After an exhilarating Saturday that saw Wisconsin beat Arizona yet again with a Final Four on the line, followed by undefeated Kentucky barely squeaking past a Notre Dame team that outplayed them for a significant portion of the night, what can Sunday’s Regional Final games do for an encore? For starters, there’s another terrific No. 1 vs. No.2 matchup in which the underdog could make school history. There’s also a fake underdog story that will decide the only wacky region of this year’s tournament.Read on for more of what to watch as the last two Final Four berths of 2015 are set:No. 1 Duke (59 percent win probability) vs. No. 2 GonzagaLocation: HoustonWhen to watch: At 5:05 p.m. EDT on CBSPower ratings: Duke 93.0, Gonzaga 91.5Upset probability: 41 percentPlayer to watch: Jahlil Okafor, DukeThis is shaping up to be an intriguing matchup of near-doppelgangers, as Duke and Gonzaga are practically identical in terms of their offensive and defensive prowess. The Blue Devils’ offense ranks 3rd nationally per KenPom.com’s ratings, while the Zags rank 4th; meanwhile, Duke ranks 27th on defense and Gonzaga ranks 30th. So it’s more than a little fitting that this pair faces off for the South’s Final Four spot.Despite their similarities, the differences in how the squads achieve their matching efficiencies might be instructive. On offense, Duke and Gonzaga shoot and draw fouls at very similar rates, but the Blue Devils are better on the glass and the Bulldogs protect the ball more effectively. Duke also has the better transition attack1According to Synergy. while Gonzaga owns an edge in low-post scoring. At the other end of the floor, Gonzaga’s advantages are in shot defense, rebounding and the transition game, while Duke is better at forcing turnovers and keeping opponents off the foul line.Since the FiveThirtyEight model considers the Bulldogs a modest underdog, it’s worth asking whether they employ enough high-variance tactics to help them “make their own luck” in this matchup — and, unfortunately, Gonzaga doesn’t play a slow pace, nor is it especially reliant on shooting 3-pointers, forcing turnovers or crashing the offensive boards. (Duke also plays a relatively safe style for a favorite, with an above-average pace, good offensive rebounding and no overreliance on long-distance shooting or takeaways.)Still, with their big, experienced roster, the Zags have a reasonably good chance of earning their first-ever Final Four bid. Somewhat surprisingly, they’ve only visited the Regional Final once before, and that was as a heavy underdog against UConn in 1999. This time, they’re one of college basketball’s upper-echelon programs — but will it be enough against Jahlil Okafor and the Blue Devils? No. 4 Louisville (42 percent win probability) vs. No. 7 Michigan StateLocation: SyracuseWhen to watch: At 2:20 p.m. EDT on CBSPower ratings: Michigan State 88.2, Louisville 86.3Upset probability: 58 percentPlayer to watch: Denzel Valentine, Michigan StateAs befits an East Regional that saw its top two seeds lose on the tournament’s first weekend, this is a strange matchup. Louisville is the better-seeded team, but as a No. 4 they’d easily be the black sheep of the Final Four if they prevail here (No. 1’s Kentucky and Wisconsin are already in, while the South winner will be no worse than a No. 2 seed). Plus, this game qualifies as a “fake upset” if inferior seed Michigan State wins, since both Las Vegas and the FiveThirtyEight model throw the seed numbers out the window and consider the Spartans a stronger team than the Cardinals.So when deciding the most upset-heavy region in an otherwise chalky NCAA tournament, do you go for the (fake) upset or the (real) upset?It could come down to which team’s forte wins the day — Michigan State’s offense, or Louisville’s defense. Both units rank among the nation’s best, and their respective strengths do a decent job or mirroring each other. The Spartans shoot well and avoid turnovers; the Cardinals are at their best when taking those attributes away. But it’s not a perfect match. Louisville likes to keep teams off the line, a fate Michigan State might prefer given their horrendous free throw percentage, and Michigan State’s offensive rebounding could exploit a Louisville frontcourt that’s nothing special on the defensive glass.Either way, the less-exciting battle between the two teams’ weak points — Louisville’s offense versus Michigan State’s defense — is where the Spartans gain their predicted edge. While they won’t force many turnovers, Michigan State loves to limit opponent shooting percentages (particularly on 2-pointers, by far Louisville’s most efficient zone of the court) and the Spartans have the rebounding advantage over the Cardinals at that end of the floor as well.Add in an uncharacteristically poor 3-point shooting Louisville team (by Rick Pitino standards), and this year’s “non-vintage” Spartans could win with the defense-and-rebounding formula of a typical overachieving Tom Izzo Final Four squad.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan called anonymous players who bashed reserve quarterback Tim Tebow “cowardly” and called for an end to potential in-house dissension.“Did I address it? I absolutely addressed it,” Ryan said. “Because I think it’s a cowardly thing. If you’re not going to put your name to it, I think that’s about as cowardly of a thing as there is. I even mentioned that. I said, ‘Look, if …’“Well, I don’t want to get into specifics of what I said. But I did address it with our football team. I absolutely did.”The comments from anonymous Jets is not foreign. Last year, they purportedly bad-mouthed Mark Sanchez tot he media. Then, like now, Ryan insists that his locker room is together.“If you’re searching for things to try to drive a wedge through the team and all that . . . my thing is that I believe in this team,” Ryan said. “I believe this team is like this and will continue to be like this and maybe even come tighter. I’m confident that that will be a case.”But when asked about the issues that popped up with Sanchez last year versus the issues with Tebow this season, Rex said he doesn’t believe the Jets “have the same problem” and classified the 2011 issue as “over-exaggerated.”“I don’t think we have the same problem,” Ryan said. “Even back then, I think that was probably a little more over exaggerated that actually was the rift in the entire locker room. I don’t think it existed the way it was portrayed. But I do recognize that there was something wrong there. I’ve made it my personal agenda to go out and fix it.”The Jets have no intention of scrapping the Wildcat package featuring Tebow, according to Ryan, who went on to laud Tebow for his unselfishness. He praised him for accepting his role as the personal protector on the punt team.“We asked him — a former Heisman Trophy winner, first-round pick, a quarterback who led his team to the playoffs — ‘You know what? We want you to be our personal protector,’ ” Ryan said, adding that Tebow never complained.“Quite honestly, I feel extremely confident this football team is coming closer together, than what maybe is being thought of as pulling apart,” Ryan said. “I definitely don’t see that.”
Just when we thought we’d seen all Isaiah Thomas could do, the diminutive Celtics star found yet another level Tuesday, scoring 53 on his late sister’s birthday to give Boston a 2-0 second-round series lead over the Wizards.The million-dollar question: How? How does a guy who’s 5-foot-9, who nearly averaged 29 points per game during the regular season, continue to wreck defenses so mightily in a playoff setting when defenses are hellbent on neutralizing him?The simple answer is that Thomas and his coaching staff have found ways to make Thomas virtually unguardable within Boston’s offensive scheme; especially since Brad Stevens tweaked his lineup in the middle of the first round, a move that gave Thomas more space to navigate.Stevens all but eliminated Amir Johnson from the rotation, meaning Al Horford is now soaking up a ton of minutes as the team’s lone post player on the court. That switch forces defenses to guard an extra Celtic along the perimeter, which is already a tough task, since Horford is also a good shooter. With opponents stretched that thin, Thomas can make use of his game-changing quickness.That’s especially the case in handoff scenarios, where the floor general can generate a full head of steam while his man is trying to play catch-up from behind. Thomas took more handoffs than any other player in the NBA this past regular season, with 216 plays of this nature according to Synergy Sports. And he’s only gotten better at them in the last few weeks. He has scored on 56 percent of his handoffs since the playoffs began, up from 47 percent during the season. (This would’ve been the NBA’s highest mark during the regular season among players with at least 100 handoffs.)Having Horford as the lone Celtics big helps Thomas’s handoff game immensely. Thomas — the league’s most-blocked player — has been able to get his shots off more cleanly with fewer players in the paint.1Thomas’s shots have only been blocked 6 percent of the time with Horford on the court and Johnson off; he’s been blocked 13 percent of the time when Horford and Johnson are on the floor together, according to NBA Wowy, which tracks advanced statistics across different lineup groupings. What’s more, Thomas’s newfound space has left defenders without a clear way to defend him.After receiving a handoff, he’s a nightmare on the perimeter because of all the different options he has at his disposal. Watch how reluctant Wizards star John Wall is to chase Thomas around the screen here. He doesn’t want to risk barreling into Thomas, who is one of the league’s best players at stopping abruptly once he’s turned the corner in order to draw a 3-point shooting foul.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/thomasoffahandoff.mp400:0000:0000:08Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.In the paint, Washington’s bigs have been just as concerned about how to play Thomas. Stand too far back, and you risk Thomas scoring from midrange, where he is an effective, albeit inconsistent2Thomas’s successful midrange attempts, on average, had far less arc on them than his midrange misses this past season. The 1.03 foot difference was the widest disparity in the NBA among players who took at least 100 midrange shots, according to an analysis run by SportVU at FiveThirtyEight’s request. shooter. Play too far up, and he’ll use a burst of quickness to beat you to the rim, where he’s armed with an array of twists and tricks that help him compensate for his lack of height.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/thomasoffhandoff2.mp400:0000:0000:07Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/ithandoff3.mp400:0000:0000:09Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Trapping Thomas with two defenders as he comes around screens is one option for opposing defenses. But Stevens’s lineup switch, which has the Celtics looking more like the Houston Rockets because of how many threes they’re taking, makes that option a more dangerous choice because an unguarded Celtic shooter is now more likely to be found on the perimeter.All of which helps explain why the Wizards have had no answer for how to guard the shortest man on the court. That Thomas is really good also helps.
2002French Open20.73 YearSlam wonAge*SeedR128R64R32R16QFSFFOpp. Seed Pts 2015French Open33.71 1263 2618254290 2717231352 162342069 1210176 2012U.S. Open30.94 131142 119178 2013French Open31.71 2542398 2017Aus. Open35.32 3076287 WilliamsOpponent Seeds 2013U.S. Open31.91 16421109 2009Aus. Open27.32 * As of the opening day of the tournament.In the years when fewer than 32 players were seeded, pre-tournament world rankings were used as a proxy for seedings to fill out the field up to No. 32.Source: Tennis Abstract, Wikipedia 2015Aus. Open33.31 262411269 2002Wimbledon20.72 1999U.S. Open17.97 2007Aus. Open25.3—2751116101128 84384 2010Wimbledon28.71 2009Wimbledon27.72 26155284 1692153 11171061 321371664 It’s foolish to give the draw all the credit for Williams’s presence in the finals, though. We learned a long time ago not to underestimate her, no matter the competition.2Maybe all those higher-ranked players are just so afraid of Serena that they figured they’d hurry up and lose before facing her. Without the upsets, it’s very possible that she would have made it anyway — especially since, during the course of the tournament, Williams has notably raised her game, particularly on her serve.She struggled some in her first-round win over Arantxa Rus, who ranks just 105th in the world: Williams got 58 percent of her first serves in — winning 76 percent of those points. But by her Tuesday quarterfinal against world No. 52 Camila Giorgi, Williams’s serve was back to form: She got in 71 percent of her first serves and won 81 percent of those points. And in Thursday’s semifinal, Williams won a whopping 87 percent of her first-serve points against world No. 13 Goerges.It certainly hasn’t hurt that Williams’s serve speed has also steadily crept up since the start of the tournament. In her opening match, her first serves were averaging 103 mph. On Thursday, her first serve averaged 107 mph — and her fastest serve topped out at 119 mph. At the same time, Serena’s unforced errors have plummeted. She opened Wimbledon with 29 errors against Rus, but she committed only nine in her three sets against Giorgi — and just seven in two sets against Goerges.Now Williams is on the verge of making even more history, in perhaps her most impressive comeback of all. All it took was a little luck of the draw, some sharper ball-striking and a ton of perseverance to come back from a year spent wrestling with bigger concerns than tennis and put herself on the path to a potentially triumphant return in her favorite grand-slam stomping grounds. The last time we saw Serena Williams in a grand slam final, she was beating her sister Venus for the Australian Open crown in January 2017. A lot has happened to Serena over the nearly 18 months since, but despite all the challenges, she’s back in another final — this time with a chance to tie Margaret Court for the most slam titles of any tennis player in history.Williams’s latest remarkable comeback (and there have been quite a few) only reaffirms for the umpteenth time that she belongs on the short list of history’s greatest athletes. But this time around, she got a little help.A rash of upsets cleared out nearly every top contender in Williams’s path at the All England Club: By the third round, the list of upset victims included top seed Simona Halep, defending champ Garbiñe Muguruza, second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki, U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Serena’s older sister Venus, a five-time Wimbledon champ. As a result, Williams will end up facing only two seeded opponents all tournament long: No. 13 Julia Goerges in the semifinals and No. 11 Angelique Kerber in the final. In her 23 slam victories so far, the only time she faced so few seeded opponents was the 2002 French Open — and even then, the two seeded players she had to beat were her second-seeded sister and the No. 1 seed, Jennifer Capriati.We can roughly quantify the difficulty of Serena’s path in each of her major wins (plus this potential one in London) by assigning point values to her opponents based on their seeds: Since 32 players are seeded for each grand slam,1This has been the case since Wimbledon in 2001. For tournaments before that, when only 16 players were seeded, we used the actual seeds and filled out the remainder of the top 32 using the pre-tournament world rankings. the No. 1 seed is worth 32 points, No. 2 is worth 31, and so forth until we reach the 32nd seed (worth 1 point); unseeded players are worth 0 points. Adding up the point values of all her opponents in a tournament gives us a sense of how stiff Serena’s competition was on the way to each of her major wins, and this year’s Wimbledon will have easily been her easiest path to a title so far, assuming she prevails over Kerber (she’s about a 1-to-2 betting favorite in Las Vegas): 2003Aus. Open21.31 2018Wimbledon?36.825 2005Aus. Open23.37 2002U.S. Open20.91 2016Wimbledon34.81 2010Aus. Open28.31 This could be Serena’s easiest route to a slam win yetDifficulty of Serena Williams’s paths to victory in her grand slam wins, plus Wimbledon in 2018, based on assigning points to her opponents’ seedings (higher seeds are worth more points) 26201142102 2014U.S. Open32.91 13843104 1321461 1691361 15185292 2003Wimbledon21.71 2012Wimbledon30.76 11241114 2008U.S. Open26.94 2815834107 2015Wimbledon33.81
No one in the NBA this season logged more minutes while doing less on offense. Tucker is the first player since Shane Battier in 2008-09 to post a usage rate of less than 10 percent while also playing at least 30 minutes a game. In Game 1 of the Rockets’ series against Golden State, the Rockets were +9 in net points with Tucker on the court even though he scored no points and took only four shots while logging 39 minutes — the same time spent on the floor as James Harden.Tucker ranks near the bottom in passes made per game and touches per game, and on average he had the ball in his hand for the shortest amount of time per possession of anyone who played at least 30 minutes per game this season. On offense, Tucker’s role is to stand in the corner and wait for a teammate to pass him the ball so that he can shoot an open three, which is the point of Houston’s spread-out, isolation-heavy offense.So why can Tucker stay on the court for as long he does without doing much on offense? Two reasons.First, Harden had the highest usage rate in the NBA during the regular season, and Harden and Tucker are on the court together more than any other two-man combination for the Rockets.1Of Tucker’s 218 total playoff minutes, 206 of those have been with Harden also on the floor. Since usage rate is a zero-sum game among the five players on the floor, any increase in Tucker’s usage would come at the expense of Harden’s.Second, Tucker’s defense is vital to the Rockets. While he might not be widely known as an elite defensive stopper, he has the profile of one. Five of the seven players he guarded most often during the regular season were Paul George, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nobody matches up with those guys that often unless he’s built for it.Only nine players since the 1977-78 season have played at least 30 minutes a game while using less than 10 percent of their teams’ plays. The list is a who’s who of the best defensive specialists in NBA history, including Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, Mark Eaton, Bruce Bowen and the aforementioned Battier. Most of those guys went on to win defensive player of the year, earn All-NBA honors or play a critical role on a championship team. Meanwhile, Tucker has never made so much as an All-Defensive team.Even though the casual fan might not recognize Tucker for his defensive prowess, his peers do. Earlier this year, DeMar DeRozan praised Tucker’s defensive intensity. “PJ is one of the most intense individual defenders on the defensive end,” he told The Athletic. “I don’t think he gets enough credit for it.”The good news for Tucker is that he has the chance to raise his profile during the Rockets’ second-round matchup against the Warriors. The bad news is that he has to prove his mettle by trying to guard Durant.During the regular season, Tucker matched up with Durant on 111 possessions and held him to shooting 48 percent from the field, a tick below Durant’s 52 percent season average. Durant scored 35 points during the Warriors’ Game 1 victory on Sunday, though only 13 of those points were scored while Tucker was guarding him. In reality, the only person that can stop Durant is Durant. But as long as Tucker doesn’t allow him to shoot over 60 percent from the field like he did when he was guarded by Patrick Beverley during the Warriors’ first-round series, the Rockets will have a chance to pull off the upset.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Creative shot makers and flashy passers are the easiest players to appreciate as fans. Less obvious are the role players who contribute to winning even when they don’t have the ball — and few such role players have had a bigger impact than Houston’s PJ Tucker.There isn’t a formal definition for what constitutes a role player, but role players do have some defining characteristics. For instance, think of the relationship between a player’s minutes per game and his usage rate, which is the share of a team’s plays used by a player while he is on the court. Star players — your LeBron Jameses and Steph Currys of the league — log heavy minutes and have high usage rates. Role players may also log heavy minutes but tend to be comparatively less involved on offense.Below is a scatter chart that shows the relationship between usage rate and minutes played per game. The relationship is flat for players who see fewer than 20 minutes per game, but there is a strong, positive relationship among starter- and rotation-level players. After all, if you weren’t producing on the offensive end, you wouldn’t be worth playing for long stretches of time. Unless you’re Tucker.
Whether it’s track, football or baseball, the Southeastern Conference is often seen as the quintessential athletic conference, and sophomore first baseman and pitcher Josh Dezse of the Ohio State baseball team is sick of hearing about it. “The SEC’s got the huge hype and these northern teams are looked down upon, but I think the talent, I wouldn’t say that it’s even, but I would say that there is just as good of players up here as down there,” Dezse said. “They may not all be on one team, but I definitely think that we can compete with those SEC schools, and it does frustrate us as a northern school hearing about that stuff.” Heading into his team’s three-game series against No. 10 Georgia Tech, a former member institution of the SEC, Dezse said OSU is eager to show what they can do. “Hopefully this weekend we can go down there and prove that the Big Ten can compete,” he said. The team opened their season last weekend at the Big Ten/Big East challenge in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Fla., going 2-1. Their two victories came against Connecticut and Seton Hall, with the loss coming in the series-opening game against South Florida. The fact that his team was still able to accomplish its goal for the weekend was reassuring for coach Greg Beals. “We’ve set goals to win weekends and winning two out of three is the bare minimum,” Beals said. “Just because we lost the first game doesn’t mean we can’t still do that, and our guys bounced back and made sure we did that.” Beals said the way his team responded to the series-opening loss didn’t necessarily impress him, but was glad to see that they did respond. “It tells us a little bit about our character,” he said. Georgia Tech is known for their strong pitching staff, something that Dezse and Beals said the team is preparing for. “Georgia Tech is going to pitch the ball very well,” Beals said. “I don’t foresee us scoring 14 and nine runs to win games like we did this past weekend.” Dezse called for his team to start quickly to counter the pitching they will see this weekend. “We obviously know we’re going to see some good pitchers from Georgia Tech, so we need to strike early and fast,” he said. Beals also wants to see his team play a cleaner game on both sides of the ball and eliminate errors that he saw in the season opening series. “We’re going to have to play a little bit cleaner than we did this weekend,” he said. “We’re going to have to eliminate some of our errors on defense. In most of the innings where we gave up runs, we did something to help them.” The team had a throwing error in the USF game that resulted in a run, and gave up a couple of walks with similar results, Beals said. Junior pitcher Brian King said his team should be able to repeat their exploits from last weekend. “We worked real hard as a team this past weekend and pulled two out of three, and I’m confident that if we do that again, we’re going to come out of there winning that weekend series,” King said. Besides wanting his team to succeed this weekend, the series against Georgia Tech has special meaning for Beals. It will mark the first time he coaches against his former college coach Danny Hall, whom he played under at Kent State. “Coach Hall is kind of a mentor of mine,” Beals said. “He’s kind of the one that orchestrated me getting into the college coaching profession, so I have a lot of respect for Danny.” Beals said coaching against his former coach “is going to be exciting,” and that he and coach Hall “look forward to seeing each other.” Beals said his team should be just as excited for the weekend’s series against Georgia Tech, even if it’s for different reasons. “Great teams, teams that are looking to do something special, thrive with this opportunity to go against this team,” he said. “We work really hard and our guys have high expectations for our season, and this will be a good barometer for where we are at this time of the year.” Opening pitches are set for 4:05 p.m. Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta, Ga.
Life’s been a whirlwind for United States women’s national soccer team players Alex Morgan and Hope Solo since their World Cup performance in the summer of 2011. In the midst of preparing for the 2012 Olympic Games set to take place in London, England, the two soccer stars made an appearance at Ohio State to speak at an event in the Ohio Union. Solo, who plays goalie, and Morgan, who plays forward, sat down for an exclusive interview with The Lantern before taking the stage and talking to students. Though the soccer tandem hadn’t seen much more than the airport, they said they were excited to be in Columbus and on OSU’s campus. “I’m so excited to be on campus and see really more or less what the student body is like than the city itself,” Solo said. The U.S. women’s soccer team lost to Japan in the World Cup final, but overall they said it was a great experience. “The World Cup was obviously an amazing experience,” Morgan said. “It was my first World Cup. We had a great journey through the World Cup. We did end up on the short side of the stick with that loss in the end to Japan. But we have no regrets.” The World Cup saw both players’ popularity soar and with that popularity, they were able to experience opportunities outside of soccer. Solo participated in the dancing competition “Dancing With the Stars,” and Morgan appeared in the most recent edition of the yearly “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition” in which she posed in body paint. “It was probably the longest day of my life,” Morgan said of the magazine photo shoot. “It took probably 14 hours to paint. I felt very uncomfortable at many times during that day, but I’m very happy with the results.” Solo said that though the players have seen their individual popularity grow, the popularity for the sport has increased as well. “We’ve gotten some younger, maybe, male fans because of certain other aspects,” Solo said. “But I can assure you that the passion of the game has grown on kind of a broader scheme.” And the players said their focus is on the game at the end of the day. “It starts with soccer and it ends with soccer,” Morgan said. “That’s our priority and although we have these opportunities outside of soccer, we need to go back and keep soccer our priority.” Though soccer doesn’t begin for the women at the Olympics until July, the players said their team is already in full training mode. Team USA will travel to Portugal, Japan and other locations before finally suiting up in London. And make no mistake about it. The team wants gold. “Is there any other way to enter the Olympics?” Solo said. As for all of Solo’s and Morgan’s male fans at OSU, they didn’t have any chance encounters with the athletes walking down High Street late at night. Morgan said she’s exhausted. “I’m going to call it a night pretty early tonight, which is sad,” Morgan said. “I wish I could see the city a little bit more.”
Sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott warms up before a game against Minnesota on Nov. 15 in Minneapolis. OSU won. 31-24.Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorThe Ohio State football team has two games left on its schedule, but the Buckeyes know a win — or a Michigan State loss — will give them a third.OSU (9-1, 6-0) is set for a shot to seal a trip to the Big Ten Championship Game against Indiana on Saturday at Ohio Stadium, but when it comes time for the noon kickoff, nothing will be a given.The Lantern sports editors picked five key questions needing answers as the Buckeyes look to book their ticket to Indianapolis and the Hoosiers try to delay their trip.1. Will sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott become coach Urban Meyer’s second 1,000-yard rusher?Chances are Elliott — who has accumulated 954 rushing yards on 167 carries this season — will break the 1,000-yard barrier this season. But if the Buckeyes establish the run game early, he could do it in the first quarter against Indiana.There’s no guarantee, but Elliott’s strong play in recent weeks has been key to OSU’s offensive attack. As he closes in on a career milestone, there’s no reason for the coaching staff to go away from him if he’s playing well from the start.Former Buckeye Carlos Hyde became Meyer’s first-ever 1,000-yard rusher last season, against Indiana, and Elliott — especially in recent weeks — has compared favorably to Hyde’s play.If he doesn’t pick up the necessary 46 yards, OSU won’t be guaranteed a loss. But a big win for the Buckeyes could come behind a big day from Elliott.2. Will playing at home help the Buckeyes eliminate mistakes?OSU is coming off of consecutive road wins against teams ranked in the top 25 of the College Football Playoff standings, but that doesn’t mean the team was flawless against Michigan State and Minnesota.First-half turnovers against Michigan State allowed the Spartans to take a 21-14 lead early on, but the OSU offense found a way to make up for it to take a 28-21 lead into the half. Against Minnesota, a pair of lost fumbles and an interception allowed the Golden Gophers to stay within three at halftime and eventually keep the game within seven when the clock ran out.Both games were played on the road — and the Minnesota game was played in below-20-degree temperatures — but many of the mistakes were still avoidable. Redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall’s two fumbles lost against the Golden Gophers almost single-handedly kept the game close, while the Buckeyes’ offensive explosion helped overcome some big plays given up after turnovers against Michigan State.Returning to Ohio Stadium might be the perfect remedy for OSU’s turnover issues, and if that’s the case, the Buckeyes could be in for a commanding win.3. How many yards will Indiana junior running back Tevin Coleman gain?Meyer said it best during Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference: Coleman is “ridiculous.”The Hoosier running back is the focal point of the offense, and has carried the load with 214 carries totaling 1,678 yards so far this season. He’s also got 12 touchdowns on the ground, and is coming off a 307-yard performance in a loss to Rutgers last week.It’s hard to say how Indiana managed to lose a game when its running back put up that many yards on the ground, but Coleman getting rolling is one of the few things likely to keep Indiana in the game against OSU.4. Can Indiana freshman quarterback Zander Diamont step up in the Horseshoe?The Hoosiers entered the season with an experienced junior quarterback under center, but since junior Nate Sudfeld went down with a season-ending shoulder injury after playing in six games, Diamont has gotten the call.Sudfeld threw for 1,151 yards and six touchdowns to just three interceptions before getting hurt, and Diamont hasn’t come close to replicating those numbers. In the first two games of his collegiate career — consecutive losses to Michigan State and Michigan by a combined 63 points — Diamont completed a grand total of 10 passes on 23 attempts. Those 10 completions totaled just 35 yards and no touchdowns. He didn’t throw his first touchdown until his fourth game, and has completed just 46.9 percent of his passes as a Hoosier. Diamont starting wasn’t in Indiana’s this season, and having him start against the No. 6 Buckeyes could be too tall of a task. If he struggles from the start, expect the OSU defense to bring pressure early and often and force at least a few mistakes from the freshman signal caller.5. Can the J.T. Barrett and Joey Bosa combination continue to impress?The 2013 recruiting classmates have arguably been the top two players not only on the OSU team, but in the Big Ten as well. Thursday afternoon, Bosa was named a finalist for the Lombardi Award, which is given to the best lineman or linebacker in the country, while Barrett has the third-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy (15/1 as of Thursday evening) according to Bovada.com, an online gambling site. Both are coming off big games individually as Bosa recorded a season-high seven tackles in a 31-24 win over Minnesota and Barrett broke three school records including longest rush by a quarterback (86), most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback (189) and touchdowns responsible for in a season (38). Bosa will need to play one of his better games in order to shut down Coleman, as he said Wednesday that the goal of the defense is to hold the Indiana back under 100 yards. If Barrett can continue to play like he has since the loss to Virginia Tech, there is a very good chance he could be on a flight to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony in early December.
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun attempts a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Minnesota in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament on March 3, 2018. Ohio State won 90-88 to advance to the championship. Credit: Alyssia Graves | Assistant Sports DirectorBig Ten tournament and outright regular-season champion Ohio State will begin its final stretch of games with a core group of seniors when it returns home to face No. 14 George Washington in the first round of the NCAA tournament at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes begin the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Spokane region, winning 11 of its past 12 games.The Colonials claimed an outright bid to the tournament following their Atlantic 10 tournament championship win. They have won seven of their past eight games, including a victory against Dayton, which was 15-1 in conference play this season.George Washington average just 60.2 points per game, good for just 275th in the nation out of 349 teams. The team only has two players who average double-digit points: senior guard Brianna Cummings and senior forward Kelli Prange. Cummings leads the team in scoring with 14.1 points per game, and Prange is second with 12.2 points.Ohio State is on the other end of the spectrum, averaging the fourth-most points per game in the nation at 85.1. Though the Colonials have not been a prolific offense this season, they can rely on their defense that has limited opponents to 57.6 points per game, 43rd-fewest in the country. Big-time players are expected to show up come tournament play, and that will have to be the case for the Buckeyes. Ohio State will need major contributions from senior guard Kelsey Mitchell and redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga given the lack of depth on the team and uncertainty of production from other players on the roster.Mitchell is averaging the third-most points in the nation at 24.5 per game, while Mavunga is averaging 16.2 points and 10.6 rebounds per game. It’s important for both to play efficient in order For the Buckeyes to make a run to the Final Four, which is held at home in Columbus.Mitchell is just 31 points away from securing sole possession of second place on the all-time scoring leaderboard in women’s college basketball history.The winner of this matchup would ace the winner of the game between No. 6 seed LSU and No. 11 seed Central Michigan on Monday in Columbus.
Junior forward Carson Meyer looks down the ice during the second period of Ohio State’s hockey game vs. Michigan on Jan. 11. Ohio State lost 2-1. Credit: Nick Hudak | For The LanternThe No. 4 Ohio State men’s hockey team (13-5-4, 6-3-3 Big Ten) is set to play against No. 13 Penn State (13-7-2, 5-6-1 Big Ten) after a split series against rival Michigan.Ohio State is currently ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten, with Penn State at No. 4. The Nittany Lions are ranked No. 1 in goals, boasting 107 this season while allowing 81 goals. Ohio State, meanwhile, has scored 67 goals and allowed 48.Penn State has scored 20 goals more than any team in the NCAA, and averages nearly a goal more than any team in the country. Ohio State already has had experience with Penn State this year, splitting an earlier series against the Nittany Lions. Ohio State junior forward Tanner Laczynski said he knows what to expect from Penn State’s team.“I think they’ve played the same the last couple of years,” Laczynski said. “They like to get a lot of pucks at the net. They’re a very offensive-minded team.”Penn State is led by three scorers who all rank in the top 10 in points in the NCAA.Sophomore forwards Alex Limoges and Evan Barratt are tied for No. 2 in the country with 30 points, and junior forward Brandon Biro is tied for No. 8 with 26.Barratt’s 13 goals is tied for the fourth-most in the NCAA.Ohio State senior defenseman Tommy Parran said his team won’t change its mindset to match such an aggressive opponent.“I think it’s just staying true to our training and what we practice every day,” he said. “They are pretty prolific in terms of their goal-scoring and their abilities and they’ve got some great forwards. We definitely know what we’re handling but it’s good to be cognitive of what they’re bringing.”So far this season, Ohio State has had bad history with Friday games, but it has been able to mount comebacks and win on Saturday nights.The Buckeyes haven’t lost two games in a row yet this season. Head coach Steve Rohlik said he believes this happens from extra motivation on the second night.“Desperation,” he said. “When you’re desperate and get beat or don’t play as well on Friday you usually are going to get a better hockey team on Saturday. We talked about it this week already. We’ve got to play desperate on Friday.”The Buckeyes match up against Penn State at University Park, Pennsylvania, at 7 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Arkadiusz Jozwik died after at attack in Harlow last monthCredit:SWNS Witnesses reported the two men, who are both in their 30s, were attacked by a group of four or five males.Supt Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, said: “This was a vicious and horrible attack.“Although we are considering this matter as a potential hate crime, it is not being linked with the attack at The Stow last weekend.” Two Polish men have been beaten up by a gang in the same Essex town where one of their compatriots was killed last week in a suspected hate crime.The two unnamed victims were set on by up to five men during the potential racist attack in Harlow, where Arkadiusz Jozwik, was severely beaten and killed a week earlier.One victim was left with a broken nose and the other with a cut head after the incident outside the town’s William Aylmer pub in the early hours of Sunday. “The attack took place in the town centre outside a popular pub and we believe there will have been people who witnessed it.”Essex police last week said Mr Jozwik’s killing was being investigated as a possible hate crime. Six teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of his killing. 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.
Plans to cut surgery have been drawn up so NHS trusts can free up more beds for urgent patients Credit:Rui Vieira/PA A reduction of elective hospital activity in the run-up to Christmas is standard practice, and well-rehearsed by NHS providersNHS Improvement spokesman Watchdogs have also reiterated orders to hospitals to dramatically reduce their bed capacity, amid soaring levels of crowding.In a letter to hospital chief executives, Jim Mackey, chief executive of NHS Improvement, warned of “unprecedented demand” placing pressure on services.“Given the level of risk facing the system, it is clear that having sufficient bed capacity going into Christmas is critical,” he wrote. Every hospital has been told it should get capacity down to 85 per cent by Monday.But new figures show that less than a week ago, capacity was at 95 per cent.Hospitals had already been instructed to outsource as many operations as needed to private hospitals in an attempt to empty beds as pressures rise.But new figures show occupancy is in fact soaring, with a 5 per cent rise in just one week. Meanwhile winter vomiting bug is at levels 64 per cent higher than last year, with close to 2,000 cases, and 860 beds closed – a quadrupling on this time last year.In the last week NHS trusts have been forced to divert ambulances from 33 Accident & Emergency departments amid rising numbers of cases, compared with just 14 diverts this time last year.Mr Mackey said NHS trusts should should “cease” most planned operations and activity over Christmas, also known as elective care, to ensure enough beds are available.The letter, seen by the Health Service Journal and dated 9 December says: “In preparing for managing winter pressures, it is recommended that all providers ‘pace’ their elective work by introducing elective breaks where trusts cease most in-patient elective activity and focus on treating emergency activity and non-admitted patients.” Given the level of risk facing the system, it is clear that having sufficient bed capacity going into Christmas is criticalJim Mackey, chief executive, NHS Improvement “What’s more, the NHS is going into this winter in an even worse position than it was a year ago, with record deficits, worse performance against the A&E target, far more trolley waits, record delayed discharges from hospital, and fewer people getting the help they need with social care.”When you add into that mix the sort of intense pressure on beds we’ve demonstrated hospitals experienced last winter, patients’ care is bound to suffer,” he said.A spokesman for NHS Improvement said: “NHS providers will be doing all they can to make sure their patients are able to receive quality care during the busy Christmas period. A reduction of elective hospital activity in the run-up to Christmas is standard practice, and well-rehearsed by NHS providers.“Many hospital trusts also routinely wind down elective activities in the run up to the Christmas and New Year period, as patients do not wish to be in hospital over the festive period and those who are medically fit for discharge want to return home. This also frees additional capacity.”He said trusts should be restricting their operations in advance, in order to keep cancellations to an absolute minimum. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The letter says cutting bed occupancy rates to 85 per cent – the recommended amount to keep infection rates low and create “slack” in the system to deal with surges in demand – will better enable trusts to deal with unplanned patient care and emergencies.NHS trusts have been banned from declaring black alerts, and told instead to class levels of pressure using a four point scale.New figures show 37 NHS trusts reported reaching level three on the scale – denoting system-wide “major pressures” – on at least one day in the week ending December 11.Three trusts reached the highest level four during the week, meaning they were “unable to deliver comprehensive care” with “increased potential for patient care and safety to be compromised”.Joyce Robins, from Patient Concern, said: “These are absolutely desperate measures. To be stopping operations on this scale, leaving people to endure longer waits in pain and misery, is a truly terrible state to have reached.“This is a disaster for the NHS and for the public.” Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers said the guidance went further than previous attempts to help the NHS stave off a winter crisis. He said it was a “classic illustration of how trusts are now caught between a rock and a hard place” attempting to meet rises in emergency demand, while waiting lists are rising, and finances stretched. Nuffield Trust chief economist John Appleby said bed occupancy rates of 95 per cent were “linked to higher infection rates and longer waits in A&E”.As a result, winter pressures “pose a real threat to the smooth running of hospitals and, ultimately, to patient safety”. Hospitals have been ordered to stop carrying out the vast majority of operations in a desperate bid to attempt to fend off a growing NHS crisis.Health regulators have stepped in to order the extreme measures amid rising panic about how services will cope with mounting strain.In an average month, the health service carries out about 600,000 planned operations, as well as urgent procedures.Now hospitals have been told to stop carrying out most planned surgery, to focus on treating emergency cases.
Show more Mr Rooke said the pregnant woman, who had been walking with her partner on October 30, had not given a statement as “she did not want the stress of court to affect her any further”.Sentencing him, Judge Hill said it was so serious that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.”The fact you were wearing a clown mask is an aggravating factor because it increased the fear they would have experienced and secondly it was a way of disguising who you were,” he said.March had previously admitted possession of a bladed article. An axe-wielding “killer clown” prankster has been jailed after he chased a pregnant woman the night before Halloween.Michael March, 18, is thought to be the first person imprisoned following the craze that swept across the UK.Newcastle Crown Court heard he terrified a couple walking past him after banging the foot long axe on the floor in South Shields just after 9pm.The woman, who was 22 weeks pregnant, threw a brick at him in an attempt to defend herself before he ran off.Jailing him for six months, Judge Jamie Hill QC said: “Brandishing an axe and threatening people in the street is serious whatever the context.”Nicholas Rooke, prosecuting, told the court that after the police were called they traced March via CCTV and found him with the axe and a clown mask in his backpack.”He claimed it was a prank saying he had himself been chased by killer clowns in Gateshead and he thought he would scare people as part of a prank,” he said. A 10-year-old boy in Plymouth was threatened by a clown who jumped out of a bush carrying a hammer, while in Workington, Cumbria, a clown brandishing an axe chased an 11-year-old girl.Kent Police saw 59 clown-related incidents between October 7 and 10, Thames Valley Police had 14 reports in 24 hours, and South Yorkshire Police said it had received 61 reports. The craze that swept the UK led to a deluge of calls to Childline from youngsters left terrified by the sinister phenomenon as well as dozens of reports to police. Vic Laffey, defending, said March had no previous convictions and that he lived with his grandparents and helped care for his grandfather.He said he accepted his actions had been “foolish and reckless” and that it must have been a frightening incident.”When he was apprehended his first words were ‘I was not going to hurt anyone’,” he said. “This was a Halloween prank gone horribly wrong.”He had tried to convince the judge that he should have avoided jail, as at the time of the offence he was 17 years old. The ‘killer clown’ craze spread across the UK in Autumn 2016Credit:Peter Byrne/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.
It was the dismissal in disgrace that was the hardest aspect of all to bearClaire Blackman During the packed hearing (which included an entire public row in the gallery allocated to retired officers ranked Colonel or above) the court heard a number of statements testifying to the exemplary character of Alexander Blackman, who had served six tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.Jonathan Goldberg QC, defending, said over the course of his career Blackman estimates he has “personally and lawfully killed 30 of the Queen’s enemies on the battlefield”.Mr Goldberg said his eventual mental breakdown – which led to him shooting the Taliban insurgent who had already been severely wounded by an apache helicopter in 2011 – was due to the pressures placed upon his men fighting in Nad-e-Ali, described as “the most dangerous square mile on earth”. Show more A statement was read out by another Royal Marine Commando, Thomas Quinn, who served under Blackman in Helmand. “If he was to come back to the Royal Marines, I would follow him to hell and back without any questions,” he said. At the end of the hearing, a crowd of a hundred or so supporters and veterans gathered on the court steps waving flags. Three cheers were given for Claire Blackman as she left the building.In a short statement outside, she expressed her disappointment at the delay but added: “We will patiently await their ruling.” “The arrest and the conviction were a huge shock,” she said. “But it was the dismissal in disgrace that was the hardest aspect of the whole episode to bear. I often said if you cut my husband in half you would see Royal Marine all the way through him.” The wife of Marine A has spoken of the pain of her husband’s wrongful conviction for murder robbing her of half of her marriage, as judges ruled that he must spend at least another weekend in jail.Claire Blackman appeared as a surprise character witness at the Royal Courts of Justice yesterday, where supporters had gathered in the hope Alexander Blackman would finally walk free.During the hearing, Blackman, who in 2013 was given a life sentence for the murder of a wounded Taliban insurgent in Afghanistan, was described by his defence barrister as “the last victim of a failed war”. Mr Goldberg also provided the hearing with new evidence from a pathologist Dr Ashley Fegan-Earl. “He concludes it was inevitable the insurgent would have died within minutes anyway,” Goldberg added.Among those in court was Lance Corporal Cassidy Little, a former Royal Marine who served under Blackman in Afghanistan and lost his right leg in an IED blast which killed two other soldiers. Claire Blackman, the wife of Marine A Alexander BlackmanCredit:Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph However despite his murder conviction having been reduced to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility on March 15, the panel of five judges decided to delay an eventual decision on when the 42-year-old will be released until next Tuesday.It also emerged during the hearing that Blackman, from Taunton, in Somerset, could rejoin the Royal Marines in a non frontline role upon his release. Occupying the witness stand dressed all in black and watched by her husband who appeared via video link from Erlestoke Prison, Claire Blackman said they had only spent half of the eight years together since marrying in 2009, due to him fighting abroad and then languishing in jail. “Even in our current circumstances we laugh a lot,” she said.Mrs Blackman, a 45-year-old NHS communications manager, also described the devastation her husband felt on being expelled from the regiment he served with distinction for 15 years, and welcomed the prospect of him returning to the Royal Marines as: “a real positive”. 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.
“At some point, someone’s got to start paying attention to this,” he said. But Gingerbread, the charity for single parents, refuted suggestions that selfishness was behind societal decline.Rosie Ferguson, chief executive, said: “The Marriage Foundation are right to highlight the threat of poverty amongst single parents families. “Yet the solution to this has to be actions that address the specific, concrete drivers of inequality, rather than the inflammatory stigmatising of those involved.” “We put ourselves first, so we’re more likely to have problems with relationships. Sir Paul Coleridge, a former High Court judge and founder and chairman of the Marriage Foundation, said: “Whenever family breakdown statistics are discussed people assume it means married couples divorcing, but that is not the real mischief.“The real mischief is that separating cohabiting as opposed to divorcing couples are four times more likely to split up. This is the driver of the national tragedy of mass family breakdown.”Previous research found that unmarried couples were four times more likely to split up than married couples. 5.3 per cent of unmarried couples split during the course of any one year, compared to 1.3 per cent of married couples. The UK has one of the highest levels of family breakdown in Europe. Research released earlier this year by the Social Trends Institute found that the UK is the only country in Europe where less than 75 per cent of children live with both natural parents. Levels are also high in the US, where almost one in three children live with a single parent. Mr Benson said that the unpopularity of marriage was due to an preoccupation with “individual autonomy” in the UK and US.He said it was a “public health issue” because children in cohabiting relationships were more likely to have problems with health and education. In 2006 there were just 954,000 cohabiting couples, compared to 1.26m in 2016. In 2016 51.4 per cent of families with parents who split up were unmarried, compared to 48.1 per cent of married couple families. Same-sex couples with children made up just 0.5 per cent of splits. The group, which campaigns for the public understanding of marriage, said that an increasing number of unmarried couples would lead to more children being adversely affected by their parents splitting up. 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. More families involving unmarried than married couples are breaking down for the first time ever in what campaigners for marriage are calling a “national tragedy”, ONS figures show. Analysis of the official figures shows that despite unmarried couples with children making up just one in five of all parents, they now account for more than 50 per cent of splits which involve children. While there are more than 4.8m families where the parents are married, and just 1.26m where they are not, more than 50 per cent of splits in 2016 were cohabiting couples. Ten years ago families where the parents cohabited made up 45 per cent of splits. Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation, who analysed the data, said the increase was due to a rise in the total number of families where the parents are unmarried.
The new Bishop of Sheffield is a popular evangelical who enjoys proof-reading his wife’s raunchy Church of England novels. The Very Rev Dr Pete Wilcox, 55, has been widely praised for his work in his current role as Dean of Liverpool.Downing Street announced this morning that he would become the new Bishop of Sheffield this summer after the previous nominee, the current Bishop of Burnley, Philip North, stood aside after a row over his view that women should not become priests. But Dr Wilcox’s wife, Catherine, has a rather less conventional career – writing novels which in their content he admits can “come as something of a shock” to other Christians. Catherine, who is also Dr Wilcox and writes under the name Catherine Fox, has written a Christian spoof of Fifty Shades of Grey entitled Fifty Shades of Purple and has had her books described as “cassock-rippers” for their racy, real-life content. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University and has written a series of books based in the fictional diocese of Lindchester. Her books tackle real-life issues including sexuality, church politics, relationships and morality.Her characters debate the same issues that the Church of England has been tackling in real life, such as gay priests and the ordination of women.But they also swear copiously and engage in explicit trysts. Catherine Fox in 1998, when her husband was vicar of St Paul’s Church, WalsallCredit:Eleanor Bentall 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. He added: “She is an extraordinarily creative, compelling writer. She is particularly good at characterisation and dialogue, her characters are very believable, but she doesn’t tidy anything up. “She writes about the Christian gospel and its impact on individual lives, but she doesn’t make everything neat and tidy because life just isn’t that way. “Her books can come as something of a shock to Christians who pick them up because they know that she’s married to a Christian priest, and they’re not used to reading contemporary literary fiction.”They don’t come as anything like a shock to people who are used to reading the genre in which Cathy writes.”The couple met while both were studying at Durham University, and they have two adult sons.Dr Wilcox said he was “excited” to take on the new role, adding: “The opportunity to be the diocesan bishop of somewhere northern and urban just absolutely is for me.”Mr North said he was “overjoyed” at the news. He said: “He will bring great intelligence, insight, and evangelistic energy to the Diocese of Sheffield along with experience of ministry from a wide variety of contexts.” The opportunity to be the diocesan bishop of somewhere northern and urban just absolutely is for me.Pete Wilcox One couple even enjoys a fumble while on a walk in the countryside. The newly-appointed bishop said it was an “enormous privilege” to be his wife’s first reader.
The house was described as “heavily cluttered” and people living nearby said the pair were reclusiveCredit:Tom Martin/Wales news service Search teams used skips to remove furniture and clutter from the home when they discovered the decomposed bodyCredit:Tom martin/Wales news service “They were well known, not for being seen about, but as the old Welsh family who kept themselves to themselves. They were very reclusive.”You certainly wouldn’t pop over for a cup of tea. I guess you could describe them as odd.”Local residents said the mother and daughter were “well known” in the area, but described them as “odd” and said they rarely left their property.Local county councillor Elizabeth Evans said that she had known Mrs Jones and her daughter all her life.”The most important thing at the moment is that Valerie is safe and in hospital,” she said.The house was described as “heavily cluttered” and people living nearby said the pair were reclusive.One said: “They are a well-known Aberaeron family who keep themselves to themselves and certainly do not seem to welcome visitors. The remains of a missing 87-year-old hoarder have been found buried under clutter in her home as neighbours say they hadn’t seen her for four years.Gaynor Jones was found dead in her cottage in Aberaeron, West Wales, which she shares with her daughter, after neighbours raised the alarm.The elderly woman was feared missing on Monday after emergency services found her daughter Valerie Jones collapsed under mounds of papers and was taken to hospital.It took police four days to find the human remains of her mother in another part of the cottage.Search teams used skips to remove furniture and clutter from the home when they discovered the decomposed body.Believed to be in her 50s, the daughter was taken to Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth in a “poorly condition” and is believed to be suffering from severe dehydration.Emergency services found the daughter on Monday after a tip-off from neighbours who had grown concerned. 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. It remains unknown as to how long the widow had been dead for, but one neighbour said he’d not had sight of the women in four years.The pair are believed to have mainly spoken Welsh and did not regularly mix with their elderly English neighbours. One woman said: “I think the mother was born there herself, so the cottages have been in her families hands for about a century. Historic photographer Paul White said on his website that the cottages were “all now empty or ruined.”Writing about the cottages, he noted that: “Number 1 I believe was lived in until quite recently, the middle one has recently been purchased, the land cleared away and the third and smallest is still filled with personal belongings and is much ruined and damp.”A police spokesperson said: “Dyfed-Powys Police received a report concerning the welfare of two women from the Aberaeron area.”On police attendance at the property one female was taken to hospital.”Following a search of the property the remains of a body have been found. The death is currently being treated as unexplained.”Police say Ceredigion coroner Peter Brunton has been informed and an inquest is due to be opened.The coroner’s officer confirmed that they were aware of a death but that no further information had been passed on to them by police. “Valerie is a single woman who has been living alone with her mother since her father passed away several years ago. What has happened there is all a bit of a mystery.”Their home is the first of three stone buildings known as the Dolheulog Cottages.The cottage, which is believed to be the oldest dwelling in Aberaeron, was left so dilapidated and cluttered that a website giving a history of Welsh ruins stated it was abandoned in 2016.
Mr Modi is accused of involvement in a scam against Punjab National Bank (PNB), India’s second-largest state-run lenderCredit:Grant Lamos IV/WireImage An Indian jeweller on the run over a £1.4 billion alleged bank fraud is hiding in Britain, according to officials.Nirav Modi, a billionaire whose well-known clients have included the actresses Naomi Watts and Kate Winslet, is accused of involvement in a scam against Punjab National Bank (PNB), India’s second-largest state-run lender.Officials in India and Britain have claimed that Mr Modi has sought asylum in Britain for what he called “political persecution”, according to the Financial Times.Indian investigators are examining claims that Mr Modi and Mehul Choksi, his uncle and business partner, also a diamond merchant, defrauded PNB of 2.8 billion rupees (£31 million). This figure is said to be just a part of the total losses. Mr Modi and Mr Choksi allegedly defrauded PNB by obtaining credit from international branches of other Indian banks using illegal guarantees provided by rogue PNB employees, according to the bank. Investigators have arrested 25 people on charges of enabling the defrauding of the bank with forged documents.Mr Modi, the third generation of his family to go into the diamond trade, is worth £1.3 billion according to Forbes, placing him 85th on India’s rich list. His high-end Nirav Modi brand has stores in several of the world’s major cities. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
The Met Office has issued an amber heatwave alert suggesting people “stay indoors and out of the sun”Well, look no further… Doors open at 9am. pic.twitter.com/pxBXqQJnGu— York Minster (@York_Minster) July 23, 2018 Cathedrals across the country are taking advantage of the heatwave, telling hot and bothered Britons they are the coolest place in the city.As temperatures soar above 30 degrees in some parts of the UK, the relatively cold insides of the country’s cathedrals may seem like an ideal place to seek sanctuary.Canterbury Cathedral is encouraging locals and tourists alike to stop in and eat their lunch there, away from the sun’s rays.A spokesperson said: “It’s always cool in our cloister, we have asked people if they want to come in on social media, people do come in at lunchtime and people who live in the local area have passes where they can come in for free, so they do come in to cool down at lunch.”Those who work at York Minster have said it is one of the coolest places in the city, and a tweet from the official account encouraged people to come and recover from the burning heat. The account urged: “The Met Office has issued an amber heatwave alert suggesting people ‘stay indoors and out of the sun. Well, look no further… Doors open at 9am.” A spokesperson from Durham Cathedral said that although the city isn’t quite as warm as York at the moment, it is preparing for the heatwave to hit on Thursday. They said: “We’re not as hot at York especially at the moment, but things are forecast to get a bit hotter on Thursday, so we are inviting people in, and are open until 8pm in the evenings at the moment. People are welcome to come into the cathedral during the heatwave. It’s free to enter, and donations are encouraged, for people who need a respite from the heat.”The All Saints Church in Kettering chimed in, simply tweeting: “Beat the heatwave – Drop into a church – churches are cool.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The Church of England approved this message, with a spokesperson telling The Telegraph: “As well as looking glorious, our historic church buildings tend to stay nicely cool, and are the perfect place of sanctuary in the heatwave. We have around 16,000 in total, so there’s probably one nearby (google A Church Near You to find out where).”Most are open all day, so why not pop in for a moment’s calm, take a break from the sun, and experience some of the country’s richest architectural treasures along the way!”However, Humanists UK were unimpressed by the “ploy”. Richy Thompson, Director of Pubilc Affairs and Policy said : “We’re glad to hear that vicars aren’t getting too hot under the dog collar given this warm weather, but we trust the British public will be cool to this latest ploy for new recruits.