The “short or long but never midrange” theory of NBA shooting has been popular in analytics since at least the early 2000s. Statistically, 3-point shots have long been more efficient than long 2-point shots: The reward — an extra point — has outweighed a slightly lower completion percentage. So, the theory goes, teams should eschew midrange shots as much as possible and either take the ball to the basket or shoot from beyond the arc.Whether or not NBA players and coaches have had this theory in mind, 3-point attempts have steadily risen since their introduction in the 1979-80 season. In “Daryl Morey’s D-League Plan to Do Away With Midrange Shots,” Grantland’s Kirk Goldsberry looked at the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets D-League team that has taken the inside/outside strategy to the extreme — a staggering 47 percent of players’ shots come from the 3-point range. (If the NBA keeps increasing its long-distance shooting at the pace it has in the past 25 years, it should match the Vipers in approximately 2054.)Although the Vipers have had good results so far, Goldsberry warned against reading too much into the experiment and assuming the same strategy would work in the NBA:One troubling issue with the Vipers’ strategy is that they are significantly reducing the size of the scoring area. Let’s go back to the 1,300-square-foot apartment metaphor — the Vipers hang out only in the kitchen and bedroom. They never use the living room. By forgoing midrange shots altogether, they are telling opponents that they don’t plan on using a giant swath of tactical space relatively close to the basket. As NBA defenses evolve, the smartest ones are already finding ways to counter the smart-guy shot-selection strategy. The Pacers, who have the league’s best defense, have a reputation for vigorously defending the restricted area and the 3-point area, while being less protective of the midrange. They are the Vipers’ antivenom. And if defenses are able to take away those “efficient” areas, you better have alternative ways to generate offense.Goldsberry was describing an important limitation in the 3s-and-layups strategy: 3-point shots will only be more efficient than midrange shots so long as defenses fail to devote enough resources to defending them. Unless the best-defended 3-point shot is more efficient than a wide-open midrange shot (it’s not), saying 3-point shots are better than midrange shots is wrong. What we really mean is 3-pointers are suboptimally defended. As unwitting game-theory expert Stan Van Gundy would say, “Sometimes you’re going to get the shots the defense allows.”But there’s an even bigger issue with the back-of-the-envelope efficiency calculation at the heart of the pro-3 argument: The fact that 3-pointers are more efficient than midrange shots overall doesn’t mean the marginal 3-pointer is necessarily more valuable than the marginal 2-pointer.If you want to replace a midrange attempt with a 3-pointer, you will normally be replacing a bad 2-pointer with a bad 3-pointer. There’s no intrinsic reason those marginal shots should have the same relative efficiency as better shots of the same type. In fact, there are plausible reasons to think they wouldn’t. Average 3-point shot efficiency may be skewed by the extremely high efficiency of wide-open looks, which players probably weren’t passing up in the first place.This doesn’t mean that NBA teams shouldn’t be taking more 3s. I’d guess we probably haven’t reached that point yet.
Across the nine major component categories of advanced metrics tracked at Basketball-Reference.com,1i.e., categories that attempt to isolate skill in a particular area of the game, rather than more holistic measures such as PER or Win Shares. Antetokounmpo ranks among the top half of qualified2For the purposes of this story, I considered a player to have qualified for the league leaderboard for these nine stats if he has played at least 12.2 minutes per scheduled game (taking the average number of games across all NBA teams), which works out to about 1,000 minutes in a normal 82-game season. NBA players in eight of them — turnovers are the only area where he was worse than the average player through Wednesday’s games.But the Greek Freak is at his most transformative when he plays point guard. When 6-foot-5-inch James Harden — 6 inches shorter than Antetokounmpo — is already towering over opposing point guards after his move to the position this season, the idea of a 6-foot-11-inch terror in the open court, dunking on opponents in transition and making plays for teammates, is unprecedented. Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, Toni Kukoc (in 1998-99) was the only player 6-foot-10-inch or taller to have a higher assist rate than Antetokounmpo has right now — and Kukoc wasn’t also rebounding or recording steals and blocks at anywhere near the same rates as Antetokounmpo is.In fact, the mere sight of a guy his size, doing what he does, is startling. Against Cleveland, the side-by-side comparison between Antetokounmpo and LeBron James — heretofore the greatest combination of size, speed and athleticism in basketball — was eye opening:To visualize what an outlier Antetokounmpo is among guards, here’s a plot of Box Plus/Minus against height for players listed by Basketball-Reference as point guards or shooting guards this season: One of the best point guards in the NBA right now stands 6 feet 11 inches tall.Let that sit for moment.OK, so Giannis Antetokounmpo also plays positions other than the point for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Matthew Dellavedova has been eating some of Antetokounmpo’s minutes at the 1. And frankly, it doesn’t really matter where Giannis plays, given that he can rattle off stat lines like the 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks he produced Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The guy is good at damn near everything there is to do on a basketball court: Antetokounmpo still needs to polish some of the finer aspects of playing guard, such as running a pick-and-roll and spotting up for jumpers. But! He’s also still days shy of his 22nd birthday. If he’s this good — and this versatile — now, watching Antetokounmpo reach his potential will be one of the NBA’s most entertaining storylines over the decade to come.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
OSU senior goalie Katie Frederick (1) during a game against Hofstra on March 27 in Hempstead, New York.Credit: Courtesy of OSUKatie Frederick, a senior goaltender for the Ohio State women’s lacrosse team, has been called hard-working, determined and very talented.Among her other qualities, patience might just be an understatement. After three seasons in a backup role, at last the net belongs to Frederick, and she has not squandered the opportunity. So far, she has helped guide the Buckeyes to a 9-1 record, currently placing them at No. 15 in the Inside Lacrosse poll. Frederick’s prolonged wait wasn’t necessarily her fault, though. It was more of a matter of who was ahead of her on the depth chart, which was Tori Descenza, one of the best, if not the best, netminders the program has ever seen. From 2012-2015, Descenza was nothing short of a brick wall. She holds the program career records for saves (569) and wins (43), while also ranking fourth all-time in goals-against average (9.62).However, Frederick did not hold any hard feelings toward the woman she eventually succeeded. In fact, the relationship between the two is part of the reason why Frederick has been so successful this season. “Having her the past three years really helped me along the way; she kind of took me under her wing my freshman year,” Frederick said. “I think being able to compete with her every single day at practice has helped me get to where I am today.”Descenza wasn’t the only mentor Frederick had soon after arriving in Columbus. OSU’s coach, Alexis Venechanos, wasn’t too shabby between the pipes during her time at Maryland.The 2003 Terrapin graduate won two national championships, posting a 23-0 record her first year as a starter in 2001, and was the recipient of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award, given to the nation’s top goaltender, as a senior. The coach said she has been nothing but proud of the work ethic Frederick has put forth in both her lone year as a collegiate starter and her time waiting in the wings.“She is just rising to the occasion,” Venechanos said. “That’s a credit to her mentally, physically and emotionally. You have to come and bring it every day, and I think she did that when she wasn’t playing. Now, it’s that additional excitement.”Frederick had played in eight games prior to this season, but Venechanos classified the goalie’s excitement about her current role as through the roof.“She’s been waiting for three years,” Venechanos said. “It’s like a kid in a candy shop.”Even her teammates knew that this was going to be a special season for the player who wears No. 1.“This is her time,” said senior midfielder Olivia DiCarlantonio. “Everyone is working for her and she’s our backbone back there. She sees the field. She’s our eyes, she’s our mouth and she’s leading us to victories.”Frederick and the rest of the Buckeye defense have been doing just that.After 10 games, the Scarlet and Gray are giving up an average of 8.40 goals per game, while only surrendering 10 goals or more twice.They have allowed fewer than 10 goals in seven straight games with Frederick in charge on the back end, as she has a 9-1 record with a 7.76 goals against average and a .469 save percentage.With an arduous schedule ahead, including games against No. 1 Maryland, No. 14 Northwestern, No. 6 Notre Dame and No. 9 Penn State, the Buckeyes can take solace in the fact that they have a strong last line of defense, which, after three seasons, is finally anchored by Frederick. “I just wanted to make the most of this year as a team and individually,” Frederick said. “I waited three years for this opportunity, so to be able to go out and be successful with my teammates is really special.” OSU is set to conclude its three-game road trip with a trek up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to take on the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday. The Buckeyes will be looking to make their winning streak eight games. Faceoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Iowa freshman goalkeeper Claire Graves (1) can’t stop Ohio State senior forward Lindsey Agnew’s (20) shot during the second half in a game at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Sept. 25, 2016. The Buckeyes won the game 3-0. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Assistant Sports DirectorA motto and mindset was established at the beginning of the Ohio State women’s soccer season to always get one percent better. After a weekend of strong offensive and overall play, the Buckeyes have their eyes set on doing just that, Thursday evening.The Indiana Hoosiers (5-7-3, 2-3-2 Big Ten) travel to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium to face the Buckeyes (9-4-2, 3-2-2 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. After a long but victorious weekend trip to Maryland and Purdue, coach Lori Walker said her team feels calm and refreshed coming into Thursday’s matchup. “We were off on Monday, and yesterday we had a really good (practice) session,” Walker said. “The energy has been really good. We’re excited to be back at home … it was a long trip.” Thursday’s game comes during OSU’s fall break, which Walker said has brought a mental calmness to the players, resulting in crisp play where their focus primarily on practice and the game.A focus in practice throughout the week for OSU has been that of precise play, especially coming off of a weekend scoring eight total goals, and defensively allowing just one goal. “We’re always trying to get one percent better. That’s what we’ve said from the beginning of the year,” Walker said. “We’ve got to continue to be sharper with our passing, continue to be sharper with our runs in the box. We have got to continue to be sharper with our clearing defensively out of our own box. As those things continue to start to clean themselves up, I think we are continuing to be a dangerous team.”OSU junior forward Sammy Edwards was named Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week on Monday, following her three goals in two games. Edwards said that her strong emphasis on teamwork, paired with a unified energy helped her strive over the weekend, has provided inspiration for Thursday’s game versus Indiana. “We need these wins, and so I think this week helped a lot in getting our energy up there and our confidence up there,” she said. “However, that (last) weekend’s over, and I think our focus again is just one game at a time, and that happens to be Indiana.”Edwards continued to emphasize the presence of an energy and confidence going into Thursday’s match, also stressing a focus on defensive and offensive organization as a whole.OSU’s defense held strong in it’s past two games, only giving up one goal within 24 total shots on the weekend. The season’s motto finds its focus defensively, as the number of goals given up continues to decline.“I think that as each game comes, we’re trying to get one percent better, as coach always says, so I think now, we did only allow one goal in,” said OSU freshman defender Haley Walker-Robinson. “The goal is to not let any (goals) in. I think that that will be a good thing to build off of.”Walker-Robinson said her approach to improving one percent while facing Indiana comes from the desire to becoming stronger mentally and physically.“Mentally for me, I think that I don’t want anyone to get inside of our box, maybe even 10 yards,” Walker-Robinson said. “For our line, we have a ‘line of restraint.’ We don’t allow any nonsense in that area.”Coach Walker praised the defense’s play throughout the past few games, crediting success to the emphasis of knowing responsibility in the defensive system. “You have to really work hard to create a goal and score off Ohio State,” Walker said.The Buckeyes host senior day Sunday, as they welcome the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-2-3, 4-1-2 Big Ten) to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at 2 p.m.
OSU coach Urban Meyer enters Ohio Stadium prior to kickoff of the Buckeyes 30-27 double-overtime win against Michigan. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes held No. 3 Michigan to a field goal in the second overtime. The Wolverines took a 27-24 lead. All OSU needed was a touchdown and one of the greatest installments of the century-long rivalry would be finished.On a third-and-9, junior H-back Curtis Samuel took a swing pass and outran nearly the entire Michigan defense to gain eight yards after sprinting from one side of the field to the other in one of the day’s most improbable plays. Samuel was within a yard of the first-down marker, which prompted OSU coach Urban Meyer to make an improbable call.He had his troops hurry to the line to snap the ball before the Michigan defense got set, but Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh called a timeout. Meyer had more time to think about it.Should he decide to kick a field goal and play for a third overtime, or should he roll the dice with Samuel and his leader, redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett? OSU was well within field-goal range, but with a kicker who had already missed two field goals earlier in the game, Meyer thought of an old saying given to him by his athletic director at Florida, Jeremy Foley.“If you can’t get that far, you’re not a championship team,” Meyer said.Barrett kept the ball and fell right at the 15-yard line — first down. On the next play, Samuel ran left for 15 yards and the game-winning score. OSU won 30-27 in a double-overtime marathon.Meyer put his will in a team that he believes is of championship caliber. He also said he is able to make those calls because of his quarterback. However, at first, Barrett didn’t know if he made the first down when he hit the ground, although it was confirmed after review.“When I got hit, I wasn’t 100 percent certain, to be honest with you,” Barrett said. “I looked at it. But when I fell, I fell on top of people. So I didn’t know exactly what it was going to be.”Meyer has always been one of the few coaches in college football who like to gamble on fourth down. But never had he done it in a situation like that. On Saturday, he did it twice in do-or-die scenarios.The OSU offense had struggled to move the ball for nearly the entire game. In the fourth quarter, something changed. Whether it was better execution by the Scarlet and Gray or a defensive lapse by Michigan (when it had been so sound), OSU and Meyer saw a grand opportunity to strike in a big way and retake the lead.OSU was on the Michigan 13-yard line with 8:32 remaining in the game down 17-14, facing a pivotal fourth-and-1. All the Buckeyes needed was a field goal to tie the game, but with the way the offense had trended through three quarters, Meyer couldn’t rely on them getting another shot at winning. He went for it.Redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber took an inside handoff and ran it over freshman guard Michael Jordan for 4 yards and a first down.The fourth-down gambles even began earlier than that, when Meyer called a fake punt deep in OSU territory and senior punter Cameron Johnston was tackled short of the line. So when Meyer elected to risk the entire season on a fourth-and-short, maybe it wasn’t so surprising. At least not to Barrett.“I mean, honestly, when it’s fourth and short, I feel like we can go for it every time,” he said. “We are in those situations countless times before the season starts, and spring ball. And then when it comes to the season that’s what we do; we take risks and we have a great offensive line to go out and get those first downs.”OSU’s defense had provided the spark for the offense on numerous occasions in “The Game.” Meyer simply tried to ignite that spark with a few risky, but calculated and confident, decisions. Meyer’s fourth-down judgment was another element that made another historic chapter in the the greatest rivalry in sports.“That’s why you run a fake punt. That’s why we were trying to get the ball downfield and we just weren’t hitting them,” Meyer said. “That is one of the classic games of this rivalry that will forever be, because I know this rivalry as well as anybody. That game is right in there. I’m not saying it’s the greatest, because that’s disrespectful for the other players that have played in it. But that’s an instant classic between two great teams.”
Terrelle Pryor battled through injuries to his ankle and knee this season, but it’s his arm that will likely be sore for a while after airing out a career-high 37 passes in Ohio State’s Rose Bowl victory.It was a coming out party of sorts for the sophomore quarterback, who earlier in the week broadcasted that he holds hope that every week will be his emergence onto the national scene.“I hope for that every game,” Pryor said. “But I just want to get a ‘W.’ Whatever the team needs me to do, I want to do it.”Pryor tweaked his ankle in Ohio State’s 45-0 win over New Mexico State on Oct. 31. He never used the injury as an excuse, but his production over the Bucks’ final three games diminished.He attempted just 17 passes in each of OSU’s three games during its gauntlet of a November schedule. Coach Jim Tressel’s preferred style of offense, a run-heavy, mistake-free attack, proved successful, as Pryor guided a methodical, controlled offense to three consecutive wins.Tressel altered the gameplan for Oregon, though, and Pryor was the major beneficiary.The quarterback threw for a career-best 266 yards, completing 23 passes with a pair of touchdowns.“We felt like we really needed to come in flinging it around and being as balanced as we could,” Tressel said. “We felt like as long as we were doing it well, we’d have a chance to keep doing it.”Tressel informed his sophomore quarterback prior to kickoff that the gameplan would initially focus on his passing. That sort of news is the best a quarterback can hear, Pryor said.“I was very excited when Tressel said we were coming out to wing it,” he said.A conservative offensive scheme sprung the Buckeyes through a perfect November slate and a more aggressive attack allowed OSU to leap past the Ducks. Though Pryor maintained that, as a quarterback, nothing is sweeter than passing his team to victory, he’ll do whatever is necessary for a win, he said.“As a quarterback you don’t like running the ball. It’s kind of like being selfish, but you know, that’s not what we need. This is a big-time organization, and if you have to run the ball to win the game, that’s what you do. We have great running backs and they want the ball, too. Whatever we need, I’ll take it for a ‘W.’”Buckeye Nation has waited two seasons for Pryor to bust out that one, signature game that defines a career. Pryor said that he, too, has been in search of that defining performance.“I thought I could have a game like this any time,” he said. “We have a great defense that causes turnovers and causes the points on defense, and then our offense, we end up scoring, giving the ball to [running back Brandon Saine] or running down the field and we break another touchdown run or something like that. Sometimes we don’t need to throw the ball.”Now, however, Pryor has proven to his team that he can elevate the passing game when called upon. The trust he has garnered from his coaches and teammates instilled the confidence in him to do so, he said.“I think you need to earn the head coach’s trust and even your teammates’ trust in throwing the ball. Throwing the ball is a big thing. I had 10 turnovers this year, but it was somewhat of forcing stuff. You know, you think you’re at a certain level and you can just sit in the pocket and throw the ball, but I was waiting a little bit too long, going through four or five reads, and that’s where my picks were coming from.“I had a meeting with Coach Tressel and he calmed me down, and he knew what I was going through because I was trying to force too many throws trying to prove to everybody that I’m a quarterback and I wasn’t taking off when I could run and stuff like that. I need to use what I have, my feet, and try and throw the ball, so I need to use both.”After proving to himself what he can do on one of college football’s grandest stage, Pryor now knows the limits, or lack thereof surrounding his potential.“You know, really for myself, it’s probably the sky is the limit.”
Former Buckeye hockey player Ryan Kesler scored an empty-net goal to seal Team USA’s 5-3 victory over Canada Sunday night. In his first and only season with the Buckeyes, Kesler had 11 goals and 20 assists, leading the Buckeyes to a third place finish in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. In 2003, Kesler was the No. 23 draft pick overall selected by the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler promised a victory over the Canadians and came through with one of the most memorable victories in USA Hockey history. Junior guard Evan Turner earned his sixth Big Ten Player of the Week award after averaging 24.5 points against Purdue and Michigan State last week. This marks the ninth time in his career that he has received the honor. Turner had 29 points and seven rebounds in Wednesday’s 70-67 loss to Purdue. Turner leads the conference in scoring with 19.5 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game. Ohio State pitcher Alex Wimmers earned his fifth career Big Ten Conference Pitcher of the Week honor. In the Buckeyes’ season-opening win over North Florida, the Cincinnati native had nine strikeouts. Wimmers is a possible contender for the Golden Spikes Award, given to the best collegiate baseball player in the country. Wimmers was a 2009 All-American and Big Ten co-Pitcher of the Year and was a 2010 preseason All-American. Junior track star Letecia Wright was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week. Wright broke two personal records. Wright ran the 60-meter hurdles in 8.23 seconds, the fastest time in the Big Ten. She followed the hurdle performance with a 7.52 second sprint in the 60-meter dash, the fourth best in the conference. After struggling through several injuries in the indoor season, Wright is preparing for the Big Ten Indoor Championships Feb. 27 and 28.
Ohio State senior diver Bianca Alvarez has her sights set on an NCAA title after winning two Big Ten titles this season. Alvarez and her teammates will be competing at an NCAA Zone Diving meet Thursday and Friday to qualify to compete in the women’s NCAA Championship. As her last year of eligibility comes to an end, Alvarez said she is happy to have won Big Ten titles along with placing second and third twice in previous years. “It feels great, obviously, especially being my last year in collegiate diving,” said Alvarez. “(It) really is a nice way to finish up my last Big Ten championship. I mean it’s been a goal of mine since the beginning. I know I’ve always been capable of it, but it was really nice to finally come to the meet and put my performance.” Alvarez won titles in the 1- and 3-meter diving events with 360.65 and 410.65, respectively. Fellow diver sophomore Cheyenne Cousineau won a Big Ten title competing in the 10-meter platform with 326.10. Senior Kristen Asman has also been a strong contender in the past. Asman placed fifth and ninth in the 3- and 1-meter diving competitions, respectively, and ninth in the 10-meter platform competition. Alvarez wasn’t always a diver; she started out as a gymnast. And she said her carefree, “fearless” nature is part of what has helped her excel at diving. “I was willing to do anything my coach said despite worrying about hitting the board or doing belly flops,” Alvarez said. “So I guess my progression was pretty rapid. I was able to start competing at the national level after three years of diving.” After coming to OSU, Alvarez worked with diving coach Vince Panzano, who she credits for helping her develop a more positive outlook. “I had a really bad attitude in the sense that I was very unwilling to accept adversity,” Alvarez said. “He’s just taught me how to be a student of the sport.” Cousineau said Alvarez plays a big role in her life, as a friend and teammate. “Having Bianca as a teammate is amazing,” Cousineau said. “Just to be able to see her work ethic, to be able to train together and support each other through it is great.” Cousineau said she hopes all of her teammates finish the season strong. “I’d like to see all of us make it to NCAAs,” Cousineau said. “We’re all capable of making it to NCAAs this year. “ Though swimming and diving are two different sports, they operate under the same program and each contributes to the success of the other at meets. “It’s swimming and diving. You’ve got two different disciplines that both score points for the same outcome,” said Bill Dorenkott, women’s swimming coach. Dorenkott said he often sees the diving team practicing during the swimming team’s practice time. “We may have one of the top three diving traditions in the world,” Dorenkott said. “And Bianca, for her five years at Ohio State, has been a big part of leading that program.” Dorenkott said Alvarez has made an impact on the program. “The most telling thing when a person is part of a team or a program or an organization is did they leave things better than they found them and will they be missed,” Dorenkott said. “I can’t speak to if she left things better than she found them because I don’t coach her on a daily basis, Vince Panzano does, but I can guarantee she’ll be missed.” After NCAAs, Alvarez has plans to qualify for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Diving Team and later pursue a master’s degree in medical sciences. Eventually, she hopes to attend the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami located in her hometown, Miami, Fla. “My ideal perfect plan would be to qualify for the Olympic games … and when I return, start graduate school,” Alvarez said. “That’s like my dream.” Dorenkott said the Buckeyes’ efforts will pay off. “We’re going to be outstanding next week at Auburn,” Dorenkott said. The 2012 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship will be held March 15–17 in Auburn, Ala.
Senior shortstop Jalen Washington singles to third on a 0-1 pitch in the bottom of the first inning against Purdue on Sunday. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Lantern reporterAs students are beginning to wrap up their final days of the spring semester, the Ohio State baseball team prepares to wrap up their homestand with their second-to-last home weekend series of the season against Nebraska.The Buckeyes haven’t had the home-field advantage at Bill Davis Stadium they had hoped for with just a 5-11 home record to show. Comparatively, OSU is 6-8 on the road and 5-5 at neutral sites.OSU coach Greg Beals said there’s not a lot to point to when examining why his team hasn’t found the same level of success that saw his team post a 23-4 record at home last season beyond the difference in on-field personnel.“There’s a lot of different players in that locker room, very different opponents that we’re playing and obviously we’d like to be playing better at home, but I don’t think there’s a pinpoint on that,” Beals said.Scouting NebraskaSitting at third in the Big Ten standings after winning last weekend’s series against Minnesota 2-1, Nebraska has emerged as one of the top teams in the conference this season, based largely on the strength of its pitching staff.Nebraska’s offense has not been the driving force for the team’s success this season, but it has proven effective. The team currently ranks seventh in the Big Ten in batting average (.270) and eighth in runs scored (215). However, hits are about all the team has been able to come up with this season. They rank last in the Big Ten in home runs (15) and second-to-last in stolen bases (31), proving to be a more one-dimensional offense.But with a pitching staff as reliable as Nebraska’s, they only need to score so many runs to win games. Their pitching staff currently ranks second in the Big Ten in ERA (3.39) and fourth in opponents’ batting average (.254). And while their 262 strikeouts rank only 10th in the Big Ten, the staff has balanced the lack of strikeouts with lack of free passes, issuing only 129 walks this season (fourth in the conference).The Cornhuskers will bring to the series one of the most dynamic players in the Big Ten and the third two-way player OSU has faced this season — in junior Jake Meyers. As the team’s leadoff hitter, Meyers leads the team in on-base percentage at .392 and is currently tied for fifth in stolen bases in the Big Ten, going a perfect 17 for 17 in stolen base attempts. On the mound, Meyers has been the team’s best starting pitcher despite pitching only on Sundays. His 2.91 ERA is the lowest on the team and he is the only pitcher on the staff with a complete game shutout. He also leads the team in innings pitched (55.2), strikeouts (35) and has issued the fewest walks of any regular starter (eight). The struggles of Nebraska’s bats this season has led Beals to do some head-scratching when trying to figure out how exactly the Cornhuskers have found as much success as they have.“The offensive side as far as their actual game plan, I still haven’t figured out exactly,” Beals said. “I’m going to do some more work on that because they don’t have a ton of sacrifice bunts, they don’t have a ton of stolen bases other than Meyers.”Beals added though that while the bats have not stood out, it is clear this team plays solid defense and pitches the ball well.“Their team ERA is like 3.36 so you don’t have a sub-3.50 ERA if you’re not playing good defense,” Beals said. “So they’re going to force us to earn things offensively, and that’s what good teams do.”Pair of freshmen embracing starting rolesOhio State freshman right fielder Dominic Canzone bats in the bottom of the seventh inning against North Carolina Greensboro. Credit: Edward Sutelan | Lantern reporterFreshmen Dominic Canzone and Conner Pohl did not enter this season as starters for OSU, but they have made their marks on the roster as of late, emerging as two of the most consistent bats in the lineup.Canzone, named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the week of April 3 to April 10, went from one of the team’s coldest bats to start the season to a middle-of-the-order presence for the team.The Buckeyes’ starting right fielder began his collegiate career 3 for 29, but has since gone on a tear with 31 hits over his past 69 at-bats. Canzone has also stolen seven bases, launched two home runs and has posted a .449/.487/.638 slash line. Since March 12, only senior shortstop Jalen Washington (18) has more RBIs than Canzone (17). Though Canzone has been the standout freshman, second baseman Conner Pohl has quietly been producing on his own. Pohl has started five of the team’s last seven games at second, and in those past seven games, he is slashing .416/.416/.583 with 10 hits in 24 at-bats, four of those hits going for extra bases.Senior co-captain and shortstop Jalen Washington said he has been impressed by how the young hitters have stepped up for the team and how they have progressed throughout the year.“They’ve been just competing and that’s all we can ask from them as freshmen,” Washington said. “Dom(inic) for sure has been carrying us offensively a little bit and he’s stepped into that role very well. Conner Pohl is someone who’s always swung it well and — defense at times, we just need a little more consistency out of him, but we really like the way he’s been swinging the bat.”Post returns on Saturday, Niemeyer progressing for midweek startThe Buckeyes’ rotation has been hit with a slew of injuries to begin the season, but it looks like they are all starting to return back to full health.Redshirt senior starting pitcher Jake Post was hit by a line drive to the head in his last time out against Michigan State, and the injury forced him to miss last weekend’s start against UNC Greensboro. But the team’s ace will be returning to action on Saturday against Nebraska, and he said he is just ready to head out there and compete.Jake Post, redshirt senior starting pitcher, throws a pitch during the game against Campbell Camels on Mar. 4, 2017. Credit: Courtesy of OSU Athletics“I took a week off, had some concussion-like symptoms, but it’s all good,” Post said. “I’ve been good for about a week. I’m not worried, I just want to go out there and compete.”Redshirt junior starting pitcher Adam Niemeyer, however, will continue to be out this weekend. He is recovering from tendonitis in his elbow, but Beals said he is progressing towards a possible start next week against Texas Tech in one of the two midweek games.“He is going to throw live today to hitters for the first time since his injury,” Beals said. “The idea is that he’s pretty much ready to compete. We want him to face batters before we just run him out there, so he’s going to do that today with the hopes of possibly pitching next midweek.”The Buckeyes will send redshirt junior Yianni Pavlopoulos to the mound on Friday at 6:35 p.m. in the opener for their weekend series against Nebraska.
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. MS is an incurable, neurological condition in which the immune system mistakes myelin – the protective coating around nerves for a foreign body and attacks it.The damage stops messages from being passed along the nerves, leading to symptoms including tiredness and blurred vision.Ocrelizumab works by killing the cell which attacks the myelin sheath.Dr Aisling McMahon, the head of clinical trials at the MS Society, said: “This is really big news for people with the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis.”It’s the first time a treatment has shown the potential to reduce disability progression for this type of MS, which offers a lot of hope for the future.” One study of 732 patients with progressive MS, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found 33 per cent of people deteriorated when they were taking ocrelizumab, compared with 39 per cent without.In another study of 1,656 patients with relapsing remitting MS, the relapse rate for patients taking ocrelizumab was half what it was with a different drug.Prof Gavin Giovannoni, the chair of neurology from Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, who was involved in the trials, told the BBC the results have the potential to change treatments for patients suffering from both kinds of MS.He added: “It’s very significant because this is the first time a phase three trial has been positive in primary progressive MS.” Show more It’s very significant because this is the first time a phase three trial has been positive in primary progressive MSProf Gavin Giovannoni The first drug to slow primary progressive multiple sclerosis has been hailed as “big news” by doctors and charities.Ocrelizumab is now being reviewed for use in Europe and the United States after trials showed it may slow damage to the brain.Researchers have also suggested that the drug can prevent deterioration in patients with relapsing remitting MS, which is when symptoms come in waves.