Largely disregarded going into the season, Northern Iowa and Butler have put together great years. Butler, unranked nationally and picked to finish seventh in the 10-team Big East back in October, placed second in the conference and finished 22nd in both the AP and Coaches’ polls. Northern Iowa exceeded expectations by an even greater margin, finishing 12th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings (with a gaudy 30-3 record) despite being pegged for 74th in the preseason.Looking ahead to the NCAA tournament, the way both teams are seeded makes them favored to win at least one tournament game, with a puncher’s chance at even more.Great story, right? Well, sure, but our research has shown that even after a stellar season, it’s hard for such teams to completely shake off their humble beginnings. While a team’s statistical power rating will tend to stabilize late in the season, the residue of preseason expectations seems to have a lingering effect.To illustrate, I compiled pre-tourney Simple Rating System (SRS) grades for every NCAA tournament-bound team since the dawn of the 64-team-bracket era in 1985. I also crafted preseason projected SRS scores for each school using a weighted, regressed-to-the-mean average of its SRS ratings over the preceding two seasons.1For the curious: I gave a weight of 67 percent to the previous year’s score, 22 percent to the team’s score for the year before that, and 11 percent to the NCAA-average SRS score of zero. When attempting to predict the outcome of a given NCAA tournament game, the difference between a team’s seasonal SRS rating and that of its opponent clearly carries the greatest weight. But the difference between the teams’ preseason SRS projections can also alter a team’s probability of winning a tournament game by as many as 5 percentage points.This dynamic even extends to highly ranked teams such as Maryland, who finished 8th in the final AP poll after beginning the year unranked. Teams of that ilk have historically won about 25 percent fewer NCAA tournament games than they ought to have, given where they were seeded. And our model says the Terrapins are on the same track; while No. 4 seeds traditionally win about 1.5 games per tournament, our model projects an average of just 1.2 wins for Maryland in this year’s tournament.So, including Northern Iowa, Butler and Maryland, who are this year’s overachievers to be wary of? Here are this year’s teams, ranked by whose preseason rating differed the most from the non-preseason components of their overall FiveThirtyEight power rating:Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.
When the dust cleared on those 35 seconds, the Aggies had scored six times — for 14 points — in the span of six possessions; they’d also forced four Northern Iowa turnovers in five possessions. They’d tied the game, forcing overtime, and would eventually win in double OT to complete the most bewildering comeback in the history of March Madness.In a certain sense, if each possession is a coin flip to score or not, the Aggies basically flipped heads 10 times in 11 tries — the likelihood of which is about 1 in 171.1That’s maybe even a little generous. According to data from Synergy Sports Tech, the Aggies scored on just 43.5 percent of their possessions this season. But even that vastly understates Texas A&M’s comeback probability, because some of its field goals needed to be 3-pointers, and the pressure exerted by the clock cannot be understated. Even as the Aggies had the ball, trailing by just 2 points with five seconds to play, Northern Iowa was still very likely to win because they only had to avoid giving up the tying bucket.In our database of 15,139 men’s college basketball games since the 2012-13 season,2That’s as much play-by-play data as we have access to in the ESPN database. nine games (including Sunday’s) saw a team come back to win from down 10 or more points with less than two minutes remaining. None of the other eight comebacks was executed in fewer than 62 seconds — nearly twice as much time as Texas A&M had to work with. And in terms of deficits overcome with exactly 35 seconds remaining, 12 points is by far the largest in our database; the previous high had been 8 points, when Canisius fought back against Louisiana-Monroe in December. In more than 570 tries apiece, no team had come back from down 9, 10, 11 or 12 points in 35 seconds over the past four years of Division I men’s basketball. And yet, in those final 35 seconds of regulation, as the turnovers started mounting for Northern Iowa and the points began adding up for Texas A&M, the tide began to turn: Fresh off a miraculous buzzer-beating win over Texas on Friday, the Northern Iowa men’s basketball team had pretty much capped off another upset over a Lone Star State school Sunday night when it led Texas A&M by 12 points with 35 seconds to play in the teams’ second-round NCAA matchup.Sure, the Aggies figured to play out the string hard, gambling for steals and committing fouls, but the game was essentially over — teams simply don’t come back from deficits so large with so little time remaining. In fact, you could have spotted the Panthers half that lead, and victory still would have been practically assured.That’s why our win probability chart considered the Panthers’ victory about as certain as it gets, well above 99.9 percent likely: It was enough to make other historic college basketball comebacks, such as Illinois over Arizona and Duke over Maryland, look downright pedestrian by comparison.In cases like this, it’s difficult to estimate the exact probability of a comeback, just because the model is verging on the realm of hypothetical possibilities instead of observed realities. (It also can’t account for specific, meaningful factors such as the Panthers’ top inbounder, Matt Bohannon, leaving the game with an injury right before his team’s meltdown began.) But based on all of the things our model does take into account, we assigned Texas A&M a 1-in-3,333 chance of winning when its deficit was 12 with 35 seconds left.In other words, you could play out Sunday night’s end-game scenario thousands more times and never once see the Aggies move on to the Sweet 16.For the sake of context, it’s important to remember that a few points are enough to make a very big difference, and that difference is much of what makes Sunday’s comeback so impressive. (For instance, Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 33 seconds began with the Rockets down 8.) At the season level, the biggest collapses in baseball history have happened over glacial time scales compared with an NCAA Tournament game, and only one might be on the same level as Northern Iowa’s loss: when the 1995 California Angels missed the playoffs despite what FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver estimated to be 8,332-to-1 odds against it. Likewise, in his book “Mathletics,” statistician Wayne Winston estimated the odds against the Buffalo Bills beating the Houston Oilers when they trailed 35-3 with 28 minutes to play in their infamous 1993 playoff game and arrived at 1-in-3,825.Texas A&M’s performance Sunday has joined those games on the outer edge of the probability spectrum, and it’s difficult to imagine any comeback being much more improbable. Then again, in a crazy NCAA Tournament such as this, maybe the Aggies have simply given the next few rounds something to shoot for.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s 2016 March Madness Predictions.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has warned the club to make some quality signings or risk going backward.Brendan Rodgers wants Belgian defender Jason Denayer for a second spell on loan, and the club are refusing to give up in their transfer battle with Aston Villa to sign £2.7m rated John McGinn.Rodgers shared the frustration of supporters over the lack of new signing. He was speaking in a press conference before Wednesday’s Champions League third-round qualifier against AEK Athens. Daily Mail reports.He said: “My role in the summer was clear; to keep the players that were here. And, at the very minimum, replace the players we lost and where we might need improving.”“So we did the first part with Kieran (Tierney) and Tom (Rogic). Tom re-signed, which is great. We sign Odsonne (Edouard), which is a no-brainer.”“But there are still a few key areas where I want to bring in quality and, thus far, we haven’t completed on it.”Match Preview: Manchester United vs Leicester City Boro Tanchev – September 13, 2019 Old Trafford is the venue for the Premier League encounter between Manchester United and Leicester City, which kicks off at 16:00 (CET) on Saturday.‘Not a lot of players, but we needed quality. And that is something we haven’t got in the building yet to add to the class already here.”“You have to do that when you are in a strong position. I am not sure the club has been in a stronger position this summer than what they have been for quite some time.”Fearing a period of stagnation and regression due to lack of signing, the former Liverpool manager said: “Absolutely, 150 percent. We need to complete deals. It is as simple as that. One is identifying the players – which we do – and then get them over the line.”He admitted hoping to sign some players even after the English transfer deadline closes at 5 pm on Thursday; he added: ‘I would hope so.’
Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata believes that Antonio Conte’s direct style was the cause for his underwhelming first seasonThe Spanish forward failed to live up to his £60m price tag in last summer’s move from Real Madrid after scoring just three times in his final 23 appearances.Morata had been heavily linked with a move away from Chelsea this summer, but he is determined to prove his worth.“For me, it’s easy. I could have gone back to Spain or Italy, all the people believe in me there, but I want to change things here. I want to, not for all the haters, but for me and for Chelsea.“Chelsea gave me everything that I needed and now I have time to give back all that Chelsea gave me,” said Morata, according to Sky Sports.The 25-year-old is confident that he will flourish under new manager Maurizio Sarri’s footballing philosophy.Chelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“The most important thing is the way we play,” he said.“Last season it was direct balls and for me to protect the ball in the air is not my best quality“Now I can attack the space, I can play one touch and go in the area for the crosses. It’s better for me.“Sarri works with the ball always and when you always have the ball the strikers have more chances. I want to score more than 30 goals, but I would prefer to score 15 or 20 and get the Premier League or one big trophy.”Morata opened his scoring account for the 2018/19 campaign for Chelsea in their 3-2 victory over Arsenal in Saturday’s London derby at Stamford Bridge.
Juventus have announced that Sami Khedira has signed a new two-year contract with the option to extend it by another 12 monthsThe German midfielder’s previous deal was due to expire at the end of the current campaign.Due to his expiring contract, Khedira had been heavily linked with an exit from Turin with MLS clubs allegedly keeping close tabs on the situation.Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel also suggested that he would welcome the chance to sign his compatriot for the Ligue 1 giants.But the 31-year-old has now signed off his best remaining years to Juventus.“It’s official! Sami Khedira will be a Juventus player until 2021 after signing a new two-year extension, with the option of a third year,” read a statement.Juventus confirm Mario Mandzukic could leave this month Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Sporting director Fabio Paratici confirmed reports that Mario Mandzukic could leave Juventus for a move to an unnamed Qatari team.Khedira will be 34 by the time his new contract at Juventus expires.The former Real Madrid midfielder has managed 20 goals and 14 assists in 113 games across all competitions for Juventus.Juve e @SamiKhedira: la storia continua ?? Il centrocampista ?? ha rinnovato fino al 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣ ?https://t.co/4YqPLIITkK #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/SlXLL3d4nK— JuventusFC (@juventusfc) September 12, 2018
The Everton manager believes that youngsters are the team’s future and he will give them as many chances as he can.Everton manager Marco Silva played with three 21-year-olds on the FA Cup victory over Lincoln City.And the coach believes the youngsters are the future of the club.“It is part of growing the squad and part of growing individual players,” Silva told the team’s official website.Premier League Betting: Match-day 5 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Going into the Premier League’s match-day five with a gap already beginning to form at the top of the league. We will take a…“It is impossible a player who is 21-years old knows everything about the game, has all the details and control of everything in each moment of the match.”“But playing games will give these types of things to them, I don’t have doubts about that,” he added.“It [the squad’s average age] is one more detail [in developing for a strong future]. In some moments of matches, you can see there is not big experience and our XI is a bit younger but it shows us we have the conditions to grow.”