Next Seasons NBA Heavyweights Warriors Cavs Spurs Rockets … Timberwolves

Team total240+5.4+1.1 Teams like the Timberwolves usually improved their luckDifference between actual and Pythagorean wins for teams that underperformed their Pythagorean record by 7 or more wins, 1976-2017 PLAYERMIN. PER GAMEOFF. PLUS/MINUSDEF. PLUS/MINUS Andrew Wiggins32+1.5-1.9 ACTUAL – PYTHAGOREAN WINS Source: Basketball-reference.com 2010-11Timberwolves-7-2 Shabazz Muhammad16-0.1-3.1 Average-8-1 Gorgui Dieng30-1.0+2.6 1991-92Timberwolves-8-2 1984-85Trail Blazers-7-4 Karl-Anthony Towns37+3.7+0.3 1994-95Bulls-7+2 The Timberwolves look like contendersCARMELO projections for the 2017-18 Minnesota Timberwolves SEASONTEAMSEASONFOLLOWING SEASON Justin Patton8-2.6+0.4 2011-1276ers-8+3 But that doesn’t account for the significant cap space cleared by the Rubio deal. If Minnesota added free agent point Jeff Teague, for example, their projected record would improve to 53-29. If they signed Kyle Lowry instead, they’d project to finish at 58-24. They could also use the extra cap room to sign a frontcourt player.Projecting the Timberwolves to win 50-something games seems awfully daring, especially for a team that’s burned CARMELO in the past. (CARMELO boldly projected the Wolves to win 46 games last season. Instead, they won 31.) But let me walk you through what the system is “thinking.” The projection reflects a combination of three factors: Butler, the Timberwolves’ youth, and their bad luck last season.Jimmy Butler is really good, and he’s replacing players who were really badCARMELO expects Butler to be worth about 10 wins next season, as compared to a replacement-level player. Oftentimes, replacement level is too low a bar when it comes to assessing an NBA acquisition. If the Celtics added players such as George and Hayward, their minutes would partly come at the expense of other pretty good players such as Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder.2And they also might have to sacrifice players such as Bradley and Crowder as part of trades, or to clear cap room. Thus, their net gain might not be as large as you’d think.But the players the Wolves gave up for Butler weren’t making positive contributions at all, at least according to advanced statistics such as Real Plus-Minus and Box Plus/Minus. (CARMELO uses a combination of these stats to make its projections, weighting RPM more heavily.) LaVine is a good athlete who can create shots but who was woefully inadequate on defense; thus, he was no better than replacement level last season, these metrics figure. And Dunn, like many rookies, was overmatched, playing at a below-replacement-level clip. Thus, Butler is a true 10- or 11-win upgrade, relative to the players Minnesota gave up for him.We should note, however, that where Butler falls on the spectrum between “really good” and “superstar” is a matter of some debate. According to RPM, Butler was the seventh-best player in the NBA last season on a per-possession basis and the third most valuable by wins added above replacement level when also considering his playing time. By a more subjective measure — the views of sportswriters voting for the All-NBA teams — he was somewhere between the 11th- and the 15th-best player in the league, by contrast.Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins should continue to improveThe Wolves’ two former No. 1 overall picks are young — Karl-Anthony Towns turns 22 in November, while Andrew Wiggins will turn 23 in February — and both still have plenty of room to grow, especially on defense. Towns already has a well-rounded offensive game, having developed into a dangerous outside shooter last year (37 percent from 3-point range). But the advanced metrics are somewhat split on his defense, with RPM viewing it as below-average — unusual for a 7-footer3RPM almost always rates players that tall as net-positive defenders. — while stats based on opponents’ field goal percentages suggest that he does a respectable job of rim protection. Towns’s defense tended to fall apart in the fourth quarter last season, and overwork could have been an issue — he was second in the NBA in minutes played, behind Wiggins.Wiggins’s indifferent defense has been a subject of frequent critique at FiveThirtyEight. But the advanced metrics are uniformly in agreement that it’s poor. He allowed an effective field goal percentage of 56 percent last season on shots where he was the nearest defender.4And a maximum of 6 feet from the shooter; we consider shots where no defender was within 6 feet to have been uncontested. NBA shooters also have an effective field goal percentage of 56 percent on uncontested shots, so it’s as though he wasn’t playing defense at all. Because Wiggins is a good athlete with a long wingspan — factors that usually predict good defense — the problems mostly boil down to technique and effort, and those things can sometimes be improved.The Timberwolves were unluckyMinnesota was outscored by only 1.2 points per game last season, and yet they went 31-51. If that seems like a mismatch, it is. A team with that point differential would typically expect to go about 38-44, according to the Pythagorean record as calculated at Basketball-Reference.com. Thus, the Wolves underperformed by seven wins last year, relative to their number of points scored and allowed. That’s because they didn’t play well in crunch time and went 10-18 in games decided by 6 points or fewer.It’s easy to come up with hypotheses for why they played so poorly in these situations. Towns and Wiggins played too many minutes; Wiggins and LaVine took poor shots; Rubio isn’t a scorer, which limited their options in the half-court; they were bad on defense overall, and those differences are magnified in crunch time.The fact is, however, that teams who underperform their Pythagorean records by as much as the Wolves did last season usually don’t have the same problem the next time around, or at least not to the same extent. There had been 19 previous cases since the NBA-ABA merger where a team underperformed its Pythagorean record by seven or more wins. On average, they fell only one win short of their Pythagorean record in the following season. There’s certainly some skill in which teams fare best in crunch time — and Butler, who’s both a good defender and a versatile scorer, can help the Wolves with that — but losing so many games in the clutch is usually partly a matter of bad luck. 2006-07Celtics-7-1 Tyus Jones15-0.3-0.8 2013-14Timberwolves-8-3 1996-97Celtics-7+3 Repacement-level players43-1.7-0.3 2007-08Raptors-80 1976-77Suns-9-2 1999-2000Nets-70 1997-98Pistons-9-3 Timberwolves’ projected record49.532.5 Nemanja Bjelica16-0.7+0.7 1994-95Trail Blazers-8-4 1992-93Kings-8+2 1978-79Bucks-9-2 1989-90Timberwolves-7-1 1985-86SuperSonics-10-3 Jimmy Butler33+3.8+1.0 1982-83Pacers-7-2 Cole Aldrich10-2.2+2.6 UPDATE (June 30, 5:38 p.m.): Just as we were publishing this story, it was reported that Minnesota Timberwolves’ point guard Ricky Rubio will be traded to the Utah Jazz for a first-round draft pick. The story has been updated to reflect the trade.It’s a dangerous time of year to be an NBA fan. With free agency officially getting underway on Saturday, and players such as Paul George available via the trade market, you can talk yourself into any number of far-fetched scenarios wherein your favorite team puts just the right pieces together and suddenly becomes a contender. (What if the Spurs added Blake Griffin? What if the Celtics brought in both George and Gordon Hayward?) Sometimes dreams really do come true — like when the Rockets landed Chris Paul this week — but most of the time, you’ll wind up disappointed instead.At FiveThirtyEight, we sometimes play this dangerous game with spreadsheets — specifically, with a spreadsheet that projects team records based on our CARMELO player projections. And there’s one team that really caught our spreadsheet’s eye: the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves already made their big move of the summer, acquiring the Bulls’ Jimmy Butler for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and an exchange of first-round draft picks. When we plugged the Wolves’ CARMELO projections into the spreadsheet,1Assuming the Wolves re-sign restricted free agent Shabazz Muhammad but make no other changes. it came up with a projected record of 50-33. 2002-03Nets-7-2 WINSLOSSES What could go wrong — or very, very rightIn addition to all the bad things that could happen to the Wolves from a basketball standpoint — injuries, poor chemistry, etc. — they’re also a challenging team to forecast. For the past two seasons, the Wolves have unquestionably had a lot of talent on their roster but have also unquestionably been bad. It isn’t quite as clear why this disconnect occurred. Towns, Wiggins, Rubio and LaVine are all somewhat unusual players, and they each engender disagreements both between the various statistical systems and between stats and “eye test” evaluations. The way RPM and CARMELO looked at the Wolves, Wiggins and especially LaVine were part of the problem last season, while Towns and Rubio were part of the solution. If that assessment was wrong, then jettisoning LaVine could be more costly than the system assumes. And as I mentioned, RPM and CARMELO view Butler as a borderline-superstar player and not “merely” an All-Star; that’s another source of uncertainty.On the flip side, the Timberwolves do have some additional cap space and an opportunity to round out their roster via players such as Taj Gibson, J.J. Redick or Danilo Gallinari. Even modest improvements could go a long way because they don’t have a deep rotation as currently constructed.Or the Wolves could go really bold and package Wiggins for another star. Before landing Butler, the Timberwolves were reportedly in the market for George, for example. But a straight-up trade of Wiggins for George would work under the NBA’s salary cap rules given the Wolves’ extra cap space. It would be a hugely risky move — George will be a free agent next summer and has said he wants to play for the Lakers — but a core of George, Butler and Towns could make the Timberwolves legitimate title contenders. Or at least, the spreadsheet says so. read more

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Suddenly Anyone Can Beat Rafael Nadal on Clay

In our sports coverage at FiveThirtyEight, we’ve referred several times to regression to the mean. It’s an unromantic truth about outstanding sports performances: They’re usually the product of skill and determination, but also a healthy dose of luck. We might expect the outstanding play to continue because of skill and determination, but the luck is just as likely to turn on its head as to persist.One sports figure, in one context, has upended the idea of regression to the mean more than just about anyone else over the past nine years: Rafael Nadal, when he plays tennis on clay. His losses have been so few and far between — and usually against one of the greats of all time, or while he’s hurt, or both — that they have seemed like the exceptions that prove the rule. From April 11, 2005, to April 17, 2014, Nadal went 260-9 on clay, winning 96.7 percent of his matches. That’s better than the best roughly nine-year runs on a surface of Nadal’s closest historical peers — Roger Federer or Pete Sampras on grass, Bjorn Borg on clay. Nadal may not be the best player in the group, but he’s probably the best player on any single surface in history.Then, suddenly, regression struck back — in a big way. Nadal, 27, has lost in consecutive weeks in clay-court quarterfinals, in tournaments he’s dominated, to good but not all-time-great opponents. Nadal still could run the table at the big remaining clay events in Madrid and Rome, and the French Open in Paris, but his footing on clay hasn’t looked so precarious since he was 18 years old.In the nine years until last week, Nadal had lost nine times on clay. Five times he lost to Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic, his top rivals and both all-time greats. Another loss came when Nadal’s foot was injured against Juan Carlos Ferrero, a former world No. 1 and 2003 French Open champion. Nadal’s only loss at the French Open, to Robin Soderling in 2009, was his last match before missing two months with a knee injury. He lost to Horacio Zeballos last year, in Nadal’s first tournament back after another seven months off-tour with knee problems. And he lost to Fernando Verdasco in 2012 in Madrid, the only tournament ever played on blue clay. After that loss, Nadal said: “This surface destabilizes the game. It is a completely different game, and I don’t want to take risks.”But this month, Nadal has no evident injuries, and he was playing on red clay. He was also facing opponents whom he’d previously dominated on the surface. Last Friday in Monte Carlo, where Nadal had been 50-2 in his career, he lost to David Ferrer after beating him 17 straight times on clay (a streak dating to before Nadal’s 19th birthday). And Friday, in Barcelona, where Nadal had been 42-1 in his career, he lost to Nicolas Almagro. Nadal had beaten Almagro in all 10 of their meetings, on all surfaces, while losing just two sets. Each loss came in a quarterfinal, a round in which Nadal had won 45 straight matches on clay.Twice in his nine-year run of dominance, Nadal lost on clay in consecutive tournaments: in 2009, to Soderling and Federer; and in 2011, twice to Djokovic. Immediately after each pair of losses, Nadal went on big clay-winning streaks: 37 straight matches after his 2009 rut, and 22 straight starting in 2011. He may need another such run to maintain his No. 1 ranking: His lead over Djokovic is fewer than 2,000 points, and Nadal has 4,000 points to defend in his next three tournaments. Djokovic has just 910 points to defend during that span. Last Friday, it looked as if Djokovic’s hot form was the biggest threat to Nadal’s top spot in the rankings. Now, with Djokovic nursing a wrist injury, the biggest wild card in the race for No. 1 is Nadal’s sudden regression toward the mean. read more

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Red zone turnover deficiencies holding back Ohio State offense

OSU redshirt sophomore H-back Jalin Marshall (7) runs with the ball during a game against Indiana on Oct. 3 in Bloomington, Indiana. OSU won, 34-27. Credit: Samantha Hollingshead / Photo EditorOhio State maintained its top ranking in the AP Top 25 Poll for the sixth straight week, but a sluggish start out of the gates has caused the Buckeyes to lose 23 of their 61 first-place votes from the preseason poll. But after getting a chance to review the game tape of the Buckeyes’ 34-27 victory over Indiana on Saturday, OSU coach Urban Meyer saw improvements. The coach was hesitant to use the word “great” to describe where the Buckeyes could be headed “because it’s all relative,” but Meyer said he thinks they might be turning the corner.Meyer said the perimeter blocking was the best it’s been this year, while noting the team played as hard as any time over the past two seasons. “I think we’re on the border of being very good,” he said on Monday. As for why the defending national champions have yet to cross that border to being very good, Meyer pointed to two areas that used to be the team’s strengths: red zone offense and turnovers. The team has put points on the board in just 75 percent of its trips inside the 20-yard line. In 16 tries, the Buckeyes have four field goals and only six touchdowns.OSU made three trips to the red zone against Indiana but came away with a measly six points on two field goals from redshirt senior Jack Willoughby. On their third trip, the Buckeyes found the end zone on a swing pass from redshirt junior quarterback Cardale Jones to junior running back Ezekiel Elliott, but an illegal block negated the score. The next play Jones was sacked, then two plays later a botched snap on third down moved the Buckeyes further back. Willoughby trotted out for his third field goal attempt but missed it. The mistake-ridden trip was a microcosm of the struggles inside the red zone all season long.Left guard Billy Price said he thinks the issues inside the 20-yard line actually stem from the offense’s big play ability. “As we look at our offense, we are a very explosive offense,” the redshirt sophomore said. “Given a confined space, it makes things difficult. It makes it easier for the defense because they don’t have as much ground to cover.”Price said the team needs focus on individual assignments, as well as tightening up its execution, especially for the running game.“We gotta get the running game going, that’s primary. That’s who our offense is. And then the red zone comes second nature to us,” he said. Meyer said the inefficiency inside the 20-yard line boils down to a “variety of problems,” such as turnovers and penalties.Turnovers, however, have been a major factor holding the offense back, even outside the red zone. Following the victory over the Hoosiers, in which the Buckeyes coughed up the ball three times, Meyer said the “turnovers have to change.” Redshirt sophomore Jalin Marshall contributed two fumbles, while Jones threw one interception.Through five games, OSU is minus-four in turnover margin — which places them 101st in the country. In three of five games, the Buckeyes have had multiple turnovers. Tight ends coach Tim Hinton said last week that the team is working on fixing the issues. “We’ve had too many turnovers,” he said. “We’re certainly addressing that very hard.” Meyer is confident that the lack of production in the red zone and turnovers can be corrected as the season progresses. “Those are fixable,” he said. “When you start getting effort and attitude … that’s where red flags start showing up, and I don’t feel that at all. This one has the characteristics of having a great team. Last year’s obviously was a great team, 2012, great team. I didn’t say exceptional skill everywhere, but great team.”  OSU is set to continue Big Ten play on Saturday against Maryland. Kickoff is slated for noon at Ohio Stadium. read more

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Final Four bound womens soccer shuts out Georgetown

Ohio State defender Lauren Beachy’s first collegiate goal was a historic one for the Buckeyes. Beachy connected on a penalty shot in the 21st minute of play for a game-winning shot that sent the OSU women’s soccer team to its first Final Four appearance in program history after a 2-0 victory against Georgetown at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. “I knew that it was my role to step up and do what I had to do,” Beachy said. “I knew it was my time.” Tiffany Cameron tacked on an insurance goal in the 53rd minute of play when she sprinted down the left side of the field and floated a long ball over Georgetown goalkeeper Jackie DesJardin. Forwards Lauren Granberg and Paige Maxwell both assisted on the goal, which was Cameron’s seventh of the season. “Georgetown was a tough team to prepare for,” OSU coach Lori Walker said. “They didn’t get here by accident. It was amazing to kind of watch as that second goal went in, you could see kind of a change.” The No. 3-seeded Buckeyes held on to their 2-0 lead for the final 37 minutes of action by dominating the ball throughout the second half, out-shooting the No. 4-seeded Hoyas 17-8. OSU goalkeeper Katie Baumgardner and the Buckeye defense recorded their third NCAA Tournament shutout. “Our defense comes to play every game,” Beachy said. “It’s a team concept. There’s not one of us who is an all-star. We all work together and we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.” The Buckeyes will head to Cary, N.C., to play Notre Dame on Friday, with the winner advancing to the national championship game against the winner of Stanford and Boston College. Walker, who won a national championship as North Carolina’s starting goalkeeper in 1989, will focus on preparing her team to play on the biggest stage in collegiate women’s soccer. “I’m not going to lie. I mean, to go back to Cary and to be the first Tar Heel alum to make the Final Four is pretty special,” Walker said. “We’re going to do exactly what we’ve been doing. It really is just about being in the moment, and all we’ve got to do is be one goal better than the team we play on Friday night.” read more

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Football Barrett Lewis make preseason honorees list

OSU redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) pushes past Michigan defenders during the second half of the Buckeyes’ 30-27 win on Nov. 26. Credit: Lantern File PhotoCHICAGO — Ohio State redshirt senior quarterback J.T. Barrett and redshirt senior defensive end Tyquan Lewis were named to the preseason conference honorees list Monday before the start of Big Ten Media Days.Barrett made the list for the second straight season along with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley. Lewis, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, earned his first honors.Other East Division honorees include Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and Indiana linebacker Tegray Scales.Barrett, a preseason candidate for conference offensive player of the year, enters his fourth season overall and third full season as a starter at Ohio State. The Wichita Falls, Texas, native threw for 2,555 yards and ran for 845 yards with 33 total touchdowns in 2016. He was named Big Ten Quarterback of the Year last season.Lewis registered 10.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks last year, finishing first in both categories on the team last season. read more

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Mens Basketball Ohio State releases 201819 nonconference schedule

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann speaks to the media following former Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop’s decision to enter the 2018 NBA draft. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State announced its non-conference schedule for the 2018-19 season Tuesday, including an intra-state matchup with Cincinnati on Nov. 7 and its first game at St. John Arena since the 2010-11 season in which the Buckeyes will take on Cleveland State on Nov. 23. In their 20-game non-conference schedule, the Buckeyes will take on four teams, Cincinnati, Creighton, Syracuse and UCLA, that played in the NCAA Tournament last season. After home games against Purdue University Fort Wayne and South Carolina State, the matchup with Cleveland State at St. John Arena will be the sixth time the Buckeyes have played in that venue since playing their last full season there in 1997-98. Ohio State will face Syracuse on Nov. 28 as a part of the Big Ten/ACC challenge. The last time the Buckeyes faced the Orange was in a 77-70 win in the East Regional Final of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. 2018-19 Ohio State non-conference schedule Nov. 1 vs. UNC Pembroke (Exhibition)Nov. 7 at CincinnatiNov. 11 vs. Purdue University Fort WayneNov. 15 at CreightonNov. 18 vs. South Carolina StateNov. 20 vs. SamfordNov. 23 vs. Cleveland State (St. John Arena)Nov. 28 vs. SyracuseDec. 15 vs. BucknellDec. 18 vs. Youngstown StateDec. 22 vs. UCLA (United Center in Chicago)Dec. 29 vs. High Point read more

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Football Runpass option highlights the difference between Haskins and Barrett

Ohio State redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) runs the ball in the third quarter of the game against Minnesota on Oct. 13. Ohio State won. 30-14. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorOhio State might be the No. 2 team in the country, with a 7-0 record and have its best throwing quarterback in recent memory in redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins. But the team is lacking one thing every team led by head coach Urban Meyer has always had: a run game.In the Buckeyes 30-14 win over Minnesota, Ohio State failed to reach 100 rushing yards for the first time since its loss to Clemson in the College Football Playoff two seasons ago.Much of this can be attributed to Ohio State’s lack of a dual-threat quarterback, with J.T. Barrett amassing 798 rushing yards in his redshirt senior season last year, much of which was through the run-pass option, or RPO.Barrett was often the answer to short third-down plays, and the extra threat with his feet allowed more space for running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber. So much more space, in fact, that Dobbins ran for 1,403 yards and 7.2 yards per carry as a freshman.The RPO seems to have been majorly lost with Barrett’s departure, but Meyer said that is not necessarily true.“A lot of those passes are RPOs, like when you see Parris [Campbell] in the flat or K.J. [Hill] on a hitch, those are all RPOs,” Meyer said. “You’re reading someone, you trigger, you throw the ball. So I’d say there’s at least 10 to 12 called runs that the ball is being thrown.” This season, Haskins has 30 rushes for 49 yards and a touchdown on the ground, averaging 1.9 yards per carry. Against Minnesota, Haskins had a career-high nine carries and totaled just six yards, losing yardage on three sacks.However, the RPO for Haskins is still completely different than the play-calling Barrett had under Meyer. Instead of Haskins running the ball himself when an RPO is called, he is looking for an opportunity to hand the ball off, finding a hole for whichever running back is in the game, whether its Dobbins or Weber. However, instead of Dobbins and Weber putting up the same types of numbers they combined for last season, the Ohio State rushing game has struggled, ranking as the No. 51 rushing offense in the NCAA with the yards per carry average for both backs decreasing from a season ago. The defensive schemes Ohio State has seen over the first seven games of the season has indicated that opponents view the rushing offense, without a dual-threat option behind center, as one-dimensional.“I don’t want to give you a number, but there’s some pass yards that are run plays,” Meyer said. “They’re loading the boxes, we’re not going to run the quarterback.”To make up for it, Haskins threw 412 yards and three touchdowns, giving him back-to-back 400-yard passing games. The Ohio State program has had three 400-yard passing games in its history, two coming in the past two weeks.While Barrett gave the offense a strong weapon on both fronts, Haskins has been making up for lost ground by drastically out-throwing any season Barrett ever had. In the RPO, Meyer said he understands this difference, and that’s why there has been such a shift in the offensive numbers.“We went back and studied everything, and had that conversation about these are 10 run calls that we’re flipping the ball out there and making plays with it,” Meyer said. “That’s kind of what Dwayne gives you. Maybe J.T. gave you something else, where it was more of a run-run option; this is a run-pass option.”The Buckeyes will travel this Saturday to face a Purdue rush defense that has been middle of the road so far this season, allowing 146.8 yards per game and four yards per carry to opposing backs.It remains to be seen if the Ohio State offense will move toward the run aspect of the run-pass option, or if the offense can continue to survive on the historic pace that Haskins’ passing game is working on. read more

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Molecatchers at war Rivals embroiled in feud amid lack of professionalism and rudeness

first_imgMole Credit:Getty The alleged feuds first emerged in a feature in the Wall Street Journal. The American website suggests the squabble started after Miss Chippendale formed the Association over her disappointment with the Register’s training, which she claims is flawed.Her concerns are believed to be over mole-breeding information that she believes is being inaccurately given out by the Register.Speaking of Miss Chapman, Miss Chippendale told the Wall Street Journal: “She’s taking their money but she’s not really doing the work. I am not happy about it and would say things to her face.”Miss Chapman, who took over the Register in April last year, told the Telegraph she did not have a feud with any molecatcher in the UK, but admitted that “it appears that some of them have an issue with me”.“I think it is about the fact that I am training people, giving away the secrets, if you like”, she said. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. They spend their working life trying to catch the enemy – but now rival molecatchers have become embroiled in a feud of a different kind.Ann Chippendale, of the Association of Professional Mole Catchers, has allegedly accused rival molecatcher Louise Chapman – head of the trade group, the British Mole Catchers Register – of lacking professionalism, labelling her an “embarrassment” in a bizarre squabble that started last year.Miss Chapman, meanwhile, has claimed Lancashire-based Miss Chippendale, 55, is “rather rude”, saying her concerns about the Register are “nonsense”.She has also accused a third body – the Guild of British Mole Catchers – of being “silly” and of failing to offer adequate training. Miss Chapman, a former teacher, insists she has never met Miss Chippendale and instead has only had a 10-minute conversation with her on the phone.“She called me at home one Sunday unannounced, which frankly is extremely rude,” she said. “She said I had upset the whole community by offering training… frankly, it is all nonsense.”On the Guild, she said: “I don’t rate the Guild’s course. I can safely say I believe mine is the best. I’m an ex-teacher and I know how to teach.”She added: “I’m not creating any feuds with anybody, I’m just going about my business being a fabulous lady mole catcher and doing the best for my members.”Miss Chippendale said she did not wish to comment and claimed there had been inaccuracies in previous reports, but would not elaborate. A spokesman for the Guild said: “The comments made by Ms Chapman are unfounded… We cannot understand why Ms Chapman has brought the guild into this conflict.” He added: “At the Guild we promote and encourage traditional mole control with mole welfare being at the front at all times, following the guidelines as recommended by Natural England.” I’m just going about my business being a fabulous lady mole catcher and doing the best for my membersLouise Chapmanlast_img read more

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Morris dancers forced to abandon performance after being accused of racism over

first_imgThey arrived at 11am and had performed without incident in pubs, to groups of local and visiting football fans and to shoppers.But a source close to the group said: “The atmosphere had been great with the vast majority of people, but I was absolutely amazed by the vitriolic abuse they started to receive. The Alvechurch group were heckled by a handful of onlookers during performances in Birmingham, witnesses said  Credit:BPM MEDIA “The issues began when they started dancing near to the Bull outside the Bullring and later near to Marks & Spencer. They were roundly abused and threatened with violence.”One lady was particularly angry and a group of young men started to become very abusive and confrontational, accusing them of being racists, which of course they are not.”They started jumping in between the dancers and knocking off their hats. The dancers tried to explain why their faces were painted black, but they would not listen.”They tried in vain to explain but things took such a turn for the worse that the performances had to be abandoned.” The group formed in 1989 and its dancers dress in black with black painted faces. Morris dancers have performed with black face make-up since the origins of the dancing tradition in the 16th century.Known as “Border Morris”, the tradition sees performers wearing a full-face of black paint in order to disguise themselves.One theory is that it started when impoverished 16th-century farm workers had to conceal their faces to avoid being recognised while begging during winter, as asking for money was illegal.The alleged incidents come after Shrewsbury Folk Festival bosses announced last year that it will no longer book acts who wear full black face paint.Equality group Fairness, Respect, Equality Shropshire (Fresh) said the ban showed sensitivity “to a changed social climate”. But Morris dancers say there were “no racial connotations” and they had “never wanted to upset people”. The group performs with traditional black make-up on their faces  A group of Morris dancers were forced to abandon a performance after they were accused of being racist and threatened over their traditional black face paint, it has been claimed. The Alvechurch group were heckled by a handful of onlookers during performances on two city centre streets near the Bullring in Birmingham on Saturday, witnesses said. The dancers were one of more than a dozen groups which were there to celebrate Plough Monday, the traditional start of the agricultural year.center_img The Alvechurch group were heckled by a handful of onlookers during performances in Birmingham, witnesses said   They tried in vain to explain but things took such a turn for the worse that the performances had to be abandonedSource close to the group The group performs with traditional black make-up on their faces Credit:BPM MEDIA Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

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British accents are perfect for film villains because it makes them appear

first_imgJust why British actors are commonly placed in “bad guy” roles is a question that has permeated the Hollywood scene for years, prompting A-list stars including Dame Helen Mirren to complain.She previously claimed that such actors were being seen as “easy targets” and insisted that Britons are not the “snooty, stuck-up, malevolent, malignant creatures as we’re so often portrayed”.Now, Chi Luu, a New York linguist who has worked with companies including Microsoft, has claimed the perfect villain has to be an actor who speaks in Received Pronunciation (RP) as those with regional accents are too friendly and sincere to be cast in such roles. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Rachel Weisz has a British accent as she plays the Wicked Witch of the East in the 2013 fantasy film Oz the Great and PowerfulCredit:Disney From Shere Khan in the Jungle Book to Alan Rickman in Die Hard, British villains have long been terrorising victims on the big screen.And now the reason behind why they make such effective baddies has emerged; they speak with the right accent.Actors who use Queen’s English are more likely to appear untrustworthy, experts have suggested, as it immediately suggests that they are from the upper classes.They also come across as more intelligent, making it more likely for an audience to believe their complicated revenge plans. She rebutted claims it is because the accent is thought by many to sound nicer and instead blamed people’s preconceptions.Writing in an article released on Jstor, she said: “Speakers of the prestige Received Pronunciation (RP) accent (otherwise known as the Queen’s English or BBC English) are regularly evaluated by non-RP speakers as more educated, intelligent, competent, physically attractive, and generally of a higher socioeconomic class.“At the same time, in terms of social attractiveness, those same posh RP speakers are consistently rated less trustworthy, kind, sincere, and friendly than speakers of non-RP accents. Sounds like a good start for a villain.”Other experts who have written on the subject argue that those with upper-class English accents garner more hatred as they appear to have privileges they do not deserve.Sociolinguist Peter Trudgill, when asked previously about the subject, said RP speakers were often perceived “as soon as they start speaking as haughty and unfriendly by non-RP speakers unless and until they are able to demonstrate the contrary”. They are, he added, “guilty until proven innocent”. Ms Luu added: “It turns out many of us believe, often without realizing it, we can predict social and personal traits about a person, simply by the accent they use. We may be wrong, but we do it anyway.”The trend arguably started 50 years ago, when George Sanders was cast in the Jungle Book as malevolent, man-hating tiger Shere Khan.Since then, British actors have regularly, inevitably and almost predictably been cast as villains, experts said. More recent additions include Rachel Weisz, who plays the Wicked Witch of the East in the 2013 fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerful, and Tom Hiddleston, cast as supervillain Loki in the Marvel series.Ms Luu does point out, however, that we may be starting to see a change.One of the biggest film’s last year, American superhero film Deadpool, cast British actor Ed Skrein as the villain but he instead spoke in a Cockney accent.center_img Posh RP speakers are consistently rated less trustworthy, kind, sincere, and friendly than speakers of non-RP accentsChi Luu British actor Anthony Hopkins was cast in The Silence of the Lambs Credit:Moviestore collection Ltd / Alamy British actor Anthony Hopkins was cast in The Silence of the Lambs  Rachel Weisz has a British accent as she plays the Wicked Witch of the East in the 2013 fantasy film Oz the Great and Powerfullast_img read more

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