Senior giving 49ers a big lift

first_imgCan a gymnasium’s or arena’s location make that much difference in coach Larry Reynolds’ team’s performance? Apparently, it has a lot to do with the opponents’ mindsets in front of their home crowds and the mindsets of the 49ers in buildings other than the Walter Pyramid. “It was like we almost had no `sense of urgency’ until we were down (by 25 points) at Irvine,” said Houston, averaging 10.6 points and 4.5 assists per game, before a practice in the Walter Pyramid last week. “We can’t allow that to happen again. Hopefully, we’ve learned our lesson.” The 5-foot-10 graduate of San Gorgonio High is operating with his own “sense of urgency” these days, on and off the court. He’s enrolled in the four classes he needs this semester to finish up his coursework and pick up his bachelor’s degree in communications in late May. “It took me a while (at Long Beach) to find out what I wanted to do,” he said, the day after the spring semester had started last week. “But then I took a couple of communications classes, liked them, and decided I wanted to major in it. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do (for a career) but it will give me a lot of options. It’s given me the skills that can help me in almost any kind of business or profession I get into. And it definitely prepares you to speak and communicate in crowds or in front of groups and not be very nervous.” And there is the urgent on-court business on hand, not only for Houston but each of the other six Long Beach seniors: This is their final opportunity to play in an NCAA Tournament. “Long Beach State vs. …” hasn’t popped up on the television screen during a CBS NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Show since 1995, when Utah was the “vs.,” Seth Greenberg was the 49ers’ coach and UCLA ultimately was the national champion. “Going through our whole (college) careers without being a part of it (the NCAA Tournament)? That would be kind of messed up,” he said. “We got close last year (losing in the Big West Tournament final to Pacific) and this year I think we can do it.” Houston started 26 of the 57 games he played in during his first two seasons, averaging 5.3 points and 3.3 assists per game as a freshman and 6.7 and 3.3, respectively, as a sophomore. But there was no talk of a trip to the NCAA Tournament by February of those seasons, which ended with 6-21 and 10-20 records. “It was tough,” he said, “because I came here wanting to be a part of something that would turn things around (right away) and obviously that didn’t happen. Like most of the guys who were here, I had never been in a losing program.” He looks back on the seasons with a heavy dose of perspective, though. “I’d take back the record, but not the experience,” he said. “You learn so much through the adversity.” Statistically (he led the 49ers in steals and assists, shot .460 from the field and was fifth in scoring at 8.6 ppg) he turned in his best performance last season, when Long Beach won seven games in a row before losing in the conference final to finish 18-12. But, immediately following the season, when, with the addition of guards Aaron Nixon and Kejuan Johnson, he started only 12 times and averaged 22 minutes per game, he wasn’t sure he wanted to play as a senior at Long Beach. And he said as much to Reynolds. “I can’t complain, because we had some good guards on the team,” he said, measuring his words carefully. “But I wanted to make sure that me, the coach and the rest of the team were on the same page. Yeah, I was considering it (leaving). But I loved the school, too, and I knew we were going to be good. It took some time and I had to consult with my parents and they gave me some good advice. And I think I made a good decision (to stay), just as I think I made a good decision when I came here (originally).” Houston has been exceptional during conference play, averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.0 assists and only 2.0 turnovers per game. “He’s playing at a very, very high level for us and doing a great job of distributing the ball and getting everyone involved,” Reynolds said. Was there much of a concern Houston wouldn’t be in uniform this season? “You don’t begrudge guys who want to play more; you want that,” Reynolds added. “That’s natural for guys who are very competitive and have a good deal of talent. “He wasn’t happy and he expressed that. But I didn’t think, at any point, that he wouldn’t be with us (this season).” 49ERS NOTES: The 49ers beat Cal Poly, 77-70, on Jan. 6. Since that trip to the Walter Pyramid, coach Kevin Bromley’s team has won five of six games to improve to 3-4 in conference and 11-9 overall. … Six-five Derek Stockalper, a first-team all-Big West selection last season, leads the Mustangs in scoring (12.9 points) and rebounds (6.8 per game). … In the absence of Kejuan Johnson and Mark Dawson during the 49ers’ games with Cal State Northridge and Pacific last week, freshman guard Tim Island (10 points and four rebounds in 26 minutes) and junior post Travon Free (10 points, while hitting all five shots, and five rebounds in 21) gave the team a big boost off the bench. Frank Burlison can be reached at frank.burlison@presstelegram.com or (562) 499-1320. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! During six Big West Conference games in the Walter Pyramid this season, the Long Beach State 49ers are 6-0 and have outscored opponents, 90.5 to 70.2 points per game. In two conference games on the road, they’re 0-2 and have been outscored, 89.0 to 83.5. So, what gives? center_img The 49ers, atop the Big West standings, at 6-2, and 15-6 overall, can’t do much about the former. But they hope to do something about the latter, beginning tonight, when they take on Cal Poly in a 7 o’clock game in the Mustangs’ Mott Gymnasium. “We’re going to have to step it up, that’s for sure,” senior guard Kevin Houston conceded. “We know teams are going to get after us hard, in their houses, so we have to be more intense right from the beginning.” The 49ers found themselves in big first-half holes – with, of course the host Cal State Northridge Matadors and UC Irvine Anteaters doing a lot of the digging – while falling behind by 17 and 25 points, respectively, before rallying to nearly pull the games out. last_img

Surge in An Post profits at the expense of rural communities – Ó Fearraigh

first_imgSinn Féin Councillor John Shéamais Ó Fearraigh has criticized both the Government and Management at An Post over what he’s describing as the ‘shameful showboating’ of its recent set of finance results which seen profits at the State-owned company jump by 400 per cent to €41M last year.The figures come following the closure of 151 mainly rural post office over the last number of months, including 17 branches in Donegal – something Ó Fearraigh says shows that decision makers are choosing to put profits ahead of rural communities.Cllr Ó Fearraigh said “Last week, Management at An Post announced that the company had a record year after seing its profits surge by 400 per cent to €41m for 2018. “It was reported that this compared to profits of over €8m in 2017, after revenues at the firm rose by 7 per cent over the last 12 months to almost €900m.“While these figures were being heralded as proof that the company’s transformation and restructuring plans were paying off it cannot be overlooked that these very healthy financial results have come at the expense of rural Ireland.”Last summer An Post announced that the company had made the decision to shut 151 post offices, mainly in rural communities.In Donegal 17 towns and villages lost their post office as a result. He added “Despite the huge blow these closures have dealt to rural communities here, both the Government and Management of An Post see nothing wrong with engaging in shameful showboating when it boasted last week about how much extra money the firm has racked in over the past year.“As many people will recall, I have long voiced my opposition to the removal of postal services from our small towns and villages yet Fine Gael is on a mission to decimate some of our most remote and rural communities simply to make a quick buck.“Clearly, the Government has decided to put profits ahead of people again on this occasion – they should hang their heads in shame.”Surge in An Post profits at the expense of rural communities – Ó Fearraigh was last modified: May 2nd, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Justin Fink’s Canned Spray Foam Tip

first_img Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to this article as well as GBA’s complete library of premium articles and construction details. Start Free Trial Already a member? Log in I’ve been paying attention to energy-efficiency and air-sealing tips for many years, but I still learn something new every week. This week, I learned a very useful tip from my fellow Fine Homebuilding editor, Justin Fink.Justin wrote a great article on canned spray foam, “You Don’t Know Foam,” that appeared in the current issue of Fine Homebuilding.I’ve known for years that one-component spray foam (unlike two-component spray foam) is moisture-cured. I’ve also known that freshly installed foam pulls moisture from the air to cure, and that builders working in very dry climates (like Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona) know that it helps to mist a little water on surfaces before using one-component canned spray foam.I didn’t realize, however, that misting water before using canned spray foam can make a significant difference in New England. Nor did I realize that misting water can double the yield from a can of spray foam.Here is what Justin wrote:“Polyurethane cures by reacting with the moisture in the air. If very little or no moisture is available, the light and fluffy foam will collapse into itself as it cures. A light spray of water applied to surfaces before filling voids with foam will go a long way toward getting foam to cure properly.“This is especially important when working in areas of low humidity, but it’s also best practice when filling deep voids. In the case of deep voids, apply the foam in layers, misting lightly between them. It only takes an ounce of water to cure an entire can of polyurethane foam, so think in terms of a spray bottle, not a garden hose.“Manufacturers of some cans of foam, both straw-dispensed and gun-dispensed, recommend misting water either into the cavity to be… center_img This article is only available to GBA Prime Memberslast_img read more

6 Allahabad High Court staff held for theft

first_imgThe Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case against six persons, including two employees with the Allahabad High Court, for allegedly stealing and destroying court documents.In September last year, the Allahabad High Court had directed the CBI to conduct a preliminary enquiry into the missing High Court and lower court documents in a particular case. The agency submitted its report on January 18.According to the CBI, the files were stolen in connivance with two peons posted with the High Court — Dilip Kumar Chandel and Narendra Kumar. The others named in the FIR are Subhash Chandra, Chandra Veer Singh, Basudev and Rajvir. On further directions of the High Court, the CBI has now registered a case against the accused persons, booking them under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.Untraced filesThe theft came to light when a Division Bench of the High Court was hearing a criminal appeal. The case files were sent to the Court on July 25 last year. The lower court record was returned to the office the same day. The High Court file was returned two days later and the same was received in the criminal appeal section. However, both the files could not be traced later.The High Court, during the next hearing on August 31 last year, observed that there would be no option, but to cancel the bail of the accused persons Basudev and Rajbir, and issue a direction for enquiry. In September, the Court directed the Registrar General to look into the matter and submit a report.last_img read more

WATCH: LeBron James rocks Manila for third time

first_imgWATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LeBron’s 3rd visit speaks of his love for hoops-crazy Philippines, says Alapag Read Next NBA Superstar LeBron James during his Nike Strive for Greatness Tour at the Mall of Asia Arena. INQUIRER PHOTO/ Sherwin VardeleonNBA superstar LeBron James kept his promise and he delivered another show for his Filipino fans during his Strive for Greatness event Saturday night at Mall of Asia ArenaJust like his previous two visits here in 2013 and 2015, James joined an exhibition game between current and former national team players and thrilled the crowd with his electrifying dunks.ADVERTISEMENT The three-time NBA champion vowed to be back in Manila. Watch the highlights of his “Strive for Greatness” show here:LeBron James puts on show for ‘unbelievable’ PH fans for 3rd time5.5K viewsSportsVentuno Web Player 4.51 Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMCcenter_img LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games LATEST STORIES FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout MOST READ US Defense chief Mark Esper visits Manila American Cemetery for wreath-laying ceremony PLAY LIST 01:20US Defense chief Mark Esper visits Manila American Cemetery for wreath-laying ceremony01:18Woman gives birth at Manila North Cemetery on All Souls’ Day01:22Manila police chief: Cops tolerating illegal street vendors to get ax01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension View commentslast_img read more

Pacquiao perfecting a surprise package?

first_imgPacquiao readily re-linked with Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach at the famed Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood.Pacquiao was also photographed doing a morning run around the Griffith Park.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefTo top it all, he did gym work with his son on Christmas Eve.Naturally, there were those who started to suspect Pacquiao could be cramming, rushing to hit peak form. Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue LATEST STORIES TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Truth is there’s neither rust nor evident rush, only renewed intensity.One reason behind this could be the fact that Pacquiao will be fighting a younger, talented and very hungry challenger in Adrien Broner, 29, listed as a four-division world champ who has never suffered a stoppage.But if the fight were held tomorrow, Broner would be at a terrible disadvantage. Unlike Pacquiao, he was still terribly over the limit as bared in the latest video from his training camp in Florida.During his last birthday celebration, Pacquiao, 40, declared he has been feeling young and vigorous as 25.He also vowed to show against Broner the unseen best in his arsenal.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? Before taking the evening flight to Los Angeles on Saturday, Manny Pacquiao did a four-mile jog in the morning then sparred for eight rounds later, veteran sports scribe Eddie Alinea reported.In California, his camp said there would be no holiday break for Pacquiao. It will be work, work, work all the way to the Jan. 19 defense of his WBA welterweight crown in Las Vegas.ADVERTISEMENT INQUIRER SPORTS Top 7 Stories of the Year: SMC sweepcenter_img SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion MOST READ He did not mention specifics, although there were strict orders during earlier training at the Elorde Gym for guests and media to refrain from recording the proceedings.The order, it would be noted, came at a point when his handlers were working to perfect sharp, snappy blows clearly intended for the opponent’s body.Meanwhile, Broner’s chief handler, Kevin Cunningham, said they plan to jam Pacquiao’s fighting rhythm and zero in on his predictable adjustments.It goes without saying that Pacquiao, with that declaration from the opposing camp, can only be expected to come up with a full-proof weaponry, something like a bag of explosives, killer blasts to the body.These new killer blows could only be expected to flash and dig like phantom daggers, thrown from incredible points and angles.Broner better be ready with iron-clad defense of his body.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid View commentslast_img read more

10 months agoAlonso urges Hudson-Odoi to stick with Chelsea

first_imgAlonso urges Hudson-Odoi to stick with Chelseaby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveMarcos Alonso has urged Callum Hudson-Odoi to stick with Chelsea and ignore Bayern Munich.Although Bayern are regarded as one of the heavyweights of European football, Alonso feels Chelsea can match them if Hudson-Odoi is prepared to be patient and wait for his chance.”He is a good player, but he is very young,” he said. “He needs to have patience and to be hungry and fight for a place in this team.”That is all he needs to do, he has all the conditions to be a great player, now it is up to him to fight for a place here or try to find more minutes somewhere else.”Bayern Munich? We are Chelsea, another great team, the Premier League is the most competitive league in the world, I don’t know why someone would go to Bayern Munich.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

C-TOC to Develop Checklist to Help Schools Identify Students with Deviant Behaviour Traits

first_imgStory Highlights The Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be developing a checklist that will help school officials to identify students with deviant behaviour traits. Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said he fully endorses the move, noting that the Ministry is looking forward to the partnership. The checklist, which will be developed over the next few weeks, forms part of a strategy being developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information aimed at deterring students from engaging in illicit activities, particularly gangs. The Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will be developing a checklist that will help school officials to identify students with deviant behaviour traits.The checklist, which will be developed over the next few weeks, forms part of a strategy being developed in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information aimed at deterring students from engaging in illicit activities, particularly gangs.Portfolio Minister, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, said he fully endorses the move, noting that the Ministry is looking forward to the partnership.He pointed out that it is important for the Ministry to monitor every child, particularly those deemed at-risk, in order to provide the necessary support that will ensure they lead productive lives and not turn to crime.“So once you identify vulnerable households, vulnerable mothers, boys, children, there is a strategy to support, because if you don’t… that is where the gang comes in with the support,” he said, noting that many youth join gangs for familial support.He was speaking at a high-level strategy meeting at the Ministry’s National Heroes Circle location on Monday (April 16).Chief Education Officer, Dr Grace McLean also welcomed the initiative, noting she was heartened that the JCF has taken the lead in working directly with the Education Ministry to encourage positive behaviour change among youth.She noted that this partnership would involve the development of a database within the Ministry on those students who have displayed deviant behaviour, in order to track them through the education system. In addition, the JCF would also provide information on these individuals to the Ministry relating to matters outside of the system.“This is one area that I really want us to move quickly on, because we are of the opinion that if we are able to identify these deviant behaviours very early, and if youngsters know that education is tracking them, other services such as the JCF are also tracking them, then we expect to start seeing some kind of turnround,” she said.Director of Safety and Security in Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Coleridge Minto, who led the talks on the collaboration, explained that CTOC has agreed to assist the Ministry withthe training of all principals of public schools, and is to be extended to principals of independent schools.Principals, along with Deans of Discipline, teachers, and other stakeholders will be educated in identifying traits or signs that a student is likely to become a part of a gang, so he/she can be diverted from this path.ASP Minto said the initiative is part of a wider strategy of the Ministry in taking a more proactive approach to safety and security within schools.“We recognise that if we are going to see better results in the years to come, then we will have to not only look at those who already dropped out of the system, and those at risk, but those who are potentially at risk,” he said.For Head of C-TOC, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Fitz Bailey, this intervention is one sure-fire way to keep troubled youth on the right side of the law.“We believe that the way we can impact our youth and the way we can create a more lasting change, is to target the youth that are at risk within the schools,” he said.This partnership, for which an agreement is to be signed soon, is one of several areas of collaboration the Ministry and the JCF are to engage in. Other areas include public education on responsible use of social media; anti-gang initiatives, including the staging of an Anti-Gang Week; and special presentations by C-TOC to school officials.The activities are to be funded under the US$3-million Safe Schools Project of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).last_img read more

How Our Womens World Cup Model Works

3/11/15Faro, PortugalFriendlyFrance2-00.284.3-0.3 DATELOCATIONCOMPETITIONOPPONENTSCOREWEIGHTOFF. RATINGDEF. RATING 7/28/12Glasgow, ScotlandOlympicsColombia3-00.803.10.1 Check out FiveThirtyEight’s Women’s World Cup predictions.Women’s sports don’t have the same rich data that men’s sports do. So what do you do if you want to forecast the Women’s World Cup? You gather up everything you can get.We put together a database of about 8,000 international women’s soccer matches since 1971 — as many games as we could find. And we used these to develop a set of women’s national team ratings — we call them WSPI (Women’s Soccer Power Index) — and projections for the 2015 World Cup. The United States and Germany enter as front-runners, and you can read more about all the elite teams, the dark horses and the players to watch in our colleague Allison McCann’s World Cup preview. We’re here to take you through the methodology behind these projections.WSPI ratings are based on a simplified version of the Soccer Power Index (SPI), a system that Nate developed in conjunction with ESPN in 2009 to rate men’s soccer teams. Men’s SPI is based on two components: a team rating derived from scores of international matches and a player rating, which is primarily based on results from club play for the individual players on each national team’s roster. For WSPI, we use only the team ratings component because detailed data on club play is not readily available for women’s soccer.Otherwise, the major features of WSPI are similar to the team-rating component of SPI:Ratings account for the final score of each match, including whether the match went into extra time or a shootout, and the location of the game.Ratings also account for the importance of the match: A World Cup match counts far more than a friendly.A team’s rating varies continuously over time. For example, China had a considerably stronger WSPI in 1999, when it played the United States in the World Cup final, than they do now.WSPI ratings, like SPI ratings, are broken down into offensive and defensive components. The offensive rating can be interpreted as how many goals we would expect the team to score in an average competitive international match,1In the past, we’ve sometimes referred to SPI ratings as indicating how many goals a team would score and allow against an average international opponent. But that’s not quite accurate: The way SPI ratings are designed, they indicate a team’s performance in an average international match, controlling for strength of schedule and weighting by match importance. The same is true for WSPI. The distinction matters because stronger teams tend to play more matches than weaker ones, especially in women’s soccer. The average international match, in other words, is typically against a considerably above-average opponent. while the defensive rating is how many goals it would concede in such a match, controlling for strength of schedule. Higher offensive ratings are better. Lower defensive ratings are better.The offensive and defensive components are combined into an overall WSPI rating, which reflects the percentage of possible points we would expect the team to score in a hypothetical round-robin tournament against every other team in the world.Let’s look at a more detailed example of how a team’s WSPI rating is calculated. Here are some of the United States’ recent results, along with the ratings the team received for each match and the weight WSPI gives to the match: 10/15/14Kansas City, KansasWorld Cup qualifierTrinidad & Tobago1-00.960.30.4 10/24/14Chester, PennsylvaniaWorld Cup qualifierMexico3-00.963.10.1 7/25/12Glasgow, ScotlandOlympicsFrance4-20.808.11.3 You can see some of the key features of WSPI in these examples (a team’s overall offensive and defensive ratings are a weighted average of these game-by-game ratings). The USWNT’s March 11, 2015, match against France receives relatively little weight, even though it was played fairly recently, because it was a friendly. The 2012 Olympics still receive quite a lot of weight, however, given their importance.2Unlike in men’s soccer, women’s Olympic soccer teams don’t have any age restrictions. The Olympic tournament tends to be almost as competitive as the World Cup. (The maximum possible weight for a match, in case you’re wondering, is 1.68.)Meanwhile, you can see how much strength of schedule matters in WSPI. The USWNT gets a higher offensive rating for beating France 2-0 than for beating Mexico 3-0 because France has a tougher defense. It’s not uncommon for a team to win a match against a weak opponent but receive poor adjusted ratings because it didn’t win by as much as WSPI expected. Conversely, a team can receive a good offensive rating just by scoring on a very good team, even if it loses. The location of a match is also important: Home advantage in competitive matches has historically been worth about 0.35 goals and would make the home team about a 60-40 favorite in a matchup between two equally rated teams.Once we’ve generated WSPI ratings for every team in the world, we can estimate the probability that any team will beat any other team.3This part of the model is “trained” on all non-friendly matches between two teams in the WSPI top 50 — matches that roughly approximate World Cup competition. More specifically, we first calculate the expected number of goals that each team will score in a given match and then convert these into a matrix of possible outcomes using Poisson distributions. Thus, in any given match, we’ve estimated the probability that it will end in a 0-0 tie, a 1-0 victory, a 2-3 loss or any other possible scoreline. Knowing this distribution of possible scores is important because the tiebreaker to advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup takes goals scored and allowed into account.With these individual match probabilities in hand, we can calculate the chance that each team in the tournament will advance to the knockout round or eventually win the tournament. To do so, we simulate the tournament 20,000 times: If the U.S. has a 28 percent chance of winning the tournament, this means that it won in approximately 5,600 out of 20,000 simulations. As simulations are played out, each team’s WSPI is updated to reflect its results in that simulation. Loosely speaking, this accounts for the possibility that a team will “get hot” during the tournament and considerably outperform its pre-World Cup WSPI.4For a more technical discussion, see here.Matches in the knockout round continue into extra time if they are tied at the end of regulation and a shootout if tied after that, so we’ve spent some time making sure our simulations handle these cases accurately. Extra time is treated as a shortened match in which teams score at a slower rate than during regulation.5Historically, teams have scored at a rate about 25 percent lower during extra time. Shootout win probabilities are also derived from WSPI instead of being treated as random. There is evidence that shootouts are skill-based — the team with the better WSPI rating has won 58 percent of shootouts in our database — but good teams don’t tend to be as dominant in shootouts as they are in regular time. For example, the USWNT would be more than a 90 percent favorite to beat Thailand in a regular game, but only a 71 percent favorite to win in a shootout. For this reason, it’s usually in the interest of the weaker team to play for a shootout even though it’d be an underdog if one occurred.Have any more questions? See Nate’s 2009 article and FAQ for more of the technical details and philosophy behind SPI, most of which also apply to WSPI. Or drop us a note here. We hope you’ll enjoy following the women’s tournament with us. read more

A Definitive Guide To Baseballs Pizza Discounts

Milwaukee BrewersWin43.7 TEAMCONDITIONSPROBABILITY Arizona DiamondbacksWin46.8 Colorado RockiesWin48.6 Chicago White Sox5 runs28.3 Philadelphia PhilliesWin44.5 Odds of getting that pizza discount by team Miami Marlins5 runs24.4 New York Yankees6 runs14.4 Source: FanGraphs LA DodgersWin and 5 runs36.7 Minnesota TwinsWin42.9 Washington NationalsWin and 7 runs13.8 Pittsburgh PiratesWin52.0 Cleveland Indians5 runs28.2 St Louis CardinalsWin52.9% Texas Rangers7 runs9.2 Tampa Bay Rays6 runs12.1 Step aside, ads for daily fantasy and erectile dysfunction: The 2016 baseball season has added another marketing campaign to the pantheon of pervasive (and widely loathed) sports promotions.Major League Baseball has rebranded grand slams1Or in press-release parlance, made “Grand Slams even better.” as “Papa Slams” across all of its properties,2Including MLB Network, MLB.TV and MLB.com. issuing ad infinitum the accompanying promise that every grand slam will yield a 40 percent Papa John’s pizza discount the next day. And thanks to an increased leaguewide home run rate, 28 grand slams have been hit through about 25 percent of the schedule, putting us on pace for 114 grand slams this season3Not counting the kind only the Reds bullpen allows. — the most since 2010.4That’s even ignoring the fact that the ball flies farther when the weather warms up. To watch baseball in 2016 is to live in a constant state of Papa Slam saturation. (To paraphrase another baseball-themed ad you’ve probably watched too many times: well played, Papa John’s.)Baseball is so in bed with Big Pizza that the promotions don’t even stop at a national Papa John’s partnership. They also apply at the local level, thanks to the company’s status as the “official pizza” of 22 big league clubs. Although Papa John’s is far from the first company to sponsor sports promotions of this sort,5And baseball isn’t the first sport Papa John’s has sponsored. an MLB PR official confirmed to us that theirs is the only existing arrangement on the local level that extends to the majority of teams. Basically, it’s Papa John’s discounts all the way down — much to the chagrin of pizza snobs, internet commenters and the petitioning public at large.But there’s an interesting statistical question lurking within the waves of pizza plugs: Which local market is most likely to get a cheap pie?Although every local deal involves some variation on the theme of a 50 percent discount on online orders, the discount conditions in each market are different, ranging from simple offers that activate when the local team wins to more complicated triggers based on the number of runs the team scores, or even the day of the week. According to Papa John’s Senior Director of Public Relations Peter Collins, “local promotion is determined by the local markets and depends on the market dynamics and tolerance to discounting.” In addition, he told us that “team performance is also taken into account.” As Collins pointed out, the Rangers (who scored the third-most runs in the majors last year and play in a hitter’s park) have a seven-run trigger, while the Marlins (who scored the second-fewest runs in the majors last year in a neutral park) have a five-run trigger.Using the specific offers for each market and FanGraphs’ projected rest-of-season standings, we calculated the odds that a pizza discount would be triggered on any given game day.6The gory details: For wins-based discounts, we used FanGraphs’ projected rest-of-season win probabilities, as of May 16. For runs-based discounts, we assumed that the number of team runs per game follows a Poisson distribution, with a mean equal to FanGraphs’ projected rest-of-season runs per game. (Poisson isn’t the best distribution for runs scored, but it was the only distribution we could fit with only projected runs scored figures on hand.) For discounts with multiple criteria, we calculated the probability that a team would score the specified number of runs, then multiplied that by the winning percentage of teams scoring that many runs (or more) in a game during the 2015 season. And we discovered a huge spread in results: Certain markets have discount probabilities in the single digits, while others have better-than-even odds. Seattle Mariners4 runs44.7 Baltimore OriolesWin and 5 runs43.6 Houston AstrosWin on Tuesday8.0 Atlanta Braves6 runs7.7 Kansas City RoyalsWin and 5 runs33.5 San Diego Padres5 runs18.3 As if Cardinals fans haven’t had enough perks, the St. Louis promotion — which takes effect when the home team merely wins — is the deal most likely to pay off, with a 53 percent likelihood. (Wisely, perhaps, Papa John’s has no Cubs-based discount.) In other markets with winning teams, though, Papa John’s sometimes adds difficulty by tacking on victory conditions. In order to secure the D.C. discount, for instance, the Nationals need not only to win but also to score at least seven runs, a 14 percent proposition.Some cities’ chances are even more remote. In a just world, Braves fans would be able to ease the pain of watching their team rebuild by buying affordable food. But to add the insult of full-price pizza to the injury of bad baseball, the Braves are the team least likely to trigger the local discount, with odds under 8 percent. To feed Atlantans, baseball’s worst offense has to score six or more runs, a feat it’s achieved in only six of its 39 games. That makes their chances slightly lower than those of the Astros, who have to win on Tuesdays.7To calculate the Astros’ discount, we multiplied the probability that Houston would win a game by the fraction of their games that take place on Tuesdays (16 percent of their schedule).Surprisingly, Papa John’s doesn’t seem to have gamed the discounts much, if at all, and that means there are major inefficiencies in the pizza-promotion marketplace. (Paging Michael Lewis.) Although there’s nothing preventing the company from adjusting on the fly, as of now Papa John’s hasn’t limited its win-based discounts to teams that are more likely to lose, nor has it tailored the runs per game-based discounts to team quality in any statistically significant way. When we randomly scrambled the discount conditions between teams, we found almost no difference in the probability of getting discounted pizza compared to how the discounts are actually assigned.So with great power to exploit local pizza promotions comes … slightly cheaper pizza, potentially. Armed with a spreadsheet, a list of discount codes, and an unquenchable appetite for Papa John’s, a sabermetric pizza handicapper could save some serious meal money in the right market.Much as we might want to, there’s no writing this redshirt out of this season’s script. So the only question left is whether we’re willing to move to St. Louis in search of a discounted slice.Check out our latest MLB predictions. read more