More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (May 13, 2015), we look at the fallout from the NFL’s investigation into the deflation of balls during last year’s AFC Championship game, which led to the suspension of Tom Brady and the loss of two draft picks for the New England Patriots. We’ll reveal the final results of our crowdsourcing project to fix the NBA lottery and stop tanking in the league. And we’ll discuss our significant digit of the week, which covers mental health and college athletes.Stream the episode by clicking the play button, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to above.Below are some links to what we discuss in this week’s show:The FiveThirtyEight staff dissects the Deflategate report.Benjamin Morris looks at what would have happened if Tom Brady had missed four games every year.Why the loss of draft picks hurts the Patriots more than the loss of Brady.Our fix-the-NBA-draft crowdsource project: Original Form | First Update | Weird Ideas | Finalists.Significant Digit: Suicide is the third leading cause of death among college athletes. Read Kate Fagan’s ESPN The Magazine article on Madison Holleran here. Hot Takedown Embed Code If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong.
In the history of NBA free agency, there have been worse moves — particularly when you consider the crazy money that teams have shelled out to big men over the years. And through a certain prism (one that used to be the norm not so long ago), it even seems perfectly reasonable. But the Oklahoma City Thunder’s decision to match Portland’s maximum-level ($70 million) offer sheet to center Enes Kanter received mostly scorn from the Internet after it was announced late Sunday. At a glance, Kanter is the kind of young post player whose services teams line up around the block to pay for. The list of big men who snagged at least 15 points and 8 rebounds a game as 22-year-olds, as Kanter did last year, is littered with Hall of Famers, to say nothing of players whose numbers Kanter matched (18.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG) after a midseason trade to the Thunder. Decades ago, Kanter would have been seen as one of the league’s rising stars.Today, though, players are judged on their advanced metrics in addition to per-game averages and the eye test. And few players benefit less from this development than Kanter.Granted, it doesn’t take supercharged data to suspect Kanter of playing poor defense. He has a reputation for ineptitude at that end of the floor, and his block totals are routinely anemic. But defense is also a complex area of the game that statistics have traditionally been ill-equipped to measure accurately. And without reliable data, defensive deficiencies were easy to deny or downplay as more opinion than fact.Modern advanced stats, though, help quantify the defensive inadequacies of players such as Kanter with far greater precision than was previously possible. Without Real Plus-Minus (RPM), for instance, you wouldn’t know that Kanter had the worst on-court defensive influence of any center last season. And without SportVU player tracking data, you wouldn’t know Kanter allowed the highest field goal percentage at the rim of any qualified1Minimum 500 minutes played. big man a year ago. The recent advent of deeper NBA data has made it tougher for poor defenders to hide their shortcomings.Surprisingly (at least to me), Kanter’s offense also suffers on the sabermetric front: He doesn’t appear to help his teams score as efficiently as would be expected from his basic statistics. Only a few players have scored as much, and with as much efficiency,2As respectively measured by usage rate and true shooting percentage. as Kanter has over the past three seasons, but it doesn’t seem to matter. During Kanter’s career, his teams have scored 1.5 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor than without, and — perhaps not coincidentally — he had the second-worst offensive Box Plus/Minus (BPM) of any player in the aforementioned group, and the fifth-worst offensive RPM.The single most important component of a player’s on-court offensive influence3As measured by offensive RPM. is scoring efficiency, and that’s not a trouble spot for Kanter. But even more important (when taken collectively) are a player’s assist rate and his ability to get to the line and to take 3-point shots, and Kanter sets the team back in both areas.That may not seem important because Kanter is still personally scoring points, but basketball is a tricky sport that way. The fascinating thing that happens when you search for links between component categories and overall offensive performance is that unexpected relationships fall out of the data. A player’s passing can amplify (or diminish) the potency of the threat his scoring talent represents; his ability to stretch the floor or collapse defenses into the paint can open up opportunities for teammates. Kanter’s own numbers might not be affected, but his weaknesses show up in his team’s rates of shooting efficiency, turnovers and, ultimately, offensive success.The idea of players being hollow stat-stuffers is hardly new, but the ability to quantify it with enough certainty to resist the lure of the potential “20 and 10” guy4Kanter averaged 19.6 points and 11.3 rebounds per 36 minutes last season. at the negotiating table is a novel development. Too novel, in fact, since OKC did eventually cave and match Portland’s offer to Kanter, putting the Thunder above the luxury-tax line they’d traded James Harden to avoid less than three years earlier. But if the rapid acceptance of advanced metrics is any indication, Kanter might be one of the last of his kind.In other words, don’t be surprised if the days of a player cashing in on hollow numbers are, well, numbered.
Given the storm of rule changes and public debate, we can’t offer a rigorously calculated probability that either player will ultimately make the Hall. It’s worth noting, however, that most eligible players who finish as high as this pair have in the voting eventually get enshrined. In 2016, Clemens and Bonds finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the balloting. More than 60 percent of all players who finish in those spots eventually get elected; those who didn’t tended to be near the end of their eligibility window; Bonds and Clemens have five years to go.6They would have had twice as much time left, but the Hall reduced the eligibility window from 15 years after a player leaves MLB to 10 in 2014. This year, extrapolating from the public ballots7We deducted 3 percentage points from Bonds’s and Clemens’s current totals to reflect the public/private split in voting tendencies and looked at what rank they would finish with. shows us that Bonds and Clemens ought to end up around fifth and sixth in the voting — rankings associated with a 70 percent to 80 percent chance of eventually making the Hall, based on the fortunes of previous players in those slots.It may not happen this year. Although both Bonds and Clemens have marshaled more than 60 percent of the vote in the public ballots so far, that number has decreased over the past few weeks, and it’s likely to drop even more as the anonymous ballots are counted (voting closed Dec. 31, and results will be announced Wednesday). But over the long run, the odds are in the duo’s favor.From a purely statistical perspective, Bonds and Clemens were always locks to make the Hall of Fame. Each ranks among the best players of all time by wins above replacement, so there is no performance-based reason to exclude them. Now, the baseball writers’ recent changes will only accelerate Bonds’s and Clemens’s ascents. Whether you view that as a triumph or a tragedy, Bonds, Clemens, and others who’ve been accused of using PEDs during the steroid era will probably join the Hall of Fame sooner or later. Baseball’s Hall of Fame voting has been especially contentious this year, as the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (which elects Hall of Famers) lurches toward greater transparency. More and more voters have been disclosing their votes publicly, and in December the association announced that all members must reveal their ballots starting in the 2018 election. That’s all good news for two of the best baseball players of all time: Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. Bonds’s and Clemens’s on-field accomplishments have been overshadowed by allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, but they’ve also tended to fare much better in the public voting results than the anonymous ones. With increasing voting transparency, Bonds and Clemens should be more likely to make the Hall of Fame — if not this year, then soon.For years, the writers group has been divided into two camps. Some writers have chosen to reveal their ballots — either in columns, on Twitter or via Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame tracker — while others have kept their votes to themselves. And these two groups differed in more than just the visibility of their ballots: The anonymous voters displayed significantly different voting preferences.Although we can’t directly observe the anonymous ballots, we know about the voting tendencies of the association as a whole. On top of that, an increasing fraction of the electorate releases their ballots, up from 53 percent in 2014 to 71 percent in 2016. So, using a statistical technique called latent class analysis on voting data from 2014 to 2016, we looked for patterns in the ballots that differentiated anonymous voters from public ones. Although we can’t say how any individual writer with an anonymous ballot voted, we can determine how the anonymous voters’ ballots leaned as a whole.By far the largest factor separating the anonymous and public ballots was support for three players: Bonds, Clemens and Mark McGwire. All three players are widely believed to have used PEDs, and although McGwire lacks the ironclad Hall of Fame case that Bonds and Clemens can boast, all three would have been leading contenders for the Hall if not for their alleged steroid use.1McGwire’s eligibility ran out last year. In 2016, for instance, an anonymous voter’s odds of voting for the Bonds/Clemens/McGwire trio2We looked at all three taken as a unit; differences in voting for those three as individuals were not statistically significant. were about 17 percentage points lower than those of a voter who disclosed his or her selection(s). The anonymous ballots made up a major source of their poor percentages in previous years — Bonds and Clemens lost 2 to 4 percentage points of support in private ballots, which adds up as both players try to make up the 11-point difference between their early public results and the 75 percent induction threshold.3All numbers are using ballot data as of Jan. 13.It’s impossible to know exactly how the coming loss of anonymity will affect voters’ attitudes toward Bonds and Clemens. But if the formerly anonymous ballots begin to look more like the public ones, Bonds and Clemens will be due for a bump in support. Social desirability bias may push voters toward a different conclusion than they’d make privately, for instance, even if some writers may react in the opposite way. It’s undeniable that voting support for Bonds and Clemens has already changed dramatically this year. Since both first hit the ballot in 2013, Bonds and Clemens had seen their Hall of Fame fortunes largely stagnate — until this year. So far in 2017, both names have climbed above 60 percent support in the public voting, tantalizingly close to the mark necessary for induction. Part of that is likely due to another rule change that prevents association members from voting if they aren’t actively covering baseball.4With a 10-year grace period after a reporter stops covering the game. That alteration went into effect in 2016, and it also greatly diminished the pool of anonymous voters — by extension, reducing the number of voters who excluded Bonds and Clemens from their ballots, since anonymous voters were much less likely to vote for players implicated in baseball’s PED scandals and older writers were more likely to keep their votes anonymous.There are other factors working in Bonds and Clemens’s favor. Many public-ballot voters are adding the two to their ballots; so far this year, more than 20 voters have switched from “no” votes for the pair last year to “yes.” Some writers even point to the recent election of Bud Selig, the commissioner under whose watch the steroids era of the late 1980s-2000s unfolded, as a precedent to vote in the two most visible superstars of that period.5Selig was elected by a separate Hall of Fame committee and not the writers’ association. Related: Hot Takedown We’re Still Talking About That Packers-Cowboys Game
For more than a month, Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau had a common refrain when asked about the Jimmy Butler saga: The team couldn’t allow itself to be distracted by the dysfunction and the rumors surrounding their star swingman, who requested a trade before camp.But after Friday’s loss in Sacramento — which left Minnesota winless on its five-game road trip — even Thibodeau came to the realization that things were unraveling too quickly this way, and that the club could no longer try and split the middle on this highly awkward situation.As such, the Timberwolves on Saturday finally dealt Butler to the highly talented Sixers, while Philadelphia sent over Robert Covington and Dario Saric, a couple of solid players who can be part of the Wolves’ future while potentially helping Minnesota win right now, too1The Sixers also tossed in Jerryd Bayless and a second-round pick, while Minnesota sent over Justin Patton, a 2017 first-rounder who’s struggled with injuries and logged just one career appearance so far..If there’s a significant takeaway here, though, it’s that the Sixers are truly going for it. In doing so, they’re sacrificing a considerable amount of depth, cohesion and patience, essentially cashing those in to land a third star. The Butler trade increases Philly’s probability of reaching the NBA finals from 11 percent to 16 percent in our projection system — a mark that puts them more in line with the Celtics (17 percent) and Bucks (18 percent), while still well behind the Warriors (67 percent) and Raptors (41 percent).Figuring out Butler’s exact fit will take time for Brett Brown and his team. Ben Simmons is already one of the NBA’s best passers and one of the most physically imposing guards. Yet it could be a challenge to ask Simmons — all but allergic to attempting jumpers so far — to play without the ball more than he already does, while sharing the floor with fellow non-shooter Markelle Fultz. Butler is far better than Simmons at making an impact away from the ball, but he, too, is most comfortable when he has the ball in his hands. He was usually Minnesota’s best passer and de-facto point guard, while also calling his own number several times a game; especially in clutch scenarios.Without Covington and Saric, the team loses two of its outside shooters, which figures to shrink the floor even more around Joel Embiid and Simmons. This could create problems for the turnover-prone club, especially in postseason, where the lack of spacing hurt the Sixers against the Celtics. (Also, while the addition of Butler could help take pressure off Embiid, there is a chance the shift could throw Embiid out of the incredible rhythm he’s been in lately.)There are some ways that Philadelphia could circumvent the problem. Finding more time for JJ Redick, one of the league’s most reliable marksmen, is likely one solution. Whenever the Sixers use him in on- and off-ball screens, defenses have to account for his presence as a shooter. But most offensive adjustments with this new core will likely threaten playing time for Fultz — not ideal for the No. 1 overall pick from a year ago, who needs more true lead ball-handling opportunities in order to develop his game.The bigger risks at play here for Philly are rooted in how they value Butler long-term, given that he’s a free agent after this season. He presumably wants a max contract worth $190 million over five years — a steep commitment for a player with so much mileage on his tires already.If things were to fail spectacularly for some reason, the Sixers could simply let Butler walk this summer (a step that would be jarring, since they just gave up two good players). But it will be worth watching how Butler functions with cornerstones like Embiid and Simmons, since he’s had run-ins with younger teammates at his last two stops. Assuming the trio jells just fine, Philadelphia will again be an interesting team to watch in free agency, as they could create up to $19 million in cap space after signing Butler to a max deal.As for the Timberwolves, our projection system feels they came out of this trade well, too. They went from a 35-percent probability of making the postseason before to 44 percent now. Just as losing Covington and Saric hurt Philly’s spacing, they should help Minnesota’s. The Timberwolves ranked just 22nd in 3-point attempt rate heading into Saturday’s game. (Our previous projections also accounted for the uncertainty around Butler’s situation, so having two solid players locked in for the rest of the season helps their rating as well.)While this deal won’t fix the Wolves’ god-forsaken defense2Yes, Covington is an All-League defender, but Butler is a good wing defender in his own right, and should be able to replicate enough of what Covington can do on that end., both players are under solid-value contracts, and leave Minnesota with far more flexibility than they would’ve had with Butler. The biggest challenge now rests with Thibodeau, who seemingly dragged his feet in pulling the trigger on a Butler trade in hopes of squeezing every win out of this situation he could, even as it became brutally clear that he needed to be dealt (Separately: While we know it likely wouldn’t have benefitted Thibodeau, can we definitively say that this offer is better than four future first-rounders from Houston?). Thibodeau could be on the hot seat, and the reality of relying mostly on youngsters Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins — each on max deals of their own — may not have given him the utmost confidence in returning to the playoffs.The best-case scenario for Thibodeau and his young duo is that they do find a way to reach the playoffs with Towns dominating in a new role, as the team’s No. 1 option on offense without Butler.But at the end of the day, we figure to be talking about this trade well into April and May — and possibly even June — because of what it could mean for the Sixers. If anything, this deal for Butler gives them at least a portion of the star power they sought this past summer.Neil Paine contributed to this article.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
The Big Ten conference announced Sunday that the inaugural Big Ten football championship game will be held in Indianapolis. After considering proposals from Indianapolis and Chicago, the conference’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors unanimously decided to play the first four editions of the Big Ten championship game, including the inaugural title game in December, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Lucas Oil Stadium, an indoor facility that can accommodate 63,000 spectators for football games, features an artificial playing surface. Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Windy City venue vying to host the title game, is an open-air stadium that holds 63,000 fans and features a natural grass field. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said the Big Ten considered weather and the comfort of the venues when choosing Lucas Oil Stadium. “We know the weather changes (in the Midwest) in November,” Delany said. “The idea was that, you know, we could get consistency for planning for both teams if you knew the weather was gonna be pretty consistent. I would say it’s a fan aspect as well as a player’s aspect.” Five Buckeyes, including quarterback Terrelle Pryor, offensive lineman Mike Adams, running back Dan Herron, wide receiver DeVier Posey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are suspended for the first five games of the 2011 season for selling memorabilia and receiving improper benefits. Former coach Jim Tressel resigned as OSU’s coach May 30. Delany would not comment on whether he thought Ohio State would be eligible for December’s title game, but he did say OSU’s situation was difficult. “It’s disappointing for (OSU) to be where it is,” Delany said. “Nobody can feel good about it. It’s not easy for Ohio State. It’s not easy for the Big Ten, but I have tremendous confidence in that program to be resilient, and to do the right thing and to re-establish themselves. For now, all we can do is wait for the facts to develop.” The conference also announced that men’s and women’s Big Ten basketball tournaments will be held jointly at Chicago’s United Center, Indianapolis’ Conseco Fieldhouse and the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., for the next four years. Chicago will host the men’s tournament in 2012–13 and 2014–15, and Indianapolis will host the men’s event in 2013–14 and 2015–16. “Conseco (Fieldhouse) is not as big a stadium as the United Center, but it is one of the best stadiums in the country,” Delany said. “They do a heck of a job in Chicago, but, you know, Indianapolis, starting around 1980, has made this great commitment to not only amateur sports, but collegiate sports. They do a great job of hosting our fans.” The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament will be held at the Sears Centre Arena in 2013 and 2015.
Ohio State women’s basketball senior guard Samantha Prahalis was one of four Buckeyes to receive Big Ten conference honors Monday when coaches and media named her the Big Ten Player of the Year Monday. The selection marks the eighth consecutive year a Buckeye has won the honor. “I’m just extremely thankful, appreciative that people recognize I had a good year so far,” Prahalis said in an interview with the Big Ten Network Monday. Prahalis was also unanimously selected to the first-team all-Big Ten team where she was joined by her teammate, junior guard Tayler Hill. Prahalis led the Big Ten in scoring and assists during the regular season averaging 22.5 points and 6.5 assists per game. On the Buckeyes’ senior night Thursday, Prahalis scored an OSU single-game record 42 points in the team’s 81-56 victory against Minnesota. She ranks fourth on OSU’s career scoring list with 1,967 points and is three assists away from tying the Big Ten’s career assist record. Prahalis is a finalist for the Wooden and Naismith awards, which recognize the top player in women’s college basketball. Some of Prahalis’s teammates received conference honors as well. Junior guard Amber Stokes was named the Big Ten defensive player of the year. Hill joined Stokes on the conference’s all-defensive team. Sophomore Ashley Adams was given an honorable mention by the media. The Buckeyes finished their regular season Sunday with a 71-57 loss to Nebraska and a 24-5 overall record. Their 11-5 conference record earned them the second seed in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament. Their first game is Friday at 11:30 a.m. in Indianapolis where they will play the winner of a game between Michigan and Illinois.
Junior midfielder Turner Evans (5) works around a defender during a game against Notre Dame March 25 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 13-7.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorSenior defenseman Joe Meurer is looking for a spark.Looking to finish its three-game home stand on a high note, the Ohio State men’s lacrosse team (2-6, 1-0) is set to take on the Jacksonville Dolphins (1-6, 0-1) Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.After starting the home stand with a conference win against Bellarmine, located in Louisville, Ky., OSU fell Tuesday to No. 7 Notre Dame, 13-7.Despite keeping Notre Dame close for the majority of the game, the Fighting Irish used a five-goal run to finish the fourth quarter and preserve the victory.However, Meurer said the Buckeyes are putting the Notre Dame game behind them and focusing on getting a much-needed win against Jacksonville this weekend.“We need anything right now to give us some kind of a spark, some kind of momentum,” Meurer said. “We got two out-of-conference games and then we are hitting the ground running with the rest of our conference games. So we definitely need this win and just a confidence boost at this point.”Junior midfielder David Planning said the Buckeyes offense simply needs to generate some chances in order to be effective against Jacksonville.“It’s just getting back to the basics: catching, throwing, moving the ball fast and taking good shots,” Planning said. “We want to get over 35 shots, and the more shots we put up the better chance we have of scoring.”OSU has only hit the 35-shot plateau once this season, in the first game of the season Feb. 9 against then-No. 11 Johns Hopkins in a 10-9 triple overtime loss.Jacksonville and OSU played against each other for the first time ever last season, with the Buckeyes walking away with a 9-6 win Feb. 17, 2013, in Jacksonville, Fla., as part of the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic.OSU coach Nick Myers said with both teams trying to get back in the win column — Jacksonville has dropped two-straight — but it is important for the Buckeyes to play smart lacrosse and not make anything easy for the Dolphins.“They have a great goaltender, a senior, big kid who is capable of getting hot,” Myers said. “Defensively they are athletic. If you look at their ground ball stats, they are averaging close to 30 ground balls per game. And then on the offensive end, they are very athletic in the midfield and they have a couple big-time scorers down in the attack. They are a team that is certainly looking to break out as well and it’s going to be important that we are sound in all facets of the game in order to keep that from happening.”Offensively, junior midfielder Turner Evans has been on a tear lately. The Peterborough, Ontario, native has seven points in the first two games of the current home stand and is currently second on the team with 23 points.Defensively, the Buckeyes are only allowing 9.5 goals per game and have only given up more than nine goals once in their last four games, a stat Meurer is hoping can continue Saturday.“Our motto is ‘next,’” Meurer said. “That’s what the entire defense is going off of right now. We are definitely going to put the Notre Dame game past us, but we are also going to learn from the mistakes we made. Hopefully we can find some success against their (Jacksonville) offense.”Game time is set for 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Ohio State women’s gymnastics team celebrates after freshman Morgan Lowe’s performance on balance beam on Sunday, March 11. The Buckeyes placed second in the meet. Credit: Megan Russell | Senior Lantern ReporterOn a night to honor its seniors, the No. 23 Ohio State women’s gymnastics team (10-5, 3-2 Big Ten) finished its last regular season home meet in second place behind No. 24 North Carolina State (15-7) and ahead of Central Michigan (8-7), posting a 196.525 score for the second-highest score the team registered this season and ninth-best score in program history.North Carolina State finished first with a 196.800 score and Central Michigan finished third at 195.175.“It was kind of a tail of two halves,” head coach Meredith Paulicivic said. “I feel like we just didn’t have the fire and the spunk and the energy on the first two events, just kind of flat. We kind of rallied the troops and said, ‘Come on guys. We need to fight, and have the greatest comeback, and let’s get it done in the second half.’”The Buckeyes were off to a slow start in their first two rotations, but began to turn the meet around in the third rotation on balance beam. Ohio State earned a 49.350 total on the beam, its highest score at the event of the season. Junior Jamie Stone and freshman Jenna Swartzentruber shared first place, each earning a 9.925. It was a career-high score for both gymnasts. Senior Stefanie Merkle started the beam lineup for the Buckeyes to earn a 9.875, tying her career high. “A senior starts a rotation and hits a really good beam set, and I think they [the team] just started building off of that,” Paulicivic said. “They had good energy to support her when she went up, she did well and they just kind of kept that up and built off of that.”Freshman Morgan Lowe also matched a career high on balance beam with a 9.850 tally. Gaining momentum from the third rotation, the Buckeyes finished the meet on floor exercise with a 49.400. Stone earned first place with her second 9.925 score of the night.Though the Buckeyes struggled on vault and floor exercise, the first two events of the competition, the team did not walk away without garnering some titles from the two events. Ohio State earned a 48.975 total in its first rotation on vault, with Stone and sophomore Olivia Aepli each earning a 9.875 to share third place for the event.The team improved in its second rotation on uneven bars where two Ohio State seniors shined. Mattern tied her career high of 9.900 to share first place with senior Kaitlyn Hofland.“Tonight was really emotional for me,” Mattern said. “I’ve been fighting some injuries, and stuff like that, but my team has been so supportive and there for me this entire time, so to be able to just go out there and do it for them, and just kind of be in that spot, it’s magical.” North Carolina State snagged first place on vault with a 49.325 total, and placed second for all other events on uneven bars (49.075), balance beam (49.200) and floor exercise (49.200). Central Michigan earned first place for its first event on uneven bars with a 49.150, and placed third for the remaining events on vault (48.875), balance beam (48.550) and floor exercise (48.600).“Heading into the postseason, I feel like it was a great lesson to learn,” Paulicivic said. “Again, we’re still learning, we’re still growing, so hopefully, also, hitting that beam set will sort of let them know what they can do. And my God, if we all put it together, then just who knows.”Although Ohio State had is last regular season meet at home, and celebrated the accomplishments of the seniors, the Buckeyes still have postseason ahead of them. After its next meet at 2 p.m. Friday in East Lansing, Michigan, Ohio State will still have the Big Ten and NCAA championships. The Buckeyes will also host the NCAA regionals.
No. 1 Myles Martin defeats No. 3 Nick Reenan of North Carolina State University by decision in the 184-pound bout, 12-5. Credit: Sal Marandino | For The LanternThe No. 2 Ohio State wrestling team (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) defeated Michigan State (4-4, 1-1 Big Ten) 37-4 on Sunday.Ohio State senior Myles Martin (184) and redshirt junior Kollin Moore, No. 1 and No. 2 in their respective weight classes, remained undefeated after Sunday’s match against Michigan State, as Martin won by technical fall and Moore won via pin. Moore said his goal was to give his team extra points to help secure a victory against a Big Ten rival. “Obviously you want to open the score up just a little bit, just in case something crazy happens, so get a takedown or two,” Moore said. “Having some patience to stay on top of the guy and work for a tilt because even if I don’t get a pin, those four back points really blow up in a match especially against good guys, which would be huge.”Martin, earning his eighth win of the season, faced a ranked opponent in Michigan State redshirt freshman Cam Caffey, who, according to associate head coach J Jaggers, gave a good performance, but was no match for the senior. “That’s kind of the difference right there between a man, Myles, a senior kind of really knows himself and knows his wrestling and [Caffey] still figuring it out, but they should be happy they have that kid in their program,” Jaggers said.Junior Luke Pletcher (133), the No. 5 wrestler in his weight class, also earned an overtime victory against senior Anthony Tutolo. Ohio State No. 2 senior Joey McKenna (141) remained undefeated, winning by technical fall 24-9 over redshirt sophomore Matt Santos, giving Ohio State an early 8-4 lead, which they extended, eventually winning nine out of 10 bouts.True freshman Malik Heinselman (125) was defeated by Michigan State No. 8- ranked sophomore Rayvon Foley.Despite Heinselman’s loss, Ohio State earned wins from its ranked wrestlers on the team in redshirt senior Micah Jordan (149), redshirt junior Ke-Shawn Hayes (157) and redshirt freshman Chase Singletary (285). Each wrestler won by major decision. Redshirt freshman Kaleb Romero (165) bounced back from his loss Friday by beating redshirt sophomore Austin Hiles 7-4, something he said he feels positive about, but still wants to continue to work on.“ I know I’m not even close to where I want to be right now,” Romero said. “I just got to keep on working, keep on improving, and keep battling myself mentally to just believe in myself. I feel like that is when things will start coming along.” No. 2 Ohio State will take on Michigan at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m. on Jan. 25.