30 Sep

The BCS Wasnt Any Worse Than A College Football Playoff Will Be

Modern life has become the algorithmized life, a data-rich dreamscape in which the solution to nearly every problem lies somewhere inside a spreadsheet. Every problem, that is, except for college football’s.On Tuesday night, the new College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee will release its ranking of the best teams in college football. It’s a list generated by 13 human experts1Minus Archie Manning. — they’ll have the aid of simple statistics, sure, but ultimately the committee and its members’ human biases are the ones accountable. College football has moved the onus from the machines to the men.But only because the machines got them in trouble. In an unlikely marriage,2For a sport that still clings to the distinctly 19th-century notion of amateurism in the face of furious resistance. college football became an early adopter of numerically driven policymaking in 1998, when it ratified the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) to determine its consensus national champion.3To the extent that such a thing exists; Division I-A football is famously the only NCAA sport whose postseason is not governed by college athletics’ chief organizing body. Billed as an enlightened merger between the old-guard media polls — thus preserving the sport’s strong sense of tradition — and the computer rankings that so easily proliferated in the tech-boom ‘90s, the BCS was supposed to use data to help usher in a new era of college football.Instead, all it produced was controversy, revolt and a system so universally loathed that its demise was one of the few initiatives for which President Obama was able to marshall bipartisan support. A great deal of the criticism centered on “the computers,” a faceless army of machines that supposedly wouldn’t know a 3-4 defense from a 4-3. One of the biggest selling points of the College Football Playoff has been that it involves people who do know defensive formations.Yet there’s evidence that the switch from BCS to CFP won’t matter much, at least in terms of actually picking a champion with more efficiency. The big leap forward may simply be a lateral move.College football’s champion has always been more beauty-pageant winner than undisputed warrior. There are far too many teams — playing far too few games — to be able to rely on wins and losses alone as sole arbiters of worth. NFL teams make the playoffs through their records alone,4And, when necessary, an incredibly arcane tie-breaking process. but college football teams, marooned in various conferences, play schedules of vastly differing quality. Any endeavor to pick a truly national champion has to, by necessity, grapple with the balance between performance and strength of opposition.Originally, the media and coaches were the arbiters of who was great and who wasn’t, through the Associated Press Top 25 and the Coaches’ Poll. In theory, those who followed the sport most closely should produce a relatively equitable ranking of the country’s best teams. But the rankings became fraught with controversy and accusations of regional bias. The two major polls couldn’t always agree about which team was No. 1, producing a number of years in which multiple schools “won” the national championship. And college football’s longstanding system of bowl games, which act at once as postseason contests and meaningless exhibitions, occasionally complicated matters even further by contractually preventing the best teams from facing off even when there was clarity atop the polls.The BCS, which mixed polls with the supposed objectivity of computers, was supposed to fix all that. The existence of mathematical ranking systems in college football dated back at least 70 years prior, but since the AP began continuously issuing polls in 1936 these systems had never been the game’s preeminent selectors.It didn’t go smoothly. The computers became an easy punching bag for everything that fans and media hated about the BCS as a whole. “I think over the years, the computers were a scapegoat,” algorithm-maker Richard Billingsley told ESPN’s Mark Schlabach in August. “If there was an issue or if somebody didn’t like the results, it was the computers’ fault, and that wasn’t fair at all.”“Humans had more to do with the BCS than the computers did, but people were just wrong about it,” former BCS director Bill Hancock added. “I think the computers got a bum rap.”Even so, computer ratings played a large role in the BCS, and there were a number of reasons why the foray into data-crunching failed. First, the formula concocted by BCS creator Roy Kramer was inelegant, stirring the polls and computer ratings into an arbitrary statistical mishmash that included team loss totals and an arcane strength of schedule calculation. Also, it was badly overfit. As Stewart Mandel writes in “Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls,” Kramer “had his minions test the formula by applying it to past seasons’ results and making sure it spit out the correct two teams each year.” When future seasons5The ultimate out-of-sample test. failed to play out as tidily as the test sample did, the BCS endlessly tweaked its formula to retroactively “fix” whatever the previous year’s controversy was, rather than anticipating future fusses.And perhaps the BCS’s biggest sin of all was banishing computer rating systems that took into account a team’s margin of victory in its games. It was seeking to reduce the incentive for coaches to run up the score on overmatched opponents, but in doing so it also deprived the computer ratings of key data points. One of the most crucial findings in sabermetrics, across virtually all sports, is that the average margin by which a team wins or loses conveys more information than wins and losses alone. This is especially true in a sport like college football, where the sample of games is so small.Perhaps a computerized system could work if it were deployed with more skill. But college football’s decision-makers have decided instead that using no data — or at least a fuzzy interpretation of what’s available — is better than rigidly adhering to a defective model.And it may not make much of a difference.There will likely be a great deal of crossover between the playoff committee’s selection and the teams the BCS would have listed in its top four slots. In the estimation of SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, no fewer than 75 percent of the top four teams in the BCS rankings each year from 1998 to 2012 — and probably closer to 85 percent to 90 percent — aligned perfectly with the teams a hypothetical playoff committee would have selected had the current system been in place over those years.There also isn’t much distinction between the BCS’s and the CFP’s accuracy in determining the nation’s true best team. The CFP’s four-team bracket would be more likely to feature the deserving champion (a four-team playoff system has about a 45 percent greater chance of including the best team than a two-team setup like the BCS). But the CFP loses that advantage by forcing the top team to play an additional game, opening it up to becoming the victim of bad luck. According to past research of mine, a two-team playoff is won by the best team in the country about 29 percent of the time, while a four-team playoff crowns the best team at a 31 percent clip — hardly any improvement at all.The debut of the College Football Playoff is being celebrated as progress because it returns to the simplicity of human debate. But data and formulae ultimately weren’t to blame for the BCS’s woes, and it’s unlikely that its committee-based successor will reduce the number of college football controversies. Only an emotionless algorithm would have it any other way. read more

30 Sep

The Cubs Start Is Even More Dominant Than It Seems

The Cubs are the best (through 24 games) YEARTEAMRUN DIFFERENTIALSCALED RUN DIFFERENTIALWON LEAGUEWON WS 2012St. Louis Cardinals+65+2.67 2003New York Yankees+85+3.42√ 2016Chicago Cubs+83+3.50—— 1962San Francisco Giants+74+2.89√ Source: Baseball PRospectus 1993Detroit Tigers+69+2.84 To put it in perspective, the distance between the Cubs’ run differential and that of the second-best team (the Washington Nationals) is the same as the difference between the Nationals and the 20th-ranked Oakland A’s. Not only is Chicago scoring the most runs in baseball, it’s also tied for allowing the fewest. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Cubs boast the best base running of any team as well.This Cubs squad wasn’t always an unstoppable force. According to our Elo ratings, which measure the quality of a team at any given point in time, the club Theo Epstein inherited bottomed out around the end of the 2012 season, when their 1439 rating left them ranked second-to-last in the majors — ahead of only the tanking Houston Astros. But in the 521 games since,3Including the playoffs. the Cubs have gained 120 points of Elo rating, a level of sustained increase exceedingly rare in MLB history. For every thousand similar stretches, we’d expect to see a 120-point Elo increase only about two or three times.4It’s difficult to determine the exact probability because there are so many possible 521-game stretches, but we can estimate it by looking at a sample of 1,000 such sets.In only three years, the Cubs have risen from one of the worst teams in baseball to achieve an unprecedented degree of dominance. But there’s no pennant for the best Elo rating, no trophy for the highest run differential. And it might take playing at this level all season to overcome the most stunning streak of postseason futility in professional sports and win a championship for the first time in 107 years.Check out our latest MLB predictions. 1984Detroit Tigers+71+3.08√√ The Chicago Cubs have started the 2016 season on a roll, amassing a 19-6 record — with one of the wins coming via a no-hitter — and outscoring opponents by an average of 3.6 runs per game. Tabbed in spring training as a potential 100-game winner by nearly every projection algorithm, the Cubs are somehow exceeding even those lofty expectations. Now the benchmark is quickly shifting to whether they can become one of the best teams in baseball history.By run differential, the Cubs’ start ties for fourth-best in MLB’s modern era (going back to 1900). But that fun fact doesn’t quite do their dominance justice, because MLB is also currently in an epoch of incredible parity, with the spread of talent between teams smaller than it’s ever been. If you adjust for how bunched-up team run differentials have become in recent years,1I did this by calculating the standard deviation in run differential at game 24 of each season, and smoothing the trend over time using local regression. the Cubs are off to the strongest 24-game start since at least 1950.2Which is as far back as Baseball Prospectus has data. 1974Los Angeles Dodgers+71+2.95√ 1955Brooklyn Dodgers+69+2.54√√ 2010Tampa Bay Rays+66+2.69 2002Boston Red Sox+65+2.61 read more

30 Sep

Steelers Extend Coach Mike Tomlins Contract For 3 Years

Mike Tomlin became the youngest coach in NFL history to win the Super Bowl  when he directed the Pittsburgh Steelers to the title in 2009 – and the second black coach to sit atop the league after Tony Dungy.He has exhibited beautiful leadership his entire tenure, balancing of discipline and freedom with his players, who respect and like him.At 40 and entering the final year of his contract, the Steelers showed they did not want Tomlin feeling any insecurity about his job status. And so, they signed him to a three-year extension Tuesday.Terms of the deal were not released, but Forbes magazine had Tomilin listed as the sixth-highest paid coach in the NFL entering the season.“I am excited that I will continue to be the head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for years to come,” Tomlin said in a statement. “I am grateful to the Steelers organization for the opportunity I have been given over the past five years to work and live in this great city, and I am excited to continue to work to bring another championship to the Steelers and the city of Pittsburgh.”The extension displays the team’s total confidence in Tomlin’s leadership prowess. He skillfully managed the team when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger went through rape allegations that could have infected the team.When injuries beset the team, they followed Tomlin’s poised leadership and held it together.He has led Pittsburgh to the playoffs four times in his first five seasons, including two trips to the Super Bowl.“We are pleased to announce that Mike Tomlin will remain with the Steelers for at least five more years,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said. “Mike is one of the top head coaches in the National Football League and we are thrilled he will continue to lead our team as we pursue another Super Bowl title.” read more

30 Sep

High School QB Ejected For Imitating Cam Newton Celebration

Jalan McClendon, a highly touted high school quarterback in Charlotte, obviously is a Cam Newton fan. And when he replicated the Carolina Panthers’ QB touchdown celebration during a playoff game Friday, McClendon was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.McClendon of West Mecklenburg pretended to rip open his jersey following a touchdown run — just as Newton does. But unlike the NFL, where such maneuvers are acceptable, high school officials considered it poor sportsmanship and threw him out of the game.His team won 45-10 and McClendon, a junior who his being recruited by a number of schools, will be allowed to play this weekend.West Mecklenburg coach Jeff Caldwell said Wednesday that McClendon wasn’t trying to taunt. Newton said: “I was like, ‘Wow,’ because where I’m from if you get kicked out, you sit out the next game.”State high school officials ruled he was disqualified for an unsportsmanlike act, not taunting, which just meant he had to sit out the remainder of the game.Caldwell couldn’t see the celebration from where he was standing, but said McClendon is a “solid kid.”“I don’t think it’s any different than when kids jump at each other,” Caldwell said. “It’s a hard call to make. Every year you have kids get caught up in the moment. It’s up to us as coaches to keep reiterating what is allowed and what isn’t.”Newton said he was flattered that McClendon, and others, have taken to his celebration.“Taunting is taunting, but at the end of the day, you still have to have fun playing the game,” Newton said. “I don’t think my (celebration) is anything derogatory of any sort.“It’s not on the ‘Tebowing’ level, but it goes to show you as a professional athlete what type of an impact you have on your community or on guys that look up to you,” Newton added. “The result wasn’t the result I wanted to hear for (McClendon), but it goes to show that if I go out and do a good deed in the community, people are going to hear about it or read about it.“And the same thing if I do something crazy. … All eyes are on you.” read more

30 Sep

Gary Paytons Bad Advice Sparked Iversons Rant

Remember Allen Iverson’s infamous practice rant? You probably don’t, so refresh your recollection by watching the clip below. Former NBA player Gary Payton has just shed some light on Iverson’s odd rant. Now that Iverson is done playing NBA basketball for good, Gary Payton revealed that he was potentially the reason Iverson went on the infamous practice rant.In a segment on Fox Sports Live, Payton explained that a group of players were out having a good time and they had “a little bit too many.” Iverson asked Payton how he stayed in such good shape, avoided injuries and always remained on the court. Payton replied, “I told him for real that my coach, George Karl, didn’t let me practice. That was it. I said, ‘You have to stop practicing.’”Bleacher Reports‘ Dan Favale compared the two players’ stats, maybe Payton was on to something.In Payton’s 17-year career, he averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists and 3.9 rebounds per game. He played 80 or more games in a season 12 times.In Iverson’s 14-year career, he averaged 26.7 points, 6.2 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. He played 80 or more games in a season three times. read more

29 Sep

The American Grandmaster Who Could Become World Champion

Here’s an old Caruana family legend. While traveling in Europe, years ago, Caruana and his parents boarded a plane — one of many planes that he’s boarded in his young life. Once seated, he immediately pulled out a little chess set and began to play the game that has come to define him. The plane taxied and accelerated and took to the sky, cruising high above the earth at hundreds of miles an hour toward their destination. A rapt and oblivious Caruana kept playing, transfixed. Eventually he looked up, turned to his father and asked him a question.“When are we going to take off?” If you search the archives for Caruana, one of his earliest mentions you’ll find is a television news segment from early 2001, when he was 8 years old and living in Brooklyn. “Here’s the story of a boy who could be the next Bobby Fischer,” the host says. Caruana’s mother, Santina, describes her son’s play as art (“I just — I can’t take my eyes off him”); his coach describes him as “mentally quite tough;” and a chess club manager says he’s sure to become a grandmaster and possibly world champion.The 8-year-old Caruana: “I just think it’s a fun game.” Another early appearance was in 2002 in the New York Daily News. That story featured a photo of a 10-year-old Caruana in an oversized T-shirt staring at a chessboard and grasping a bishop. He was taking on 15 opponents simultaneously in Bryant Park in Manhattan. He didn’t lose a single game.When you look at stories like those, Caruana’s championship bid seems preordained, the unavoidable result of an intense, prodigious and celebrated chess upbringing. But another quick search of the archives turns up dozens of other names that have also had their chess picture in the paper, and have also been teased by the press as The Next Bobby Fischer: Josh Waitzkin, Carissa Yip, Hikaru Nakamura, Eric Hicks, Jorge Zamora, Michael Wilder, Steven Zierk, Robert Lau, Gata Kamsky, Vinay Bhat, Ray Robson, Jordy Mont-Reynaud, Alan Tsoi, David Newmuis, Jeff Sarwer, Kayden Troff, Sam Sevian, etc., etc.You almost certainly haven’t heard of most — or any — of these people. None of them has played for the world championship of chess. Caruana will. If you ask the people who know Fabiano Caruana what Fabiano Caruana is like, they will tell you that Fabiano Caruana is, you know, just a normal guy.He likes movies. He likes music. He likes to eat. He works out. He goes on dates.Just a normal guy.Just a normal guy who is ranked second in the world in chess. A normal guy who was pulled out of school after seventh grade to do nothing but play the ancient and intricate game. A normal guy who is a hairbreadth away from prying the No. 1 position loose from probably the best player ever to play the game. A normal guy who, beginning Friday, will sit down at a table in London with this probably-the-best-ever player, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, in a grueling, weeks-long battle for the world championship of chess. A normal guy who could be the first American to win the title since Bobby Fischer in 1972. Real 99.99999999th percentile stuff.Just a normal guy. Caruana makes his move during an event with the Turinese Chess Club in 2008. Caruana became a grandmaster at the age of 14. Pigi Cipelli/Archivio Pigi Cipelli/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images read more

28 Sep

Did The Referees Ruin The Mens NCAA Championship

FiveThirtyEight More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Apr. 4, 2017), we say goodbye to March Madness and break down the women’s and men’s NCAA championship games. Next, we investigate why NBA teams are resting their players early and often. Plus, a significant digit on Madison Bumgarner.FiveThirtyEight’s Benjamin Morris argues that Mississippi State earned every bit of their upset over UConn.Mississippi State ultimately lost the women’s championship game to South Carolina.Neil Paine notes that even though the men’s championship was tough to watch, UNC played ugly enough to win.That was not a good national title game, writes ESPN’s Myron Medcalf.The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman says it wasn’t UNC players who won the night — it was the referees.NBA teams are resting players earlier and earlier, Todd Whitehead writes for FiveThirtyEight.Significant Digit: 16.5, the average number of at-bats that San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner takes between hitting home runs, since 2014. Last Sunday, Bumgarner hit two home runs and became the first pitcher to hit more than one on Opening Day. read more

28 Sep

The US Mens Soccer Team Is Bungling Its Way To The World

To make the World Cup every four years, the United States men’s national team needs to do the bare minimum — that usually entails not being worse than teams from a couple of Central American or Caribbean countries that have a GDP roughly 0.1 percent the size of ours. In Honduras on Tuesday night, the USMNT delivered on that promise: They accomplished the bare minimum.A late Bobby Wood goal secured a 1-1 draw, salvaged a crucial road point and calmed anxiety about the U.S. qualifying for next summer’s World Cup. According to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, the U.S. now has a 69 percent chance of qualifying. Of course, those odds are more a reflection of the forgiving nature of the Hex, the round-robin CONCACAF World Cup qualification tournament, than the U.S. men’s skill. Six teams enter, three leave with a World Cup bid, and the fourth-place team can still score a spot by beating the fifth-place Asian qualifier.The path to qualification is easy, so it’s still likely that the U.S. team will be off to Russia next summer, but they’ve used up much of their margin for error. As it stands, there’s no scenario in which the U.S. can qualify for the World Cup before the final match in Trinidad and Tobago. The last time the U.S. was still hoping to clinch a spot entering its final game was heading into the 1990 World Cup, basically the dawn of modern American soccer. Even if things go perfectly next month, when they take on Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, this will still go down as the team’s worst modern qualifying campaign.Now the U.S. is faced with two simple questions. What the heck is wrong with this team? And can it be fixed?Where the U.S. went wrongThe problem right now isn’t so much that the U.S. team is bad. It’s not. The problem is that the U.S. was really bad last year when this phase of qualification started, and it hasn’t really ever made up for it. Jurgen Klinsmann was fired two games into the USMNT’s final-round qualifying bid, after a home loss against Mexico and a 4-0 thumping away to Costa Rica. The team was a mess, and Bruce Arena was brought in to stabilize the ship. And he did. In his first four games in charge, he led the team to two home wins and two road draws, the exact kind of record that leads to easy qualification. But the record didn’t earn back any of the points the team dropped in its first two games. Arena stopped the bleeding, but he didn’t fill in the hole that Klinsmann had dug.That left that the men’s team vulnerable to a single bad match — like the match last Friday, in which Costa Rica beat the U.S. 2-0 in New Jersey. Realistically, Arena’s team didn’t play all that badly. The USMNT outshot its opponents 14-9 and produced a 1.26 to 0.62 expected goal advantage. Arena’s men conceded an early goal thanks to some poor positioning from central defenders Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream and some questionable goalkeeping from Tim Howard. Then they were denied a second-half equalizer when Costa Rica’s goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, made an absolutely inhuman save on a shot from U.S. midfielder Christian Pulisic that took a wicked deflection. If either the blown defense or the amazing save had gone slightly differently, the game looks different, the qualifying campaign looks different, and the answer to the question of “What is wrong with the team?” is basically “Nothing.” This team as currently constituted is just about good enough to qualify for the World Cup. The problem is that it isn’t much better than that.Fixing what’s wrongArena’s emergency stabilization job was built around two main pillars. First, he handed the keys of the attack to teenage superstar Pulisic, and second, he narrowed midfielder Michael Bradley’s responsibilities, shifting him from the hub of the team to a more traditional deep-lying playmaker. Everything around them has been in flux. Personnel has changed, formations have changed, tactical approaches have changed.Without much continuity, the team ends up in trouble when the game plan breaks down. Against Costa Rica last week, the defense was badly exposed without protection from midfield. Cameron and Ream were both called upon to step into midfield frequently and neither were able to do the job. And against Honduras this week, the attack sputtered when Pulisic wasn’t able to get on the ball. Since starting to play with the senior national team, he’s averaged 53 touches per 90 minutes, but against Honduras he only got 42, and the U.S. struggled to create chances without his influence.The defensive problems will likely sort themselves out eventually. The team is currently missing half of its starting defense, as both John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin are injured. If they get healthy and back on the field, the defense will immediately take a step in the right direction.On the attack side, the solution is less clear-cut. Pulisic is the team’s crown jewel, and it’s Arena’s job to figure out which players in his fairly deep attacking talent pool best complement the young star. Arena has yet to settle on the best combination. Pulisic has played as a winger in a front three, as a wide midfielder with two strikers in front of him, and as the attacking midfielder at the tip of a diamond. In the last two games alone, he played with four different strikers in Wood, Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris. Settling on a more consistent lineup might not only help get the best out of Pulisic but also allow the U.S. to develop a more effective plan B for those times an opponent is able to take Pulisic out of the match.Arena is facing the same challenges all managers do. He has to balance the need for short-term results against the desire to develop a team that over the medium term can steadily improve and peak at the right moment. Up until this week, it seemed like he had gotten the balance mostly right, winning enough to put the U.S. solidly on course while also developing a basic plan. This week, that plan broke down. Now October’s matches can’t serve as a platform to help build the team for the future; instead, they’re all about short-term goals.There’s nothing wrong with this team that time can’t fix. But with two must-win games on the horizon, time is the one thing this team doesn’t have. read more

28 Sep

Nearly Every Team Is Playing Like The Rockets And Thats Hurting The

During that 2016-17 season, though, five other teams exceeded the Moreyball Rate of the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who had the highest non-Rockets Moreyball Rate of any team from 2012 through 2016. That incredible jump from one-sixth of the league foreshadowed what has happened since: The league’s Moreyball Rate has been rising far faster than it did during the McHale years, meaning that the Rockets’ math advantage is once again shrinking, through no fault of their own offensive priorities.While the average Moreyball Rate jumped only 3.7 percentage points from 2012 (58.1 percent) through 2016 (60.8 percent), it has rocketed (pun very much intended) all the way up to 68.3 percent in 2019. That’s a jump of 7.5 percentage points in just three seasons, compared with the four it took to erase a smaller advantage for the previous incarnation of the Rockets. And at the same time that the NBA’s average Moreyball Rate has shot through the roof, the Rockets themselves have once again stalled out. They appear to have hit a ceiling in terms of how many of their shots can really be taken from the most efficient areas of the floor.Houston’s sky-high Moreyball Rates during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons helped them to two of the most efficient offensive seasons in NBA history. During that 2016-17 campaign, the Rockets registered the 10th-best offensive efficiency in NBA history, per Basketball-Reference. During the 2017-18 season, they posted the 11th-best offensive efficiency in history. And during both seasons, the Rockets led the NBA in Moreyball Rate by a healthy margin, even while the league as a whole was catching up.This year, however, they don’t even lead the league in Moreyball Rate, marking the first time since the 2011-12 campaign that they’ve fallen out of first place. (They’ve been passed by Mike Budenholzer’s Milwaukee Bucks, who are at 82.6 percent, the highest figure that can be gleaned from the shot location data in NBA.com’s database, which reaches back to the 1996-97 season.) Amazingly, Houston’s Morey+ this season has already dropped below where it was during the 2015-16 season that inspired Morey to bring in D’Antoni in the first place. And even while they’ve cleaned up their defense a bit these past two years, the rate at which leaguewide Moreyball Rates are spiking has left their Moreyball Advantage at the lowest point it’s been in years.It seems unlikely that other NBA teams will simply stop pursuing shots from the Moreyball areas of the floor, so the league average will presumably continue to rise — if not necessarily at quite the rate it has these past few years. And with the Rockets having seemingly maxed out their own Moreyball Rates in the low 80s, it looks like the best way for them to regain the sky-high Moreyball Advantage they had in the early 2010s is by engineering their defense so that opponents simply can’t access the most efficient areas of the floor. But that’s also what every other team in the league has been trying to do to the Rockets for years, and as they’ve been showing us for quite some time now, it’s easier said than done. By attempting so many more of their shots from the most efficient areas of the floor than any other team, the Rockets created for themselves a healthy math advantage. Through shot selection alone, they essentially began each game with a small lead that their opponents needed to erase in addition to out-scoring them over the course of 48 minutes in order to win the game.For the next three seasons under Kevin McHale, however, the Rockets’ Moreyball Rate stayed fairly stagnant. They still led the NBA in Moreyball Rate during each of those seasons, but they did so with rates that hovered between 72.6 and 73.8 percent. At the same time, the league average Moreyball Rate crept upward, eating into the Rockets’ math advantage and, by extension, that small de facto lead with which they began every game.This is perhaps best exemplified by scaling their Moreyball Rate against the league average. Fans familiar with baseball statistics like OPS+ will recognize this formula: The NBA average Moreyball Rate is given a score of 100, while a team whose Moreyball Rate is 10 percent better than league average receives a Morey+ score of 110, and a team whose Moreyball Rate is 10 percent worse than league average receives a Morey+ score of 90. So, in a world where the league average Moreyball Rate is 50 percent, a team with a 55 percent Moreyball Rate has a Morey+ of 110, while a team with a 45 percent Moreyball Rate has a Morey+ of 90.Using the same formula, we can calculate that during the 2012-13 season when the Rockets had a Moreyball Rate of 73.6 percent against a league average of 57.1 percent, they had a Morey+ of 129.1, meaning they attempted shots in the restricted area or from three-point territory at a rate 29.1 percent higher than that of the average NBA team. That is a ridiculously high mark. But it was also essentially the high-water mark for the McHale-era Rockets, whose Morey+ plummeted over the next few seasons, though not through any offensive fault of their own.At the same time the Rockets’ math advantage on offense was shrinking, the same thing was happening on the defensive end of the court. During that 2012-13 campaign, the Rockets did an excellent job of limiting their opponents’ attempts from the Moreyball areas of the floor. Slowly but surely, however, they ended up yielding better and better shots, and their opponents’ Moreyball Rate crept upward at an even faster rate than the league average.The decline of the Rockets’ math advantage during that time looks even starker when pitting their offense and defense against each other. At the same time as they were shooting 29.1 percent more often from Moreyball areas than the average team in 2012-13, they were forcing opponents to shoot from those areas 3.2 percent less often than the average squad. Add those two numbers up, and the Rockets had a Moreyball Advantage of 32.2 points during that season. By the time they got to the 2015-16 campaign, however, their Moreyball Advantage had been cut by more than half (to 13.8 points).During those four years, the Rockets were the only team to have a Moreyball Rate above 68.8 percent, but the average team still gained steadily gained on them, and their ability to prevent their own opponents from getting to Moreyball areas declined as well. And it was then that Morey decided to hire Mike D’Antoni. Because if the Rockets couldn’t stop the rest of the league from following their lead in following The Math, then the next-best option was for them to take The Math to new heights.In D’Antoni’s first season, the Rockets had a Moreyball Rate of 81.8 percent, blasting the previous league highs they’d set over the prior few seasons. That 81.8 percent figure was, obviously, the highest in the NBA by far, making it the fifth consecutive season during which the Rockets led the league. Crucially, that rate bumped their Morey+ all the way back up to 128.8 — almost all the way back to where it was during that 2012-13 campaign, when the Rockets first began truly orienting their offense around The Math. Morey+ score* for the Houston Rockets 2018-19119.8– Winners of five straight games, the Houston Rockets nudged their record back up to their season-high mark of two games over .500 (16-14) with a blowout win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, during which they set an NBA record by making 26 3-pointers. Despite this hot streak, however, it’s still fair to say that the Rockets have not performed as expected thus far this season. When searching for reasons why that might be the case, the focus has often been on their inability to replicate last season’s switch-happy defense or the early-season injuries and suspensions they had to weather or their general offensive malaise. (If ranking fifth in offensive efficiency can be described as a malaise.) But the root of Houston’s issues may actually just be that the rest of the league is increasingly subscribing to Houston’s core beliefs, which has eaten into the team’s math advantage.To fully understand what that means and how that’s happened, we need to back up a bit. Daryl Morey has been the general manager of the Rockets since 2007, but it wasn’t until the 2012-13 season that the purest form of Morey’s basketball philosophies truly began to shine through on the floor.Coming off three consecutive non-playoff seasons and having just traded for James Harden, the Rockets re-engineered their offense to play not only to their new star’s strengths, but also to The Math. It was during that season that the Rockets began their maniacal pursuit of the most efficient shot on every single possession, turning their collective backs on years of NBA tradition by eschewing the lost art of the mid-range jumper whenever possible in favor of attempts either at the rim or behind the three-point line.It’s easy to see the benefits of that offensive strategy now — six years after the Rockets took it to what then seemed like its logical extreme — but at the time, it was not yet really accepted that this was a healthy way to construct an offense. Not everybody believed in The Math. The Rockets did, however, and they did to a degree that was then unheard of in league history.During that 2012-13 campaign, the Rockets attempted 73.6 percent of their shots from either the restricted area or three-point range, per NBA.com. (For the balance of this piece, we’ll refer to this percentage as a team’s “Moreyball Rate,” in keeping with certain segments of the basketball analytics community.) The next closest team was the Denver Nuggets at 67.4 percent, while the average NBA team had a Moreyball Rate of 57.1 percent. SeasonMorey+ score 2012-13129.1– * A rating where 100 equals the NBA average and every point above or below 100 equals a one percent change (up or down). 2013-14124.8– 2017-18126.1– 2015-16120.1– 2016-17128.8– 2014-15125.3– read more

28 Sep

No need for Buckeyes to panic

This was supposed to be the year of eight for the Ohio State football team. The team seemingly had all the pieces to go 12-0 during the regular season and win the school’s eighth national championship. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor would also become OSU’s eighth recipient of the Heisman Trophy, thrusting him into Buckeye lore. Then, after the Buckeyes were beaten and battered by Wisconsin Saturday night, most fans gave up hope on the season. Everyone together now, take a deep breath. Through seven weeks of the season, three teams have ascended to the No. 1 ranking (Alabama, OSU and now Oregon). Verdict? No dominant college football team exists in 2010. Here’s a rundown of what the apparent national title contenders face the rest of the season. Oregon still has to play at Southern California, home versus Washington, home against No. 18 Arizona (who has already beaten Iowa) and at Oregon State. Its defense has put up good numbers but hasn’t faced a team as physical as USC or a quarterback with the shake-and-bake of Washington’s Jake Locker. No. 2 Oklahoma travels to No. 18 Missouri and No. 17 Oklahoma State before its regular season ends. It’ll likely face Missouri or No. 14 Nebraska in the Big 12 title game. The Sooner defense gave up 24 points to lowly Utah State and 351 rushing yards to Air Force. It isn’t going undefeated with a cupcake defense. After they face each other next week, all No. 5 Auburn and No. 6 LSU have to do is take on No. 7 Alabama, as well as the SEC East winner in the SEC championship game. Auburn gave up 332 yards passing and four touchdowns to Arkansas’ backup quarterback last weekend — in a little more than one half. LSU can’t decide who its quarterback is. Enough said. There will be a mid-major elimination game on Nov. 6 as No. 9 Utah and No. 4 TCU square off. The loser of the game is immediately eliminated from the title picture, and the winner isn’t guaranteed anything even if it doesn’t lose a game. Although it’s already beaten Wisconsin and won’t have to play OSU, I’m not sold on No. 8 Michigan State. One, it hasn’t played a game outside the state of Michigan yet. Two, it travels to No. 13 Iowa a week from Saturday. If the Spartans are still undefeated in two weeks, go ahead and crown them. The only team that will go untested the rest of the season is No. 2 Boise State. With that being said, a lot has to go right for OSU to re-enter the national title picture. On the other hand, the 2010 college football season is a masterpiece that is far from finished. And if recent history in college football has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected in a season with no clear-cut top team. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the chaos of the 2007 college football season. Week One: Appalachian State stuns No. 5 Michigan in the Big House. Week Five: No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 4 Florida lose to unranked Colorado and Auburn. Week Six: No. 2 USC loses at home to 41-point underdog Stanford. Week Seven: OSU and South Florida rise to No. 1 and No. 2 after previous No. 1 and No. 2, LSU and Cal, lose to division foes. Week Eight: South Florida’s stay at No. 2 is short as it falls to Rutgers. Week 10: New No. 2 Boston College falls to unranked Florida State. Week 11: OSU suffers embarrassing loss on Senior Day to Illinois. Week 12: Not only is No. 2 Oregon defeated by Arizona, but it loses its quarterback, likely Heisman winner quarterback Dennis Dixon, to a season-ending injury while No. 4 Oklahoma is beaten by Texas Tech. Week: 13: No. 1 LSU is topped by Arkansas in a wild triple-overtime loss, and No. 4 Missouri beats No. 2 Kansas to move within one win of playing for the school’s first national championship. Week 14: No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia choke in the final week of the season, giving rise to No. 1 OSU and No. 2 LSU, which ended up being the first national champion with two losses. The Buckeyes need to win their remaining games, preferably quite handily, to stand any chance. Furthermore, they need a ton of help. I’m convinced Oklahoma, Oregon and Michigan State will each lose at least once. It would help OSU tremendously if Oklahoma and Oregon lost twice. Then, OSU needs the three SEC West teams to take each other out and produce only one one-loss team. Utah and TCU also both need to lose. If all of that shakes out, and depending on the voters, OSU might stumble upon another national champion game berth against an SEC team. Far-fetched? Yes. Impossible? No. As college football fans are well-aware of by now, nothing’s impossible with the BCS. read more

28 Sep

Can womens basketball buck UCONNs streak

Even after final exams this week, the No. 6 Ohio State women’s basketball team might not take its toughest test until Dec. 19. That’s the day the Buckeyes will get their shot at the No. 1 team in the nation: Connecticut. The Huskies are riding an 86-game winning streak. A win against the Buckeyes could extend the streak to 88, which would tie the 1971-74 UCLA men’s team for the longest winning streak in college basketball history. The game will be played at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan, N.Y. OSU coach Jim Foster said he’s looking forward to the location of the game more than he is the opponent. “A lot of people watch really interesting matchups, regardless of who it is. I think where it is is a little more significant than who. Connecticut is Connecticut, there’s no two ways about it,” Foster said. “But Connecticut at Madison Square Garden? That’s a historic building.” Connecticut will try to match OSU’s star power of center Jantel Lavender and guard Samantha Prahalis with its own duo in forward Maya Moore and guard Tiffany Hayes. All four players are members of the preseason watch list for the John R. Wooden award, which is given to the most outstanding player in college basketball each season. Moore won the award in 2009 and is Connecticut’s career leader in scoring. Prahalis said knocking off Connecticut would be a big moment for the OSU women’s basketball program. “Playing UConn and playing to our potential, and hopefully coming out with a victory, that would make our mark,” Prahalis said. The Buckeyes’ matchup with the Huskies will be the last marquee game of what has been a murderer’s row of a non-conference schedule for OSU. The Buckeyes will have already faced LSU, Virginia, Oklahoma and Syracuse before they take on Connecticut. Prahalis said the Buckeyes are always prepared for each opponent’s best effort. “Anytime we go somewhere to play, or that they come play us, they give us their best shot,” Prahalis said. “We wouldn’t expect anything less. We treat every opponent as they’re going to try their hardest, because they are.” The Buckeyes are 8-0 following an 95-84 win over Oklahoma. Foster said his team this year could perhaps be the best he’s coached in his nine seasons at OSU. “Maybe,” Foster said. “You can’t answer that question today, but I think we’ve got some depth that we haven’t had.” read more

28 Sep

Our honor defended by OSU defense

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ohio State football freshman quarterback Braxton Miller completed just 1-of-4 passes against then-No. 16 Illinois, but it didn’t matter because the Buckeyes’ defense was up to the task. Defensive coordinate Jim Heacock’s unit limited Illinois to just seven points and 285 total yards of offense at Memorial Stadium Saturday as the Buckeyes (4-3, 1-2) captured a 17-7 upset win against the Fighting Illini (6-1, 2-1.) First-year OSU head coach Luke Fickell said two keys to Saturday’s game were turnovers and field position. In addition to denying the Illinois offense throughout the game, the OSU defense helped satisfy the two needs Fickell identified for the team. OSU held a 3-0 advantage at half time, but an interception by freshman corner back Bradley Roby, which he returned 36 yards, helped the Buckeyes extend their advantage. With the team just 12 yards from the end zone, Daniel “Boom” Herron scored on a touchdown on the next play to put the Buckeyes up, 10-0. “This is a game of momentum,” Fickell said after the game. “That’s probably the biggest thing about it (Roby’s interception). One thing we’ve lacked on defense is making some plays and to have a play start right there and then answer right away with the offense — that’s what this game is all about.” The touchdown came in Herron’s 2011 debut and with his return to the lineup, only senior receiver DeVier Posey remains suspended for the Buckeyes. Posey sold OSU football memorabilia in exchange for improper benefits in the form of tattoos and was also overpaid for work he did not do at a summer job. Sophomore corner back Dominic Clarke, who was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for shooting what one witness described as a “compressed-air” gun from the top of Marketplace, a diner on OSU’s campus, did not travel with the team to Champaign. Another turnover that positioned OSU for a score came in the fourth quarter. Junior linebacker Storm Klein recovered a fumble on Illinois’ 37-yard line. Three plays after that, OSU again used the short field to its advantage as Miller completed his only pass of the game to junior tight end Jake Stoneburner for a 17-yard touchdown to put OSU up, 17-0. There was more to OSU’s defense than positioning the offense for scoring opportunities too. The Buckeye defense limited Illinois, which averaged 226 yards per game through six games, to 116 rushing yards on Saturday. “We tackled well,” Fickell said. “We didn’t give up big plays.” Sophomore safety C.J. Barnett agreed. “The coaches gave us a good game plan,” Barnett said. “We were able to execute. Everyone was able to do their job.” Sophomore defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, junior defensive tackle John Simon and Klein also combined for seven tackles for loss, totalling -23 yards against Illinois. Simon, who claimed four of the seven tackles for loss and added two sacks, and Hankins both tallied career highs in tackles with eight and nine, respectively. Simon and Hankins helped OSU hold Illinois’ offense to 162 yards below its per game average through six games. Thanks to an efficient outing from both OSU’s offensive and defensive units, OSU junior tight end Reid Fragel said the team was ecstatic in the locker room after the game. “It’s a much-needed win,” Fragel said. “We kind of felt like our backs were against the wall. (With) both sides of the ball finally coming together, playing some good football, that’s big for us.” Fickell said more improvement is needed as the Buckeyes enter their bye week. “We’re not going to let this define us,” Fickel said. “This game is a lot more fun when you win. That momentum is so huge… and maybe those guys (the OSU players) haven’t had that in a while.” After the bye week, the Buckeyes continue Big Ten Leaders Division play against No. 4-ranked Wisconsin on Oct. 29 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. read more

28 Sep

Ohio State mens soccer drops Big Ten opener against No 15 Indiana

The Ohio State men’s soccer team opened Big Ten play on the wrong foot, falling to the No. 15 Indiana Hoosiers, 2-0. Sunday’s loss drops the Buckeyes to 3-5-1 on the season while the visiting Hoosiers improved to 6-1-1. The Buckeyes opened play against the favored Hoosiers with a conservative mindset, hoping to contain the Indiana attack and make the most of their own chances, said OSU coach John Bluem after the game. “Today we chose to play a little bit more defensively,” Bluem said. “(Indiana is) a strong attacking team. We wanted to play safe and keep ourselves in the game.” The defensive-minded strategy worked until a costly mistake in the OSU goal in the 30th minute allowed Indiana to take the lead. Indiana freshman Andrew Oliver’s shot was deflected and rolled past Buckeye sophomore goalkeeper Alex Ivanov, who was not able to recover and make the save. Oliver again helped the Hoosiers find twine, drawing a penalty in the first minute of the second half. Ivanov guessed correctly on Indiana sophomore forward Eriq Zavaleta’s penalty, but the shot scorched past the sophomore goalkeeper’s outstretched arms. Indiana led, 2-0. Bluem did not agree with the penalty call, saying it was “a very bad decision by the referee that ended the game.” The Buckeyes abandoned their defensive mindset in their attempt to erase the two-goal deficit. OSU outshot the Hoosiers, 10-4, in the second half but were eventually held scoreless. The shutout is the second consecutive for OSU. “We did create some good moments,” Bluem said, “and sometimes that’s all you need. We just weren’t sharp enough to get it done.” Riding a two-game losing streak, Bluem said his team is “having a difficult time,” but is still in the mix to compete for a conference championship. “You’re not out of this conference race at all just because you lost your first game,” Bluem said. “We played today what many people are thinking is the best team in the conference. I think we held our own against them.” OSU will take a break from Big Ten action on Wednesday when they host Butler (2-1-4) at 7 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. read more

28 Sep

Former Ohio State mens soccer player Chris Hegngi drafted by Portland Timbers

Former Ohio State men’s soccer standout Chris Hegngi was drafted No. 22 in the Major League Soccer (MLS) Supplemental Draft by the Portland Timbers. The forward, who was drafted Jan. 22, scored 18 goals during his career and was second on the team with nine points last season. A four year letterman, Hegngi started every game his freshman year and all but two his second season at OSU. The star forward tallied three goals and four assists in each of his first two years for the Buckeyes. Despite the successes of his early career in Columbus, it wasn’t until his junior year that Hegngi might have started to show his worth. Scoring nine goals and starting every game, Hegngi was voted MVP of the team by his teammates his junior year and was showered with accolades, including being named second team NSCAA All-Region and the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. His 6-foot-2, 180 pound frame made him a prime target heading into his senior season for any MLS clubs looking to add a big man up front. A disappointing senior season where Hegngi only scored 3 goals and added 3 assists, however, caused him to fall off most teams’ radars. Hegngi was passed up in the MLS Super Draft, but eventually the Portland Timbers selected him in the later Supplemental Draft. The Timbers might need a physical presence that could help them improve on their atrocious offensive performance from a year ago, when they finished the season with a 8-10-16 record and an average of only 1 point per game, leaving them second last in their conference. Finishing near the bottom of the Western Conference in 2012, the Timbers only found the back of the net 34 times, the second lowest total in the league. Having come up through the ranks of the D.C. United Youth Academy and played for his high school before arriving at OSU, Hegngi has years of experience that could help him find a position on the final roster for the Timbers. With the selection, Hegngi joins other former Buckeyes in the professional ranks. He joins the ranks of former stars Matt Lampson, a current Columbus Crew player, and Roger Espinoza, a current Wigan Athletic player in the English Premier League, to leave OSU with hopes of succeeding in the MLS. read more

28 Sep

Mens Basketball B1G 100 No 13 Ohio State has a chance vs

Ohio State freshman forward Kaleb Wesson (34) works his way into the paint in the first half of the game against Maryland on Jan. 11 in the Schottenstein Center. Dakich made three of four three point attempts in the first half aiding Ohio State to a 91-69 win. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 13 Ohio State (18-4, 9-0 Big Ten) has survived a few scares. On Jan. 17, it came within four points of losing to Northwestern in the final minute in an eventual 71-65 win and was trading leads with Nebraska Monday, until pulling away late to a 64-59 win.Now it welcomes a struggling Penn State (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten), which has lost four of its past six games, to the Schottenstein Center at 8 p.m. Thursday, with eyes set on a 10-0 start to Big Ten play.Projected StartersPenn State:G — Jamari Wheeler — Freshman, 6-foot-1, 170 lbs., 3.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.0 apgG — Tony Carr — Sophomore, 6-foot-5, 204 lbs., 18.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.8 apgG — Shep Garner —Senior, 6-foot-2, 196 lbs., 10.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.4 apgF — Mike Watkins — Redshirt sophomore, 6-foot-9, 254 lbs., 13.3 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 0.7 apgF — Lamar Stevens — Sophomore, 6-foot-8, 226 lbs., 15.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.0 apgOhio State:G — C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs., 13.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.4 apgG — Kam Williams — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-2, 185 lbs., 7.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.5 apgF — Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs., 19.7 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 1.3 apgF — Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs., 12.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apgC — Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 270 lbs., 11.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.1 apgScouting Penn StateThe Nittany Lions have been involved in plenty of close games this season. Nine of their 21 games have been decided by single digits, and two have gone into overtime.Part of the reason they are in so many close games has been their defense. Penn State has the 43rd-best defensive efficiency in the country and has held opponents to just a 47 percent effective field goal percentage (37th-best), according to the advanced statistics website KenPom.com. It also ranks in the top 25 in blocking and steal percentages.However, this defense matches up poorly against Ohio State. It typically plays man-to-man, a type of defense Ohio State has flourished against this season. The best way to slow down Ohio State’s 31st-best offensive attack has been to run a zone defense. Penn State’s offense also will not match up well against Ohio State’s defense. Though the Nittany Lions have shot 37.4 percent from the 3, they generate 54.4 percent of their offense from inside the arc, the 57th-highest rate in the nation.Teams that have been able to beat Ohio State do so from long range, with 36.4 percent of opponents’ points coming from 3-point range, 36th-highest in the country. Opposing teams have mustered only the 257th-highest 2-point percentage in its point distribution at 46.9 percent.Monitoring Kaleb Wesson’s minutesOhio State has relied heavily on freshman center Kaleb Wesson this season. After sophomore center Micah Potter injured his ankle in the fourth game of the season, Wesson took over as the starter and has not let up.As a starter, Wesson has averaged 11.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game. While the numbers don’t jump out, Wesson has become a better defender and has avoided foul trouble more. He has fouled out three times as a starter, but only once in his past 10 games.Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said that even though Wesson has shown improvements and has been a key cog in the team’s success this season, he still does not want to put much pressure on his young big man by playing him too much.“It’s a lot to expect a kid of his size as a freshman really even to play 20 minutes,” Holtmann said. “I think his minutes are probably where we’d like for them to be. I think sometimes he could play a little more, sometimes a little less depending on how he’s playing. He’s done a very good job with the minutes, but I wouldn’t want to put 30 minutes on him right now as a freshman.”Wesson’s conditioning has improved, but it is clear after five minutes on the court that he gets worn out. He starts to breathe heavily and is slower to post and seal, meaning the team needs to bring in a fresher defender to maintain solid interior play. As he continues to develop and adjust to the workload, Wesson will turn his raw tools into game skills and be able to keep using those tools later into games, Holtmann said.“He’s so gifted with his hands and I think his feet can get better,” Holtmann said. “They’re not bad right now, but they’ve got to get a lot better in the offseason. His explosiveness, his movement. But I think that you can tell pretty early on when he’s [tired].” read more

25 Sep

Prince George only has eyes for one thing his seaplane

first_imgHe may be a future king with thousands of people turning out just to to catch a glimpse of him.But three-year-old Prince George only had eyes for one thing as he departed from the Royal tour of Canada this weekend: his plane.The young Prince and his sister Princess Charlotte were beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of boarding a seaplane at Victoria, straining at their parents’ hands as they toddled towards it. He added: “Catherine and I are incredibly grateful to the people of Canada for the warmth and hospitality they have extended to our family over the last week.”We have loved our time in British Columbia and Yukon and will never forget the beautiful places we have seen and the many people who have been kind enough to come to welcome us in person.”In honour of the trip, Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, last night announced his government will bestow a gift of $100,000 on behalf of the royal family, which will be divided equally the Prince’s Charities Canada and Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia.”Canadians have a real affection for the Royal family which was once again very much on display during this tour,” said Mr Trudeau. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. But he went on to dutifully speak to dignitaries on the dock and shake hands with the Governor General, before turning his attentions firmly towards getting on the plane. It was later reported that he had been allowed to play in the cockpit of the plane once it had landed safely at Victoria’s military base, with the Vancouver Sun stating the “royal seaplane pilot said curious Prince George couldn’t wait to get his fingers on the buttons.”The Prince told pilot Shawn Stewart he was going to “fly us to England” as he had fun in the co-pilot seat.Duke of Cambridge, said: “We feel very lucky to have been able to introduce George and Charlotte to Canada. “This country will play a big part in the lives of our children and we have created such happy memories for our family during this visit.” The royals on their official departure from Canada in Victoria, British ColumbiaCredit:REUTERS/Chris Wattiecenter_img In their final moments on Canadian soil, the Prince and Princess Charlotte, 17 months old, enchanted crowds at Victoria Harbour, Canada, as they performed well-rehearsed royal waves to the assembled crowds.After appearing to snub Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister, at the start of his visit, the three-year-old Prince appeared equally confused after being offered a high five by a nine-year-old boy carrying a bouquet of flowers for his mother. The Prince was photographed with his nose pressed firmly against the glass to get the best view, before being allowed to sit in the cockpit to play with the controls with the pilot.His parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have spoken about the Prince’s love of vehicles during their tour, disclosing he adores toy tractors, would be “obsessed” with a fire engine, and had been “super excited” to sleep on a plane on his way over the Atlantic. The royals on their official departure from Canada in Victoria, British Columbialast_img read more

25 Sep

Paralympian champion Hannah Cockroft criticises fans breasts comments

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. That hannah cockroft has a reyt set o cans….bet wheelchairs under severe duress at all times 😂😂😂— Alex White (@alexwhite65896) September 28, 2016 She has now called on sportswear manufacturers to make more of an effort to tailor women’s kits for comfort rather than simply appearance.“When I got told that I had to wear a man’s top because the woman’s top looks inappropriate on me, my response was- well that’s not my fault, make a top that doesn’t look inappropriate but is still comfortable,” she said.Ms Cockroft has previously accused sponsors of discriminating against her because she does not wear shoes when competing in her wheelchair.As part of the Women in Sport series Kate Richardson-Walsh, the gold medal winning captain of the British women’s hockey team, has denounced the double standards in sport that still leave female athletes earning less than men.Ms Richardson-Walsh said women’s sport still has to struggle for the sponsorship deals and big prize money that male athletes take for granted.She said: “I love watching football but I do think that the finances of it are unbelievable. There’s also baseball, NFL, golf – lots of big male sports where there’s just so much money. We just need some female sports and for female athletes to be able to break into that.”Ms Richardson-Walsh highlighted the lack of opportunities offered to female players, saying:”There are more international opportunities for men. There’s an Indian hockey league – it’s on TV and there’s big prize money. They get paid a lot for it, too. I think the highest paid player got $100,000 last year.”There’s also the European hockey league- if a guy plays for a club in England and they finish in the top two in the league, then they go into the European hockey league. Again, there’s prize money, it’s live streamed, there’s a huge audience and they get massive crowds.”Ms Richardson-Walsh praised the British sport’s governing bodies for treating the men’s and women’s teams equally, but said this was not reflected in the wider game.”There is nothing like that for women and no way to earn that kind of money. In order to be inspirational to young girls and get people wanting to sponsor, there need to be more competitions on – and they need to be televised,” she said.Her comments were echoed by the sports presenter Jacqui Oatley, who said women in sport were subjected to greater criticism than their male counterparts.Ms Oatley, who became Match of the Day’s first female commentator in 2007, said: “I don’t think you get as much leeway as a woman. You’re under pressure because you feel like any error you make will be [blamed on the fact] because you are female.”center_img Triple gold medal winning Paralympian Hannah Cockroft has criticised social media users for being more interested in the size of her breasts and her appearance than her athletic achievements.Ms Cockroft, who won gold in the wheelchair 100, 400 and 800 metres at the Rio Games, said she had been taken aback by the reaction of people on Twitter.Speaking as part of The Telegraph’s Women in Sport series she revealed that she was compelled to wear a boy’s kit in order to avoid lascivious comments detracting from her sporting ability.The 24-year-old said female athletes were often made to feel self-conscious because of their appearance.“Half of the comments that I get on Twitter are about what I look like rather than what I’ve achieved. People either comment on my acne, or that I’ve got big boobs. And it can make you quite conscious as a female athlete because you know that’s what people are looking at,” said Ms Cockroft.She added: “My team started putting me in the boys’ kit so that it was no longer low cut. I always get handed the boys vest now so that I’m not ‘inappropriate’.”Ms Cockroft said a side benefit of wearing a man’s top was that spectators and viewers finally paid more attention to what she was doing on the track.“At Rio, people concentrated more on my physical ability and maybe it was because I was wearing a men’s top, but it’s nice that people are concentrating on my ability and not what I look like,” she said.last_img read more

25 Sep

Theresa May to visit Wales as she faces pressure to keep Union

first_imgSpeaking ahead of the visit, Mrs May said: “From my first day on the steps of Downing Street, I made clear my determination to strengthen and sustain the precious Union.”I have also been clear that as we leave the European Union I will work to deliver a deal that works for the whole of the UK.”I want every part of the United Kingdom to be able to make the most of the opportunities ahead and for Welsh businesses to benefit from the freest possible trade as part of a global trading nation.”Mr Jones welcomed the investment for Swansea as a “transformative deal” for the whole region. Show more Theresa May will visit Wales on Monday as she faces pressure to keep the union together in the wake of the divisive Brexit vote.The Prime Minister is carrying out talks in the devolved nations ahead of her promise to trigger Article 50 and formally start the process of withdrawing from the European Union by the end of the month.It comes as Mrs May dismissed calls for a potential second independence referendum for Scotland before the Brexit deal is finalised.She will be accompanied by Brexit Secretary David Davis and Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns, and will meet First Minister Carwyn Jones as well as leaders in business and other sectors.It will also coincide with the signing of a £1.3 billion Swansea City Deal between the UK Government, local authorities and the Welsh Government, which aims to create more than 9,000 jobs in the region.center_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

25 Sep

Counting on fingers is the best way to learn maths study finds

first_imgTwo other groups did both finger training and number exercises and the fifth was a control group that… It’s a tried and tested method for counting, and now research has found that using fingers can help young children with their maths. Researchers said the findings could be useful for teachers in developing children’s understanding of numbers. A new study suggests that playing finger games – such as holding up a certain number of fingers – alongside number games like dominoes boosts youngsters’ results in counting and simple arithmetic. The study, involving 137 children aged six and seven, saw pupils divided into five groups. One was given finger training exercises, the other played number games.last_img read more

25 Sep

Day of Rage latest Grenfell Tower volunteer confronts activists for hijacking disaster

first_imgIn an incendiary Facebook post, the MFJ declared there was a “class war” being waged by the Government on the working class, concluding: “There will be no peace until this Government is brought down.”Among the demands made are the permanent right to remain in the UK for all Grenfell Tower residents and for survivors to take over unoccupied flats in Kensington and Chelsea. A woman (C) with a placard that reads "No justice no peace" marches with other demonstrators through London  It is unclear exactly how many people will attend the Day of Rage protest. But the event’s Facebook page indicates that more than 1,000 people are interested in attending.The big question is if there will be violence. There are inevitable fears that the protest could attract violent anarchists, but the truth is no one yet knows.There is certainly a large police presence around Westminster this morning in anticipation of the protest. Protesters hold signs calling for justice for the victims of the Grenfell Disaster  More from Hayley Dixon.Protestors have begun a sit in outside Parliament as they refuse to be moved into the square. Day of Rage event page on Facebook, where hundreds of people have said they will attend A man who lives close to Grenfell Tower and who has been involved in the relief effort condemned the Day of Rage protest as “undignified”, reports Henry Bodkin.Paul Nelson, whose three daughters attended the nursery adjacent to Grenfell, angrily confronted demonstrators at the Shepherd’s Bush demonstration.’They are not running around offering to find mattresses for Westway (sports centre). They are running around saying how can we get Jeremy Corbyn in.’I’m very upset because I think it’s being politicising the anger. Now is not the time.’ One protester used a megaphone to tell the small crowd to stop talking to the police officers wearing blue police liaison uniforms, reports Hayley Dixon.The man, stood next to a sign by the Revolutionary Communist Group, said: “Please everyone stop talking to the officers in the blue uniform.”They are gathering information and asking leading questions. How did you find out about this, things like that.”Another took the microphone and said: “Just to reiterate, please do not talk to the police. We are here in solidarity with Grenfell.” 11:22AMHow big will ‘Day of Rage’ be and will there be violence? Day of Rage Facebook Page 3:48PM’No justice, no peace’: Estimated 200 protesters arrive in Parliament Square Protesters show their anger as they seek ‘justice for Grenfell’Credit:Dan Kitwood/Getty ‘Day of Rage’ protesters aim to ‘bring down Government’Demo billed as day of action for Grenfell Tower victimsOrganisers accused of hijacking disaster for politicsProtests urging ‘May must go’ also planned for ParliamentMarches coincide with unveiling of Queen’s SpeechJohn McDonnell urges protesters to ‘follow Gandhi’Revealed: Protest chief convicted of Tory chairman attackGrenfell Tower: High-rise blaze left at least 79 deadOrganisers behind a “Day of Rage” protest in London were accused of hijacking the Grenfell Tower disaster for political purposes on Wednesday. The demonstration, started by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), is billed as a day of action for the victims of the inferno that left at least 79 dead.Coinciding with the day of the Queen’s Speech, hundreds of people are taking part in a four-and-a-half mile march to Westminster that is aiming to “bring down the Government”.But one Grenfell Tower relief volunteer who lives close to the scene of the tragedy was involved in an angry confrontation with demonstrators at the start of the march.Computer software engineer Paul Nelson, 53, condemned the protest as “undignified”, adding: “I’m very upset because I think it’s being politicising the anger. Now is not the time.” A new chant – ‘Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’ – breaks into the MFJ march Top 10. It’s being heartily supported. Now past Queensway. @DannyBoyle87 pic.twitter.com/l7zXpMVC9B— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 “We cannot emphasise enough how against this many of the affected residents we’ve spoken to are and they do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means,” a spokesman said. Bring down the government 2:43PMGrenfell local: We are more angry than most of the people here Day of Rage protesters on Parliament SquareCredit:Nick Edwards With chants for “justice” continuing as the march progresses through west London, many banners carry the slogan: “Justice for Grenfell”.Signs bearing messages of anger are peppered throughout the crowd, with one reading: “This rage is justified”.However, a Grenfell local known only as Zeyad, insisted that people living near the disaster are “more angry than most of the people here” 1:20PM’We are going to shout until we have no voice left’ Heavy police presence outside Parliament, which is surrounded by barriers Campaign poster #DayOfRage pic.twitter.com/GMIcexbt8P— Steven Stocks (@Stocko3000) June 21, 2017 Protesters hold signs calling for 'justice' He told protesters: “This march has been labelled as a march of rage. We are all tired at Grenfell and it has to stay peaceful.”If anything kicks off here, you are giving people the excuse to ruin what we have done over the past seven days. “We are as angry, if not more angry than most of the people here. If you are really here for the residents of my community then you will keep this peaceful.  “We want justice to be held, I am begging you do not ruin it. We want answers, but we want answers in the right way.”  2:24PM’Oh, Jeremy Corbyn’, crowd chants a mile-and-a-half into march There are three demonstrations taking place in London today. They are:Day of Rage – from 1pmAfter meeting in Shepherd’s Bush Green at 11.30am to “make signs, banners and speak out”, protesters will march to Downing Street from 1pm. Hundreds of people are expecting to join the walk to Westminster, which is likely to take around 90 minutes.On its Facebook page, MFJ references the Grenfell Tower fire and “brutal austerity, cuts and anti-immigrant attacks”.It says: “Politicians and many community and religious leaders will be looking to divert our rage and fury into inquiries, investigations, reports, court hearings, and parliamentary processes.”We will not accept those brush-offs and diversions, we will not settle for less than the destruction of May’s coalition of austerity and bigotry – we must bring down this Government.” ‘Bring down the Government’, say placardsCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Antonio Bright, who described herself as one of the organisers of the “Day of Rage” protest, was reluctant to condemn any potential violence as protesters gathered ahead of the march, reports Hayley Dixon.She said that it was an “incorrect stereotype”. She said: “No one wants violence, but we don’t want lives of violence, we want lives of peace.”But we can’t have justice, and justice and peace go hand in hand. We are going to go to Parliament and we are going to speak out.”We are going to shout until we have no voice left. We are asking people to be angry and to express it.” Protesters carry smoke flaresCredit: Nick Edwards Just took this photo. Not sure if this is the whole march or not but if it is then that’s pretty tiny #DayOfRage pic.twitter.com/6ReFlO0at2— James Huntrods (@JamesHuntrods) June 21, 2017 Protesters carry smoke flares 3:29PMAerial picture shows scale of protest Annnnnd they’re off! The long, sweaty march from Shepherds Bush to Westminster begins. Loud but peaceful. @DannyBoyle87 pic.twitter.com/J1po6PHGN1— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 1:35PMVideo: Protesters begin the long – and sweaty – march to Parliament 4:20PMProtesters take a seat before scuffles start Young women take part in the ‘Day of Rage’ protestCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty For the first time some protesters have obscured their faces. Still peaceful though as MFJ march progresses towards Piccadilly Circus pic.twitter.com/dM2W94nvJF— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 A volunteer who claimed to have lost 20 friends in the fire said Theresa May’s “lack of humanity” in the disaster is “absolutely disgusting”. Sarah Colbourne, 44, said:”I was volunteering for four days straight and I have two children. God knows how much sleep I got that week, but Theresa May has not come down to shake any volunteers’ hands.”It’s absolutely disgusting that the leader of our country cannot come down to meet the common people.  Inside one of the richest boroughs in London and this has happened.”We have had no help, they have not even offered any help in regards to grief or counselling. All the stuff we collected, where has it gone?”My friend Helen who is now in a hotel, she lived on the 21st floor she has received nothing. Where has it gone, it has vanished.” Greed kills justice sign Armed police at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday morningCredit:Nick Edwards for The Telegraph Protesters show their anger as they seek 'justice for Grenfell' ‘This is a class war’, said one posterCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty 5:26PMSmoke fares let off 3:46PMSmoke and flares as ‘Day of Rage’ protesters reach Downing Street  Among the demands made are the permanent right to remain in the UK for all Grenfell Tower residents and for survivors to take over unoccupied flats in Kensington and Chelsea.London Socialist Party – from 4pmThe London Socialist Party is staging a separate demonstration in Parliament Square from 4pm called: “May must go! Protest the Queen’s Speech!”On its Facebook page, it calls for people to “protest at this year’s Queen’s Speech to tell May she has no mandate for more austerity”.Stand Up To Racism – from 6pmA Stand Up To Racism demonstration is also taking place from 6pm to “protest the Queen’s Speech”.The event is titled: “Protest the Queen’s speech – no to May/DUP racism & bigotry!”On its Facebook page, it calls for people to join the protest, adding: “We want a government which opposes racism, values diversity and recognises the rights of refugees and migrants.” A campaign poster calls for protesters to ‘bring down the Government’Credit:Facebook A short while later the crowds started singing “oh Jeremy Corbyn” as the police cordoned them in. Scuffles with the police broke out, and as officers took one protester away the crowds followed chanting “let them go”.He repeatedly shouted he was a “peaceful” protester. Protesters shout as they march to WestminsterCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty The protesters are now around a mile-and-a-half into their four-and-a-half mile walk to Westminster. Singing is the order of the afternoon and of the most popular chants so far is “oh, Jeremy Corbyn”. And repeat… It’s around 30 minutes until the protest is due to leave Shepherd’s Bush Green and this is the size of the crowd – around 100 people have gathered so far. Protesters in Parliament Square 40 mins til #DayOfRage march and this is the size of the crowd pic.twitter.com/8PilKzbp9M— Tom Richell (@tomrichell) June 21, 2017 Protesters shout as they march to Westminster Protesters holding banners march through west LondonCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Heavy police presence outside Parliament, which is surrounded by barriersCredit:Nick Edwards for The Telegraph Tony Gard at a Movement for Justice rally outside an immigration removal centre in 2016Credit:MARK KERRISON/ALAMY Around 100 protesters gathered in Shepherd’s Bush from 11.30am before starting their march to Downing Street at shortly after 1.30pm – delayed by 30 minutes due to a low turn-out. Protesters hold signs calling for justice for the victims of the Grenfell disaster as they march towards WestminsterCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Smoke flares and sirens outside Downing Street pic.twitter.com/Oq9VMyIwSR— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 4:04PM’You’re a bunch of uni drop outs’ 12:55PM’Think of the mourners’, resident urges march organisercenter_img Tony Gard at a Movement for Justice rally outside an immigration removal centre in 2016 1:59PMGrenfell local: ‘Do not promote this ‘march of rage’ – it is not what we need’ Meanwhile, Zac Goldsmith, the MP for Richmond, has highlighted what bad timing the march is for London’s over-stretched emergency services: Mr Nelson, 53, who works in computer software, said he and many neighbours were attending the relief centres every day to see what was needed.”One day it’s phone chargers so we try and find as many as we can and they say ‘thanks, we’ve got enough now’ and it’s on to something else,” he added. Roughly 200 protesters have arrived in Parliament square from Shepherd’s Bush chanting “no justice, no peace”, reports Hayley Dixon.Protesters, some wearing masks and covering their faces, blocked the road outside Parliament and shouted justice for Grenfell followed by “murderers” and “terrorists”. Click here for more from Chief Reporter Robert Mendick’s exclusive story. Armed police take position on a building overlooking the Palace of WestminsterCredit:Nick Edwards for The Telegraph Day of Rage protesters on Parliament Square Within an hour, the protest swelled to around 200 people and began taking up three lanes of the road as it forced drivers to slow down. The group arrived in Westminster at around 3.45pm, with smoke and flares set off in the crowd on Whitehall.Hundreds have indicated online that they will attend, raising inevitable fears that it could attract violent anarchists.Meanwhile, the London Socialist Party is due to lead a protest in Parliament Square from 4pm, urging that ‘May must go!’. A Stand Up To Racism demonstration from 6pm will also “protest the Queen’s Speech”. Protesters have been accused of politicising the Grenfell Tower disaster 1:08PMNow is not the time for ‘undignified’ protest, Grenfell Tower relief volunteer tells campaigners 1:10PMCalls for protesters to march silently through streets A man has been detained outside Downing Street.A man dressed all in red is in handcuffs talking to police, reports Henry Bodkin.One of the organisers of the march said: “The guy said, ‘you’re a bunch of uni drop outs. You’re just stirring stuff up’.”The main march has gone onto Parliament Square Armed police take position on a building over looking the Palace of Westminster. A fourth-floor resident of Grenfell Tower who was forced to flee the fire has said any violence during the protests would “disgrace” the victims of the fire tragedy.Mahad Egal made the plea for order in a video message posted on social media.He had to run from the tower block when his next-door neighbour told him his fridge had caught fire, moments before the entire building was engulfed.”I know this is a frustrating time,” he said in the clip. “But I would just like to send a message out: please, to all those protesting, we don’t need no violence in the community, we do not want that in our name.” A woman with a placard that reads ‘no justice no peace’ marches with other demonstrators through west London Credit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP Protesters have been accused of politicising the Grenfell Tower disasterCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty Grenfell protest Protesters in Parliament SquareCredit:Hayley Dixon Promotion for the “Day of Rage” makes frequent reference to last week’s Grenfell tragedy, which has left dozens presumed dead and hundreds more homeless.But a charity that has been supporting those affected by the west London blaze said it “cannot emphasise enough” how many people from the tower block oppose the action. 3:04PMGrenfell volunteer: ‘Absolutely disgusting’ that Theresa May has no met common people Rosemary Mathurin, a Kensington resident, told MFJ organiser Antonia Bright:”There are people grieving. There are going to be people who aren’t at all ready to march or do something like this.”We’re trying to do white ribbons. We have to be careful about confusing people. What we need to do is bring people together. “I suggest you support the mourners. We have to make sure it’s about mourning and about love, and bringing that message of peace to Parliament. There is a lot of confusion going on here.”This government has made decisions that time and time again have caused people’s lives to be lost. It’s a day of rage because it’s about everything.”Poor people are being pushed to the margins of society. It needs to be exposed.” But the Clement James Centre, which has been helping those displaced by the fire, shunned the movement as opportunistic. After being accused of whipping up support for the “Day of Rage”, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell made a renewed call for a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday morning. “Today, people may call it a Day of Rage or whatever, they have got the right, if they want, to be angry, but they haven’t got the right to be violent, all protest must be peaceful,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. As the demonstration, which has swelled to a crowd of more than 100, began marching to Westminster, protesters chanted: “What do we want? Justice.”One man, who claimed to be from the Grenfell neighbourhood, warned the crowd they risked undermining the cause of the victims.”I am begging you, please keep this peaceful, as the minute it turns into something else you have ruined it for the residents,” he said.”If you are really here for justice and are really here for the residents of my community and the people who live in that tower block, you have got to keep it peaceful.”Do not promote this ‘march of rage’ – it is not what we need.” ‘Greed kills justice’: Protesters hold home-made placardsCredit:DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP 12:35PMProtesters urge crowd to stop talking to police: ‘They are asking leading questions’ The “Day of Rage” protesters have completed their four-and-a-half mile march to Downing Street. This picture shows smoke and flares going off in the crowd.  1:30PMTheresa May: It is absolutely vital that protest is peaceful Due to the heat #DayOfRage has been replaced with #MinuteOfSlightlyMiffed pic.twitter.com/yt8z5rLja6— Ⓑring Ⓑack Ⓒake (@BBCPropaganda) June 21, 2017 The lack of huge crowds so far has led to some on social media to mock the turnout – and swap the #DayOfRage hashtag on Twitter for #MinuteOfSlightlyMiffed.  He added: “Please do not disgrace those who have been affected in Grenfell by resorting to violence, we need people to come together.”The community has come together, we don’t need no violence in the community. Please make sure it is a peaceful protest so that the people and the victims of Grenfell, the survivors of Grenfell, can all be heard.”So please, no violence, we need people to come together now, thank you.” Organisers of the “Day of Rage” march have been challenged by residents who live near Grenfell Tower about the decision to begin the protest so close to the scene, reports Henry Bodkin.Movement for Justice, the principal group behind the march, was told to “think of the mourners” and to make the event about “peace rather than protest”.The demo, which has so far attracted around 100 people, is taking place on Shepherd’s Bush Green, with plans to march to Parliament from 1pm. Among the protesters gathering appear to be a group from the Revolutionary Communist Group. Important message from Mahad Egal. Survivor of Grenfell Tower 4th Floor. #NotInOurName #WeAreTheRealCommunity#GrenfellTower pic.twitter.com/85kBG2Gr2S— getcapewearcapefly🎈 (@forgetcape) June 21, 2017 11:14AMThe man behind the protest, convicted of assaulting Tory party chairman 11:58AMSmall number of protesters begin to gather ahead of march Around 30 protesters and a smattering of TV crews have begun gathering on Shepherd’s Bush Green, reports Hayley Dixon.Placards lay on the floor reading: “Bring down the government guilty of murder. End austerity – reverse the cuts on out public services.”One group stood around a sign stating that they were from the Revolutionary Communist Party and demanding housing rights. 'Bring down the Government', say placards Concerns that the Grenfell Tower blaze was being exploited by protesters was addressed by one speaker at Shepherd’s Bush Green, where the event is beginning. We are expecting the group to start heading to Westminster at about 2pm, which is around 30 minutes later than planned.Karen Doyle, from the Movement for Justice, told the several dozen people gathered for the march: “We would never ask them (the Grenfell victims) to stand up here, we are not marching through the community, we are starting here in Shepherd’s Bush and marching to Parliament.”But there is an anger here in the wider community and across London and way across this country and this anger needs to be heard.” Asked if the Prime Minister had a message for the protesters, her official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “There’s a long tradition of peaceful protest in this country, but what is absolutely vital is that that protest is peaceful, and we hope that that’s the case.” 12:15PMGrenfell survivor: ‘Please, no violence, we need people to come together’ #DayOfRage – just what our emergency services need right now.— Zac Goldsmith (@ZacGoldsmith) June 21, 2017 12:32PMAround 100 protesters gathering at Shepherd’s Bush Green Protesters hold signs calling for ‘justice’Credit:Dan Kitwood/Getty 11:08AMWhich protests are taking place today and what time do they start? Armed police at the Palace of Westminster. The far-left activists behind “Day of Rage” describe themselves as a “youth-led civil rights movement” which fights for “justice, equality and respect”, according to its websites.But The Telegraph can reveal that the man behind the protest, Tony Gard, is a veteran revolutionary convicted of assaulting the Conservative Party chairman. Day of Rage campaign poster Paul Nelson has helped with the Grenfell relief effort, says the Day of Rage protests ‘politicises’ the issue. He’s in a minority here. pic.twitter.com/qEnMlwL1Ju— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 Protesters holding banners march through west London ‘Bring down the government’ is one of the central messages of the protestCredit:Dan Kitwood/Getty 2 demonstrators have called for a silent march. 1 explicitly warned of the danger of sparking riots such as in 2011. Polite applause at best pic.twitter.com/0XunWNUT3F— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 1:28PM’This anger needs to be heard’: Campaigner addresses concerns protest is exploiting Grenfell As the march prepares to get under way, at least two protesters have called for it be held in silent.  11:09AMJohn McDonnell calls for peaceful demonstration 12:42PM’Day of Rage?’ Is it more like #MinuteOfSlightlyMiffed? 3:09PMSome protesters begin obscuring faces as they head towards Piccadilly As the protest heads towards Westminster, this picture taken from a high window shows the scale of the protest.Observers on Twitter estimate around 150 people are involved in the march: The Revolutionary Communist Group one of many at the Shepherds Bush leg of Day of Rage @DannyBoyle87 pic.twitter.com/YhpII3dMX7— Henry Bodkin (@HenryBodkin) June 21, 2017 Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? 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