19 Tristania Rd Chapel Hill went for $720,000 at auction today More from newsMould, age, not enough to stop 17 bidders fighting for this homeless than 1 hour agoBuyers ‘crazy’ not to take govt freebies, says 28-yr-old investor7 hours agoAuctioneer, Peter Bergin, opens proceedings at 130 Beck St Paddington.An opening bid of $600,000 quickly rose to $700,000. The property then hit the market at $760,000 with a very happy couple the eventual victors at $772,000.Marketing agent Judy Newlands said the buyers are ecstatic.“This was a great buy for this young couple. They’ve been looking to secure their position in the trendy inner-city suburb of Paddington.”Paddington has lost none of its momentum according to Ms Newlands.“We are seeing three clear groups of buyers. Not only do we have buyers entering the market and those downsizing, but we also have healthy numbers of local and interstate investors,” she said.In other results, negotiations are set to continue on the vacant site at 43 Mein St, Spring Hill which passed in at $1.02 million today. Negotiations are set to continue on 43 Mein St, Spring HillAdvertised as a 253sq m parcel with endless opportunity, the cleared and level block is located among a mix of units, homes and business, and is a very short stroll to the heart of Brisbane’s CBD.Finally, a family home at 19 Tristania Rd, Chapel Hill hit the market for the first time in 50 years.Agents said the two-level, three-bedroom house on 979sq m had plenty of interest during the lead up to the big day.Selling agent at Ray White City Precinct, John Fredericks, said there were five registered bidders with the home eventually selling for $720,000. This home at 28 Loch St, West End sold for $885,000 to a private buyer with a vision for renovation. Photo: Jack TranAuctioneer David Farrell did more running than talking during a marathon 40 minutes of negotiation that saw an extreme renovator’s delight in West End eventually sell for $885,000.Mr Farrell’s snappy one liners kept the 25-person crowd amused at 28 Loch St, but action stalled moments after an opening bid on behalf of the vendor at $800,000.With three registered bidders in attendance, selling agent with Ray White City Precincts, Danielle Belshaw, knew there was some work to do.A relay between the vendor and potential buyers saw the auction reopen 40 minutes after it first began with a firm offer of $885,000 on the table and a declaration that it was finally on the market.With no other buyers keen to step up, the property was sold to new owners with high aspirations for creating a grand home.On the north side of town it was a different affair. 4 Stubley St, Wavell Height is a very hip holding in a traditional suburban setting.Auctioneer Haesley Cush kept the momentum rolling with the bids rising from $950,000 to $1.125 million in minutes.When the property was eventually declared, “Gone!” by Mr Cush at $1.25 million, new owners Jacqui and Alan Spiers celebrated their buy.“I’m a little bit competitive,” Mrs Spiers said with a grin.There were four registered bidders among the crowd of 50 attending the auction of 130 Beck St Paddington where a classic Queenslander cottage was on offer.
– By John Burton Middletown resident James Paroline, who had worked at two area private schools, remains in federal custody for what federal law enforcement authorities are alleging was inappropriate contact with minor children and for possessing child pornography on his home computer.Paroline, 26, was scheduled for a bail hearing in federal court in Trenton on July 9. But that appearance was adjourned and no new date has yet been set and Paroline continues to be incarcerated, according to William Skaggs, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.FBI agents executed a search warrant on July 7, confiscating Paroline’s home desktop computer. Investigators determined that on Feb. 26, March 1 and March 2 Paroline allegedly accessed a website and downloaded to his computer material showing prepubescent minors, some of the material showing those as young as infancy to 5, engaged in sexually explicit acts.During an interview with investigators on July 7, having waived his Miranda rights, authorities alleged Paroline admitted while working at the schools he “inappropriately touched minor children,” according to the criminal complaint.Paroline is represented by Andrea Bergman, an assistant federal public defender in Trenton, who did not return calls seeking comment.Federal Authorities in a criminal complaint said Paroline had been working as an assistant at a nursery school and as a summer camp counselor at a private school, both located in Monmouth County. Subsequently, representatives from each of the facilities acknowledged the nursery school is A Child’s Place, Lincroft, and the private school is the Ranney School, an independent pre-K-12 school in Tinton Falls.“We are shocked, upset and disheartened by the charges,” said John Griffith, Ranney’s head of school. Paroline had worked as a sports specialist at the school’s summer camp for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 summers. Prior to that he had worked as a junior camp counselor going back to 2005.Paroline had worked at A Child’s Place for the last two summers.Both facilities fired Paroline upon his July 7 arrest.“We are devastated,” Linda Littenberg, A Child’s Place’s owner, said. “…[W]e cannot express more strongly how shocked, outraged, and concerned we are about this situation.”Littenberg said A Child’s Place employees are cooperating fully with the FBI in its investigation.“Our paramount concern right now is for the children and their families,” Littenberg continued, saying the school has engaged a team of licensed child abuse specialists, “and we are working with our parents to keep them abreast of the situation.”Ranney does “extensive” background checks on all camp staff members are 18 or older, conducted by National Background Investigation, a nationwide company, according to Griffith.Ranney representatives’ “primary concern” is working with authorities during their investigation and “to focus on the safety and well-being” of summer camp participants and their families, Paroline said.Over the course of Paroline’s career, Griffith added, “there was never a complaint about him” and “he had no record of wrongdoing to our knowledge.
He’s stands 6-foot and weighs 170 pounds.He shoots right and plays on the Leafs top a line with captain Colton Schell and Jacob Boyczuk.And, this is what Leaf fans are going to like the best, the player loves to score goals.Colton McCarthy will soon be a household name if his sniping around Kootenay International Junior Hockey League nets continues as a member of the Green and White.The Salmon Arm winger has been one of the keys to Nelson’s 3-2-1-0 record and a bounce-back victory against defending KIJHL champion Beaver Valley last week at the NDCC Arena.Nelson had just taken it on the chin against the Nitehawks the night before.So winning was the only option as the Leafs look to be a force in the tough Neil Murdoch Division.“We needed that win really bad,” the 16-yaer-old McCarthy said after the 5-2 win Saturday.“We lost really bad in Beaver Valley the night before but came out hard got the win.”Leaf coach Frank Maida knew he had a winner in McCarthy during spring recruiting. “I watched him all through the spring and knew he’d do well with our team and in this league and he’s done everything I thought he would do,” Maida explained.For McCarthy, hockey really didn’t end last season after minor hockey.He was part of most Junior A spring camps.That’s where Maida saw the prize recruit, at the West Kelowna, formerly Westside, Warriors camp.“That’s where Frank talked to me and said he’d like to have me if things didn’t work out in Junior A,” explained McCarthy, leading the Leafs in scoring with seven goals in six games.Which proved to be a good fallback position for McCarthy after decided not to test out the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors team.“(Moose Jaw) said come to main camp but I knew I wouldn’t play that much and knew I wanted to play,” McCarthy said. “So I came to Nelson and (boy) am I getting lots of ice time.”After playing four of six on the road to start the season the Leafs get a steady diet of home cooking Thanksgiving weekend with no less than three home games.Nelson opens up Friday against the Fernie Ghostriders.The Riders are off to a slow start by Fernie standards with a 3-3-0-1 record for second in the Eddie Mountain Division behind Kimberley.Saturday, Nelson gets its first look at Murdoch rival Spokane Braves before concluding the weekend Sunday against the Chase Heat. Both games are 7 p.m.The Heat, 3-3 on the season, is last in the Doug Birks Division.Game time Sunday is 2:30 p.m.ICE CHIPS: Nelson welcomes back center Matti Jmaeff to the roster. Jmaeff failed to catch on with a Junior A team. . . . Injuries to the defence — Cam Weir has a concussion, Damin Devlin has a shoulder strain and Blake Arcuri remains on the inactive list — has forced the coaching staff to juggle the lineup for the weekend. Affiliate player Brendan Smith gets into the lineup to help the defence Friday.
Mathapelo Mothapo is a Grade 12 pupilfrom Soweto. (Image: Bongani Nkosi) Lead SA, the new nation-building campaign, has set up a scheme to distribute educational DVDs to 100 schools in some of South Africa’s underprivileged areas.The syllabus revision DVDs, worth about R1-million (US$135 352), will be donated to public school matriculants in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape provinces. Pupils will use them to prepare for their upcoming final examinations.Lead SA was established in early August 2010 by Primedia and Independent Newspapers, and has a broad focus – including wildlife protection. On 23 August it hosted a summit to help fight rhino poaching in the country.Produced by Primeducation, a subsidiary of Primedia, the DVDs cover six key study subjects: physical science, mathematics, mathematical literacy, life sciences, accountancy and English.By watching the DVDs, pupils will be able to grasp and revise contents from past lessons, said Lead SA.“Primeducation aims to positively influence and uplift the standards of education in South Africa by utilising digital technology that provides learners and educators with new, innovative and affordable learning as well as teaching materials,” said Issie Kirsh, Primeducation chairperson.“By collaborating with Lead SA, we hope to reach this goal, to support the forthcoming matric examinations.”Primeducation has also produced study DVDS for local universities such as the University of Cape Town, the University of South Africa, Wits University and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.The Department of Basic Education will distribute the DVD sets, including teacher training booklets, to the schools. “These DVDs are certainly going to make a difference to both learners and teachers,” said Terry Volkwyn, CEO of Primedia Broadcasting.The public and other companies have been called in to expand the educational programme, and take it to the remaining provinces in the country. “There are so many schools that need this kind of material, so we really appeal to corporates or individuals or any institution that can help,” said Talk Radio 702 station manager Pheladi Gwangwa.Countdown to exam timeIt’s less than two months before South African matric pupils begin their final national examinations, and the Department of Basic Education has already released a timetable. The exams will start on 25 November and end on 3 December.The department said the schedule will not be changed, but the examinations could be delayed due to an ongoing, nationwide public workers’ strike – which has kept government teachers away from schools for more than two weeks.Although it’s no replacement for classroom learning, the department is distributing revision material through radio stations, television, the internet and newspapers to help matriculants and other pupils prepare for their exams. It started doing this before the strike started.The stay-away has not yet been called off, but schools remain open across the country and some pupils have even formed their own study groups to ensure they don’t fall too far behind. Teachers who are not part of the strike have also been working.Despite the instability, the Western Cape government announced that the September preliminary exams will go ahead as planned. “I am determined to ensure that the September exams continue as scheduled. I encourage parents to continue to send their children to school, especially Grade 12s, at this critical stage of the year,” said the province’s Education MEC Donald Grant.
But were they “passive houses”?William Shurcliff was a Harvard physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project in World War II, helped stop supersonic passenger planes in the 1960s, and took a big interest in passive solar and superinsulated building in the 1970s and ’80s.In 1979, he put out a press release praising the characteristics and benefits of superinsulated houses. He described the thick insulation (“Not just thick, but clever and thorough”), the airtightness, the lack of a need for thermal mass and large, south-facing windows, and the ease of controlling temperature and humidity.He concluded his press release with this: “What name should be given to this new system? Superinsulated passive? Super-save passive? Mini-need passive? Micro-load passive? I lean toward ‘micro-load passive.’ Whatever it is called, it has (I predict) a big future.”Martin Holladay resurfaced this piece of superinsulation/passive house history in his 2009 article, Forgotten Pioneers of Energy Efficiency on Green Building Advisor and republished nearly the entire piece. Go to his article to read that and more on this topic.The evolution of passive houseShurcliff’s preferred term, “micro-load passive,” didn’t catch on, but the passive part did. Those “forgotten pioneers” also pushed another piece of the passive house concept. They understood that airtightness and energy efficiency were important. That meant quantifying the goals, setting limits for annual and peak loads.Dr. Wolfgang Feist, a German physicist, and Dr. Bo Adamson from Sweden took those early ideas and created the Passivhaus program. In their program, certification required hitting an annual load at or below 4.75 thousand BTU per square foot per year or a peak load of 3.17 thousand BTU/h per square foot. They also have to achieve an airtightness of 0.6 ach50 or less and a primary energy of 38,000 BTU per square foot per year.That’s what Klingenberg learned in Germany and brought with her to the U.S. Those numbers worked great in Germany, but not so well in all parts of the U.S. There were problems with the amount of insulation required in really cold climates like Minnesota and with cooling and dehumidification in places like Kentucky and Louisiana.So the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), of which I’m a board member, developed new climate-specific passive house standards. Instead of one set of numbers for every place in the world, we have numbers that came out of a lot of work by Building Science Corporation and others on what numbers are supported by the science for different climates in North America.PHIUS also has a rigorous quality assurance program called PHIUS+ Rater, using HERS raters to verify homes going for certification.The split between PHIUS and PHIUnfortunately, relations between PHIUS and PHI came to an end a few years ago. I wasn’t involved at the time and don’t know all the details, but now there are two separate groups promoting passive house in North America. The North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) was created after the split between PHIUS and PHI. That group promotes the German standard. Passive House Institute U.S. has gone its own way, with a variation of the German standard.Both groups have their own conferences. I attended the NAPHN conference in New York City last month. It was well attended (with about 500 attendees) and had a good trade show. I got to see some old friends and meet some people in real life for the first time. (Hello, Terry!) There were also quite a few people there whom I know from PHIUS conferences.In September, PHIUS will host its 10th anniversary North American Passive House Conference. It’s in Philadelphia, and I’ll be giving a presentation there on a topic that’s gotten me in trouble once already this year. The title is The Global Warming Impact of Insulation Revisited. Joe Lstiburek will be there again, of course, as will Marc Rosenbaum and a bunch of other smart people. (And if you register by July 18, you can be there, too, and get the early bird rate.)What’s next?There you have it. Forty years of evolution of the passive house concept in North America, including a trip across the pond and back. Where it goes from here remains to be seen. There’s some confusion in the marketplace because of having two groups and two different certification paths. (I’ll write more about that in a future article.) Naturally, since I’m on the PHIUS board, I have a bias. I think anyone going for passive certification on a project should go through PHIUS’s climate-specific standards and PHIUS+ quality assurance.A lot of others do, too, because PHIUS has more than a million square feet of buildings certified and pre-certified. When you add the projects that have been submitted but aren’t yet pre-certified, that number jumps to about 2.5 million square feet. The big driver isn’t single-family detached homes, though. It’s big multifamily projects.Come to the 10th anniversary North American Passive House Conference in Philly to learn more about passive house. Will I see you there? Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, building science consultant, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard. RELATED ARTICLESPassivhaus For BeginnersThe History of Superinsulated Houses in North AmericaSolar Versus Superinsulation: A 30-Year-Old DebateForgotten Pioneers of Energy EfficiencyRobert Dumont’s Superinsulated House in Saskatoon The First U.S. Passive House Shows That Energy Efficiency Can Be AffordableA Conversation With Wolfgang FeistPassivhaus Crosses the Atlantic In 2002, Katrin Klingenberg introduced the Passivhaus program to North America when she built the Smith House in Urbana, Illinois. She had come to the U.S. from Germany, where she studied architecture and got involved with Passivhaus. But is this really where it all began?Of course it’s not. The Passivhaus program, promulgated by the Passivhaus Institut in Germany, formalized the requirements but was building on earlier work, much of it from North America. Even the term “passive house” has American origins.Here are three of the early superinsulated houses in North America:Illinois Lo-Cal House, 1976. Lo-Cal here is short for low calorie, as in low energy. That’s a sketch of it above and a vertical wall section below. Notice the double-stud walls and triple pane windows. This was the beginning of superinsulated houses.Saskatchewan Conservation House, 1977. Another superinsulated house, this one with R-40 walls, R-60 roof, triple-pane windows, and low levels of air leakage.Leger House, 1977. And a third, this one in Massachusetts.
San Francisco: To help people enjoy audio while driving, Swedish music streaming giant Spotify is testing its first hardware – a voice-controlled smart assistant for cars called “Car Thing” – in the US. “While we know there has been some speculation about our future plans, ‘Car Thing’ was developed to help us learn more about how people listen to music and podcasts. Our focus remains on becoming the world’s number one audio platform, not on creating hardware,” Spotify said in a blog-post on Friday. The device plugs into a vehicle’s 12-volt outlet for power and connects to both a person’s car and phone over Bluetooth. The wake word for the device as planned is “Hey Spotify”, which, followed by a song request would allow users to access their playlists and listen to their favourite songs, The Verge reported. “Car Thing” is designed with a circular screen on one side, to display what is being played, and on the other side are a series of buttons that can be used to access playlist presets. The test is supposed to include a small group of people and as part of the test, some premium users would receive the device for free. “We don’t have any current plans to make this specific device available to consumers, but the learnings from our test will dictate how we develop experiences everywhere you listen,” Spotify added in its post.
By Nirit Ben-AriDo land, seeds and crops have a gender? Perhaps they do in sub-Saharan Africa, where women produce up to 80% of foodstuffs for household consumption and sale in local markets, according to a report by the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). For crops such as rice, wheat and maize, make up about 90% of food consumed by rural dwellers, it is women who mostly sow the seeds, do the weeding, cultivate and harvest the crops and sell surpluses.And for secondary crops such as legumes and vegetables, says the FAO, “Women’s contribution…is even greater,” adding that it’s as if only women are involved in producing these crops. What’s more, they make and tend the gardens that provide much-needed nutritional and economic well-being. Feeding the continentWhile women farmers are essentially feeding the continent, they have remained largely in the background, calling little attention to themselves and receiving little help. But this situation is changing as they spearhead efforts to transform Africa’s agricultural landscape. Take for example Grace Kamotho, a lecturer at Karatina University in Nairobi, Kenya, where she also trains farmers in new farming technologies and practices that lead to higher productivity. “Being an African woman,” she told Africa Renewal, “I recognize the fact that women are more associated with food preparation and care of the family than men, and I understand the importance of feeding families with appropriate and balanced diet.”Ms. Kamotho recently participated in a training workshop on vegetable production in greenhouses, at Volcanic Institute’s Centre for Agricultural Development and Cooperation in Israel. Here she gained knowledge about seed and vegetable seedling cultivation, among other subjects. She said the training’s focus on vegetables was necessary because in rural Africa, vegetables supplement meals of maize, rice, potato, cassava or yam, and are a good source of proteins.“Women tend to shop or procure food for their families, which in some cases means growing it in kitchen gardens,” she says. But women farmers go beyond tilling the soil: they also ensure prudent food management—deciding what to keep for the household and what to sell. “When a drought or economic crisis hits, women feel the pinch most, as they have to find ways to provide for their families,” says Ms. Kamotho.Comparing men and women farmersDespite the role and impact of women in African agriculture, there’s still an unsettling disparity in the support they receive compared to men. A World Bank report states that in Nigeria, for example, while women constitute about 60% to 80% of the agricultural work force, men generally make key farm management decisions. “As a result, agricultural extension services throughout the country have traditionally focused on men and their production needs.”In their book Transforming Gender Relations in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: Promising Approaches, authors Marion S. Davis, Cathy Farworth and Melinda Sundell argue that women’s productivity is lower than that of men because they have limited access to resources such as land, credit and other production inputs. In an interview with IRIN, a UN humanitarian news service, Ms. Sundel said that in Kenya, the value of female farmers’ tools was about one fifth that of their male counterparts’.Credit is undoubtedly necessary to acquire land, machinery, fertilizers, irrigation and high-quality seeds, and to hire labour. Moreover, when women’s access to finance is restricted in comparison to men’s, it creates a power imbalance that affects women’s ability to negotiate their role within households, according to the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Some banks set up roadblocks to getting the necessary capital, such as the need for a male guarantor or the requirement that a beneficiary must be literate, notes the World Bank in its 2009 Gender in Agriculture Resource Book. Makhtar Diop, the World Bank vice-president for Africa, warns that “the status quo is unacceptable and must change so that all Africans can benefit from their land.”Financing problemsThe ICRW believes that women farmers who own property and have access to finance will have greater bargaining authority and control over their incomes. In addition, studies show that women are more likely than men to spend their incomes on their families’ food, education and health. Lawson Lartego Late, director of the economic development unit at Care USA, a humanitarian organization, told the US magazine Forbes that “when it comes to finance, we need to apply a gender lens. When you look at how people get access to financial services, especially here in Africa, agriculture is underserved.”The UN and other non-governmental organizations are investigating and implementing projects that provide greater access to micro-credit for women farmers. The Hunger Project (THP), a US-based international NGO with offices across the world, has created a micro-finance programme that involves giving training, financial advice and credit to African female farmers. THP has to date loaned about $2.9 million to women farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Uganda. As a result, beneficiaries raised their production levels.Soro Yiriwaso, another micro-finance institution based in Mali, supports women in the southern part of the country in boosting food security. Women represent 93.5% of Soro Yiriwaso’s borrowers, while two thirds of its loan portfolio goes to agriculture. Between 2010 and 2012, under its Prêt de campagne scheme, the institution gave agricultural loans to women members of recognized cooperatives in 90 villages at the start of the planting season. These loans are repaid with interest after harvest.African leaders’ lifelineAfrican leaders have also pledged to help women farmers under the 2003 Maputo Declaration (the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme), which is intended to increase support for smallholder farmers. ActionAid, an international aid agency, has urged these leaders to fulfil that pledge lest farmers be unable to maintain the fight against hunger. “If women are given equal access to land, seeds, as their male counterparts, we can reduce hunger in the world by 140 million people, which is about 17% of people who are living hungry.”One reason African women are largely excluded from decision-making in their homes and communities, and underrepresented in leadership roles, is their high rate of illiteracy. But according to the Swedish Agricultural International Network Initiative (SAINI), when women are given the chance, the farms they run perform just as well as those headed by men—or even better.In a study of western Kenya, SAINI found that female-headed households had agricultural yields that were 23% lower than those of male-headed households, and attributed the difference to less secure access to land and lower educational levels. A male farmer from Zambia told SAINI that “there were men who have died and left their spouses and children. Their farms are still functioning and are even better after their deaths. This is because the women were involved in planning and decision-making.”Bright futureFortunately, the future is bright for women farmers. They are benefiting from more training opportunities, incentives and other programmes designed to equip small-scale women farmers with information, skills and other inputs to improve crop quality and quantity. For example, in the Mbeya region of Tanzania, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is providing women farmers with agronomy training that addresses gender-related norms and attitudes that discourage them from engaging in coffee production. These farmers learn how to improve coffee quality and quantity, which in turn increases their incomes.The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an organization that promotes the productivity and livelihoods of smallholder farmers, has teamed up with Tanzania’s agriculture ministry to launch the Integrated Soil Fertility Management programme to promote improved soil health through intercropping cereals with legumes. Under this programme, women receive information on soil fertility through community radios, mobile phones and agriculture extension workers.Any transformation in Africa’s agriculture will depend on women’s participation. “Investing in women’s economic empowerment is a high-yield investment, with multiplier effects on productivity, efficiency and inclusive growth for the continent,” says Kathleen Lay from ONE, an organization campaigning to end global poverty. The International Fertilizer Development Center, an organization that focuses on enhancing agricultural productivity in developing countries, puts it succinctly: “The African farmer is primarily a woman farmer. And she is a good farmer who can feed her family and her continent if she is given the tools and the opportunities to do so.”Photo: Arne Hoel. Africa Renewal
Alabama vs. Auburn, Florida vs. Florida State, Michigan vs. Ohio State. Those are the types of college football rivalries from which sports legends are made. This weekend on the northern tip of Manhattan in New York City (known for having the lowest percentage of college football fans in the nation), a different type of history will be produced. The 0-8 Cornell Big Red will visit the 0-8 Columbia Lions. It’s a game sure to be memorable not because the two teams are so good, but because both of them are so bad.I’m a Columbia Lions football fan. I listen to their games on WKCR-FM. I’m attending Saturday’s game against Cornell. I went to every home game from 1994 to 2000, and I treasure an autographed photo with then-Lions and later NFL star Marcellus Wiley.But Columbia enters the game with statistics that resemble those of a peewee football team dropped into the NFL. Columbia has scored more than seven points in only one game this season. Last week against Harvard, the Lions suffered the ultimate embarrassment: getting shut out 45-0.The away team hasn’t been much better. Only against Princeton has Cornell put up more than 16 points in a game, and the Big Red still managed to score fewer points in that game, 27, than Columbia’s highest point total this year (28). Last week, Cornell went down 42-7 against Dartmouth, and that wasn’t even their worst defeat of the season so far.Not surprisingly, of the 121 teams in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS, formerly known as Division I-AA) for which the NCAA provides statistics, Columbia is dead last in offensive points per game at 8.6. Cornell is not far behind, at No. 113, scoring only 12.9 points per game. In point differential (points scored minus points allowed), Columbia ranks No. 118 with -31.2. Cornell is ranked No. 114 with -21.5.The wretchedness goes beyond the scoreboard, though. In each facet of the game, these two teams have been exceptionally awful.The Lions rank last in the FCS with 51.3 rushing yards per game (YPG). Cornell comes in at No. 117 with 88 YPG.When it comes to passing, Columbia and Cornell are deceptively bad. Columbia has passed for 221.6 YPG (good for a rank of No. 52), while Cornell has passed for 179.3 YPG (good for No. 88). Of course, both teams have almost always been behind, so they have to pass in an effort to catch up. Passer efficiency, which takes into account pass attempts, completions, interceptions, touchdowns and yards, places Columbia No. 120 out of 121 and Cornell just slightly better at No. 103.The defenses aren’t much better. Columbia has given up 273.8 YPG on the ground (No. 120). Cornell has done better, at 189.1 YPG, but that still ranks only 84th. In passing defense, Columbia ranks No. 100 with 246.9 YPG, and Cornell lags at No. 106 with 262 YPG. In passer efficiency defense, Columbia comes in at No. 100 and Cornell at No. 118.Finally, there’s special teams. Both teams have made only two field goals all year, and both of those came in the same game for each team. Columbia and Cornell rank No. 111 and No. 112, respectively, with just 16.96 and 16.91 yards per kickoff return. In yards per punt return, Columbia ranks No. 75 with 6.80, and Cornell ranks a pathetic No. 118 with just 2.29.All hope is not lost, however. The two teams excel in one notable category: punting. Columbia has punted an amazingly high 7.25 times per game, and Cornell has done so 6.63 times per game. Those are good enough to rank No. 6 and No. 16, respectively! And perhaps because they have gotten so much practice, Columbia has averaged 34.83 yards per punt, and Cornell 36.34. Those averages rank in the top half of the FCS, at Nos. 60 and 25.So, if you live in the New York metro area, are a big fan of punting and want to see two teams that cannot score or stop anyone else from scoring, you’re in luck. It’s sure to be a riveting affair in a city that just doesn’t care.
HOUSTON — The NBA Finals are the crown jewel of the playoffs for obvious reasons, but it’d be hard to argue with anyone who views this vaunted Western Conference finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets, which opens Monday night, as this year’s main event.The Warriors have two of the best three players in the world in their starting five, have won two of the past three titles and appeared borderline annoyed by having to face questions about whether they’re concerned to be starting a series without home-court advantage for the first time in their recent championship era. The Rockets won an NBA-best 65 regular-season games, have likely MVP James Harden and future Hall of Famer Chris Paul in their backcourt and possess a group of sweet-shooting teammates who stretch the floor as if it’s made of Play-Doh.The offensive firepower — Golden State and Houston finished No. 1 and No. 2 in offensive efficiency and virtually averaged the same number of points per 100 possessions — guarantees we’ll hear plenty about how well these teams score. But because of that, something else about the Rockets and Warriors may fly beneath the radar: The NBA’s two best clubs are even further ahead of the curve on defense. In a league that’s more reliant than ever on the pick-and-roll offense, these defenses are unmatched when it comes to their versatility and ability to switch assignments on the fly.Houston defended a screen-and-roll by switching on 1,406 possession chances during the regular season, while Golden State orchestrated 1,075 switches of its own, according to data from Second Spectrum and NBA Advanced Stats. These teams — which more than doubled the switch totals compiled by 20 other squads — were outliers: The Lakers were the only other club that broke 800 switches during the 2017-18 season.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/rox.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.And it isn’t just that the Warriors and Rockets switch a lot. They also use the strategy to fuel their high-octane offenses. Houston forced 3.5 turnovers per 100 switches, while Golden State forced 2.4, the best rates in the league, according to Second Spectrum.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/warriors.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.That ability — having two similarly sized players trade their defensive responsibilities quickly enough during a pick-and-roll that the offense doesn’t gain an edge — speaks to the length and versatility these Western Conference foes have. And it takes on added importance in a matchup like this, in which the Warriors and Rockets use an array of screens (albeit differently1The Warriors use fewer pick-and-roll plays than any other team in basketball, while the Rockets use more direct screens than any team, according to Second Spectrum data. That said, Golden State, seeking to free up Klay Thompson, sets more off-ball screens than any club.) to free up their most lethal shooters beyond the 3-point line.“You have to cover more ground than ever before. It’s amazing: Sometimes I’ll turn on the classic sports channel and find Lakers-Celtics games from the 1980s — some of the best games ever — and the game is played in this tiny little radius. Now it’s way out on the perimeter,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Every possession was, you dump it into the post, a double comes, and you might see six or eight threes taken in a game. But everything was different. The rules were different. The talent is different. Very few low-post players anymore. The league’s adapted. Coaches have adapted. Things are ever-changing. And you have to change along with that.”Anyone who’s followed the Warriors’ dominance these past few years knows a huge chunk of that success stems from Golden State’s ability to go small and play Draymond Green — who may not even be the ideal height for a traditional small forward — at center. That alignment, with the addition of Andre Iguodala, gives the Warriors four long-limbed clones who are laterally quick enough and strong enough to cover almost anyone. With that defensive speed, Golden State can gamble a bit more on that end; it knows the opposing offense generally won’t be able to find mismatches, even if a switch has taken place.“At the end of the day, it’s really just another way for us to cut off the other team’s options with our versatility,” said Green, the league’s reigning defensive player of the year, who sometimes calls an audible — and moves a teammate out of the way — before a screen occurs to be in position to thwart the play.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/dray.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Houston has also made life difficult for opponents with its versatility on defense. By and large, the Rockets have been far more successful on defense than most would have guessed, jumping to sixth in defensive efficiency this season after ranking 21st in 2015-16 and 18th in 2016-17. Adding the sticky-handed Paul certainly factored into that improvement, but plugging free-agent signings Luc Mbah a Moute and P.J. Tucker into the lineup likely did even more for the defense.“Their ability to guard 1 through 5 makes it so much easier for us. That’s why we’re so much better on defense this year,” Houston guard Eric Gordon said of the duo, which sometimes shares the frontcourt despite neither standing taller than 6-foot-8. (Nonetheless, the lineup pays dividends: Houston, trailing by 14 heading into the fourth quarter at Portland in December, came back to win by 7 while using Mbah a Moute and Tucker at the 4 and 5 for the entire period.)Mbah a Moute, in particular, has become a vital piece. According to a defensive dashboard created by Nylon Calculus contributor Krishna Narsu, the wing’s versatility was highly unusual. This season, he was one of just seven players to spend at least 15 percent of his time guarding each of the following positions: point guard, shooting guard, small forward and power forward.Unsurprisingly, the Rockets struggled in his absence during the middle of the campaign, enduring a season-long five-game losing streak. The Rockets’ 101.2 defensive rating with Mbah a Moute on the court this season would have ranked best in the league on a team scale, while their 105.4 rating without him would have had them just slightly above average, at No. 12.Above all else, Mbah a Moute and Tucker carry so much importance because they make Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni — one of the game’s brightest offensive minds who was never really known for switching with his defenses — more comfortable utilizing this style of play.“To even have a chance against a team like Golden State, you have to make a point of not being put into rotations. They’ll kill you that way. So I’m just happy we have a roster full of guys to where it makes sense to be able to switch the way we do,” he said.To be sure: Neither team is breaking from decades of tradition with this strategy on defense, even if they are using it far more often than everyone else. On some level, this is no different from what the LeBron James-era Miami Heat did when it rode small ball to a championship in 2012. (Kerr would be the first to tell you that he never envisioned Green playing the rim-protector role when he took the Warriors job. “We didn’t know Draymond was Draymond yet,” he told me.) Beyond that, it wouldn’t be fair to gloss over how unbelievably dominant these teams are on offense, given how big a role scoring plays in their success.Yet there are reasons to think that creative, well-timed switches will heavily factor into this series as the chess match of hunting for what each team perceives to be mismatches unfolds.The Warriors have made no secret of the fact that they like to post up Kevin Durant when they spot him being guarded by Paul following a screen.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/durant.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Meanwhile, Harden and the Rockets are even less shy about attacking Stephen Curry; they’ll often run multiple pick-and-rolls until they get him on an island for a 1-on-1 matchup. In fact, they used this tactic six times in a seven-possession span during the final four minutes of the teams’ last regular-season meeting Jan. 20, a 116-108 Houston win.“We’re just gonna watch film and find ways to attack them offensively,” Harden said when I asked about that sequence. “We’ll take our shots, play unselfishly. Pretty simple.”Curry thinks this will mean isolating him in the same way this series. “I hope it’s every single play,” he told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater. “If you look at the ‘Hamptons Five’ lineup that’s out there, I would probably do the same exact thing if I was coaching against me. You’ve got Klay (Thompson), Andre, Draymond and KD out there. I embrace those opportunities to get stops and try to make it tough in those iso situations … and just do my job.”The likely MVP seeking out a former MVP for a 1-on-1 matchup, for the right to play in the NBA Finals. A pretty cool outcome, all thanks to how these juggernauts force and handle switches on defense.Check out our latest NBA predictions.
Facing the Minnesota Golden Gophers (24-23, 13-11 Big Ten) in a Big Ten Tournament elimination game, the Ohio State baseball team (26-27, 14-11 Big Ten) fell, 9-4, on Friday. Illinois took the championship and automatic conference bid for the NCAA Tournament. This was Greg Beals’ first season as coach of OSU, after replacing Hall of Fame coach Bob Todd. The team finished one game below .500, marking the first time the Buckeyes had a losing record since 1987. Beals did lead OSU back to the Big Ten Tournament, however, after Todd’s team missed the cut last season. Beals said he was proud of how far the team came in his first year at OSU. “Of all the great teams in Ohio State baseball history, this team, this year, was the first team to sweep Michigan at home in Bill Davis Stadium,” Beals said. “This was the first team to go up and at Minnesota, and win a series on the road at Minnesota — first in history.” Freshman outfielder Tim Wetzel said the team had a lot of guys fitting into new roles and that they all matured over the year. “We all found our roles pretty early in the season, and then we all really stuck to that,” Wetzel said. “I think, in a game like this, that’s going to take us a long way.” Beals said the players knew who they were and fought their “tails” off. “I’ll remember these kids for the fight they had,” Beals said. “Whether they were as good or better or not as good, they just fought, and they fought, and they fought.” The Buckeyes will lose seven seniors, including three everyday starters. This includes two starting pitchers and two relief pitchers, one of whom was Drew Rucinski, a second-team All-Big Ten selection. Beals said the team has eight incoming players signed to national letters of intent and seven verbal commitments. “I’m looking forward to next year, playing with all these guys — except for those seven seniors that will be gone,” sophomore catcher Greg Solomon said. “They did a hell of a job this year.” Beals said the bar has been set high for OSU baseball and that, in the future, the team needs to take care of business so chances to make the Big Ten Tournament are not in jeopardy. “Playing baseball the right way and maximizing the game of baseball is what me and my coaching staff are going to push every day in this program,” Beals said. “It was something that was an absolute necessity for this season, and it’s something that I think for great baseball, where we want this program to go, it’s going to be a necessity in the future also.”