earned a team-high 12.5 points.Giving up 11 service errors in the match, the Buckeyes gave up the battle in the third set, falling 30-17.Stanford went on to defeat No. 12 Penn State in the finals 3-0 on its home court, Maples Pavilion on Saturday.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — When the bus departed the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Friday afternoon, some players were in tears. Not because of a loss and not because of their season, but because of a moving and emotional speech from one man. Former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel spoke to the team before the Buckeyes departed for the 108th meeting between the OSU Buckeyes and the Michigan Wolverines. “It was like he didn’t skip a beat,” said senior center Michael Brewster. “It was like you blinked and your like, ‘man was everything just a nightmare?’” Brewster said the visit from Tressel was brief, and a surprise to the whole team. “To be able to see him again and hear a few words from him, it definitely got us pumped up. It was an honor,” Brewster said. Tressel gained a reputation at OSU as the Michigan killer. With a record of 8-1 against the Wolverines, Tressel looked to bring a little of that magic to the Buckeyes on Saturday. In the end, OSU fell to Michigan for the first time since Nov. 22, 2003, with a 40-34 victory on Saturday in Ann Arbor, Mich. “He came in and spoke to us and did a great job and got us fired up,” said junior linebacker John Simon. “Unfortunately we couldn’t come up with a win.” When Tressel was introduced as head coach of OSU on Jan. 18, 2001, Tressel’s disdain for Michigan became almost immediately apparent. During halftime of a basketball game between OSU and Michigan, Tressel had a brief message for Buckeye Nation. “Be proud of our young people in the class room, in the community and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Mich., on the football field,” Tressel said. Sure enough, 310 days later Tressel and his unranked-Buckeye squad travelled to Ann Arbor and defeated the No. 11-ranked Michigan Wolverines, 26-20. Tressel’s respect for the rivalry and the dedication to it was heart-felt and genuine, not only from the day he was introduced as head coach, but up through his dismissal from the university. Less than a week after his forced resignation for his involvement with “Tattoo-gate,” a group of students walked to his house in Upper Arlington, Ohio, to show their support to the former head coach. After meeting with several students and speaking to the crowd, Tressel had one parting message to students. “Don’t forget: Nov. 26, we’re going to kick their ass,” Tressel said. The game did not go as Tressel had promised. OSU’s attempt to comeback from a late-fourth quarter deficit was stopped by an overthrown pass to senior wide receiver DeVier Posey and was ultimately thwarted by a fourth-down interception thrown by freshman quarterback Braxton Miller. The Buckeyes didn’t win the game like they had wanted, but Simon said one of Tressel’s message was clear. “(Tressel) said you have to live in the moment, play the game in the moment,” Simon said. “And I think we did that today, you know, taking every play one play at a time.” Brewster said he was one of the guys that found himself in tears after Tressel spoke. “It was emotional for some guys, myself included, it stinks when you feel like you get robbed a year out of your life with him,” Brewster said. “I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that I get to meet back up with him next year, somehow, some way.” Tressel’s message was simple, Brewster said. Tressel told the team that the key was to be relentless on defense, to play opportunistic and mistake-free offense, and to have superior special units. “(Tressel said) the same thing he says all the time, that we used to be bored about,” Brewster said. “But now we can’t wait to hear it again.”
Mr Younger, also known as C, said he was concerned that potentially good candidates were “self-selecting” themselves out of contention by not applying because they were put off by stereotypes about secret agents. “That was the way I was recruited. We have to go to people that would not have thought of being recruited to MI6. We have to make a conscious effort. We need to reflect the society we live in,” he told the Guardian. MI6 is expected to grow from 2,500 people to close to 3,500 by 2020. MI6 has created its first-ever cinema advert aimed at attracting more women and ethnic minorities into the secret service. The spying agency is looking to show potential candidates the unexpected attributes that could help them become successful secret agents. Despite being hugely oversubscribed for the 100 roles it advertises every year, the agency is concerned that it does not receive applications from people from a wide range of backgrounds. The video shows a flower-seller showing the skills the heads of the agency are looking for in new recruits. She averts a potential argument after a woman spills coffee on a man, gives free flowers to another man who is struggling to pay, and helps a woman who is struggling to finish a running race.The agency says it wants recruits with mental sharpness, emotional intelligence, integrity and in interest in foreign affairs.MI6 chief Alex Younger said earlier this week that the agency was looking to bring back the famous “tap on the shoulder” ahead of planned expansion. Show more Mr Younger said: “I want everyone to know that, regardless of background, if you have the skills we need and share our values, there is a future for you in MI6.”I want people to see our advert and know that there is a place for them in our team.” 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.