The NBA regular season ends Wednesday, and the playoffs begin Saturday. And with that in mind, we’re going to shake things up a bit with regard to FiveThirtyEight’s NBA Power Ratings.Until now, we’ve ranked every team according to a projection of its true talent over the upcoming week — and the upcoming week only — using Real Plus-Minus (RPM) player ratings provided by Jeremias Engelmann and Steve Ilardi. (For more details on the original methodology, see our introductory rankings post.)But this week, with many teams resting key players in preparation for the playoffs, we’re ranking every team according to its projected playoff power rating. This means we’re projecting every team to be at “full strength” in terms of minutes given to players who will be available for the postseason, instead of only projecting for the next week. Playoff probabilities and expected end-of-season wins are still driven by projected minute distributions over the next few days, but the power ratings themselves have been geared to capture the talent that each team is bringing into the playoffs.With the playoffs being emphasized more in our ratings, it’s fitting that the San Antonio Spurs rank in the top two for the first time since early February. They’ve won 11 straight games, a run backed up by the underlying talent of one of the league’s best teams.The Atlanta Hawks also benefit from our switch to “playoff power” — while Thabo Sefolosha’s bizarre season-ending injury hurts their chances of winning the championship, we’ve boosted the playing time for many of their good players who have consistently been listed as day-to-day in the injury report in recent weeks.As for teams on the fringe of the playoffs, we noted last week that the Boston Celtics were basically a coin flip to make the playoffs, battling it out with the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers for one of the two remaining postseason slots in the Eastern Conference. A week later, the Celtics have all but completely claimed their spot; our model now gives them a 98.9 percent probability of making the playoffs.By the same token, the Heat have almost completely dropped out of the race, with just a 2.4 percent chance of qualifying for the postseason. That leaves the Nets and Pacers to fight over one spot with two games left per team. Our calculations give Brooklyn the inside track largely because of the team’s possession of the tiebreaker over Indiana, in addition to an easier remaining schedule (the Nets face the No. 9 Chicago Bulls and No. 23 Orlando Magic; Indiana faces No. 7 Memphis and No. 15 Washington).Out West, the race for the No. 8 seed is between the New Orleans Pelicans and Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Pelicans have the edge in our simulations. Oklahoma City is marginally more talented, according to RPM, and is even projected to win fractionally more games on average, but New Orleans holds the tiebreaker over the Thunder.In no small part because of those tiebreakers, there’s a 45 percent probability that the Nets and Pelicans will be the final two teams to slip into the playoffs when the season ends Wednesday.
OSU sophomore Keita Bates-Diop (33) takes a free throw in a game against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 24 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU lost 82-74. Credit: Maria Martello | Lantern PhotographerIn Ohio State coach Thad Matta’s head coaching career, he has stood on the sideline for 531 games.He has won 403 of those, while dropping 128. But in none of those 531 contests has his team had more losses than wins in the record column.That will change on Tuesday, as the Buckeyes (2-3) are set to welcome No. 10 Virginia (5-1) to the Schottenstein Center for a 7:30 p.m. matchup as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.OSU’s season started off without any noteworthy results, grabbing 20-plus-point victories over a pair of unspectacular opponents. The wheels came off from there, however, as consecutive home losses to Texas-Arlington and Louisiana Tech dropped OSU to .500, before an overtime loss to Memphis in Miami gave Matta a losing record for the first time in his career.Sophomore forward Jae’Sean Tate said having a losing record comes as a shock when a player comes to a school like OSU, but the team has to keep its composure and keep getting back on track.“None of us expected to be 2-3, but we’ve just got to stay the course,” Tate said. “We have to learn how to grow, how to improve every week in practice.”Tate and fellow sophomore forward Keita Bates-Diop each offered the same two culprits for the Buckeyes’ struggles: turnovers and poor free-throw shooting.“We’re not losing games by a lot. They’re close games. It’s just the turnovers, we have to cut back on those, and make our free throws,” Bates-Diop said. “We could be getting different questions right now if we’re doing that.”The Buckeyes are turning the ball over 16.2 times per game, ranking 323rd in the nation out of 346 qualifying Division I schools. Virginia, on the other hand, ranks second with just 7.5 turnovers per game.Matta said the praise for the Cavaliers’ efficiency lies with coach Tony Bennett, who is now in his seventh season in Charlottesville, Virginia.“I think Tony Bennett has done a tremendous job in terms of coming in and establishing that program … I don’t think Virginia gets the respect of other schools, but they’re as good as any of them, that’s for sure,” Matta said.For the Buckeyes, Tate said it is never easy to snap a losing streak, and the team is unlikely to get any help against a team like the Cavaliers. Still, he said the team is trying its hardest to keep its focus one game at a time.“Any loss will have an impact on your confidence, but coach is doing a great job telling us to stay the course,” Tate said. “Teams go through losses all the time, it’s just how you bounce back the next game.”A glance at the CavaliersVirginia comes into Tuesday night’s matchup 5-1, with the lone loss coming in a second-game hiccup at George Washington.While the quality of its other five opponents hasn’t been the strongest, Matta said he has been more than impressed with what he’s watched.“They’re as good of a basketball team as I’ve seen this year … They’re such a great blend of the positions, inside, outside,” Matta said. “It’s definitely a veteran basketball team that’s going to be a great challenge for us.”Virginia — which earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament a season ago but was ultimately upset by Michigan State in the Round of 32 — uses a balanced offensive attack rather than relying on a go-to scorer.Redshirt senior guard Malcolm Brogdon leads the team with 16.7 points per game. The 2014-15 AP All-American Second-Team recipient has also chipped in 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.The Cavaliers have shot exceptionally well this season, shooting the ball at a 51.7 percent clip from the field while holding opponents to 39.1 percent. Those marks rank 13th and 74th in the nation, respectively.“They’re a great defensive team,” Tate said. “They run a lot of offense through their post, so post defense will be really key. We’ve just got to execute and take care of the ball.”Up nextAfter the Cavaliers, the Buckeyes are set to resume action on Saturday against another school from the 10th state — Virginia Military Institute. Tip is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
The Senior Bowl, held in Mobile, Ala., is an opportunity for senior football players to showcase their talents in front of pro scouts and coaches. And Former Ohio State football players Ross Homan and Dane Sanzenbacher were invited to the field. Homan and Sanzenbacher understand the importance of the opportunity. “The best players in the nation are out here, competing and trying to showcase their skills,” Homan said. Being at your best and separating yourself from the rest is something Homan said is crucial in a game like this. “It’s very important. You’re always being evaluated every time you step on the field,” Homan said. “It’s a huge job interview; that’s the way I look at it.” Sanzenbacher agreed. “It’s an opportunity for you to show your talents and stand out from everybody else,” he said. Since the Sugar Bowl, Homan and Sanzenbacher have been training for the NFL draft process. Both were recently invited to the NFL Combine, and both said they plan to attend. During practice, Homan said coaches and scouts have been telling him to keep doing what he is doing and to relax and play to his ability. Sanzenbacher, who was a late addition to the Senior Bowl, had his first day of practice Tuesday, and said the competition there is one of a kind. “You can’t really replace that competition. It makes everybody better,” he said. “You’re working with some of the best players in the nation and it makes every rep that much more critical.” Being so close to the NFL, Homan said he is ready to make the most of the opportunity. “It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I have dreamed of it since I was a little kid, and now I have the opportunity to make it a reality.” Sanzenbacher said the feeling is surreal. “It’s weird. It doesn’t feel that close,” Sanzenbacher said. “There’s still a lot of steps that you need to go through to actually put on that jersey and play in the NFL.” Homan’s ultimate goal is to be a success and leave nothing undone. “Just be successful; just have no regrets,” Homan said. “Never look back and wish I could have done this or could have done that.” Sanzenbacher has different ambitions. “(I want) to put myself in a position to be successful after football,” Sanzenbacher said. “Obviously you want to play well and take (football) as far as you can, but ultimately, while you’re playing, set yourself up for the future.” Neither Homan nor Sanzenbacher has a preference of what team he would like to compete for. They said would just be grateful for the chance to play in the NFL. Sanzenbacher said he would never forget the experiences he had playing for OSU. “It kind of made me the football player that I am,” he said. “Being able to run out on Senior Day, to get your name announced as captain and your family on the field was definitely up there for me.” What Homan will remember most about OSU is his success on the team. “The close games, battles, sealing the deal on Big Ten championships,” Homan said. “Everything we’ve won, I’ll keep memory of.” The Senior Bowl will be televised at 4 p.m. Saturday on the NFL Network.
Junior defenseman, Clark Cristofoli (6), takes control of the puck in a game against Canisius. OSU won 3-0 at the Schottenstein Center Nov. 15. Credit: Brooke Sayre / Lantern photographer With freshman goalie Logan Davis’ first two collegiate starts came two victories as the Ohio State men’s ice hockey team swept Canisius College over the weekend.Davis took over the reins after fellow freshman Matt Tomkins sustained a lower-body injury in the first four minutes of OSU’s victory against Niagara Nov. 9.“That’s why (Davis is) out there in practice every day,” OSU coach Steve Rohlik said. “Sometimes you take it for granted, and I know our guys don’t, and Logan went out there and did his job.”Alongside Davis’ performance, Rohlik attributed the Buckeyes’ (8-4-0, 0-0-0) wins to their defensive unit, which he said has been a focus of the team.“Our guys played hard. Our guys blocked a lot of shots – I think we blocked over 40 shots this weekend – and Logan, in the nets, did his job,” Rohlik said of the defense, which gave up only one goal against the Golden Griffins. “When guys buy in and they’re willing to sacrifice their body in this game and get in front of pucks like that, you know you’ve got something special, and I think we can build on this.”Coach Dave Smith of Canisius (2-7-0, 1-3-0) shared the same sentiment of the Buckeyes’ defense, saying “their desperation and their commitment to blocking shots was the difference in the game.”The second game of the two-game series was played Saturday, and the Buckeyes managed to hold onto to the lead to win, 3-1.Both teams were held scoreless in the first period, but OSU got on the board and took a 2-0 lead with two goals by senior forward Alex Szczechura and freshman defenseman Josh Healey. Canisius responded with a wraparound goal by junior forward Mitch McCrank at 7:49 to pull the Golden Griffins within one goal.For the remainder of the game, OSU played a defense-centric game and fended off any attack on the net that Canisius attempted. With less than a second left on the clock, junior forward Ryan Dzingel sealed the victory with an empty-net goal.The Buckeyes outshot the Golden Griffins in the game, 29-23, and Davis stopped 22 of the shots he faced in his third victory as a goalie.Healey said playing consistently and not making drastic changes to the gameplay was what helped the team to keep its lead.“We just stuck to our game plan and kept going,” Healey said. “They pushed at the end, but we stuck to our game — get pucks deep, keep (the puck) on the other side and keep the lead.”The two-game series opened up Friday, and OSU came away with a shutout victory over the Golden Griffins.After a goal in the first period by Dzingel, who leads the team with seven on the season, the Buckeyes opened up the gap even more in the second period with goals from junior defenseman Justin DaSilva and freshman forward Nick Schilkey. With these, OSU extended the lead to 3-0, which was decidedly the final score after neither team scored in the third stanza.The series ended the Buckeyes’ seven-game homestand, during which they won six games. The team has a weekend off before it is slated to open Big Ten play with against rival Michigan in Ann Arbor Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. OSU is then scheduled to return home against the Wolverines Dec. 2 at 7:05 p.m.
Tianjin Quanjian forward Alexandre Pato believes Milan pulled off a masterstroke by having Leonardo return.He also admitted he is ‘waiting’ for a call from his fellow Brazilian. Leonardo managed Pato at Milan between 2009-10 campaign and ever since then has returned to San Siro as the club’s general manager, prompting hype from the striker.“Leonardo has the vision, competence and authority to give the club a new approach,” the 28-year-old told Tuttosport and quoted in Football Italia.“I’m not only talking in a technical sense. I imagine that at the club, there’s been some loss: many people have left in just a year and a half, so Leonardo can give security to the whole club.Serie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….“He’s the right person at the right place at the right time: he’ll do a great job. In the meantime, I’ll be waiting for his call… after that we’ll see!Pato also shared his thoughts about Elliott Management’s takeover of the Rossoneri.“It seems to me that in a few weeks, the new owners have moved decisively with regards to the club’s organisation,” he added.“That’s good for Milan and their future. The club deserve to return to the top.”
Dan Cohen AUTHOR While changes are coming to how the department operates military grocery stores, they won’t be implemented in a haphazard manner, according to David Tillotson III, DOD’s assistant deputy chief management officer.Tillotson, who has been charged with identifying ways to reduce the $1.4 billion annual subsidy Congress provides the commissary system, said any changes would be carried out deliberately and with mechanisms in place to ensure they don’t degrade the commissary benefit for military families. “We’ll work on it a piece at a time, and that’s our intention,” Tillotson told the American Logistics Association, a group of manufacturers and distributors who serve commissaries, exchanges and morale, welfare and recreation facilities.Privatization, for example, is not an “all or nothing” proposition, he said. It is possible that only some elements of commissary operations are handled by the private sector, reported Military Times. The main sticking point to privatizing commissaries will be overseas stores, Tillotson said.“We are unequivocally certain that people are really, really going to choke on the overseas operation portion. We’re certain of that because nearly every conversation I’ve had chokes on that point,” he said.Tillotson noted that the department was pleased that the Senate had removed language from the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill allowing DOD to privatize commissaries at five major installations.The Pentagon already has proposed allowing commissaries to charge variable prices for items and to introduce private labels in an effort to reduce the annual subsidy.In addition to looking for ways to save money in commissary operations, Tillotson said the deputy secretary of defense has asked him to find $10 billion in savings from other reforms across DOD over the next four to five years.
US president Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One on 7 September, 2018, as he travels to Fargo, North Dakota, to speak at a Joint Fundraising Committee. Photo: AFPDonald Trump had to be tricked out of killing a US-South Korean trade deal? He threatened to move a US missile defence system from South Korea to Oregon? He ordered a plan for a pre-emptive attack on North Korea?These supposed moves by Trump, detailed in journalist Bob Woodward’s new book, will cause bafflement and worry among government officials in Seoul. But, for many South Koreans, they just add more pieces of evidence to an established picture of an erratic US leader who thinks little of an alliance forged in the turmoil of the Korean War and often described here as a “bond of blood.””South Koreans have already seen Trump’s childish behaviour many times,” an editorial writer for the conservative Chosun Ilbo, South Korea’s most-read newspaper, wrote in a column Friday about Woodward’s book, comparing the president to a “rugby ball that could bounce anywhere” if not watched by others.South Korea, before Trump, had become used to regular, glowing declarations from US leaders of both political parties about the eternal strength of their alliance. The country, after all, is a global success story, rising from the poverty and destruction of the war into Asia’s fourth-biggest economy; it’s a regional bulwark of democratic, capitalist values and a leader in culture, trade and good works.So long before Woodward’s book, South Koreans were shocked at Trump’s open complaints about the costs of maintaining the 28,500 US troops stationed in South Korea as protection against North Korean attack; at his decision, after his June summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, to abruptly shelve major US military exercises with South Korea; at his claim that the “horrible” US free trade pact with South Korea destroyed US industry and his insistence that Seoul renegotiate.When asked by The Associated Press whether he has ever seen a US president who was so openly dismissive of the US-South Korean alliance, Kim Sung-han, a former South Korean deputy foreign minister, said, “No.””He’s the first and hopefully the last exception,” said Kim, whose last posting in the South Korean Foreign Ministry was in 2013 and who has never met Trump. “He doesn’t approach alliances with a strategic mindset, but only evaluates their transactional value. He constantly questions whether the United States needs any alliance. He thinks that if a partner wants to keep an alliance, it should pay 100 percent of the costs.”Many of the most explosive excerpts from the soon-to-be published book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” deal with the Koreas.Trump reportedly ordered a plan to pre-emptively attack the North; he suggested that a US missile defence system in the South meant to guard against North Korean attack should be moved to Portland, Oregon; and a former Trump economic official allegedly swiped papers from Trump’s desk so he wouldn’t sign an order killing the free trade agreement between the countries.In a statement provided to The Associated Press, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said it has been following the reports, but that it would be inappropriate to comment about a book that hasn’t been published yet. It refused to say whether it considers any of the stories true. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy couldn’t immediately comment on the trade deal allegations.”South Korea and the United States have been maintaining close communication and consultation on major issues such as the North Korean nuclear problem, security, economy and trade,” the Foreign Ministry said.In spite of the behaviour described in Woodward’s book, Trump’s administration has avoided policy moves that would have created major repercussions with South Korea.The United States and South Korea plan to sign a renegotiated free trade deal during the UN General Assembly in New York later this month. The missile defence system – the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD) – remains in Seongju, South Korea. Washington and Seoul have so far cooperated in diplomatic efforts in the nuclear standoff with North Korea.Still, experts say that Trump’s attitude doesn’t bode well for South Korea.It’s possible that the alliance will end up looking much different depending on the outcome of nuclear diplomacy among Washington, Pyongyang and Seoul. Experts say Kim Jong Un, who initiated the diplomacy after a stream of nuclear and missile tests last year, sees a rare opportunity in a US president who seems eager to prove his deal-making skills and thinks less of the traditional alliance with Seoul than his predecessors did.North Korea has been demanding the United States agree to a declaration to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which some see as a precursor for pushing for the withdrawal of US troops in South Korea.”Trump will continuously cause trouble and the alliance can be persistently shaken,” said Choi Kang, vice president of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Choi said South Korean government officials will be anxious about the descriptions in Woodward’s book, which he says show the United States as “dysfunctional.””I have never seen a situation like this,” Choi said.Most experts say the alliance will probably survive the Trump presidency. South Korea, along with Japan, has served a crucial role in protecting US interests in the region, a role that both Seoul and Washington may need more of in the future to check a rising China, said Lee Daewoo, an analyst at South Korea’s Sejong Institute.Kim, the former diplomat, said South Korea’s government should make stronger efforts to show the value of the US-South Korean alliance to the American public.”Whether there’s two years left or six years left, that’s more than enough time for (the Trump administration) to cause serious damage to relations with South Korea,” Kim said. “Efforts to persuade the US public are crucial, because if Trump is afraid of anything, it’s American voters.”
More information: Richang Hong, Meng Wang, et al. “Dynamic Captioning: Video Accessibility Enhancement for Hearing Impairment.” Proceedings of the International Conference on Multimedia. DOI: 10.1145/1873951.1874013 Richang Hong, Meng Wang, et al. “Video Accessibility Enhancement for Hearing Impaired Users.” ACM Transactions on Multimedia Computing, Communications, and Applications. DOI: 10.1145/2037676.2037681 (PhysOrg.com) — Ever since closed video captioning was developed in the 1970s, it hasn’t changed much. The words spoken by the characters or narrators scroll along at the bottom of the screen, enabling hearing impaired viewers – or all viewers when the sound is off – to follow along. Now a team of researchers from China and Singapore has developed a new closed captioning approach in which the text appears in translucent talk bubbles next to the speaker. The new approach offers several advantages for improving the viewing experience for the more than 66 million people around the world who have hearing impairments. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. YouTube extends automatic video captioning © 2011 PhysOrg.com The researchers, Meng Wang from the Hefei University of Technology in China and colleagues, won the Best Paper Award for their work on the new closed captioning method from the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Multimedia Conference in October 2010. “The whole technique was motivated by solving the difficulties of hearing-impaired viewers in watching videos,” Wang told PhysOrg.com. “These viewers have difficulty in recognizing who is speaking, so we put scripts around the speaker’s face; they have difficulty in tracking scripts, so we synchronously highlight the scripts.”As the researchers explain, conventional closed captioning can be considered static captioning, since all spoken words are represented in the same way at the bottom of the screen, regardless of who said them or the vocal dynamics. In contrast, the researchers describe their new technique as dynamic captioning, since the text appears in different locations and styles to better reflect the speaker’s identity and vocal dynamics. For example, the text is highlighted word by word in synchrony with the speech signals. In addition, a small indicator next to the talk bubble shows the variation of vocal volume.Moreover, all of these features can be automatically implemented without any manual intervention. The engineers developed algorithms to automatically identify the speaker using the video’s script file along with lip motion detection. Using a technique called visual saliency analysis, the technology can automatically find an optimal position for the talk bubble so that it interferes minimally with the visual scene. Professionals can also further adjust the generated captions, such as moving the talk bubbles. When the speaker is off-screen, or a narrator is speaking, the words appear at the bottom of the screen as in static closed captioning. The system estimates vocal volume of words and phrases by computing the power of the audio signal in 30-millisecond windows.Processing a video for dynamic captioning takes approximately the same amount of time as the video duration itself (videos cannot be processed while running). However, processing time can vary depending on complexity. The researchers predict that the processing time can be significantly reduced by speeding up some of the individual processes.In a user study with 60 hearing impaired individuals aged 11 to 22, the researchers found that 53 of the 60 individuals preferred dynamic captioning over static captioning. The seven individuals who chose static captioning mainly did so due to their familiarity with that method. On average, the users rated dynamic captioning higher than static in terms of enjoyment, and about the same in terms of naturalness, mainly due to some instances when the text position changes abruptly. The researchers hope to solve this problem by smoothing the variation in text position.“In the technical papers, we have mentioned that there are several failure cases, such as putting scripts around an incorrect faces,” Wang said. “This is the main bottleneck for commercialization. In order to be commercialized, a better way is to further incorporate human intervention. For example, a professional user can quickly check the generated dynamic captions and then manually correct or edit some failure cases. It will cost much less time and effort than the pure manual generation of the whole captions as the user only needs to process those incorrect cases. We have already been studying it.”Since this work is the first to help hearing impaired individuals enjoy an improved video experience, the researchers note that there is a lot of potential future work in this area. In addition to improving dynamic captioning, they hope to apply the technique to videos without script files, as well as to perform more comprehensive user studies. Citation: Researchers revolutionize closed captioning (2012, March 22) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-03-revolutionize-captioning.html Explore further Examples of different captioning styles: (a) scroll-up captioning; (b) pop-up captioning; (c) paint-on captioning; (d) cinematic captioning; and (e) dynamic captioning. The first four techniques can be categorized as static captioning, and different from them, dynamic captioning in (e) benefits hearing impaired audience by presenting scripts in suitable regions, synchronously highlighting them word-by-word and illustrating the variation of voice volume. Image credit: Hong, et al. ©ACM