Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund: Issues and Decisions That Will Shape Game

Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund: Issues and Decisions That Will Shape Game
Frank Augstein/Associated Press

Borussia Dortmund will conclude a troubling end to 2014 on Friday night with a trip to Werder Bremen in the final Bundesliga fixture for the former German champions before the winter break. 

Bremen, a club who have also struggled with their own fall from grace over the past 10 years, are one of the few teams who still sit below Dortmund in the league table.

In fact, Viktor Skrypnyk’s side are currently sitting bottom of the Bundesliga. 

For Jurgen Klopp, an opportunity to take advantage of a side more troubled than his own now stands before him. Dortmund travel to the Weserstadion on Friday with high hopes of picking up three points, pulling themselves out of the relegation zone and finally turning their season around. 

Here are the key factors to consider before the match.

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Source: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2305010-werder-bremen-vs-borussia-dortmund-issues-and-decisions-that-will-shape-game

Rickey Henderson Mel Ott Mike Schmidt Frank Robinson Nap Lajoie Joe Morgan Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks

UFC Fight Night 58 weigh ins, live video stream

The official weigh-in event for UFC Fight Night 58: “Machida vs. Dollaway” takes place today (Fri., Dec. 19, 2014) from the Jose Correa Arena in Barueri, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

As usual, MMAmania.com will provide both a live video stream and complete UFC Fight Night 58 weigh-in results below, as well as detailed recap of the festivities just as soon as they conclude. The first fighter is expected to tip the scale at 2 p.m. ET.

Complete UFC Fight Night 58 weigh in results are as follows:

Main card

185 lbs.: Lyoto Machida () vs. CB Dollaway ()
135 lbs.: Renan Barao () vs. Mitch Gagnon ()
205 lbs.: Antonio Carlos Junior () vs. Patrick Cummins ()
155 lbs.: Elias Silverio () vs. Rashid Magnomedov ()
170 lbs.: Erick Silva () vs. Mike Rhodes ()
185 lbs.: Daniel Saafian () vs. Antonio dos Santos Jr.

Preliminary card

205 lbs.: Marcos Rogerio de Lima () vvs. Igor Pokrajac ()
145 lbs.: Tom Niinimaki () vs. Renato Carneiro ()
145 lbs.: Darren Elkins () vs. Hacran Dias ()
135 lbs.: Leandro Issa () vs. Yuta Sasaki ()
170 lbs.: Marcio Aexandre () vs. Tim Means ()
185 lbs.: Vitor Miranda () vs. Jake Collier ()

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 58 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, and then the remaining under card balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the FOX Sports 1 main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

See you then!

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Cap Anson Alex Rodriguez Eddie Mathews Jimmie Foxx Al Kaline George Davis Cal Ripken Wade Boggs Carl Yastrzemski Roger Connor George Brett Dan Brouthers Roberto Clemente Joe DiMaggio Charlie Gehringer Jeff Bagwell Rod Carew Ken Griffey Robin Yount Chipper Jones Albert Pujols Sam Crawford Bill Dahlen Frank Thomas Arky Vaughan Pete Rose Paul Molitor Frankie Frisch Ed Delahanty Reggie Jackson Paul Waner Fred Clarke Johnny Bench Johnny Mize Billy Hamilton Lou Whitaker Harry Heilmann Brooks Robinson Luke Appling Barry Larkin Derek Jeter Tony Gwynn Jesse Burkett Bobby Grich Carlton Fisk Duke Snider Edgar Martinez Larry Walker Jim Thome Alan Trammell Eddie Murray Jim Edmonds Ivan Rodriguez Pee Wee Reese Ron Santo Gary Carter Manny Ramirez Craig Biggio Rafael Palmeiro Willie McCovey Kenny Lofton Tim Raines Ozzie Smith Ernie Banks Frank Baker Roberto Alomar Al Simmons Gary Sheffield Mark McGwire Reggie Smith

MIT Computer Scientists Demonstrate the Hard Way That Gender Still Matters

An aerial view of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An aerial view of the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. David L Ryan/The Boston Globe/Getty Images

?We?re 3 female computer scientists at MIT, here to answer questions about programming and academia. Ask us anything!? we wrote for our Reddit Ask Me Anything session last Friday. And then, boom:

Dozens of questions like these were interspersed with marriage proposals and requests to ?make me a sandwich? in our AMA. We had intended for the AMA to be a chance to answer questions about what our lives are like as PhD students at MIT?s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), and what we could do to get more young people excited about programming.

The AMA became, to borrow one Reddit commenter?s phrase, ?a parody of what it?s actually like to be a woman working in a STEM field.?

Elena Glassman, Neha Narula and Jean Yang

Elena Glassman, Neha Narula
and Jean Yang are Computer Science PhD students at MIT?s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

As computer science PhD students, we were interested in fielding questions about programming, academia, MIT CSAIL, and how we got interested in the subject in the first place. As three of the few women in our department and as supporters of women pursuing STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics], we also wanted to let people know that we were interested in answering questions about what it is like to be women in a male-dominated field. We decided to actively highlight the fact that we were three female computer scientists doing an AMA, to serve as role models in a field that?s less than 20 percent female.

As it turned out, people were extremely interested in our AMA, though some not for the reasons we expected. Within an hour, the thread had rocketed to the Reddit front page, with hundreds of thousands of pageviews and more than 4,700 comments. But to our surprise, the most common questions were about why our gender was relevant at all. Some people wondered why we did not simply present ourselves as ?computer scientists.? Others questioned if calling attention to gender perpetuated sexism. Yet others felt that we were taking advantage of the fact that we were women to get more attention for our AMA.

The interactions in the AMA itself showed that gender does still matter. Many of the comments and questions illustrated how women are often treated in male-dominated STEM fields. Commenters interacted with us in a way they would not have interacted with men, asking us about our bra sizes, how often we ?copy male classmates? answers,? and even demanding we show our contributions ?or GTFO [Get The **** Out]?. One redditor helpfully called out the double standard, saying, ?Don?t worry guys ? when the male dog groomer did his AMA (where he specifically identified as male), there were also dozens of comments asking why his sex mattered. Oh no, wait, there weren?t.?

As for the question of whether we brought this treatment upon ourselves by mentioning our two X chromosomes, it is well known people give women on the internet a hard time whether they call attention to their gender or not. And as one redditor says, ?Gender neutrality and a push for equal rights is prevalent precisely because men and women have fought for it to become a topic of discussion.?

The dynamics of our AMA reflects gender issues that lead to disparities in who chooses to pursue careers in STEM fields. People treat girls and boys differently from an early age, giving them different feedback and expectations. There is strong evidence that American culture discourages even girls who demonstrate exceptional talent from pursuing STEM disciplines. For those few young women who continue to study science or engineering in college, there is still a good chance that they will leave afterward. There has recently been much discussion about how tech culture causes women to leave ?in droves;? the ?leaky pipeline? phenomenon of females choosing to stop pursuing careers in STEM is a well-known problem.

That?s why we wanted to talk about it. Head on. We made gender an explicit issue in the AMA to engage our audience in a discussion about both the existing problems and potential solutions. And in that way, it was a success. We were able to raise awareness about technical privilege, implicit bias, and imposter syndrome. The questions and responses in the AMA also gave both male and female Redditors a platform to share their own experiences in and suggestions for environments unfriendly to women. Many women supported our answers by telling stories of their own experiences. Numerous men asked how they could help be allies?and many people jumped in to offer helpful responses.

This is how change happens. Though we were surprised by the sheer amount of sexist and undermining comments, the overall interactions between commenters were heartening?and in many ways far more valuable than any of our individual contributions to the AMA. There is no denying that gender issues remain relevant in science and still often keep women out of science. By raising awareness and generating discussion, we hope to help women and other minorities feel more supported pursuing careers in STEM. We won?t keep quiet. You can keep asking us anything.

More about the authors:

Elena Glassman creates tools for teaching programming to thousands of students at once, and is President of MIT-MEET, which helps teach gifted Palestinians and Israelis computer science and teamwork in Jerusalem.

Neha Narula works on distributed systems and makes multicore databases go faster, and was previously a senior software engineer at Google.

Jean Yang created the verified Verve operating system and the Jeeves programming language, and also co-founded Graduate Women at MIT.

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Source: http://www.wired.com/2014/12/mit-scientists-on-women-in-stem/

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USMNT climb one spot in final FIFA World Rankings of 2014; Costa Rica finish tops in CONCACAF

Photo Credit: 
Action Images / Reuters

The US national team concluded an eventful 2014 as the 27th-ranked team on the planet, according to the year-end edition of the FIFA World Rankings released on Thursday, while their CONCACAF rivals Costa Rica finish the year at No. 16, the region’s top-ranked team.

Meanwhile, Mexico held steady at No. 20, Canada slipped another two places to 112th and Cuba were pinned with the unfortunate designation of ?Worst Mover? as they fell 34 places to 113th in the world, the month’s biggest drop.

There was no change in the upper end of FIFA’s list, with Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Belgium and the Netherlands keeping hold of the top five slots.

Despite gaining one spot from their November ranking, the USMNT have now slid 14 places since their No. 13 position in the June World Rankings going into the World Cup, their high-water mark for the year.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s side have won just one match since their Round-of-16 run in Brazil, having gone 1-2-2 in five friendlies this fall.

The powerhouse trio of Costa Rica, Mexico and the USA were the only CONCACAF teams to finish in the top 50, with Trinidad & Tobago (55th), Panama (57th), Honduras (71st), Guatemala and Haiti (tied for 72nd), Jamaica (75th), El Salvador (90th) and Antigua & Barbuda (94th) finding places in the world top 100.

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Source: http://www.mlssoccer.com/news/article/2014/12/18/usmnt-climb-one-spot-final-fifa-world-rankings-2014-costa-rica-finish-tops-c

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Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal might have anger issues after breaking PS4 controller

December 18th, 2014

Real Madrid teammates Isco and Dani Carvajal are in Morocco ahead of their tilt against San Lorenzo in the FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday (live, FOX Sports 2, 2:30 p.m. ET), so what better way to relax than a little gaming?

Sounds innocuous enough, right? Wrong. These guys are top-level competitors, so losing is not an option. Apparently Isco got the better of his teammate in a few games on PlayStation, and a controller became a casualty:

Keep in mind, the last time Real Madrid lost a game was the end of AUGUST, so being on the wrong end of a result is a downright foreign concept to these guys.

And, as any FIFA player can tell you, the emotions after losing a video game are tough to contain. Stuff can get broken. Is it petulant? Yes. Immature? You bet. Unavoidable? Probably. But nevertheless, it happens. Soccer-playing superstars. They?re just like us!

Image provided by Getty

(h/t Daily Mail)

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Source: http://blog.foxsoccer.com/post/105549371922

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Minecraft Players Will Get to Shape the Game’s Story

Mojang has partnered with Telltale Games to create a brand new Minecraft game that will be narrative-driven.

Dubbed “Minecraft: Story Mode,” the series will be set in the world of Minecraft, but it will feature an original story that combines new characters with familiar themes and is driven by player choice. It will be a separate standalone product.

“We’re not intending on creating an ‘official’ story for Steve, or explaining the world of Minecraft in detail,” said Mojang spokesperson Owen Hill. “It will be a cool game.”

Due to be released episodically, Minecraft: Story Mode is expected to debut next year for Xbox and PlayStation consoles, Windows and OS X PCs, and iOS and Android-based devices.

Telltale Games is the maker of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: Season Two, as well as Game of Thrones and Tales from the Borderlands.

Community Project

The decision to make the new game community-driven is “potentially brilliant,” said Lewis Ward, IDC’s research director for gaming.

“It’s interesting that they’re going to somehow incorporate feedback from the community and bring that into Minecraft: Story Mode,” Ward told TechNewsWorld. “In a way, it echoes what Minecraft is, which is a user-generated world.”

minecraft

It’s highly likely that there already have been gamers on Minecraft fan blogs who have “come up with theories as to how the universe was created,” he suggested. “I’m sure there’s a lot of thinking and probably fan art out there already.”

The move “seems to be a first for Telltale,” Ward added. “I like it. I’m a big believer in user-generated content and crowdsourcing in a general sense, and will be really intrigued to see what direction this will go in.”

There could be “lots of contradictory things thrown out there before they settle on something cool,” he acknowledged, but “from a marketing standpoint, it makes all the sense in the world for the community to be catered to on the level of, ‘you guys are going to write this.’”

High-Risk Storytelling

Considering it debuted in 2009, Minecraft is “probably due for an evolution of some sort,” said Christine Arrington, a senior analyst for games with IHS.

Story Mode seems like a natural next step,” she told TechNewsWorld.

Although Telltale’s involvement is somewhat surprising, according to Arrington, “the company has made a name for itself by being very responsive to gamer input and extending very well-known properties.

“Given their track record, I think Telltale is a good pick for a company that can take on that challenge,” she said.

“It is a very risky business to take on the kinds of stories they have — The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, for example — and satisfy a dedicated fan base that has very high expectations,” Arrington pointed out. “While Minecraft is from a very different genre, developing a story based on a property is what Telltale does.”

Starting From Scratch

There will be challenges, however.

Minecraft is at the far end of the spectrum from the fully formed properties Telltale is used to working with,” Arrington explained. “It will be a completely different development scenario, having a world with no story and starting from the beginning.”

The company will have to “be careful it does not consume resources from its other properties. Minecraft could be a juggernaut that uses up resources,” she said.

Of course, “as long as the Minecraft story is popular and successful, that might be OK, but Telltale already had a solid fan base that really does not cross over much with the Minecraft fan base,” Arrington observed. “The company will have to mindful of serving both markets.”


Katherine Noyes has been reporting on business and technology for decades. You can find her on Twitter and Google+.

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Source: http://www.technewsworld.com/story/81505.html?rss=1

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No. 2 Volleyball falls to BYU, 3-1 in NCAA Semifinals

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. ? No. 2 Texas Volleyball (29-3) fell to BYU (30-4), 3-1 (23-25, 16-25, 25-17, 24-26) in the NCAA Semifinals to end its season on Thursday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Sophomore Chiaka Ogbogu posted a career-high 14 kills, hitting .500 and also added a team-high eight blocks for the Longhorns.

Seniors Haley Eckerman and Khat Bell added nine kills each. Bell also contributed seven blocks.

Three players recorded double-digit digs, as freshman Cat McCoy led with 14 and juniors Amy Neal and Kat Brooks finished with 10 each.

Sophomores Nicole Dalton and Chloe Collins had 23 and 21 assists, respectively.

As a team, Texas posted its lowest hitting percentage of the season at .162 and was out-blocked, 17.0 to 14.5.

Sophomore Paulina Prieto Cerame led the longhorns to an early 2-0 lead, but after that a back and forth battle with 15 tied scores kept the Horns rallying their way through the first set. A set of BYU attack errors helped the Longhorns gain the momentum to go on a 5-1 run to widen the gap, but BYU answered closely after to steal the lead and take set one, 25-23.  Neither team led by more than three points in the first set.

The second set took off at a different speed and the Horns could not answer. The Cougars’ defense stepped up and recorded six blocks that Texas couldn’t find its way around. After a Texas timeout, it went on a 4-0 run which then forced BYU to sacrifice its first timeout of the set. Texas couldn’t hang on and BYU took the second set, 25-16.

In the third set, Texas hit .357 to terminate the Cougars chance of a clean sweep. Blocks by Ogbogu and Bell sparked a 3-0 lead and forced BYU to take its first timeout early in the set. Texas took the lead at 18-17 with a BYU service error and kept it as it finished the match (25-17) on a 8-0 run and limited BYU to a .093 hitting percentage.

The two teams played evenly in the fourth set with a 12-12 tie before BYU pulled ahead by three after a kill by Amy Boswell. The rally continued, but Texas found its rhythm late in the set with a kill by Ogbogu that yielded a 3-0 Texas run and a forced BYU timeout. Texas then pulled ahead at 20-19 on an Eckerman kill, but BYU answered and took eventually took a 24-23 advantage. The Longhorns survived the first match point, but the Cougars found themselves back in the driver’s seat at 25-24 and were able to close to win the match, 3-1.

Jennifer Hamson led the Cougars with 22 kills, 10 digs and seven blocks.

POSTGAME QUOTES

THE MODERATOR:  We’re joined by the Longhorns of the University of Texas.  Coach, your thoughts on tonight’s game.

            COACH ELLIOTT:  I thought BYU played exceptionally well.  Their block caused a lot of problems for us.  They got a lot of good touches and a lot of blocks and that took us out of our offense a bit.

            But I felt as the match went on we were gaining more and more control.  We won Game 3 and I thought we were in a good position to win Game 4.  And I think I can’t comment on refereeing, but I can comment where I think the sport needs to go and I think we need to look at some instant replays and some abilities to make some calls, because it’s difficult when you get a two-point switch and your kids tried as hard as they did.

            A lot of that was a tribute to what BYU did and hats off to what they accomplished tonight.  I thought our kids came in prepared.  I thought they fought really hard.

            They gave us a chance to get back, and I’m just really proud of what this team has accomplished this year and what Khat Bell and Haley have done for this program and it’s always hard when you’re not ending the season with a W.

            THE MODERATOR:  Questions for the student-athletes.

            Q.  You know all week long that BYU is the best blocking team in the country, but when you’re actually facing that block, how different or how difficult is it compared to what you were expecting or maybe thinking it would be, Haley?

            HALEY ECKERMAN:  I mean, we knew they were big, that they were obviously the top blocking team.  And we had practice with that.  Every day in our gym we have practice.

            We have girls like Chi who touches 11 foot.  We have a big block.  They came in, they did amazing.  They knew how to control the game.  And we fought back and you can tell everyone was trying to change things up and we were trying to manage and work hard with that and they ended up still getting out with it.

            Q.  Khat, seemed like they were able to take you out of system a lot in Games 1 and 2, and then you guys got back into it a little bit in Game 3, ran the middle more, strutting it a little bit.  Did you feel like the serve/receive was a big part of the difference in the match tonight, up and down?

            KHAT BELL:  I think all aspects of our game going from either from serve receive to blocking and picking good spots.  It affected us negatively and positively, I think.

            I think it’s a change in playing with the middles a lot more, getting them involved in the game is what made a difference for sure.  They were able to spread the offense a lot more and get the BYU’s middles to bite a little bit.  So it helped.

            Q.  Haley and Khat, it’s fairly common in the Final Four, teams who aren’t used to playing from behind find themselves in positions playing behind.  How did you guys feel that you reacted getting behind and having to battle back?

            HALEY ECKERMAN:  Especially Khat and I, we’ve been through that.  This season, our past career games, we’ve been through that.  And we knew we had to look each other in the eyes.  And it showed.  It showed we weren’t going to give up and we had that fight and we came out of the locker room and knew it wasn’t over yet.  We weren’t going to go down without a fight.

            And it’s hard as a loss but we know that we fought and that that game could have gone either way.  And if we would have gone into a fifth set, I think that our fight, we knew that we could take over a game.

            Q.  For any of the girls, because you can’t get fined by the NCAA, he can:  What were your thoughts about the tipped call?

            HALEY ECKERMAN:  Jerritt talked about how much of a momentum change it had.  I think going into that if we could have taken that point, I think we knew we weren’t going to give up.  And just like in our game last weekend, we found that fight and we had that fight and we could see it in each other’s eyes in that timeout right before that we weren’t going to give up.  So it’s kind of hard when you gotta go out like that.

            Q.  Ball touched?

            HALEY ECKERMAN:  No, promise you that.

            Q.  Coach, BYU played basically a perfect match the first two sets.  And did you think your kids kind of pressed a little bit after that?

            COACH ELLIOTT:  No, I thought we responded really well, Game 3.  Game 2 could have gone any way – or Game 1 could have gone either way.

            It was very, very tight.  25-deuce game.  It’s a challenge.  Game 2, I thought we just kind of fell apart, their block did a great job.  And they were on fire.

            We just couldn’t sustain the mentality of the pressure that they put on from that.  But in Game 3 we came out, played at a very high level, thought our blocking caught fire.  We put ourselves in a position with serve/receive, to get our middles a lot more involved, which we wanted to do.

            And ultimately, I think the last game it was a deuce game.  But it could have gone the other way, with other circumstances that occurred.  And I thought our team fought hard.

            But when we were getting more momentum, I thought – I told our team:  We get this game, they’re in trouble because I thought Hamson was getting tired, just from the pure amount of swings that she was taking.  And her numbers were dropping significantly as that match was going on.

            We were starting to get more touches and we were doing a better job defending her.  And here physicality wasn’t going over the block as much.  I felt that was going to be a big key.  And I felt really good – I saw that ball go out and saw our chance to serve the match.

            Q.  You’ve had two great seasons but two disappointing finishes at the Final Four.  What do you tell the players who are coming back to keep the fire stoked?  You worked so hard all season and then just come up a point or two short.

            COACH ELLIOTT:  This is a cruel profession.  One team walks away the champion.  And whether we lost tonight or whether we were to have lost on Saturday, still you’ve got to be able to kind of reflect – what we do is every year we go back, we give them a break.

            Then I give them a list of questions about every little part of our program, how I coach, what our practices are like, how our travel is, things that helped us get to the point, things that maybe we didn’t do well to get over the hump to win so that I can kind of create my little bible of how to get them back on pace and get them organized and get them motivated again.

            This is a competitive group.  I was blown away last weekend.  I didn’t realize we’ve been to nine straight Elite Eights and six out of last seven Final Fours.  We’ve been in this situation five out of the six times we’ve been to the Final Four.

            We’ve got to get back, look at some things.  Now we’ve got some different personnel.  And we’ll get them motivated.  But right now it’s time to rest and reflect.  And it’s a long, long season.

            Q.  On that same note, looking back at your season as a whole, did this team meet, possibly fall short, or even surpass your expectations?

            COACH ELLIOTT:  I think the goals at Texas now are the standards we’ve created.  If we don’t get to a Final Four it’s a disappointing season, which is sad in the sports, in coaching, but I think we reached two of our goals, was to get back to the Final Four and win the Big 12, which we did.

            We’re devastated that we didn’t win.  We thought we had a chance.  We thought we had a chance tonight.  I felt like Stanford and Penn State were the two best teams but I thought we had a good fighting chance to give a shot at that.

            And I will take – I’ll make my staff take a rest and we’ll get back, watch film, learn what we need to do and get back at it again.  That’s what you do.  You pick up the pieces and build a new puzzle and try to figure it out again.  That’s the fun part.

            Q.  Have you had a chance to see the replay of that point, 25-25?  If not, is that something that you’ll head back to the hotel and look at right away?

            COACH ELLIOTT:  I’ve not seen it.  But I’ve received numerous texts.  But, again, I’m not going to get into that.

            My disappointment is probably just where the angle it was called from.  It’s human error.  That’s why I’m saying the NCAA needs to look at it.  This game is going so fast.  And it’s a two-point switch.

            If it was basketball, a player missed a basketball shot, the other team got two points, it’s a big difference.  So you just want to give the athletes the best chance for them to settle on the floor.

            And that’s all we want as coaches.  That’s all we want as players.  That’s all I would imagine the NCAA would want as well.  When you’ve got a 6’7″ girl touching as high as she does, how minute those touches are and how close they are, it’s challenging.

            We saw some calls class week that I think Nebraska and Washington were very tight.  And I think with instant replay you get to do it right.  That’s all we’re asking is just to be fair.  We can’t just blame one person on this.

            Q.  As a team, you were held to a season low hitting percentage, Haley Eckerman held to a season low hitting percentage.  Just what about the BYU defense made it so tough for you tonight?

            COACH ELLIOTT:  If you don’t block – if you can pass you’re going to deal with their blocks.  We were passing under 1.9.  I think we steadied that a lot more.  I think Molly only had two sets in the first two games.

            And we were able to kind of get their middle going.  You’ll have to run the middle on the right side a lot.  With the 6’2″ situation and our ball control situation we don’t have a back court attack.

            It would have been nice to have been able to counter some of that with our back row attack when we’re off the net.  But you gotta live and die that.

            When you have Hamson out there and Young that are doing such a nice job out there – the least correlated stat to winning championships is blocking.  But they’re proving that stat wrong when they put up 17 stuffed blocks in a game.

            Q.  Last year everybody said you overlooked Wisconsin.  Is that the case today as well with BYU, or were they just that good?

            COACH ELLIOTT:  No, I was very comfortable with the way that our team prepared today.  I mean, I told our staff:  Look, if we don’t win this match it wasn’t because we didn’t prepare the right way, it wasn’t because of the talk we had.

            I think they learned their lesson last year.  I think it was a valuable lesson.  But they gave a tremendous amount of respect to BYU.  When you’re blocking like they are and you’re getting first ball kills like they are, it can be overwhelming.  You don’t have an answer.  And you just keep getting slugged.

            Until we got on a path – we were able to get our middles going and change the transition game a little bit.  I thought they were starting to slow down physically.  And that’s what we were hoping to do is get into that fifth set and give us a little more of a charge.  I thought our passing was picking up and we did some nice things.

            THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

Game Notes: BYU 3, No. 2 Texas 1

NCAA Notes…

  • BYU is now 40-26 all-time in NCAA matches and 1-1 all-time in NCAA Semifinal contests. The Cougars’ last appearance came in 1993.
  • BYU’s semifinal win is its first in program history. Head coach Shawn Olmstead will make his first career coaching appearance in an NCAA Final on Saturday.
  • Texas drops to 79-29 (.731) all-time in NCAA Tournament matches. The Longhorns were making their 10th all-time NCAA Semifinal appearance.

Individual & Team  Notes…

  • BYU now leads Texas 10-8 all-time. The Cougars last defeated Texas on Sept. 6, 1997 (3-0).
  • The Cougars are now riding a 12-match winning streak and have not lost a match since Oct. 30, 2014.
  • With the victory, BYU is 9-1 in four-set matches this season. The Cougars have not surrendered more than a single set to any opponent in the NCAA Tournament this season.
  • BYU last defeated a top-two team on Sept. 20, 2013, a 3-0 victory over San Diego.
  • BYU is only the second team this season to earn a set victory over Texas in NCAA Tournament play.
  • The Cougars are now 27-1 this season when winning the first set of a match. Prior to Thursday, the Longhorns had not dropped the first set of a match since Nov. 19 (vs. Baylor).
  • BYU senior Jennifer Hamson logged 22 kills and 10 digs against Texas, marking her sixth double-double this season and her third in NCAA Tournament action.
  • Hamson’s team-high 22 kills marked the 24th time this season she has recorded a 10-plus kills in a single match and the fifth time she has posted 20-plus. The Cougars are 22-3 when Hamson records 10-plus kills in a match.
  • BYU junior Alexa Gray’s 19 kills boosted her single-season total to 496, just 20 shy of Chelsea Goodman’s BYU record (516, 2007).
  • BYU out-blocked the Longhorns 17-14.5, marking the Cougars’ 30th victory when out-blocking an opponent in 2014. BYU’s semifinal win marks the first time this season the Cougars have defeated an opponent that posted 12-plus blocks in the contest.
  • Texas head coach Jerritt Elliott was denied his 400th career victory with the Longhorns’ loss to BYU.
  • The Longhorns had dropped only one set in the 2014 NCAA Tournament entering Thursday’s match.
  • Texas was out-blocked for just the third time in 30 matches this season. BYU led the blocking battle 17.0-14.5 on Thursday.
  • The Longhorns were out-hit for just the second time in the last 54 matches. Texas hit .162 to BYU’s .209.  The .162 hitting efficiency was a season low for the Longhorns.
  • Texas middle blocker Chiaka Ogbogu charted a career-high 14 kills to lead the Longhorns. Her previous high in kills was 12 at Oklahoma on Nov. 15, 2014. It was Ogbogu’s seventh time to reach double-figure kills this season and her third time in the last four matches.
  • Ogbogu hit .500 in the match, marking the 25th time this season she has hit .300 or better.
  • With five blocks in the match, Texas’ Molly McCage moved up to sixth on Texas’ all-time career block assists list with 357. She surpassed Katie Austin (1995-98), who accumulated 353 career block assists.
  • Texas seniors Khat Bell and Haley Eckerman conclude their Texas careers with a 104-14 (.881) record and comprise the only senior class in school history to win four Big 12 Championships.
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Morning Report: CM Punk says he ‘would fight Anderson Silva tomorrow’ for ‘the correct amount of money’

On a media blitz in New York City Thursday, professional wrestling’s CM Punk began opening up a bit more on the early conversations held with UFC president Dana White prior to his joining the promotion earlier in December.

The WWE star has taken a mountain of flak for his choice to cannonball into MMA’s grandest stage at 36 with no resume to speak of, but Punk says he was willing to endure the entry level tournament that is ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’

“It was very much a kind of free flowing conversation sort of like, ‘Well if you’re interested in doing this we’re interested in having you on board,’ so the kind of things I talked about in that conversation were, well, ‘Would you guys want me in ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ house? Is that the best way? Or is there another way that’s best to introduce the world to this idea?’” Punk told Jim Rome on Thursday (via FOX Sports).

Punk had mentioned the possibility of appearing on the UFC reality show in January in an interview with Ariel Helwani, but didn’t sound incredibly enthused.

“Not tooting my own horn and I’m saying that I’m some sort of megastar or anything,” Punk said earlier this year. “But do you put CM Punk [on TUF]?”

Thursday, Punk said he even warned UFC brass about the inevitable backlash of his signing.

“I said, ‘Listen guys, there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to be mad at you.’ Obviously they took that into consideration, but the idea — just as my personality is — we don’t really care what other people think of ourselves, so it’s their company. They presented me with a tremendous opportunity. I feel I would have been foolish if I would have left it on the table.”

In the comfort of a few like-minded professional wrestling fans, Punk explained that the sport’s complaining purists don’t even really have an argument to stand on.

“I understand that fans and fighters alike will look at me and have that viewpoint, so I’m very, like, ‘OK, I understand totally, because Jose Canseco wants to fight me,” Punk told Opie Radio on SiriusXM. “I think I’m going to bring eyes to the product and I think there’s going to be those MMA purists who are like, ‘Go back to phony wrestling,’ not understanding that MMA actually evolved from pro wrestling.”

It wasn’t until he appeared on TSN’s ‘Off The Record’ with Michael Landsberg that Punk truly went on the defensive.

After lampooning Punk in an animated roll-in segment, as per usual on OTR, Landsberg expressed his belief that White is protecting him by planning to book him against a likewise questionable talent, rather than a UFC caliber fighter.

“No,’ replied Punk. “We never had a conversation about who I would fight or what their experience level would be so that was Dana talking.”

Landsberg pressed on by asking if Punk would accept a bout with someone with as much UFC experience as Nate Diaz, who voiced his concern over the signing prior to his bout with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 13.

Punk responded by saying he’d fight anyone if it paid well enough, something he’s maintained isn’t a motivating factor for starting his fight career.

“Look, this is where things will get said out of context,” said Punk. “I don’t think Nate called me out. What Nate did was express his opinion on the UFC signing me and me fighting in the UFC. I respect his opinion. I’m still a Nate Diaz fan. I watched him fight last Saturday and I’ll watch him the next time he fights.

“Who I fight isn’t 100 percent up to me. I don’t think it’s 100 percent up to any fighter. That’s what the [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva’s of the world are for. Would I fight Nate Diaz? This is where he takes it out of context. Yea, I would fight anybody given the proper time to prepare for it. Would that be a wise decision at this juncture in my career? Probably not. But I would also fight Anderson Silva tomorrow if you paid me the correct amount of money to do so.”

Fortunately for Punk, Silva already has a date to main event UFC 183 with Nick Diaz on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas. With talk of Punk’s UFC debut now being pushed to late 2015, anything is possible.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

MMA Beat. The panel discusses the class action lawsuit filed against the UFC, Robbie Lawler’s future, the Reebok deal, CM Punk, our stories of the year, and much more.

‘Every fight that we do isn’t going to be everybody’s thing.’ UFC president Dana White defends his decision to bring in professional wrestler CM Punk, while responding to one of the signing’s biggest critics in Ben Askren.

‘I’ll play the bad guy’ Jon Jones says he’s embraced his role after ‘the media painted’ him as a villain against Daniel Cormier.

‘I never ran from anyone’ Renan Barao says he hopes T.J. Dillashaw keeps his UFC title so he can ‘beat him up and make him stop talking trash.’

Numbers. Dave Meltzer explains how strong PPV buy rates for UFC 181 could be costing Rory MacDonald his welterweight title shot. ’As a hardcore fan, I’d have liked to have seen MacDonald get the shot, but right now, Hendricks is the bigger name of the two.’

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MEDIA STEW

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Free Fight: Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller.

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The complete Cormier interview from UFC Tonight.

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Conor McGregor talking about moving to lightweight and fighting Jose Aldo.

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CB Dollaway is comfortable as the underdog against Lyoto Machida.

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Wanderlei Silva talks UFC lawsuit, Reekbok deal, CM Punk and more.

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TTTHS.

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Long watches.

SamboTech Episode 1 – Palhares vs Fitch

BAMMA 17: (Main Event) Colin Fletcher vs Micheal Brightmon

#024 – PALMER, BUCHHOLZ, STUDBOY, and MURDOCK. “The WORLD CHAMP Visits, times 2″

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TWEETS

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Big move.

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Jon Jones gets tested.

The Nevada State athletic commission just stopped by my house and hit me with that random.. Only thing I’m on is that #PHW pure hard work! They’re probably wondering how my chicken legs are so strong. I’ve had a few @muscletech products but that’s all legal :)

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They mad.

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Lawsuit comments.

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Father time got another one.

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Congrats.

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Holiday shopping.

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Outstanding.

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This Week in Struggle.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Dec. 18 2014)

Matt Dwyer vs. William Macario at UFC Fight Night: Porto Alegre

Sam Alvey vs. Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night: Porto Alegre

Rustam Khabilov vs. Adriano Martins at UFC Fight Night: Porto Alegre

Alexis Dufresne vs. Marion Reneau at UFC 182

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today’s Fanpost of the Day comes via jaywolf1.

ONEFC beats UFC to China w/PRIDErules and Grand Prix FRIDAY

This Friday, while the UFC is dealing with a lawsuit (burn! lol) ONEFC will be making history by breaking into mainland China with a card that includes not one, but TWO samenight PRIDEstyle Grand Prix! Awesome…

This event will be available for everyone to watch in HD for only $10 on ONEFC’s website, and that includes FULL REPLAY so you don’t have to pull an all night’r to watch! All you have to do is avoid internet spoilers till you get off work and press play! How cool is that!? All fans plz consider buying it and help support my fav org! Thanks!

Now yes there are some other good fighters on the card: Ji, Sexton, Pang, etc….

…but y’all know me and what I’m about! TOURNAMENTS BABY!!! Especially the EPIC PRIDEstyle GrandPrix!

Check out the rest of the post here.

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UFC Fight Night 58: Machida vs. Dollaway Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions, More

UFC Fight Night 58: Machida vs. Dollaway Fight Card, TV Info, Predictions, More
USA TODAY Sports

The hearts and minds of most UFC fans are focused on January 3, 2015 when Jon “Bones” Jones defends his light heavyweight title against Daniel Cormier. However, before that epic event takes place, there’s a pretty noteworthy show on tap Saturday in Brazil.

Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida will take on CB “The Doberman” Dollaway in a crucial fight for position in the UFC’s top-10 middleweight rankings. The 36-year-old Machida lost his shot at the middleweight crown in his last fight against current champion Chris Weidman in July.

It was an excellent bout, but Weidman did enough to earn the judges’ decision. Machida is back, and now he will try to deliver a rude welcome to “The Doberman” in his native Brazil. 

At 31 years old, Dollaway is five years younger than Machida, but he’ll be lagging behind when it comes to experience and crowd support. All of these things could factor into the final results. Per Odds Shark, Machida is listed as a minus-600 favorite.

Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Dollaway understands the challenge, and he is looking to beat the odds.

In the co-main event, former bantamweight champion and No. 1 contender, Renan Barao returns to The Octagon after losing his title to T.J. Dillashaw in May. Barao had to bow out of the subsequent rematch when he became ill prior to the match while attempting to make the 135-pound weight limit.

In order to get in position to challenge Dillashaw again, Barao needs to prove he’s back in form. On Saturday, he faces Mitch Gagnon in a fight that could make the latter’s career. 

Gagnon has won four fights in a row since losing his UFC debut to Bryan Caraway in July 2012. Beating Barao would vault Gagnon into the UFC’s top 10 amongst bantamweights. 

There are 10 other fights on tap. Here’s a look at the full card, viewing information and predictions for each match. Just below the table is a closer look at the top-three bouts.

UFC Fight Night 58 Card, Viewing Info and Predictions
UFC Fight Pass Prelims at 7 p.m. ET
Matchup Weight Class Prediction
Vitor Miranda vs. Jake Collier Middleweight Collier by TKO
Marcio Alexandre vs. Tim Means Welterweight Alexandre by KO
Fox Sports 1 Prelims at 8 p.m. ET
Matchup Weight Class Prediction
Leandro Issa vs. Ulka Sasaki Bantamweight Sasaki by decision
Darren Elkins vs. Hacran Dias Featherweight Elkins by decision
Tom Niinimaki vs. Renato Moicano Featherweight Moicano by submission
Marcis Rogerio de Lima vs. Igor Pokrajac Light Heavyweight Rogerio de Lima by KO
Fox Sports 1 Main Card at 10 p.m. ET
Matchup Weight Class Prediction
Daniel Sarafian vs. Antonio dos Santos Middleweight do Satos by TKO
Erick Silva vs. Mike Rhodes Welterweight Silva by decision
Elias Silverio vs. Rashid Magomedov Lightweight Magomedov by decision
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Patrick Cummins Light Heavyweight Cummins by TKO
Renan Barao vs. Mitch Gagnon Bantamweight Barao by TKO
Lyoto Machida vs. CB Dollaway Middleweight Machida by KO

Card per UFC.com, picks by Mazique

Cummins Will Overpower Carlos Junior

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Carlos Junior is a good grappler and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but once he locks horns with Cummins, he’ll realize his opponent’s strength advantage is too much to overcome.

Cummins‘ UFC debut was lackluster against Daniel Cormier back in February, but he’s laid waste to two opponents since then. Cummins stopped Roger Narvaez in June, and he set out to retire Kyle Kingsbury in July, per an interview with The Fight Corner.

After beating up Kingsbury for three rounds, he accomplished his goal

Cummins is rapidly improving and looking more impressive with every outing. With pressure, great endurance and superior wrestling, Cummins will ground and pound his way to victory.

Barao‘s Explosive Striking Will Stop Gagnon

TIM LARSEN/Associated Press

I still believe Renan Barao is one of the two-best bantamweights in the world. It’s easy to get down on Barao after watching him get dominated by Dillashaw, and then being unable to healthily make weight for the rematch.

But if he’s back to himself on Saturday, Gagnon has no answer for Barao‘s explosive and varied striking game. While Gagnon is a strong submissions artist and grappler with 12 wins by tap out, Barao is skilled enough to keep the fight from going to the mat. Per Fight Metric, Barao‘s takedown defense rate is at 96 percent.

Even if Gagnon gets him down, Barao is excellent off his back. He’s also won 14 fights by submission himself. Before we saw how good he could be as a striker, Barao had earned a reputation as a submission expert.

Throw in the support and energy from the Brazilian crowd and this should be a triumphant return for the former champion.

Machida‘s Game is Too Complete For Dollaway

Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

You won’t find many fighters who work harder or who get more from less physical ability than Dollaway. He’s a grinder who has worked hard to make himself into a contender at 185 pounds.

Against Machida, that won’t be enough.

The Dragon is more athletic, his striking has more layers and his ground game never gets the respect it deserves because of how good he is on his feet. Dollaway prefers to stand and strike, but that’s a fight he can’t win against Machida.

With one of the most dynamic and unpredictable striking games in the sport, Machida will catch Dollaway with something big by the second round. When he does, it’ll be curtains.

At 36 years old, Machida is getting to an age where he needs to prepare for one last push toward a title run. Knocking off Dollaway will be the first step in The Dragon’s final climb.

Follow Brian Mazique on Twitter. I dig boxing and MMA.

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ONE FC 24 Results: Dynasty of Champions

MMA Fighting has ONE FC 24 results for its Dynasty of Champions event from the Gymnasium of National Olympic Sports Centre in Beijing, China.

MMA Fighting has ONE FC 24 results for its Dynasty of Champions event Friday morning from the Gymnasium of National Olympic Sports Centre in Beijing, China.

In the main event, Song Ya Dong will square off against Ji Xian in a bantamweight contest.

Check out complete ONE FC 24 results below.

Main card
Ji Xian def. Song Ya Dong via unanimous decision
Adrian Pang def. Vincent Latoel via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:15 of R3
Li Kai Wen def. Wang Ya Wei via unanimous decision to win Beijing featherweight tournament
Li Wei Bin def. Wang Wei via unanimous decision to win Beijing flyweight tournament
Michael Pasternak def.
Rafael Silva via unanimous decision
Ariel Sexton def. Anvar Alizhanov via submission (reverse triangle keylock) at 3:18 of R1

Undercard
Wang Ya Wei def. Li Gen via TKO (punches) at 2:26 of R1
Li Kai Wen def. He Nan Nan via TKO (punches) at 2:19 of R1
Wang Wei defeats Liu Xu via unanimous decision
Li Wei Bin def. Hao Yi Jie via submission (armbar) at 2:51 of R1

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