It was the age of foolishness. It was the summer of trading three draft picks for Andrea Bargnani. It was the autumn of J.R. Smith being suspended for marijuana possession. It was the winter of disparaging the shot clock. It was the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 season. So when Mike Woodson was fired as the coach of the Knicks on a warm, spring day in Gotham Monday, New York breathed a sigh of relief.But Woodson’s problem wasn’t just that the Knicks were bad. The Knicks are usually bad. Woodson’s problem was that the Knicks — for a change — were expected to be good. They’d won 54 games and gone to the Eastern Conference semifinals the year before. Preseason over-under lines pegged their win total at 49.5 games. When my ESPN colleague Kevin Pelton, through his SCHOENE system, instead projected the Knicks to win 37 games, his projection threatened to turn Knickerblogger, the eminently sane and stats-friendly blog, into the basketball version of “unskewed polls.”The Knicks went 37 and 45.In the NBA, where about 30 percent of the league turns its head coach over every season, these expectations matter as much as reality. I mean that literally: Las Vegas’s preseason over-under lines predict coach turnover just as well as actual wins and losses do.I went back and collected preseason over-under lines dating back to the 2006-07 season. I compared them to each team’s actual record during the regular season. Then I ran a logistic regression analysis. The dependent variable is whether the team kept the same head coach from the start of that regular season to the next one. Here are the results:The regression output contains two variables: exp_w (the number of games a team was expected to win, per Las Vegas) and act_w (actual wins). For the 2011-12 NBA season, which was shortened by a player lockout, I’ve prorated both totals to 82 games.You may notice that the coefficient on each variable is almost identical, though they have opposite signs. What that means is that an expected win hurts a coach about as much as an actual win helps him.The graph below provides an illustration of this, and measures the probability of a coaching change under two scenarios: a team (like this year’s Sacramento Kings) that was expected to win 30 games, and a team (like the Knicks) that was expected to win 50. If the projected 30-win team wins 35 games, just slightly better than expectations, its probability of a coaching change is only about 17 percent. If the projected 50-win team wins 45 games, just slightly worse than expectations, the probability is 37 percent instead.Lest this seem too abstract, I’ve compiled a list of all teams since the 2006-07 season that underperformed their over-under line by 10 games or more. There are 33 of these. Here’s what happened to their coaches:Nine of them were fired during the season;Nine of them were fired after the season;One of them resigned during the season;Two of them resigned after the season;Two of them, Larry Drew of the Milwaukee Bucks and Brian Shaw of the Denver Nuggets, just completed their seasons and have yet to learn their fates;The other 10 kept their jobs, although five of them were fired during or after their following season. Other factors also affect a coach’s odds of being fired. Deep playoff runs help coaches. First-year coaches sometimes get mulligans and are less likely to be fired. We’ll save that discussion for another post, however.The lesson is simple: A coach is not long for his job when expectations run wild, as they often do in New York. With the benefit of hindsight, it now seems likely that Woodson’s Knicks overachieved in the 2012-13 season. That only made it harder for him to keep his job this year.
Brooklyn Nets power forward Kevin Garnett says Miami Heat’s LeBron James should worry about his own team.Earlier in the week James said that Garnett and Paul Pierce should apologize for their criticism of Ray Allen for departing Boston and then leaving the Celtics themselves.“Tell LeBron to worry about Miami. It has nothing to do with Celtic business,” Garnett said in response.“I left Boston?” Pierce said when asked about James’ comments, hinting that the Celtics let him go as free agent.Garnett and Pierce were upset that Allen left the Celtics for the Heat last offseason. Pierce said he hadn’t forgiven Allen for leaving Boston, and KG said he lost his phone number and didn’t communicate with him anymore.“I think the first thing I thought was, ‘Wow, Ray got killed for leaving Boston, and now these guys are leaving Boston,’” James said. “I think it’s OK; I didn’t mind it. But there were a couple guys who basically [expletive] on Ray for leaving, and now they’re leaving.“That’s the nature of our business, man. I don’t know what Boston was going through at the end of the day. I know Ray had to make the best decision for him and his family and his career. Doc [Rivers, former Celtics coach], KG and Paul did that as well. You can’t criticize someone who does something that’s best for their family.”
The Ohio State women’s basketball team’s Big Ten slate hasn’t been kind to them this year. It was more of the same for the Buckeyes against Nebraska Thursday, as the Cornhuskers dropped OSU, 62-53. In the process, the Buckeyes lost their seventh conference game this season. They might be losing hope of a turnaround, too. “To be honest, it’s hard to come to practice and to try to be positive,” said OSU senior guard Amber Stokes. OSU, which sits 10th in the conference, struggled to match the Cornhuskers‘ (15-6, 5-3) marksmanship from behind the arc. En route to what is now a three-game winning streak for Nebraska, the Cornhuskers unloaded 25 3-point shots and connected on nine of them. That theme seemed apparent early in the contest. Less than two minutes into the game, the Cornhuskers scored two 3-pointers while the Buckeyes struggled to make a basket. OSU’s shots clanked off the iron time and time again, but for a while, it seemed Nebraska wasn’t faring much better. After the initial 10 minutes of the contest, though, when both teams only made 25 percent of their shots, the Cornhuskers improved to 38 percent of their shots and the Buckeyes to 33 percent. Nebraska, however, proved to be the more aggressive team in the first half, including a 5-of-13 outing from behind the arc. Conversely, OSU missed all seven of the 3-point attempts in the game’s first act. Despite OSU senior guard Tayler Hill’s 12 first-half points and junior center Ashley Adams’ eight points, the Cornhuskers continued to build a cushion between themselves and the Buckeyes and head into intermission leading, 34-24. It also didn’t help that OSU turned the ball over 10 times compared to Nebraska’s five miscues. The second half started off better for the Buckeyes, with a jumper by redshirt junior center Aleksandra Dobranic within the first ten seconds. On the subsequent possession, Nebraska turned the ball over, which translated into an easy layup for Hill, who finished the night with 22 points. But for every shot the Buckeyes made, the Cornhuskers had an answer. Their lead, which withstood a 41 percent outing from the floor from OSU, never fell below six points for the rest of the half. Part of that had to do with Nebraska junior forward Jordan Hooper’s season-high 28 points. “My teammates did a really good job of finding me and I just shot it,” Hooper said after the game. OSU head coach Jim Foster said that he thought OSU’s defense was weak on Hooper. “I don’t think we did a great job of identifying where Hooper was. And when you have a player like that, you don’t start your defense under the 3-point line, you start it one foot outside the 3-point line,” Foster said. “That just comes with experience and understanding and making decisions. And hopefully we learn something from them.” The Buckeyes (11-10, 1-7 Big Ten) are now 10-3 at home this season. OSU is set to next take on Indiana Sunday in Bloomington, Ind., at 2 p.m.
Junior guard Raven Ferguson drives to the basket during a game against Michigan Jan. 5 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost, 64-49.Credit Shelby Lum / Photo editorThe Indiana Hoosiers came into their game against the Ohio State women’s basketball team undefeated and ranked in the top-25 for just the second time in team history.They left Assembly Hall with a loss to the unranked Buckeyes.OSU sophomore guard Ameryst Alston led all scorers and tied a career high with 29 points as the Buckeyes took down the No. 22 Hoosiers, 70-51, Saturday.Coach Kevin McGuff was not shy in his praise of his star guard after the victory.“She (Alston) was in attack mode for 40 minutes tonight,” McGuff said in a press release following the game. “We are a different team when she is playing with that type of aggressiveness.”The Buckeyes also got quality minutes from junior guard Raven Ferguson, who came off the bench to record a career-high 18 points.“This was Raven’s best game all year,” McGuff said. “She generated a lot of offense for herself and her teammates.”The efforts of Alston and Ferguson also made an impression on Indiana coach Curt Miller.“The one-on-one ability by Ameryst and the one-on-one ability by Raven Ferguson was the big difference in the game tonight,” Miller said in a postgame video for Indiana athletics. “They created havoc with their penetration.”The OSU defense was a big factor in the victory, as it held the Hoosiers to just 28.8 percent shooting from the field.“I thought we were particularly good on the defensive end today and I think our players did an excellent job executing what the game plan was and playing with great intensity,” McGuff said. “Our communication was better and we were just much, much better on the defensive end.”Another area of success for the Buckeyes was scoring inside, where the Buckeyes outscored Indiana 38-14 in the paint.“Ohio State’s big,” Hoosiers senior center Simone Deloach said in a postgame video. “They did a really good job of getting the ball inside and … passing out of the post too.”The game seemed to be in hand midway through the second half as OSU led 56-37 with 10:46 remaining.But the Hoosiers then scored 11 straight to cut the lead to eight with just more than eight minutes left.The crowd at Assembly Hall roared, but the Buckeyes had an answer.The Buckeyes finished the game on a 14-3 run in the final eight minutes to seal a victory, much to the delight of McGuff.“That was really great to see,” McGuff said. “They certainly could have crumbled and quit doing the things that allowed us to get the lead we had prior to that run.”The win over Indiana gave the Buckeyes their second road victory this season, the other coming against West Virginia Nov. 8 when they beat the Mountaineers 70-61.“We still have a long way to go,” McGuff said. “But this was a good performance for us.”OSU is scheduled to travel to Penn State Thursday. Tipoff between the Buckeyes and No. 14 Nittany Lions is set for 7 p.m.
The 2017-18 Ohio State men’s basketball team held its preseason media day Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media EditorKnowing how the Ohio State men’s basketball team was going to perform each night the past two seasons was a mystery. This year, it might be even more difficult to predict.Ohio State held its preseason media day Wednesday with all seven returning players, plus Michigan transfer guard Andrew Dakich, before the team’s first official practice Saturday for the first season under head coach Chris Holtmann. With a fresh coaching staff and a roster full of new players, there likely haven’t been more question marks heading into an Ohio State season since former head coach Thad Matta took over the program in 2004. But despite all the program turnover and offseason storylines, the team goals haven’t changed.“I was definitely excited [for the season] because I felt that as a team, we didn’t leave it all out there on the table [last season],” senior forward Jae’Sean Tate said. “I wouldn’t say that overall goal hasn’t changed since coach Holtmann came, but the style was an adjustment from one coaching staff to another.”It’s difficult to know if Ohio State can actually compete with top programs this year, but based on depth and overall uncertainty, the logical answer would be “no.” Yet, if there’s a reason Ohio State can surprise teams and critics around the country, redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop’s play could be it.After playing just nine games due to a season-ending leg injury last year, which led to a medical redshirt, Bates-Diop returns as perhaps Ohio State’s best two-way player. He said he hasn’t “felt this good in probably a year and a half, physically.”At 6-foot-7 and with a wingspan of more than seven feet, he has the ability to contest on the glass, defend on the perimeter and shoot over top of any defender.“I think I’m more consistent with my jump shot. I worked on a lot of the stationary stuff, so I kind of went back to basics, essentially with shooting,” Bates-Diop said. “And coming back, I worked on a lot of footwork and agility stuff just because my leg was weaker and I needed it. I think I’m better in a lot of areas.”Tate said he believes the team is talented enough to meet its goal, presumably being competitive in league play and improving significantly from last season’s dismal 17-15 finish without a bid to the NCAA Tournament, or even the NIT. However, the steps to get there have changed a bit.The first step for the team is learning an entirely new system. All the players who spoke Wednesday said Holtmann is a defensively focused coach. In the two hours per week the team can be with the coaching staff in the offseason, per NCAA rules, Holtmann has steered clear of working in the half court, instead focusing on transition defense and offense.“He’s big on defense,” Bates-Diop said. “All the details in everything. It just kind of opened our minds, essentially.”Sophomore center Micah Potter said the team is in better condition now than it was at this point last season, which could be a direct cause of the heavy work in transition.“If you remember back last year, there were a lot of games we lost by, like, one to five points,” Potter said. “I think being in shape will help us keep that focus and help us make those extra hustle plays that help us win those kind of games.”Depth at point guard is a major issue for Ohio State in 2017-18, with junior C.J. Jackson being the only true point guard on the roster. It is still unknown who is going to be the backup point guard, but all signs point to Jackson playing extended minutes. Tate, Dakich, Bates-Diop and redshirt senior guard Kam Williams have all been practicing as ball handlers. Bates-Diop said Williams is the most likely of the bunch to receive time at point guard. Williams said he expects to play some point guard this season.Including Bates-Diop, Ohio State returns three starters and because of depth problems will have to play inexperienced freshmen forwards Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson and freshman guard Musa Jallow because of depth problems. The players raved about the maturity of the freshmen, which is important for the future of the program, but might not translate to victories in the intermediate.“We’re Holt guys. We’re Thad guys, but at the end of the day, we’re Holt guys,” Tate said. “We’re the start of this new tradition and coach Holtmann has let us know that there’s an emphasis on we’re going to be the building blocks for years to come.”
Ohio State redshirt junior goalie Kassidy Sauve (32) sits on the puck after a save in the first period of the game against Minnesota on Jan. 19. Ohio State won 3-2. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorThe No. 6 Ohio State women’s hockey team (19-7-4, 12-4-4 WCHA) completed a home series sweep against No. 1 Wisconsin (26-3-1, 17-21-1 WCHA) with a 3-1 upset victory at the OSU Ice Rink Saturday.The Buckeyes won the game behind another strong outing from redshirt junior goalie Kassidy Sauve, who stopped 34 of 35 shot attempts. Her night did not begin easy. Just three minutes into the game, she appeared to be injured, forcing the trainer to come out and see her on the ice.“She had to over extend to make a hell of a save,” Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall said. “I think it changed the pace of the game. She’s a competitor, she knows that she’s a quarterback to our team. She’s going to play through any bumps and bruises.”Though Sauve was healthy enough to stay in the game, she appeared to have been slowed by the injury. Two minutes after being checked on by trainers, she allowed the game’s first goal to sophomore forward Alexis Mauermann.“After their first goal I had to encourage the girls to not feel demoralized,” Muzerall said. “Continue to press, continue to press. You can score, you have proven that yesterday.”With 6:51 left in the second period and a night after scoring the lone goal in the Buckeyes’ 1-0 win against Wisconsin, Maltais scored her 13th goal of the season. Redshirt sophomore defender Jincy Dunne and freshman forward Tatum Skaggs were credited with assists. “Dani Sadek flipped it up, it was in the neutral zone and [freshman forward] Tatum [Skaggs] chipped it by their D,” Maltais said. “I saw a little bit of a lane, so I just leaned into the defensemen on the other side. Honestly, I just shot it. We had talked in video about how we need to shoot high on this goalie was the way to go, I just tried to get it up there and it went in.”The Buckeyes maintained steady control of the puck early in the third period, and their aggressive attack eventually led to junior forward Charly Dahlquist burying the tie-breaking goal 2:49 into the period. Maltais and Skaggs assisted the goal.“Any time you can get a puck past Campbell, from Wisconsin, that’s a good success,” Muzerall said. “Vise versa too, to get a goal past Sauve is just as difficult. We figured it would be a battle of goaltending.”Though the Badgers finished the third period having outshot the Buckeyes 11-7, Wisconsin could not find the back of the net. And in the end, Skaggs fired a shot into an empty Badger net, icing the game at 3-1.“I think the girls are well deserving of this win,” Muzerall said. “I’m very proud they got two past Campbell.”
Around 30,000 new mothers with mental health conditions are being left to fend for themselves after giving birth because of a gaping shortage in properly trained staff, NHS figures reveal.Currently just 15 per cent of areas provide the recommended level of post-birth community care, while 40 per cent offer no service at all.The data emerged as NHS England announced it was making available the first tranche of a £365 million fund to provide better support for mothers with existing mental illnesses, as well as those with birth-induced conditions such as postpartum psychosis. Many new mothers do not understand what they are sufferingCredit:Anna Gowthorpe “We absolutely need to ensure that all women have the access to high quality perinatal mental health care and are committed to addressing current issues and variation,” he said.“If left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on the woman affected and her family.”Dr Berrisford said that while mothers with mental health conditions will often have access to traditional psychiatric services, particularly if they remain in hospital, what women really need is psychiatric staff who understand both the psychology and physiology of pregnancy.Around one in five women suffer mental ill health during pregnancy or in the year after birth, according to the health service.This can range from anxiety post-natal depression, which affects up to 15 per cent of new mothers, to postpartum depression, where mothers suffer hallucinations.Suicide, of which there were 101 from 2009 to 2013, is the second leading cause of maternal death after cardiovascular disease.NHS England said the cost of perinatal mental ill health to society is an estimated £8.1 billion for each annual cohort of births, or almost £10,000 per birth. We need to ensure that all women have the access to high quality perinatal mental health careDr Giles Berrisford, NHS England 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. The announcement comes in the aftermath of a 2015 review by the University of Oxford and NHS England, which found that half of all suicides by women while pregnant or after giving birth could be prevented by better standards of care.From today, local providers will be able to apply for grants from a £5 million fund to provide specialist training for existing staff, and to employ new specialists, in order to support new mothers with serious psychiatric conditions.A further £15 million will become available next year and another £40 million in 2018.Dr Giles Berrisford, the association national clinical director for perinatal mental health, said the UK was “miles ahead” of most other countries, but conceded that there was a significant shortage in adequately trained staff.
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. Video block text Watch the live procession from the Notting Hill Carnival 2016.
West Ham was found guilty of acting improperly and withholding key documentation over Tevez and Mascherano’s ownership, and the club was fined £5.5 million.TPO was banned by the FA at the start of the 2008-09 season. The Premier League concluded that the practice “raises too many issues over the integrity of competition” and “the development of young players”.Gianni Infantino, now the Fifa president, said it was unacceptable for companies to “trade” economic rights to people. West Ham signings Carlos Tevez, left, and Javier Mascherano, hold up their new shirts at a press conference in September 2006Credit:Jane Mingay/AP Photo Third party ownership (TPO) of football players has been described as a form of modern-day “slavery” by some of the most senior figures in soccer.It involves a third party, such as a company or an agent, owning all or part of the financial rights to a player, so that the third party, rather than a football club, benefits from transfer fees every time the player is sold.It is in the third party’s interests to sell the player as often as possible to generate as much money from transfers as they can. Gianni Infantino, the Fifa presidentCredit:Walter Bieri/EPA Michael Platini, the former Uefa president, described the practice as “a type of slavery”. However, its proponents insist the practice provides a source of income for cash-strapped clubs.A global ban on third party ownership of players was introduced by Fifa in 2015.But agents found loopholes including buying shares in a club, with a view to cashing in with a cut of transfer fees netted by the club; providing a “loan” to a club and being repaid plus “interest” from sell-on fees; and acting as an agent in order to receive a cut from sell-on fees as “commission”. The practice came to prominence in 2007 when it emerged that West Ham United had breached Premier League rules over the signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano the previous year.The economic rights of the two Argentinian stars were part-owned by a London-based fund, in a practice that was common in parts of Europe and South America.In itself, TPO was not then out of bounds. But the Premier League concluded that the contracts signed for the transfers gave the fund the right to decide whether a player moved to another club and for what fee. This was a breach of existing rules banning third parties from having influence over the transfers of players. 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.
Rod Stewart donned tartan trousers – a nod to his Scottish heritage – and a scarlet-trimmed military-style tunic to be knighted by Prince William at Buckingham Palace. 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.