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Iwobi’s Everton tackle Saints

first_imgRelatedPosts Fulham keen on Lookman loan deal EPL: Calvert-Lewin treble fires Everton past West Brom EPL: Everton set to compound West Brom woes Southampton vs. EvertonVenue: St. Mary’s StadiumKick off: 4PM Two teams in desperate need of a Premier League victory face off this afternoon when Southampton welcome fellow strugglers Everton to St Mary’s.Both sides sit in the bottom four of the table after 11 games, with the Saints in the relegation zone and Everton three points but only one place better off than their weekend hosts.The Canaries are perhaps the only one of the quartet that most fans would have expected to see in and around the danger zone at this stage of the campaign, although consecutive finishes of 17th and 16th for Southampton in the last two seasons suggested that they might be up against themselves too.Certainly, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side can have no complaints at sitting in the bottom three at the moment, having picked up only one point from their last six league outings – including the already-infamous 9-0 humiliation at home to Leicester City.There was a marked improvement last weekend as Southampton came within four minutes of taking points off champions Manchester City at the Etihad, but Saturday’s game is their first at home since the Leicester debacle and the St Mary’s crowd will be demanding another response.Southampton’s home stats do not exactly inspire confidence, though; they have picked up only one point in front of their own fans this season and could become only the second team in Premier League history to amass one point or fewer from their first six home games of a campaign, while they have already conceded 19 goals on home turf.It is unsurprising that Hasenhuttl’s future has come under scrutiny, then, and should they fall to a fourth successive home league defeat – a fate which has never befallen them at St Mary’s and last did so more than 21 years ago at The Dell – then the Austrian could find himself living on borrowed time.Marco Silva will sympathise with his opposite number having seen his own future called into question on numerous occasions already this season, although there is no doubt that the Toffees have underperformed so far following a significant summer outlay on transfers.Everton begin the weekend 17th in the standings having been tipped to push for the top six back in August, largely due to a run of five defeats and just one win from their last seven Premier League games.Last weekend’s stoppage-time equaliser against Tottenham Hotspur was overshadowed by the sickening injury suffered by Andre Gomes earlier in the match, but it could prove to be a valuable point and at least keeps them safe from dropping into the relegation zone this weekend – barring a six-goal Southampton win.Silva will also no doubt be stressing that a couple of positive results could completely change the outlook of their season – the Toffees may only be one place above the bottom three, but in terms of points they are actually closer to the top half than they are to Saturday’s opponents.Back-to-back wins could make a huge difference to the table, then, and Everton must be viewing this game and their first match after the international break – against 19th-placed Norwich – as a golden chance to get those, particularly with Leicester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal to come in succession after that – a devilishly difficult run-up to Christmas.The main issue for Silva to solve is Everton’s away form; they have lost their last four top-flight games on the road and have picked up just one point on their travels this term – that coming on the opening day of the season.Indeed, this contest pits the worst home record in the league against the joint-worst away record, so it could be that the head-to-head record between the two sides offers most clues about which way this one will go.In that respect, Southampton will feel confident. The Saints have won five of their last six Premier League home games against Everton, while 11 of their 12 victories over the Toffees in this competition have come in front of their own fans.Either way, one poor record is likely to end this weekend, with victory providing a potentially priceless lifeline for one manager and a potentially fatal nail in the coffin for the other.Southampton possible XI: McCarthy, Bednarek, Stephens, Vestergaard, Valery, Ward-Prowse, Romeu, Hojbjerg, Cedric, Ings, Redmond.Everton possible XI: Pickford, Sidibe, Mina, Holgate, Digne, Schneiderlin, Davies, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Iwobi, Richarlison.Tags: EvertonRalph Hassenhuttllast_img read more

Missed free throws, threes bury Badgers

first_imgWhen all else fails, a struggling team must take what is given it.Last year’s problems became the theme at the Kohl Center Saturday afternoon when missed free throws put the nail the Badgers’ coffin.Owning a seven-point lead with 8 minutes, 52 seconds left in the game and in the bonus for the final 8 minutes, No. 14 Wisconsin (17-5, 4-5 Big Ten) would have the chance to ice the game at the free throw line.Eight missed free throws later Wisconsin found itself on the wrong end of a 59-58 loss to No. 24 Ohio State (17-5, 4-5) at home falling for the third-straight time at the Kohl Center this season.Kirby WrightJackson went 2-9 from the floor scoring seven points.With 25 seconds left, down by two, Wisconsin junior guard Traevon Jackson had the chance to tie it at 59 heading to the line for two free throws.Jackson — a player who has hit clutch free throws in the past — came up short on his second freebie, leaving the Buckeyes a one-point lead that they would not give up.When asked what his team did well defensively down the stretch to be able to pull out the win, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta made no question about it answering: “fouled.”Jackson wasn’t the only player on the Wisconsin side to hurt his team at the line. The usually reliable veterans Ben Brust and Josh Gasser, who are first and third in free throw percentage respectively on the roster, missed from the line with less than five minutes left.“We wanted to get [to the line] obviously,” Gasser said. “It happens sometimes, you can’t make everyone of them, sometimes you shoot it and they don’t fall.”But it was the freshman forward and Ohio native Nigel Hayes whose season-long struggles at the free throw line may have been the difference.Hayes provided a much needed spark off of the bench in the second half for Wisconsin, picking up 14 of his 17 points in the second half on 6-7 shooting from the floor.But Hayes, who led the team in free throw attempts, wouldn’t even convert on half of his chances going 5-11 from the line.“I missed more free throws than I made and that’s a big problem,” Hayes said. “I have to start converting at the free throw line. Getting there is not the problem — I need to just start making my shots so I can help the team.”The freshman out of Toledo owns the team’s worst free throw percentage converting just 59 percent of his shots and admitted the missed shots start to get in his head.“It’s all mental,” Hayes said. “I have to take it upon my self to have a short memory when it comes to the free throw line, so if I miss I start over at zero for zero and try to knock the next ones down.”Trouble from downtownWhile troubles at the free throw line are nothing new for a Wisconsin team that hit just 64 percent of its shots from the line last year, struggling to convert from beyond the three-point arc is a unique problem for this Badger team.In its last 100 attempts from three-point territory, Wisconsin has hit just 27 of them including a then-season-worst result against Northwestern last Wednesday where the Badgers went 5 for 24 from beyond the arc.Saturday wasn’t much different for Wisconsin going up against the best three-point defending team in the Big Ten as the Badgers hit only three of its shot from deep on 17 attempts (17.6 percent) — a new season low.Wisconsin was able to find clean looks on kick outs and swings along the perimeter, but couldn’t get the ball to go down.“I have a hard time figuring out how in the last two games we didn’t knock down more perimeter shots. That I don’t understand,” head coach Bo Ryan said.”Guys have to be able to step up and hit shots and obviously we didn’t. We miss some free throws, missed some wide-open shots for threes. If you expect to be on the left hand side you have to make some of those.”Shooting has been a problem for Wisconsin in its last two losses shooting 32.3 percent from the field and just 19.5 percent from three-point range.Ryan accounts for shooting as the major reason for the Badgers’ recent slide that has dropped them to sixth in the Big Ten.“In the last two games [the difference] has basically been the shots,” Ryan said. “I thought we had a great blend of inside, outside, but we have some guys who have some deficiencies and they show and other teams have exploited those. So, the guys that that’s happening to have to get better, which is what we’re still trying to do.”last_img read more

Beat writers predict Syracuse men’s basketball season record, MVP and X-Factor

first_img Published on November 4, 2018 at 8:14 pm Comments Last season, Syracuse received the final at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and rattled off three wins in five days to make the Sweet 16. This season, the expectations are higher from the start. The Orange are a consensus top-25 team across all major rankings and return all five starters, along with Elijah Hughes being eligible to play after sitting out last season.Here’s what our beat writers think the Orange will accomplish this season.Charlie DiSturcoReady for takeoffRecord: 24-7MVP: Tyus BattleX-Factor: OffenseA year removed from a Sweet 16 appearance, Syracuse returns all five of its starters — including star Tyus Battle, who’s been working on his shot all offseason. Tack on the fact that transfer Elijah Hughes and freshmen Jalen Carey and Buddy Boeheim will work into the rotation in 2018, and this SU team is ready to take that next step. It’s very rare to have a team both this experienced and deep in college basketball. While Syracuse was a very solid defensive team last year, it struggled offensively. That’s where the new additions will play a role. Hughes and Boeheim add another facet to the offense with their 3-ball — the Orange shot 31.8 percent from 3 as a whole — and Carey is a versatile point guard. There’s a lot to love about this Syracuse team, and if the SU offense can put it all together, they have the potential to make a lot of noise in the NCAA Tournament once again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMatthew GutierrezFive-headed monsterRecord: 23-8MVP: Tyus BattleX-Factor: The BigsAll five starters back, quick guard off the bench, stellar 2-3 zone, finally some depth, blah, blah, blah. The last time SU was this hyped? Two years ago, and we all know how that season panned out. I look forward to seeing how Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett and Frank Howard develop not so much in their ability to score — we saw them do that last season — but in how they engage their teammates. That’s the key, because we learned a year ago that three scorers aren’t enough to be consistent. Plus, can the bigs pose more of a threat in the paint? Can Syracuse generate more production off the pick-and-roll? Keep an eye there. Nonetheless, the Orange shouldn’t be overlooked with this much talent and depth. There’s a potential for a deep run come the Big Dance.Billy HeyenThe boys are backRecord: 25-6MVP: Tyus BattleX-Factor: Oshae BrissettFor a few spring months, the outlook of this season hung in the balance. Tyus Battle was involved in the NBA Draft process. But he came back. Battle should lead the Orange in scoring for the second-straight year, and Jim Boeheim expects increased depth to help SU play faster. But the difference between good and great will come down to Oshae Brissett. Does he settle in right around 15 points and nine rebounds a game, like last year? Or has he grown into a top-10 player in the ACC, someone who makes 35-plus percent of his 3-pointers and challenges to be an NBA lottery pick in June? Teams with one star — think Ben Simmons at LSU, or Markelle Fultz at Washington — rarely become memorable. Teams with two, like Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick for the 2003 national champs, can be special. If Battle and Brissett both have grown, that’s exactly what this Syracuse team could be.center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more