All posts by Elena Curtoni

Pros And Cons Of Studying Abroad

If you are from a foreign country and are planning to migrate to the USA for further studies, then you have many reasons to feel happy going through this article. For many decades, the US has had a very liberal and open policy when it comes to offering foreign students a chance to be a part of its educational system. There is no denying the fact that the US has one of the best education systems whether it is primary education, secondary education or education for graduate and postgraduate students. Therefore, in this article, we will try and find out the actual position on the ground for all those students who decide to go in for foreign studies by spending a few years in the USA.

There is no dearth of good Pre colleges and universities in the country. You could choose the best of graphic design colleges or engineering colleges or colleges that teach marketing and management. For example, the Massachusetts College of Art is considered to be one of the best when it comes to offering the best of facilities for art and craft loving students. Without any further delay, let us try and list down some of the main reasons as to why it makes sense to choose America as the place for foreign studies. We also will try and list down a few downsides so that student is able to get the right perspective about it.

Pros

Quality of Education: There is no doubt that the quality of education in the USA is very good and comparable to the best in the world. They have well-defined programs, curriculum and also offer the best of teaching staff and faculties for the students. They also boast of excellent infrastructure for students from foreign countries.

Easy Accessibility: Though the Visa norms for foreign students might have been tightened a bit over the past few years, you still stand a good chance if you are keen on studying in this country. If you have the will and the dream, the country will most certainly provide you a way out.

Scholarships: Yes, there is no doubt that education in the USA is expensive when compared to many other countries. However, if you are able to prove your merit and credentials as a student, you will be able to get attractive scholarships and in many cases, you can study in this country almost free of cost

You can earn money: The country also offers the student an honest opportunity to make money while you are studying. This certainly comes in very handy and helps student to meet their daily expenses when staying in this country. Hence, studying in this country will not be a big financial burden for you.

Job & Career opportunities: This is perhaps one of the most attractive reasons for studying in this country. The USA offers the best of job opportunities and a chance to become a citizen of the country over a period of time.

Downsides

However, there are some downsides in studying in the USA. It is an expensive country and not many can afford to study here. The weather in large parts of the country is extremely cold during winter and this could be a problem for many. Tighter visa and immigration laws are making it difficult for many students to get into this country.

Contact US:

Montserrat College of Art

Address:
23 Essex St
Beverly, MA
Phone: (978) 921-4242

Buying Shotgun – Things To Consider

If you look around the market, you will come dozens of makes, models, sizes, and shapes of shotguns. This certainly could lead to quite a bit of confusion and indecision. Hence, we need to take a step back, pause and have a clear idea about the various points to be kept in mind when it comes to buying a shotgun. We are sharing some of the most common, proven and time-tested tips and ideas which we believe could be helpful when it comes to buying the right shotgun for sale OKC outlet. Without having the right information and knowledge, it is quite possible that you will be moving in circles and could also end up making the wrong choice. The shotgun, though an old invention continues to be highly popular and that is the reason even today there are many sizes, makes and models that are available in the market.

Be Clear With The Gauge

This is one of the most important points that you must bear in mind when you decide to buy a shotgun. When we talk about the gauge, we are actually referring to the diameter of the barrel. This also would translate into the size of the shell that the shotgun can accommodate. The most common gauges are 12 and 20 but if you look around you will come across many other gauge sizes too. You must do your Ammo Oklahoma City research and choose the one that you feel suits your specific needs and requirements. For common self-defense purposes, there are reasons to believe that a simple 12 or 20 gauge shotgun could be enough. You have different gauge sizes that are useful for hunting and other purposes.

Choose The Right Size Of The Shotgun

The next important point is the size of the shotgun. You would always do better to choose a smaller sized gun if you are using it for self-defense purposes. For self-defense purposes, pistols and revolvers are commonly used because of the small size. Therefore, if you are planning to use a shotgun for defensive purposes, you must be sure that it is not very big in size. This will defeat the very purpose and it will become an indiscreet weapon. Hence, this point is to be given the importance it deserves when you are choosing the right shotgun for self-defense.

On the other hand, if you are planning to use it for hunting birds, fowls, rabbits, and other such animals, you would do better to choose a longer gun. That will help you to place the shotgun on your shoulder, take proper aim and then shoot. This will ensure that you hit more often and miss less whenever you take aim and shoot.

The Final Word

We believe that the information shared above would have helped many to do away with guesswork and concentrate more on knowledge and information based on facts and figures. However, it would be better if you spend some more time and get to know something more about the various aspects of shotguns and then make a decision. This pertains to the ammunition, the range which you want to cover, the recurring expenses and so on.

 

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What Is The Future Of Tokenized Payment Systems

When it comes to modern technologies in the online environment, many believe that blockchain technology is one of the most talked about and perhaps even more innovative and fascinating. This is a technology that has shaken the traditional method of commercial payments and receipts in the various sectors. The best thing about blockchain technology is that it is highly decentralized and it is not dependent on any centralized state-run authority for making of payments and receiving them. This also has led to quite a bit of controversy and many feel that it could be a way to defraud and undermine the entire payment systems and receipt systems in the world. It would mean demining the federal and central banks because they are ones who control the entire currency system which we follow

However, there are reasons to believe that there is another token payment system that could set the whole world alive with excitement and hope. The best thing about this payment system is that it follows the conventional and currently used payment system where the legal tender money is used. The money is not used in the paper currency form but in the digitalized form. Today, when we buy something from a vendor or a brick and mortar outlet, we either pay him by cash or make digital payment. The payment is made using our credit card tokenization or debit card. Whenever the vendor swipes the card in the POS terminal, we may not be aware that our confidential personal information gets captured by default. These include the Payment Account Number or PAN. This is basically a 16-digit number that is visible in the credit or debit card as the case may be. The bad thing is that the 16 digit number is visible during the entire chain of movements as the payments get processed from the POS terminal of the vendor.

How Is Tokenization Different

Tokenization is unique and different because of a number of reasons. First and foremost, it does away with the need for having a PAN number to process the transaction. In fact, though the PAN number is required and used, it is camouflaged inside a token. The token is set of different characters consisting both alpha and numeric characters. For the common man or to the naked eye it will look like a meaningless string of numbers and alpha-numeric characters. However, inside the token, the full details of the credit card and debit card are stored and this helps the payments to be made using different types of cards. The advantage is that the customer data cannot be pilfered and made use of in the wrong manner. It .therefore goes a long way in increasing the overall security of data and information of consumers are concerned.

How Does The Future Look

The future certainly looks bright from the security and safety aspect of customer data. However, it is still in its nascent stage and it would certainly take a few more years for it to become extremely useful and widely used. However, there is no denying the fact that the advantages are far too many to be ignored under any circumstances.

Contact US:

TokenEx, LLC

Address:3825 NW 166th St suite c1
Edmond, OK
Phone: 877-316-4544

3D & 4D Ultrasound – Why It Is So Popular

Scans and ultrasound imaging have been around for many decades now. They are used for diagnosing various physical problems and diseases. Ultrasound imaging is very commonly used during pregnancy. The technology pertaining to has moved quite a bit and has become quite advanced and state-of-the-art. We are now very rapidly moving away from 2D ultrasound imaging to 3D ultrasound and even 4D imaging facilities. In this article, we will try and find the various advantages and benefits associated with 3D imaging so that the customers and the readers are able to get the right kind of information and knowledge on the subject matter. It could be useful to all and pregnant mothers, in particular, could find this article extremely interesting and informative.

The Health Of The Baby And Mother Is Important

Pregnant mothers go in for ultrasound imaging with the main purpose of understanding the health of the unborn child. It helps the doctors to find out the growth stage of the baby and also other physical and biological attributes of the unborn child. It also could help in finding out any unusual problems or abnormalities so that corrective action could be taken as soon as possible. While this job was being done with the help of 2G scanning facilities 3G and 4G technologies have made things easier both for doctors and also pregnant mothers. Here are some obvious benefits that one should bear in mind when you decide to choose 3G or 4G over other forms of ultrasound imaging.

 

  •    It helps you to confirm the estimate due date of birth and the gestational age of the child. This is important for medication, exercising and other such activities as far as the mother is concerned.
  •    The size of the unborn child and its weight can also be monitored accurately. It can help the doctors to establish the right co-relation between weight and size of the fetus and be sure that everything is normal. It could avoid underweight and overweight problems of the unborn baby because it could impact both the mother and the child.
  •    Amniotic fluid is very important for the healthy growth of the baby and such 3D and 4D scans will ensure that the quantity is monitored on a regular basis.
  •    The correct position of the baby can be ascertained. The baby should always be in a head-down position and this can be found out quite easily with the help of such 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging.
  •    The movement of the body can be found out quite accurately and if there is something unusual the same can be corrected easily.
  •    The blood flow to the baby through the placenta is the lifeline for the unborn baby and the levels and frequency can be established accurately with the help of these 3D and 4D ultrasound images.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that pregnancy is full of exciting possibilities and there are also a few things that are unknown. However, it would be better to avoid guesswork and towards this objective, there is no doubt that going in for 3D and 4D ultrasound imaging is the best way forward.

Contact US:

Living Images

Address:
6 11th Ave Suite F2
Shalimar, FL
Phone: (850) 244-2883

Know Property Management Better

Considering an expert’s outlook on Property Management is the ideal way to open a discourse about what Property Management is and the ropes of this complex business. According to the definition given by Robert and Floyd in 1998, Property Management is defined as “the management of real estate on behalf of the owner for compensation.”

In layman terms, Property Management is a process where a person or a group of people control and supervise a property that is available for lease. These kinds of properties are owned by someone else. Therefore, the owner of the property hires someone to handle the day-to-day activities that are related to the real estate. This process also involves looking for tenants for a house or apartment, a collection of the rent or payments that are to be made for the property, looking over the maintenance of the property, and the general upkeep of it.

Property here does not just mean a house or an apartment; property can be referred to residential, commercial, industrial and or unique purpose property such as event grounds, banquets, resorts, schools, clubs, hotels, retirement homes and so on.

How does this process work?

Often time’s Oklahoma city property management is taken care of by a firm or real estate company, and a property manager is designated to do the job of leasing out property, managing rent, supervising the handing over and taking over of a house or apartment, so on and so forth. Property managers also make sure to preserve the value of the property while generating an income.

The property manager is different as compared to a real estate broker. The broker provides buyer and seller agent services. On the other hand, property managers help the owners in creating rental budgets, advertise the property, comply with real estate board laws, collect rent, etc. Property managers also supervise preventive maintenance such as exterior and interior upkeep, repair-work and so forth.

Why should a property owner invest in property management?

For those who own more than one or two properties, managing them can and does become difficult over time. Hiring a property manager will help them in maintaining the properties better, and they will not incur any loss. Those who participate in affordable residential programs can also hire a property management expert to render their services so that everything is looked after.

While property management companies usually charge an amount of 7-10% of the monthly rent to manage properties, they can be convenient and beneficial for property owners. One of the most significant benefits a property owner can reap from having a property management company take care of their property is that they know the federal laws concerning real estate and property management.

Since taking care of everything from the tenant to collecting the rent, looking at the upkeep of the place, supervising repairs, etc can be taxing while the owner takes care of their own house, it is not a very big investment to get an expert to take care of these things. It saves time and saves a lot of money.

Contact US:

RE/MAX Energy Property Management

Address:
335 S Mustang Rd,g
Yukon,
OK
Phone: (405) 919-0460

Beside The Points For Thursday, March 22, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Celtics bring the Thunder

There have been 885 NBA teams who trailed by 5 or more points in the final 20 seconds of a game this season so far. Of those, 884 of them went on to lose that game. On Tuesday, the Boston Celtics became the first team this season to pull off a win in that scenario, beating a 5 point deficit with 16.8 seconds to go. [FiveThirtyEight]

Boeheim on top

Jim Boeheim of Syracuse has edged out Tom Izzo of Michigan State to take the top sport when it comes to wins over expected in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Boeheim has 54 wins and 25 losses when we’d only expect his teams to get 44.3 wins, giving him a 9.7 wins over expected in the tourney. [FiveThirtyEight]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

Gore to mount campaign in Florida

Frank Gore, an immortal, has signed a one year deal with the Miami Dolphins. In 2017 he rushed 961 yards for the Indianapolis Colts, 39 yards shy of a tenth career 1,000 yard season. Frank Gore will be 35 years old. [ESPN]

Mickelson is playing the best in his career

Phil Mickelson has finished in the top 15 in 6 out of 8 tournaments this year with a season average finish position just under 20. This makes this season one of the best of his career so far. [FiveThirtyEight]

New Football league

In addition to Vince McMahon’s attempt to revive the XFL, a competitor to the NFL, this past week documentary filmmaker Charlie Ebersol announced the Alliance of American Football will debut in February, 2019 and will run for 10 weeks. Reality is, there are 28,000 Division I NCAA football players and at any given time only 1,700 NFL jobs, so they’ll certainly have players. The competitive advantage of the league would be 60 percent fewer commercials and no TV timeouts. [ESPN]

Soccer players not unanimous fans of not playing soccer

A poll of 104 current Major League Soccer players across 22 of the league’s 23 clubs found rising but still middling support for promotion and relegation. In 2017, 54 percent of players favored the introduction of promotion and relegation — where the worst teams in a league are relegated to a lesser league while the best teams in that lesser league are elevated to the majors — but that figure’s since risen to 63 percent. The main concerns are that a viable second division doesn’t yet exist and that ownership groups would be destabilized. [ESPN]


Big Number

30 quick time outs

Gregg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, has no qualms about calling a time out in the early moments of a game. As of Monday, Popovich had called 30 time outs in the first two minutes of a game since 2009, head and shoulders above the rest of the league. [FiveThirtyEight]


Leaks from Slack

 

chris.herring [9:51 PM, Wednesday]

Pop just called timeout 2 mins into their game on national TV

micah:

@chris.herring I’ll tweet that from the main account!

chris.herring [9:51 PM, Wednesday]:

In fairness to Pop, Spurs missed their first 7 or 8 shots. I would’ve called timeout, too :joy:


Predictions

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Oh, and don’t forget
Why can’t the Rockets be the Warriors?

Why Can’t The Rockets Be The Warriors?

We’ve seen all this before. And it was not so long ago.

On Tuesday night, with his Houston Rockets up 2 against the streaking Portland Trail Blazers, a little more than three minutes on the clock, James Harden made a three. A few possessions later, he made another. The Rockets won 115-111 to go to 57-14 on the season, best in the NBA and four games up on the reigning champion Golden State Warriors. On both shots, Harden took what would have been called hero ball shots in another context. No other Rocket touched the ball; everyone in the arena knew what Harden would do, and how. Harden has made these shots his signature and his team’s by finding success where others have found only stacks of Rudy Gay box scores. And while the league has come to view the shot as not just unguardable but reliable, it has at times waffled on whether Harden’s team can be trusted. Funny, given the recent history of ascendant teams led by star guards with an unguardable shot.

Just a few seasons ago, a team was led by two star guards who hadn’t found much success in the postseason thanks to a history of injuries and bad fortune. It featured a young big man who anchored the defense and epitomized a key facet of modern offenses. It boasted a sixth man who would have been a featured starter on practically any other team, a roster loaded down with dead-eye marksmen and a fleet of versatile wings who could switch assignments and not fall down. This team won the NBA title.

(Key: Steph, Klay, Draymond, Andre, just about everyone else, and the top-ranked 2014-15 defense.)

The 2014-15 Golden State Warriors were an unexpected development. The team had won 51 games the previous season under then-coach Mark Jackson, and the roster was largely unchanged coming into that season. Once the season began, however, it was clear that something was very different. Golden State won 21 of its first 23 games and finished the season with 67 wins, ranked first in defensive rating and, importantly, second in offensive rating, up from 12th the season before. Yet a broad set of NBA observers doubted that a team playing the way the Warriors did could win a title, even after they’d already won it.

This season, the Rockets ran out to a 25-4 record before losing seven of nine games. In all but one of the losses, they were missing Harden, Chris Paul or Clint Capela. (The remaining loss was to the Warriors.) Since then, Houston has lost just three times in 33 games. FiveThirtyEight’s projections expect the Rockets to win 67 games total, up from their tally of 55 last season. They have the top-rated offense not just this season, but for as long as Basketball-Reference.com has been keeping track. They sneak into the top 10 on defense this season as well, an improvement on 18th the previous season. They’re flat good. But you know that by now. What’s important here is that when a team is this good, regardless of what its doubters say, the question isn’t whether it has arrived but whether it will win the title or merely its conference.

There are a few ways to slice this. Since 1983-84, this year’s Houston team ties for 20th among all teams in net rating (the difference between points scored and points allowed per 100 possessions) through 71 games. That’s a bigger deal than it may seem, for a few reasons. First, the teams ahead of this season’s Rockets are immensely accomplished. They include four Michael Jordan teams, three Tim Duncan teams, two Laker teams — one Shaq and Kobe, another Magic and Kareem — one Kevin Garnett Celtics team and, of course, the past three versions of the Golden State Warriors. In general, teams at Houston’s level at least win the conference. The teams that didn’t make the finals tended to have extenuating circumstances. The 2012-13 Thunder, for instance, were the top seed in the West but lost Russell Westbrook in the first round and fell to Memphis in the second. The 2011-12 Chicago Bulls lost reigning MVP Derrick Rose in the first game of the first round. And the 2015-16 Spurs faced an exceptionally high level of competition, losing in the second round to a Thunder team that went up 3-1 on the Warriors.These rankings tend to be sticky. Meaning that the list after 25 games looks a lot like the list after 45 games, which looks a lot like the list after 65 games. Teams shift around a few places, but they do not tend to bomb in or out of the rarified neighborhood. We know that the early season is predictive in sports because players tend to be healthy and rested, but it’s also good to remember that teams playing at an all-time level are seldom flukes.

‘>1

Net rating isn’t the only factor in which Houston is dominating, and as Benjamin Morris wrote for FiveThirtyEight a few seasons back, margin of victory is actually far less predictive in the playoffs than it is in the regular season. In fact, it’s Houston’s wins that make it a playoff force. In the postseason, the difference between two teams’ win totals is much more predictive than margin of victory. If the Rockets finish with 67 wins and the Warriors finish with their projected 61, Morris’s data from his 2016 article suggests that given home court advantage, Houston would win a series 70 percent of the time — even if the two teams were dead-even on margin of victory.

The Rockets may not be quite as good as the Warriors were in that first season or as Golden State was in the 73-win 2015-16 campaign. But, then, neither are this year’s Warriors. The team’s injury troubles and continuing sloppiness have turned it into a merely dominant team, not an all-time one. Even if we grant the Warriors a few extra victories because their injury problems have been worse than Houston’s, it would make a prospective series between the two a coin flip, not heavily slanted toward Golden State.

And like the Warriors, the Rockets aren’t simply unguardable as a team: They have a player who has mastered an unguardable manner of playing. Harden doesn’t have the same switchblade release as Curry — he can’t dart around a ball screen and have a shot in the air before his man can turn his head. What Harden can do is get just about any switch he wants, thanks to the level at which he and Paul are running the pick and roll, and then, in isolation, he can walk into his now-trademark step-back threes.

The pull-up three is increasingly a staple of modern offenses, as defenses have adjusted to the off-ball maneuvering that good offenses use to free up shooters. Harden leads the league in pull-up threes per game, taking 8.0 and making 39.0 percent of them. Paul is third on the list, taking 5.2 per game and making 38.5 percent of them.The Blazers’ Damian Lillard sits between the two at 5.4 pull-up threes per game.

“>2 As a team, the Rockets are taking 16.5 pull-up threes per game and making 35.9 percent. The next-closest team, the Los Angeles Clippers, takes 10.0 per game. Even if its primary pick-and-roll engine sputters, Houston has an entire extra, independent dimension to carry its offense through dry spells, like Curry’s pull-ups or like Kevin Durant’s mastery of contested shots in last summer’s finals.

Nothing the Rockets could do this season would make them meaningful favorites to most NBA fans against a healthy Warriors team in the playoffs. Nothing the Warriors could do would do that, either. That’s probably correct: There are many things most projection systems, like FiveThirtyEight’s CARM-Elo, can’t spot, such as player injury, which undermine the edge Houston holds by the numbers. Golden State is a dominant champion with what is now a considerable track record of excellence. It’s tough to be favored heavily against that. But there is also now sufficient evidence to declare that Houston is squarely in Golden State’s weight class, just as there was for Golden State when it arrived on the scene.

Check out our latest NBA predictions.

Everyone’s Talking About Tiger, But Phil Mickelson Is Playing The Best Golf Of His Career

The entirety of the golf-watching internet has spent a couple of recent Sundays engrossed in a 40-something golfer whose career peaked a decade ago. But while Tiger Woods has consumed all of the oxygen in the room, the game’s other 40-something blast from the past, Phil Mickelson, is quietly playing some of the best golf of his professional career.

That Mickelson, at the well-seasoned age of 47, is entirely overlooked thanks to his enigmatic rival is almost too fitting; it’s been happening for two decades.

“He’s always one-upped me in my career, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came out this week and won,” Mickelson said of Woods earlier this month. “Just to one-up me again.”

Lefty stands at No. 18 in the World Golf Rankings, where the average age of the players ahead of him is 30.7. He is No. 3 in the FedExCup standings, where the average age of the players ahead of him is 28. He has logged five top-10 finishes in eight starts this season; only 31-year-old Brian Harman, who has played in 10 events, has more.

At the WGC-Mexico Championship in early March, Mickelson beat Justin Thomas — the No. 2 golfer in the world, who is young enough to be Mickelson’s son — in a playoff. It was Mickelson’s 43rd professional win and his first since taking the British Open at Muirfield in 2013.

It was also a continuation of peak performance this season from the avid gamesman. Entering this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Mickelson has finished no worse than tied for sixth at four consecutive tournaments. With an average finish of 3.5 over his past four appearances, Mickelson is currently riding the best four-event stretch of his entire career.Excluding unofficial events, match play and team events.

“>1 He’s placed in the top 15 in six of the eight tournaments this year, putting his average tournament finish this season on par with the best seasons of his career.

The underlying numbers support Mickelson’s 2018 renaissance. Using the strokes gained statistic — which evaluates every golfer by comparing his performance on each incremental shot in a round to the average — Mickelson is having the best season of his career on record, albeit in the early going. He is averaging +2.33 strokes gained per round, which is higher than his best full-season mark since at least 2004, the first year for which this data is available.

What’s gotten into Phil?

How Phil Mickelson has fared in terms of strokes gained, 2004 season through March 20, 2018

Average Strokes Gained
Season Measured Rounds Off the Tee Approach Around the Green Putting TOTAL
2004 54 +0.60 +0.60 +0.22 -0.09 +1.32
2005 50 +0.34 +0.57 +0.36 +0.26 +1.53
2006 47 +0.57 +0.98 +0.14 +0.27 +1.96
2007 52 +0.33 +0.61 +0.50 +0.16 +1.60
2008 59 +0.40 +0.84 +0.36 +0.21 +1.82
2009 48 +0.31 +0.27 +0.38 -0.15 +0.82
2010 57 +0.19 +0.74 +0.23 -0.15 +1.00
2011 58 +0.14 +0.90 +0.33 -0.19 +1.18
2012 60 -0.10 +0.57 +0.40 +0.56 +1.42
2013 57 +0.02 +0.49 +0.26 +0.66 +1.44
2014 50 +0.20 +0.17 +0.27 +0.23 +0.87
2015 55 +0.07 +0.02 +0.23 +0.26 +0.58
2016 59 -0.15 +0.73 +0.22 +0.57 +1.36
2017 69 -0.06 +0.55 +0.22 +0.34 +1.05
2018 22 -0.10 +1.14 +0.21 +1.08 +2.33

2018 season is ongoing. Total average strokes gained may not add up exactly because of rounding.

Source: PGA Tour

As many a grandfather has implored over the years, golf is a sport people can play virtually their entire lives. But performance obviously diminishes over time — especially at the highest level the sport has to offer. There’s a senior tour for a reason, after all.

So how, then, is Mickelson turning back the clock this season as the old-timer in a sea of youths?

“There’s a number of areas in my game that, if I look back 10, 15 years ago, I feel like I’m significantly better,” Mickelson said earlier this month on the Dan Patrick Show. “Certainly, I’ve gotten a ton better at putting.”

This is very true. Only Jason Day (1.39) is averaging more strokes gained with the putter than Mickelson (1.08), who leads the tour in the percentage of holes with only one putt (48.8 percent), the average number of putts per round (27), the percentage of holes with a birdie or better (41.3 percent)On holes in which the player hit the green in regulation.

“>2 and overall putting average (1.5 putts per hole).

While his work off the tee has been nothing special (-0.10 strokes gained), Mickelson has had little difficulty getting his ball in position to attack the flagstick, ranking third in strokes gained on shots approaching the green (1.14).

And yet, Mickelson’s odds to win the Masters sit at 20-to-1, below those of Woods, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day and Jon Rahm, who have combined to produce eight top-10 finishes and two wins this season. Mickelson has nearly matched those marks by himself. Given his record of work and meteoric ascension this season, golf’s most notorious active gambler would perhaps do well to bet on himself.

Mickelson has publicly said one of his goals is to qualify for a 12th Ryder Cup and to help the U.S. team win on foreign soil. His recent win gives him a great chance of accomplishing it. Another goal is to eclipse 50 career wins on tour.

“I don’t know (when I’ll get to 50),” Mickelson told reporters after his latest win. “Seven more wins and I’ll be there. I don’t have the month or the time, but I will get there.”

Politics Podcast: What If Trump Fires Mueller?

FiveThirtyEight

 

Over the weekend, President Trump tore into special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. So the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast crew games out what would happen if Trump actually moved to fired Mueller. The team discusses possible congressional responses, public opinion and the effect on the midterms. According to Nate Silver, it would be a “catalyzing event”:

“There are two things that had a big negative effect on Trump’s approval rating, one of which was when they began to debate the health care bill and the other of which was firing [FBI Director James] Comey. That had a 3- or 4-point downward swing, which in this era is a lot. … People who are on the fence about ‘am I sympathetic to Trump or not?’ will come off the fence if Mueller is fired, and it will be a catalyzing event.”

The team also previews Tuesday’s Democratic primary in Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District, in which centrist incumbent Daniel Lipinski is being challenged from the left by political newcomer Marie Newman.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

How UMBC Did The Unthinkable — And The Inevitable

After a relatively sedate start to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the most shocking result in tourney history was saved for one of the last games in the round of 64. Late Friday, Maryland-Baltimore County did the unthinkable, pulling off the victory that college fans have been waiting decades to see: The Retrievers became the first No. 16 seed in the history of the men’s tournament to knock off a No. 1 when they beat Virginia 74-54.The women’s tournament beat the men to the punch by 20 years, of course, when No. 16 Harvard beat No. 1 Stanford in 1998.

‘>1

(Look, we did say a No. 16 seed could beat a No. 1 this year — never mind which No. 16, and which No. 1…)

No, instead of the obvious pick, it was the obscure one. UMBC went into the game ranked 188th in Ken Pomeroy’s power ratings; Virginia ranked first. Our predictive model gave the Cavaliers a 98 percent probability of winning. Nothing about the two teams’ track records suggested that number was too high. (If anything, facing a Retrievers team that lost by 40-plus points to the likes of Albany, UVA seemed like it might be the safest No. 1 seed in the first round.)

Instead, the Cavs were on the wrong side of history.

Besides the novelty of a No. 16 beating a No. 1 seed — let alone the tournament’s No. 1 overall team — the magnitude of the upset would have been shocking in any context. According to ESPN’s Stats & Information Group, it was tied for the worst loss by an Associated Press No. 1 team to an unranked team at any point in the season, let alone the tournament.Undefeated No. 1 St. Joseph’s lost to Xavier by 20 in the 2003-04 season.

‘>2 And from a bettor’s standpoint, UMBC joined Santa Clara in 1993 and Norfolk State in 2012 — a pair of No. 15 seeds that won — as the only teams to win a game outright in the men’s tourney despite being an underdog of 20 or more points.

Virginia can place some of the blame on losing forward De’Andre Hunter right before the tournament. Sidelined with a wrist injury, Hunter was UVA’s best player on a rate basis,Excluding those with low playing time.

“>3 according to Sports-Reference.com’s Win Shares per 40 minutes. The Cavs no doubt missed his efficient play at both ends of the court against the Retrievers.

But this loss cannot be pinned completely on Hunter’s absence. Against UMBC, Virginia played just about the worst game it possibly could. What had been one of the top offensive teams in the country during the regular season shot just 41 percent from the floor — including 18 percent from 3-point range (to go with a 50 percent showing from the foul line). More shockingly, the nation’s best defense looked completely lost, particularly in the game’s second half.

The Retrievers played their best possible game as well. They shot a stunning 54 percent from the field against the Cavaliers, nailing 12 of 24 attempts from beyond the arc. Going into the game, Virginia hadn’t allowed an opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the field all season, against a schedule that consisted of many difficult opponents. Though no major-conference school could solve the UVA defense, UMBC — led by an audacious 28-point performance from electrifying guard Jairus Lyles — was the team that finally broke through. Virginia was holding opponents to 53.4 points per game, the lowest in the country. Lyles and the Retrievers got 53 in the second half alone.

In terms of blame, there’s plenty of finger-pointing left for Virginia coach Tony Bennett’s deliberately low-possession brand of basketball. The Cavs were easily the nation’s slowest team all season, and they basically never had to accelerate the pace to make a comeback push all year. As TV analyst Kenny Smith pointed out in the postgame coverage, UVA was unable to adjust once UMBC forced the Cavs to play from behind.

This topic deserves more research, but there is some evidence that slow favorites generally disappoint in March. It makes sense: Unlike underdogs, who should want more variance — and therefore fewer possessions in a game — favorites should theoretically be trying to reduce the randomness and give variance a smaller role in a game’s outcome. So it could be that Virginia-style favorites are inadvertently doing their opponents a big favor by slowing the pace down to a crawl, essentially giving away some of their talent advantage by allowing more randomness to seep into the game. (Whether this works in practice, though, is up for debate.)

Whatever the reason behind it, UMBC’s win was an upset for the ages. On the one hand, it was surprising that no 16 seed had ever beaten a No. 1 before Friday — according to our Elo model, we’d calculate the chances as 1-in-27 (or 3.7 percent) that a No. 16 wouldn’t have broken through in 134 tries. But this was also the victory that just seemed like it might never happen. Now that it has, there are no gimme games in the bracket anymore. Just when you thought it wasn’t possible, March Madness somehow got an extra dimension of madness. And it all comes courtesy of the UMBC Retrievers and their long-awaited underdog victory.