Brown leading Whitman in LAT/USC poll

first_imgExperts say personal issues have damaged the Meg Whitman campaign, allowing Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown to secure a 13-point lead, according to the latest Los Angeles Times/USC poll.Former governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown leads Whitman, former eBay CEO and Republican candidate, 52 percent to 39 percent.“She’s got a problem that’s not issue-related — it’s a personal one,” said Darry Sragow, interim director of the poll, during a press call about the numbers.The latest LAT/USC poll is part of a six-survey series on the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 2. For this poll, 1,501 voters were polled from Oct. 13 to Oct. 20.Democrats had favorable numbers for both major elections in the poll.Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer holds onto an eight-point lead against Republican senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina.Though the poll has Boxer leading Fiorina 50 percent to 42 percent, this is not necessarily indicative of what the results will be for such a close race, said Tom Hollihan, professor of communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.“A poll today is accurate, but it’s accurate today. It’s not necessarily going to predict the outcome on Election Day,” Hollihan said.Students said, however, that they aren’t sure how much impact it will make on the minds of young voters.“I think it will target young people to get more information about what’s going on,” said Zac Levine, a senior majoring in philosophy, politics and law. “But I don’t think students will necessarily be influenced by the polls.”Hollihan agreed.“Political events like the big rally on Friday are much more likely to be inspirational to engaged university students as a result of this poll, even if it has USC’s name on it,” he said.Other events can also sway public opinion, such as the allegation by Whitman’s former housekeeper that Whitman knew she was of illegal status while under employment.“If you look at the tea leaves here, it does seem that the incident involving the housekeeper seemed to have a very big effect,” said Manuel Pastor, a USC professor of American studies and ethnicity.October’s 66-question poll surveyed only registered California voters and was created by two polling firms, the Democratic firm Greenberg Quinian Rosner and Republican firm American Viewpoint.“Over the course of the campaign, different events occur and it’s good to be able to track what the impact of those events is on public opinion. Each of these polls is just a snapshot of public opinion at the time,” said Ann Crigler, a USC professor of political science and interim director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics.The LAT/USC poll is unique in its survey of voter enthusiasm and oversampling of Latino voters that Crigler said is an important sector of the California electorate.She also said students working on the poll help spread interest around campus.“A lot of students aren’t from California, so they haven’t really kept up with what’s going on, but now they’re more interested and they’re sharing that with their friends,” Crigler said. “They’re like ‘Wow, that’s our school.’”last_img read more

Lineup changes pay dividends for men’s tennis

first_imgThe weather wasn’t the only thing that changed from Friday to Sunday at the Nielsen Tennis Stadium.Friday, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s tennis team was swept by No. 2 Ohio State. However, lineup changes and confidence boosts led UW to a victory Sunday against Penn State.Head coach Greg Van Emburgh was proud of the way his team recovered.“I think we really fought hard today and played with a lot of confidence,” Van Emburgh said. “We were down a couple of matches in the singles and fought back. We played really strong today, which was good after a tough loss against Ohio State on Friday.”To prepare for Sunday’s matchup against Penn State, changes had to be made, and Van Emburgh was aware of where to make them.Freshman Alexander Teppert replaced Petr Satral in doubles play at the No. 3 spot, and the freshman duo of Rodney Carey and Fredrik Ask was moved to the No. 2 spot.Against Ohio State, Carey and Ask were full of tiebreaking matches. The duo lasted the longest and finished last in doubles play after losing in a tiebreak. Moving to singles, Ask split sets but lost in tiebreak, and Carey lost both sets in tiebreak.Sunday against Penn State, Carey and Ask were working well together but struggled halfway through their match against duo Chris Young and Jason Lee.“We were still playing good, we just had a little bit of a lapse,” Carey said. “We didn’t want it to get too out of control; we were still on top of them, and we wanted to stay calm.”Carey and Ask were able to get a win in the No. 2 spot, and as play continued, Van Emburgh’s changes seemed to be working in the Badgers’ favor.“Rod and Fred have been playing well together, so they got to play at the two and I think it ended up paying off for us [Sunday],” Van Emburgh said of his decision to move the duo to the No. 2 doubles slot.Pleased with their coach noticing their improvement, Ask and Carey were proud of their performance and seemed to carry that confidence boost to their singles play.“Today was great,” Ask said. “I really like the way me and Rod have been playing. We had a match point against number two in the country, and so I feel like we’ve been playing great and that continued today.”The second major change in the lineup for Wisconsin involved breaking up the duo of Satral and Ricardo Martin. Teppert, who made his debut as a Badger this fall after redshirting his 2009-10 season, replaced Satral. The duo worked well together and got the victory.“Sometimes you just look at your different doubles options,” Van Emburgh said. “Teppert’s been playing some good tennis and his back has been a little sore, so I wanted to get him in the doubles.”However, the decision didn’t work in everyone’s favor. After sitting out the doubles matches on Sunday – something quite new to him – Satral ended up losing in singles 6-2, 6-2 to Penn State’s Russell Bader.“I wouldn’t have thought it would affect [Satral], but today, he didn’t play his best tennis,” Van Emurgh said. “I was a little disappointed that he didn’t because I know he’s a lot better of a player. But I know he’ll regroup and be fine for Iowa and Illinois.”last_img read more

Off to a slow start — can Kompany revive Anderlecht’s fortunes?

first_imgVincent Kompany (L) in action for Anderlecht — the new player-manager has not yet overseen a win with the Brussels club four games into the seasonBrussels, Belgium | AFP |  Vincent Kompany might have been seen as the saviour when he returned to Anderlecht as player-manager, but early results suggest it will take time for the 33-year-old to make his mark on Belgium’s most successful club.Anderlecht caused a sensation when they announced in May the appointment of Kompany, a product of the club’s youth academy along with stars such as Enzo Scifo and Romelu Lukaku.The role of player-manager is virtually non-existent these days, and the task always looked a daunting one for Kompany, who had just finished a successful 11-year spell at Manchester City.With just two points taken from his first four games, it was announced on Thursday that Kompany, while captaining the team on the field, would leave substitutions and tactical changes to his staff during games. It is a first indication that the combination of roles was too much.Kompany has returned to a club where much has changed since he emerged there as a teenager before joining Hamburg in 2006.The 34-time Belgian champions finished sixth last season, 20 points behind champions Genk, who they face this Friday. This season is the club’s first in 55 years without European football.Things have not been going well for Anderlecht since the wealthy businessman Marc Coucke bought the club in late 2017, ending a period of almost 50 years in the hands of the Vanden Stock family. And now the reign of “Vince the Prince” has started in underwhelming fashion too.Kompany was treated like a rock star when he was unveiled, citing City coach Pep Guardiola as the example to follow. “Like every supporter, I suffered last season,” he said.He hopes to have a big impact on the field, providing he stays fit. He also hopes instilling a new philosophy can revive the fortunes of a club who were once a leading European force.– British influence –After over a decade in England, he has added a significant British influence to his staff, with Welshman Simon Davies — previously on the staff at City — becoming head coach.“We are starting a magnificent project to take Anderlecht back to where they belong with an accent placed on developing young players,” Davies said.Another Welshman, Craig Bellamy, is in charge of the under-21s, while Kevin Reid — who worked with current Belgium coach Roberto Martinez at Everton — has come in as a video analyst. Last season’s top scorer, Ivan Santini, was sold to China, but Kompany used his contacts to make notable swoops in the transfer market.They have signed English forward Kemar Roofe from Leeds United, while Dutch defender Philippe Sandler, 22, signed on loan from City.– Nasri adds star quality –But the biggest coups have been the arrivals of Belgium midfielder Nacer Chadli on-loan from Monaco and ex-France star Samir Nasri, another old teammate of Kompany’s at City. Nasri, 32, was a free agent after leaving West Ham United.He and Kompany are rare old heads, with nine players aged 24 or under starting in a 2-1 home defeat by KV Oostende on the opening weekend, including four teenagers.Since then, they have drawn 0-0 with Royal Excel Mouscron and Mechelen before a 4-2 defeat at Kortrijk despite Nasri giving them the lead.Now they have a run of games against last season’s top four, with Standard Liege, Antwerp and Club Brugge coming up after Genk. The pressure could quickly increase on Kompany, who has already faced criticism from leading ex-players.“The coach Kompany needs to put Kompany the player in his place,” said Marc Degryse, a former Anderlecht and Belgium forward, in the daily Het Laatste Nieuws.“He is just a human being, as well as being a very good footballer, but I get the feeling he thinks he’s God.”The decision to make Kompany captain on the field has been taken, according to Davies, to allow “the best player in the league” to focus purely on his playing role, at least during games.“Vinny and the club have a vision, and we all work to it as staff, but it’s important that he is a player on matchday,” said Davies.Anderlecht and their new boss are still searching for the winning formula.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

30 Days of After Effects: The Perfect Way to End the Summer

first_imgStep up your motion design skills with these free After Effects tutorials!Vacations are wrapping up, school is about to begin again, and that sunburn is beginning to flake off. It’s the part of every year that you’ve dreaded since you were five…summer is almost over. However, this summer might end just a little bit sweeter with an awesome series of After Effects tutorials from School of Motion and the Motion Design Department at the Ringling College of Art and Design.The two groups have collaborated to create 30 Days of After Effects which is exactly what the name implies, 30 full-length After Effects tutorials for your viewing pleasure. But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill YouTube tutorials. Each tutorial created by Joey Korenman is 30-60 minutes in length and jam packed with tips and tricks to help you become a better motion graphic designer.Now you may be thinking, ok what’s the catch; are they going to ask me for money? Nope! All 30 After Effects tutorials are completely free.Here’s the first tutorial in the 30 Days of After Effects Series. You can see the rest of the tutorials on School of Motion’s website as they are released.There will be a new School of Motion After Effects tutorial every weekday until September 12th! For more After Effects tricks and tips check out the AE section here on the PremiumBeat blog.last_img read more

Coach Cal Blew It

Embed Code By Nate Silver Podcast from Indy: The Kentucky Loss and Monday Night’s Matchup Even 38-0 teams can go through mistimed offensive slumps, and the Kentucky Wildcats went through one at a very bad time Saturday night. Kentucky went more than 5 minutes without scoring in its loss to Wisconsin on Saturday. Between Karl-Anthony Towns’ jumper with 6:37 to go in the second half, and Aaron Harrison’s layup with 56 seconds remaining, Kentucky was stuck on 60 points, while Wisconsin swung from being 4 points behind to 4 points ahead.A lot of credit must go to Wisconsin’s stout defense, which looked a lot better than its Pomeroy rating (just 55th best in the country). But the Wildcats didn’t help themselves Saturday night with three shot clock violations down the stretch. Those violations were symptomatic of a larger problem: Kentucky’s torpid pace down the stretch helped doom them.This will involve more math than the usual “hot take,” so hang tight while we take a tour of probabilities. We’re most interested in one big question: Did Kentucky increase its chance to win by slowing its pace, thereby giving each team fewer possessions?At first blush, it seems like Kentucky was better off slowing the game down.The Las Vegas point spread and over-under line projected a final score of roughly Kentucky 67, Wisconsin 62 before the game. (FiveThirtyEight’s model had a similar projection, favoring Kentucky by 4.5 points.) In a game of 60 possessions per team, that translates into 1.12 points per possession for Kentucky and 1.04 per possession for Wisconsin.I simulated the final six minutes of the game 100,000 times using these offensive efficiency figures and a few guesstimations.1I had to guesstimate how the points are distributed between 3-point, 2-point, 1-point and 0-point possessions; Wisconsin will have a relatively high number of 3-point possessions, since they shoot so well from outside, for instance. My guesstimates were as follows: Kentucky scores three points 8 percent of the time, two points 41 percent of the time, one point 6 percent of the time, and no points 45 percent of the time. Wisconsin scores three points 12 percent of the time, two points 32 percent of the time, one point 4 percent of the time and no points 52 percent of the time. That gives Kentucky an offensive efficiency rating of 1.12 points per possession, and Wisconsin 1.04 points, as desired. I also assumed that Kentucky would win 55 percent of the time if the game went to overtime. Up by 4 in a game with 12 more possessions per team2At about 20 seconds per possession, six minutes would ordinarily allow nine more possessions per team. But there are more clock stoppages late in the game. So let’s assume that each team would have 12 further possessions if Kentucky played normally. Kentucky won 81.9 percent of the time. That winning percentage increased to 83.3 percent in a game with 10 possessions per team instead.3I’m assuming there were 10 possessions, not 12 possessions because of Kentucky’s slow pace down the stretch; which ran a minute or two off the clock.So at a first glance, slowing the game down seems like a good idea for Kentucky — they were ahead, after all.But there are reasons not to do it. Kentucky is the slightly better team — or at least that’s what Vegas and the FiveThirtyEight model thought before the game — and in the abstract the better team should want to play a longer game (a game with more possessions). Under our assumptions, if Kentucky and Wisconsin played an infinitely long game, Kentucky would always win. So it was slightly unusual for Kentucky, a Goliath of a basketball team, to adopt a “David strategy” instead.This alone wasn’t enough to make Calpari’s strategy a poor one, however. Even though Wisconsin was the underdog, the difference was small enough that you’d still rather give them fewer chances to catch up, according to the simulations.But Kentucky also almost certainly made its offense less efficient by slowing the pace down. Rather than looking for good shooting opportunities in the first half of the shot clock, it tried to rush shots near the end of possessions. (Wisconsin’s defense, to reiterate, had something to do with that. But Kentucky hadn’t had much trouble finding shots earlier in the game, shooting 60 percent in the first half.)Exactly how much less efficient is hard to say, but efficiency declines significantly as the shot clock runs down to zero. NBA teams score about 1.12 points per possession when they shoot in the first 10 seconds of the league’s 24-second shot clock, but that efficiency declines to 0.92 points per possession in the final four seconds of a possession. These numbers aren’t perfect for any number of reasons — not least because they’re drawn from the NBA rather than college hoops — but they give us at least some sense for the magnitude of the effect.So that got me wondering how much Kentucky’s offensive efficiency would have to decline to render Calipari’s strategy counterproductive. The answer: Not much at all.In the table below, I’ve used the simulation model to estimate Kentucky’s chances of winning with reduced offensive efficiency. For example, a 10 percent reduction in offensive efficiency — meaning that the Wildcats are scoring at a rate of about 1.01 points per possession instead of 1.12 — would reduce their win probability to 76.8 percent in a game with 10 more possessions per team. That’s considerably worse than the 81.9 percent chance they had by playing regular basketball, but permitting 12 possessions per team. Even a 3 percent reduction in offensive efficiency would reduce Kentucky’s winning chances.There are a lot of other factors to consider in the real world, of course, like how Wisconsin might have altered its strategy in response to Kentucky. Still, Kentucky seemed to be playing into Wisconsin’s hands, especially given that the Badgers are terrific in half-court sets — but much worse than Kentucky in transition — and ordinarily prefer to play at one of the slowest paces in college basketball. Wisconsin might have found a way to win anyway — they’re a terrific team, and the game wasn’t all that much of an upset. But Coach Cal made their path to the National Championship a little easier. More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed read more

Byron Buxton Is Teasing Twins Fans Again

Peter BourjosLAA311232.548.285.262 Francisco MejiaSD231131.541.309.232 Buxton is tearing it up this springMLB players by difference in weighted on-base average (wOBA) between 2019 preseason Marcel projections and spring training performance Cristhian AdamesCHC271536.533.286.247 Jose PirelaSD291531.562.303.258 wOBA Byron BuxtonMIN251130.579.297+.282 That 282-point difference in wOBA would imply a 17-point increase over projected during the regular season, good for a .314 mark when applied to Buxton’s on-base projection. That’s essentially the same wOBA Buxton had during his breakout 2017 campaign — a number that still wasn’t quite league average but was good enough to combine with his stellar defense to make him worth 4.3 wins above replacement (WAR),3Using an average of the metrics found at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs. as opposed to the -0.4 number he produced last season. And for a Twins team that we currently project to win 84 games with a 37 percent chance of making the playoffs, even incremental improvements from a key player like Buxton could pay massive dividends in terms of postseason odds. My former colleague Rob Arthur estimated that, in the era of two wild cards, an 86-win team would generally increase its playoff probability by about 10 to 15 percentage points over an 84-win one. (The mid-80s win range is basically the steepest area for adding playoff odds with an extra win.)Now, to pump the brakes a little on Buxton’s spring: 30 plate appearances is a very small sample, and most of them have come against sub-AAA quality pitchers, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s estimation. Buxton currently has a batting average on balls in play of .368, much higher than his regular-season career average of .320. His biggest action items as a hitter — plate patience and strike-zone judgment — have shown some signs of life this spring, but he’ll have to sustain them all season to convince skeptics that his skills have truly improved. And Minnesota can only hope those spring homers are merely a sign that Buxton will be an average power hitter again (like in 2017) rather than the guy who didn’t hit a single home run in 90 MLB at-bats last season.4He did hit four homers on assignment at Triple-A Rochester last year.It really does just comes down to health and hitting for Buxton — defensively, on a per-inning basis, he was just as great last year as in 2017; he was also the fastest player in baseball. If Buxton can recapture a version of his 2017 production at the plate, it would be very good for the Twins in their quest to return to the American League Division Series for the first time since 2010. Minnesota added some impact free agents over the offseason (Marwin Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, Blake Parker), while the division-favorite Cleveland Indians spent the winter shopping around their stars and generally resting on their laurels. Maybe the Twins are still longshots to truly knock the Indians off of their three-year perch as AL Central champs, but a healthy, star-caliber 2019 season from Buxton would make that task a lot easier. Greg AllenCLE261028.532.302.230 Lewis BrinsonMIA241334.517.274.243 Domingo SantanaSEA261028.575.344.231 Chance SiscoBAL241029.560.304.256 Minimum 25 spring plate appearances for players who have already made their regular-season MLB debuts. Stats are through Friday, March 15.Source: Baseball-Reference.com Brandon LoweTB241032.560.321.240 The Minnesota Twins were one of the best stories of the 2017 MLB season: Coming off a 59-win campaign in 2016, they won 85 games and made the playoffs seemingly out of nowhere. Minnesota even spotted itself an early three-run lead against the Yankees in the American League wild-card game (before promptly giving it away in the bottom of the first and ultimately losing). With one of baseball’s youngest lineups, this seemed like a team on the rise, and its best all-around player — 23-year-old center fielder Byron Buxton — had a lot to do with that, putting together a breakout season of his own.By the same token, when Buxton faltered in 2018, so did the Twins. In an injury-plagued lost season, Buxton managed just 94 plate appearances and graded as below replacement level, according to whichever metric you choose to consult. Minnesota, in turn, dipped from 85 wins to 78 and wasn’t really in the playoff picture after the All-Star break. Buxton wasn’t the only Twin to suffer a miserable 2018 decline,1Third baseman Miguel Sano, pitcher Ervin Santana and even franchise-fixture second baseman Brian Dozier — who was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline — all come to mind. but it is fair to say his absence played as big a role in Minnesota’s downfall as anything else.This spring, Buxton and the Twins are looking to recapture the spirit of 2017 — and the early returns are encouraging. Last week, the former No. 1 prospect in all of baseball hit what was already his fourth home run of spring training:It’s been part of a tear that has Buxton looking like the best hitter in baseball during the spring so far. Although spring training results are easy to scoff at, they aren’t completely devoid of meaning — and that’s something the Twins will hang on to if it means there’s a chance Buxton rebounds and helps them close the gap in the AL Central.According to my research from a few years ago, massive spring outlier performances do carry some predictive value going forward. It just takes a lot of improvement to signal real breakout potential: You need a weighted on-base average (wOBA) in the spring 17 points above projected — using the simple-yet-effective Marcel projection system — just to predict a 1-point increase in wOBA (relative to projection) during the regular season. So for most players, they’ll never hit well enough in the spring to move the needle of their season expectations very much either way.But Buxton is hitting so well that it might actually be a much-needed sign of hope for his performance this season. When we compare players’ spring wOBA with their preseason Marcel projections, no player2Minimum 25 plate appearances. has exceeded expectations more than the Twins’ center fielder: PlayerTeamAgeGamesPASPRINGProjectedDiff read more