Davidson Basketballs Sixth Man The Math Department

Earlier this week, we read with interest in The New York Times that Davidson College’s math department is helping its men’s basketball team win games. Since this combines three of our favorite subjects — sports, math and using math to win at sports — I asked Tim Chartier, a professor in Davidson’s mathematics and computer science department, to elaborate on the unusual partnership between his department and the Wildcats.He was understandably reluctant to spill too many details — particularly regarding how the math department analyzed the data about Iowa, Davidson’s round-of-64 opponent in the NCAA tournament Friday, or Gonzaga and North Dakota State, one of which Davidson will face if it reaches the round of 32 and both of which he’d already started scouting. But Chartier did shed a little more light on the math behind the surprise Atlantic 10 champs. And it sounds a lot like what we do at FiveThirtyEight, except with a goal of winning basketball games instead of writing articles about winning basketball games. Here are edited excerpts of his reply:So, what do we offer the coaches?Heat maps: Two members of Cats Stats, as we call our group, track the games for heat maps. They mark who takes a shot and estimate the location by clicking a computer program that I wrote. Then, as you see, regions of the court are marked as hot and cold regions. Two members of the group met with coaches in January and went through heat maps not just at the team level but player level and then various combinations of players. The coaches found this very helpful and discovered things that led them to analyze player combinations with similar tendencies that they then recognized.Lineup efficiencies: Here we show Dean Oliver’s Four Factors for offense and defense for every five-man lineup and the total amount of time that lineup has been used. Then, we also found various subsets of lineups, as well, like guard trios and forward pairs. For example, we might see that two big men are most efficient/inefficient when in the game together.Personal scouting: Here we produce a detailed breakdown of players’ tendencies and how well they performed in each aspect of the game. Here no new statistics were created. We presented data and numbers so that the coaching staff could easily implement the reports into their game plan. It could range from things like whether or not a player liked to shoot off the dribble and how effective they were in those situations to things like how effective a player might score driving left out of isolation situations. Said another way, we look for the tendencies in the numbers, especially outlier numbers. We think of these as creating data points or dots. Then, we dig into the video that accompany these stats on Synergy and figure out the story/tendency behind the number. That gives context and, in a sense, connects the dots. For example, if a player drives to the right 80 percent of the time and scores much better than going left, that is important. But, then the video can help see that his first step when driving is quicker going right than left, allowing him to beat his man more often. read more

Settle The Beef Mark Sanchez Says Hell Start Over

New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith skipped out on Mark Sanchez’s annual “Jets West” camp, but Sanchez told the press that he will be the starting quarterback when the season begins, so ultimately it did not matter that Smith didn’t show.“I don’t hold it against any of the guys who can’t make it,” Sanchez said Friday after a two-hour practice. “There are no hard feelings about anything like [that]. Greg [McElroy] isn’t here, [Matt] Simms isn’t here, some guys are gone getting married. They’re doing stuff. There are plenty of other things they could be doing. If they could make the sacrifice and be here, awesome. If they can’t, that’s totally fine. I would never hold a grudge against anybody that’s not here.”When Sanchez was asked if he would be the starter in the beginning of training camp, he said, “Absolutely.” read more

Tiger Woods Still Not Sure Back Will Be Ready

Two weeks from the start of the Masters Tournament and Tiger Woods says his back is still not strong enough for him to commit to being at the No. 1 tee box on April 10.Woods pulled out of Arnold Palmer’s tournament last week, citing back pain. He had withdrawn from his previous event two weeks before that because of back troubles.“For Augusta, it’s actually still a little too soon, to be honest with you,” Woods said Monday at a news conference to announce that Quicken Loans is the new title sponsor of his golf tournament. “That’s kind of the frustrating thing about this.”Woods, 38, has never missed the Masters in his illustrious 18-year career. He’s won four green jackets that come with claiming the season’s first major tournament, at Augusta National.  It was there in 1997 where he captured his first major. His last time winning the Masters was 2005.Never has Woods gotten off to a worse start to a season. He stopped playing in the final round at the Honda Classic on March 2 because of what he called back spasms and pain in his lower back. He tried to defend his title the following week at Doral, only for his back to flare up again in the final round, when he shot a 78, the highest Sunday score of his PGA Tour career and his first closing round without a birdie.Then last week, Woods withdrew from the Arnold Palmer Invitational because of persistent back pain.“I’ve had a couple weeks off and getting treatment and just working on trying to get ready for Augusta,” Woods said Monday. “As of right now, it’s still too soon, which is, as I said, pretty frustrating.”This isn’t the first year Woods has claimed back troubles.  At Bethpage Black at The Barclays in 2012, his back pain flared up. He said the issue was a soft bed. He said he felt twinges during the final round of the PGA Championship last year, and when his back bothered him in the final round of The Barclays two weeks later, he said it was unrelated. read more

LeBron James and Longtime Partner Will Give Four Aspiring

Business news network CNBC announced that it will partner with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James to create a new reality series  focusing on burgeoning entrepreneurial opportunities in Cleveland. James will serve as producer on the series, which is set to debut this summer.“Cleveland Hustles speaks to the network’s entrepreneurial spirit and also creates an opportunity to help strengthen communities that have fallen on hard times,” said Jim Ackerman, EVP, Primetime Alternative, CNBC.The announcement comes during a low point in James’ relationship with his beloved Cleveland, after the news that there would be no indictment of Officer Timothy Loehmann in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.   The boy was playing in the park with a toy gun when Loehmann and his partner, Frank Garmback, arrived on scene and shot Rice within seconds. The event sent shock waves through the Twittersphere and sparked a #NoJusticeNoLeBron campaign to ask the superstar to sit out until there was an indictment.James admitted he did not know enough about the case to speak on the subject.Regarding the new show, CNBC says:NBA superstar LeBron James and his longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter will give four aspiring local entrepreneurs the chance to realize their own dreams while also helping to revitalize a neighborhood in Cleveland. LeBron and Maverick will enlist the aid of four trusted business experts and associates, who will in turn invest in and mentor fledgling entrepreneurs who need a little jumpstart. In success, these four businesses will provide jobs and services for neighborhoods that desperately need investment.Cleveland Hustles continues his charity and commitment to the community he loves, even though he dropped the ball on the Tamir Rice issue. read more

How MLBs Tankathon Is Skewing The Trade Market

Indians155291.795.313.31.9 Where each team stands at the 2018 deadlineTeams ranked by Doyle Number — how many future wins of talent a team should trade away to acquire 1 win this season Athletics153287.227.62.70.8 Cautious BuyersElo RatingExp. Wins per 162 gamesDiv. Series OddsWorld Series OddsDoyle Number Astros158699.291.621.12.2 Brewers152285.051.94.21.2 Twins149679.14.00.20.1 Padres143966.60.00.00.0 Expected wins are derived from the team’s current Elo rating.Source: FanGraphs.com Braves150781.534.92.00.8 White Sox143766.00.00.00.0 Orioles143265.00.00.00.0 Phillies150681.551.53.01.0 Solid BuyersElo RatingExp. Wins per 162 gamesDiv. Series OddsWorld Series OddsDoyle Number Rockies151583.336.52.50.9 Rangers148276.10.00.00.0 Diamondbacks153287.347.5%4.7%1.2 Red Sox1591100.296.7%23.8%2.2 Although the share of prospects in the hands of top teams isn’t a perfect predictor of how many deadline deals will go down,3Since 2009, its correlation with the share of all trades that happened at the deadline was 0.36. it does speak broadly to the ability of contenders to act on the advice that their Doyle Number would recommend. In 2016, for instance, the Cubs’ surplus of top prospects — and urgency to win a World Series after a 108-year dry spell — led Chicago to trade a number of gifted farmhands (headlined by stellar 2018 rookie Gleyber Torres) to the Yankees for a few months’ rental of closer Aroldis Chapman.It wasn’t the first time that future talent was pawned off for an immediate payoff, and it was far from the last. Because of their low pay and endless promise, minor leaguers serve as the ultimate grease in the wheels of the trade-deadline machine. And they may yet help smooth along another blockbuster in the next few hours, perhaps one including Bryce Harper, Jacob deGrom, J.T. Realmuto or Chris Archer. But if the deadline does end up feeling a little slower than we’d expect from the buyer/seller profiles implied by this year’s standings, it could just be because most of the buyers have already bought and the sellers have already sold.Check out our latest MLB predictions. Cubs155692.479.311.71.9 Tigers144968.70.20.00.0 Cardinals151383.06.60.40.2 Mariners151984.440.63.11.0 Angels151783.81.50.10.0 Blue Jays148576.70.00.00.0 Reds147975.40.20.00.0 Giants149879.53.70.20.1 Major League Baseball’s annual trade deadline — this year’s version of which falls at 4 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday — is an annual chance for teams to take stock of their short- and long-term future plans. As our research has shown in the past, World Series front-runners should generally be willing to give up quite a large bushel of future assets in exchange for talent that might bring them a ring in the here and now. Meanwhile, teams on the fringe of the playoffs should be relatively indifferent between playing for the future or the present, and bottom-feeders should frantically sell everything they can.Those guidelines become apparent when we run our “Doyle Number” statistic for this season’s teams. As a quick refresher, the Doyle Number1Named after the infamous 1987 trade in which the Detroit Tigers sent future Hall of Famer John Smoltz, then a 20-year-old prospect, to the Atlanta Braves for 36-year-old Doyle Alexander. represents how many future wins of talent a team should be willing to part with to acquire 1 extra win of rental talent over the remainder of this season (including the playoffs).So the Boston Red Sox, who have the highest Doyle Number in baseball, should be willing to trade away up to 2.2 wins of future talent in exchange for every 1 win of talent they acquire for this year’s stretch run — they’re clear deadline buyers. By contrast, teams with Doyle numbers around zero are obvious sellers — they have no reason to give up future talent to acquire extra wins this season. Finally, a Doyle of 1.0 means a team could swing either way between buying and selling.Here are this year’s Doyle Numbers (as of July 30): Royals141461.00.00.00.0 Nationals152284.99.1%0.7%0.3 Rays150581.20.60.00.0 Pirates150080.08.00.40.2 This year’s crop of buyers is unusually robust — three teams have Doyle Numbers north of 2.0 (most recent years have usually had only one or two) and six teams are at or above a Doyle of 1.8 (when the typical year has two or three in that range). At the same time, 12 teams have Doyle Numbers that round to 0.0, compared with an average of nine in the previous three years we’ve been calculating the metric.It’s all a consequence of this supremely stratified, tank-tastic MLB season. On the one hand, you might imagine that such a surplus of buyers and sellers would pave the way for more trades than usual, since a lot of teams have their motivations aligned for deal-making. And there have been some notable moves made thus far: Manny Machado to the Dodgers, Cole Hamels to the Cubs, Ian Kinsler to the Red Sox, Mike Moustakas to the Brewers, J.A. Happ to the Yankees and so forth. But the particulars of this year’s market could also play some tricks with what we think of as ordinary deadline business, when we consider who has how much of which asset — long-term vs. short, young talent vs. established stars. Elite teams can only swap with rebuilding ones if they have the right prospects to send away, and there’s evidence that many of the best youngsters have already flowed from the contenders to the tankers before anybody had a chance to do their deadline shopping.To see this, we can look at how many members of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects are in the farm systems of top teams, as opposed to everybody else. For each full season since 1990,2So, excluding partial seasons in 1994 and 1995. I gathered the list of top prospects and assigned each ranking slot its average future value, according to my research here. To focus on prospects that haven’t yet made a dent in the big leagues — i.e., the kind more likely to be thrown into deadline trades — I filtered out players who exhausted their rookie eligibility during the season in question (or, for this year, players who are on pace to do so). Finally, I calculated the percentage of leaguewide prospect value that belonged to teams in the top third of all MLB teams by projected end-of-season record (using our Elo ratings, as of July 30 each season). And this year, only 27.5 percent of prospect value is in the systems of top-tier teams, the lowest such mark in any full season since 1991. Yankees158398.677.517.22.1 Marlins145068.90.10.00.0 Dodgers156494.265.611.01.8 Mets147073.40.10.00.0 SellersElo RatingExp. Wins per 162 gamesDiv. Series OddsWorld Series OddsDoyle Number read more

Why Gretzky Had It Easy

One of the most interesting statistical nuggets I ran into while researching a piece about NHL goalies was the improvement in leaguewide goaltending over the past 30 years. It hasn’t just been a small improvement — the league’s save-percentage leaders during the 1980s and early 1990s put up statistics that would rate below-average in recent seasons.Here’s the league’s average save percentage since the 1983-84 season, when the NHL began tracking shots against:Save percentage rapidly increased during the so-called dead-puck era of the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s no coincidence that over that period, the NHL’s rate of scoring also dropped sharply. A lot of fans blame strategies such as the neutral-zone trap and left-wing lock for triggering the dead-puck era, but more of the blame belongs to better goalies.As for why goalies are so much better now, well, that’s a subject of much debate in hockey circles. One of the most popular explanations is that the sheer size of goaltending equipment has exploded since the 1980s. That’s hard to argue when you look at how pads have grown over time. But since pad size first became a talking point in the mid-to-late 1990s, the league has gone to some lengths (no pun intended) to police the dimensions of puck-stopping technology — and it’s had scarcely any effect on save percentages.Instead, I think a bigger reason save percentages improved so sharply in the 1990s was a dramatic change in the goaltending techniques being employed.During the 1980s, the prevailing style was still the so-called stand-up method, in which a goalie largely remains upright on his skates while making saves, using his stick and skates to stop low shots. In the middle of the decade, though, goaltending phenom Patrick Roy made his NHL debut. Emboldened by recent advances in arm and chest protectors, Roy used a different technique — the “butterfly” — wherein the goaltender drops to his knees to make saves, effectively sealing off most shooting targets along the bottom third of the net.Using the butterfly, Roy was sensational — he backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup as a 20-year-old in 1986 — and it wasn’t long before the butterfly style spread throughout the league. The effect was profound. Stand-up goalies who were the mainstays of the mid-1980s were almost completely phased out of the game within a decade, replaced by a younger generation who used the butterfly or at least a hybrid technique featuring butterfly elements.In retrospect, this seems like an obvious tactic — it’s a goaltending truism that the majority of goals are scored on shots at or near ice level — but older equipment made dropping low a dangerous proposition. Once falling to the ice became safer, goalies no longer had to rely purely on reflexes, instead being able to stop a greater percentage of low shots on technique alone. It’s no surprise that save percentages skyrocketed when one of the most common subsets of shots suddenly became much tougher.One final note: Watch the Wayne Gretzky highlight reel below and pay particular attention to the goalies in the early portion of the video, when the Great One was with the Edmonton Oilers.Compared with today’s game, you can really see the difference in goaltending technique (notice how many of the goalies tried to stop Gretzky’s shots without dropping to the ice). Modern goalies are more athletic and mobile, and, yes, their pads are plainly bigger. But they’re also using a style much more grounded in the probabilities of where pucks are shot. read more

America Loves Curling — Until It Forgets About It For Four Years

It’s tough to say for sure, but I’m concerned that our boss, FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver, may have developed a curling addiction these past few weeks: Luge38.750.50+38.25 Curling85.254.57+80.68 Figure skating79.504.97+74.53 Freestyle skiing3.750.45+3.30 Curling’s spike is even sharper in worldwide searches. Across the entire globe, curling-related search-traffic index goes up by 84 points in Olympic months, compared with non-Olympic ones. (By comparison, figure skating is only up 71 points during Olympic months worldwide.) Although gaining a passionate following during the Olympics has been a victory in itself for curling, these kinds of disparities have the sport’s leaders looking for a way to stay on people’s minds after the games end.“The Olympics have definitely driven growth and exposure, but the key for us is not to disappear between Olympics,” Patzke told ESPN. “You can get really popular for 17 days and then go away, you know?”Perhaps the next step will be for curling fanatics like Nate to keep tweeting during bonspiels that aren’t festooned with five interlocking rings everywhere you look. Alpine skiing9.502.28+7.22 (Check the timestamps on those tweets, by the way.)He’s not alone, though. Every four years, there’s a fresh volley of articles about how curling captures the attention of people around the globe — particularly Americans who tune in to the alien sport for the first time during the Olympics and get hooked. By now, writing with surprise about curling’s charms has become one of journalists’ favorite Olympic pastimes. The Cinderella run by the U.S. men’s team to Saturday’s gold-medal game has only intensified the enthusiasm.1The women’s team hasn’t quite had its medal breakthrough yet, finishing eighth in the standings at Pyeongchang.The hard numbers also support the notion of curling as America’s favorite quadrennial sports fling. If you look at nationwide Google Trends search data, you can see a massive spike in traffic related to the sport each February of a Winter Olympic year. Indeed, aside from figure skating — and occasionally other sports when they experience tragedy — curling consistently spikes highest in web searches among the Winter Olympic sports we don’t tend to think about over the rest of the calendar.2Admittedly, this is kind of an arbitrary list, but I included curling alongside sports that don’t draw much attention in the U.S. during non-Olympic years (so figure skating is in, but hockey is out) or ones that tend to rank low on subjective lists of Winter Olympic sports (cough, biathlon). Here are four examples: SportOlympic monthsOther monthsOlympic Spike Bobsled24.251.02+23.23 Ski jumping8.250.56+7.69 Skeleton8.000.05+7.95 Google’s data doesn’t go back further than 2004, but in an interview with ESPN’s Dotun Akintoye, USA Curling CEO Rick Patzke said America’s curling obsession can be traced to the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. “Salt Lake was our coming-out party in America,” he said. “NBC broadcast about 50 hours of curling. In Nagano in ’98, it was like 30 minutes.” Add in the U.S. men’s surprising bronze medal in 2006, and curling was off to the cult-sport races. Who can even say what kind of uptick in popularity the run by the U.S. men this year will bring?But for an Olympic darling like the “roaring game,” the flip side of big popularity during the games is waning interest, or generally no interest, in the 206 weeks in between Olympic sessions. According to the same Google Trends data as above, none of the sports we looked at had a bigger drop-off in its average search traffic index between months with the Winter Olympics and those without them. Biathlon8.250.17+8.08 Nordic combined1.750.00+1.75 Curling has the biggest spike in Olympic popularityDifference in average Google Trends search-traffic index between Olympic and non-Olympic months for selected Winter Olympic sports, 2004-18 Cross-country skiing9.502.38+7.12 Speedskating21.750.93+20.82 Google Trends search-traffic indices measure activity on a 0-100 scale, where the most active single month by any sport we examined is represented by a 100.Source: Google Trends Avg. Google Trends Index during … read more

Quest for a repeat

Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake, Game 1Rio Tinto Stadium; Sat. Oct. 31 @ 6 p.m.Columbus Crew vs. Real Salt Lake, Game 2Crew Stadium; Thurs. Nov. 5 @ 8 p.m.Players to watch:Columbus – Chad Marshall. The 2008 Defender of the Year has sat out the last six MLS regular season games recovering from a knee injury. A healthy Marshall could make the difference for a team struggling to regain its mid-season formReal Salt Lake – Robbie Findley. The Real Salt Lake forward leads his team in goals with 12 on the season and was instrumental in securing Real Salt Lake’s spot in the playoffs with a two goal performance against rival Colorado Rapids.Key to the Match:Crew coach Robert Warzycha’s ability to find the right 11 players to begin the playoffs. Like a baseball manager trying to push the right buttons, Warzycha has tweaked his rotation at an almost dizzying pace. Perhaps a more settled lineup in the playoffs will see an increase in goals over the drought suffered toward the end of the regular season. This is a must in a series that is decided by aggregate goal totals. The MLS Cup playoffs are upon us. Following the regular season finale played in Columbus between the Crew and the New England Revolution, the once muddied playoff waters have cleared.The Columbus Crew (13-7-10) will limp into the playoffs, losers of three of their last four. The team is riddled with injuries, and failed to net a single goal in any of the losses.The Crew’s road to repeating their championship win begins Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah against Real Salt Lake (11-12-7) in the first match of their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series. Conference Semifinal series are conducted in a home-and-home, aggregate-goal format. The lower-seeded team, Real Salt Lake, hosts the first game. The winners of the first four series advance to single-game Conference Championships that determine the MLS Cup finalists, according to the MLS rules of competition.By virtue of their victory over Columbus, New England (11-10-9) leapfrogged Real Salt Lake and will face the Chicago Fire (11-7-12) in their own semi-final series.Columbus coach Robert Warzycha addressed his team’s lack of recent scoring after the Crew’s defeat.“We have a week before the game. We have to look at the tape and find out what the best combination [of players] is going to be,” Warzycha said.His propensity to shift lineups is well documented this season. Last year’s coach, Sigi Schmid, attempted to use the same starting 11 down the stretch. Warzycha has not shown the same willingness to do so. He hasn’t always had a choice.“I don’t know who that 11 are going to be,” Warzycha said. “Hopefully, everyone gets a chance in the playoffs but the best thing would be to have one team. Knowing life, it’s not going to be possible.”“We’re not taking the momentum into the playoffs that we’d like to, but we’re capable of beating anyone,” Crew midfielder Adam Moffat said.So with the Supporter’s Shield, given annually to the team with the best regular season record, and home-field advantage throughout the MLS playoffs already in hand, was there a lack of motivation against the Revolution?“It was a game we still wanted,” Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer said. “You want to get into a rhythm.”Regardless of the lack of success at the regular season’s end, the Crew have much to be proud of. They are only the second team in MLS history to record two consecutive Supporter’s Shields, joining D.C. United who accomplished the repeat in 2006-07.“This team is making a statement winning last year and being first this year,” Warzycha said of his club. “This team doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody.”The Crew have played two matches against their first playoff opponent, Real Salt Lake, this season. The two teams split the regular season matchups with one win each.Crew captain Frankie Hejduk spoke about the club’s first round matchup.“We’re the champions,” Hejduk said. “We should be able to beat everyone. We’re going to have to go there prepared for a battle.”Even with so many questions lingering over the Crew concerning their health, their lineup and a sudden loss of scoring punch, there is another old sports adage that the other MLS playoff teams must reckon with: to be the best, you have to beat the best.At least for now, the Crew are the best. read more

Womens basketball Ohio State Notre Dame battle for berth in Elite Eight

Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell drives to the basket and atttempts a layup against Purdue in the Big Ten tournament semifinal in Indianapolis on March 4. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorThe No. 5 seed Ohio State women’s basketball team heads back to Lexington, Kentucky, for its second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance, after ending the seasons of No. 12 seed Western Kentucky and No. 4 seed Kentucky in the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament.The Buckeyes lost last season in the round of 16 to No. 6 Tennessee. This year, OSU squares off against No. 1 seed Notre Dame, which is dealing with the recent season-ending ACL injury of its leading scorer and rebounder, Brianna Turner.OSU freshman forward Tori McCoy was due to match up with Turner, and said she will make the best of the situation.“She’s a great post player, but if she’s not playing, I’m going to use that to my advantage,” McCoy said.This news comes at a time when the Buckeyes’ post players are hitting their stride. Senior forward Shayla Cooper has averaged 14 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game in the eight games since redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga left the lineup with a right foot injury. McCoy has also found her groove recently. She is 11 of 12 from the field and averaging 13 points, 7.5 rebounds and four blocks in the past two tournament games. “I had to come alive,” McCoy said. “It was kind of weird a little bit, being able to take that role and being able to score like that. I know that it was meant for me to come out and try to do something and contribute a little bit.”OSU’s leading scorer and Big Ten Player of the Year, junior guard Kelsey Mitchell, got off to a slow start in the first round versus Western Kentucky, but ended the game with 15 points. In the second round, she scored a more characteristic 21 points, and said she will look to carry that confidence over to Friday’s game.“(I will) try to stay confident in my game,” she said. “Trying to stay confident in my play and the confidence my teammates and coach have for me. I want to continue to have that confidence, I think that should be fine. Then defensively make sure I’m on my P’s and Q’s as far as not fouling, staying out of foul trouble as much as possible, small stuff like that.”The Scarlet and Gray will have the advantage of familiarity as they head back to Lexington for their third straight game. OSU traveled to Lexington, Kentucky — the location of the first two rounds. However, the venue is different.“Even though it’s a different arena — we’re going to play in Rupp (Arena) now — I think being in the same place will bring some comfort to our team,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said.Although some might’ve seen playing in Lexington against the hometown Kentucky Wildcats as a disadvantage, McGuff believes it might’ve been for the best.“I think that tested our resolve a little bit, that Kentucky game, in a tough environment. So we had to show a lot of fortitude, and now you’re going up against one of the best teams in the country, and they’re going to test us in many ways,” he said. “We’re going to have moments where we face adversity, we have to stick together and have to execute. As hard as it was to go on the road, we’re better for it than we would’ve been if we played at home.”OSU will tipoff against Notre Dame at 7 p.m. Friday. read more