March Madness Crib Notes For Saturdays Games

Midwest RegionalNo. 8 Cincinnati vs. No. 1 Kentucky at 2:40 p.m. on CBSGodspeed, Cincinnati. Take your 6 percent win probability and make the best of it.No. 6 Butler vs. No. 3 Notre Dame at 9:40 p.m. on TBSButler’s already pulled off one upset this tournament, even though it beat a team with a worse seed. No. 11 Texas was slightly favored to beat the Bulldogs, but Texas flamed out as it did for most of the season. Butler has a bigger challenge ahead of it in playing Notre Dame, though. The Irish are favored to win 62 percent of the time, perhaps because of their offense, which was third in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy. Butler’s defense is also in the top-10, though, making this a matchup of contrasting strengths. West RegionalNo. 10 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Arizona at 5:15 p.m. on CBSAs D’Angelo Russell goes, so go the Buckeyes. Bloodied but still breaking ankles, Russell led a furious charge as Ohio State came back against VCU to stage the upset. It won’t be so easy against Arizona, which has the third best defense in the country, according to Ken Pomeroy. That Arizona has the ninth-best offense probably won’t help the Buckeyes either; the Wildcats have an 81 percent chance of moving on to the Sweet 16.No. 14 Georgia State vs. No. 6 Xavier at 6:10 p.m. on TNTSomebody get Georgia State’s coach, Ron Hunter, a stool with some armrests. After his son, R.J. Hunter, hit the game-winning shot in Georgia State’s game against Baylor, Hunter tumbled out of his stool and right into a thousand highlight reels. The good news for Georgia State: Our model likes them in this game more than it did in the last (and our model gave them a decent shot on Thursday). The problem: The Panthers still only have a 30 percent chance of beating Xavier.No. 5 Arkansas vs. No. 4 North Carolina at 8:40 p.m. on TNTThis No. 5 vs. No. 4 matchups looks like it should be a taut contest based on the seeds. But the FiveThirtyEight model thinks North Carolina is twice as likely to win as Arkansas. The Razorbacks come from a worse conference, have a poor defense and struggled against No. 12 Wofford. Then again, North Carolina didn’t have a great game against Harvard, either. But the model takes the longer view — the fundamentals favor UNC. South RegionalNo. 5 Utah vs. No. 4 Georgetown at 7:45 p.m. on CBSBoth teams were heavy favorites in their opening games, but Utah struggled to put Stephen F. Austin away. The FiveThirtyEight model says not to worry about that — the advanced metrics love Utah because of its great defense and efficient offense. The model says Utah should win this matchup 71 percent of the time.No. 14 UAB vs. No. 11 UCLA at 12:10 p.m. on CBSThis isn’t a basketball game, it’s a glass-slipper competition. Who will become Cinderella? The UCLA Bruins, which most talking heads said didn’t belong in the tournament, or the UAB Blazers, which put together the third-most surprising upset since 2011, according to FiveThirtyEight’s past models. This year’s model likes UCLA to win (67 percent favorite), thanks to UCLA’s strength of schedule during the regular season, and its higher offensive and defensive ratings. The teams that play on Saturday are the survivors of the wild opening day1Not counting the play-in games. of this year’s NCAA men’s tournament. No matter how many harmonic means, linear regressions and bootstrapped standard errors we applied to the data, we couldn’t find a way to make it say Saturday’s games would be as thrilling as Thursday’s were. But the data didn’t say that for Thursday either! It’s March Madness — there’s always a chance of chaos.Read on for more of what to look for in the NCAA tournament Saturday. East RegionalNo. 1 Villanova vs. No. 8 N.C. State at 7:10 p.m. on TBSNo team on Thursday looked better than the Wildcats, who devoured the sacrificial lambs of Lafayette. That victory — by 41 points — helped raise Villanova’s chances to win it all by 4.3 percentage points. They looked that good. N.C. State did not look great, needing a last-second shot to overcome a middling LSU squad. The model expects Villanova to run away with this one — the Wildcats are an 88 percent favorite. read more

Latest Dwight Howard Trade Scenario Features Lakers Bynum

This Dwight Howard saga now has the Houston Rockets joining the Los Angeles Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets  as the most serious potential trade partners with the Orlando Magic on a Dwight Howard deal, according to sources close to the process.Sources told ESPN.com that the Rockets are discussing a multitude of trade scenarios with the Magic, offering to serve both as the team that would acquire Howard in a direct trade between the clubs and also as a third team that would participate in a trade that lands Howard with the Lakers and brings All-Star center Andrew Bynum to Houston.Meanwhile, reports surfaced that Brooklyn is close to agreeing to a contract extension with the Nets —  four years for $58 million, or five years for $78 million — which would prevent Lopez from being traded until December.The Rockets, in the latter scenario, would push to acquire Bynum from the Lakers while furnishing the Magic with a package of future draft picks and cap-friendly contracts to set Orlando up for a full-fledged roster reload. Sources confirmed a HoopsWorld.com report that the three-team trade construction that sends Bynum to the Rockets instead of the Magic — with Orlando said to be concerned about its ability to re-sign Bynum for the long term — gained traction Tuesday.The key elements of the three-team proposal, sources said, call for the Lakers to acquire Howard and the Rockets — realizing their long-running quest to acquire a top-20 player — to take back the mercurial Bynum as he enters the final year of his contract.It’s believed that Houston would have to absorb the contract of Magic swingman Jason Richardson  and perhaps another unpalatable contract or two to complete a trade directly with the Magic for Howard or to get Bynum. Central to the Rockets’ offer is a 2013 first-round draft pick that they’ll soon acquire from the  Toronto Raptors as part of a verbally agreed trade last week that will send guard Kyle Lowry to Toronto. Houston also has movable veterans Luis Scola and Kevin Martin  to sweeten any trade proposal.It’s been an open secret for months, meanwhile, that the Rockets were willing to trade for a player of Howard’s or Bynum’s caliber with no assurance that either one will sign an extension as opposed to becoming a free agent in 2013. read more

Ohio State mens lacrosse readies for home opener against Detroit

OSU then-freshman Erik Evans (43) defends a Maryland player in a game on April 18 at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe Ohio State men’s lacrosse team is looking for payback from last year as it gets ready to square off against Detroit on Saturday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center for the Buckeyes’ home opener.Saturday’s game marks the first time the two teams have faced each other since the last year’s regular-season opener. Although the Scarlet and Gray put up a late fight, Detroit came out on top in that game, 9-8.OSU coach Nick Myers said he realizes his team will be looking to harness its hunger for payback and use it for extra motivation against the Titans.“I’d be lying to you if I told you the kids weren’t excited to get the opportunity to play Detroit,” Myers said. “That’s the beauty of sports, when you get (that) opportunity.”Senior midfielder and co-captain Kacy Kapinos shared his coach’s sentiments, knowing this game will be a battle.“Last year, that game didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to,” Kapinos said. “We know that any team can beat any team, any week, so we play every game like it’s a championship.”OSU will face a Detroit team that has certainly improved over the last few years, thanks in large part to the efforts of coach Chris Kolon. In his first year with the team in 2015, Kolon led the Titans to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship semifinals and the program’s first-ever winning record of 8-6.Detroit returns four starters, including sophomore attacker and 2015 MAAC Rookie of the Year Mark Anstead and two-time All-MAAC junior goalie Jason Weber. Anstead was second on the team in points in 2015 with 38, and Weber led the country for the second straight year with 14.43 saves per game.The Buckeyes are hoping to start the regular-season home schedule off right with a win. Redshirt junior midfielder and co-captain Tyler Pfister said he knows how important this game is.“Playing in front of a home crowd is obviously huge for us,” Pfister said. “We not only want to make our fans proud, but prove to ourselves what we know we can do.”Myers acknowledged the importance of the first home game, but he said he doesn’t want the team to get too ahead of itself.“The fact that we’re at home, in front of a home crowd, is something that adds to it,” Myers said. “I think at the end of the day, you have to focus on the task at hand.”Momentum after win at FurmanThe Buckeyes will look to capture the same magic they were able to harness in their 8-7 win at Furman.Junior midfielder John Kelly scored with four seconds left in the game to give OSU the win in the regular-season opener. Kelly caught the pass from junior attacker Austin Shanks and threw it in the back of the net while falling to the ground to complete the game-winner.“We know what (Kelly) can do, so it wasn’t a surprise necessarily,” Pfister said. “We had drawn it up in the huddle and knew what was going to happen — we just didn’t know how it was going to happen.”Though OSU did get the win, Myers said he realizes his team could have played better and has focused in practice this week on getting the team to play more up-tempo.“One of the themes this week for us has been playing more between the lines and creating more transition goals,” Myers said. “I’m really happy with the way the men have responded to it, and I feel like we’ve made some improvements.”An up-tempo attack, coupled with the Buckeyes balanced offensive attack, could prove to be the right formula to exact their revenge against Detroit in their upcoming game.Big Ten Players of the WeekJunior Jake Withers and sophomore Brendan Barger were recognized as Big Ten Players of the Week after the Buckeyes’ win at Furman.Withers was honored as the Big Ten Specialist of the Week after winning 14 of his 19 faceoffs, including all nine in the second and third quarters of the game. He also picked up a team-high nine ground balls in the win. This is Withers’ first time receiving the award.Barger was awarded the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after causing three turnovers in the game at Furman. He played a major role in the Buckeye defense that only allowed seven goals on 19 attempted shots. This is also Barger’s first time receiving the honor.What’s nextAfter Detroit, OSU is scheduled to travel to Amherst on Feb. 20 to go up against Massachusetts. The game is set to begin at noon. read more

Ash brings familiar defense vs OSU football

Rutgers coach Chris Ash looks on during a game against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium in Seattle, WA on Saturday, Sept. 3.Credit: Courtesy of Rutgers Athletic CommunicationsThe Ohio State football team has prided itself on its defense since the days of Woody Hayes. The 2013 Buckeyes failed to win the Big Ten Championship, a de facto play-in game to enter the national championship game, primarily on the play of a below-average secondary that ranked 112th in the country in passing defense.Coach Urban Meyer decided to make a change and brought in then-Arkansas defensive coordinator Chris Ash. In just one season, Ash played a significant part in the transformation of the OSU defense, the “Silver Bullets,” into a menacing takeaway machine. Primarily overseeing the defensive backs at OSU, the Buckeyes forced 26 turnovers in 2014 and ranked 29th in pass defense.Now, Ash is attempting to transform another defense in his new job as head coach of Rutgers, OSU’s opponent in the Buckeyes’ Big Ten opener on Saturday at Ohio Stadium.Redshirt junior defensive end Tyquan Lewis said Ash taught the defense a new style of tackling during his two seasons in Columbus. Ash preached the importance of keeping their heads up and driving through the ball carrier’s legs during a tackle.“(The tackling) shows up more on the perimeter,” Lewis said. “They’re coming up and hitting the right way. It makes a big difference as far as missed tackles.”Rutgers is Ash’s first job as a head coach in Division I college football. Before Arkansas and Ohio State, Ash spent two seasons with Wisconsin as the Badgers’ defensive coordinator. All too familiar with his former colleague’s play calling and coaching style, Meyer said that he has changed a lot of his defensive signals for this week given the similarities in the Scarlet Knight defense.“It’s our defense. I mean, like, exactly,” Meyer said during Monday’s press conference. “Their defensive line is much improved and the guys are bigger and stronger.”Not only is Ash a part of the Meyer coaching tree, Rutgers offensive coordinator Drew Mehringer, special teams coordinator Vince Okruch, defensive backs coach Bill Busch, running backs coach Zak Kuhr and strength and conditioning coach Kenny Parker worked under Meyer in some capacity at OSU. Mehringer even worked with former OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman at Houston in 2015.While Ash is beginning to create his own coaching carousel, his teachings still reside within the OSU program. Redshirt junior linebacker Chris Worley said co-defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who replaced Ash in the offseason, has nearly the same defense so there has not been a learning curve this season.Worley is in his first season as a starter and experiencing the most success he has had at OSU. While Schiano and co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Luke Fickell are certainly due credit for Worley’s success, the linebacker said Ash had a large contribution to his maturation into a more intelligent football player.With the implementation of the targeting rule in 2013 that protects an offensive player from a head injury, Worley, who used to be a guy that looked for the big hit, is a more fundamentally sound tackler than he was his first year in Columbus.“It’s the greatest way of tackling in the game of football today. It helped me, but it helped everyone who came through here and played defense,” Worley said. “Just knowing when I can take those shots and when I can’t, being comfortable and tackling in that way has helped me a tremendous amount.”For the offense that will actually be facing the Scarlet Knight defense, redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett has great familiarity in competing against a Chris Ash defense. Barrett battled in practice against Ash and OSU’s first and second team defense for the better part of two years.When the Buckeyes trot out on Saturday, Barrett said the offense has some comfortability facing a familiar defense. But knowing Ash, Barrett and the coaching staff expects him to implement schemes he has not shown through Rutgers’ first three games.“It’s a funky mix between the two … he’s not going to let our base things try to happen,” Barrett said. “At the end of the day we have to be prepared for what he’s going to throw at us and making adjustments on the fly.” read more

Womens volleyball team treks to state up north

It’s going to be a long weekend in Michigan for Ohio State’s women’s volleyball team.  This weekend was the toughest last year, and coach Geoff Carlston anticipates many of the same challenges.  After falling short to Penn State last week at home, the Buckeyes face two top-ranked Big Ten teams this weekend.  No. 14 Michigan State’s 14-4 record matches that of the Buckeyes. However, the Spartans fell  to the unranked Iowa Hawkeyes, 3-0, while the Buckeyes swept Iowa, 3-0. The Spartans’ inability to compete with Iowa exposed a weakness the Buckeyes will attempt to take advantage of.  “Our focus is still on our side of the net because that we control,” Carlston said.The Buckeyes take more risks offensively and maintain a strong middle. Once established, this opens the offense to more aggressive play. Quick decisions and few mistakes give the Buckeyes an edge over the Spartans.With a quick turn-around, the Buckeyes face No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday night. The Wolverines are also working on a quick turnaround, as they will face No. 1 Penn State Friday night.Carlston knows the quick turn-around is tough on the players, especially on the road. Their top priority is to re-group and get as much rest as possible. Without a practice between the two matches, the team will have to mentally address weaknesses and keep defensive strategies strong, Carlston said. Despite the NCAA rankings, the Buckeyes and the Wolverines may be more evenly matched than it appears. Michigan is 16-3, while the Buckeyes are 14-4. Both teams fell to Big Ten powerhouses Illinois and Wisconsin. Both teams also have a mix of young players, which they work to incorporate into the core of game play.“Our athleticism is putting us in the mix with the top teams in the conference,” Carlston said.  OSU takes on Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich., Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Bucks travel to Ann Arbor Saturday to face Michigan at 7 p.m. read more

Bucks top Penn State Northwestern fall to Michigan in quad meet

After the men’s swimming and diving team wrapped up its four-team quadrangular meet with Michigan, Penn State and Northwestern on Saturday, coach Bill Wadley said there was not a guy on his team who did not give his very best. Unfortunately for Wadley and the No. 9 Buckeyes, points are not awarded for moral victories.The men’s team fell for the first time in its dual-meet season Saturday, losing to No. 7 Michigan 197.5-135.5. However, the weekend was not a total loss, as the Buckeyes managed to outscore Penn State 263-70 and Northwestern 263-37.  In comparison to last year’s Big Ten Championships, Wadley believes his squad is picking up ground on Wolverines.“They won Big Ten’s by 300 points last year,” Wadley said. “I feel good about the effort our guys gave, and I think in time we’ll close the gap.”If the Buckeyes could have pulled out some of the closer races, the score might have turned out differently. Nevertheless, OSU’s only individual win on Saturday was sophomore Andrew Elliott’s win in the 100 breaststroke.“There’s a lot of room for improvement,” Wadley said. “We’ve got to win the close races. When you lose the close races, those points add up.”After the Buckeyes captured an exhilarating victory in the 400 freestyle relay to end Friday’s portion of the meet, Elliott teamed with junior Elliott Keefer, freshman Tim Phillips and senior Joel Elber to win the 200 medley relay to start Saturday’s events. “I’m really happy [with how I swam],” Elliott said. “I tried to help the team as best I could today. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into Big Ten’s.”Any comeback hopes after the quick start faded after Michigan promptly rebounded by sweeping the 500 freestyle and taking first and second in the 100 butterfly. The Wolverines would add four more individual event victories to pull away from OSU.“We are just a step behind Michigan,” Wadley said. “They’ve got a couple of world-class athletes [on the team].”The Buckeyes will attempt to rebound from the tough loss at the hands of their rivals next Friday as they host Eastern Michigan and wrap up the dual-meet season. read more

Clippers outslug Indians salvage seasonopening split

The Columbus Clippers finished off their season-opening series against the Indianapolis Indians with another impressive offensive performance, winning 9-4.Brian Buscher led the offensive output with three hits, an intentional walk, an RBI and one run scored.Yohan Pino earned a win in his first start of the season. Pino allowed six hits through five innings with five strikeouts and one walk.“I feel good about our starting pitching,” Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “Some of the conditions the first few games had some things to do with the offensive numbers that were put up, but I think the last two nights, the ballpark played the way it’s going to play for the rest of the year. We used the bullpen more than we would’ve liked to, but we made it through so far, and we’ll come back tomorrow and get after it again.”Carlos Santana homered in the first inning to put the Clippers up 1-0. Santana’s home run was his fourth in the first four games of the season. The Indians came back with two runs in the fourth inning. Steven Pearce hit a triple to start the rally. Neil Walker and Luke Carlin both had RBI singles to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.The Clippers responded in the bottom of the fifth inning with two runs to regain the lead. Buscher started the inning with a double, and scored on a single by Damaso Espino. After Jose Constanza hit a double to send the runners to second and third base, Trevor Crowe hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Espino.Frank Herrmann entered in relief for the Clippers in the sixth inning. Herrmann pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and one walk. He displayed a very strong arm, at one point reaching 98 mph on the radar. “Herrmann came in with a 3-2 lead, any time you can come in and put up zeros it really gets us back into the dugout ready to add on to the lead, which we did in the seventh inning,” Sarbaugh said.The Clippers blew the game wide open in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring six more runs as they batted around the order. The Indians went through three pitchers in the seventh inning, allowing six hits, a walk and an error in relief pitcher Steven Jackson.Carlton Smith pitched the eighth inning for the Clippers, allowing one hit but holding the Indians to no runs.Jess Todd pitched the ninth inning, giving up three hits and two runs, one unearned.The Clippers scored 41 runs in the four games. They entered Sunday’s game leading the International League in batting average, runs, hits, RBIs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.“I think we have a good offensive club, and at the same time, field conditions helped us out the first couple nights,” left fielder Trevor Crowe said. “We’ve been getting good pitches to hit and hitting them well.”The Clippers showed some explosiveness with a 17-4 win over Indianapolis on Thursday night. Carlos Santana showed why he is considered a top prospect with four hits, including two home runs and four RBIs.On Friday, the Clippers and Indians broke the record of most home runs in one game at Huntington Park. The teams combined for nine home runs, nearly doubling the previous record of five. The Clippers lost the game 14-12.On Saturday, the Clippers fell to the Indians 4-3. A 3-3 tie was broken in the top of the eighth inning when Brandon Moss hit a solo home run to take the lead. The Indians held off the Clippers for the final two innings and earned the win.The Clippers continue their homestand Monday against the Louisville Bats. Louisville is off to a 3-1 start after defeating the Toledo Mud Hens on Sunday. read more

Opinion Thad Matta basketball tree evident with Boston Celtics

Coach Thad Matta calls to players. Lantern file photoThe talk of this summer’s NBA free agent frenzy has been all about LeBron James coming back to Ohio to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, another reunion of sorts is taking place elsewhere — and it isn’t in Ohio.The Boston Celtics brought in former Ohio State Buckeye forward Evan Turner on Monday to improve a young roster with a young coach. That coach, Brad Stevens, also has an interesting tie to OSU.Stevens coached under current Buckeye coach Thad Matta while Matta was the head man at Butler University. Stevens went on to take the same position and led the Bulldogs to back-to-back NCAA Championship Games, but fell short in both.Now, Turner joins Stevens and fellow Buckeye forward Jared Sullinger, who could have played with Turner had the 2010 No. 2 overall pick not bolted for the NBA following his junior year.The Matta player/coaching tree can be felt all over the league as Turner leaves a team in Indiana that included another Matta star, forward David West. West won the Associated Press Player of the Year under Matta at Xavier in 2003 as Turner did in 2010 for the Buckeyes.So what’s next for Turner as he joins his third team in two years? Hopefully a bigger role than he had in Indiana.When Turner was dealt to the Pacers in February, he was on pace for a career year as he was averaging 17.4 points per game and six rebounds per game in 54 games with Philadelphia.Once he arrived in Indiana, though, he was reduced to a reserve role and averaged just 7.1 points per appearance, starting just two games as a Pacer.Turner will now be coached by a Matta disciple and, with any luck, will be able to jumpstart his career. His learning curve will likely be reduced as Stevens’ terminology and schemes almost certainly mirror what Matta taught at OSU.If Turner should need any guidance other than that of his coach, he needs to look no further than Sullinger, who has gone through just as much adversity as Turner.Sullinger, who dominated the Big Ten with his strong frame, was thought to be undersized and injury-prone coming out of OSU, causing him to drop to the No. 21 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.Despite suffering a season-ending back injury during his rookie year, Sullinger was able to bounce back during his sophomore season by more than doubling his points per game average from 6.0 in 2012-13 to 13.3 last season.His coach during his second season? First-year NBA coach Brad Stevens.With the Turner, Sullinger and Stevens trio in Boston, I look for the two former Buckeyes to turn into leaders on a team that only includes three players over the age of 30 and maybe even make the now wide-open Eastern Conference that much more interesting. read more

Freshmen shine on the mats for Ohio State wrestling

Freshman Kyle Snyder (second from left), redshirt-freshman Bo Jordan (middle) and redshirt-freshman Nathan Tomasello were named co-captains for the Buckeyes dispite being in their first years of collegiate competition.Credit: Patrick Kalista / Lantern reporterDespite seeing an early exit at the National Duals in Iowa City over the weekend, the Ohio State wrestling team might have discovered the future of its program.Freshman Kyle Snyder and redshirt-freshmen Bo Jordan and Nathan Tomasello are ranked No. 3, No. 5 and No. 7, respectively, in their weight classes, and have been a staple in the team’s success. All three were named co-captains along with redshirt-senior Logan Stieber, even though they are wrestling in their first competitive year at OSU.Tomasello said he is grateful for the opportunity to help lead the team toward its goals.“Getting voted as captains was very humbling, I feel we have done a good job of being supportive, helping the team improve each week and have come together to make a run at a title at the end of the year,” the redshirt-freshman said. “We’ve learned a lot and the coaches have gotten us prepared and it’s been a great experience so far.”Jordan (16-0), a redshirt-freshman, has been called upon to not only win his 165-pound matches, but to do so by getting bonus points to increase the team’s chances of winning. Jordan said he doesn’t focus on the extra points as much as the coaches do, but added he wants to do whatever he can to help the team win.“I’m not really thinking about getting the extra points, but if I go out and wrestle to the best of my ability and stay where I’m good at, I know I can throw up a lot of points and I’ll see what happens from there,” Jordan said.Throughout the season, Jordan has been known to hit a point in his matches where a whole new level of intensity is shown. He said he can feel when it’s time for that to turn on.“There’s a point in every match where my lungs feel like they are on fire, and when I start to feel tired and things are starting to get tough. I know my opponent is feeling the same thing, so I know it’s time to click and throw it into the next gear,” Jordan said.Jordan also credited Tomasello (24-4) when it comes to being motivated to go out and give it his all.“(He’s) the guy who starts the fire in everyone at the beginning of each match,” Jordan said.“I don’t think there is anyone else in the nation that I would rather have starting off our matches at 125 pounds besides Nathan Tomasello,” Jordan said. “He gets after it for seven minutes and he gets the team fired up.”As for starting out first each night, the 125 pounder said he wouldn’t want it any other way.“I want to be first on the mat every time,” Tomasello said. “I want to bring the intensity and go at it for the full seven minutes and then I get the rest of the dual to cheer on my teammates.”Snyder (24-2), a favorite to win the Big Ten Championship in two weeks, credited his co-captains and teammates for keeping him focused.“It helps when everyone is doing their part, and when you have Nate and Bo who are both freaks in the sport of wrestling, it helps in preparing for big matches,” Snyder said. “Nate always gets the ball rolling when he starts the match, and it gets our heads in the right direction, and when Bo goes out and gets bonus points, it motivates me to do the same.”Snyder said preparation has taken its course and now it’s about proving who’s the best in the sport.“This is the time in the season where you have to just go out and win matches,” he said. “It’s fun just competing and practicing to get better, but now it’s all about getting your hand raised.”OSU had everything going for it, including victories in nine straight dual meets. All of that came to an end when the No. 3 Buckeyes were upset by the No. 11 Lehigh Mountain Hawks, 21-18, on Saturday.The Buckeyes managed just four victories over the Mountain Hawks.The trio of freshmen continued to put up big numbers in their individual matches and their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, coach Tom Ryan said.“We have four bright spots right now, and three of them are freshmen,” Ryan said. “Other guys are going to have to figure out who and what they want to be in this sport in the next two weeks.”The Buckeyes are set to host the Big Ten Championships March 7-8 at St. John Arena, and as long as they follow Stieber’s and the coaches’ lead, they should be successful, Jordan said.“Logan’s leading the way so we just have to follow him and listen to the coaches and go out and wrestle our best,” Jordan said. “We have what it takes to win it all and it’s time to go out and prove it.” read more

Soldiers accuse Belfast cabal of seeking revenge in prosecuting them for murder

first_imgIRA Commander Joe McCann IRA Commander Joe McCannCredit:http://bigjoemccann.com/ Anna-Marie Bankier’s father Robert and at his wedding to CathieCredit:East News Press Agency 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. Anna-Marie Bankier holding a photograph of her father Robert, who was killed by the IRA in Belfast Anna-Marie Bankier holding a photograph of her father Robert, who was killed by the IRA in BelfastCredit:East News Press Agencycenter_img A former soldier who faces prosecution for the murder of a senior IRA gunman has accused a small cabal of seeking “revenge” against him and his colleague.The two former paratroopers face prosecution for the murder of Joe McCann in Belfast, more than 44 years after his death in April 1972.The decision to prosecute the men, known as Soldier A and Soldier C, has caused widespread anger that veterans of tours of duty in Northern Ireland, as well as soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, are being hounded over historic incidents.Now Soldier C has spoken out to condemn the decision to drag him and his colleague through the courts.He said: “I feel very bitter about the whole scenario. Myself and many others like me who were also doing their duty are now being hounded by a cabal residing in Belfast who say they are seeking ‘justice’. But my own opinion is that they are seeking revenge.”Soldier C, who is now 65 and has grandchildren, questioned the decision to prosecute him while some known IRA gunmen have been allowed to walk free.He told the Daily Mail: “Ordinary people in the street – not just soldiers – cannot understand the Government’s position. I believe the Prime Minister has stated that justice has to be seen to run its course. If that’s the case, then why isn’t this a level playing field? Why are they only going after soldiers?”He added: “Why are they not going after the IRA men and women who carried out their campaign of murder, bombing and maiming?”The decision to prosecute Soldier A, who is 67, and Soldier C, was taken by the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland and followed a review of the case in 2010 by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET).In a statement prosecutors said: “The decision was reached following an objective and impartial application of the test for prosecution that was conducted in accordance with the code for prosecutors and with the benefit of advice from senior counsel.”A HET report says three soldiers fired at McCann, who was unarmed, as he tried to flee. He was hit by two or three bullets and was pronounced dead in hospital. Anna-Marie Bankier was 23 months old when her father Robert was shot dead in Belfast on May 21, 1971, becoming one of the first British soldiers to be killed in The Troubles.Miss Bankier, 47, who lives in Ipswich where she looks after her ailing mother, told The Telegraph earlier this month: “From what I have been told, there was an investigation many years ago and these men were cleared of any wrongdoing. So why after all these years are they being re-investigated?“It seems to me like they are being hounded just for doing their jobs. It is diabolical and disgusting after all this time. They are old guys now. What purpose is it serving?” The soldiers had attempted to resuscitate him but to no avail. But the report paints an incomplete picture of what happened as key participants in the events leading up to McCann’s death have not been traced.McCann, who was never prosecuted for any killings before his death, was regarded by security forces as a “dangerous terrorist and someone who would be armed and who would not hesitate to use his weapon to resist arrest”, according to the report.He was wearing a disguise, having dyed his hair, when he was spotted by two special branch officers with the Royal Ulster Constabulary. They summoned the soldiers to assist them in detaining McCann.Critically, those special branch officers remain unidentified, and authorities investigating McCann’s death, it is understood, have been unable to trace them.Sources have also suggested ballistics reports no longer exist, making it impossible to know which soldier fired the fatal shots. An initial investigation into the shooting in 1972 cleared all three soldiers of blame. They had protested that they feared McCann may have been armed and that he was leading them into an ambush.Soldier C said: “I was awarded the British Empire Medal. And yet here I am, being persecuted. I would like someone in power to explain in detail how this has been allowed to happen.”Soldier A, whose wife is suffering from cancer, said prospect of being stipped of his anyonimity as part of any trial for Mr McCann’s murder had left him anxious and depressed.“I wouldn’t feel safe probably if I was identified in court,” he said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve been thrown to the wolves – I prefer the expression, being thrown to the hyenas.“Appeasing the bloody Republicans in Northern Ireland is what this boils down to.”The daughter of one of Mr McCann’s alleged victims has said the gunman “got what he deserved”, while two former soldiers being prosecuted for his murder are being subjected to a witch hunt. Anna-Marie Bankier's father Bob and at his wedding to Cathielast_img read more