Courtesy of Thomas Built Buses BY: LEIGHTON SCHNEIDER, ABC NEWS(NEW YORK) — Maryland’s Montgomery County Public Schools has announced a contract to replace its diesel buses with electric ones, starting with 326 electric buses over the next four years. It marks the single largest purchase of electric school buses in North America, according to the release announcing the deal. The county school board, which is located northwest of Washington D.C and operates more than 200 schools, approved the deal with Highland Electric Transportation, a Massachusetts-based start-up that delivers electric school buses to school districts. Although this contract only replaces about a quarter of the entire 1,400 bus fleet, the contract could be extended to replace the entire fleet, according to Todd Watkins, the Transportation Director for Montgomery County Public Schools.“The reason we picked four years instead of the entire contract is that the whole school bus industry thinks that prices on electric vehicles are going to be going down significantly as we saw with Tesla…And everybody fully expects that to happen with school busses, too. And we didn’t think it was very responsible to try to contract out further than four years,” says Watkins.Watkins says the district got several proposals, but ultimately went with Highland Electric because they provided everything they wanted.“We asked for use of the vehicle, design, installation, and maintenance of the charging infrastructure, we asked for the electric the busses run on and we asked for maintenance of the busses. … We wanted every piece of it to be part of the contract so that we knew for sure what we were going to pay for those,” says Watkins. Nat Kreamer, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, a national clean energy business group, applauded the announcement in a statement. “This leadership step taken by Montgomery County Public Schools shows that it’s possible today to electrify transportation at scale. Comprehensive solutions like Highland Electric’s can leverage private capital, meet the needs of fleet operators, and serve communities now without burdening ratepayers or taxpayers,” said Kreamer.As part of the deal, Highland Electric will purchase the buses from Thomas Built Buses in North Carolina. It will be supplied and serviced by Annapolis, Maryland-based American Bus- a long-time provider for the school district. Thomas Built will use its all-electric Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus and it will be powered by Proterra batteries. The buses are capable of up to 135 miles range on a single charge. Highland Electric will also electrify all five of the MCPS bus depots and supply all the charging infrastructure, with the goal of purchasing 100% renewable energy to power them over time.Duncan McIntyre, CEO of Highland Electric, says he believes the county chose the company because they were able to make the contract budget neutral. “We’re looking at their capital that they’ve got available and their operating expenses that they expect to spend over the next 10 to 15 years to operate a diesel fleet. And we’re sort of shifting that around and making the bet with our money. We’re making the bet that electric busses are much cheaper to operate, and so there’s a shift, we’re willing to pay a lot more because we’re making a bet that savings will materialize,” says McIntyre.One common concern for customers is what the price of electricity will be down the road. McIntyre says they are the ones taking the risk of the costs when they bundle future prices into the annual contract. “For the district, it’s a win-win. They get to wash their hands of it. What they know is they get sixteen thousand miles per year per bus, because that’s how many miles they need to drive. And it’s our obligation to power up the busses every night, [or the] middle of the day, and create an optimized strategy that gives them charge readiness for their routes,” says McIntyre. The company plans to deliver 25 buses this fall, before ramping up to 61 in 2020, then around 120 each of the next two years. Watkins says it will take 14 years to completely electrify the entire fleet. The move to electric buses also gets rid of dangerous carbon emissions, says Watkins.“We get to have a vehicle that we know doesn’t produce any tailpipe emissions at all. …we know that whatever impact there is of diesel exhaust on students riding our busses, or being in school driveways, while those are much, much less than they were 20 years ago … there’s still some greenhouse gases. There’s still some particulate matter and still burns fossil fuels,” says Watkins. When the buses are not in use, especially during the summer when school is out, the batteries [can] provide energy to the electrical grid. “We’ve been doing that for a few years and have a number of vehicle to grid projects that are primarily smaller. But we’re making a bet that we can earn some income,” says McIntyre.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Singer/songwriter Jim James has stepped away from My Morning Jacket for the moment, and will soon hit the road in support of his new solo release, Eternally Even. Gearing up for that tour, James stopped by New York City radio station WFUV for an in-studio solo session. James plays songs and chats with host Alisa Ali during the half hour-long appearance, bringing his new protest music to light in the process.You can now listen to the full WFUV session, which was recorded last week, in the stream below.
The power to edit genes is as revolutionary, immediately useful, and unlimited in its potential as was Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. And like Gutenberg’s invention, most DNA editing tools are slow, expensive, and hard to use — a brilliant technology in its infancy. Now, Harvard researchers developing genome-scale editing tools as fast and easy as word processing have rewritten the genome of living cells using the genetic equivalent of search and replace — and combined those rewrites in novel cell strains, strikingly different from their forebears.“The payoff doesn’t really come from making a copy of something that already exists,” said George Church, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who led the research effort in collaboration with Joe Jacobson, an associate professor at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “You have to change it — functionally and radically.”Such change, Church said, serves three goals. The first is to add functionality to a cell by encoding for useful new amino acids. The second is to introduce safeguards that prevent cross-contamination between modified organisms and the wild. A third, related aim, is to establish multiviral resistance by rewriting code hijacked by viruses. In industries that cultivate bacteria, including pharmaceuticals and energy, such viruses affect up to 20 percent of cultures. A notable example afflicted the biotech company Genzyme, where estimates of losses due to viral contamination range from a few hundred million dollars to more than $1 billion.In a paper scheduled for publication July 15 in Science, the researchers describe how they replaced instances of a codon — a DNA “word” of three nucleotide letters — in 32 strains of E. coli, and then coaxed those partially edited strains along an evolutionary path toward a single cell line in which all 314 instances of the codon had been replaced.That many edits surpasses current methods by two orders of magnitude, said Harris Wang, a research fellow in Church’s lab at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering who shares lead-author credit on the paper with Farren Isaacs, an assistant professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale University and a former Harvard research fellow, and Peter Carr, a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab.In the genetic code, most codons specify an amino acid, a protein building block. But a few codons tell the cell when to stop adding amino acids to a protein chain, and it was one of these “stop” codons that the Harvard researchers targeted. With just 314 occurrences, the TAG stop codon is the rarest word in the E. coli genome, making it a prime target for replacement. Using a platform called multiplex automated genome engineering, or MAGE, the team replaced instances of the TAG codon with another stop codon, TAA, in living E. coli cells. (Unveiled by the team in 2009, the MAGE process has been called an evolution machine for its ability to accelerate targeted genetic change in living cells.)While MAGE, a small-scale engineering process, yielded cells in which TAA codons replaced some but not all TAG codons, the team constructed 32 strains that, taken together, included every possible TAA replacement. Then, using bacteria’s innate ability to trade genes through a process called conjugation, the researchers induced the cells to transfer genes containing TAA codons at increasingly larger scales. The new method, called conjugative assembly genome engineering, or CAGE, resembles a playoff bracket — a hierarchy that winnows 16 pairs to eight to four to two to one — with each round’s winner possessing more TAA codons and fewer TAG, explains Isaacs, who invokes “March Madness.”“We’re testing decades-old theories on the conservation of the genetic code,” Isaacs said. “And we’re showing on a genomewide scale that we’re able to make these changes.”Eager to share their enabling technology, the team published their results as CAGE reached the semifinal round. Results suggested that the final four strains were healthy, even as the team assembled four groups of 80 engineered alterations into stretches of the chromosome surpassing 1 million DNA base pairs. “We encountered a great deal of skepticism early on that we could make so many changes and preserve the health of these cells,” Carr said. “But that’s what we’ve seen.”The researchers are confident that they will create a single strain in which TAG codons are completely eliminated. The next step, they say, is to delete the cell’s machinery that reads the TAG gene — freeing up the codon for a completely new purpose, such as encoding a novel amino acid.“We’re trying to challenge people,” Wang said, “to think about the genome as something that’s highly malleable, highly editable.”This research was funded by U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.
… Spurs scrape throughBy Martyn HermanLONDON,(Reuters)-Liverpool sank deeper into their mid-season rut when Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers claimed a deserved 2-1 FA Cup fourth-round victory at Anfield as the competition lived up to its reputation for shocks yesterday.Goals by Richard Stearman and Andreas Weimann proved enough for Wolves, 18th in the second tier, to inflict a third home defeat in a week on Juergen Klopp’s faltering side who managed only one win in eight matches in January.Fourth-tier Wycombe Wanderers, 70 places below Tottenham in the English pyramid, were minutes away from trumping Wolves with a genuine giantkilling away win over Premier League title hopefuls Tottenham Hotspur but lost a thriller 4-3.Two goals by Paul Hayes, one a penalty, gave Wycombe a 2-0 halftime lead at White Hart Lane and Garry Thompson sent the away fans crazy by restoring their lead seven minutes from time after Tottenham had fought back.Tottenham were reduced to 10 men when Kieran Trippier limped off after the hosts had used all their substitutes but Dele Alli coolly equalised in the 89th minute before Son Heung-min struck seven minutes into stoppage time with his second goal of the game.“This is the beauty of the FA Cup. It’s magic. This is completely different to Spain or France,” relieved Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino said after his side’s ninth consecutive home victory in all competitions.Lincoln City, one of two survivors from outside the Football League, continued their dream run with a 3-1 home victory against Championship leaders Brighton & Hove Albion to reach the fifth round for the first time in the modern era.They also got that far in 1887 when the competition involved far fewer clubs at the outset.Rafael Benitez’s Newcastle United, Brighton’s close rivals for promotion to the top flight, also slipped up to lower-level opponents, outplayed 3-0 at League One’s Oxford United.Arsenal made light of a touchline ban for manager Arsene Wenger as Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick and Danny Welbeck struck twice in a 5-0 hammering of League Cup finalists Southampton at St Mary’s while in the day’s other all-Premier League duel Manchester City outclassed Crystal Palace 3-0 at Selhurst Park.CHELSEA BREEZEPremier League leaders Chelsea breezed past second-tier Brentford 4-0, Middlesbrough beat Accrington Stanley 1-0 and Burnley saw off Bristol City 2-0.Blackburn Rovers won a north-west derby 2-0 against Blackpool in a game memorable for protests against their clubs’ respective owners by both sets of fans. Huddersfield reached the fifth round with a 4-0 thrashing of Rochdale.Liverpool, already reeling from last weekend’s home defeat by Swansea City which left them 10 points adrift in the Premier League title race and Wednesday’s League Cup semi-final defeat by Southampton, made a dreadful start yesterday.Wolves were ahead after 53 seconds as an unmarked Stearman headed in Helder Costa’s free kick and Weimann made it 2-0 five minutes before halftime after more good work by Costa.Divock Origi scored late on but it was too little too late.“I could look for excuses but I don’t want to, maybe we should use this time to be disappointed, to be frustrated, to be angry at ourselves,” Klopp said. “All I can say. Sorry.”National League leaders Lincoln, who knocked out Championship side Ipswich Town in round three, sent the Sincil Bank crowd crazy as they outplayed a below-strength Brighton side.Richie Towell gave Brighton, 72 places higher than Lincoln, the lead but the hosts equalised through Alan Power’s penalty and took the lead when Fikayo Tomori scored an own goal. Theo Robinson rounded off the win.Chelsea boss Antonio Conte made nine changes but his side were cruising after 21 minutes with goals from Pedro and Willian. Branislav Ivanovic and Michy Batshuayi also scored.Holders Manchester United play Wigan Athletic today.
“Customers are no longer loyal. They will leave to save a few dollars.”There is some truth to this statement. People are no longer as loyal to companies as they once were. They don’t feel the same undying loyalty they did at one time.The interesting question is not whether this statement is true. The interesting question is, “Who went first?”When we say people are no longer loyal, we need to identify of whom exactly we are speaking.Who Went First?Did the customer go first?Did the customer who was totally satisfied and thrilled beyond belief suddenly decide that it made no sense to be loyal and leave to find something better? Having all of their needs met by a company, did the bond on their side of the relationship weaken without any cause, destroying their loyalty?This doesn’t make sense, does it? When people are 100 percent satisfied and know that people care about them, they tend to be extremely loyal. This is true even when something better is available to them. You have relationships with companies where the individual people are important enough to you that you won’t change for a better offering or lower price.All things being equal, relationships win. This fact has been true for thousands of years. It will be true for thousands more.If the customer didn’t go first, who did?The High Price of a Low Transaction CostIs it possible that companies and businesses went first? Could the drive for increased profits have caused cost-cutting that reduced the service level and loosened the bonds between the company and their customers? Could a reliance on automation to reduce transaction costs under the guise of serving customers better have also eliminated many of the touch points on which deep, loyal relationships were built?You may have a deep relationship with a brand. But in large, complex business-to-business sales, it’s difficult for a brand to generate loyalty. It’s the people inside the brand with whom you have the relationship. And when you no longer have a relationship, you no longer feel a sense of loyalty.If you don’t care about your customers, if you have no intimacy, then why would you expect them to feel a sense of loyalty to you?If you treat people like a transaction, then that is how they will view your relationship. Anyone can deliver a transactional experience. Loyalty requires much more of you.
On this day, 14 August in 1990, Sachin Tendulkar scored his first Test hundred. In international cricket, Tendulkar would go on to score another 99 hundreds.Tendulkar, aged 17 years and 112 days old, hit an unbeaten 119 off 189 balls to become the third youngest batsman ever to score a Test century against England at the Old Trafford stadium in Manchester.Batting first, England posted 519 on the board with Graham Gooch, Michael Atherton and Robin Smith scoring hundreds. In reply, India managed to post 432 with skipper Mohammad Azharuddin leading the charge with a patient 179. He was ably supported by 17-year-old Tendulkar who scored 68.Allan Lamb ‘s century in England’s second innings helped the hosts put up 320 runs, and India were battling to save the match when Dillip Vengsarkar was sent back by Christopher Lewis, in stepped a young Tendulkar.His skipper soon departed, but Tendulkar battled on in the harsh English conditions. Tendulkar batted 225 minutes and managed to save the Test match with his unbeaten century helping India draw the match with the score at 343/6.THIS DAY THAT YEAR: Rewind to 1990 and the world witnessed @sachin_rt’s maiden international ton. At the tender age of 17, the little master scored his first ton in whites at Old Trafford. What a moment! pic.twitter.com/yT0xMlEu8jBCCI (@BCCI) August 14, 2018#OnThisDay in 1990, the world saw the first of @sachin_rt’s 100 international centuries.The little master was 17 years, 112 days old when he hit his maiden Test ton at Old Trafford – the third youngest player ever to score a Test hundred. pic.twitter.com/oJe7CXfX2qadvertisementICC (@ICC) August 14, 2018″Tendulkar played an excellent innings. He is a superb player for his age, just like an old pro,” England captain Gooch had said after the match.That was just the beginning, as Tenulkar went onto score 99 more hundred in international cricket. He also became the first man to play 200 Tests in his final international match at the Wankhede Stadium in November 2013. He also scored a total of 15921 Test runs, the most by a batsman.#OnThisDay in 1948, Sir Don Bradman walked out at The Oval for his final Test innings, needing just 4 runs to maintain an average over 100…You know what happened next…The most famous in cricket history? pic.twitter.com/GoCZivgMytICC (@ICC) August 14, 2018Incidentally, August 14 is also the day that the legendary Donald Bradman walked out to bat in his last Test innings at The Oval in 1948. He needed just 4 runs to end his career with an average over 100, but he was dismissed for a duck.
“RED is coming” is what Xiaomi has been teasing for the past few days. The teasers reveal that Xiaomi will be launching a red edition of a Redmi phone, and most likely it will be of the Redmi Note 5 Pro. The company is yet to reveal the name of the phone though. The new Red edition of the Redmi phone in question will be launching at 10AM today.Update: Soon after posting this article, Xiaomi India Managing Director Manu Kumar Jain took to Twitter to announce the Redmi Note 5 Pro Red variant. He has revealed that the Red Redmi Note 5 Pro will go on sale for the first time in India on Mi.com at 10PM today. He has also revealed the new colour variant of the phone will be available on Flipkart very soon.Red is my favourite colour! It is the colour of loveExcited that we are launching the brand new Red coloured #RedmiNote5Pro, India’s No. 1 selling dual camera phone!Sale starts on https://t.co/lzFXOcGyGQ today at 10am. Coming soon on @Flipkart. #NayaNote pic.twitter.com/gPFXpTc3WdManu Kumar Jain (@manukumarjain) September 4, 2018The launch of the Red edition of the Redmi phone is to celebrate the fifth year of Redmi series. To recollect, Xiaomi had launched the Flame Red edition of the Redmi Note 5 in China back in the month of June. It is important to note that the Redmi Note 5 in China is the Note 5 Pro in India. The same phone as Redmi Note 5 Pro may hit the Indian stores today.advertisementOverall, the Red edition of the Redmi Note 5 Pro is expected to be the same as the base model apart from some differences in RAM, storage and also the price. The Redmi Note 5 Pro Red may cost slightly more than the other colour variants. In India, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is available in four different colours Black, Blue, Gold, and Rose Gold.Xiaomi launched the Redmi Note 5 Pro (Redmi Note 5 in China) Flame Red colour variant for an MRP of CNY 1,399, which roughly translates to Rs 14,550. The Redmi Note 5 Pro 4GB model was launched for Rs 13,999 in India, but the price of the phone has been raised by Rs 1,000 recently. The 4GB RAM model now currently sells for Rs 14,999. The 6GB RAM/64GB storage can be purchased for Rs 16,999.RED is coming! Watch this space tomorrow at 10 AM! pic.twitter.com/sGmRqrk5l4Redmi India (@RedmiIndia) September 3, 2018The Flame Red Redmi Note 5 in China comes packed with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Other specs of the phone remain the same as the original model.The Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a 5.99-inch full-screen FHD+ display with a 2160x1080p resolution and 403ppi pixel density. Under the hood, the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 processor with Adreno 509 GPU. The smartphone sports a dual camera system on the rear consisting of one 12-megapixel sensor and another 5-megapixel sensor. On the front, the phone includes a 20-megapixel camera with LED flash to capture well-lit pictures in low-light situations. On the software front, the smartphone runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based MIUI 9 and is backed by a 4,000mAh battery.
Man Utd duo De Gea and Pobga ruled OUT of Liverpool clashby Ansser Sadiq9 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United will be without David De Gea and Paul Pogba for Sunday’s clash with Liverpool.De Gea was substituted during Spain’s draw with Sweden on Tuesday due to an abductor problem, while Pogba has missed United’s last five games with an ankle injury.”David needs a scan,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports of his Spanish goalkeeper. “I think he’ll be out. It certainly looked like it anyway judging on last night so it’s just one of those things.On Pogba, Solskjaer added: “Paul had an injury, he came back, he worked really hard. He came back and played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier.”He had a scan after the Arsenal game and maybe needed a few weeks’ rest in a boot so hopefully he won’t be too long, but he won’t make this game, no.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say
Award-winning Journalist Soledad O’Brien – along with her husband Brad Raymond – will host the annual fundraising event, “New Orleans to New York City Gala” on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at Espace in New York.The celebration is the biggest night of the year for the Starfish Foundation, created to provide promising young women a bridge between obstacles and opportunities. Party guests will enjoy a cocktail reception followed by the evening’s festivities which will include a special music performance by members of the Grammy Award-Winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and members of the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The event is proudly sponsored by American Family Insurance.“We are excited to host The New Orleans to New York City Gala for the fourth consecutive year,” said O’Brien. “It is always a great gathering as we honor our scholars and the commitment they’ve shown to pursuing their education. I look forward to celebrating with them and our supporters in a festive evening.”The annual gala will begin with an outdoor cocktail reception at 6:00 p.m., preceded by main event and concert at 7:00 p.m. All proceeds from ticket sales for the “New Orleans to New York City Gala” will fund scholarships for young women awarded by the Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond Starfish Foundation.After witnessing the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, O’Brien and Raymond began privately awarding scholarships to young women who didn’t have the resources for success. As their efforts grew, they officially formed the Starfish Foundation to expand their reach and help even more young women. Today the Starfish Foundation provides scholarships to disadvantaged young women in under-served communities and is committed to giving more than just financial assistance to its scholarship honorees. The Foundation creates a customized support program for each participant that reflects that person’s specific needs. To date, they have provided support to 28 young women.O’Brien is an award-winning journalist – she has been a writer, producer, reporter and a TV news anchor for NBC stations locally, NBC network news and CNN. About a year ago, O’Brien left CNN to start her own production and distribution company called Starfish Media Group. The company focuses on telling stories that often fly under the radar. O’Brien has won many awards including three Emmys she won for reporting in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina and the 2012 election. She’s travelled the globe telling stories, but her two favorite places are New Orleans where her Foundation was launched after Hurricane Katrina and New York City where she lives with her husband and four kids.For more information and ticket sales, please contact [email protected]:PR Newswire
Texas Tech863-5 Syracuse100-1 Villanova515050-1 Chances based on BPIDifferences may not add up exactly due to roundingSource: ESPN Stats & Information Group West Virginia857-2 Loyola-Chicago102+1 Chances of making Final Four Gonzaga9%23%28%+20 Nevada2120 Purdue323025-8 Texas A&M2220 Kansas St.104+4 Duke423749+7 Kansas172319+2 Gonzaga’s good luck has gotten even betterChances of making the Final Four for 2018 Sweet 16 teams before the bracket was released, after the bracket was released and if we had known each team’s opponents this far in the tournament before it began Kentucky is the envy of the college basketball world for its soft Sweet 16 landing in a region that is suddenly without any of its top-four seeds. But if we’re looking for the luckiest team in the NCAA Tournament this year, a case can be made that it’s not the Wildcats. It’s Gonzaga.That’s not to say that Kentucky hasn’t been fortunate. John Calipari’s perennial powerhouse entered the tournament with just a 2 percent chance to reach the Final Four, per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, and an 8 percent chance based on FiveThirtyEight’s projections. Looking at each model now,1BPI is one ingredient in the FiveThirtyEight projection cocktail. that number has ballooned to 45 percent on BPI and 57 percent on FiveThirtyEight. Part of that increase is because of the strong teams in the region that fell early, but part is also based on Kentucky winning its first two games — and being only two wins from the Final Four, instead of the four it was at the start of the tourney.But what if we could isolate the effect of the upsets so far on a team’s chances? What if we had known before the tournament began that Kentucky would face Buffalo and Kansas State after opening with Davidson (avoiding Arizona and Virginia) and then face either Loyola-Chicago or Nevada in the Elite Eight (avoiding Tennessee and Cincinnati)? Given that information, Calipari’s team would have had a 21 percent chance per BPI to reach the Final Four,2FiveThirtyEight’s model doesn’t have “pre-bracket” predictions. a whopping 19 percentage point increase just because the right teams lost before Kentucky had to see them.So yes, the seas have parted for Kentucky in its region, but Gonzaga has arguably benefited more from circumstances outside of its control.Let’s do the same pre-tournament exercise with the Bulldogs. If we had known before the tournament that after the first round they would face Ohio State, Florida State and the winner of Michigan-Texas A&M, the Bulldogs would have received a modest boost (23 percent to 28 percent) to their Final Four chances, thanks to the losses of regional competitors like Xavier and North Carolina. They also would have received an increase to their title game and championship chances by 11 and 3 percentage points, respectively (compared with 8- and 2-point boosts for Kentucky).What’s helping out the Bulldogs so much? First, there’s the fact that Michigan — a worse team than Gonzaga, in BPI’s mind — is the toughest remaining out in the region for Mark Few’s squad. But then there’s this: In the Final Four, Gonzaga will basically reap all the same benefits that Kentucky received, getting to sidestep Virginia, Cincinnati, Tennessee and Arizona. At worst, the Bulldogs will face Kentucky, which is 3 points per game worse in team quality than Gonzaga on a neutral court, per BPI. If the schools met up in the Final Four, Gonzaga would have a 61 percent chance to win, according to the BPI model. In the best-case scenario for the Bulldogs, they would end up with one of the even more feeble options from the South region in Kansas State, Loyola-Chicago or Nevada.Is it cut and dried that Gonzaga has been more fortunate than Kentucky? No. But the numbers since the tournament began aren’t the whole story. See, Gonzaga’s chances also received a healthy bump from the selection committee’s layout of the bracket, which paved a relatively easy path for the Bulldogs en route to a possible trip to San Antonio — even if the bracket played to form. Before anyone had taken the court, Gonzaga’s chances to reach the Final Four increased by 14 percentage points over BPI’s pre-selection projections based on the teams it needed to get past in its region, so its Final Four chances in total have increased by 20 points (after rounding) overall. Meanwhile, the selection committee actually hurt Kentucky quite a bit, knocking its pre-selection Final Four chances down by 6 percentage points, meaning that outside forces improved the Wildcats’ Final Four chances by only 13 points. Clemson554-1 Florida St.111+1 Michigan131315+3 Kentucky8221+13 TeamPre-BracketPost-BracketPost-Bracket with Opp.overall Diff. So while the Wildcats have been lucky since the tournament began, they started out at a disadvantage. The same is true for a team like Duke, of course, whose current projection has benefited from Michigan State’s loss to Syracuse but whose original projection was hurt an awful lot by the Spartans’ nearby placement in the bracket. Duke and Villanova have seen slightly larger increases to their respective championship chances based on the bracket selection and other contenders’ losses relative to Gonzaga, but neither has been as positively affected as the Bulldogs in their chances to reach the Final Four or national championship game.If Gonzaga’s good fortune ends up helping to send the Washington school to the title game, it would not be unprecedented. Among all teams to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game since 2008, none benefited more from other teams losing than the 2017 Bulldogs, which faced No. 11 seed Xavier in the Elite Eight and No. 7 seed South Carolina in the Final Four. So while no one will feel sorry over Kentucky’s cushy path to the Final Four, it’s Gonzaga that — at least in the past two years — has had more luck on its side.Check out our latest March Madness predictions.