first_imgGoalkeeper Joe Hart is determined not to let Manchester City’s season end with a whimper. City now seem unlikely to retain their title having fallen six points behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand, while they were ousted from the Champions League by a far superior Barcelona side on Wednesday. But Hart is not ready to concede defeat to Chelsea yet and insists City, who host West Brom on Saturday, still have a lot to play for. The 27-year-old said: “I will never give up, ever, and I could safely say that nobody in our dressing room will ever give up either. We will see where that takes us. “West Brom is a huge game and we turn our focus to that. We have no excuse not to throw everything at the Premier League now and give our all – to the fans, the owner, to everyone. “Every game is a must-win now. We have no time to lick our wounds, we have to fly into that game. “We have to win every game, and that is how we will go into it, and see where it takes us. “We have had a few knocks this season, but we have proved it time and time again, and so have our fans, that we come back and we keep fighting.” City’s recent form has brought heavy criticism of the team and manager Manuel Pellegrini, who could now be facing a fight to keep his job. Press Association The England number one has made a rallying call to his team-mates in the hope of sparking a charge through the closing games of the year. City’s campaign has fallen apart in 2015 with a run of three wins in 12 games costing them heavily in the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and in Europe. But Hart, who was outstanding in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at the Nou Camp, believes all the negativity coming the team’s way is only par for the course and is not overly concerned. He said: “That’s part of being at Man City. We all get talked about. I have been the worst keeper in the world recently and Vinny (Kompany) has been the worst defender in the world. “We have all had our moment. That’s the role of being at Man City. If we don’t win we are going to get slaughtered.” It has also been suggested the squad needs a shake-up in the summer but Hart continues to back his current team-mates. He said: “We have nine games left with his fantastically talented squad. We have a lot of tired legs but we have players to come in. They are good players. They can freshen us up. I think we have what we need.” last_img read more


first_imgAnother offseason comes and yet again, so does another transfer quarterback for Wisconsin football. This time, it’s a junior college transfer.Tanner McEvoy, regarded as the top dual-threat quarterback in junior college football, is transferring to Wisconsin, as reported by Evan Flood of 247sports Monday afternoon. McEvoy visited Wisconsin on Jan. 29 and was reportedly interested in Oregon, Florida and West Virginia.The 6-foot-6 quarterback from Hillsdale, N.J. just recently spent his first season of eligibility at Arizona Western Community College, where he played in eight games and threw 24 touchdowns. The four-star thrower is deemed a dual-threat quarterback due to his ability to not only pass efficiently, but run as well. McEvoy also ran for 250 yards and 3 touchdowns on the season.Originally a South Carolina Gamecock, McEvoy decided to transfer at the beginning of his redshirt freshman season following a late June arrest in North Carolina for driving after consuming alcohol while under the legal drinking age. Following the arrest, he was temporarily suspended from team activities before being reinstated before the season.McEvoy is the lone quarterback from new head coach Gary Andersen’s 2013 recruiting class and will have three years of eligibility. He will join a long list of quarterbacks competing for play in 2013, which includes three former starters in Joel Stave, Curt Phillips and Danny O’Brien. Redshirt Freshman and former four-star recruit himself Bart Houston will also be in the mix after returning from shoulder surgery as well as redshirt senior Jon Budmayr.last_img read more


first_imgWhich of these two statements strikes you as more important likely depends on how deeply you are involved in the Kentucky Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks.MORE: Previewing Year 10 of Ryan Fagan’s college hoops road tripIf you are a fan of the game in general, then the meeting of two of the greatest programs in the game is likely to catch your interest even, if they weren’t both fighting to claim a spot on this season’s top tier. If you are a fan of UK or KU, then what you want most is to claim a quality win.Kentucky has won 2,280 games in its 116 years of competition, more than any other big-time program. Kansas is second at 2,264 in 121 years. Each has won more than 70 percent of its games, a figure only four major programs have achieved. So we know what’s happening in the showcase game of the Big 12/SEC Challenge is important, but there are numbers more germane to this particular occasion:1: Kansas has won three consecutive games in the series. They last played in the Champions Classic near the start of the 2017-18 season. KU invaded Rupp the year before and vexed the Wildcats with a zone defense that helped the Jayhawks grab a 79-73 victory. There is a different dynamic this time, though, with Kansas still working through its adjustment to the absence of center Udoka Azubuike, lost for the year with a hand injury, and Kentucky beginning to discover its offense in a five-game winning streak.The Jayhawks have been using a lineup with 6-9 Dedric Lawson as a nominal center, adjacent to 6-5 Marcus Garrett, 6-5 Quentin Grimes and 6-5 LaGerald Vick. Freshman Devon Dotson is the point guard. They are 4-2 with that base lineup.2. Kentucky has won five consecutive games. The Wildcats have scored at least 1.0 points per possession during that winning streak, something they failed to do in an SEC-opening loss at Alabama. Part of the consistency in that department comes from freshman wings Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson, who contributed 20 points each in the road win at Auburn and are combining for 23.4 points and .461 shooting from the field.“Herro and Keldon Johnson are both having terrific years and are on a roll right now,” KU coach Bill Self told reporters on Thursday. “They are good. They are a team that can win a national championship. I know everybody thought that before the season, and then you have one game where the attention shifts. … They’ve grinded their way back to where they are right now, and that’s being one of the best teams in the country.”MORE: Self’s decision without Azubuike: Go small or go young?3. Post-Doke Kansas is minus-5 on the boards. Since the Jayhawks lost their massive center, they’ve been able to out-rebound smallish teams like Iowa State, largely because All-America candidate Dedric Lawson delivered 11 or more rebounds four times in six games. But bigger teams like Texas (by seven) and Baylor (by 19) punished the Jayhawks on the glass.Kentucky is eighth in the country in offensive rebound percentage and seventh in rebound margin. This is an area of concern for KU.4. Marcus Garrett averaged 17 points over the past three games. A 6-5 sophomore from Dallas, Garrett had as many double-figure scoring games against high-major opponents in that stretch as in his entire career to that point. Though he struck three times from 3-point range in beating Texas, he is doing it mostly by using the space created in KU’s halfcourt offense to get by defenders for drives to the rim. He shot .665 on 2-pointers during that surge. Garrett became a starter when Azubuike was injured and Self decided to employ a smaller lineup.“I don’t think he’s done anything different,” Self said of Garrett. “He’s coachable. He’s tough. He tries hard. He’s smart. He’s got fast hands and he loves to compete. But we knew that when we recruited him. I don’t think he’s done a lot different, except just be himself.”5. Ashton Hagans has six consecutive games with at least four assists. Now firmly established as Kentucky’s point guard, Hagans has shown he is more than just a defensive whiz by averaging 13.4 points and 5.6 assists and shooting .558 from the field during the team’s winning streak. He remains a reluctant long-distance shooter, attempting only a half-dozen and making one over those five games, but he has come to understand the importance of not passing up open shots and disrupting the Wildcats offensive flow.MORE: UK, no longer haunted by Duke defeat, making way back among elite6. KU will not play a higher-ranked opponent — in NET — before the NCAAs. That makes this a huge game for the Jayhawks. They have two scheduled games against No. 17 Texas Tech. It’s possible the Red Raiders could storm down the stretch and Kentucky could stumble, which would make Tech a higher-rated opponent. But as it stands, and as the trends have gone lately, the No. 8 Wildcats will remain an important opponent for KU. The No. 1 and No. 2 programs in Division I basketball history will play Saturday night at Rupp Arena.The No. 9 and No. 13 programs in the NCAA’s NET ranking will play Saturday night at Rupp Arena. The reverse is true for Kentucky, just not as much. The Wildcats still have two games against No. 5 Tennessee, plus a home game against No. 12 LSU. There are more opportunities for Kentucky to get big wins. But every one helps.It is odd to see the Big 12/SEC Challenge at this time of year, when all the other conferences are engaged in league play. ESPN did not have good fortune with the matchups established, with only two of the 10 games including two ranked teams. One of those is KU-UK, however.That alone makes the Challenge worth our time.last_img read more


first_imgShare8TweetShare2Email10 SharesJanuary 10, 2017, ABC NewsIn times when nothing related to elections works the way one anticipates, it shouldn’t be surprising that confirming the incoming president’s appointees is setting its own precedents. The nation’s sharp ideological divide is reflected in the U.S. Senate’s progress and process in confirming Cabinet secretaries and other agency heads. In an unprecedented move, the Senate Democratic minority is signaling that they will oppose most or all of Trump’s nominees, making it likely that most will be approved by a party-line 52-48 margin.Traditionally, the U.S. Senate’s Constitutional “advise and consent” power over presidential appointees has been exercised with a presumption that people nominated for high office by the president should be confirmed unless there is an exceptional reason why they should not be. To be sure, exceptions have occurred throughout American history, but even those exceptions have typically been disposed of by a nominee’s decision—with or without prompting—to withdraw their name from Senate consideration rather than have the Senate hold a close vote or, worse, reject a nominee.Nominees, once announced, traditionally head to Capitol Hill to hold informal meetings with the members of the Senate committee that will hold hearings on their confirmation. Courtesy photos are taken, specific concerns and pet projects of each committee member are discussed, and the nominee is made aware of any particular policy issue or initiative that he or she may be questioned about during the hearing.These meetings are part of the preparation process for both nominees and committee members, regardless of party and any prior friendship or professional contact. Meanwhile, nominees fill out questionnaires and financial disclosure forms, and background checks are performed. Ideally, the president’s transition team will have already done much of this work, meaning that the nominee will have most of the materials ready for the Senate. The confirmation hearings themselves typically give the nominee the opportunity to assure committee members that the nominee, once confirmed, will work with the Senate as a whole and each committee member in particular. These promises are not legally binding, but it is understood by all that there is a certain amount of horse-trading and pledge-making being done using diplomatic (political) language.Democrats would like to have several of the confirmation hearings delayed. There is concern that not all of Trump’s nominees have provided all the financial records and other documentation of potential conflicts of interest necessary for evaluation and investigation. One reason for this, according to Republican spokespeople, is that many of the nominees are wealthy beyond the level of wealth typically associated with Cabinet service. These multimillionaires and billionaires have countless investments and other relationships, all of which take time to document. Some Democrats insist that no nominee’s hearing should be held before complete disclosure information has been received and verified.Some nominees, like Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, are being opposed because they have expressed opposition to department policy (at the Environmental Protection Agency) or even, in the case of former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), advocated for the closing of the agency he has been nominated to lead (Department of Energy).Nominees are being opposed for both principled and political reasons. Commentators have noted that Democratic-aligned and other groups fearing change in federal policy are using the confirmation process to generate both protest and contributions. Senate Democrats can oppose Trump’s nominees, endearing them to their supporters without affecting the nominees’ confirmation by the full Senate.The mechanics of voting are simple. Since Republicans constitute a majority of all Senate committees, nominees are very likely to be recommended for confirmation once hearings are complete. Since it takes only 41 votes to defeat a filibuster and invoke cloture (force a Senate vote after a defined period of debate), it’s highly unlikely that nominations can be stopped on the Senate floor.The possibility exists that three GOP senators may join with all 48 Democrats to oppose a nomination and refuse to confirm a nominee. This is extraordinarily unlikely because, in a partisan environment, both Republican and Democratic senators will be encouraged by their leadership to be loyal to their party. Failure to do so can carry serious penalties for a senator—and promotion of their state’s interests in the Senate. Further, threats to hold a senator accountable to the electorate for their vote in 2018 is more problematic for Democrats than for Republicans, since 23 Democratic and two Democratic-aligned Independent Senators are up for reelection and only eight GOP Senators are. Besides, 2016 was the year the GOP was supposed to be vulnerable and expected to lose its Senate majority, and it didn’t happen. Defections from party rigidity may happen, but on both sides of the political aisle.As with much of the recent election-related drama, the confirmation process unfolding beginning this week in the U.S. Senate offers abundant opportunity but little likelihood of significant deviation from historical norms for both political parties, with the exception of more than usual close votes. President-elect Trump will get all or most of his nominees confirmed, and the partisan battles will continue.—Michael WylandShare8TweetShare2Email10 Shareslast_img read more