Coincidentally, a combined record of 11-0 is also the high-water mark for Major League Baseball during the AL-NL era.4From 1901 to the present. On April 13, 1992, the 6-0 Toronto Blue Jays hosted the 5-0 New York Yankees. In a testament to baseball’s competitive balance (at least, relative to a deterministic sport like basketball) and its series-based schedule structure, most MLB matchups don’t even make it that far: College football provides the most apt comparison to Tuesday’s battle, since intra-conference play often keeps the best teams in the country separated until the championship. Historically, undefeated teams have met up 37 times in bowl games — 18 times with national championship implications7Meaning the bowl contained either the eventual champ or the pre-bowl No. 1 in the polls. during the Associated Press poll era81936-present.: Even so, because college football’s schedules are so much shorter than college basketball’s, the most combined wins two undefeated teams have ever had in a bowl game is 26, a far cry from Tuesday’s 76.So as Connecticut and Notre Dame get set to take the floor Tuesday night, appreciate the rarity of their 76-0 combined record. It’s a number that has never been approached before, and is unlikely to occur again — regardless of the sport or the gender of the athletes.Editor’s note: A table in this article has been updated to include a game from the 2013-2014 men’s college basketball season, which was originally not part of the data set. History will be made in Nashville Tuesday night, when the 39-0 Connecticut Huskies face the 37-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship. It’s the first time a pair of undefeated teams has ever played in the women’s championship game, and only the second time two unbeaten teams have met in the women’s NCAA Tournament at all.1In 1998, 33-0 Tennessee handily beat 28-0 Liberty in the first round en route to an undefeated championship run. The meeting of two such teams — with so much at stake — is a remarkable circumstance, and it had us wondering how it stacks up against other undefeated showdowns.In men’s college basketball, two unblemished teams have never clashed in the championship game. Probably the closest it came to happening was in 1976, when both Indiana and Rutgers entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated and both squads advanced to the Final Four. Indiana beat UCLA in one national semifinal, but Michigan upset Rutgers in the other semifinal to prevent a meeting of the unbeatens.The men’s bracket has never seen two undefeated teams enter simultaneously since that historic 1976 NCAA Tournament. Since 1979-80,2The earliest season for which Sports-Reference.com has game-by-game college basketball scores. the best combined record of any undefeated teams in a major men’s game was 33-0 (a pale comparison to UConn-Notre Dame’s combined 76-0 record), achieved when 17-0 North Carolina faced 16-0 Duke on Jan. 18, 1986, well before the tournament began.Here are the teams that combined for an undefeated record of 20-0 or better in a men’s college basketball matchup since 1979-80: Professional football has never seen a championship matchup featuring two undefeated teams, either. If we include the All-America Football Conference,5The AAFC was an early rival league to the NFL, with which it forced a merger in 1950. This led to the San Francisco 49ers, the Baltimore Colts and the original Cleveland Browns joining the NFL. the record for most combined wins without a loss in a professional pigskin matchup is 19, set when the 9-0 Cleveland Browns met the 10-0 San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 14, 1948. But if you’re a stickler for NFL games only,6Unlike the subsequent American Football League, the AAFC’s record book is not officially recognized as a part of NFL history. the record is 17.5 combined wins (counting a tie as half a win), set by the New York Giants (8-0-1) and Green Bay Packers (9-0) on Nov. 24, 1929.Here are the games deepest into a pro football season featuring two unbeaten teams: And that’s just college basketball, where there are 350 Division I teams. In a league like the NBA, which has 30 squads, teams are hard-pressed to avoid each other on the schedule long enough to push their combined records anywhere near 76-0. (Pro sports’ greater parity doesn’t help either.) The winningest matchup of undefeated records in NBA history is just 11-0. That’s when the 5-0 Seattle SuperSonics hosted the 6-0 Utah Jazz on Feb. 16, 1999.3The game totals are also abnormally small for a February NBA game because the first 32 games of each team’s 1998-99 schedule were wiped out by a lockout. The Sonics ran away with it, beating the Jazz 71-56.The following NBA games saw the two teams combine for an undefeated record of 8-0 or better: read more


The Cardinals lost to the Saints 31-7 on Sunday. The fifth-year safety went into surgery later that day, where doctors shaved the exposed bone and closed the wound, according to Somers’ tweet:“Drs shaved bone on Johnson’s finger and repaired. Lost about down to first knuckle— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) September 23, 2013.” Johnson pulled off his glove and the flesh was still in the glove exposing the bone down to the first knuckle. Apparently Johnson didn’t even realize the injury until he took his glove off on the sideline. Arizona Cardinals’ Rashad Johnson lost a piece of his left middle finger after making a routine tackle on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles on a punt return.Not even Johnson knows exactly what or when it happened, but Arizona Republic’s Kent Somers confirmed via Twitter that Johnson’s injury occurred sometime during his Sproles takedown:“Johnson’s injury happened on a punt return, tackling sproles. Not sure what happened, might have smashed in ground. #AZCardinals— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) September 23, 2013.” read more


On Saturday, as thousands of protesters, dissatisfied with the results of the presidential election, were marching from Union Square to Trump Tower, just a few miles north, the two grandmasters sat down in the spaceship to play again. Game 2, with Karjakin handling the white pieces, began with the all-too-familiar Ruy Lopez opening, a staple of chess for 500 years. The rest of the game was an equally uncreative and plodding affair. One prominent grandmaster on Twitter called certain passages “flaccid.” After just under three hours, and not much else to speak of, they arrived at a second draw. (The computer chess engine Stockfish was in full agreement, seeing both games as nothing but deadlocked.) The actor and chess fan Woody Harrelson was on hand for Game 1. The star of “True Detective” brought to my mind that show’s oft-quoted line, bastardized from Nietzsche: “Time is a flat circle.” In chess, and at this championship, what’s old is new again, and moves and characters are strangely familiar. Donald Trump made the ceremonial first move at a qualifying event for that 1995 New York championship, at Trump Tower. And Rudy Giuliani, then the mayor and now rumored to be high on the list to be Trump’s attorney general, made the ceremonial first move in those finals. (Giuliani was late — and made the wrong move.)Carlsen remains the heavy favorite, although his chances according to my Elo-based simulations have dipped from 88 percent at the start to 84 percent now, as Karjakin has held serve.1I simulated 10,000 iterations of the remainder of the match using the players’ current Elo ratings and assumed that they draw half their games, as grandmasters historically tend to do. The players seemed to sense that the large crowds were getting a bit restless. “I ask you for your understanding that this is a long match,” Carlsen said at Saturday’s postgame press conference. “Not every game will be a firework.”Game 3 begins Monday afternoon. I’ll be covering the rest of the match here and on Twitter. The last time the World Chess Championship was held in New York City, titleholder Garry Kasparov met challenger Viswanathan Anand on the 107th floor of the south tower of the World Trade Center. They played their first game on Sept. 11, 1995.That tower is now gone, a new one stands nearby, and the grandest board in chess is again set in lower Manhattan. This year, the venue is the new Fulton Market Building in the South Street Seaport, an area of the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It was rebuilt and has been thriving in recent years.The players are different, too. Magnus Carlsen of Norway, ranked No. 1 in the world, is defending his title against Russian challenger Sergey Karjakin, ranked No. 9. The first weekend of their best-of-12 match is in the books, and after two games — and two draws — the score is level at 1-1.This year’s chess venue is sparse and sleek, heavy on concrete and hypermodern black-and-white branding. Large flat-screen televisions dot the open floor, providing live views of the tense and slowly unfolding games. The sellout crowd mills around, stealing meaningful-looking glances at the game on TV, listening to live commentary on headphones, eating sandwiches and playing their own games of speed chess in the cafe’s Eames-style dining chairs.The two grandmasters play alone in a separate room, accompanied only by two stoic match arbiters. On the inside, the room resembles the bridge of a sci-fi spaceship. To the spectators on the outside, though, it evokes a reptile house in a zoo. You enter the dark, hot and humid viewing gallery through thick black curtains. You’re hushed as you enter and reminded to silence your phone. The lights inside are dimmed, and an eerie purple light glows from behind the thick glass of the one-way mirror. You can see Carlsen and Karjakin, leaning in close to each other over the board in deep thought. They can’t see you.In Game 1, Carlsen, playing with the white pieces, chose an unusual opening called the Trompowsky Attack. The joke around the Fulton Market Building on Friday was that he played it as a homophonic nod to the new president-elect. There was truth to the joke. Asked after the game whether his choice had anything to do with Donald Trump, Carlsen replied: “A little bit.”“I’m a big fan of Donald Trump,” Carlsen told Norway’s TV2 in March (in Norwegian). “Trump is incredibly good at finding opponents’ weaknesses. He speaks only about that the other candidates are stupid or smelly. There should be more of this in chess, too.” Carlsen then offered a Trumpism of his own: “Karjakin is incredibly boring!” Karjakin, for his political part, is an avowed supporter of Vladimir Putin.By the end of that first game, each side had pushed its wooden army as far as it’d go — two phalanxes scrumming at the center of the board. No further blood was drawn, however, and the players agreed to a draw after the 42nd move and just under four hours of play. (Draws are quite common in championship chess.) read more


Then-freshman goaltender Kassidy Sauve (32) defends the net during a game against Mercyhurst on Nov. 11 at the OSU Ice Rink. OSU lost, 3-0. Credit: Lantern file photoAfter sweeping its opening series against Lindenwood last weekend, the Ohio State women’s hockey team is set to stay on the road for its third and fourth games of the season against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday and Sunday.In its first two games under new coach Jenny Potter, OSU scored eight goals on 60 shots and controlled virtually every category in the box score.Despite the two victories, the team knows it will have to make adjustments before facing the high-scoring Badgers.“I think with a new coach and new systems, they did a fantastic job adapting to those new systems, I think that (Lindenwood) only scored one power-play goal,” Potter said. “I know the first night we killed 11 penalties. I think they did a great job. We know we can get better, but I think they are working really hard and we’re learning.”The physical Buckeyes face a new set of challenges against Wisconsin.The Badgers had the second-ranked Western Collegiate Hockey Association offense in 2014-15, the top-ranked power play attack and scored 13 goals in their first two games of the 2015-16 season.This year’s OSU squad has said it prides itself on an up-tempo, physical style, so to combat the high-powered Badgers, it might end up committing penalties.“Obviously I don’t want to take penalties, but where we are in our system and as a team there might be some penalties,” Potter said.The sentiment that this team expects to take penalties is consistent with Potter’s skaters, who believe an aggressive style suits them.“I think we’re playing a very aggressive style this year that not a lot of people have seen before, so matching their speed that (Wisconsin) is notorious for is a big part of what we are trying to do,” freshman defender Lauren Boyle said.Boyle believes the team’s effort in the weight room overpowered Lindenwood. The level of aggressive style OSU plays with comes from that hard work in the weight room, which causes the penalties — not chippy play.OSU is confident that as the season rolls on, it will be able to compliment its physical game with the offense necessary to beat a high-scoring team like Wisconsin.“It’s about going out and playing our game and worrying about what we can do,” sophomore forward Lauren Spring said. “I think we have a lot of girls who are just as fast as them, so I think if anything we’ll be able to match them or out-skate them.”For a program that ranked No. 18 in total offense last season, the team is confident that it will be able to score enough goals this season to contend with the top teams in the nation to compliment its physical style of play.“I don’t think we’re going to struggle to put the puck in the net this weekend,” Boyle said. “Because of all the conditioning we’re doing, I don’t think they’re going to keep up with us by the third period. I don’t think anyone is doing what we’re doing.”The Buckeyes will look to keep up their strong start against Wisconsin. Puck drop is set for 3:07 p.m. read more


The Ohio State-Michigan rivalry is one of the greatest in all of sports.  It has become so on the back of the greatest of players making the greatest of plays.There is no surer way for a Buckeye football player to enshrine himself in Ohio State lore than to shine on this biggest of all stages.Careers are made. Legends are born. Old men sit on their front porches speaking of such players in reverent tones.Who from this year’s football team can etch their name on the list of OSU-Michigan heroes? Daniel “Boom” Herron? Cameron Heyward? Terrelle Pryor? First, here’s a look at the pantheon of greats that they would be joining.Chic HarleyChic Harley is widely considered the man who put OSU football on the map.  The three-time All-American played halfback, quarterback, end, safety and was both punter and kicker during his career at Ohio State. With a resume like that, it would have come as no surprise if he had dotted the “i” at halftime.After the 1916 and 1917 seasons, Harley left school for a year to fight in World War I. In his 1919 return season he led the Buckeyes to their first victory over Michigan. His four interceptions in that game still stand as an OSU record and his legacy was cemented. The Horseshoe is still regarded as ‘The House that Harley Built.’Howard ‘Hopalong’ Cassady“Hopalong” Cassady led the 1954 OSU team to a 10-0 record and a national championship.  He followed with another fantastic season which was capped off with a huge performance against Michigan. In his last collegiate game, Cassady keyed the Buckeyes’ first victory in Ann Arbor since 1937 and dashed the Wolverines’ Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl aspirations.After a Cassady punt return got the Buckeyes started with good field position, he scored the game’s first touchdown with a run off the right guard and continued to pound away at the Michigan defense to secure the 17-0 victory. OSU coach Woody Hayes would call it, “The greatest game Ohio State has ever played for me,” high praise from the gruff coach.Cassady would win the Heisman Trophy that year by the largest margin in voting history.Jim OtisJim Otis was the OSU fullback from 1967 to ‘69. From the fullback position, which is normally known for its blocking role, Otis led the Buckeyes in rushing every season of his college career.During the 1968 Michigan game, Otis scored four touchdowns against the Buckeyes’ archrival in a 50-14 rout. It was the game made famous by Hayes’ response to a question about why he chose to go for two in a game in which he already had a 36-point lead: “Because I couldn’t go for three.” Otis’ four touchdowns are still tied for the most scored by an individual Buckeye player in The Game.Tom KlabanOne might think that a list of OSU-Michigan greats would be incomplete without two-time Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin, who had a 3-0-1 record against the Wolverines. But Klaban indisputably carried the Buckeyes in the 1974 game, when he scored all of OSU’s points in the game by kicking four field goals to give Ohio State a 12-10 victory to end Michigan’s 21-game winning streak.Chris SpielmanSpielman, a two-time All-American during his career at Ohio State, is the prototype of a hard-nosed linebacker. He still holds many career and single-season records for tackles at OSU. But it was his 29 tackles in the 1986 OSU-Michigan game that earned him a spot on this list.The 1986 game, as it had many times in the past and would many times in the future, decided the Big Ten champion and Rose Bowl representative. It was a back-and-forth affair that wasn’t decided until the game’s final minute. Even in defeat, Spielman’s performance would stand as one of the greatest defensive displays in OSU history, causing OSU coach Earle Bruce to remark, “This is the way it should be.”Joe GermaineAs John Cooper limped into The Game in 1998 with a 1-8-1 record against the Tom Brady-led Wolverines, it was clear that the Buckeyes needed to take off the kid gloves offensively to earn a victory. Joe Germaine, who had previously spent the bulk of his OSU playing career splitting time with Stanley Jackson, delivered.The diminutive, fresh-faced kid who had transferred from a community college in Arizona looked to the casual observer as though he would fit in better in a physics lab. But the Rose Bowl hero threw for 330 yards against the Wolverines, 217 of which went to David Boston, in a 31-16 victory that gave Cooper his second and final victory over the team up north.Troy SmithSmith, once predicted to be Justin Zwick’s backup for four years, had two of the most electrifying performances in OSU-Michigan history. In 2004, Smith’s 341 passing yards, 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns led the Buckeyes to a 37-21 victory.In 2006, the game meant more than perhaps it ever had. Each team carried an 11-0 record into the matchup and there was much on the line, including a trip to the BCS Championship game.Smith paced the Buckeyes with 316 passing yards and four touchdowns in a game in which he clinched the Heisman Trophy with a nail-biting 42-39 victory.On Saturday, OSU coach Jim Tressel hopes another of his players will step into the spotlight and join the list of heroes of The Game. read more