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Sports Today: Can Bengals, Buckeyes bounce back? Weekend forecast

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 10:10 AM

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 05:  Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals leaves the field with his teammates at halftime of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on November 5, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)
Logan Bowles/Getty Images
JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 05: Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals leaves the field with his teammates at halftime of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on November 5, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images)(Logan Bowles/Getty Images)

The Cincinnati Bengals begin the second half of their season this week in Tennessee, but it’s hard to imagine Marvin Lewis’ team creating any beautiful music while they’re down there. 

The 5-3 Titans aren’t great, but what signs of life have the Bengals shown? (Aside from this.)

Lewis insisted he saw progress from the offense last week even as they had arguably one of the worst performances in team history if stats mean anything to you. 

If that wasn’t completely coach-speak and there was any validity to that statement, I would have to guess it was a matter of more guys carrying out their assignments more consistently. 

That’s all well and good, but there are still too many offensive linemen who can’t block, so it doesn’t really matter. 

›› Bengals receiver A.J. Green fined for fighting

Tennessee probably is more or less the team the 3-5 Bengals should have been this year, finding ways to win despite some flaws. 

The Titans are just kind of solid across the board, and their potential franchise quarterback is getting healthier while Cincinnati’s continues to disappoint. Gotta go with the home team here. 

Titans 21, Bengals 10… 

Ohio State tries to bounce back from a horrid loss at Iowa by beating unpredictable Michigan State. 

The Spartans are in the hunt for a Big Ten East title after knocking off Penn State last week, and it’s anybody’s guess which version of either of these teams will show up Saturday for a high noon showdown. 

The better roster, as usual, belongs to Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, but he’s squandered that advantage more than once already this season. 

PREVIEW: Ohio State Buckeyes seek bounce back vs. Michigan State

While the defense has been disappointing more often than not this season, I am giving them a bit of a pass given the attrition on that side of the ball in consecutive years. 

Perhaps we’ll take some time in the offseason go to back over the ruins of the Silver Bullets if they don’t rebound, but for now I’m still stuck on Ohio State’s offense because that is allegedly Meyer’s specialty. 

The general impression I got from offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson’s very informative interview Wednesday night was he knows all of his options for diversifying the stagnant running game, but he may or may not be convinced something different is necessary. 

It’s also worth pointing out he may think his boss would rather stay committed to the spread than beef up inside with an extra blocker, so he might do that just to avoid Meyer’s ire. 

That would be a mistake, in my opinion. I’d like to see them bulk up that running game with more 12 (two tight end) or 21 (two backs) personnel and/or swap that yucky zone blocking for the good ol’ power play (a.k.a. “dave” under Jim Tressel), but I’m not holding my breath. 

Ohio State remains No. 2 in Football Outsiders S&P+, mostly because of how thoroughly the Buckeyes decimated the bad teams they played between Oklahoma and Penn State. 

Michigan State is 22nd and has abysmal offensive numbers, but I get the impression the Spartans really are better than they look on paper because they have just improved since the start of the season. 

So, who wins this one? 

I think Ohio State will regroup and take care of business, but this really looks like a tossup. 

Ohio State 31, Michigan State 24… 

Ohio football’s renaissance under Frank Solich continues. 

The Bobcats pounded Toledo (previously undefeated in the MAC) 38-10 last night with Covington’s A.J. Ouellette rushing for 70 yards and a touchdown. 

Miami’s rival has gotten so good under Solich I actually saw at least one Bobcat alumn Tweet it don’t mean a thing without the ring (as in winning in the MAC championship game). 

What a world. 

Meanwhile, the RedHawks need two wins to become bowl eligible for the second consecutive season. They finish with the two worst teams in the MAC West: 3-7 Eastern Michigan and 2-8 Ball State… 

College basketball is back tonight, and it promises to be an interesting season in the Miami Valley and beyond. 

Dayton might be hard-pressed to win a third straight Atlantic 10 title, but the Flyers’ first season under Anthony Grant is intriguing for several reasons. 

David Jablonski provides five things to watch tonight as they open the season against Ball State. 

RELATED: Meet the UD freshmen

I look for this to be an athletic team that is strong defensively. Point guard play and outside shooting are open questions. If those are strong, this team could really surprise. If they are bad, it could be a long year. 

RELATED: ‘It starts for real’ for Flyers on Friday

Having a guy in Kostas Antetokounmpo who could just show the ability to take over games is a wild card, too. 

Meanwhile, Wright State opens the season tonight at Loyola. 

The Raiders are in year two under Scott Nagy, and they won’t begin the season with all their bullets in the holster. 

Once they get to full strength, this will be an interesting team, too. 

For better or for worse, early wins and losses don’t mean much for WSU since they are in a conference that typically only gets one NCAA tournament bid… 

Of course, the high school football playoffs continue tonight with second-round games being played across the state. 

Some really intriguing matchups here, starting of course with Dunbar-Trotwood. 

Dunbar has made quite a turnaround from getting blown out by Belmont in week one, and Trotwood is looking to get back to the state championship, where the Rams lost last season. 

Talk about a chance for a statement win for the Wolverines. 

Chaminade Julienne already got one of those last week by winning a rematch over Alter. The Eagles get New Richmond this week. 

Then there is Valley View vs Clinton-Massie, a matchup of an old-school powerhouse against a newer one. 

The most intriguing team to watch tonight might be Sidney. The Yellow Jackets have had a dream season, but they face a Herculean task to extend it: three-time state champion La Salle... 

Lastly, in case you didn’t bother paying attention to the release of the Silver Slugger awards because Joey Votto was obviously going to win one, well, I’ve got bad news. 

Votto’s award went to Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks for some reason. 

This is even more perplexing than the annually ridiculous Gold Glove voting because, well, there are actual numbers that can tell us who the best hitters are. 

What gives, man? 

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Reds top prospect will miss rest of season

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

2018 Cincinnati Reds: 10 things to know

Cincinnati Reds top prospect Nick Senzel will miss the rest of the season after tearing a tendon in his right index finger Friday, the Reds announced Saturday.

Senzel will undergo surgery Tuesday.

»PROSPECT WATCH: How the top Reds minor leaguers are doing

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft, Senzel was hitting .310 with six home runs and 25 RBIs with Triple-A Louisville.

Senzel’s 2017 season was also cut short as he battled vertigo late last season. The same condition cost him time this spring.

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Dayton draft drought ends as Antetokounmpo chosen with last pick

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:04 AM

Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo? Facts about the former Dayton forward

A 28-year drought ended for the Dayton Flyers on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks selected Kostas Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-10 forward, with the 30th and last pick of the second round in the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the 60th player chosen overall.

» FIVE THINGS TO KNOW: Who is Kostas Antetokounmpo?

Antetokounmpo, 20, is the first Dayton player drafted since Negele Knight in 1990. The Phoenix Suns drafted Knight in the second round.

Dayton had 38 players drafted between 1952 and 1990. Twenty Flyers have played in the NBA, including four undrafted players (Chris Wright, Chris Johnson, Brian Roberts and Charles Cooke) since Knight was drafted.

Antetokounmpo seeks to become the third member of his family to play in the NBA. His brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, 23, was the 15th pick of the first round in 2013 and now is one of the top players in the league. He averaged 26.9 points per game last season for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo, 25, played in two games in 2016 for the New York Knicks. He was a second-round pick in 2014.

» KOSTAS STORIES: High ceilingTrying to live up to his name | A star in victory over Saint Louis

The 6-foot-10 Antetokounmpo committed to Dayton in June 2016 but sat out his freshman season as a NCAA partial qualifier.

Antetokounmpo debuted in the 2017-18 season and averaged 5.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 15.1 minutes per game. He led the team with 31 blocks. He appeared in 29 of 32 games and started six games.

» RELATED: Grant talks about Dayton’s offseason | Knight last Dayton player to be drafted

In late March, weeks after the end of a 14-17 season, Antetokounmpo left the program and the university.

“His mindset was he wants to test the waters to see what his prospects are for being in the NBA,” Dayton coach Anthony Grant said. “And he felt it was in his best interest to leave school to do it. I’m not trying to judge his decision in terms of basketball, but the timing of his leaving did surprise me with just six weeks of school left.”

     

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Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna suspended 75 games 

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 5:11 AM

Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games.
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Toronto Blue Jays reliever Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games.(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was suspended for 75 games without pay, retroactive to May 8, for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy, the New York Daily News reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Osuna, 23, an All-Star in 2017, was charged with one count of assault in Toronto and was put on administrative leave, the Daily News reported. The right-hander has not pitched since May 6. 

Osuna has nine saves and a 2.93 ERA in 15 games.

The suspension will cost Osuna $2.54 million of his annual $5.3 million salary, the Daily News reported. He will participate in an evaluation and treatment program, which is confidential and supervised by the joint policy board of Major League Baseball and the players’ association, the newspaper reported.

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Sorting through some 2026 World Cup questions

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 2:41 AM

Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland shoots past Dusko Tosic of Serbia during the Friday's match at the World Cup in Russia.
Clive Rose/Getty Images
Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland shoots past Dusko Tosic of Serbia during the Friday's match at the World Cup in Russia.(Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Soccer’s international governing body, FIFA, voted last week to play the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

>> Read more trending news

And while the announcement raised much excitement in North American soccer circles, it left questions that won’t be fully answered for years. Here are some of them.

WHICH CITIES WILL HOST MATCHES? 

Sixteen North American cities -- at least 10 in the United States -- will be chosen by FIFA in 2020 or 2021 to host matches. Those 16 choices will come from 23 “candidate cities.” FIFA will have negotiating leverage in whittling the number.

The U.S. host cities will be chosen from among these candidates: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium), Baltimore (M&T Bank Stadium), Boston (Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts), Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), Dallas (AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas), Denver (Broncos Stadium at Mile High), Houston (NRG Stadium), Kansas City (Arrowhead Stadium), Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, California, or the new NFL stadium under construction), Miami (Hard Rock Stadium), Nashville (Nissan Stadium), New York (MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey), Orlando, Florida (Camping World Stadium), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), San Francisco (Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California), Seattle (CenturyLink Field) and Washington (FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.) 

In addition, current plans call for matches to be played in up to three cities in Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) and up to three in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey). 

"We are blessed with 23 really world-class stadiums -- some iconic, some brand-new cutting-edge and everything in between," U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "I think it will be a very difficult decision to make … when we have to determine the final 16 cities. But it’s a high-class problem.”

Under current plans, 60 matches will be played in the U.S., 10 in Canada and 10 in Mexico. 

WHAT IS THE COST OF HOSTING? 

It helps that no new stadiums will have to be built in North America for the event, but the costs of security, transportation and other requirements will be considerable in any host city. 

“We’ve been told during the bid process it is on the level of (hosting) a Super Bowl,” said Dan Corso, president of the Atlanta Sports Council and chairman of Atlanta’s World Cup committee. “We have not gotten into too much detail on that yet, but we will during this next phase of the process.” 

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