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Rivers and Panathinaikos gun down Olympiacos

first_imgKC Rivers scored 24 points (6/10 three-pointers), grabbed 9 rebounds and heard the fans chanting his name as Panathinaikos beat an injury-plagued Olympiacos 72 – 59 for the 15th round of the Greek Basket League.With this victory, the Greens are now tied 14 – 1 with their arch-rivals at the standings. Yet the Reds keep holding the top spot since they had taken a 25-point victory during the first leg of the regular season.Giorgos Printezis led Olympiacos’ scorers with 14 while also getting 6 rebounds. Kostas Papanikolaou added 13 plus 5 rebounds and Nikola Milutinov 11 and 5 boards as well. The defending champs lacked the services of Matt Lojeski and Patric Young and watched Vassilis Spanoulis also getting sidelined early in the match.Panathinaikos also had Chris Singleton in power-mode with 20 points and lots of helps from the perimeter (4/5 three-pointers). Downtown baskets were a key aspect of Panathinaikos’ offense with Xavi Pascual’s players dropping 12, a big number for the 72 points with which they finished the game.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

9 months agoBakayoko insists AC Milan can upset Juventus

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Bakayoko insists AC Milan can upset Juventusby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveAC Milan midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko insists they’re capable of upsetting Juventus in the Supercoppa.The Italian Super Cup takes place in Jeddah on Wednesday evening and is a replay of last season’s Coppa Italia Final.“It was important that we beat Sampdoria yesterday, as it gave us more confidence going into the Juventus game,” the on-loan Chelsea midfielder told Milan TV.“I feel in good shape and just need to recover a little energy. “It’s going to be tough, as Juventus are the best side in Serie A right now, but in a one-off match, we can beat them.” last_img read more

Kenney PM have frank but respectful chat despite premiers warnings over Bill

first_imgHe claimed Bill C-69 violates Alberta’s constitutional right to manage its natural resources, and believes it’ll kill future pipelines.Kenney had said the people in his province are frustrated.“I am simply pointing out that there is deep and growing frustration in my province, and it is the roll of the prime minister of any party to safeguard national unity.”On his way out of his meeting with Prime Minister @JustinTrudeau, I asked Premier @jkenney how it went. He said “very well. We had a frank conversation and I think we understand our positions very well.” #cdnpoli #abpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 2, 2019With months to go before the election, the premier will be a big thorn in the prime minister’s side, threatening legal action against the carbon tax, to turn off the oil taps for B.C., and picking political fights over the Trans Mountain pipeline. WATCH: Ahead of Trudeau meeting, Kenney calls assessment bill a threat to national unity Natural Resources Minister @SohiAmarjeet says it is irresponsible to be talking about Alberta separation over the challenges the province faces #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/YsSv35OkCZ— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 2, 2019Federal Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi was in on the meeting and said the government understands Alberta’s challenges.Sohi had said Kenney’s comments ahead of the meeting suggesting the province would leave the confederation were “irresponsible.” Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had echoed the thought that Kenney’s language was inflammatory.He added the government and the premier are on the same page to help the province and create jobs.Environment Minister @cathmckenna responds to AB Premier @jkenney saying it is unfortunate to use inflammatory language and foster polarization #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/NpgIGNNfjT— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) May 2, 2019center_img OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – Despite being political foes, Alberta’s new premier says his meeting with the prime minister went very well.Jason Kenney went into the face-to-face with Justin Trudeau warning national unity would be at risk if Bill C-69, which would beef up environmental assessments for energy projects, is passed.There was a lot of tense anticipation for this half-hour meeting, but the premier said things went smoothly.“We had a frank conversation and I think we understand out positions very well,” Kenney said.It’s a much different tone than the lead up to the meeting, when Kenney warned that national unity was at risk because Albertans are frustrated with the Trudeau government’s energy plans.“Why does the federal government want to take our tax dollars and redistribute them, but not allow us to develop the wealth which pays for those bills,” he said ahead of the sit-down.last_img read more

A Huge Success For Concert For America Stand Up Sing Out

first_imgConcert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out! brought together artists from Broadway, TV and beyond to spread a message of unity and hope during the weekend at Town Hall.The first concert in the monthly series raised more than $100,000 to benefit the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center, and the Sierra Club Foundation.The audience took to their feet several times throughout the concert. Featured moments included Tony Award winner Chita Rivera performing “America” from West Side Story with some of the original Broadway production choreography; dance legend Ben Vereen breaking down into tears singing Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”; and Tony Award nominee Judy Kuhn inciting gasps throughout the audience when it was announced she would sing “Colors of the Wind” from Disney’s Pocahontas, for which she originated the vocals.Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO of the NAACP, also attended and introduced Brian Stokes Mitchell singing “America the Beautiful,” followed by “Wheels of a Dream” from Ragtime. The entire cast of artists joined together on stage to sing an arrangement of “What the World Needs Now is Love,” which Concert for America co-producers Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley produced in response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in June 2016, and “Let the Sunshine In” from Hair.Rudetsky and Wesley announced on stage last night that the next dates for the Concert for America series will be back at Town Hall on February 25, 2017, followed by a performance in Chicago on March 19, 2017.The sold-out show featured performances and appearances by Betty Buckley, Michelle Collins, Lilla Crawford, Brian d’Arcy James, Sharon Gless, Judy Gold, Richard Kind, Judy Kuhn, Anika Larsen, Liz Larsen, Caissie Levy, Beth Malone, Carrie Manolakos, Stephanie Mills, Jessie Mueller, Kate Mulgrew, Julia Murney, Bebe Neuwirth, Kelli O’Hara, Piper Perabo, Rosie Perez, Billy Porter, Randy Rainbow, Caroline Rhea, Alice Ripley, Chita Rivera, Shayna Steele, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Ben Vereen, Lillias White, Betsy Wolfe and morelast_img read more

Provinces feds to debate proposed changes to everdivisive equalization program

first_imgOTTAWA – A decades-old sore spot in the Canadian federation is days away from another flare-up as the country’s finance ministers prepare to discuss potential tweaks to the formula behind equalization payments.British Columbia Finance Minister Carole James said in an interview that the federal government is proposing a change to include non-residential property values as part of the complex calculation.The adjustment would likely make it more difficult for provinces with property values well above the national average — such as B.C. and Ontario — to qualify as recipients of equalization payments from Ottawa.Equalization is designed to help poorer provincial governments provide public services that are reasonably comparable to those in other provinces. The program is coming due for its twice-a-decade update before the 2019-20 fiscal year — and since it’s a federal program, Ottawa can make unilateral changes.Historically, equalization has been a source of conflict between governments within the federation.Under the current formula, the provinces that received shares of this year’s $18-billion equalization envelope — the so-called “have-not” provinces — included Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick Prince Edward Island and Ontario. Quebec easily took in the largest share in 2017-18 at $11 billion.The other provinces — B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador — did not receive anything through the constitutionally guaranteed equalization program.The B.C. government warns that going forward the inclusion of non-residential property values in the formula would make it more difficult for the province to qualify for payments in the event of an economic downturn.The issue is a top concern for James ahead of meetings Sunday and Monday in Ottawa with her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts.“We certainly don’t agree with that direction — we’ve seen no research that has shown that it makes sense to change the weighting in the equalization payments,” James told The Canadian Press.“I’ll certainly be standing up for our province … and telling the federal minister of finance that these aren’t acceptable changes.”James said the update would mean the formula would deem B.C. to have untapped capacity to generate additional property tax revenue. She argued it’s based on the assumption B.C. municipalities could raise tax rates on properties, which have seen their values soar in recent years.To determine whether a province qualifies for an equalization payment, and for how much, the formula measures each province’s ability to raise revenues, or their fiscal capacity.James wants Ottawa to make sure the short- and long-term impacts for all provinces have been explored before it moves forward.With the renewal of the equalization formula scheduled for 2019, this weekend’s meeting will likely be the first of many federal-provincial discussions on the matter.B.C. isn’t the only province with concerns about the proposal.“When it comes to the potential of generating more revenue from the high prices of real estate, which is what British Columbia is arguing, we don’t have the capacity to squeeze out more money from the system,” Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said in an interview.Sousa said his province has lowered its revenue expectations for the real estate sector after the introduction of measures to cool red-hot markets, such as the Toronto region.“So, I agree with British Columbia that we can’t basically assess certain real estate valuations as a means to assess equalization payments,” he said.Ontario has been receiving equalization payments since 2009 as a have-not province. But after improvements to its economy in recent years, the province is expected to return to “have” status some time in the next couple of years.A senior Ontario government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the proposed change could be the difference between whether it collects equalization or not.“Our concern is that if the last years taught us anything, it’s that property values are volatile in both British Columbia and in Ontario,” said the official, who would prefer a phased-in approach.“We would rather have it dealt with in a more tempered way, rather than just jumping right off the cliff on it.”Chloe Luciani-Girouard, a spokeswoman for federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, wrote in an email Thursday that Ottawa will always listen to the concerns of provinces and territories — and will take them “very seriously.”The future of the equalization formula will also be a priority for Newfoundland and Labrador at the meetings.The province’s economy, hit hard in recent years by the commodity slump, still failed to qualify for equalization payments this year and Finance Minister Tom Osborne doesn’t expect it to next year, either.Osborne said in an interview that the current formula only addresses revenue and doesn’t account for the different costs of services between provinces.He says his province, with its small, dispersed population, faces the highest costs of services in Canada — and they’re growing at an “unsustainable” clip.Osborne plans to push his counterparts on the issue in hope of changing the formula so that it reflects both revenue and expenditures.“If anybody can explain to me how we’re a have-province, I’d like to hear it, because we’re certainly not a have-province,” he said.The formula is also based on a three-year moving average of economic growth, so a province’s have- or have-not status can lag economy-altering events.The country’s finance ministers will discuss a range of issues during the meetings — from cannabis taxation, to the three-year review of the Canada Pension Plan, to the state of the global economy. The ministers are also scheduled to meet Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz.Ahead of the meetings, Morneau will distribute updated figures outlining how much the neediest provinces can expect to receive from Ottawa in the next fiscal year, 2018-19.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

2 killed in Chinese naval plane crash

first_imgBeijing: Two Chinese navy pilots were killed Tuesday when their plane crashed during a training mission in the southern island province of Hainan, the military said. The crash happened during a training exercise over rural Ledong county in the southern island province. There were no casualties on the ground and an investigation is underway to ascertain cause of the accident, the navy said in a statement. The Peoples Liberation Army’s (PLA) official statement did not specify the type plane that crashed, although unverified witness account online said it was a twin-seat Xian JH-7 “Flying Leopard”, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingThe JH-7, which entered service with the navy and air force in the 1990s, has been involved in a number of fatal accidents over the years, it said. China’s worst military air accident in recent years happened in January 2018. At least 12 crew members died when a PLA Air Force plane, believed to be an electronic reconnaissance aircraft, crashed in Guizhou in the southwest of the country. Military commentators have previously said that China’s drive to improve its combat readiness, which includes the building of new aircraft carriers and warplanes, has resulted in a serious shortage of qualified pilots. To fill the vacancies the Chinese military has started a major recruitment drive and intensive training programme for pilots, the report said.last_img read more

US blacklists Algerian jihadists, Nusra leader

first_imgWASHINGTON – The United States on Wednesday blacklisted a shadowy Al-Qaeda breakaway faction behind the bloody siege of an Algerian gas plant, and the leader of a Palestinian group fighting for Islamists in Syria.The Signatories in Blood, an armed unit founded by the one-eyed Mokhtar Belmokhtar last year when he split from Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department.The group, also known as the al-Mulathamun Battalion, “claimed responsibility for the January 2013 attack against a gas facility near In Amenas, Algeria,” the department said in a statement, adding that three Americans were among the 38 civilians killed in the siege. In a separate move, the head of the Palestinian wing of the Syria-based Al-Nusra Front, Usamah Amin al-Shihabi, was also blacklisted as a “global terrorist.”Wednesday’s designations bar US citizens and companies from having any dealings with either the Algerian group or al-Shihabi.last_img read more

Is There Any Stopping Another AlabamaClemson Title Game

gfoster (Geoff Foster, sports editor): After weeks of crunching every possible playoff scenario, we finally got our two matchups for the College Football Playoff: Clemson vs. Notre Dame and Alabama vs. Oklahoma. We have to wait until Dec. 29 to see those games. But in the meantime, we have some 37 bowl games to distract us from our families over the holidays.Let’s start with the big two. Were you surprised by the playoff selections? I think the committee avoided all of the doomsday scenarios as the conference championships played to form.neil (Neil Paine, senior sports writer): Yeah, they mostly got out of the woods compared with some of the scenarios we talked about here. Only thing that would have helped them more would be if either Oklahoma or Ohio State lost, but that didn’t happen.To your question, I wasn’t too shocked about the picks. Much was made of Georgia potentially making it, but it seemed very unlikely that they’d take a two-loss nonconference champ over a pair of one-loss conference champs — even if UGA was probably better talent-wise. I was really only slightly surprised they took Oklahoma over the Buckeyes. If you look at the power ratings like Football Power Index or Simple Rating System, or something like ESPN’s Strength of Record, Ohio State was the superior team. But the committee probably held OSU’s strength of schedule against it — as well as that bad loss to Purdue and the near-loss against Maryland.sara.ziegler (Sara Ziegler, general editor): It helped for the Sooners that, in the Big 12 title game, they beat the only team to have beaten them.neil: Yes — you definitely heard the phrase “they beat every team on the schedule” thrown around.sara.ziegler: And I feel like the committee members had Ohio State’s near-loss to Maryland on their minds.(I know I did.)Josh Planos (Josh Planos, contributor): I wasn’t all that surprised either. Three were shoe-ins, and if the playoff format has taught us anything it’s that most of college football’s elite programs hog all the playoff spots, and the committee will do everything in its power to eschew controversy. Ohio State certainly wasn’t lacking in that department this season.gfoster: Oddly, I think blowing out Michigan in such ugly fashion actually hurt Ohio State, because most people seemed to write off that game (rightly) as UM being overrated rather than Ohio State beating a team ranked fourth in the country.neil: And yet the Wolverines were allowed to (easily) be Notre Dame’s most signature win… 🤔🤔🤔sara.ziegler: Notre Dame getting its special dispensation, as per usual.neil: It was funny during the selection show to hear the note about how Vegas would have the Irish as underdogs against every other team in the playoff conversation (except UCF, I guess).Josh Planos: During Northwestern’s third-quarter scoring run on Saturday night, while Gus Johnson was firing off catch phrases, you could almost hear the committee scratching out the Buckeyes. Would a 40-point win in the Big Ten championship game even have gotten Ohio State over Georgia?gfoster: Last year, if it hadn’t lost to Stanford, Notre Dame could have easily finished the season with one loss and would have not have made the playoff. In that spot, not having a conference championship would have really worked against the Irish because they wouldn’t have had another opportunity for a signature win. But this year, we see the advantage for ND. Win all your regular season games, as easy as they may be, and you are in.But likewise, Northwestern didn’t really give Ohio State much of a resume boost. So … it’s Wisconsin’s fault for being lousy I guess.sara.ziegler: But of course, Geoff, that’s only the case for ND — not for any other non-Power Five teams. (😢 UCF)gfoster: UCF needs to boost its strength of schedule if it wants to be taken seriously.sara.ziegler: For sure. And I don’t think the Knights should have gotten in. But it’s not like Notre Dame’s schedule was off the charts.gfoster: For all we knock ND, they are playing teams like NC State, USC, Syracuse — all of whom would be one of the hardest games on UCF’s schedule.neil: How can they improve their SOS, short of joining a better conference? (Or is that basically it?)I don’t think any real power team wants to play them nonconference. No upside there, only downside.gfoster: You could get a mid-tier Power-Five team that would take them at home, no? When Notre Dame was playing Michigan in Week 1, UCF had UConn — quite possibly the worst team in FBS.neil: Defensively, at least.sara.ziegler: Though that UConn game was a conference game.Josh Planos: They followed it up by playing South Carolina State, too.sara.ziegler: They scheduled North Carolina, but that was canceled because of the hurricane.gfoster: North Carolina is also terrible.sara.ziegler: And that’s the other problem: You can schedule a mid-tier Power-Five team, but you can’t guarantee they’ll be good.neil: Or if you’re Notre Dame, you can schedule prestige Power 5 teams and not know if they’ll be good.sara.ziegler: UCF did schedule and beat Pitt, which was good enough to get trampled by Clemson in the ACC title game.gfoster: Truth is, maybe UCF does need to move conferences? TCU managed to do that when it was facing similar problem.sara.ziegler: Or we could solve this with an eight-team playoff!neil: This.^^gfoster: Well, yes.sara.ziegler: Solve it for this year, anyway.LOLgfoster: NO ONE is against that.neil: Except conference and university presidents.gfoster: As for this year, this is the first time both playoff games have double-digit spreads. Which falls in line with some lopsided lines in the conference championships. Any reason to like the underdogs here?Or is this destined for Clemson vs. Alabama again?neil: Maybe if Tua is still hurt? (He won’t be. And they will destroy Oklahoma.)sara.ziegler: And it’s hard to see Notre Dame doing much against Clemson.neil: Clemson vs. Bama Part IV is pretty redundant at this point. But at least there’s a chance it doesn’t play out according to chalk. Under the old BCS system, they’d automatically be slotted in at 1-2. (Although that would have been very uncontroversial.)gfoster: It’s hard to see any team doing much against the Tigers’ defense. Look at the line of Pitt QB Kenny Pickett in the ACC title game: 4 of 16 for … wait for it … 8 YARDS.That’s 0.5 yards per pass attempt. (538 math skills, folks.)Josh Planos: Yeah, we don’t know about Tua’s health. Oklahoma’s offense puts up video game numbers, so you’d expect Alabama to need to bring at least something to the table in that regard. Trevor Lawrence is playing the best secondary he’s seen all season. Brian Kelly is probably pretty motivated that his team’s recent struggles were broadcast on a Showtime series.sara.ziegler: If Tua plays, you gotta think he’ll go to town on the Oklahoma defense.Will he actually have to play all four quarters? LOLJosh Planos: Have we ever seen the likely two top vote-getters in the Heisman race square off in the postseason? Is this the best QB battle in terms of single-season QBR that we’ve ever seen? Each is on pace to set the single-season record (though that will change, I’m sure).gfoster: It might not change for Tua against that Oklahoma defense that gave up 700 yards to West Virginia.The Sooners also might be without their best receiver: Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, which would be a significant blow to Kyler Murray.neil: Josh, we almost got 1-2 Heisman QBs in the 2008 title game: Tebow vs. Bradford.(But Tebow finished 3rd in the voting.)(Colt McCoy finished 2nd????)sara.ziegler: Wowgfoster: If we had an eight-team playoff, my guess is that it would be Alabama-UCF (lol), Clemson-Washington (I’m thinking they must include a token Pac-12 in this new world), Notre Dame-Ohio State, Oklahoma-Georgia.neil: What would the line be on that Tide-vs.-Knights game?gfoster: 28.5Josh Planos: Without McKenzie Milton? 30+neil: Isn’t that the same line they gave the Buffalo Bills vs. Alabama?gfoster: The Bills are like the sixth worst team in the NFL now. Shows how misguided those types of stories are.sara.ziegler: Would a Pac-12 team even make an eight-team playoff this year? The committee had Michigan at No. 7.Which is kind of amazing — another two-loss Power-Five team above poor UCF.neil: I would guess an eight-team playoff would have an automatic berth for a Pac-12 champ.sara.ziegler: There’s obviously no way to do this without some controversy.neil: Then we can get into those fun March Madness arguments about “at-large” bids.gfoster: Right … and one token non-Power Five. (Or in this case two, because of ND.)neil: Notre Dame is Power Five! (According to our tier system.)gfoster: Let’s talk about the other bowl games. Any others you are particularly excited for?neil: UGA-Texas should be fun, I think.Josh Planos: Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for the nostalgia of Big 8 football, but Missouri vs. Oklahoma State. FPI is really high on the four-loss Tigers (like, higher on the Tigers than UCF and LSU), and each of Oklahoma State’s past five games have been decided by no more than 7 points. If nothing else, there will be a lot of points.sara.ziegler: Missouri never should have left the Big 12.neil: I always forget they aren’t in the Big 12 now.sara.ziegler: Wisconsin vs. Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl is kind of a fun throwback.gfoster: That should be called the Pinstripe Lack Of Motivation Bowl.sara.ziegler: HahaJosh Planos: Fun is an interesting word.Is this the underachieving bowl? And did any team underachieve more than Wisconsin? All we heard throughout the preseason was that Jonathan Taylor could win the Heisman, they returned the entire offensive line, and Alex Hornibrook was returning for a 12th year of eligibility.gfoster: In the bowl games, it’s always fun to identify the games where one team is really pumped to be there and the other has zero interest. For instance, Purdue vs. Auburn in the Music City.You think Auburn is getting up for that?Josh Planos: If they couldn’t get up to bully UCF last year, they’re not getting up to try and corral Rondale Moore.neil: Also, the biggest early spread in a lower-tier bowl might be the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. ESPN has BYU as a 14-point favorite over Western MichiganI always root for the Directional Michigans though.gfoster: Sad that Alabama-Oklahoma might be the most lopsided bowl game.Also a 14-point spread.sara.ziegler: I’m actually pretty interested in how UCF does against LSU.LSU is a good proxy for a playoff team, since the Tigers did OK against Bama (at least early on) and pounded Georgia.gfoster: I actually think LSU will get up for UCF, mainly because of what happened to Auburn and all this chatter.neil: Although I wish UCF had gotten one of the just-missed-it playoff contenders like UGA or Ohio State, just for experiment’s sake.sara.ziegler: Yeah, that would have been better.Though maybe it’s all moot with no Milton.neil: True. It wouldn’t have settled the debate.gfoster: LSU is actually still playing that game against Texas A&M. They are in their 134th overtime.sara.ziegler: 🏈 💤gfoster: But Neil, didn’t we see kinda see that the year they let Hawaii play UGA?neil: Hah, yes I was thinking of that exactly. Poor Colt Brennan.Josh Planos: Should’ve known that a haircut like this didn’t stand a chance.gfoster: OMGsara.ziegler: Why … would … you … do … that?gfoster: He even has the little island that they don’t let anyone on.neil: The run-n-shoot makes you do crazy things.gfoster: OK, what’s the worst bowl game.This answer is two parts.Worst name and worst game.neil: Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla BowlCan anything top that?Short of bringing back the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl?sara.ziegler: I love the Boca Raton Bowl.Congrats, teams! You’re going to … Boca Raton!gfoster: That’s the Cheribundi Boca Raton Bowl, Sara.Josh Planos: Best bowl experience: The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, FIU vs. Toledo.Last season, folks could bring beer into the stadium. There were also archery opportunities near the concession stand.I apologize for not answering the question, Geoff.neil: I do miss the Popeye’s sponsorship for that one. Gave us an excuse to pick up fried chicken at Times Square and eat it in the office.sara.ziegler: As if you needed an excuse for that, Neil.neil: (Sorry again about the spicy tenders, Geoff.)gfoster: The DXL Frisco Bowl is a rare short name that is terrible.Jared Birmingham Bowl? It sounds like its named after someone named Jared Birmingham.neil: I think “Jared Birmingham” is UCF’s backup QB.Josh Planos: LOLgfoster: I will say. I’m a big fan of the Cheez-It BowlI wish I had a bowl of Cheez-Its right now.sara.ziegler: We didn’t talk about the best game of the weekend.neil: Iowa State!sara.ziegler: A dominant (not at all) win over powerhouse (not at all) Drake!Josh Planos: I think Washington State could beat Iowa State by 40 points. Or the Cyclones could ride the Matt Campbell relevancy train to a 13-10 win.sara.ziegler: That’s quite a range.neil: And nothing in between.sara.ziegler: LOLneil: I’m also kinda intrigued by the Peach Bowl: Michigan vs. Florida. Feels like that is a constant matchup in the tier of bowls just below the prestige level.That has happened in many Citrus Bowls, for instance.Josh Planos: How. Do. These. Teams. Keep. Playing.gfoster: Harbaugh’s only bowl win at Michigan was a romp of Florida. And Lloyd Carr’s final win was an upset of Tim Tebow Florida.neil: And don’t forget about the 2003 Outback Bowl!sara.ziegler: Who can forget?neil: Grossman vs. Navarre.gfoster: I’m excited for West Virginia vs. Syracuse in the Camping World. That feels like a 100-point game. I also am oddly interested in Boca Raton bowl! UAB is an amazing story. They won Conference USA just a few years removed from having their football program eliminated.It’s at this time where I’d normally ask for predictions. But I imagine no one is picking an upset in the first two playoff games?So let’s skip to the final predictions.sara.ziegler: It’s pretty hard to pick against Alabama.neil: Alabama 27, Clemson 24sara.ziegler: Clemson has been dominant, obviously, ever since squeaking by Syracuse. But Bama is just too good.Alabama 30, Clemson 18gfoster: Clemson 35, Alabama 28This isn’t (entirely) me being the contrarian. I think the Crimson Tide are kinda vulnerable to an upset. They start slow every game (tied with Citadel at halftime, remember) and it’s going to catch up to them at some point. Clemson defense can keep Tua off the field enough to win.(Assuming they beat ND, who I think will make a game of it against Clemson.)Josh Planos: Alabama over Oklahoma 35-14Clemson over Notre Dame 21-7Alabama over Clemson 28-14sara.ziegler: I guess there’s nothing left to do but watch the games! read more

Ohio States Brady Hjelle leading mens hockey team by example

Ohio State men’s hockey senior goaltender Brady Hjelle knew how important last Saturday’s game at Alaska was for him and his team.Coming off a 6-1 loss against the Nanooks the night before, Hjelle surrendered four goals in 30 minutes of playing time before being pulled in favor of freshman Collin Olsen.Hjelle said he just needed to put that game behind him.“Friday night was a bad game for me, and we didn’t play well as a team either,” he said. “You just gotta learn to put that behind you and be ready to go.”He did just that, stopping 26 of 27 Alaska shots the following night, playing the entire game and helping the Buckeyes earn a 3-1 victory.The two teams entered the final period tied, 1-1, and Hjelle did his part to keep the Nanooks from scoring as he recorded 12 saves in the stanza.OSU coach Mark Osiecki called Saturday a great response from Friday night’s loss for Hjelle and the rest of the team.“Our guys played extremely well in front of (Brady). He didn’t have a very strong game on Friday along with our team,” Osiecki said. “His response was just how he showed up and played-very businesslike on Saturday after Friday.”Osiecki even compared OSU to last season’s Los Angeles Kings of the NHL, citing how aggressive the 2012 Stanley Cup Champions were due to having such a solid goalie in net behind them.“That’s kind of how our team is right now with Brady,” Osiecki said. “Our guys can play aggressive, they can play excited for each other and take opportunities on the offensive side of things. They know they have a brick wall back there.”Freshman defenseman Sam Jardine agreed with Osiecki, saying it makes playing the game a lot easier knowing Hjelle is behind him defending. He said his teammates still want to do their part to make their goaltender’s job easier.“Regardless of how good he’s playing we want to do the best job that we can blocking shots and eliminating quality chances,” Jardine said. “I think our (defensive) core is starting to take a lot of pride in that and obviously our success all year has started with Brady.”Jardine said Hjelle has an upbeat character and is at his best when he is playing with high energy.Despite this season being only his second at OSU, the 5-foot-11 senior from International Falls, Minn., said he is learning more about being a leader with each passing day. That leadership is something he tries to show daily on the ice, but not necessarily with his voice.“I’m not the most vocal guy on the team,” Hjelle, who came to OSU after playing two years at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said. “I’m not afraid to speak up when it’s needed, but I’m more of a lead-by-example guy. I just try to come to the rink every day and work hard.”That hard work is being recognized, as Hjelle received his fifth weekly award of the season when he was named the CCHA Warrior Goaltender of the Week on Feb. 4. The accolade came following OSU’s series split against then No. 9-ranked Notre Dame when Hjelle had a league-high 74 saves, including a career-high 45 in the second game of the weekend, helping his team skate to a 2-2 overtime tie with the Irish.Osiecki said he was happy with the way that his goaltender stood tall and defended the high number of scoring chances from Notre Dame so his team could earn a point in the CCHA standings.Hjelle’s 1.78 goals-against average is good for ninth in the NCAA, while his .942 save percentage ranks fifth. Despite the individual awards, he said they are a result of his teammates and their play.“(The awards) look better on the team,” Hjelle said. “It’s what they are doing in front of me, and it makes my job a lot easier.”As his senior season starts to wind down, Hjelle is excited for this weekend’s series at home because he knows the importance of the two games.“We have a big opportunity in front of us,” Hjelle said. “It would be really nice if we could win out, but we are playing some really tough teams and just gotta bring our best effort every game.”OSU (12-12-6, 11-7-4-1 CCHA) hosts Western Michigan (18-7-5, 14-5-3-1 CCHA) Friday at 7:05 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

Opinion 5 players on defense to watch in 2015 Ohio State Spring

Then-freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan (2) attempts to make a tackle during a game against Wisconsin on Dec. 6 in Indianapolis. OSU won, 59-0.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo EditorWith the Ohio State Spring Game just days away, there are still a few positions with vacancies.Defensive linemen Michael Bennett and Steve Miller join linebacker Curtis Grant and cornerback Doran Grant as members of the OSU defense who will not return after the title run in 2014.With that in mind, I took a look at five players you should watch in Saturday’s game to either replace the former Buckeyes or at least get some playing time in 2015 on the defensive side of the ball.1. Redshirt-sophomore cornerback Gareon ConleyThe Massillon, Ohio, native was the first person mentioned by cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs as the likely cornerback counterpart next to returning starter redshirt-sophomore Eli Apple.Conley earned one start in 2014 against the Michigan State Spartans, but after giving up big plays and a touchdown on the first drive of the game, was quickly replaced by a less-than-healthy Apple.With a spot open after Doran Grant’s departure, it is likely that the spot will be filled by either Conley or sophomore Damon Webb.Conley seemingly has the upper hand and a good showing in the Spring Game can only help his chances.2. Sophomore cornerback Damon Webb While Webb is behind Conley for the corner spot, there is a good chance he will still see significant playing time in 2015 at the nickel position.With Armani Reeves not returning because of health issues related to concussions, the nickel spot, which is usually reserved for passing downs, is wide open and it’s Webb’s job for the taking.Webb must have the skill to play, as he did not redshirt last season behind players like Doran Grant, Reeves, Apple and Conley.He appeared in nine games in 2014, and is sure to make an impact in 2015.3. Sophomore linebacker Raekwon McMillanMcMillan made an instant impact last season as a true freshman, collecting 54 total tackles and playing in all but one game in 2014.He is the odds-on favorite to take over for Curtis Grant at the middle linebacker position and could possibly be even better than the graduating senior.McMillan was constantly subbed in for Curtis Grant on passing downs last season and was clearly the better athlete. Don’t expect him to get too much playing time on Saturday, but watch to see how he communicates with his teammates as the new signal caller on defense.4. Senior defensive lineman Tommy SchuttCoach Urban Meyer said Monday that Schutt is currently the favorite to replace Bennett on the interior defensive line.Not quite yet the starter, Schutt has struggled throughout his OSU career battling injuries along with a lack of playing time. He has accumulated just 17 total tackles in his first three years as a Buckeye.The reason to watch him is not because he is going to be an impact player in the Spring Game, but rather to see how he reacts to being on the cusp of earning a starting job.5. Sophomore defensive lineman Jalyn HolmesMeyer said Monday that redshirt-sophomore Tyquan Lewis is the front-runner to replace Miller at defensive end, but Lewis will not play in the Spring Game because of a shoulder injury.That opens the door for a player like Holmes, who came to OSU as a four-star prospect out of Norfolk, Va.Holmes played in nine games last season, including the national title win over Oregon, and accumulated 11 tackles in those appearances.There is a good chance Holmes will play most of the game on Saturday, and a good showing could put make him a dark horse to unseat Lewis from the starting lineup.Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m., and is set to follow the OSU lacrosse game against Maryland, which is set to start at 11 a.m. at Ohio Stadium. read more

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