How We Calculate NBA Elo Ratings

180067-15All-time great Baltimore Bullets–19471419 160051-31Playoff bound 150041-41Average Anderson Packers–19491562 ELOEQUIVALENT RECORDTEAM DESCRIPTION 140031-51In the lottery 170060-22Title contender Denver Nuggets–19491295 There are just a few NBA-specific parameters to set, which we’ll describe below.The K-factorElo’s K-factor determines how quickly the rating reacts to new game results. It should be set so as to efficiently account for new data but not overreact to it. (In a more technical sense, the goal is to minimize autocorrelation.) If K is set too high, the ratings will jump around too much; if it’s set too low, Elo will take too long to recognize important changes in team quality.We found the optimal K for the NBA to be 20. This is higher than we expected; it’s in the same range as the K used for NFL and international soccer Elo ratings even though the NBA plays far more games than those sports. It’s much higher than the optimal K for baseball. It implies that you ought to give relatively high weight to an NBA team’s recent performance.One way to interpret this is that NBA data is subject to relatively little randomness. This makes it different from sports like baseball and hockey, whose game-by-game results are pretty noisy; in those sports, your default assumption should be that a winning or losing streak is mostly luck. That isn’t so true for basketball. Streaks may reflect true, if perhaps temporary, changes in team quality. When the Atlanta Hawks went on a 19-game winning streak this season, for instance, they were undoubtedly getting a little lucky, but they were probably tougher to beat than at other points in the season.There are still some cases in which Elo seems too slow to catch up to reality, like when Michael Jordan left the Bulls or LeBron James left the Cavs. But remember: Elo is only looking at game scores and not the composition of the roster. If that’s all the information you have, setting Elo to react more quickly to these cases would make it overreact to others. The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Elo rating never dipped below 1508 this year despite its 3-12 start, for instance, and that proved to be prudent since the team went 42-25 the rest of the way and ended the year with an Elo rating of 1583.Home-Court AdvantageHome-court advantage is set as equivalent to 100 Elo rating points. One hundred Elo points is equivalent to about 3.5 NBA points,1As for our NFL Elo ratings, it’s possible to translate NBA Elo ratings into point spreads. Here’s the formula: Take the difference of the two teams’ Elo ratings, add 100 points for the home team and then divide by 28. That gives you a projected margin of victory for the game. For instance, in Game 1 of the 2013-14 NBA Finals, the San Antonio Spurs had a 92-point Elo advantage over the Miami Heat, as well as home court, for an overall advantage of 192 Elo points. Dividing that by 28 would make San Antonio roughly 7-point favorites in the game. so that’s like saying the home team would be favored by 3 or 4 points if the teams were otherwise evenly matched.In practice, the magnitude of home-court advantage has waxed and waned over the NBA’s history. Home teams won by an average of 5.8 points in the 1987-88 regular season, for instance, but by just 2.4 points in the past season. And some teams (especially those like Denver and Utah that play at high altitudes) have historically had slightly larger home-court advantages.Still, the spirit of the Elo system is to keep things simple. We experimented with a dynamic home-court advantage rating that changes over time, but we found that it made almost no difference to the overall ratings, partly because each NBA team plays about half its games at home and half on the road. So we’re using the constant 100-point home-court advantage instead.Margin of VictoryElo strikes a nice balance between ratings systems that account for margin of victory and those that don’t. While teams always gain Elo points after wins and lose Elo points after losses, they gain or lose more with larger margins of victory.This works by assigning a multiplier to each game based on the final score and dividing it by a team’s projected margin of victory conditional upon having won the game. For instance, the Warriors’ 4-point margin over the Rockets in Game 1 of this year’s Western Conference finals was lower than Elo would expect for a Warriors win. So the Warriors gain Elo points, but not as many as if they’d won by a larger margin. The formula accounts for diminishing returns; going from a 5-point win to a 10-point win matters more than going from a 25-point win to a 30-point win. For the exact formula, see the footnotes.2The margin of victory multiplier is calculated as follows.Take a team’s margin of victory, add 3 points and then take the result to the power of 0.8.Divide the result by the following formula: 7.5+.006*(elo_diff), where elo_diff represents the Elo rating difference between the teams, accounting for home-court advantage. Elo_diff should be negative in games won by the underdog.For instance, in Game 1 of the Warriors-Rockets series, the Warriors entered the game with a an Elo rating 118 points higher than the Rockets’ and had home-court advantage, for an elo_diff of +218. They wound up winning the game by 4 points. Thus, their margin of victory multiplier is calculated as follows:What if the Rockets had won by 4 points instead? Since they were underdogs, they’d get a larger multiplier:While this formula may seem clunky, it accounts for the fact that favorites tend to win games by larger margins than they lose them. Failing to correct for this will introduce autocorrelation into the system and make the ratings less stable. See here for further discussion.Year-to-Year Carry-OverInstead of resetting each team’s rating when a new season begins, Elo carries over a portion of a team’s rating from one season to the next. In our NFL Elo ratings, teams retain two-thirds of their rating from the end of the previous season. In our NBA ratings, by contrast, they keep three-quarters of it. The higher fraction reflects the fact that NBA teams are more consistent from year to year than NFL squads.For example, the Miami Heat ended the 2012-13 NBA season with an Elo rating of 1754. The team’s Elo rating for the start of the 2013-14 season is calculated as follows:(.75 * 1754) + (.25 * 1505) = 1692Detail-oriented readers may see something that seems amiss here. Each team’s Elo rating is reverted to the mean, and — as we’ve said — the long-term mean Elo rating is 1500. So why does a slightly different number, 1505, appear in the formula?Expansion, Contraction and MergersThe reason has to do with the way we handle expansion teams. In principle, the implementation of this is pretty simple. Each franchise begins with an Elo rating of 1300 in its inaugural professional season. The reason we revert to a mean of 1505 rather than 1500 is that there are liable to be a couple of relatively recent expansion teams in the league at any given time. Giving established teams a rating very slightly higher than 1500 counteracts the expansion teams and keeps the league average Elo close to 1500 over the long run.But the league average Elo rating will be slightly different from 1500 in any given season, depending on how recently the league has expanded. It was 1504.5 during the 2014-15 NBA season, for instance, slightly higher than the long-term average because the NBA hasn’t expanded much recently.The league average tended to fluctuate more in the early years of the NBA because of constant expansion, contraction and mergers with other leagues. (We’ve learned way more than we wanted to know about the early history of American professional basketball, like that you could have once watched a game between teams named the Indianapolis Kautskys and the Akron Firestone Non-Skids.) The league average reached a peak of 1534.5 in 1954-55 after a number of losing teams had disbanded. By contrast, it was just 1440.5 in the 1970-71 season after the NBA expanded rapidly.There’s one other tricky part. We said a team begins with a rating of 1300 in its first professional season. That doesn’t mean its first NBA season. Instead, teams get credit for their performance in predecessor leagues that merged with the NBA:The Basketball Association of America (BAA), which began play in 1946-47, is usually considered the official predecessor of the NBA. So we track all BAA teams’ Elo ratings explicitly, starting them at 1300 in 1946-47.We also track American Basketball Association (ABA) Elo ratings explicitly — yes, that includes The Floridians! — starting them at a rating of 1300 in the ABA’s inaugural season of 1967-68. The year-end adjustment takes care of the rest, allowing the ABA’s performance to gradually improve over time. The four ABA teams that joined the NBA in 1976-77 simply carry over their ratings from ABA. Because these teams — the Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and New York Nets — had been among the more successful ABA franchises, Elo ratings imply that the merger with the ABA did not weaken the NBA much. The four ABA imports averaged a respectable 40-42 record in their first three NBA seasons, in fact.The National Basketball League (NBL) was a competing professional basketball league that began play in 1937-38 and included colorfully named franchises like the Non-Skids. It merged into the BAA in advance of the 1949-50 season, at which point the combined league was renamed the NBA. In fact, most of the better franchises in the early days of the NBA originated in the NBL rather than the BAA, including the Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals and Fort Wayne Pistons. While we could not track down game-by-game results for the NBL, we inferred Elo ratings for NBL teams based on the season standings and playoff results, and these ratings carry over when teams enter the NBA. For instance, the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers) begin with a rating of 1458 in their first NBA season in 1949-50.Finally, one early NBA team, the Baltimore Bullets, originated in a third early league, the American Basketball League (ABL). Confusingly, that original version of the Baltimore Bullets bears no relationship with the team that would later play as the Baltimore Bullets from 1963 to 1973 (and which is now known as the Washington Wizards). However, Elo gives the original Baltimore Bullets credit for the seasons they played in the ABL.3Since data on the ABL is very hard to come by, the Bullets’ initial rating is simply calculated by starting them with a rating of 1300 and then reverting them toward the mean of 1505 for each season they played in that league. You can find the starting Elo ratings for the Bullets and NBL teams below: Waterloo Hawks–19491382 Fort Wayne PistonsDetroit Pistons19481495 Teams retain their prior Elo ratings when they change cities or nicknames. This includes the teams now known as the New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets. The NBA, in a bit of revisionist history, considers the current Charlotte Hornets (who were known as the Charlotte Bobcats until this season) to “own” the statistics of the team that played as the Charlotte Hornets from 1988-89 through 2001-02, before they moved to New Orleans. We instead link those Hornets seasons with the New Orleans Hornets, who are now the New Orleans Pelicans. Tri-Cities BlackhawksAtlanta Hawks19491430 Indianapolis Jets–19481366 Rochester RoyalsSacramento Kings19481535 Minneapolis LakersLos Angeles Lakers19481527 Hopefully if you’re reading this, you’ve had a chance to explore our new interactive graphic, “The Complete History Of The NBA,” which tracks each NBA and ABA franchise’s performance through every game of its history.So now for the exciting part: 2,000 words about autocorrelation and the Akron Firestone Non-Skids.Actually, this won’t be too bad because Elo is a pretty simple formula. The guts of the system are the same as we used for the NFL and which other researchers have applied to competitions ranging from chess to soccer. For those new to Elo, here are its essential features:The ratings depend only on the final score of each game and where it was played (home-court advantage). They include both regular-season and playoff games. The principal source for game-by-game scores is Basketball-Reference.com.Teams always gain Elo points after winning games and lose ground after losing them. They gain more points for upset wins and for winning by wider margins.The system is zero-sum. When the Denver Nuggets gained 30 Elo points by upsetting the No. 1 seed Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 1994 NBA playoffs, the Sonics lost 30 points.Ratings are established on a game-by-game rather than a season-by-season basis. So you can see changes in a team’s “form” over the course of the year: The Toronto Raptors had a much higher rating early in the 2014-15 season than at the end of it, while the reverse has been true for the Cleveland Cavaliers.The long-term average Elo rating is 1500, although it can vary slightly in any particular year based on how recently the league has expanded (more about that below). More than 90 percent of team ratings are between 1300 (pretty awful) and 1700 (really good), but historically great or truly execrable teams can fall outside that range: 130022-60LOL Sheboygan Red Skins–19491405 120015-67Historically awful NBL/ABL TEAMCURRENT FRANCHISEFIRST YEAR IN NBA/BAASTARTING ELO Syracuse NationalsPhiladelphia 76ers19491458 read more

Celtics Restore Order With Big Win In Philly

Paul Pierce was stellar for Boston.Just maybe all the talk about how old and decrepit the Boston Celtics are actually does inspire the crafty veterans. For, again, just when they looked too slow to keep pace with the younger, more athletic Philadelphia 76ers, they rallied around their savvy and experience and clobbered them Wednesday night.Sixteen-year veteran Kevin Garnett had 27 points and 13 rebounds as Boston made mince meat out of the Sixers, pounding them 107-91 in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series. The Celtics recaptured the home-court advantage, leading the series now 2-1.”We just wanted to come out and establish who we are as a team,” said all-star forward Paul Pierce, who scored 24 points, 13 rebounds and back-to-back power dunks, despite playing on a creaky knee.Coach Doc Rivers said point guard Rajon Rondo established a victorious mindset at the morning shootaround, hours before the game. Rondo was focus and serious, and it carried over to his play. He had 23 points and 14 assists (and just one turnover).Garnett scored 13 of Boston’s 32 points in the second quarter as the Celtics gained separation. The first two games were each decided by one point. Not Wednesday. Garnett assured Boston would have an easy time of the Sixers, who just seemed overwhelmed by Boston’s execution and determination.Philadelphia got outrebounded by 11 and shot just 40 per cent from the floor. They get a chance to even the series in Game 4 on Friday. read more

Its Official Caron Butler Heading Home to the Milwaukee

The Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks closed on a deal that would send veteran forward Caron Butler to the Bucks in exchange for point guard Ish Smith and center Viacheslav Kravtsov.A person close to the deal confirmed it on the condition of anonymity, because neither ball club made the information public.Butler, who grew up in nearby Racine, Milwaukee, has been outspoken about playing for his hometown Bucks, but was unable to until now. Butler will join Brandon Knight, Brandon Jennings, and Larry Sanders, giving the team a fighting chance in the Eastern Conference.Butler’s contract value will likely become public when the official announcement is made.

After WildCard Weekend There Is No Super Bowl Favorite

CincinnatiAFC-13-24-11-5— Last year, we went into the playoffs with a pretty good idea of the Super Bowl favorites. This year, not so much. According to our Elo ratings, no team entered the 2015-16 postseason with better than a 20 percent shot at the Lombardi Trophy. (As a point of historical comparison, Elo’s No. 1 regular-season team wins the Super Bowl at a 34 percent clip.) And none of last weekend’s games changed that — if anything, the Super Bowl picture is even more chaotic now.Why is all this happening? In part, blame a weird disagreement between seeding and team strength. Basically, each conference’s lowest-seeded teams — i.e., the road teams in wild-card weekend — are among its most powerful, which left weaker teams with home games and even, in a few cases, bye weeks. That’s a recipe for more parity across the playoff landscape.The trend toward parity was borne out in last weekend’s results and will continue into this weekend. All four road teams won for the first time in modern wild-card history, and in each case the winner was the stronger team according to Elo. Consequently, all of Elo’s current top eight are still alive, but upside-down seeding continues to keep the playoffs wide open, as the higher-rated team will be at home in only a quarter of this weekend’s games. Green BayNFC2716747 HoustonAFC-26-12-4-1— TEAMCONFΔ ELODIVISIONAL ROUNDCONF CHAMPSUPER BOWLSB ODDS The weekend’s two biggest gainers in Super Bowl win probability, for instance, were the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks, who also happen to be the top two teams in football according to Elo. But both will be underdogs in the divisional round because they’ll be on the road. Conversely, the Super Bowl odds for the top two seeds in each conference went down, because the possibility that they’d have to face one of the scary lower seeds turned into a certainty.As a result, all of the remaining teams in the championship hunt saw their Super Bowl chances become more compressed over wild-card weekend. That’s bad news for the bye teams but good for us as football fans, because this is one of the most evenly matched sets of divisional-round games ever.Read more: The Biggest Surprises Of Wild-Card Weekend Kansas CityAFC262013614 PittsburghAFC1324848 ArizonaNFC—-3-2-116 New EnglandAFC—-8-3-211 DenverAFC—0-2-114 CHANGE IN PROBABILITY OF WINNING … CarolinaNFC—-6%-4%-2%18% WashingtonNFC-27-11-3-1— Bold indicates that a team is still active in the playoffsSource: ESPN Winners and losers of the wild-card round SeattleNFC6188413 MinnesotaNFC-6-15-6-3— read more

A Website Went Offline And Took Most Of Womens College Basketball Analytics

If you’re filling out your bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and want some statistical background to the broader forecasts, you have a slew of options. Start at Sports-Reference.com: powerful search tools; team rankings for anything from pace to point differentials adjusted for strength of schedule; and player pages with stats such as usage percentage, win shares and Box Plus/Minus. Ken Pomeroy’s site offers more detailed and adjusted team rankings and a wide array of individual player metrics. For $100 a year, Shot Analytics delivers detailed spatial analysis of shot selection, including weighted shot charts.If you’re looking for similar information to help you fill out an NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket, you’re out of luck.Last week, leading into the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Sue Bird wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune about this analytic gender gap, noting, “The disparity between NBA data — even data across all male sports — and WNBA data is glaring. Data for the WNBA is relegated to basic information: points, rebounds, steals, assists, turnovers, blocks. While worthy of being noted, those are the most rudimentary numbers in our game.” There are a few slightly richer sources of data for the women’s professional game — Basketball-Reference.com will let you see the true shooting percentage and usage rate for WNBA players, for example — but Bird’s overall characterization of the data disparity is dead-on, and the effect is even stronger in college basketball. That’s true this month more than most.Until recently, the one repository for advanced statistics such as usage, true shooting percentage, pace-adjusted player statistics and adjusted team ratings for women’s college ball was WBBState.com, a vertical of data company National Statistical. But that source disappeared Feb. 29, when ServerAxis, the company that provided server space to National Statistical’s hosting company, suddenly took all its equipment offline. There are reports that ServerAxis was having financial problems, but the company has so far not responded to requests for comment. National Statistical also declined to comment on the situation on the advice of lawyers as it works to recover its data and bring the site back online.Exactly how a web hosting company pulls up anchor, ditches its Miami headquarters, and ends up 1,300 miles away in Chicago, allegedly waiting for its servers to find their way home, is almost certainly a fascinating story, but it’s secondary to the reality that an entire sport’s advanced metrics wing can be wiped off the map by a few nerds absconding with a few hard drives and turning off their phones. This is a corollary to the more global lack of statistical interrogation of women’s basketball — the data isn’t just shallow, it’s scarce, and that scarcity makes it fragile.What’s left behind is a patchwork collection of disparate scraps of data. ESPN has some statistics available for players and teams, but these cover only basic stats and are organized as leaderboards, so they can’t be searched or sorted beyond the top 50. You can find the full lists for most of those statistics, and a few others, on the NCAA’s website. It’s a thin statistical slice, and they are available for only the current season. Right now, if you wanted to find out where Breanna Stewart’s true shooting percentage ranked this season, or how many points per 100 possessions Baylor allowed, you’d need to scrape the data and calculate it yourself.A paucity of data in any sport doesn’t just trim down the “analytics” branch — it fundamentally changes the types of stories that can be told about teams and athletes. “The more data you have,” says Howard Megdal, a contributing editor for the women’s sports site Excelle Sports, “the more you have the ability to parse it, and to compare it, and to do it more easily, the more stories that are out there.”That’s no small point. In the landscape of women’s sports, college basketball in general and the NCAA Tournament in particular are enormously important. The nation’s attention has turned to college basketball, expecting rich, compelling and thorough analysis, and the women’s side, already handicapped by neglect, has lost one of its legs to a freak woodchipper accident. This leaves the writers who cover the tournament, missing servers be damned, in quite the lurch.“The NCAA has the standard points and rebounds,” Megdal says, “but I’m writing today and trying to make the point that South Carolina’s offense is actually more efficient than its defense. You know people talk about South Carolina’s defense all the time. I only knew that because of WBBState, and being able to see the tempo-free stats. So when I went to go and prove it, I can’t right now; I can’t reference those numbers. All I can do is say that they’re 17th in points per game, or whatever. And as I’m doing it, I’m well aware that I’m using a highly flawed stat that doesn’t begin to capture what I’m after.”In a way, that sums up the state of analytics in women’s basketball: Everyone knows that there are more powerful tools of observation waiting just out of reach, but there just isn’t much to do about it. Sometimes that’s because women’s leagues lack the financial might or institutional support to run in the lead pack; other times it’s because the wrong web host picked the wrong month to blow town. Our sports podcast Hot Takedown previews March Madness. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code By Ian Levy read more

What The Hells Gotten Into Daniel Murphy

When theretofore ordinary second baseman Daniel Murphy turned into the reincarnation of Babe Ruth during last year’s playoffs, it was a fun story. Murphy was with the New York Mets through their lean, mediocre post-Madoff years, and he was suddenly the driving force behind their surprise World Series run. It seemed proof that in a handful of baseball games, damn near anything can happen.But for the sabermetrically minded (which presumably included the Mets’ front office), Murphy was still the decent-but-not-great player that his overall record said he was, and at age 30, he was likely on the downside of his career. So during the winter, the Mets moved on from Murphy to Neil Walker at second base — which, according to the stats, was basically the right call. Murphy signed with the Washington Nationals instead, and although projections suggested that he would have a solid season, there didn’t seem to be any way that he would build on his outlier postseason performance.Those projections have turned out to be flat-out wrong. Instead of reverting to his previous form, Murphy has looked an awful lot like the guy who went on that postseason tear: He currently ranks third in the National League in Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+)1A measure of a player’s runs generated per plate appearance, relative to the league, where average is 100 and higher numbers are better. and fourth in wins above replacement. (Murphy has also hit Mets pitching especially hard this year, delivering what already ranks as the most RBIs by a player against a team he played for the previous season since 1960.)For a guy who has never ranked higher than 37th in WAR, Murphy has taken a quantum leap forward. If Murphy maintains his current wRC+ for the entire season, it will be the 21st-biggest single-season improvement by a hitter over his previous career wRC+ at age 31 or older2With a minimum of 3,500 career plate appearances before the season in question and at least 350 plate appearances during the season itself. since 1901: Willie Stargell1971.398.628186.341.503134+52 PLAYERYEAROBPSLGWRC+OBPSLGWRC+WRC+ CHANGE Barry Bonds2002.582.799244.418.585164+80 Joe Morgan1976.444.576184.396.430138+46 Many of the people atop that list — including (but not limited to) Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Ken Caminiti and Mark McGwire — have admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs, were named in the Mitchell Report or were otherwise implicated in baseball’s steroid scandal via leaked test results. But nothing so sinister has been mentioned to explain Murphy’s rise, and some players outside the steroid era experienced similar (presumably natural) leaps in performance.Murphy has always credited Mets hitting coach Kevin Long with making several key adjustments to his approach at the plate in an effort to help him hit for more power. Here’s Tyler Kepner of The New York Times last October, on Murphy’s swing changes:“Long believed Murphy should harness [his] power by driving more with his legs, moving closer to the plate, getting his front foot down sooner and bringing his hands lower and closer to his body.”The numbers bear this out: Murphy’s 2016 isolated power is 115 points higher than his previous career average, and he’s hitting the ball authoritatively in new areas of the strike zone. Murphy was always a solid hitter on pitches up and on the inner half of the plate, but his new approach has him driving the ball more on pitches in the middle of the plate and even ones low and away: Paul O’Neill1994.460.603171.341.443115+56 Ken Caminiti1996.408.621169.328.402102+67 Barry Bonds2004.609.812233.433.602171+62 Roy Cullenbine1946.477.537182.402.422132+50 Luis Gonzalez2001.429.688173.355.460114+59 Only includes players with a minimum of 3,500 career plate appearances before season and 350 in season.WRC+ = Weighted Runs Created PlusSource: Fangraphs Lonnie Smith1989.415.533166.362.401116+50 Of course, it’s still unlikely that Murphy has morphed into a hidden superstar after seven big-league seasons. Players in their 30s who improved on their previous career wRC+ by between 40 and 60 points in one season tended to lose 36 points of batting average, 38 points of on-base percentage and 80 points of slugging percentage the next year. But, on average, they were still better than they’d been before. Even a year after the initial breakout, they hit for a wRC+ 15 points higher than their career average had been beforehand.That means Murphy probably is a better hitter now than he was in New York. And considering the damage he’s already personally inflicted on the Mets in head-to-head competition, it also means he may well end up being the key to an NL East title for the Nationals. Not bad for a player most thought would turn back into a pumpkin after his Cinderella story last October.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Dixie Walker1944.434.529168.369.434115+53 Mike Schmidt1981.435.644198.375.526145+53 Javy Lopez2003.378.687170.332.478107+63 Jermaine Dye2006.385.622151.334.469104+47 Sammy Sosa2001.437.737186.333.523119+67 Roberto Clemente1967.400.554170.348.455118+52 Biggest hitting improvements at age 31 or older, 1901-2016 Brady Anderson1996.396.637155.349.393103+52 Barry Bonds2001.515.863235.411.567159+76 Mark McGwire1998.470.752205.382.556152+53 SEASONPREVIOUS CAREER Jimmy Dykes1929.412.539143.356.40496+47 Daniel Murphy2016.387.598157.331.424109+48 J.T. Snow2004.429.529153.353.426104+49 Rickey Henderson1990.439.577190.400.429136+54 Victor Martinez2014.409.565167.369.464120+47 Bret Boone2001.372.578149.313.41388+61 Eddie Joost1949.429.453136.332.32187+49 read more

Womens Swimming Liz Li breaks Big Ten record claims Big Ten Championship

OSU then-sophomore Liz Li poses for a picture at the 2016 Big Ten Championships. Credit: Courtesy of OSUSenior Liz Li won her second consecutive Big Ten championship title in the 50-yard freestyle at the Big Ten Championships Thursday. Her winning time of 21.48 seconds established a new conference-record in the event that she previously set at the meet, and tied her own school record that she set for Ohio State last season.Coming into this event, Li held the third fastest 50-yard freestyle time in the country. She now holds the record for the fastest time in that event, earning her third individual Big Ten title of her career.Dating back to 2005, only five different swimmers have won a Big Ten championship in the event, all of whom have won it at least two consecutive seasons. Li has now become the fifth straight Big Ten swimmer to earn consecutive conference titles in the 50-yard freestyle.Li’s teammates earned success throughout the day as well.Senior Lindsey Clary claimed a fourth-place finish in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:37.65, while junior Meg Bailey placed third in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:57.75. Li also competed in the 400-yard medley relay with senior Zulal Zeren, senior Taylor Vargo, and junior Macie McNichols, who claimed a fifth-place title with a time of 3:34.91.The Buckeyes stand in fifth-place overall after Day Two, behind Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota respectively.The competition will continue Friday with championships in the 100-yard butterfly, 400-yard individual medley, 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, 100-yard backstroke, three-meter diving and the 200-yard freestyle relay. Preliminaries begin at 11 a.m. and finals will take place at 6:30 p.m. read more

Bucks wallop Walsh

The Ohio State men’s basketball team got its 2009-10 campaign off to a strong start, beating the Walsh Cavaliers 86-48 in an exhibition game Wednesday.Junior Evan Turner made his debut at point guard and had little trouble adapting to his new position. Turner finished the night with 15 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, just four assists shy of a triple-double.Sophomore William Buford also scored 15 points, including 11 in the first half.Buford was six of eight from the field and made his only three point attempt.Junior David Lighty added 11 points and, perhaps more importantly, appeared to be fully recovered from last year’s season-ending foot injury.The Buckeyes officially begin their season Monday against Alcorn State at the Schottenstein Center.

Ohio State womens soccer upsets Tennessee advances to second round of NCAA

The Ohio State women’s soccer team opened the NCAA tournament with a victory Saturday, knocking off regional No. 4 seed Tennessee, 3-0, in Knoxville, Tenn. Junior forward Tiffany Cameron netted two of OSU’s goals, including a seventh-minute strike that set the tone early. She now has a team-leading eight goals on the season. OSU extended its lead to 2-0 on a 68th minute goal from sophomore midfielder Kristen Niederhaus. Cameron followed that up with her second goal of the game six minutes later. The Buckeyes outshot the Volunteers, 20-10, including a 9-3 advantage in shots on goal. Senior goalie Katie Baumgardner only needed to make three saves on her way to picking up her seventh shutout of the season. It was also her fourth shutout in six career NCAA tournament contests. The Buckeyes haven’t been as successful as they have wanted on the offensive attack lately, so the three scores were a welcome sign for the Buckeyes and coach Lori Walker. “For a team that’s struggled to find the back of the net, it was critical for us to have (Cameron) find the back of the net,” Walker said following the game according to the team’s webpage. “I think we have known all along that we are a quality team but soccer’s a cruel game and sometimes you don’t always get the results. … Hopefully we can continue this run.” The Buckeyes (11-8-2) advance to play second-seeded Milwaukee in the second round at 5 p.m. Friday at Duke’s Koskinen Stadium in Durham, N.C. read more

Ohio States Devin Smith electrifies Buckeye offense

OSU senior wide receiver Devin Smith attempts to catch a pass during a game against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Aug. 30. Smith finished with 94 yards receiving on the day and one touchdown.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorIn the last four years, senior wide receiver Devin Smith has made his mark on Ohio State football history.From the game-winning catch against Wisconsin in 2011, to his 80-yard, go-ahead score Saturday against Navy, Smith seems to have a knack for making things happen.His score against Navy put the Buckeyes up for the remainder of the game, something he said he believes helped electrify the offense.“We had a slow start, and we were just trying to find ourselves,” Smith said Monday. “We had a few good plays leading up to that … Coach (Urban) Meyer took the shot and we executed very well.”Meyer, who named Smith as one of the OSU offensive champions of the week, said the wide receiver is one of the most explosive players he has ever coached.“I want to say one of the best (deep) ball players we’ve ever had. He adjusts so well to the ball,” Meyer said Monday. “He caught someone said 18 or 19 touchdowns, average (more than) 40 yards per catch on a touchdown. That’s unique. Extremely fast. Tracks the ball down very well.”Wide receivers coach Zach Smith said he thinks Devin Smith’s ability to beat defenses deep is a luxury, especially when the offense is able to run the football.“At some point, they (opposing defenses) have to decide what they are going to be weak at. Whether they are going to play softer and give you the underneath routes, or if they are going to tighten down to stop the slow, painful death and now they are susceptible to the deep shot,” Zach Smith said. “They have to pick their poison on a kid like that.”Zach Smith said Devin Smith’s speed isn’t the only thing that makes the senior wide receiver a threat.“Obviously he has elite speed which is probably the first skill you need, but he has an uncanny ability to track a football and he has really good ball skills on the deep ball,” Zach Smith said.Devin Smith — who has scored go-ahead or game-winning touchdowns against Wisconsin (2011,2013), Michigan State (2012), Iowa (2013) and now Navy, and holds the record for longest play from the line of scrimmage in school history with a 90-yard scoring catch against California (2013) — said he is just doing what he’s told to do to be successful.“Whenever coaches need me, I’m going to do my part and do everything I can to make that play for the football team,” Devin Smith said. “It is all about just trusting in my training and believing in the coaches and them believing in me.”Devin Smith entered his senior season with 1,572 career receiving yards and 18 touchdowns before adding 94 yards and a score against Navy. In comparison, former Buckeye speedster and current Arizona Cardinal Ted Ginn, Jr., totaled 1,943 yards and 15 receiving touchdowns during his three years in Columbus.Although Devin Smith excels at the long ball, coach Smith said the Massillon, Ohio, native could improve in other areas, particularly being more productive in the short-to-intermediate passing game.“That is one of the things that he was really committed to in the spring and in training camp when he was out there is becoming a more complete receiver,” coach Smith said. “That is a battle that everyone is fighting, and he has done a good job of that.”Devin Smith said the distinctive defense that Navy ran prevented him and the OSU offense from opening up the playbook, but added that when the Buckeyes dive into the offense deeper, people will see what he and the offense can do.“That is one thing we worked on all summer during practice and in the spring also,” he said. “It is a matter of time of just showing it. I think from now on, each and every game is going to be different, so you will get a chance to see different guys do different things.”While the Buckeyes are without senior quarterback Braxton Miller for the 2014 season after he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder in late August, Meyer said the offense has to improve around redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett in order for the coaches to open up the playbook.“I think Barrett’s part of it. The offensive line is a big part of it. What can those guys do and what can they do well?” Meyer said. “We’re expecting them in next couple of weeks to be able to do it all well. It’s not just J.T. When we say expand the playbook, it’s for J.T. and it’s for the offensive line.”Devin Smith said that despite Barrett’s relative inexperience, he is confident the offense and Barrett will continue to produce.“He is very mature. He acts like he is a starter,” Devin Smith said of Barrett. “I know how hungry he is, you can see it every day when he practices. I think with how hard he works, he is going to do everything he can to help this football team.”Devin Smith and the rest of the Buckeyes are set to take on Virginia Tech on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. read more