Week 8 of the NFL season was rough for the Carolina Panthers. On Sunday, they squandered a chance to steal a win against the suddenly vulnerable Seattle Seahawks, losing 13-9 at home. That night, the Saints — Carolina’s only NFC South rival of consequence — routed the Green Bay Packers 44-23. The Panthers’ lead in the NFC South is now so small it actually takes some arithmetic to determine that their 3-4-1 record is superior to the Saints’ 3-4 mark.Going into Week 8, we estimated the Panthers’ playoff probability to be 55 percent.1As a reminder, playoff probabilities for this article are derived from a betting-market-based ranking system that is separate from FiveThirtyEight’s Elo-based playoff probabilities. In the case of the Panthers, the estimates did not differ much, with the Elo rankings giving Carolina a 60 percent chance of making the playoffs. But with our latest simulations, that number has tumbled to 30 percent. Only about half of this drop can be attributed to game outcomes and resulting win-loss-tie records. The remainder of it is due to an update to the rankings (derived from Vegas point spreads), which has widened the gulf between the Panthers and the Saints.But this week, the Panthers have an opportunity to claw back some of their losses. On Thursday night, they host the Saints at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. As you can see in the above charts, the Saints and Panthers each have 32 percentage points of playoff probability riding on this game. This is a remarkably large number at the midpoint of the season.Several factors have combined to make this game a perfect storm of playoff implications. First, the Panthers’ tie game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 renders the divisional tiebreakers moot, removing a layer of uncertainty from our projections and throwing the playoff implications into starker relief. The NFC South also exists in its own playoff bubble, quarantined from the rest of the NFC (see the NFC chart above — the South is surrounded by a healthy buffer of gray cells). The second-best team from the NFC South is unlikely to contend for one of the two wild card seeds, making playoff probability synonymous with division title probability. With fewer teams with which to exchange playoff probabilities, the amount of each weekly probability “swap” becomes that much larger. And finally, the Panthers and Saints go into Thursday night’s game with near-identical records, thus the winner will emerge with sole possession of the lead in the NFC South.In the AFC, the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens in the North is similar. It’s also a divisional matchup with significant implications for the participating teams, and little to no consequence for the rest of the league.At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Houston Texans. This game features a total playoff swing of 73 percentage points split among 19 NFL teams. More than half the league has a rooting interest in the outcome. As one would expect, AFC teams do better with a Houston loss and NFC teams do better with a Philadelphia loss. Somewhat surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff hopes only swing by a relatively small amount, despite being in a tight race with the Eagles for the NFC East title. The reason for the relatively low stakes is that a win by the Eagles largely trades division title probability for wild card probability. An Eagles win would drop the Cowboys’ division title chances from 48 percent to 42 percent, but their wild card outlook would increase from 30 percent to 34 percent, resulting in a net playoff loss of only 2 percentage points.The most anticipated game of the week figures to be Sunday’s matchup between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. But in terms of playoff implications, the latest iteration of the Brady-Manning rivalry ranks fairly low. The Broncos are a virtual lock for the playoffs in our simulations. A loss to New England would be but a scratch, dropping their playoff prospects from 99 percent to 98 percent. The stakes are higher for the Patriots but far from make or break. A loss would drop their playoff chances from 79 percent to 73 percent.This game does have a significant impact on the race for the top playoff seed in the AFC. Going into Week 9, the Broncos are the clear favorite, with a 79 percent chance of winning the No. 1 seed. If New England is able to pull off a victory at home, the race opens up considerably. The Broncos’ chances drop to 59 percent, with the benefit largely accruing to the Patriots: The Patriots’ top-seed probability would increase from 9 percent to 21 percent. And because the first tiebreaker used is head-to-head matchups, a win against the Broncos is worth two games to the Patriots.A New England victory would also increase the Colts’ chances from 4 percent to 7 percent. The Colts opened the season with a loss to the Broncos, thus the head-to-head tiebreaker works against them here. The chart below summarizes the anticipated top-seed probabilities under both outcomes of the Denver-New England matchup.Our game summary table features some new columns this week. Each game’s impact to the finer points of playoff seeding is also assessed and summarized. The Ravens-Steelers game has the largest impact on division title probabilities (seeds No. 1 through 4). The Cardinals-Cowboys game is most consequential for which teams qualify for a first-round bye (seeds No. 1 and 2). And as we have already called out, the Broncos-Patriots game has the largest impact on which team gets the top conference playoff seed. NFL Playoff Implications, our weekly guide to what games matter, and whom they matter to, returns for Week 9 of the NFL season. For an explanation of the methodology, see here. The rankings behind these probabilities can be found here, at the co-author’s blog.
West11Xavier3281+25+7+1 Midwest3Oregon43112+20+4+1 After a boring first round and an exciting round of 32, we’re through the first weekend of March Madness. Here’s a rundown of four major storylines that jumped out at me and the numbers behind them:Happy trails, DukeThat Duke’s run as the No. 2-seed in the East would ultimately end against No. 7 South Carolina, was undoubtedly surprising. But the way it lost wasn’t. Duke struggled this season to pressure opposing guards into turnovers and is not a strong rebounding team. Against the Gamecocks, Duke lost the turnover battle 18-11, and the Blue Devils were outrebounded 37-34, grabbing a measly 62 percent of the rebounds available on defense. Both performances were among the worst of Duke’s season, and they happened to be in metrics that had correlated with disappointing Duke games all season, particularly at the defensive end of the floor.No wonder South Carolina on Sunday posted the fifth-highest offensive rating Duke had allowed all season long.VIDEO: How the Villanova and Duke losses shook the bracket East8Wisconsin46275+35+22+3 South3UCLA32144+12+5+2 Midwest7Michigan57173+38+11+2 East4Florida54346+41+28+5 Midwest4Purdue30194+10+7+1 Midwest1Kansas705315+15+15+5 South1N. Carolina68349+10+5+2 CURRENT CHANCE OF ADVANCING TOCHANGE SINCE END OF ROUND 1 East7S. Carolina44161+34+14+1 West2Arizona68269+30+10+5 South4Butler32122+7+2+1 West4W. Virginia34206+8+5+3 The Gamecock guards also destroyed what had been a strength of Duke’s defense: Keeping opponents off the free-throw line. Against the Blue Devils, South Carolina’s backcourt drew 26 free-throw attempts, with Sindarius Thornwell and Rakym Felder making 12 and 10 trips to the line, respectively. The Gamecocks’ 32 total attempts tied for the most Duke yielded in a game all season, and South Carolina made 84 percent of them — including several crucial ones down the stretch to extinguish a potential Duke rally.For Duke, it was the kind of flat performance associated with most of its midseason struggles. It was also a game that wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise if you hadn’t tuned in for Duke’s dominating ACC tournament run.The favorites play it close (again)Although the second round of the NCAAs wasn’t as upset-free as the first, it’s still been a good year for favorites at the tournament. Through Sunday night’s games, better-seeded teams have won 38 of 48 matchups, or 79.2 percent — tied for the best rate for favorites through two rounds since 1991. (Going into this year,1Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. the average winning percentage for favorites through the first two rounds was 73.2 percent.) Although we’ve seen a No. 1 seed (Villanova), two No. 2s (Duke and Louisville) and a No. 3 (Florida State) be dispatched at a relatively early stage of the tourney, the rest of the bracket’s chalk is entirely intact, with only one double-digit seed (West No. 11 Xavier) still alive to play Cinderella.That being said, this year’s favorites have been pretty lucky to win so often. Their average margin of victory is currently 7.9 points per game, which is below the historical average of 8.1 points per game even though they’ve won more games than usual. In other words, the games have been close enough to allow for slightly more upsets — it’s just that things have broken the better seeds’ way more often than we’d expect. The good news is that we’re now left with an unusually strong, balanced set of teams for the Sweet 16, which should lead to even tighter, more exciting games.Weekend winnersEvery team that punched a ticket to the Sweet 16 is now significantly closer to winning the tournament than they were at this time last week. But some teams have seen their chances improve more than others, based on what happened in the bracket around them. For each of the remaining teams, here are the swings in their chances of getting to the Elite Eight, making the Final Four and winning the championship as a result of this weekend’s games: South2Kentucky684011+22+11+3 REGIONSEEDTEAMELITE 8FINAL 4CHAMPSELITE 8FINAL 4CHAMPS How our tournament predictions changed during the round of 32 East3Baylor56%23%4%+27+14+2 West1Gonzaga664618+4+4+4 Florida won big this weekend — both literally (they crushed Virginia 65-39 on Saturday night) and figuratively. With both the No. 1 and 2 seeds in the East now eliminated, the Gators’ chances of making the Final Four skyrocketed. Then again, so did Wisconsin’s: Our model now thinks the eighth-seeded Badgers are the second-most-likely team to represent the East in Phoenix.The other regions saw less movement, which makes sense considering that they haven’t been as chaotic. Midwest No. 1 Kansas’s path got slightly easier with No. 2 Louisville out of the picture; by contrast, West No. 1 Gonzaga’s odds were relatively unchanged after No. 2 Arizona (and No. 4 West Virginia) stayed on a collision course with the Bulldogs. And the same was largely true for North Carolina in the South, after both Kentucky and UCLA moved on.No tournament magic for Izzo this timeI’ve written before about how Michigan State coach Tom Izzo squeezes more NCAA tournament victories out of his teams than just about any other coach ever, and it seemed like he was set up for more of the same this year. Contrary to what our model predicted before the tourney, Midwest No. 9 Sparty knocked off No. 8 Miami with ease in the first round. And in their second-round game, MSU nearly pulled even with No. 1 Kansas with about 12 minutes left. Visions of another overachieving Izzo Final Four run were surely dancing through heads in East Lansing — but, alas, it was not to be. KU switched on the afterburners down the stretch and turned what had been a close game into a 20-point blowout.Taking a No. 9 team to the Final Four would have been a remarkable run even by Izzo’s standards. He’s gone that far seven times as Michigan State’s coach but never with as low a seed as he had this season. Izzo’s Final Four squads have carried seeds No. 1 (1999, 2000, 2001), No. 2 (2009), No. 5 (2005, 2010) and even No. 7 (2015). But only five teams seeded ninth or worse have made the Final Four since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, and only one — Wichita State in 2013 — was specifically a 9-seed. No. 9-seeds have a particularly hard mission: They must upset a first-round opponent and then immediately face the No. 1 seed in the second round. Taking that difficult a route to the Final Four is just about the only thing Izzo hasn’t pulled off yet.You have three days to rest up before the games begin again. Take a breath, take stock of your bracket, and start prepping for another four days of nonstop basketball. Come Thursday, those win probabilities are going to start changing again.Check out our March Madness predictions.
More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (June 27, 2017), we discuss the NBA’s anointed MVP: Russell Westbrook took home the prize after a season in which he averaged a triple-double. Next, tennis: In a recent interview with NPR, John McEnroe said Serena Williams was the greatest female tennis player of all time but that “if she played the men’s circuit, she’d be like 700 in the world.” We examine why so many discussions about women’s sports turn into hypothetical conversations pitting female athletes against men. Plus, a significant digit on Tim Tebow.Here are links we discussed during the show:ESPN’s Royce Young recaps Russell Westbrook’s historic season, which culminated with an MVP award.Serena Williams responded on Twitter to McEnroe’s comments.Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post writes that 44 years after the Battle of the Sexes, we’re still having the same dumb debate.A 2014 Slate piece examined why women can serve as fast as men.Significant Digit: 4 percent. Although the New York Mets promoted Tim Tebow to their high-A minor league affiliate, FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur found that Tebow performed below replacement level, in the 4th percentile of player performances in low-A ball since 2005. Embed Code FiveThirtyEight
Ohio State women’s lacrosse team is riding contributions from some less harolded players. Credit: James King II | Lantern reporterWith 10 points in two games and two consecutive Big Ten Freshman of the Week titles, freshman midfielder Liza Hernandez is making a name for herself early in the season.She is joined in her success by freshman goalie Jill Rizzo, who has started both games this season and helped the team remain undefeated in its first two games.The pair represent a youth movement on the women’s lacrosse team, as they are two of five underclassmen — along with sophomore midfielder Baley Parrott, freshman attacker Alex Vander Molen and sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Maring — who have led the way to a strong start.“The underclassmen are doing a good job,” said Ohio State coach Alexis Venechanos. “They’re playing fearless and they’re playing really brave right now.”Hernandez, a two-time All-American, is leading the team in points, after coming off an incredibly impressive high school career. Scoring 253 goals total over her four-year career, she’s bringing that same drive and dedication as she begins to play for the Buckeyes.“Yeah, it was great to get those awards, but I knew, like, once I get to college, those awards don’t really mean much,” Hernandez said. “You’re just in a pool … but I keep working and just getting better.”With two straight Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards, Hernandez is already continuing her pattern of excelling on the field and being rewarded for her performance.Currently, Hernandez is leading the team in goals, assists and shots, but isn’t letting her underclassman status intimidate her. Even though she’s only a freshman, she’s already becoming the person around whom the team rallies. “I’m not much of a vocal leader,” Hernandez said. “But in practice, I try to lead by example.”On the opposite end of the field, Rizzo has been dominating in the goal, playing full-time in both games and stopping an impressive number of shots. Rizzo was a six-year starter and three-year captain for her varsity team. She was also given the award for Queensbury High School Athlete of the Year in 2015 and 2016. But where Hernandez got her start excelling in a high school league that helped her build her skills, Rizzo got most of her experience playing in a more diverse summer league.“My high school isn’t — my league wasn’t that great,” Rizzo said. “When I played summer ball, and played on my club team … that’s where we were able to develop my skills.”Rizzo met Venechanos when she was younger and the two stayed in contact as Rizzo played through her high school career. Venechanos made sure to recruit her for the Buckeyes. Sunday’s game against Jacksonville had the Buckeyes starting the second half down five goals. Rizzo refused to get frustrated and thanks her teammates for helping build her up. “I made a couple of good saves that gave our offense a little confidence,” Rizzo said, noting that they then went on to win the game 13-12 in the second half. Rizzo’s hard work and dedication is paying off. She was a contender for the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, making 16 saves on Sunday and improving her save percentage to 0.475, rising to third place behind the goalies at Rutgers and Maryland.It’s not only these two underclassmen who are currently championing the OSU lacrosse team as the season gets underway. Parrott is tied for second in points with freshman attacker Vander Molen. Tied for third is Maring and Morgan Fee, a senior midfielder and the only upperclassman who has appeared among the top five girls on the team. The underclassmen might be leading the team right now, but it’s the upperclassmen who are helping them feel confident enough to do so. “I think our upperclassmen create that environment, that culture, of letting the younger players step up and be courageous,” Venechanos said. “Our returners are doing a great job of pumping them up.” At practice, the girls consistently motivate each other to do better and to push past their limits, and it’s the cohesive effort by the team that makes them all willing to work harder. The Buckeyes are hoping to keep the momentum going as they face off against Cincinnati on Sunday.“We’re not really looking at the past, we’re kind of in the current,” Venechanos said. “We’re going to be a little more focused and dial it up from the start.”With Hernandez in the middle, Rizzo in the net and the rest of the team rallying around the two, the team looks to be setting themselves up for success for the rest of the season.
The No. 8 Ohio State women’s basketball team lost, 71-57, to the No. 23 Nebraksa Cornhuskers in their its final regular season game of 2011-12 campaign Sunday. After senior guard Samantha Prahalis scored the first basket of the game, OSU (24-5, 11-5) fell behind early. The Cornhuskers (21-7, 10-6) capitalized on the Buckeyes poor shooting and ten turnovers in the first half and went on a 15-1 run. At the end of the half, OSU was shooting 10-of-27, and trailing, 39-29. The second half didn’t see the score improve for the Buckeyes. The 10-point first half deficit reached 16 in the second, after an OSU turnover led to a layup by freshman guard Brandi Jeffery, to make the score 52-36, at 12:08 in the second half. The Cornhuskers maintained the lead and finished the game with a 71-57 victory. The Buckeyes had 17 turnovers and shot 33 percent from the field. Prahalis led OSU in scoring with 18 points and added three assists. Junior guard Tayler Hill contributed 16 points. Prahalis’ three assists make her four shy of becoming the all-time Big Ten assist leader. Northwestern’s Nancy Kennelly had 892 assists from 1989-1993 The Cornhuskers were led by freshman forward Emily Cady with 24 points. The loss also iced any hope the Buckeyes had of clinching a share of the Big Ten regular season title. Following their defeat, OSU heads to Indianapolis for the Big Ten tournament. Before the game, OSU has clinched the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will play at 11:30 a.m. Friday against the of the winner of the Michigan-Wisconsin game.
Junior guard Raven Ferguson (31) blows past a defender during a game against Old Dominion Nov. 22 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 75-60.Credit: Liz Young / Campus editorA 12-7 (2-1) record is not exactly a stellar start to the 2013-14 season for the women’s basketball team. However, with 13 games left in the regular season, the year is far from over.Despite seven losses, the Buckeyes are coming off of arguably their biggest win of the year, knocking then-No. 22 Indiana from the ranks of the unbeaten and out of the top 25 in a 70-51 win Saturday.Part of the Buckeyes’ struggles might be their tough schedule, which is ranked as the hardest in the country according to Women’s Basketball State, a website that specializes in women’s basketball statistics.The tough schedule is something coach Kevin McGuff said will help his team down the stretch.“We have faced a variety of styles. We have faced big teams and small teams,” McGuff said. “All of that together, I think, has really put us in a good position to kind of embrace the great challenge of the Big Ten schedule.”Of OSU’s remaining 13 games, four come against opponents currently ranked in the top 25. OSU plays No. 16 Penn State twice (Thursday on the road and Feb. 9 at home) No. 18 Nebraska (Feb. 20) and No. 22 Purdue (Feb. 6) a team the Buckeyes beat 89-78 in Columbus Jan. 2.McGuff said a key to success for the rest of the season is keeping their eye on the prize.“We will not beat one single team in this league if we do not have great focus and concentration,” McGuff said.Sophomore point guard Ameryst Alston has been an important asset to the team so far this season. She has played in every game and currently leads the team in average points per game with 16.9. Her 29-point performance at Indiana matched her career high and earned her Big Ten Player of the week honors.“It’s a blessing and it does feel great,” Alston said of the honors. “Hard works pays off.”Alston is not the only player on this OSU team that has contributed to their improved play, with the Buckeyes winning five of their last six games.Junior guard Raven Ferguson has also stepped up her game as of late, recording a career-high 18 points in the win against Indiana.“This was Raven’s best game all year,” McGuff said in a press release following the win against Indiana. “She generated a lot of offense for herself and her teammates.”Ferguson said the win against Indiana gave her and her team confidence going forward.“It is something we can build on for the future,” Ferguson said. “It was just a confidence builder because I had not been playing well.”Ferguson is one of five players averaging more than nine points per game, something that she said is a big positive going forward.“It helps us as a team knowing that anybody can score,” Ferguson said. “That is the main thing … putting points on the board and getting everybody to contribute.”The Buckeyes are set to take on the Nittany Lions in State College, Pa., Thursday at 7 p.m.
Ohio State redshirt senior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) guards a Michigan player on an inbound play in the first half in the game against Michigan on Dec. 4. Ohio State won 71-62. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOne day after finals have ended for students at Ohio State, the men’s basketball team (8-3, 2-0 Big Ten) plays host to Appalachian State (5-6) for both teams’ first game in a week. The Buckeyes are coming off a dominant 97-62 victory against William & Mary in their first matchup since returning to their nonconference schedule. Here is a rundown of what to expect in Ohio State’s 6 p.m. matchup against Appalachian State Saturday.Projected StartersAppalachian State:G — Ronshad Shabazz — Junior, 6-foot-5, 217 lbs., 21.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.5 apgG — Justin Forrest — Freshman, 6-foot-2, 195 lbs., 16.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.5 apgF — Tyrell Johnson — Junior, 6-foot-8, 205 lbs., 8.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.9 apgF — Griffin Kinney — Senior, 6-foot-8, 240 lbs., 11.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.9 apgF — Isaac Johnson — Sophomore, 6-foot-9, 212 lbs., 6.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.4 apgOhio State:G — C.J. Jackson — Junior, 6-foot-1, 175 lbs., 13.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.0 apgG — Kam Williams — Redshirt senior, 6-foot-2, 185 lbs., 6.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.5 apgF — Keita Bates-Diop — Redshirt junior, 6-foot-7, 235 lbs., 18.3 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.5 apgF — Jae’Sean Tate — Senior, 6-foot-4, 230 lbs., 12.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.0 apgC — Kaleb Wesson — Freshman, 6-foot-9, 270 lbs., 12.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.8 apgScouting Appalachian StateThe Mountaineers have been one of the more prolific offenses in college basketball to this point in the year. They are 18th in both points per game at 87.6 and 3-pointers made per game with 10.6.The bulk of the Mountaineers’ offense has run through its starting point guard, Ronshad Shabazz. He will be the only player in this game with a points per game average of more than 20.“[Shabazz’s] a lefty that can score at every level,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said. “He’s an older kid. Strong, built a little bit like [Ohio State forward Jae’Sean Tate] and can do it all in terms of scoring and facilitating for his team.But according to Ken Pomeroy, much of that has to do with the type of opponents they have played. They have faced off against the 166th-best defensive schedule to this point, and thus their adjusted offense is only 124th-best in the nation. While the offensive success might be in question, the Mountaineers’ ability to rebound well and outplay their opponents on the inside has been a standout feature of their season. They are tied for 27th in the nation, averaging 8.3 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Appalachian State is not an exceptionally tall team. According to KenPom, it is only the 64th-tallest team in the nation. But the Mountaineers hold a significant weight advantage over many of their opponents. They have four starters that weigh in at more than 200 pounds compared to just three for Ohio State.“Depth and size across the board, really maybe in some ways, as good a positional size as we’ve seen in terms of bigger guards, bigger wings. They’re certainly bigger than us at those guard and wing spots,” Holtmann said. “They’re a tough, physical, veteran team that’s going to play exceptionally hard and I’m interested to see how we’ll respond after kind of a week of final exams and you’re always concerned about any game, but certainly concerned about the game after finals.”Avoiding the upsetOn paper, Ohio State should handle its business against Appalachian State. Ohio State has appeared the more dominant team against stronger teams and seems to have more on-court talent than the Mountaineers. But with finals week having just taken place, a week away from action and knowing they are playing against a weaker opponent, this could set the stage for a potential upset. Holtmann — citing a similar opponent in the University of Texas Arlington, who beat Ohio State in 2015 — said the Buckeyes are aware of the importance of not overlooking opponents like Appalachian State since that loss. He added that veterans on the team will be leaned on to keep a younger team focused on the matchup. “What I rely on and lean on in those situations is our older guys who’ve been through it. Because young guys don’t know,” Holtmann said. “They just don’t know. It’s not their fault, but freshman have no idea how good players are at all levels of college basketball.”Holtmann said that while he brought up the concept of losing to a heavy underdog if overlooking them, he is letting his veterans who were on the team that lost to UT Arlington — Bates-Diop and Tate — handle how much the team reflects on that loss. Those two veterans both said that loss was the reason Ohio State failed to make the NCAA Tournament that year.“They’re important games, and sometimes they can make or break you when it comes to March,” Tate said. “The only thing that me and Keita as older guys can do is learn our lesson that time and only that time, and just try to prepare the younger guys on the team who haven’t been in this situation.”Health UpdatesBoth sophomore center Micah Potter and freshman forward Kyle Young were absent from the team’s win against William & Mary, but they both practiced Thursday, Holtmann said. He said the two will be gametime decisions. Young and Potter are dealing with ankle injuries.
Ohio State freshman guard Musa Jallow (2) explains a turnover in the game against Michigan on Dec. 4. Ohio State won 71-62. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorOhio State sophomore guard Musa Jallow has been named one of 32 players participating in the USA Men’s U18 National Team Training Camp this summer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Jallow is the only NCAA freshman from the 2017-18 season expected to attend the camp.Prior to last season, Jallow reclassified as a member of the 2017 class, starting his college career one season early. Coming to Columbus as a three-star recruit, he was ranked as the No. 149 overall prospect in the 2017 class according to the 247Sports composite rankings. In his first season with the Buckeyes, the 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard played in 14 minutes per game, including 10 starts during the 2017-18 season. He averaged 2.5 points per game, shooting 39.2 percent from the field.The final roster for the USA Men’s U18 National Team will be announced on June 2 The team will then travel to Ontario, Canada, to participate in the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship from June 10-16.
The Buckeyes walk toward the bench after the game against Purdue on Jan. 23. Ohio State lost 79-67. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorIn its past five games, facing five Big Ten opponents, Ohio State has failed to win a game. Chris Holtmann has not been through a stretch like this since his first season as the head coach at Gardner Webb, leading the Runnin’ Bulldogs through a nine-game losing streak during the 2010-11 season. Ohio State has not been through a stretch like this since the 1997-98 season in which the Buckeyes recorded a 17-game losing streak, ending the season with an 8-22 record. The head coach knows where the problems lie for Ohio State. The offense has not scored more than 70 points since Jan. 5, averaging just under 63 points per game in the past four games. On the other end, the defense has given up fewer than 70 points once during the five-game losing stretch, allowing opponents to shoot over 40 percent from the field in each of those games while Maryland and Purdue have combined to make 23-of-41 attempts from 3 in the past two games. “There are some definite common themes, but I think when you are struggling, you plug a hole and the other one seems to pop up,” Holtmann said. Senior guard C.J. Jackson summed up the feelings of the Ohio State players and coaching staff: Nobody wants to lose. However, he said the approach in the locker room is still positive and Ohio State knows specifically what time of the game it needs to improve in. “Each game’s pretty much going to come down how the last couple of games, the last couple of possessions that hurt us in the first half, that hurt us in the second half, which ended up hurting us in the win column,” Jackson said. “So we just have to stay positive, stay ready and keep learning from our past experiences.” Ohio State will try and learn from its past five losses Saturday against Nebraska. Projected StartersOhio State (12-6, 2-5 Big Ten)G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 12.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.7 apgG — Keyshawn Woods — Redshirt senior, 7.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.9 apgG — Luther Muhammad — Freshman, 9.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.1 apgF — Andre Wesson — Junior, 8.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.7 apgF — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 15.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.7 apgNebraska (13-6, 3-5 Big Ten)G — James Palmer Jr. — Senior, 19.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.3 apgG — Glynn Watson Jr. — Senior, 13.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.8 apgG — Thomas Allen — Sophomore, 8.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.2 apgF — Isaac Copeland Jr. — Senior, 14.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.2 apgF — Isaiah Roby — Junior, 10.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.8 apgMuch like Ohio State, Nebraska has had a difficult time returning to Big Ten play in 2019. The Cornhuskers have lost four of their past six games, including their past two against then-No. 6 Michigan State and Rutgers. However, unlike Ohio State, Nebraska has age on its side. The Cornhuskers have three seniors in their starting lineup, each averaging double-digit point totals. Nebraska is led by senior guard James Palmer Jr., who leads the team with 19.4 points per game. But he is shooting only 39.1 percent from the field, leading the Cornhuskers with 274 shot attempts, 69 more than any other player on the roster. Despite inconsistencies from its leading scorer, Nebraska has five players with more than 20 steals, with sophomore guard Thomas Allen leading the team with 33. The Cornhuskers’ plus-4.3 turnover margin per game is No. 12 in the NCAA.Jackson said taking care of the ball will be something that is vital to the success of Ohio State against Nebraska, especially for an Ohio State team that is averaging 12.7 turnovers per game. “That’s probably one of the major keys for us is taking care of the ball,” Jackson said. “Against teams in the Big Ten, that kind of puts you in a bad position already, so we have to take care of the ball, especially in a hostile environment with how it is going to be tomorrow.” Nebraska’s forwards — junior Isaiah Roby and senior Isaac Copeland Jr. — have been very consistent for the team in the paint, each shooting over 50 percent from the field and averaging more than 5.5 rebounds per game. Without a big sample size in true road games, splitting the four games it has played as a visitor, Ohio State has the opportunity to change its momentum against an opponent going through similar losing ways. Jackson said it will take the Buckeyes returning to what brought them success in nonconference play. “We just have to be who we are and get back to doing the things that made us successful earlier in the season, which is playing defense and getting stops; being good teammates, celebrating together, all that,” Jackson said.“Once that translates on the defensive end, offense obviously comes with it.”This will have to be against an experienced Nebraska starting five that is motivated, according to Holtmann. But an addition to the win column is something the Ohio State head coach said he needs to start plugging the holes that this five-game losing streak has created. “A win affects everything: mood, confidence, all that kind of thing,” Holtmann said. Ohio State will take on the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Nebraska at noon on Saturday.
MPs were examining the likely impact of Brexit on health It came out between £800 and £2,500. So I think that would have some impact on our tourismMartin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Prof McKee said that he had searched for how much it would cost in insurance for someone to visit France for one week, using comparison websites.”The advantage of EHIC is that is covers pre-existing conditions so if you want to travel abroad as a British tourist and go to France you are covered and vice versa.”So (in preparation for this hearing) I put in a few co-morbidities, like diabetes and a history of mild depression, to see how much it would cost for a one week stay in France.”It came out between £800 and £2,500,” he said. “So I think that would have some impact on our tourism.”He added: “I put in a 70-year-old with common conditions – and remember that with the rise of multi-morbidity most people over the age of 70 will have multiple conditions.”It will mean effectively that they will not be able to travel – or at least they can travel but they would take a risk of something goes wrong.” A week in France could cost a pensioner with common health problems up to £2,500 a week in insurance after Brexit, a public health professor has claimed.If Britons lose their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) older people with multiple conditions could be forced to fork out hundreds, if not thousands, for a week in France, the Health Select Committee was told.When questioned on current reciprocal agreements on health care between EU member states, Martin McKee, professor of European public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the insurance card has “many benefits”. 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. But surgeon Joseph Meirion Thomas, a campaigner against health tourism, told the Committee that the UK pays out five times as much as it receives back from the EHIC scheme.”I think the EHIC card has got to end with Brexit because the pendulum is heavily weighed against the UK,” he told MPs.He added: “Anyone going from the UK to somewhere outside the European Union has got to have health insurance, what difference is it going to make if they have to [have health insurance if they] stay inside the European Union?”So many people are buying it by the year anyway and it’s a fairly reasonable cost.”
In his defence, Fisher said he had “no closure” from the relationship and “just wanted to communicate like an adult”. He added: “I wanted to believe she wanted to meet up. It was stupid, strange and desperate.”He claimed he had not intended for his ex-girlfriend to believe his MI6 agent stunt, but instead he “just wanted to meet her for a drink” after she realised it was not real.Lionel Blackman, defending, said Fisher “was getting mixed messages as to whether it would be appropriate to contact her”.He added: “Where does one draw the line when one is pursuing love? Did he cross the line?”Maybe others have more restraint, or less passion.”But Amanda Burrows, prosecuting, told the court there was “no doubt that this man has subjected this woman to a great deal of harassment.”His former partner said the pair went for their first date in Tunbridge Wells Bar and Grill after speaking on match.com in March 2016.From the very beginning, she said, he required a lot of her time. “I would go out after work and socialise with my work colleagues and friends, and it was clear he found that an issue,” she said.”I felt very claustrophobic and overwhelmed.”Fisher was found guilty of harassment by way of stalking after a day-long trial at Sevenoaks Magistrates’ Court last week.Chairman of the bench Nick Bensted-Smith said: “You caused distress with your actions and we regard this as unreasonable.”We found these actions amounted to stalking and we find you guilty of the offence.” The pair met on match.comCredit:digitallife / Alamy Fisher will be sentenced at Maidstone Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, and in the meantime is banned from contacting his ex-girlfriend either directly or indirectly. Fisher had told his girlfriend from Tunbridge Wells, Kent, he was a store manager at Sainsbury’s in Epsom, Surrey. She ended their seven-month relationship in October last year when she discovered he actually worked for a branch of the discount chain B&M.After the break-up Fisher, a former policeman who was suspended after committing a string of driving offences, persistently tried to contact her, sending her daily emails and calling her up to 50 times in one week.The harassment culminated in December, when he paid actor Hannah Jackson to go round to his ex-girlfriend’s house and tell her he was an MI6 agent.The complainant said: “I got a call from someone who said they needed to come to my house and read me a disclosure report regarding an officer who I had been in a relationship with.”I knew David had been a police officer at some stage so I decided to ring 101 and check.”When the police told her Fisher’s name was not on their records, she became suspicious and arranged for officers to intercept a meeting she had arranged with Ms Jackson at her home. A former policeman hired an actress to pretend he was an MI6 agent in a bid to impress his ex-girlfriend into taking him back.David Fisher said he was “stupid, strange and desperate” in his attempts to make his former partner meet up with him, but claimed his actions did not amount to stalking.His former partner said the 29-year-old was “very kind” but she ended their relationship when she discovered he had been lying about his occupation. 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.
William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said his firm had made pink their favourite for the Queen’s choice of outfit today.He added: “Punters will be tickled pink after getting the colour right for the first time this Royal Ascot.”Coral’s John Hill said: “Over 80 per cent of the bets we took on what colour hat the Queen would wear on Ladies’ Day were for pink so many punters have got their day off to a flying start before the racing has even begun.” Racegoers are encouraged to make a special effort with their outfits for Ladies’ Day, the mid-point in the five-day racing meet, which is as much a social occasion as a major sporting event for top owners, trainers and jockeys.Marie Hudson, 76, was with a group of friends all from St Helens, and was sporting a hamper on her head filled with champagne flutes, a bottle of bubbly, sweet treats and fruit.She said: “I just love Ascot, we come every year and just love the atmosphere. My hat was made by one of my friends Karen, it’s just something different.” British fashion designer Amanda Wakeley, who wore a black and white trouser suit from her collection and a Jane Taylor hat, summed up the mood of the event. The Queen in the Parade Ring at Royal Ascot on ThursdayCredit:Heathcliff O’Malley for The Telegraph She said: “I love Ladies’ Day because everyone makes an even bigger effort. Everyone has their own take on femininity and I’m a big fan of staying true to yourself.” 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. Amanda Wakeley attends Royal Ascot on ThursdayCredit:Samir Hussein/WireImage Punters were left counting their winnings after the Queen arrived at Royal Ascot wearing a pink hat, a colour backed by many of the racegoers.Her Majesty, who is a life-long horse breeder and owner, has a runner – Maths Prize – in the Britannia Stakes, which could give the monarch her 24th Royal Ascot winner.The Duke of Edinburgh, who left a private hospital earlier after spending two nights being treated for an undisclosed infection, is likely to be convalescing at Windsor Castle.The weird, wonderful and wild were on show at Ascot on Thursday as female racegoers put on a riotous hat display to mark Ladies’ Day.From headgear in the shape of a picnic hamper, complete with champagne and strawberries, to an aviary full of parakeets, owls and even a frog – punters pulled out all the stops for the racing day that doubles as a fashion show. Argentinian-born Paula Gibson, 59, had travelled to Ascot with British husband Jonathan Gibson from their home in Amsterdam and needed two hands to steady her large hat – a collection of exotic birds, owls, nests of eggs, butterflies, fruit and a frog.She said: “I’ve been collecting the birds throughout the year from shops then sat down last weekend and put the hat together.”The festivities here are so British, I love it. I’ve been coming on and off for the last 10 years and still enjoy it.”
The mystery of the Totnes skulls has been solved after a homeless man came forward to say the pair found near an derelict supermarket belonged to him.Workmen were clearing a vagrant camp behind a former Budgens supermarket in the Devon town when they stumbled across the first of the 100-year-old skulls.Police were called to the site in Totnes on Monday, only to be told another skull had been found nearby, on the banks of the River Dart. “I’d imagine they were acquired from one of his friends in the vagrant community.”One of the skulls is that of a man and the other belonged to a woman and still has some hair attached to it.Both have now been sent to the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification at the University of Dundee to be properly dated, though it is believed from initial assessment they were between 60 and 100 years old. Police say the skulls have been examined by specialist officers and are believed to be up to 100 years oldCredit:Totnes Police / SWNS.com Workmen made their grisly discovery behind an empty Budgens building in Fore Street (pictured), in Totnes, DevonCredit:APEX Sgt Tim Perrin, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said a homeless man living at the camp had satisfied police that the skulls belong to him and no criminal investigation was underway.He said: “A clear out job was taking place after a group of people had been found sleeping rough behind the old Budgens supermarket.”That was when the workers found a skull in the carrier bag before a person staying there said ‘what are you doing with my skull?’ He then led us down to the river bank where another skull was found.”There is no criminal investigation taking place and as long as the coroner has no interest in them then they should be able to go back to the person who owns them. 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.
In a scene at the Borsetshire sexual health clinic, Phoebe described the potential of seeing someone she knew as “mortifying” and refused to touch anything, before being told: “These people are just the same as you.” “Using fictional characters to talk about sensitive issues allows parents and young people to talk more confidently and openly about healthy relationships, contraception and staying safe.”Natika H Halil, chief executive of sexual health charity FPA, said in reality, women are statistically unlikely to be sick after taking the morning after pill, pointing out the character could also have used the most effective emergency contraception of the IUD.“Even if Constantin hadn’t ‘been a busy boy this summer’, both he and Phoebe should still go and get tested for STIs,” she added.“It’s great to hear sexual health and safer sex being discussed on The Archers.” Behind the scenes recording The Archers Over the coming weeks, listeners are to discover whether she had indeed caught an STI or fallen pregnant.Laura Hannah, education and wellbeing lead at Brook clinic, said: “”The relationship between Sophie and Constantin is raising vital awareness of these very real issues that young people face and is making sexual health part of everyday household conversation rather than something that is embarrassing or taboo.”Stories in the media also provide a good starting point for parents to talk to their children. One fan, writing on Twitter as the storyline was broadcast pointed out that it was “rather odd”, pointing to “a mixture of liberal and quietly moralising”.Another said: “I’m dreading what’s to come. It’s going to be a pregnancy/STI storyline which puts the accountability onto her rather than the guy or clinic.” A previous storyline about Helen and Rob raised awareness about domestic violence “Seemingly liberal attitude to sex in The Archers shows Phoebe being punished for one night stand,” a third pointed out.A BBC spokesman said: “The Archers has always sought to reflect different experiences of everyday life, as well as discussing a wide range of issues, including sexual health.“This storyline reflects the experience of a young woman and the issues that are pertinent to her.” The Archers, the BBC’s longest running soap Awaiting public interest, the Archers team has already prepared an online graphic detailing “a short history of contraception in The Archers”, from the first mention of the Pill in 1977 to today.The Radio 4 soap has prided itself on tackling difficult issues throughout its history, including a controversial storyline about Jennifer’s illegitimate pregnancy in 1967 after a dalliance with the cowman. Scenes broadcast last week recorded Phoebe enjoying a one-night stand with Constantin, who delayed telling her that their condom split.Concerned, she discussing failing to top up her contraceptive injection, attempting to take the morning after pill before it made her sick.In an in-depth conversation with character Lexi, she details the conditions under which the emergency contraception will work, being told Constantin had been a “busy boy” all summer and that she should get “checked out”. It has tackled issues from domestic violence and dementia to robotic cow milking. Now, listeners of the Archers may be left spluttering on their tea and biscuits as it turns its sights on sexual health, bringing an unexpectedly detailed look at an STI clinic to the ears of Middle England.Those tuning in for their daily dose of Ambridge have heard about a split condom, failed morning after pill and potential venereal disease, and are currently waiting on tenterhooks to hear the result of Phoebe’s a sexual health test.Phoebe Aldridge, a University of Oxford student who has fallen for the charms of dashing fruit picker Constantin, is to help educate Radio 4 listeners, in a storyline which has been welcomed by charities and lamented by others.Some listeners have already raised eyebrows at the delivery of the storyline, which spells out the details of Phoebe’s various contraceptive options for its listeners, which have an average age of 56. Phoebe, played by actress Lucy Morris 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.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue confirmed the incident was “not expected to recur” but said they were still trying to identify the cause of the cloud.A spokesman for Sussex Police said neither the source or the nature of the gas cloud had still not been identified but said reports that it may have originated in France were “very unlikely”.He said: “Neither the gas nor its source have been established, but agencies are continuing to investigate and have not ruled out either onshore or offshore locations, although it does appear that it did sweep in from the sea driven by onshore breezes. Other suggestions have included an industrial accident along the coast, a contaminated shipping tanker washing ashore, or even the build-up of harmful algae.Dr Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, said: “If the reports from the public are to be relied on, it is weird that the “cloud” rolled in from the West. This is against the very light winds which should have driven in from the east. This implies a water borne cause. “The conditions yesterday were ideal for the development of a toxic algal bloom – very calm, high light levels, and a period of moderate runoff inputting high levels of nutrients into the sea for the preceding weeks.” Visitors to Birling Gap complained of vomiting, stinging eyes and sore throatsCredit:Twitter @Kyle_Crickmore He said US studies had shown cases where toxins from harmful algae can form clouds and drift ashore. “However, weather models suggest that an onshore source in northern France is very unlikely.”Police said the gas cloud had now dissipated and advice to keep windows and doors closed had been withdrawn. Around 150 people were treated at Eastbourne hospital after the mist past over Credit: EDDIE MITCHELL Beachy Head Lighthouse surrounded by mist on Sunday afternoon when the haze came ashoreCredit:SOCIAL MEDIA Henry Prout of Newhaven RNLI said: “The gas could have come from a container dropped at sea many, many years ago whose seal has finally broken or it could have come from a vessel doing a chemical clean, which is prohibited in maritime law.“Whatever the cause it is going to be extremely difficult to identify the source.” An algal bloom in The Channel may have been behind the mystery noxious haze that drifted ashore and left around 150 people needing hospital treatment, it has been suggested.Police and scientists are still trying to identify the source of the mystery gas cloud that left people with vomiting, stinging eyes and sore throats when it came ashore on the Sussex coast at Birling Gap, near Beachy Head.Emergency services at first pointed to a possible industrial leak in northern France, but then said wind patterns showed the cloud came from The Channel or further along the English coast. He said: “These cause respiratory problems and irritation, particularly in those with Asthma. It’s a long shot but the evidence points in that direction.”One scientist, who declined to be named, said: “The only possibility I can think of is that it might be a container of chemicals washed off a ship and ruptured. It might not necessarily be chlorine as there are other chemicals which produce a similar smell and reaction when mixed with water.” 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.
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. Evelyn Channing, rural director of estate agents Savills, said the estate sector was “inherently discreet” and purchasers and sellers often preferred to agree deals off-market where possible.The firm currently has over 100 registered buyers looking for a Scottish estate, with a total budget of £756 million, or around £7 million each to invest.Research by Savills showed that 65 per of estate purchasers in 2017 were from overseas, with viewers from areas including the Far East, Russia, Scandinavia, Australia and the US as well as Europe.The firm has also detected a significant increase in the number of enquiries since the general election in May, which it said was most likely due to the devaluation of sterling since the Brexit vote.Ms Channing said that against a background of political and economic uncertainty, the market was still seen as a “relatively safe haven for wealth”.She added there was now a far wider appreciation of what £5 million could buy north of the border, compared to London and the home counties, but it was the opportunity to fish for salmon, stalk red deer and shoot grouse in “wonderful surroundings” that was the main motivating factor behind estate sales. Tulchan in the Spey valley, with grouse moors above A total of 20 Scottish country estates were sold this year, despite the uncertainty created by Brexit and a lack of properties on the open market.Real estate experts said the perception of a quieter market for some of the country’s most expensive properties may be due to the fact that more than half the estates were sold privately, without being publicly advertised.Eleven were Highland sporting estates, or mixed estates, offering the full range of sporting pursuits, including stalking, shooting and fishing.The sales included Scotland’s most expensive sporting estate, Tulchan on Speyside, which boasts eight miles of salmon fishing on the River Spey as well as stalking and grouse shooting.The 21,000 acre property, advertised for more than £25 million, was bought by Yuri Schefler, a Russian vodka billionaire.Overall, activity was not far behind 2016, which saw 24 sales in the most active market for over a decade.
Police have named the woman who was found dead in her home after what is suspected to be a burglary gone wrong.Sarbjit Kaur, 38, was found inside a property on Rockery Lane, Wolverhampton, on Friday afternoon.Ms Kaur is believed to have been married to a company director with two young children.Since the incident West Midlands Police issued a warning to local residents, stating: “Officers will be conducting extra patrols in the Wolverhampton area and recommend that residents are extra vigilant regarding home security.”On searching the address it appeared that some items had been taken. A resident living next door to the house said: “We’ve lived here for 20 years. “I used to head off to work at 5am and I used to the see the man who lived there, we would just give each other a friendly hello.”I never saw the woman, and didn’t know their names, but we’ve had a couple burglaries in the past.”The burglars wait for you to go to work and then they break in from the side gate or the back.”I don’t know if this area is being targeted but it is a bit worrying.”Another neighbour added: “I only moved in five weeks ago, and I heard about this incident on the day it happened.”I’m a shocked at that this has happened, this is a nice neighbourhood.”We’ve got to be vigilant, and do things like keeping our doors and windows locked and watching for any suspicious behaviour, just have to look out for each other really.”Detectives said that the inside of the property was in an untidy state which could indicate that it had been searched. The 38-year-old had been assaulted, but a post mortem examination has not revealed a precise cause of deathCredit:SWNS The woman is believed to have been married to a company director with two young childrenCredit:SWNS The 38-year-old had been assaulted, but a post mortem examination has so far not been able to identify the precise cause of death and further tests will be carried out.Detective Chief Inspector Chris Mallett, from the force’s homicide unit, said: “Mrs Kaur was attacked inside her own home. This is a shocking case, the likes of which are extremely rare, and we have a team of officers working on this murder enquiry to establish what happened and to finding the person or people responsible.“The motive so far is unclear and I’m keeping an open mind regards the circumstances…we are investigating several lines of enquiry including whether this was a random burglary or if the address or Mrs Kaur were deliberately targeted.” 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.
Khan, of Goldsmith Road, Peckham, southeast London, was given a two-year prison sentence suspended for two years.Roxsanna, of Felixstowe Road, Edmonton, north London, was given a 19-month prison sentence suspended for two years.Haque and Begum, of Olive Road, Dartford, Kent, were handed prison sentences of 16 and 10 months respectively, suspended for two years.Maryam Arnott, of the CPS, said: “This is believed to be the largest ever visa fraud that the CPS has dealt with and it is staggering the lengths these individuals went to in order to exploit the UK’s immigration system.”Dave Fairclough, from Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation, added: “This was a highly organised, sophisticated attack on the UK’s immigration system.”Alison Chipperton, Assistant Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “These defendants willingly joined forces with an organised crime group to steal public money.“HMRC worked closely with the Home Office to gather the strong evidence that has helped convict this group.“Anyone with information on anyone committing this type of fraud should report it to HMRC online, or call our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.” 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. A gang of fraudsters who set up bogus companies to help 900 illegal migrants stay in the country in Britain’s biggest ever fake visa scam have been spared jail.The group laundered millions of pounds through 53 businesses, including ‘Immigration4u’ and ‘Mo’s Spice Inn’, and made temporary transfers into clients’ bank accounts.They also created fake payslips and provided false information on around 900 applications for general and entrepreneur visas between 2008 and 2013.Their aim was to make the migrants look as if they were well-paid employees, as applicants for entrepreneur visas must show they have access to at least £50,000. One of the gang’s customers was working at a fast food restaurant, but his accounts showed he had a £50,000 salary.The scam, which could have cost the taxpayer £16.6m if undiscovered, was described as “immigration fraud of industrial scale” and a “highly organised, sophisticated attack on the UK’s immigration system”.Taxi driver Mohammed Jillur Rahman Khan, 43, Shaheda Roxsanna, 47, and married couple Mazharul Haque, 46, and Maksuda Begum, 45, were all convicted of conspiracy to defraud the Secretary of State and conspiracy to cheat the public revenue. But they walked free from Southwark Crown Court today after a judge decided to suspended their prison sentences. Judge Martin Griffith said: “This case was part two of an immigration fraud of industrial scale.”For many people who come to this country which must be for economic reasons, there is a time-table because there comes a time where you must prove that you have substantial income to stay in the country.”Unfortunately the solution for some people is that they go to some services that prove income that just isn’t there – they pay through the nose.”Some of the migrants in the UK on temporary visas paid the gang at least £700 in cash to help them remain in the UK.The fraud was uncovered in 2011 when the Home Office identified a suspicious pattern in a series of points-based applications for Tier 1 general and entrepreneur visas.An investigation by Immigration Enforcement’s Criminal and Financial Investigation team was launched and HMRC called in to probe the validity of the companies and PAYE claims linked to them.The group had worked alongside another gang of five who were sentenced last year.The scam was led by London law student Abul Kalam Muhammad (known as AKM) Rezaul Karim, 42 – who was given a 10-year jail sentence in his absence in November 2018.
Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCyclist killed in Berbice accident by reportedly speeding carJanuary 15, 2018In “Crime”Motor Cyclist killed after colliding with HorseOctober 13, 2015In “Crime”Motor cyclist dies in Corentyne accidentMarch 6, 2016In “Crime” The 76-year-old driver, of Rampoor Village, Corentyne is in custody assisting with the investigation. His blood alcohol level was tested and found to be zero percent. According to the police, investigations revealed that the cyclist was proceeding north along the western side of the road when he was struck down from the rear by motor lorry GKK 7698, which was in the process of overtaking. He was picked up in a semi-conscious state and rushed to the Skeldon Hospital where he died about 11:00hrs while receiving treatment. Police say they are investigating a fatal accident which occurred at about 07:30hrs on Tuesday morning on the Skeldon Public Road, Corentyne, Berbice that resulted in the death of pedal cyclist Yatandeo Hiralall, 59, of Lot 7 Line Path, Skeldon.
Ranks attached to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) have found themselves having to pay in excess of $2.3M back to the Force as payments for damaging vehicles for 2018 thus far.Acting Commissioner of Police David RamnarineThis is according to Commissioner of Police (ag), David Ramnarine on Wednesday, as he sought to reprimand the officers who have found themselves involved in vehicular accidents- be it with their own vehicles or state-owned ones.“In six months, this year, 18 occasions where members of the Force, driving Force vehicles were involved in accidents where they were responsible for causing that accident and the damages amounting to some $2,394,000. They have been made to repay, or to pay for the cost of that damage. Some ten ranks have already completed payments and others have some more time to pay,” he said, while maintaining that “that is the position we have to enforce” since ranks continue to disregard warnings.In providing statistics, Ramnarine said that from July 2016 to June 2017, 18 members of the GPF were involved in various accidents while driving vehicles belonging to the Force. In addition, from July 2017 to June 2018, 23 ranks were involved in same.“A total of 41 ranks, including seven subordinate officers and 34 constables. Add this to another 18 ranks over the two years period, being involved in various accidents with their private vehicles,” the Police Commissioner said, while seeking to remind the officers of the oath they have taken upon joining the Force.“We have taken an oath. We wear the uniform. We have had training and learning and therefore we must conduct ourselves a lot better than we do.”As such, the acting Top Cop urged ranks to be more responsible on the roadways, while executing their duties.The first Chinese donated vehicle that was damaged in 2018“We have long since abandoned and preached against speeding and reckless driving. We have only permitted that in emergency situations and situations where…there is great danger to public safety if you don’t take a certain course of action but in normal circumstances…please use your judgement!” he asserted.Ramnarine said that the GPF will no longer tolerate such reprehensible and disrespectful behaviour from ranks, who continue to breach road rules and traffic regulations, and as such, called on the officers once again to set the example through good private and public conduct when using the roadways and adhering to regulations.Police ranks were recently entrusted with the use and care of some US$2.6 million worth of crime-fighting vehicles granted to the GPF by the Chinese Government.The GPF was granted 56 pick-up trucks, 44 motorcycles, 35 ATVs as well as five buses, carrying the signature blue and white finish and sirens. Accompanying these were a total of 550 items of protective gear, 70 computers (both desktops and laptops) along with other technical equipment; all aimed at improving the efficiency of the country’s crime-fighting force. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedPolice Force rolls out US$2.6M fleet of vehiclesDecember 5, 2017In “Local News”Six Police officers dismissed for criminal misconductNovember 1, 2016In “latest news”Acting Top Cop says Force not accepting unprofessional conduct as 9 officers firedNovember 14, 2017In “Crime”