6 Jan
2020

Cruyff’s children prove they are the latest golden generation

first_imgIn 2011, no longer recognising his Ajax, Cruyff undertook the task of rebuilding the famous youth school, by now known as ‘De Toekomst’ (the future), where he had learned his football.Cruyff’s declared aim was “to focus on the individual, because it is by training exceptional individuals that we will build a great team”.De Toekomst is a complex of 12 pitches located a few hundred metres from the club’s main stadium, now named the Johan Cruyff ArenA.There Ajax train the young talent uncovered by the club’s eight full-time scouts and 90 volunteers, generally from within 60 kilometres of Amsterdam.It took time for Cruyff’s reforms to bear fruit. But the backbone of the team that won 4-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday night was molded at the Toekomst.Frenkie de Jong (21), Matthijs de Ligt (19), Donny van de Beek (21), Kasper Dolberg (21), Andre Onana (22) and Rasmus Kristensen (21) are all products of the youth system.Of the older players who add experience, Daley Blind (28), who has returned after four years at Manchester United, was in the youth system when Cruyff started to implement his plan.Ajax won the last of their four Champions Cup trophies in 1995 under Louis van Gaal.That was also a squad built around the young home grown talent, including Edwin van der Sar, Michael Reiziger, Frank and Ronald de Boer, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Marc Overmars, Patrick Kluivert and Jari Litmanen, as well as another veteran who had returned to his first club, Frank Rijkaard.“This generation is almost as strong as that of 1995,” Van Gaal told Panenka magazine in February.– Exceptional generation –Johan Cruyff (centre) celebrating Ajax’s 1972 European Cup trophy win over Inter Milan © AFP“I said that in October when Ajax was going to face Bayern and people made fun of me.”Ajax probably need to win soon with this exceptional generation.The 1995 team quickly began to break up as players left for richer clubs, although Ajax hung on to Van der Sar and the de Boer brothers until 1999.But that 1995 triumph was soon followed by the Bosman ruling which made it harder for clubs to keep talent.At a club which welcomes back its prodigal sons, Van der Sar, now the general manager, oversees the youth project with technical director Marc Overmars.“It is clear that we will have difficulties keeping these players together,” said Overmars, who as a player left Ajax at the age of 23 to join Arsenal.Indeed the summer sale of de Jong to Barcelona, the other club rebuilt by Cruyff, for 75 million euros is already agreed.Yet Overmars’ pragmatism is not tinged with pessimism. The talent reservoir of Ajax seems deep.Ryan Gravenberch, a midfielder, became the youngest first-team player in club history when he made his debut in the Dutch first division in September at 16 years and 130 days old, 112 days younger than Seedorf when he set the previous record.Brian Brobbey, a 17-year-old striker, is also talked of as a phenomenon.The club is good at making the most of all that young talent: 86 per cent of players trained at the club turn professional.Last summer the club made a video to convince the latest generation of their potential.It compared goalkeeper Onana to Van der Sar, striker Dolberg to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ligt to Daley’s father Danny Blind and Jong to Christian Eriksen, one of four former Ajax players, three of them products of the youth system, who were part of the Tottenham team that also recorded a notable away victory on Tuesday night.At the Bernabeu, the latest generation of Ajax talent lived up to the video and won a remarkable victory in a style that would have made Cruyff proud.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Winning with kids: the Ajax youngsters had something to celebrate in Madrid © AFP / GABRIEL BOUYSAMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Mar 6 – Johan Cruyff would have been proud.The spectacular qualification by Ajax for the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Real Madrid on Tuesday bore the stamp of the Dutch great who died three years ago.last_img read more

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17 Dec
2019

Use plot data to make sound decisions

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As harvest progresses across the Eastern Corn Belt, seed companies, universities, and growers will have the chance to compile and analyze data from yield testing. One of the most important decisions a farmer will face all year is deciding what variety to plant and in which field to plant it. To ensure that the best possible decision is made next spring, it is important to spend some time looking at yield data. While reviewing data is critical, knowing how to determine whether it is accurate and useful is equally important. Below are some tips for using data to make sound planting decisions next spring.Look for replicated dataDon’t rely on yield results from one strip plot on a farm or from a single plot location. Look for data from randomized tests that are repeated multiple times and across multiple locations. Replications in testing increase the reliability of the data and helps to remove variables that can skew results.For strip plot data, was a “tester” used?Strip plots planted on farms can cover large areas of a field. In many fields in the Eastern Corn Belt there are several soil types. If a plot crosses several soil types how can you be sure it is accurate? By planting a “tester” variety at regular intervals within the plot, you can calculate adjusted yields based on the variability of the tester yield across the plot. The use of a tester minimizes the effect soil type variability has on the plot results to ensure more accurate data.Look for consistencyAccording to Bob Nielsen, Purdue Extension Agronomist, “Documented consistency in yield performance is still the key to success in selecting hybrids that will perform well in your farming operation.” When choosing a variety based on plot data, it is important to look for consistent performance—across several plot locations and between multiple years. Choose varieties that consistently performed well in 2016 and 2017, in multiple locations, and different growing conditions.Statistical significanceOn published data look for foot notes that indicate the least statistically significant yield difference, or LSD. In many plots, the performance of the top 5 or 10 varieties may not be statistically different. Although there are small differences in yield, statistical analysis of the data indicates that all varieties within the LSD have an equal chance of winning the plot.While plot data can be very useful in making decisions, some plot data is significantly more accurate and reliable. The key to getting the most out of yield data is having the ability to sort through the large amounts of information to identify the data that most accurately and reliably represents varietal performance.last_img read more

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17 Dec
2019

Announcing the November Featured Geocacher of the Month

first_img SharePrint RelatedFeatured Geocacher of the Month Award WinnersAugust 25, 2011In “Community”December Featured Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentsDecember 7, 2012In “Community”November Featured Geocacher of the Month Nominees – Add Your CommentsNovember 9, 2012In “Community” The November Geocacher of the Month is known as the Elvis of the geocaching world, and over 130 geocachers agree. Congratulations to Ted, a.k.a. balkamper13 for being named November’s Featured Geocacher of the Month!November Featured Geocacher of the Month, balkamper13Balkamper13 is recognized for introducing and helping countless novice geocachers become caching addicts. He has donated quality homemade swag, time, and money to geocaching events. Ted has spent numerous hours teaching his secrets, and always invites new geocachers on geocaching adventures and events. He also shares his geocaching adventures and tips on this blog, LiveLoveCache.com.A geocacher who cast a vote says, “balkamper13 helped get us started. We love finding his caches and his swag.  The first CSI series cache find had us hooked. I have never seen such creativity! The events he hosts are first class. I have known balkamper13 for about a year and I have never met a fellow cacher who puts his time, money, heart, and soul into this great hobby to make his fellow cachers’ experiences the best.”Balkamper13 will receive a collector’s edition Featured Geocacher of the Month Geocoin, along with a Geocacher of the Month hat and certificate acknowledging his contributions signed by two of the founders of Geocaching.com.Thank you to the fellow November nominees and all those who supported them. The nominees not chosen as Featured Geocacher of the Month will receive a gift of appreciation from Groundspeak. See a list of all the featured Geocachers of the Month here.Featured Geocacher of the Month IconThe geocaching community is encouraged to re-nominate those who have yet to be honored as featured Geocacher of the Month. If you know an outstanding geocacher who should be considered for the honor, send an email to geocacherofthemonth@groundspeak.com. Every nomination must meet the following requirements:Your name, the name of your nominee, their usernameA picture of the nomineeDescription (200 or more words) explaining why he or she deserves to be the Geocacher of the Month.Please inform your nominee that you’ve submitted them for the awardNominations for the December Featured Geocacher of the Month must be received by the end of the day on Friday, December 7th.Once we have received all of the nominations, we will choose the top three candidates and post them on the Latitude 47 blog. You will then get a chance to champion your favorite. Our goal is to involve the entire geocaching community in this process so we might learn from each other.Share with your Friends:Morelast_img read more

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28 Oct
2019

a month agoKaranka on Mourinho: Zidane has earned some Real Madrid credit

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your say Karanka on Mourinho: Zidane has earned some Real Madrid creditby Carlos Volcanoa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveAitor Karanka says Real Madrid should stand by coach Zinedine Zidane.The Frenchman is under huge pressure after a poor start to the season and this week’s 3-0 humbling at Champions League opponents PSG.But Karanka, a former Real defender and also assistant coach to Jose Mourinho, told AS: “Football goes very fast. When Zidane won the Champions League things were not going so well in the Liga and in the end there are always criticisms. And more in Madrid. “It is clear that this team has won a lot and has been reinforced. Now he’s having a bad time with injuries, but he’s a coach with three Champions Leagues and great players. He will be in the fight.”On Mourinho, he added: “He is waiting. This is new to him.”Asked if Mourinho could return, Karanka added: “We are in September and there is a world ahead. Zidane has won three European Cups and some credit must be given.” last_img read more

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28 Oct
2019

a month agoArsenal youngster Smith Rowe out for two weeks with concussion

first_imgArsenal youngster Smith Rowe out for two weeks with concussionby Freddie Taylora month agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal midfielder Emile Smith Rowe is set to miss two weeks of action after suffering a head injury against Nottingham Forest.Manager Unai Emery said after the 5-0 win that Smith Rowe’s collision with Forest skipper Jack Robinson wasn’t serious.The 19-year-old has suffered concussion and will not return to action for at least six days due to FIFA protocol.The Daily Mail adds that Arsenal will likely extend that break to two weeks given Smith Rowe’s age.It was the youngster’s first appearance this Eason after covering from injury. About the authorFreddie TaylorShare the loveHave your saylast_img

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27 Oct
2019

In Photos: Everything You Need To Know About Jen Lada, ESPN’s New Colin Cowherd Show Contributor

first_imgJen Lada speaking on ESPN.This summer, there will be a new face (and voice) on Colin Cowherd’s radio show on ESPN – Jen Lada. Lada, who is leaving Comcast Sports Net in Chicago to take the new gig, will be featured as a regular contributor on the show. There are also rumors that she’ll be featured on SportsCenter and a number of other programs on the network. Lada, now 34 years old, announced that she’d be leaving Comcast Sports Net in June, and she’s set to start at the Worldwide Leader in August.Thank you @CSNChicago for taking a chance on me, for trusting me to represent you well & for teaching me every day. pic.twitter.com/DSkk9FJzfa— Jen Lada (@JenLada) June 26, 2015How did she get her career started? Where is she from? And is she single? We’ve got those answers and more, along with a few photos of the rising star.In Photos: Everything You Need To Know About Jen Lada >>>Pages: Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7last_img read more

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28 Sep
2019

Quantifying the That Guy Is Still in the Major Leagues Phenomenon

While watching Tuesday’s spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and Atlanta Braves, some of us in the FiveThirtyEight office were surprised to see Tigers shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Didn’t Gonzalez retire years ago?He was Atlanta’s everyday shortstop in 2011, but over the past two seasons, Gonzalez was thoroughly forgettable, playing just 65 games for the Milwaukee Brewers (hitting .211 and producing -0.8 wins above replacement). If you go back to 2009, when Gonzalez was 32, he seemed particularly unlikely to be in the majors five years later.This got us thinking: Could we quantify the “Wait … he’s still playing?” question. Our idea was to use a player’s age and WAR to predict whether he would be an active major leaguer a half-decade later. To that end, we plugged every player from the designated hitter era (1973-present) into a logistic regression model. The result will tell us the likelihood of a given player being in the league five seasons later. For example, here’s the arc of a generic Major League Baseball player who peaks as an All-Star (5 WAR) at age 27:So for players in MLB this season (a list taken from Fangraphs’ depth charts), we looked at the odds at the end of the 2009 season that they’d still be playing today. Here are the most unlikely major leaguers:Gonzalez is not the most improbable player in the game. That honor belongs to catcher Henry Blanco, who was 37 in 2009 and had been hovering around replacement level for the previous three seasons. All else being equal, a player of that profile would have just a 3 percent chance of still being in the majors five years later, and yet Blanco is slated to be in the mix for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ backup catching role this season.Blanco underscores one of the themes of the list. The probabilities listed above don’t take into account the player’s position (beyond the positional adjustments in WAR) — just his age and performance. For most players, that’s enough, but backup catchers are a different breed. No other position is so well-represented among the “I can’t believe he’s still playing” set.One reason for this is that WAR, for all of its strengths, doesn’t incorporate a catcher’s receiving skills. Recent research suggests that elite pitch-framers such as the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jose Molina have a startlingly large impact on the game, far beyond what was originally believed in the sabermetric community.Another explanation, though, is that on-field performance isn’t necessarily the first thing managers look for in their reserve backstops. Instead, managers may place more value on intangibles such as clubhouse presence and leadership. How else to explain how backup catching became what Sports Illustrated once called “the cushiest job in baseball”? read more

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28 Sep
2019

2015 NBA Playoffs Preview

Derrick Rose is back in time for the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Bulls, he’s not the Derrick Rose of four seasons ago, the one who won the MVP award and led the Bulls to their only conference finals since Michael Jordan’s second retirement. Since then, Rose, slowed by injuries, has played just 100 regular-season games and one playoff game. Now he is the only Bulls starter who rates below league average. That’s not enough to make Milwaukee the favorite in this series. Two Bucks starters are below league average, and Milwaukee will have trouble scoring with an offense that is well below league average. The Bulls should win this series — and enjoy the win, because in half of our simulations of the playoffs, they go out in the next round, most likely to LeBron James and the Cavs. — Carl Bialik Western ConferenceEach team is led by one of the best players in basketball: Stephen Curry on Golden State and Anthony Davis on New Orleans. So why do we think Golden State has a 92 percent chance to advance? Because Curry is better, and has much better teammates. Draymond Green, a top contender for Defensive Player of the Year, rates higher than Davis in the Real Plus-Minus player ratings we’re using from Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. Warriors sub Andre Iguodala would be the second-best Pelican. But this might not be a sweep: In their two games against Golden State in New Orleans, the Pelicans won once and forced overtime in the other. But Golden State’s formidable offense should dominate the Pelicans’ subpar D. The Warriors look a lot more like a team for the ages — with an impressive 48 percent chance of winning it all — than like first-round upset fodder. (We were a little stunned by that 48 percent number, but Basketball-Reference.com gives the Warriors about the same odds.) — Carl Bialik You might think the Celtics should just be happy to be here. After all, in late February, they only had a 12 percent probability of making the playoffs, according to the FiveThirtyEight NBA Power Ratings. But rather than merely showing up, getting their souvenir T-shirt and accepting a first-round loss, Boston could give LeBron James and the mighty Cavaliers more trouble than they bargained for. While we can’t derive much meaning from the Celtics’ combined 216-168 margin over Cleveland in their two April matchups — the Cavs were mostly resting their key players — Boston is solid at both ends of the floor, with a great group of guards and a lot of depth. Over the course of the entire season, they were better offensively (relative to the league) than the Cavs’ defense was, and that only includes a few months of Isaiah Thomas. Our model says the Celtics are still unlikely to pull the upset, but they have the ingredients to be much more of a pest than they seemed to be a few months ago. — Neil Paine Portland won fewer games than Memphis (51 to 55) during the regular season, but because the Blazers won the comparatively weak Northwest division, they are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and the Grizzlies are the No. 5. But that seed advantage isn’t worth much. Since the Blazers had fewer wins, they will still be on the road for four of their seven potential games against Memphis. Making matters even more complicated, this series is so close that the question of home court could end up making all the difference. Only a tenth of a rating point separates them in our most recent power rankings. Our model gives the Grizzlies a 54 percent probability of winning, but that number would flip around to 53 percent for Portland if the Blazers had home court. Of course, the Grizzlies earned their home-court advantage by winning more games (against a tougher schedule, no less), and this arrangement is good for Portland, too — a 46 percent chance against Memphis is preferable to a 24 percent chance versus the Clippers, which is who they’d face if the conference were seeded purely by record. But this inverted 4-versus-5 matchup is another example of how convoluted and arbitrary the seeding process is in the NBA. And it’s another argument that the league should perhaps just ditch divisions (if not conferences) entirely. — Neil Paine With the latest FiveThirtyEight Power Ratings ranking the Spurs and Clippers as second and fourth, respectively, this matchup is one of the most compelling first-round matchups in recent memory.The defending champion Spurs enter this tournament as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference — far lower than the No. 2 seed they could have had if they had won their final game against the Pelicans on Wednesday. Despite that loss, they had a 21-4 record over their last 25 games, reasserting that they’re contenders despite a 19-18 stretch in the middle of the season.The story of their year has been the breakout of last year’s surprise finals MVP and zero-time All-Star Kawhi Leonard. The Spurs went 46-18 with him in the lineup, with an average margin of victory of 7.8 points per game — which would be second to Golden State’s 10.0 and matches the 7.8 they put up last year. Leonard’s 2014-15 Real Plus-Minus of 8.35 was second in basketball behind Stephen Curry’s, ahead of well-known small forward LeBron James’s. Oh, and he led the league in steals per game.The Clippers are no slouches, either — their SRS3SRS is a team’s margin of victory, adjusted for its strength of schedule. of 6.8 is second-highest in the league behind Golden State’s 10.0 (San Antonio is third, with 6.34). They’ve now won either 56 or 57 games in every full season of the Chris Paul/Blake Griffin era, yet their dynamic duo has not made it past the conference semifinals.Although the Clippers have home-court advantage, the FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Spurs the edge, with a 53 percent chance of advancing. In fact, despite being projected to play any Game 7 from here on out on the road, San Antonio has the third-best chance of winning the championship, at 12 percent. The model gives the Clippers the fourth-best chance, at 8 percent. — Benjamin Morris It’s current MVP contender versus aging MVP winner (but the current contender is the one with the beard). James Harden versus Dirk Nowitzki. The Beard led the league in WAR, according to ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metrics. With Harden, Houston has the edge — a 66 percent chance of prevailing, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Beyond Harden’s consistency, the Rockets have otherwise ridden the injury luck roller coaster. They enter the playoffs having lost two important starters: versatile big man Donatas Motiejunas and the feisty defender Patrick Beverley at the point. On the other hand, Dwight Howard has returned after missing half the season. The Rockets will need him to maintain their solid +3.2 defensive rating.For the Mavs, it’s been a tale of two seasons. After surprising the league with a hot start, Dallas stagnated after the All-Star break, going 14-13. In FiveThirtyEight’s latest NBA Power Ratings, the Mavs rated as the worst of the Western Conference teams to make the playoffs — even behind the No. 8 seed New Orleans Pelicans. — Andrew Flowers The NBA playoffs are finally upon us, and like the 16 teams vying for the Larry O’Brien trophy, we’ve come prepared — not with basketball skills, mind you,1We shudder to think about what the advanced metrics would say about a FiveThirtyEight pickup team. but with graphics and numbers. Using the latest (postseason-optimized) version of FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings, we simulated the playoff bracket 10,000 times, counting how often each team won its first-round series (as well as tracking which teams won the NBA title most often). We also put together charts highlighting each team’s key players, along with their multiyear predictive Real Plus-Minus2This is a slightly different statistic than the RPM you can find at ESPN.com because it uses data from seasons prior to 2014-15. We like the multiyear version because, among individual player statistics, it is the best predictor of future team outcomes. ratings, plus a comparison of both teams’ strengths and weaknesses according to the four factors of basketball. (Note that in some of our write-ups below, we use single-season RPM, so those numbers will be slightly different than the multiyear RPM we list in the charts.) So get settled in, maybe throw some chalk in the air, and enjoy the brutal, glorious two-month journey that is the road to the NBA championship. Eastern ConferenceThe Brooklyn Nets will not win the NBA championship. No, really: We ran 10,000 simulations of the playoffs, and the Nets were the only team to never win it all. They have only a 10 percent chance of moving on from their first-round series against the Atlanta Hawks. This is among the most lopsided matchups of the first round. The Nets, ranked No. 22 in FiveThirtyEight’s Power Ratings, are by far the worst team to make the postseason. With their 38-44 record and -2.9 point differential (the only playoff team in red), the Nets are lucky they’re in the Eastern Conference — further momentum for reform to the NBA’s postseason structure.Atlanta is coming off a franchise-record 60-win regular season; this should be a cakewalk for the Hawks (even after losing defensive stalwart Thabo Sefolosha to injury after a run-in with the NYPD). Atlanta is well-balanced: +2.9 points per 100 possessions on offense and +2.0 on defense. The Nets have a pedestrian offense (+1.1) but are a disaster on defense: At -4.7, their defensive rating is the fifth-worst in the league. If the Nets avoid a sweep, it’ll be an achievement. — Andrew Flowers This series features two teams that started out the season looking like they might be the next big thing (at least in the Eastern Conference). The fourth-seeded Toronto Raptors began the season 7-1 and made it all the way to 24-7 before a four-game losing streak started their 25-26 finish — with their final record only a one-win improvement on last year. The Wizards started out 4-1 and made it to 19-6, but have been 27-30 since, ultimately improving on last season’s 44-win campaign by just two wins.Both teams are led by All-Star point guards, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Washington’s John Wall, with Lowry making the All-Star team for the first time in the eighth year of his career (his third with the Raptors). ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus for this season ranks them as the fourth- and sixth-best point guards in 2015. Lowry performed a little worse than last year; his RPM dipped slightly from 4.3 to 4.1 and his WAR (wins above replacement) dipped from 11.6 to 9.4. But for Wall, 2014-15 was a big improvement on the year before: His 4.7 RPM and 12.1 WAR were both up from 2.2 and 8.3 last year, respectively.The FiveThirtyEight simulations give the Raptors a 60 percent chance of winning this series but don’t see either team as a championship contender. They give the Raptors a 1 percent chance of winning the title and the Wizards an even smaller chance. In the 10,000 simulations we ran, the Raptors or Wizards won the championship only 108 times, the fewest of any of the eight first-round matchups. — Benjamin Morris read more

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28 Sep
2019

Lavenders career day leads OSU to comeback championship

With the clock ticking toward zero and the game in the balance, the No. 10 Ohio State women’s basketball team had a decision to make.Needing a basket to win the Big Ten Tournament Championship, who takes the last shot for the Buckeyes?The decision wasn’t too difficult to make. Center Jantel Lavender drew a foul and nailed a pair of free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining to propel the Bucks (30-4) over Iowa (19-13) with a 66-64 victory and into the Big Ten Tournament title Sunday in Indianapolis.Lavender was firing on all cylinders against the Hawkeyes, scoring 35 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.She scored 23 of OSU’s 33 points in the second half, when the Buckeyes made a furious comeback, rallying from a 49-33 deficit to eventually tie the game at 60-60 with five minutes to play.The junior center from Cleveland, Ohio, made 14 of her 25 shot attempts and all seven attempts at the free throw line.The teams arrived at the championship bout on completely different paths.Ohio State won the regular season championship, its sixth in a row, with four games remaining on its conference slate.At 10-8, Iowa finished five games behind the Buckeyes in the final regular season standings. But the Hawkeyes beat Penn State 82-75 and upset No. 23 Michigan State 59-54 to reach the title game.It appeared they would finish off their Big Ten blindsiding when they jumped out to the 16-point advantage, but Lavender’s relentless effort in the post earned OSU its second consecutive conference tournament title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. read more

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