Lonnieball: teamwork is money’s new best friend

By Nick Zazulia

Lonnie Wheeler thinks sabermetrics is just great. The sportswriter and author of nine baseball books is constantly amazed by what advanced statistics can reveal about a player or team. He wants to make that clear, right up front.

That said, they might just be missing something. Doesn’t it seem likely there is at least a little bit of pretty important stuff that all of our WHIPs and WARs and VORPs cannot or do not take into account?

That’s Wheeler’s belief, anyway.

That’s why he wrote “Intangiball: The Subtle Things That Win Baseball Games,” an ode to the mystical 10 percent Wheeler estimates the fancy stats still can’t pin down. The book was released Aug. 11, but seems to have made an impression. At least one major league team, which Wheeler wouldn’t identify, has tried to bring him in to talk to its staff.

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Northwestern basketball loses forward Vic Law for the season

By Lena Blietz

Northwestern’s 6-foot-7 sophomore forward Vic Law will miss the season with a torn left labrum that needs surgery, the Wildcats announced on Wednesday.

“This hurts the Wildcats in the short run,” ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla said in a phone interview. “But this only ensures that the next couple of years beyond this, Chris Collins is going to have a very talented roster of young players.”

Collins, Northwestern’s third-year coach, is losing a player who averaged 7 points and 4.8 rebounds as a freshman, appearing in all 32 games and starting in 19.
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Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman shares childhood experiences in new book (Video)

By Lena Blietz

An estimated 75 people, many in Bears and Panthers jerseys, showed up to a Skokie Walmart at 4 p.m. on a Tuesday to see former Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman. The current Carolina Panther returned to Chicago to greet fans and sign copies of his new children’s book.

The Middle School Rules of Charles “Peanut” Tillman by Sean Jensen was released two days earlier, on Nov. 1.

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Largest LGBT sports organization in the Midwest celebrates community (Video)

By Lena Blietz

Positive changes have occurred in the last two decades at the LGBT-focused  sports league, the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association, said coach and former player Linda Horwitz.

“There are certainly more children around as more lesbians are choosing to have children. I also think we are more trans-inclusive. In the past when my friends transitioned, they usually stopped playing,” Horwitz wrote in an email. “I don’t think that is the case currently.”

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Game-winning field goal leads Northwestern past Penn State

By Jordan Ray

In the first quarter, Northwestern kicker Jack Mitchell missed a field goal.

In the second quarter, he missed an extra point.

In the third quarter, he missed another field goal.

In the fourth quarter, he won the game.

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Copley carries Wolves to second win over Moose

By Nick Zazulia

22-year-old winger Ty Ratti had notched four goals and three assists through three games for the Chicago Wolves when general manager Wendell Young got the call letting him know that Ratti would be promoted to their NHL affiliate, the St. Louis Blues.

The division-leading Wolves lost their next game to the 2-3 Rockford Ice Hogs.

The team rallied and ripped off three straight. With Sunday’s 2-0 win over the Manitoba Moose, the Wolves are now 5-1-0-1 and still in control of the AHL’s Central Division.

“When you lose a guy like Ratti, who is your leading scorer, that changes three lines,” said coach John Anderson. “You have to move guys everywhere to adjust. But that’s just life in the American Hockey League.”

If your best players being promoted is commonplace, then depth is paramount, and some depth players were were getting ice time Sunday evening. With the Wolves playing the Moose for the second time in three days, both teams rested their normal starting goalies.

The result? Chicago’s Pheonix Copley and Manitoba’s Eric Comrie combined for a stifling .964 collective save percentage on 56 total shots in the game.

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Loyola and Stevenson repeat playoff match up (VIDEO)

By Brooke Rayford

It is the second round of the high school football playoffs, and top teams in class 8A are keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

Last year’s state champions, Stevenson High School, were almost eliminated in the first round last Friday against Conant High School. With Stevenson seeded No. 16 this year and Conant No. 17, the game was expected to be a close one. The Patriots found a way to come back from a 16-point deficit to win 43-35.

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NU volleyball hopes to return to NCAA tourney

By Haydee Clotter

Northwestern’s women’s volleyball team hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2010. The Wildcats are in 10th place in the Big Ten, ahead of Indiana, Maryland, Iowa and Rutgers.

Coach Keylor Chan said there is plenty of time to worry about that, with seven matches left in the regular season. For now, the Wildcats can enjoy ending their three-match losing streak. After dropping the first set at Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern won the next three to defeat Michigan State and improve to 13-10, 5-7 in the Big Ten Conference.

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Daryl Morey on stats, surprises and shutdown defense

By Nick Zazulia

You rarely hear basketball fans praise a missed shot by their favorite team.

You will if you talk to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

In a telephone interview before the season started last week, ​Morey used that as an example of how the game has changed in recent years. As the first NBA GM with an analytics background, Morey helped pioneer the use of advanced metrics to build an NBA roster. Continue reading

Northwestern football’s turnaround a matter of time

By Jordan Ray

In Northwestern’s first five games, it allowed only 35 points.

The Wildcats gave up 106 in their three games since.

The defense that carried the Wildcats to a 5-0 start and No. 13 ranking in the Associated Press poll unraveled down the stretch as the team lost two straight and almost a third entering the bye week.

“When you don’t play well for a couple of weeks, everybody kind of casts you aside,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “You look at the way people are talking about Stanford. We shut ’em down. … We went to Durham, and we shut them down. That’s the team that we’re capable of.”

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