With so much parity in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament tournament this year, one game has the potential to affect everyone else’s odds of advancing. For instance, Dayton’s upset Thursday of Ohio State gives Syracuse an easier potential opponent in the second round and raises the odds the Orange will make a deep run.The FiveThirtyEight NCAA tournament projections will update shortly after the conclusion of each game. The forecasts will also update if there are significant new injuries during the tournament.These updates do, however, create problems with transparency. Shouldn’t you be able to see how our original predictions did? After all, you don’t get to change your bracket after the tournament is underway.We have a solution. If you want to see original numbers — as of Tuesday afternoon before the first “play-in” games in Dayton, Ohio — you can find them in this CSV file at GitHub.We’ll be posting a complete archive of our updates at GitHub. The numbers included in the name of the files indicate how far through the tournament the update took place. For example, the file labeled bracket-05.csv will show our data after the conclusion of the first five games (counting Tuesday and Wednesday’s play-in matchups).
Within hours of LeBron James’s announcement that he’d be going home to Cleveland, Kevin Love was already musing about how “intriguing” it would be to play alongside James if the Minnesota Timberwolves traded him to the Cavs. In Minnesota, Love was opposing defenses’ chief concern. In Cleveland, next to James, he wouldn’t be. James has made terrifying strides in offensive efficiency and returns a better, more-dominant player than when he left.Earlier FiveThirtyEight analysis didn’t pick the Cavaliers as James’s ideal destination if his goal is to quickly win more titles, but Cleveland has some solid pieces already in place. And those pieces are going to get even better.In 2010, James left a Cavaliers squad that scored 102.1 points per game, tied for ninth in the NBA. That year Cleveland won 61 games en route to the Eastern Conference semis and featured a deceptively useful supporting cast; members of the squad who weren’t James shot a combined 48 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc. Nine players returned for 2010-11, the first season without James, and they all shot worse. The table below shows how these players’ true shooting percentage (which accounts for threes and free throws) performed in James’s absence:That’s an annihilation. Without James, all nine players saw a drop in true shooting and the team finished with only 19 wins. We can’t chalk up all that difference to James’s absence; the Cavs also dropped an old but effective Shaquille O’Neal, role players Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas, and five bit players. But much of the core was still there; Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Anderson Varejao and J.J. Hickson were second only to James in minutes played the previous year. If they were good enough to keep the team afloat, we would’ve seen it.Cleveland’s loss was Miami’s gain. The Heat squad that James (and Chris Bosh) joined included seven players from the previous season, who had accounted for 53 percent of that squad’s minutes. Here’s how these seven players improved upon James’s arrival:Although these improvements weren’t as dramatic as the Cavs’s losses, there was still an across-the-board bump in true shooting. Presumably, Kyrie Irving, Varejao and Tristan Thompson will get the same kind of help when James takes the court with them next season.But that change may be dwarfed by the one in Miami. Whoever’s left in Miami when the dust clears — as of now, the Heat only have Bosh and Norris Cole under contract — should expect more defensive pressure in James’s absence. If the 2010-11 Cavs are any indication, it might get ugly.
Marcellus Wiley, a former Pro Bowl NFL player, is among about 250 more players who have added their names to a lawsuit accusing NFL teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health.”The first thing people ask is,’ knowing what happened, would you do it again?”’ said Wiley, currently an ESPN analyst. ”No. No, I wouldn’t.”The lawsuit was originally filed May 20 in U.S. District Court in northern California and amended Wednesday to add 250 more players, bringing the total to 750 plaintiffs. Wiley, who played in Buffalo, San Diego, Dallas and Jacksonville from 1997-2006, is the ninth player identified by name, joining former Chicago Bears Jim McMahon, Richard Dent and Keith Van Horne, Jeremy Newberry and others.The lawsuit, which is seeking class certification, covers the years 1968-2008. It contends team physicians and trainers across the NFL routinely – and often illegally – provided powerful narcotics and other controlled substances on game days to mask the pain.Among them were the painkillers Percodan, Percocet and Vicodin, anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, and sleep aids such as Ambien. Lead attorney Steven Silverman said some teams filled out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge or consent. He said those drugs were then ”handed out like candy at Halloween” and often combined in ”cocktails.”NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league had no comment.The former players have reported a range of debilitating effects, from chronic muscle and bone ailments to permanent nerve and organ damage, and addiction. The players contend those health problems came from drug use, but many of the conditions aren’t tied to the use of painkillers.Six of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including McMahon and Van Horne, were also parties to the concussion-related class-action lawsuit filed against the NFL less than a year ago. The NFL agreed to pay $765 million to settle that case – without acknowledging it concealed the risks of concussions from former players. A federal judge has yet to approve the settlement, expressing concern the amount is too small.Wiley, 39, was not part of the concussion lawsuit, but decided to join former players in this one after suffering partial renal failure in April, despite no history of kidney problems. Wiley said he took ”multiple injections” of painkillers over the course of a season to cope with an injury that then-San Diego team physician Dr. David Chao diagnosed as severe groin sprain. After the season, an independent doctor diagnosed a torn abdominal wall that required surgery.”You can’t walk into a doctor’s office and say, ”Give me this, give me that, just to get through the day.’ Somebody would shut the place down,” Wiley said in a telephone interview. ”But that’s what was going on in the NFL. It’s easy to get mesmerized. I won’t deny that; there’s this ‘play through-the-pain, fall-on-the-sword’ culture, and somebody in line ready to step up and take your place.”And the next question when people hear about this stuff is ‘Where’s the personal responsibility?’ Well, I’m not a medical doctor,” he added, ”But I did take the word of a medical doctor who took an oath to get me through not just one game, or one season, but a lifetime. Meanwhile, he’s getting paid by how many bodies he gets out on the field.”Chao stepped down as San Diego’s team physician last June, after the NFL Players Association called for him to be replaced and filed a complaint. An independent panel cleared Chao.In April, as part of a stipulated settlement, Chao was placed on probation by the Medical Board of California. His license was also revoked, but that action was stayed while he remains on probation. He was accused of committing gross negligence, repeated negligent acts, and acts of dishonesty or corruption.Chao was also found liable of malpractice in 2012 in a case involving a regular patient, not a Chargers player, with a judgment of nearly $5.2 million. Records also show he has been publicly reprimanded by the board and pleaded guilty to driving under the influence.The lawsuit’s main burden is proving cause and effect – that use of painkillers in the past caused the chronic problems the players face now. The players also would have to show that they are suffering those problems at a greater rate than other people their age, and that it’s not due to other risk factors such as obesity, smoking and family history.
How the new Cavs would have projectedFull-season CARMELO projections for the Cleveland Cavaliers, after accounting for Thursday’s trades George Hill25+0.8-1.1 With just hours remaining before the NBA trade deadline, the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers took drastic action: They traded away half of their rotation. They added younger, more athletic wing players and solid bench contributors. They added a veteran point guard. They at least attempted to shore up a disastrous perimeter defense. And while the team is undeniably improved as a collection of talent, and probably improved as an Eastern Conference contender, it’s unclear whether the moves will be enough to stage a legitimate challenge to the Golden State Warriors — or to convince LeBron James to stick around this summer.Cleveland added Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers and reportedly George Hill from Sacramento and Rodney Hood from Utah. The Cavs also brought back a conditional second-round pick in the deal with Miami for Dwyane Wade.Just as important as the players coming in for Cleveland are those on their way out: Isaiah Thomas — the centerpiece of the Kyrie Irving trade during the offseason — has been terrible since returning from a hip injury early last month. Derrick Rose, Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert have each disappointed in their own way. They are now all gone. Reallocating their minutes to even replacement-level players would have nudged the Cavs’ outlook upward; giving them to competent or above-average players should provide a massive lift. Wade is a more significant loss — it was his stewardship of the second unit that stabilized the team early in the season — but with rookie Cedi Osman seeing more playing time and now with the additions of Hood and Clarkson to the wing rotation, Wade’s role likely would have been reduced.Cleveland has more live bodies and young talent than it did before these moves. But young talent doesn’t necessarily translate to a better outlook on the season. According to an updated version of FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection that uses Box Plus/Minus and Real Plus-Minus data from this season, the current Cavaliers roster would project to win 46 games in a fresh 82-game season. That’s an improvement from the weak projection for Cleveland’s previous roster, which came in at a projected 43 wins, but still not very impressive for a team that views itself as a legitimate title contender. Team total240+4.3-2.1 Jordan Clarkson25+0.5-2.0 Cavaliers’ projected record46.036.0 LeBron James33+5.4+0.8 winslosses PlayerMin. per gameOff plus/minusDef plus/minus Cedi Osman5-1.5-0.4 Kevin Love26+2.1+0.4 Tristan Thompson25-1.20.0 Larry Nance Jr.20-0.3+2.1 Jeff Green16-0.9-1.1 Kyle Korver14+1.0-1.2 JR Smith15-0.3-1.3 London Perrantes0-4.6-1.2 Replacement-level players4-1.7-0.3 John Holland0-3.2-1.1 Rodney Hood25+0.3-2.0 Ante Zizic7-2.2+0.3 This is obviously a rough projection that doesn’t take into account the relatively good fit for the incoming players, nor does it account for further tinkering. (According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, Cleveland is leaning toward adding Kendrick Perkins, who was recently playing in the G League, to improve its locker room chemistry.) And on those fronts, there are reasons for Cleveland to be optimistic.Hill is the quintessential off-ball point guard who thrives on off-ball shooting but can initiate the offense if necessary. His overall numbers have been down with Sacramento, but at age 31, he is shooting a career-best 45.3 percent on 3-pointers and 48.1 percent on corner threes; he will see a lot of open looks playing with LeBron. More important will be whether his plummeting defensive numbers are an accurate reflection of his ability or a symptom of playing with other Sacramento Kings. The Cavs have had a rotating cast of some of the league’s worst defenders playing point guard this season — Rose, Thomas, Jose Calderon — so it’s not as though Hill could do much more harm than has already been done. But if he can contribute competent defense at the point guard position, it would be a first for this iteration of LeBron’s Cavs.Hood’s role will be as a volume scorer and the Cavs’ secondary shot creator. He obviously isn’t a one-to-one replacement for Irving, but he’s been relatively efficient (55.1 true shooting percentage) on relatively high usage (27.5 usage percentage). For reference, that’s roughly comparable to John Wall’s usage rate and better than his efficiency. It’s his first season carrying that sort of load, and he’ll have to adjust to the Cleveland offense, but his solid outside shooting (38.9 percent this season, 37 percent for his career) should ease that transition. And while Hood is a below-average defender, at 6-foot-8 he isn’t as difficult to hide as Thomas. Plus, with Rudy Gobert missing a bunch of time to injury this season, there’s reason to believe that Hood’s terrible on/off defensive numbers (the defense is 6.2 points better with him off the floor) were thrown off a bit because of mismatched lineups.Nance and Clarkson should see big minutes in bench roles. Nance is a good defender and rebounder and a strong finisher, but he has struggled as a pick-and-roll screener. According to Second Spectrum, the Lakers have scored just 78.2 points per 100 chances created by Nance pick-and-roll possessions, including 82.1 points per 100 when paired with Clarkson. Both numbers are awful. The Cavs don’t play at the same warp speed as the Lakers, so Nance will have to adjust to the new offense. But he provides a sturdy, young big off the bench for a team that had relied on calcifying veterans, undersized stretch fours and combinations of the two.Clarkson, meanwhile, gives the Cavs an acceptable backup point guard. He’s a decent shooter, a decent passer, a decent scorer and a half-decent defender, which makes him a seismic upgrade over what the Cavs have been working with at that position.For the first time since LeBron has been back in town, the Cavaliers have a roster stocked with young, active contributors, not young stars mixed with ancient role players. LeBron has a history of incorporating the aged — think Kyle Korver, James Jones, Mike Miller, Richard Jefferson — but hasn’t had to incorporate many younger players whose talents extend past standing behind the 3-point line waiting for him to make something happen. If things go well, the Cavs may thrive in a way they haven’t to this point. If they don’t, well, they were dysfunctional to begin with. They could have swapped in a half-dozen potted plants wearing Adidas and improved the defense.It’s difficult to project just how such a drastic retooling will gel by the time the playoffs roll around. But the effect on James’s free agency should be more clear: The Cavs have committed to winning in the current window but are doing so on their own terms. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Cavs GM Koby Altman neither consulted LeBron on today’s moves, nor did he ask James to make a commitment beyond this season before the moves were made. Hood and Nance are solid pieces around whom the Cavs can build a respectable roster if James leaves in free agency. And they still have the Brooklyn first rounder that came in the Kyrie Irving deal. Cleveland began the day attempting to chase down DeAndre Jordan and Kemba Walker and, more abstractly, to erase the disarray that the Irving trade set into motion. They ended up making a complex series of moves that makes them better without adding an All-Star. That may be enough. Or it may not.— Neil Paine contributed research. Check out our latest NBA predictions.
RIO DE JANEIRO — Exasperated, Tony Azevedo slapped the water with both hands and screamed, “Swim!” Azevedo’s teammates on the U.S. men’s water polo team were still on the far side of the pool after Spain scored on a counterattack and took a 3-2 lead. Azevedo was one of the few American players who had raced back to defend. The U.S. men fell 10-9 to Spain on Monday in group play despite five-time Olympian Azevedo’s relentless hustle (and one goal).“They all call me grandpa,” said Azevedo, who is 34. “But when we’re training, I can still do everything, and I make fun of them for being 14 years younger.” Keeping himself in game shape takes more effort than it used to, though. Azevedo, whose black kinesio tape is visible through the water, running along his neck and down his right shoulder, said he basically lives in the training center. “I don’t even think in my first two Olympics I knew there was a training center,” he said.By now, you’ve no doubt heard plenty about the longevity of Michael Phelps and Kerri Walsh Jennings, who are both attending their fifth Olympic Games. But there are others, like Azevedo, in this illustrious group of Olympic veterans. Twenty-eight of the more than 500 American Olympians in Rio have been to at least four Summer Olympics (including Rio),1Team USA’s data did not include Ryan Lochte’s 2012 games. We added him to the list and removed the Bryan brothers, who missed the 2016 Games over health concerns. and despite their age (or perhaps because of it), many of these veterans are still in contention to medal.Kim Rhode — one of the best skeet shooters in the world — will be competing in her sixth Summer Games this week and could become the first Olympian in history to medal in six consecutive Summer Games. Among current U.S. Olympians, only fellow shooter Emil Milev and equestrian rider Phillip Dutton have been to as many games as Rhode (although each represented a country other than the U.S. earlier in their careers — for Milev, it was Bulgaria and for Dutton, Australia).At the U.S. track and field Olympic trials in Oregon last month, 32-year-old high jumper Chaunté Lowe jumped 6 feet, 7 inches, the best jump in the world this year, ahead of 18-year-old media darling Vashti Cunningham, the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham. Lowe and Cunningham both qualified for Rio and will jump for Team USA on Aug. 18. But that doesn’t mean Lowe is doling out Olympic wisdom gleaned from her previous three games.“I think it’s a testament to Vashti that I won’t share everything with her,” Lowe told me from a rooftop overlooking an empty Olympic Stadium that will soon be filled with spectators watching her jump. “I can’t give her an advantage.” Lowe said there are “at least 100 things” she does differently now, in her fourth games — from arriving early for drug-testing protocols to pre-game preparation. But she won’t get much more specific than that. “Vashti’s still at home,” she said through a grin.Everyone’s (rightly) looking to 19-year-olds Katie Ledecky and Simone Biles to rack up the golds, but don’t sleep on the old heads either: Four-time Olympian Sue Bird is likely to grab a fourth gold, Carmelo Anthony may get his third, and sprinter Allyson Felix, competing in her fourth Olympics, could snag a gold on the 4x400m relay team.We’re on the ground in Rio covering the 2016 Summer Olympics. Check out all our coverage here.
If only Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez would have been born a few years later.The neighborhood home run king and future Los Angeles Dodger from “The Sandlot” could have avoided years of backyard stickball. These days, scouts clamor over teenagers with that much talent. By the age of 12, Rodriguez could have inked a full ride to the school of his choice.Coach Lane Kiffin arrived at his new school, USC, just in time to land one of the top recruiting classes in the nation last week. But Kiffin didn’t waste any time in locking up future classes either; he offered 13-year-old David Sills from Bear, Del., a scholarship.Just after placing the finishing touches on his 2010 recruiting class, Kiffin turned his attention to his 2015 group. Before the frosty, bleached tips of Sills’ hair could dry, the seventh-grader had locked up his collegiate future, though even he seems perplexed by the ridiculous ordeal.“This is so crazy and out of nowhere,” the 5-foot-11-inch “phenom” said.Plenty can happen in five years.Five years ago, Jack Bauer was busy capturing and interrogating terrorists.Five years ago, Tiger Woods was happily married and faithful to his wife, Elin. Well, maybe.Five years ago, Ohio State was sitting near the top of the college football world after defeating Notre Dame 34-20 in the Fiesta Bowl.Just ask Buckeye Nation, three BCS Bowl Game losses later, about how much can transpire over the course of half a decade.Five years from now, Sills may have thrown away his football career in favor of high school show choir.Five years from now, Sills may have derailed his academic career by crashing and burning on the ACT or SAT.Five years from now, Sills may be married to his high school prom date and have three kids, choosing to forgo college and obtain a 9-to-5 job in order to support his family.How can coaches and scouts accurately judge a kid who lacks developed muscles and has yet to hit his major growth spurt?Maybe coaches should at least wait until the prospect has suffered through his first outbreak of acne or until his voice deepens.This isn’t the first time that a little tyke has been hounded by scouts and offered the world, and it certainly won’t be the last.So much money is poured into stud fees in horse racing that it’s probably only a matter of time before this practice catches on with humans. An auction for the right to offer a scholarship to any potential children that Terrelle Pryor fathers could raise thousands.Before we know it, the era of male and female athletes joining together just to produce top-of-the-line athletes will be upon us.At the end of the day, Kiffin can rest easy, knowing who his quarterback will be five years from now. But maybe he should focus more on who will man the huddle for the Trojans until his middle-school sweetheart graduates.
Ohio State football is scheduled to play a home-and-home series against Texas in 2022 and 2023, the athletic department announced Wednesday. “Playing a program like the University of Texas always creates remarkable experiences for our players and fans,” athletic director Gene Smith said in a released statement. “Our last series with the Longhorns contributed to the great history and tradition that Buckeye Nation enjoys.” The Buckeyes are 1-2 against the Longhorns, having only faced them three times in school history. OSU faced Texas in a home-and-home series in 2005, 2006 and, again, in the in the 2009 Fiesta Bowl. OSU is scheduled to travel to Austin on Sept. 17, 2022 and to host the Longhorns a little more than a year later on Sept. 16, 2023 in Ohio Stadium, and the announcement of the series with the Longhorns is almost the most recent agreement to be finalized with a prominent Texan team. On Oct. 2, OSU announced that its football team is slated to play a home-and-home football series against Texas Christian University in 2018 and 2019. “Competing against programs from the state of Texas has always offered exciting experiences for our players and fans,” Smith said. “TCU continues to be one of the top football programs in the country.” 2018’s game is scheduled to be played Sept. 15 in Forth Worth, Texas while the 2019 contest is scheduled to be hosted on Sept. 21 at Ohio Stadium. OSU has played TCU six times in school history and is 4-1-1 against the Horned Frogs.
Then-junior midfielder Ellyn Gruber (5) watches her teammates during a game against Purdue Sept. 29, 2013 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost, 1-0.Credit: Michele Theodore / Managing editor of contentWith only three games left in the regular season, the Ohio State women’s soccer team is looking to make a push into the Big Ten tournament with a pair of home games this weekend against Iowa and Nebraska.The Buckeyes are 5-8-3 overall and 2-5-3 in the Big Ten following a double overtime draw against then-No. 24 Michigan. With OSU ending three of its last four games with ties, coach Lori Walker said the team has learned how to overcome mistakes made on the field.“What we’ve tried to focus in on is, everybody’s going to make a mistake in a soccer game,” Walker said. “It’s how we respond to those mistakes that should gauge who we are.”Walker said the game-tying goal in the final seconds of regulation in last Sunday’s game against Michigan was a prime example of the heart and character of the team.She added that along with maintaining their attack and possession, she’d like to see the Buckeyes apply more pressure defensively to limit the opponent’s chances of scoring. “Clearly there’s still room for us to stop giving up at least one goal a game. That’s got to end at some point,” Walker said.Junior midfielder Michela Paradiso said the team isn’t allowing recent disappointments to distract it and is focusing instead on the effort given on the field.“We’ve gotten a lot of goals scored on us late, which is definitely demoralizing,” Paradiso said. “But we keep trying to ramp up the energy and keep being competitive so we don’t let that get the best of us.”Senior midfielder Ellyn Gruber said the team has learned to rely less on individual play and more on working together as a unit over the recent stretch of games.“We’re definitely playing better soccer than what we were in the beginning,” Gruber said. “We’re combining more, not just trying to take on one-on-one ourselves.”With the season winding down and the Big Ten Tournament approaching, Paradiso said the Buckeyes will need to give it their all in the final games to qualify for the postseason.“We need these last three games to get us into the Big Ten tournament,” she said. “We’ve got to definitely play with a lot of heart and energy out there and leave it all on the field with no regrets.”OSU is scheduled to face Iowa on Friday at 7 p.m. and then Nebraska on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
The Buckeyes line up to sing “Carmen Ohio” after the game against TCU on Sept. 15. Ohio State won 40-28. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State released its depth chart on Wednesday ahead of its matchup against Tulane.The major change in the roster comes at defensive end, with junior Jonathon Cooper and sophomore Chase Young both starting in place of the injured junior, Nick Bosa.According to head coach Urban Meyer on Monday, Bosa suffered an abdominal/lower groin injury, and will be out for the game against Tulane. Meyer also said on Tuesday Bosa’s status will be evaluated midweek.Also on the defensive side, redshirt junior Davon Hamilton is listed as a co-starter at nose tackle with junior Robert Landers listed as probable for the Tulane matchup after an injury in the 40-28 victory over TCU.Ohio State faces Tulane at Ohio Stadium at 3:30 on Saturday.Here’s the rest of the depth chart:
Ohio State senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr (1) prepares throw the ball downfield in the first half of the game against Florida Gulf Coast University on Sept. 7. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorWith only four games left for the Ohio State women’s soccer team’s 2018 season, senior goalkeeper Devon Kerr has been the most consistent piece of the team in her final campaign as a Buckeye. The goalkeeper has had seven shutouts, giving her 18 for her collegiate career — the third most in Ohio State history. Kerr holds an .820 save percentage in 2018. Game by game, her consistency is what makes her shine in her last year at Ohio State. On the season, Kerr has allowed more than one goal only three times: in the first two games against then-No. 3 North Carolina and then-No. 9 Duke, and then once more against Penn State, which currently sits atop the Big Ten. Kerr’s success has been the driving force for an Ohio State that sits at 7-5-3 (4-2-3 Big Ten), for Ohio State has only won when Kerr has blanked the opponent.Kerr said looking back on all her achievements throughout the years remains a great feeling for her, and getting the opportunity to play the starting goalkeeper position behind this caliber of a team proved more than she could ask for. “I love that we’ve had such success as a team with not allowing goals against,” Kerr said. “Personally it’s a great accomplishment for me, but I couldn’t do it without the work of my teammates as a whole, and I think all of their efforts go into why we’re so successful with not allowing any goals.”Traveling all the way from Ontario, Canada, Kerr debuted in 2015 against Texas, making six saves in a scoreless draw. In her first collegiate start, Kerr made 10 saves and allowed only one goal in a double-overtime draw to Illinois. Kerr earned a Big Ten All-Freshman Team honor that year after playing in 14 games and starting five that season. In 2016, she entered her sophomore season making five saves in a victory against Michigan, managing a total of 26 saves overall for the year. Although she had much success in her time as an underclassman, it didn’t stop there. In her junior season, Kerr received a Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor on the way to earning second-team All Big Ten. She started every game in the 2017 season and currently remains one of Ohio State’s strongest players both on and off the field, but she said she won’t take credit as being the only leader on the team. “We have leadership coming from every line on the field,” Kerr said. “I think that the fact that it’s not just one leader on the field and there’s multiple leaders is what helps with our team’s success so much.”Sophomore forward Marissa Birzon said Kerr stands as an incredible role model for the team as a whole and she inspires the younger goalkeepers to take her position when she leaves next year. “She’s been a huge voice in the back line organizing everybody and making sure everyone’s playing together,” Birzon said. “Honestly, her saves have been tremendous in games.”The Buckeye senior said her piece of advice to the younger players on the team would be to try and make the atmosphere as much of a family and learning environment as possible, and to try to focus on making the spaces safe and productive. With only two games ahead of the Big Ten tournament and a potential NCAA tournament bid left in Kerr’s illustrious career, she said she will remember this team as being one of the closest groups of girls that she had in her tenure as a Buckeye.“We bring a sense of competition every day to practice that I think it’s just super healthy for us and great day in and day out to have that competitiveness at practice and during games,” Kerr said. “I’m definitely going to miss that, coming back every day to the same group of crazy girls will be a bit of a change for me, but I wouldn’t have wanted to spend this year with any other group of girls.”