Monthly Archives: September 2019

Month: September 2019 A Chart For Predicting PenaltyShootout Odds in Real Time

Italy’s first kick. An errant attempt by Franco Baresi, which sails over the crossbar. Move due south on the chart. Brazil — Team B, in red — is now a 70 percent favorite.Brazil’s first kick. But Brazil’s Márcio Santos misses, too! Terrific anticipation by Italian goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca. Move straight down again: we’re back to 50-50.Italy’s second kick. Italy’s Demetrio Albertini makes his penalty. Move down and to the left. Italy, up 1-0, is a 58 percent favorite.Brazil’s second kick. Romário notches a kick off the left crossbar. Move down and right. We’re tied 1-1, and the probabilities are at 50-50 again.Italy’s third kick. Brazil goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel guesses the right direction — but is much too late to stop Italy’s Alberigo Evani. Move down and to the left. Italy is ahead 2-1 and has a 59 percent chance of winning.Brazil’s third kick. Brazil’s Branco equalizes. Down and to the right. Back to 50-50.Italy’s fourth kick. This was the pivotal penalty — it affected the odds more than any other kick (including Roberto Baggio’s infamous miss later on). Taffarel anticipates Daniele Massaro’s kick and makes one of the easier-looking saves you’ll see in a shootout. Move straight down. Although the score is tied 2-2, Brazil has an attempt in hand and is a 79 percent favorite to win.Brazil’s fourth kick. Dunga’s penalty is low and to the middle — and by Baresi. Brazil up 3-2. Look down and right on the chart: The team’s now 90 percent to win the shootout.Italy’s fifth kick. Italian star Baggio gets far too much on his attempt and it goes well over the crossbar. The Brazilian reserves rush the pitch to celebrate their World Cup championship. Presumably, you’re either celebrating too or throwing things at the television screen — either way, hope you saved that bottle of grappa. But, if you insist, move straight down the chart. You’ll encounter a solid block B — in this case, representing Brazil. This is an end condition: The penalty shootout is over, and Brazil has won.Here’s the chart with the Italy-Brazil results filled in:Sometimes the shootout can persist for more than five kicks per team. For example, one shootout in the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations featured 23 consecutive made penalties before Cameroon’s Samuel Eto’o finally missed to hand Ivory Coast advancement. When this occurs, follow the loop in the chart. The situation when teams are tied after five kicks is mathematically identical to the one when they’re tied after six kicks, 12 kicks, 20 kicks or any other number.On other occasions, there may be reason to think that one team starts the shootout with an advantage. Maybe it has a better goalkeeper, or its opponent is England, or you buy the theory that the team that shoots first has an edge. There’s also some evidence that the better team based on overall measures of team quality (such as Elo ratings or the Soccer Power Index) may have some minor advantage in the shootout. Shootouts are mostly random but not entirely so.Take the case in which Team A shoots first and is the better penalty-shooting team, converting 75 percent of its penalty kicks — while Team B makes 70 percent. Team A will win the shootout about 58 percent of the time. This resembles the shootout between Brazil and Chile on Saturday: Live betting odds, before the first penalty was attempted, put Brazil’s chance of winning in the range of 55 to 60 percent. Here is the chart for that occasion:We won’t give you a complete walkthrough, but Brazil’s odds rose to 83 percent after Luiz’s make and Pinilla’s miss — and then further, to 91 percent, after Marcelo put Brazil ahead 2-0. But consecutive makes by Chile and a miss by Hulk brought Brazil’s odds down to 56 percent. Neymar made Brazil’s fifth penalty, and the team’s odds recovered to 69 percent — and Brazil won when Chile’s Gonzalo Jara hit the post. Had Neymar missed instead, Chile would have been the 83 percent favorite.Finally, here’s the case where the side that shoots second — Team B — has a slight edge and makes 75 percent of its penalties to Team A’s 70 percent.Note that Team B’s advantage amounts to the equivalent of about half a kick. If Team A makes its first penalty, and Team B still has an attempt in hand, the odds go to about 50-50. But if Team A misses, Team B’s odds rise to 77 percent despite not having yet made an attempt. If you’ve come here during a penalty shootout, scroll down for some cool charts. The next several paragraphs explain our methodology in some detail.FiveThirtyEight has some credibility staked on the performance of the Brazilian national team. It was our pretournament favorite to win the World Cup. (Many other forecasts had Brazil favored, but not as heavily as we did.) So, like the 23 Brazilians on the pitch and the 200 million watching at home, we were sweating the outcome when Brazil went to a penalty shootout with Chile on Saturday.We were curious about the Brazilians’ chances of winning at various points in the shootout. How safe were they after Brazil’s David Luiz made his first penalty and Chile’s Mauricio Pinilla missed his? How close did things get after the shootout was tied at 2-2, and how bad would it have been if Neymar had then missed for Brazil?What follows is a series of charts to provide some reasonable estimates of these probabilities. We’ll start with the case in which both teams are assumed to be equally likely to convert penalty kicks, and then explore alternatives where one team (perhaps like Brazil against Chile) might be thought to have a marginal edge.There’s a cottage industry around predicting the outcome of penalty kicks. Some theories are worth exploring. There’s some evidence, for example, that whichever team shoots first has a slight advantage. Others are probably more dubious and may rely on overinterpreting evidence from small sample sizes (see Phil Birnbaum’s cautionary note for more on this).Our goal is not to litigate those theories. Instead, we make some simple assumptions: that the outcome of one penalty kick is independent from the next one, and that a team’s chances of making a penalty is consistent with long-run averages.In the history of the World Cup, teams have made 71.5 percent of their penalty-shootout kicks. But the sample size is not huge, and the percentage has been slightly higher — closer to 75 percent — in other major international tournaments like the European Championships. So we fudge just a pinch upward and assume that the long-run rate of made penalties in the World Cup is 72.5 percent.It’s important to clarify that this percentage pertains to penalty kicks attempted during shootouts. The success rate is higher — in the range of 75 to 80 percent — for penalties attempted after a foul is called in the box in regulation play. But those cases are a little different. A team will usually designate its best penalty taker to make the one attempt instead of having to rotate through at least five players as in a shootout. (If Neymar or Lionel Messi got to make every attempt, the success rate in shootouts would rise.) Furthermore, the rebound is live in penalties attempted during regulation play; rebounds are not live during a shootout. (Even if goals scored on the rebound are not counted as penalty-kick conversions, the possibility of a rebound may affect the strategy of the kick taker and the goalkeeper.) Finally, players may be under more pressure during a shootout, and they’ll have the opportunity to alter their behavior after observing their teammates’ kicks.So to repeat: Our initial assumption is simply that each penalty kick has a 72.5 percent chance of being made. From there, calculating the probability of a team winning the shootout is fairly straightforward given any condition of the game (for instance, a team being ahead 2-1 after each team has attempted three penalties). The technique we’re applying is technically known as a Markov chain, but that makes it sound more elaborate than it is.Time for the first chart. This assumes two-evenly matched teams, which we’ll call Team A and Team B. Team A shoots first.You can follow the action by moving down one row after every penalty-kick attempt. Whenever Team A makes a penalty, move down and to the left. Whenever Team B does, move down and to the right. When there’s a miss, move straight down (don’t alter your horizontal direction). A cell tinged in blue means that Team A is favored to win the shootout, and one tinged in red means that Team B is favored instead.As an example, we’ll take the shootout in the 1994 World Cup final between Italy (the Azzurri shot first, so they are Team A, in blue) and Brazil (Team B, in red). The teams were about evenly matched, so we’ll assume that the probability was 50-50 going in. Here’s what happened next: read more

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Month: September 2019 The Pacers Are Bucking Every NBA Trend And Its Working

INDIANAPOLIS — Even before this season, a campaign in which they’ve pieced together the NBA’s best record, the Houston Rockets and their unusual goals on offense have been an object of fascination. For years, there’s been intrigue surrounding Houston’s desire to shatter records by taking threes whenever possible. More recently, the team’s historic ability to score 1-on-1 has garnered attention. Houston Rockets304.4149.9230.7 Pacers3245+13 Indiana Pacers119.3%2728.3%2522.7 The Pacers and Rockets have different philosophiesHow the Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets compare in key offensive metrics, 2018-17 season through March 21 Bucks4542-3 Nets2926-3 Rockets5766+9 Long-midrange attempts3-point attemptsFree throws Celtics4754+7 Heat4045+5 Thunder5548-7 76ers3949+10 Hornets4636-10 Blazers4250+8 Nuggets4843-5 Indiana’s ahead of scheduleProjected win totals for NBA teams if they continue their current pace compared with FiveThirtyEight’s 2017-18 preseason win projections Pelicans4347+4 Kings2426+2 Knicks30300 Hawks2624-2 Warriors6461-3 Bulls2627+1 Spurs5047-3 Far less talked about are the Indiana Pacers, arguably the league’s most surprising team this season. At 41-31, Indiana is vying for home-court advantage in the playoffs and is only a shade behind the reigning three-time conference champion Cavaliers. More interesting is how the Pacers are doing it: They have become the Anti-Rockets.Indiana’s offensive approach is diametrically opposed to the league’s best team. The Rockets are notorious for avoiding midrange shots; the Pacers hover nearly just as far above the league average in how often they take long twos as the Rockets are beneath it. The median team shoots from the 16- to 23-foot range about 12 percent of the time; Houston takes 4.4 percent of its shots from that distance, while Indiana takes a whopping 19.3 percent of its shots from there.The contrasts in shot selection don’t end with midrange jumpers. Unlike the Rockets, who take a league-high 50 percent of their shots from 3-point range and get to the free-throw line at the second highest clip in the league, the Pacers rank among the NBA’s bottom six in both 3-point attempt rate and free-throw attempt rate.A fair amount of that seems to stem from coach Nate McMillan’s offensive philosophy,1Larry Bird’s hiring of McMillan was initially criticized by many because of his reputation as a coach who slowed things down — a trait that ran counter to Bird’s stated desire to play more up-tempo after parting ways with Frank Vogel. McMillan, who’s since sought to get the Pacers to play faster, has argued that the long-held perception of his coaching style was unfair, given the sorts of rosters he was working with. which encourages pulling the trigger quickly if a defender is allowing the solid jump-shooting team more than a few feet of space.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/midrange2.mp400:0000:0002:18Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“We talk about playing early, playing late,” McMillan told me. “If you have an open look or a rim attempt early (in the shot clock), take it. If you don’t, then make teams defend. But when we have open looks, we want to take them.” The Pacers have often done that, with the caveat being that, in today’s NBA, those midrange attempts are often ones the defense would like for Indiana to take.Indiana has launched 1,273 open and wide-open 2-point jumpers,2From 10 feet and farther. “Open” means no defender was within 4 feet at the time of the shot. “Wide open” means no defender was within 6 feet at the time of the shot. over 100 more than the next closest team, according to Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats. And in keeping with McMillan’s wishes, the Pacers rank third with 205 open attempts from midrange in the first eight seconds of the shot clock.Simply put, the Pacers aren’t in the business of turning down open looks — even the ones thought to be the least efficient. Clippers4644-2 Mavericks3026-4 Suns3121-10 Pistons3438+4 TeamRankShare of all shotsRankShare of all shotsRankper 100 FG attempts Jazz46460 Long-midrange attempts are 2-point jump shots from between 16 and 23 feet.Source: Basketball-Reference.com Magic3726-11 Grizzlies3521-14 Current pace for games through March 21 Cavaliers5748-9 T-Wolves5047-3 Wizards46460 Lakers3237+5 Projected season wins Raptors4561+16 TeamPreseasonCurrentDiff. Al Jefferson, a Pacers backup big man and former All-NBA center who’s been forced into action because of recent injuries to Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis, told me that his teammates have gotten frustrated with him at times for not always adhering to that shoot-it-if-you’re-open game plan.“They got on me in Philly because I turned down some open midrange shots. So I told them, ‘I guarantee you the next game, I’ll shoot it,’” Jefferson said after a loss to the East-leading Raptors. “Then tonight came and I turned down another open look and did a dribble handoff instead. And they all yelled at me: ‘Shoot the ball!’3Look carefully at the first clip, and you’ll notice a fan sitting in the third row (on the bottom left of the screen) standing up, gesturing to Jefferson that he should have taken the first open shot. Luckily for me, I shot the next one, and it went in.”Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/aljefferson.mp400:0000:0001:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.“I guess that’s just the new NBA. I’m more old-school. But that’s the shot. You look at a lot of the bigs (on defense), and they back off when you set that pick. If the pop is open? That’s when my teammates will get mad at me if I don’t take it,” Jefferson said. “Even if you might miss it, take it. Because that’s what the defense is giving you.”It would be hard to say this approach hasn’t worked for Indiana, a team that was expected to struggle mightily on offense after trading Paul George. No one is more integral to Indiana’s strategy than Victor Oladipo,4Perhaps the simplest measure of his value: The Pacers, 41-25 with Oladipo, have gone 0-6 in games without their All-Star this season. who’s made the huge leap from mere starter to All-Star. (Not only have the Pacers improved slightly since last season, jumping from 15th to 12th in offensive rating, but they also sit in fifth place in the East.) But it’s also worth noting that their heavy reliance on jumpers — ones that some teams avoid like the plague — hasn’t hurt them. If anything, Oladipo and the Pacers have taken advantage of a market inefficiency by launching, and making, midrange tries at a much higher rate than other teams.Of course, the midrange shot is far from the sole reason Indiana is outperforming every preseason projection. Darren Collison is leading the league in 3-point percentage. The Pacers’ defense has improved and uses its length to create the second-most deflections in the NBA; they’re also tied at third for forcing the highest turnover percentage. Oladipo’s gambling instincts as a free safety occasionally help shorten a handful of defensive plays, not only helping keep Indiana’s young bigs out of foul trouble, but also creating quick, efficient looks the other way in transition.5The Pacers are sixth in offensive efficiency after forcing a live-ball turnover, and their possessions last an average of just 9.1 seconds after such plays, the NBA’s 11th-fastest pace, according to Inpredictable.Forward Thaddeus Young put it in much simpler terms: “We’re just playing basketball. We’re having fun,” he told CBS Sports. “When you have a team that’s just full of ISO players and it’s just isolation basketball, it’s not as fun. You’re just standing around watching.”While no one will mistake this offense for the perpetual-motion ones used in San Antonio or Utah, the Pacers seem to benefit from added movement in their sets — particularly in screen-handoff scenarios, where Indiana is one of the NBA’s most efficient, aggressive teams on a per-play basis.6They rank first in field-goal attempts stemming from direct handoffs and rank fourth in points per direct handoff, according to Second Spectrum.The real question with Indiana — beyond its tough schedule to close out the season — is how the club will adjust come postseason if the midrange looks don’t fall as frequently, or if opposing clubs begin crowding the Pacers’ space more than they’re used to. This month is already testing the former, as McMillan’s team has shot its worst percentage of the season7March has been the Pacers’ worst month from midrange by a country mile. They were shooting 36.9 percent from there heading into Friday’s game, a mark that would rank 25th. Their worst percentage prior to this was last month, when they hit 42.7 percent of those attempts, still good enough for the NBA’s ninth-best mark. from that part of the floor.Indiana has shown it’s capable of beating just about anyone in the East.8The Pacers took won three of four against the Cavaliers, split four games with the Celtics and won their first matchup with Toronto back in November. But if that cold spell carries into the playoffs, Oladipo and his teammates may be required to force the issue a bit more and use a more aggressive style than the one we’ve seen much of the season. “There’s plenty of times I walk up to him in games and say, ‘Don’t let them off the hook,’” Young said of Oladipo.9Oladipo is rare in the sense that he’s just as dangerous after a considerable number of dribbles as he is off the catch. His effective field-goal percentage is nearly the same after using seven dribbles or more as it is when he doesn’t use a dribble at all, according to data from Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/dipo.mp400:0000:0000:54Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.If the Pacers can avoid doing that, these Anti-Rockets could transform themselves into a tough out next month.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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Month: September 2019 A Plea For More Frisbee Data From A US Ultimate Coach

It’s midway through the first half against Great Britain and they are scoring too easily. As a coach of the U.S. under-23 men’s Ultimate Frisbee team, I’d scouted the British team in an earlier game. Now, after watching the first 5 points of our semifinal match at this summer’s world championships, my fellow coaches and I gathered the team’s defensive line in a huddle: Their handlers are really comfortable throwing the around breaks, so let’s shift our marks to the backfield and make them throw the inside flick to a tight window. (For the 99 percent of you who didn’t get that: Basically, let’s position our defense in such a way that the only option for their throwers is a difficult forehand throw to a well-covered receiver.)The strategy happened to work: Deprived of easy, short passes, the British team began to take riskier and riskier long throws. Eventually, the percentages tilted in our favor, and we won by 3 points. We were on our way to a gold medal.That strategy, though, was basically put together on improvisation and a hunch. As my colleague Carl Bialik writes elsewhere on FiveThirtyEight, there isn’t much data in ultimate to help coaches like me.I can imagine a day, maybe at the 2025 world championships, when a brilliant coaching insight1And/or lucky guess. would emerge from a data set, displayed in a crisp chart on my iPad 12 (hologram edition). It would show which spots on the field the other team’s main throwers have trouble completing passes to. Another would reveal, say, that one of our players has a much higher completion rate along the forehand side than the backhand side. “Let’s run plays to that side of the field for him,” we, the brilliant coaches, would say.But having more data in my coaching arsenal is only the first step. Players don’t always absorb data-driven feedback easily.This isn’t unique to ultimate. Even in basketball, the players like Shane Battier who explicitly embrace analytics and can probably speak the language of usage rate and points per possession are rare.So coaches have to adjust their language. Players can better process “he doesn’t want to go right” than execute on “when positioned within 3 feet of the left elbow, your matchup’s shooting percentage decreases by 32 percentage points.” When I was playing top-level ultimate, I was much more effective on the field when the only thing running through my head was “screw these guys — let’s beat ’em.”But the job of a coach is to bridge the gap between a player’s lizard brain and the stat sheet. I’d love the challenge of having to translate analytics into simple language that gets my players out-performing, not over-thinking. You may notice that those two hunches might actually be at odds with each other. This is why we need the data! Send in the nerds.CORRECTION (Dec. 16, 9:22 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to Great Britain’s ultimate team as the English team throughout. The few dabbles with this kind of data are intriguing. The chart next to this paragraph, which was put together by Sean Childers and is also in Carl’s piece, shows the chances of scoring from different parts of the field. It’s no surprise that the closer you are to the end zone, the better your chances of scoring are. But see that bow in the 40 percent range? Sean’s data — limited as it is — suggests that a team is just as likely to score from 50 yards outside the end zone in the middle of the field as it is from the sidelines 35 yards away. That’s actionable intelligence and confirms what I’ve gathered from years of experience — when you’re stuck on the sideline, bad things happen. (That’s why my advice to our defense against Great Britain was so focused on sideline strategy.)I would love to have other hunches of mine confirmed or disproved in this way. Am I justified in thinking that passes that “break the mark,”2Usually a defense tries to funnel offensive flow to one side of the field. Breaking the mark means that the offense is throwing passes to where the defense doesn’t want it to. no matter how small, have a cumulative effect of loosening up the defense, the way that Barcelona’s incessant tiki-taka style creates enough small cracks that eventually a big scoring opportunity emerges? What about my intuition that after five or six passes, an offense is usually so tired that it’s better to try to score in one long pass than to continue grinding away 3 yards at a time? Read more: Ultimate Frisbee Is In The Dark Ages Of Analytics — And It Wants To Escape Quick movement from FC Barcelona and Seattle Sockeye read more

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Month: September 2019 How Clemson And Washington Can Still Make The College Football Playoff

Each week in this space, we examine all the things a certain contending team needs to have happen in order for it to make the College Football Playoff. This week’s edition is a double feature starring the Clemson Tigers and Washington Huskies, each of which fell out of the AP Top 5 after suffering upset losses last week.Current situations: After Clemson and Washington lost to Syracuse and Arizona State, respectively, the two teams’ College Football Playoff odds were dented pretty badly. According to FiveThirtyEight’s prediction model, the Tigers now have just a 29 percent chance of making the playoff (down from 55 percent going into the weekend), and the Huskies are at 24 percent (down from 43 percent). Six teams are currently ahead of the Tigers and Huskies in our CFP probabilities, and Clemson isn’t even the favorite to win its conference anymore. (Miami has slightly higher odds of winning the ACC.) The relatively straightforward paths for both teams to return to the CFP have now run into major complications.What the Tigers and Huskies can do: As always, winning out is paramount to getting into the playoff. If Clemson runs the table — which our model gives a 20 percent chance of happening — it will have a 97 percent probability of making the CFP, a near-lock. The Tigers’ trip to NC State on Nov. 4 is easily their biggest obstacle to that; they win that game in 95 percent of our simulations that have them going to the playoff, while they only win it 49 percent of the time in sims where they don’t make the CFP. (That 46 percentage point difference makes it the highest-leverage game left in Clemson’s season.) It should also be noted that these numbers assume that Clemson’s star QB Kelly Bryant is healthy; he was knocked out of the Syracuse loss but seems to be progressing quickly in his recovery.For Washington, the odds of winning all its remaining games are a bit higher (21 percent), although the Huskies also have a less guaranteed playoff path — only 87 percent CFP odds — even if they do win out. Washington’s most important game comes at Stanford on Nov. 10, a matchup the Huskies win 96 percent of the time in their playoff-bound simulations but only 40 percent of the time in universes where they don’t make the playoff. WKOPPONENTMAKES PLAYOFFDOESN’T MAKE PLAYOFFDIFF. 10Washington St. def. Stanford40.537.8+2.7 9UCLA95.282.0+13.2 10Virginia Tech def. Miami36.832.5+4.3 WKRESULTMAKES PLAYOFFDOESN’T MAKE PLAYOFFDIFF. 11Auburn def. Georgia47.844.4+3.5 Clemson gamesCLEMSON WIN % BY OUTCOME Washington gamesWASHINGTON WIN % BY OUTCOME 13Georgia Tech def. Georgia30.227.2+3.0 WKOPPONENTMAKES PLAYOFFDOESN’T MAKE PLAYOFFDIFF. 9Georgia Tech93.675.0+18.6 WKRESULTMAKES PLAYOFFDOESN’T MAKE PLAYOFFDIFF. 13Washington State98.073.4+24.7 11Stanford95.6%39.5%+56.1 10Oregon94.578.4+16.0 13South Carolina def. Clemson28.225.5+2.8 Which of Clemson and Washington’s remaining games hold the most weight?Remaining 2017 matchups, ranked by the amount of leverage on each team’s playoff chances. Based on two sets of simulations: one where the team makes the playoff and one where it doesn’t. Which other games need to go right for Clemson and Washington?The non-Tigers, non-Huskies matchups that have the most leverage on each team’s playoff chances 11Boston College def. N.C. State26.622.3+4.3 12Michigan def. Wisconsin28.325.7+2.6 Washington:PROBABILITY BY WASHINGTON OUTCOME 10North Carolina State94.6%48.5%+46.2 Clemson:PROBABILITY BY CLEMSON OUTCOME 12Citadel100.099.9+0.1 11Notre Dame def. Miami49.546.5+3.0 12California def. Stanford17.9%14.3%+3.6 12Virginia def. Miami17.214.4+2.8 Where they need help: As mentioned above, Clemson doesn’t need much in the way of outside help — as long as the Tigers win, they’re still almost guaranteed to make the playoff. They could benefit slightly from anything that boosts their odds of winning the ACC, however, including losses by NC State and Miami. And any wins by Auburn will automatically help Clemson because of its head-to-head victory against those other Tigers in September.Washington, on the other hand, could use more of an assist from afar. There are two categories for these kinds of games: Some — like Stanford losing to Cal in Week 12 — tend to be entangled with implications about the strength of a team’s own opponents.1For instance, consider a situation in which Team A and Team B are conference rivals. Team B might be less likely to win an unrelated game in a simulation where Team A makes the playoff, because Team B is also likely to be weaker in a universe where Team A beats them head-to-head. (Arizona State beating USC also fits this category, because it makes Washington’s loss to the Sun Devils look less bad.) But the more interesting ones come where the connection isn’t obvious: Georgia Tech beating Georgia, for instance, helps Washington because it hurts an undefeated Bulldogs team that currently sits ahead of the Huskies in our playoff odds. 11Florida State93.562.3+31.2 13South Carolina90.167.3+22.8 12Utah96.782.0+14.7 12Wake Forest def. N.C. State44.6%38.2%+6.4 Differences may not add up exactly because of rounding. 9Arizona State def. USC34.531.7+2.9 8Notre Dame def. USC66.563.9+2.6 13North Carolina def. N.C. State18.114.5+3.6 13Notre Dame def. Stanford48.946.2+2.7 Differences may not add up exactly because of rounding. 10Arizona def. USC28.225.6+2.6 One good piece of news for both Clemson and Washington is that, of the six teams ahead of them in the CFP probabilities, all but likely Big 12 winner TCU hail from just two conferences: the Big Ten and SEC. Since the playoff selection committee puts an emphasis on conference championships, some of those teams will by definition see their odds plummet before the Final Four is chosen — we just don’t know which ones yet. So there aren’t many universes where both, say, Alabama and Georgia make the playoff, or both Ohio State and Penn State (to say nothing of Wisconsin).But Washington and Clemson may also find themselves as enemies down the season’s final stretch; with one loss apiece, they could very likely be competing for the same CFP slot. Indeed, Clemson only makes the playoff in 23 percent of the simulations where Washington is in, versus 31 percent of the sims where Washington misses out. (That same split is 18 percent versus 25 percent from Washington’s perspective.) With only four teams standing at the end of the season, every loss counts — a lesson the Tigers and Huskies might have learned the hard way last weekend.Check out our latest college football predictions. read more

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Month: September 2019 The Dodgers Dominated Like Few Pennant Winners In Recent History

2014KCRANA34.13BAL45.8379.95-2.95 2005CHWBOS34.15ANA55.89810.03-2.03 YEARTEAMOPP.GMSEXP. GMSOPP.GMSEXP. GMSGMSEXP. GMSDIFF 101995Atlanta Braves4624+22 101995Cleveland Indians4018+22 Top pennant winners by run differential1995-2017 Includes Division Series and League Championship Series; wild card games not included.Source: Retrosheet 42005Chicago White Sox4720+27 2012DETOAK54.13NYY45.8399.96-0.96 62009Philadelphia Phillies5531+24 RUNS 2006DETNYY44.14OAK45.88810.01-2.01 21996Atlanta Braves5423+31 RKYEARTEAMSCOREDALLOWEDDIFFERENTIAL 12007Boston Red Sox7036+34 72002Anaheim Angels6037+23 Between these two measures, the Dodgers’ 2017 postseason run has to be on the short list for most dominant in modern history. It’s no guarantee they’ll win the Fall Classic, of course — among the eight teams above them on either list, only the 2007 Red Sox, 2005 White Sox and 1999 Yankees ended up actually winning the World Series. But for now, the Dodgers can celebrate their National League pennant in style. Which pennant winners cruised through the fieldLeague winners who took the fewest games in the Division Series and Championship Series relative to expected, 1995-2017 LDSLCSTOTAL 42010Texas Rangers5932+27 Expected games is determined by how long it would take the average playoff team to eliminate the team’s LDS and LCS opponents.Source: Baseball-Reference.com 2016CLEBOS34.16TOR55.88810.03-2.03 1995ATLCOL44.07CIN45.8789.94-1.94 72008Tampa Bay Rays6441+23 1999NYYTEX34.10BOS55.8889.98-1.98 72009New York Yankees4825+23 2007COLPHI34.11ARI45.6679.77-2.77 2017LADARI34.11CHC55.8789.98-1.98 32017Los Angeles Dodgers4819+29 2009NYYMIN34.11ANA65.93910.03-1.03 When the Los Angeles Dodgers open up the World Series next week against either the New York Yankees or Houston Astros, they’ll be in the midst of one of the hottest playoff runs by a league champion in recent memory. They smoked the Arizona Diamondbacks and the defending-champion Chicago Cubs by a combined 48-19 margin, giving them the third-best run differential in the division and championship series1So, excluding the wild card game. of any pennant winner since MLB expanded its playoff structure in 1995: And the way the Dodgers blew away the National League field was especially impressive. They swept Arizona in three games, then won the first three games of the NLCS over Chicago, ultimately finishing the Cubs off in five. In other words, they needed only eight games to reach the World Series — that’s nearly two fewer than we’d have expected from a typical pennant winner against LA’s opponents, based on their Elo ratings:2To compute this, I used Elo to generate the probability of the average pennant winner winning each game of a series against a team’s opponents. Using those numbers and a little math, we can calculate how often we’d expect those series to end in a given number of games. read more

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Month: September 2019 Storm Angus Cars submerged by floodwater as Met Office extends UK weather

first_imgFlood water on a residential street in Torquay, Devon Mr Madge said: “What we have is a system gradually moving north and that is bringing rain as it travels north.”The warning areas reflect the progress of this particular weather system – this low pressure as it goes through.”He added that there could be strong winds associated with the weather system in parts.Commuters in Cornwall were already facing disruptions by 8am, after the line between Liskeard and Looe became blocked due to flooding. An Amber severe weather warning for #rain has been updated: https://t.co/TmvTfmUQji. Stay #weatheraware @metofficeuk pic.twitter.com/kFJO6b5iwH— Met Office (@metoffice) November 21, 2016 Between 0.8in (20mm) and 1.2in (30mm) of rain could fall during a three to six-hour period in these areas, with the possibility of 1.6in (40mm) to 2.4in (60mm) locally across the whole day.Yellow “be aware” warnings are also in place across the majority of south-west England until midnight.Similar warnings have been issued for the North East of England up to the Scottish border from midday until 6am on Tuesday. Flood water on a residential street in Torquay, DevonCredit:Vince Torquay/PA On Monday, Amber weather warnings were issued in Devon and parts of Somerset where a “significant amount of rainfall is expected”, with further warnings issued across south-west England and in the North East, the Met Office said.The alert was expanded by the forecaster as the adverse weather is likely to affect transport and might result in homes and businesses flooding.A Met Office forecaster warned more than two inches of rain (60mm) is expected in areas which have already been affected by Storm Angus, the first named storm of the season, over the weekend. Heavy rain leaves cars under several feet of water in Hartcliffe, Bristol Waves crash over the harbour wall in Dover, Kent, on Sunday  Homeowners have been urged to prepare for flooding in the wake of Storm Angus, as forecasters extended their warnings about heavy rain and gale force winds.Thousands of residents in the South West and north of England have been told to be prepared for another deluge of rain, while coastal areas may see gusts of wind of up to 80mph.The Met Office extended its weather warnings for the second day in a row, while the Environment Agency issued more than 156 flood alerts in a bid to make sure people stay safe. Cars under flood water in Bristol as heavy rain will see parts of Britain already battered by Storm Angus at risk of further flooding in the next 24 hours “I have lived in that area for nearly 10 years. I have never seen it as bad as that. We have had a bit of flooding where the water has covered the pavement but never where it covered car bonnets.”He said he was lucky and managed to get in to work, but, with road and building works taking place nearby, many people trying to find alternative routes got stuck.He added: “I saw a white van with a black car behind it. They tried to drive through and got stuck. Driveways were flooding.” Those travelling between St Austell and Penzance also faced delays, as a speed restriction was put in place “due to forecasted slippery rails”.At 7.30am, the Environment Agency had five flood warnings in place urging residents to take “immediate action” and more than 60 alerts, meaning flooding is possible. Good morning. Heavy rain will spread northwards across England and Wales today. Sunny spells further north. https://t.co/a70feA0Qeq ^Alex pic.twitter.com/H5N97GTfPq— Met Office (@metoffice) November 21, 2016 Heavy rain leaves cars under several feet of water in Hartcliffe, BristolCredit:Lee Gitsham/PA Waves crash over the harbour wall in Dover, Kent, on Sunday Credit:Gareth Fuller/PA The warnings come after an elderly woman was found dead in her garden in Glasgow on Sunday morning as temperatures dropped to below freezing over the weekend.Meanwhile, in South Wales the extreme weather forced police to call off a search for missing father, 69-year-old Russell Sherwood, who is feared to have drowned in a flooded river while on his way to pick up his wife.Forecasters warned of further damage to trees and disruption to transport as the wet weather continues, while the Environment Agency urged people to avoid walking by the coast and driving through floodwater.Clare Dinnis, national flood duty manager at the Agency, said the South West would be the worst affected on Tuesday, with 40 flood warnings, meaning imminent action is required, currently in place for the region.“These areas face an increased risk of river and surface water flooding following heavy rain over the weekend,” she added.center_img A DFDS ferry and P&O ferry wait for the Port of Dover in Kent to open on SundayCredit:Gareth Fuller/PA Wire An Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “We had reports of heavy floodwater in Whitchurch Lane. Everyone had been able to get out of their vehicles safely and no-one was trapped.” The Met Office said 0.9in (21.6mm) of rain had fallen between 9pm and 9am on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, while Liscombe in Somerset saw 0.8in (19.2mm) of rain.Spokesman Grahame Madge said amber weather warnings have been issued in Devon and parts of Somerset, valid between 5am and midnight on Monday. The Agency said it is preparing to put up temporary defences “where necessary” and said rivers have been cleared to make sure water can flow freely.It comes after nearly 2,000 people in the south west were left without power on Sunday. A DFDS ferry and P&O ferry wait for the Port of Dover in Kent to open on Sunday Residents in Bristol were shocked as deep floodwater trapped cars in Whitchurch Lane  Credit:Lee Gitsham/PA 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. Residents in Bristol were shocked as deep floodwater trapped cars in Whitchurch Lane Cars under flood water in Bristol as heavy rain will see parts of Britain already battered by Storm Angus at risk of further flooding in the next 24 hoursCredit:Lee Gitsham/PA More than 20 crew members also had to be rescued from a 200-metre cargo ship after it ran into a barge of rocks amid high winds, while police in Devon had to evacuate a residential camp after the River Mole burst its banks.The Met Office’s amber weather warning states: “On Monday, a further broad area of heavy, persistent rain will move northwards across southwest England.“Although the more persistent rain should clear from Devon by early afternoon, heavy and possibly thundery showers are likely to follow. There are currently 5 Flood Warnings and 61 Flood Alerts across England. Find out if you’re at risk of flooding here https://t.co/rXUnOiYM0h— Environment Agency (@EnvAgency) November 20, 2016 “Please be prepared for disruption to transport due to localised flooding, whilst flooding of homes and businesses is also possible.”A forecaster at the Met Office added that there was a “low risk” more than an inch (30mm) of rain could fall in an hour in some places.“There could be as much as 40-60mm possible locally through the whole of Monday. “The ground has been left very wet from Saturday night’s rain and this increases the risk of further flooding.”A yellow “be alert” weather warning was also issued on Sunday to cover Cornwall, Somerset, Wales and the north east of England, where gusts of up to 50mph are also expected. Residents in Bristol were shocked as deep floodwater trapped cars in Whitchurch Lane on Monday morning.Lee Gitsham, 43, set off for work as an office supply manager at 8am, only to be confronted by 2ft-3ft (0.6m-1m) of water which had left several cars submerged.He said: “I had to go through an alternative route because the bottom of the road was flooded. Parked cars were submerged in water. There were two drivers who tried to get through but got stuck.last_img read more

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Month: September 2019 Baby left in back of carjacked Audi is dropped at Birmingham health

Police investigating a car-jacking on Marie Drive in Acocks Green, Birmingham Carjackers who stole an Audi before discovering there was a baby on the back seat drove her to a health centre before making off with the vehicle. An urgent police hunt  involving dozens of officers was launched when the grey Audi A3 S-line was carjacked with the baby strapped into her seat.But West Midlands Police said the baby had been found “safe and well” after being dropped at a local health centre.She will “shortly be re-united with her mother,” who was taken to hospital with leg injuries following the incident.The alarm was raised after the car was targeted in Marie Drive, Acocks Green, in Birmingham, just after 4pm on Thursday. “Our priority is the baby’s safe return.”It later added:”Mum and baby will be re-united shortly, but we still have officers looking for a grey Audi A3 S line after the car-jacking.” 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. Police investigating a car-jacking on Marie Drive in Acocks Green, BirminghamCredit: BPM Media “We believe they travelled towards Solihull.”We would also ask you to look out for the child in case the offenders have realised what they have on board and abandoned her. It is believed the car may have been travelling towards Solihull, West Midlands, when last sighted.Police had urged members of the public to keep an eye out for the baby girl over fears she may have been abandoned by those in the car.In a statement, the force said: “Extensive police resources are looking for the car and are asking you for help – call us on 101. read more

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Month: September 2019 MoD complains of rise in bomb squad call outs to magnet fishers

The Ministry of Defence has complained of the rise in ‘bomb squad’ call outs to magnet fishers who find unexploded bombs.The warning comes amid an increase in army disposal teams being called out when the fishers have discovered artillery at the bottom of canals and river beds.Expert help is often needed to neutralise and remove live ammunition such as grenades found in the water.Magnet fishing- trawling for metal objects in the water- is a growing pastime around the country with many enthusiasts hoping to sell on the scrap metal they find.However, the activity has been branded as unsafe following the death of two men who drowned while trawling the bottom of a canal in Huddersfield.Martin Andrews, 43, and his son Jack, 19, used a powerful magnet to “catch” pieces of metal , but ended up being pulled into the water.The MoD has since advised the public “that if they inadvertently disturb what they believe to be live ordnance, they contact their local police force as a matter of urgency”. A large number of guns were discovered by police divers in Grey Lake at Kingsweston Sluice following a search after a man who had been magnet fishing found 20-30 parts of rusted firearms.Credit:SWNS.com A  Mac 10 submachine gun discovered by a man casually using a magnet to “fish for” metal objectsCredit:Triangle News 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. A large number of guns were discovered by police divers in Grey Lake at Kingsweston Sluice following a search after a man who had been magnet fishing found 20-30 parts of rusted firearms. The Price family, from Rugby in Warwickshire, followed their advice and reported the old guns they had recovered during their fishing expeditions to local police.Paul Price said: “My brother-in-law came down and we were chatting and he said he had been magnet fishing and told me what it was. So we got some rope and a magnet and started to find some things. It is quite addictive as you do not know what you will find. Some of the stuff is unreal.”On New Year’s Eve we found a hand grenade,” Paul  added. “I called the police and they called the bomb squad, who came all the way from Slough and blew it up.”But some magnet fishers believe they should be being praised for helping to clean up the environment by removing potentially dangerous items from the waterways. It comes after the Canal and Rivers Trust cautioned hobbyists that removing objects that had been underwater for a long time was “dangerous”.The trust is urging people to stop fishing with super-strength magnets after guns and grenades were dredged from the Midlands canal network. Instead, many are criticised for wasting taxpayers money because the authorities have to be called when bombs or other artillery are discovered.The spike in reports of magnet fishing are expected to surge as images of valuable finds posted on social media continue to fuel its appeal.Many of the fishers want to increase their views on other channels such as YouTube to eager fans who want to see their next catch. A Mac 10 submachine gun discovered by a man casually using a magnet to "fish for" metal objects read more

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Month: September 2019 Jihadi Jack Isis fighter stripped of British citizenship by Home Office

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. “I’m not going to say I’m innocent. I’m not innocent. I deserve what comes to me. But I just want it to be… appropriate… not just haphazard, freestyle punishment in Syria,” he told the broadcaster.Struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder and Tourette’s when he was at school, Jack converted to Islam at the age of 16.  John Letts and Sally Lane, the parents of a Muslim convert dubbed Jihadi Jack The decision is understood to have angered officials in Ottawa, prompting fears of a row between Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson when they meet at the G7 summit in France next weekend.Letts, who travelled to the Middle East in 2014, is now among more than 120 dual nationals who have been stripped of their British citizenship since 2016, including Isis bride Shamima Begum.Ms Begum was one of three girls from Bethnal Green, east London, who left the UK aged just 15 in February 2015 and travelled to Syria to join Islamic State. It was thought Ms Begum may have a claim in Bangladesh because of her family background, something Bangladeshi officials denied. The Isis fighter known as Jihadi Jack has been stripped of his British citizenship, prompting a diplomatic row between the UK and Canada, it has been reported.  Muslim convert Jack Letts, 24, who had held dual UK and Canadian citizenship, declared he was an “enemy of Britain” after travelling from Oxfordshire to Syria at the age of 18 to join the terror group.He has begged to be allowed to return to the UK, insisting he had “no intention” of killing Britons, after he was captured by Kurdish forces in 2017. The Home Office has now stripped Letts of British citizenship, meaning he is the responsibility of the Canadian government, The Mail on Sunday said.It was reportedly one of the last actions of Theresa May’s administration.  John Letts and Sally Lane, the parents of a Muslim convert dubbed Jihadi JackCredit:PA Show more The move can only be made against people with two passports, because international law prevents the Government from making anyone “stateless”. It will come as a blow to Lett’s parents, Sally Lane and John Letts, who were found guilty at the Old Bailey in June of funding terrorism and given 12-month sentences suspended for 15 months.In an interview after their conviction, they said: “Jack is still a British citizen and we have pleaded with the Government to help us to bring him to safety, even if that meant that he might be prosecuted in the UK.”A Home Office spokesman said: “This power is one way we can counter the terrorist threat posed by some of the most dangerous individuals and keep our country safe.”In an interview with ITV earlier this year, Letts said he felt British and that he wanted to return to the UK, but admitted he did not think that would be likely. He used to attend the Bengali mosque in Cowley Road, Oxford, before he came into contact with men with a more radical ideology.Jack has previously admitted he was at one time prepared to carry out a suicide attack, telling the BBC: “I used to want to at one point, believe it or not. Not a vest. I wanted to do it in a car. I said if there’s a chance, I will do it.”He also said in the interview, which took place in October last year but was not broadcast until after his parents’ trial had ended, that he realised he had been “an enemy of Britain” but added that he had made “a big mistake”. read more

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Month: September 2019 BBC apologises to Prince Harry for failing to warn him they were

The BBC has apologised to the Duke of Sussex for failing to warn him that they planned to publish graphic neo-Nazi propaganda calling him a “race traitor”. The corporation, which defends the decision to broadcast the image around the world, has written to the Duke about the “important piece of journalism”, which is said to have caused “great distress” to the Royal Family. The “very graphic” image, which showed Prince Harry with a gun to his head, raised “serious security concerns” for the Sussexes “specifically while his wife was nearly five months pregnant”, a palace spokesman said. After the Duke made a formal complaint to the BBC via aides, the matter was investigated by the corporation and Ofcom but found to have been in the public interest. The BBC has now written to the Duke to acknowledge that “before publishing seriously offensive material we need to be vigilant in balancing the impact on individuals against the wider good which may be served by publication.”A source said: “Naturally we regret the distress caused and we apologised for failing to warn Kensington Palace in advance that it was to be published.”  Ofcom received one complaint about the broadcast, but did not uphold it. A spokesman said: “This image was highly offensive, but in our opinion, its inclusion in the article was editorially justified as it was used to condemn and illustrate the racist group’s activities, which was in the public interest.”A BBC source said: “This was an important piece of journalism which led to the arrest, conviction and imprisonment of two members of a neo-Nazi group.  “The image of The Duke of Sussex was included to show the abhorrent nature of their behaviour and OFCOM has subsequently concluded that there was a clear editorial rationale for using the image which, in the context of the news report, was considered unlikely to incite crime.” Prince Harry Credit:Chris Jackson Prince Harry  A spokesman for the Duke said that, while he welcomed the letter, he “maintains that instead of reproducing the image and giving a platform to something that would have only been seen by a few, it should have just been described so that others would not potentially be influenced by such an inflammatory image”.  The picture, published on the BBC website and broadcast on the News at Ten in December 2018, is described by Ofcom as propaganda, and a “stylised collage image that depicted His Royal Highness, The Duke of Sussex with a gun pointed at his head” along with “a blood splatter, a swastika, and the text ‘see ya later race traitor!’.”It was published to illustrate an investigation into a far-Right underground group called the Sonnenkrieg Division headlined “British Neo-Nazis suggest Prince Harry should be shot”.At the time, the BBC’s decision to use the image rather than simply describe it caused deep concern in the Royal Household, with sources telling the Telegraph that it had been designed to spread online as propaganda and, thanks to the corporation, had “now been more successful than [its creators] could ever have imagined.”Since the story was published, two members of the the neo-Nazi group have been convicted. A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex said: “His Royal Highness raised the issue with Ofcom about the re-broadcasting of this racist image due to his concerns that hateful and dangerous propaganda had been spread globally by the world’s most important public service broadcaster. “Due to the credibility of BBC, their choice to publicise this material created an open door for all other media to reproduce it. “The BBC, in reporting on the activities of this group which led to the conviction of two men, reproduced the propaganda material used by the group which raised serious security concerns and caused his family great distress specifically while his wife was nearly five months pregnant.” Tony Hall, director-general of the BBCCredit:Leon Neal The Duke has met with Lord Hall, the BBC director-general, in person to discuss the issue. Prince Harry recently spoke to Jane Goodall about racism and ‘unconscious bias’ in British VogueCredit:Chris Allerton Prince Harry recently spoke to Jane Goodall about racism and 'unconscious bias' in British Vogue Tony Hall, director-general of the BBC She added: “The BBC apologised for failing to warn The Duke that this distressing image was being broadcast on their ten o’clock news, and produced on-line.“However, His Royal Highness maintains that instead of reproducing the image and giving a platform to something that would have only been seen by a few, it should have just been described so that others would not potentially be influenced by such an inflammatory image.” Michal Szewczuk, 19, admitted two counts of encouraging terrorism and five of possessing documents that could be useful to a terrorist, and, Oskar Dunn-Koczorowski, 18, pleaded guilty to encouraging terrorism.   read more

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