FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions currently give the Carolina Panthers a less than 1 percent chance of making the playoffs. In the video above, Reuben Fischer-Baum walks us through the unlikely scenario that would allow the 6-8 Panthers to squeak into the playoffs as an NFC wild-card team. Share on Facebook
Kentucky’s Aaron Harrison (left) and Willie Cauley-Stein (15) celebrate at the end in a 68-66 win against Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8 on March 28 in Cleveland. Credit: Courtesy of TNSEveryone loves a Cinderella story, but underdogs running through March Madness to win the NCAA basketball title are bad for the game.That’s why I’m glad Michigan State — a seven seed — was the lowest ranked team in this year’s Elite Eight. That’s why I’m glad Georgia State and UAB were knocked out after moments of glory, and, most of all, that’s why I’m glad 38-0 Kentucky is writing its very own version of a Cinderella story.Was it hard for Shabazz Napier to lead seventh-seeded Connecticut to a title last season? Sure, and it was fun to watch.But that has nothing on what it takes to run the table with 40 straight wins.Kentucky starts identical twins at guard and two freshmen at forward and has a Naismith Award candidate at center who doesn’t even average 10 points per game. Coach John Calipari, regardless of questionable activities at past stops in his career, has built perhaps the best team in college basketball history.Now with the Final Four just around the corner, two more Wildcat wins would be best for the sport.After tossing Hampton out of the tournament with ease, dispatching Cincinnati and embarrassing West Virginia, Kentucky got its first true test of the tournament. Once again, the Wildcats came out on top, this time against Notre Dame in the quarterfinals.A date with Wisconsin is the only thing in the way of a return trip to the title game for the Wildcats, but the story this year is much more of a Cinderella than what it was for the then-eighth-seeded men in blue.I couldn’t care less what their ratings were in high school or how many scholarship offers they had — to take a roster of 15 players and win 40 games in a row would be the most impressive feat in basketball history since UCLA’s 88-game run.And to an extent, one clean slate with such a young roster under the watchful eye of the nation’s media could be even more impressive.It’s hard to win a basketball game. It’s even harder to win two. And to keep doing that even after undefeated predictions were coming down before the season started is truly incredible, regardless of who the players are.Kentucky is the best team this year. That’s not a question, but regardless of how good you are, 40-win seasons don’t come around very often. And by not very often, I mean it has never happened before.No matter your opinion of Calipari and his recruiting tactics, the Wildcats deserve the title, and will probably get it.If that projection comes true, it’ll be the best-case scenario for college basketball.And if you’re still stuck on hoping for a Cinderella story, just remember that there have been the same number of 40-win teams as 16-seeds that won a tournament game.
Ohio State head women’s volleyball coach Geoff Carlston looks on afterhis team surrendered a point during their match with Purdue on Friday, Oct. 27 at St.John Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Purdue won the match 3-0. Credit: Jeff Helfrich |Former Lantern ReporterThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team is heading into its second series of the season Friday and Saturday after kicking off the season undefeated through three games. The squad will head to Oxford, Mississippi, to play Southern Mississippi and Ole Miss on Friday and Samford in the Rebel Invitational on Saturday. “It’s a really good tournament,” head coach Geoff Carlston said. “You’re going to get three really different looks, three styles and three coaches who know what they’re doing. We won’t be in Saint John’s, so embracing that trip is something we’ve talked a lot about. We’re excited.”After the opening weekend, Southern Miss holds a 3-0 record, with Ole Miss and Samford at 2-1.Ohio State sophomore middle blocker Lauren Witte, was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday. Witte hit .636 during opening season and scored 48 points, 37 kills and 12 blocks with only one error, a number that Carlston deemed “unheard of.”“Every team was worried about her,” Carlston said. “They were focused on stopping her and she still was able to be effective. When everyone knows that it’s coming and you can still play with the maturity that she played with; I think that’s the most impressive thing. Witte said she hopes to focus on better exemplifying all of these traits throughout the season. “Being a sophomore, I’ve been here for a year and know how the team and the Big Ten works,” Witte said. “At this point, I think it’s most important for me to have a constant core presence, leadership and skill-wise, that other teams are going to notice and worry about.”The team values their “culture playbook,” a set of rules and beliefs that they are all fully behind, with Witte crediting it for her mindset this season.“‘Trust the process’ is one of my favorites,” Witte said. “It’s easy to see the end goal. Obviously we want to win a national championship, but we have to realize that each practice is progressive and if we are getting better each day small bit by small bit, in the end it will pay off.”Having just come out of the Buckeyes’ first series, there is time and room for improvement. Carlston said he aims to focus on playing around with the rotations more, and building more aggressive serving.Witte and Carlston both look forward to the ongoing transition of the four freshmen on the team, a process that they both noted has been smooth and enjoyable so far. The team will face Southern Miss on Friday at 1 p.m., Ole Miss on Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Samford on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
Bad news, kids. A massive oil spill just devastated the North Pole. And it’s all Royal Dutch Shell’s fault. So says Greenpeace in an apocalyptic ad that accuses the oil conglomerate of “polluting our kids’ imaginations” because of their partnership with Lego to make Shell-branded toys. If you haven’t seen it, the video opens in an Arctic wonderland constructed entirely in Legos (à la The Lego Movie). The sun is shining, Inuit are fishing, and polar bears are playing in the snow… until tragedy strikes. One of Shell’s offshore rigs begins spilling oil—drowning everything and everyone in its path, even poor ol’ Santa. The most catastrophic to date was in Lac Mégantic, Quebec, where parts of the town were leveled and 47 people lost their lives. Despite this disaster, oil trains must roll on in the absence of pipelines if producers are to meet demand. Accidents are becoming more frequent. There were four derailments in six months in North Dakota alone. And just this past April, an oil train burst into flames in Lynchburg, VA. So, by environmentalists holding up the build-out of the Keystone XL that would stretch through rural, unpopulated areas, they’re essentially making it mandatory for more 75-car-long oil trains to rumble through cities and towns, just inches from Main Street. Again, it’s absurd… even more so when you compare the safety record of pipelines to trains. Of the 474.6 billion gallons of crude and petroleum products shipped by pipe in 2012, just 0.0005% were spilled. Number of casualties: 0. Among the safest is none other than the existing Keystone pipeline. If you weren’t aware, Keystone XL represents Phase 4 of the project, an “express line” extension. Phase 1 of the Keystone pipeline has been operating since 2010 and has safely moved over 600 million barrels of oil through the Western states without incident. Pipelines are the fastest, safest way to get oil to market. And President Obama knows this. Before the Keystone XL debacle, he made it a campaign promise to build more pipelines. And say what you will about the man, aside from the XL project, he’s quietly kept that promise. In fact, he greenlighted an 800-mile-long pipeline that’s 17% larger in diameter than Keystone XL and runs right through some of the most sensitive ecosystems on the planet. On this, he’s not blowing smoke. Obama’s personal attorney and former White House counsel is on the case, representing the company building it. Yet there hasn’t been a peep from Greenpeace and company on the issue. Except for being buried deep in the business section, it’s barely been mentioned in the press. That’s why we call it: Obama’s Secret Pipeline. The reason this pipeline was rubberstamped—and why protests have been undetectable—is that it’s all part of the president’s green-energy agenda. You see, this pipeline will be shipping natural gas, not oil. Though still a fossil fuel, in the eyes of both environmentalists and the White House gas is “green” because it’s efficient, burns cleaner than oil, and isn’t prone to damaging spills. A federal blessing on this pipeline backed by the president’s former lawyer is good news, but what makes it exciting for investors right now is the deal that was just brokered to build it. As you may have guessed, this massive pipeline is being built in Alaska; it links the North Slope—a reserve of 35 trillion cubic feet of conventional natural gas—to an off-load point near Anchorage. The man at the center of the project, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell, virtually guarantees a successful completion of the pipeline. Governor Parnell is a former employee and lobbyist for ConocoPhillips, a major producer of gas in the North Slope. (His ties to the industry run so deep that the Alaska Dispatch News called him the “Manchurian Governor.”) Parnell brought ConocoPhillips to the table along with BP and ExxonMobil to create a key partnership with the State of Alaska to transport 500 million cubic feet of gas a day through this pipeline. Then, as a savvy former industry insider, the governor cut an amazing deal for the state. He signed into law a bill that requires Alaska to be paid “in kind”—meaning the state will be taking its share of the royalty and tax revenue in the form of natural gas, not cash. This gives Alaska a 25% stake in the project, sufficient capacity for the state to ship part of its own share of the gas. (The goal is for Alaskans to fulfill their needs first, then export the surplus.) It’s the first time a US state has participated in a deal of this kind. But what does the state know about gas infrastructure and transportation? They’re bureaucrats, not engineers. That’s why the bill further provides for the state to separately negotiate a deal with the pipeline builder to invest in the state’s 25% share of the proposed pipeline project. This company provides up to $8 billion in funding to finance Alaska’s part of the construction of the project; and once it’s built, it becomes the sole transporter of the state’s share of the North Slope gas reserves, collecting fees in the process for decades to come. This is truly a sweetheart deal for this company. And it’s just one of the many reasons why we recently recommended it in Casey Energy Dividends, our newsletter dedicated to finding safe, high-yield opportunities. You see, this new Alaskan pipeline, Obama’s Secret Pipeline, is another in a long line of cash-generating projects for this pipeline company. It already operates 35,500 miles of pipelines and 407 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage. It’s a well-established firm with a long track record of rewarding shareholders with dividends. And even though the Alaskan deal gives it more value, shares are still cheap, making now the best time to get in. If you’d like to invest in the ultimate winner of this just-approved 800-mile-long natural gas pipeline, you can get our full research on this company—including its name and ticker symbol—in a new report titled The Cash-Cranking Company Building Obama’s Secret Pipeline. Inside, you’ll get a full analysis of this company and see exactly why it has twofold potential of capital appreciation and safe, increasing dividends (it currently yields 3.64%). All you have to do to get this report is agree to give Casey Energy Dividends a try. When you click here and start a free trial, you can grab a copy of this report and test-drive the newsletter free for 90 days. If at any time during your trial you aren’t satisfied, you can call or email us to cancel, receive a full refund. Your special report, The Cash-Cranking Company Building Obama’s Secret Pipeline, is yours to keep with our compliments. It’s a win-win proposition entirely in your favor, much like the incredible deal our pipeline company cut with the State of Alaska. If you want in too, click here to get your special report and start a risk-free 90-day trial to Casey Energy Dividends. It’s a gruesome scene, followed by a plea for the viewer to sign a petition asking Lego to cut its ties with Shell. It makes you wonder: how did those evil oil barons at Shell manage to corrupt something as innocent and pure as Legos? Well, there’s a problem here. As much as Greenpeace would like us to believe it, Legos aren’t made from recyclable fairy dust… Legos are made out of oil. Not to get too technical, but one of the key ingredients in the manufacture of ABS plastics is propylene, a petrochemical refined from crude oil. ABS plastics are used to make thousands of products, including the device you’re using to read this now… and Legos. And who is a major supplier of propylene? You guessed it: Shell! You have to marvel at the hypocrisy here. Yet this is just another in a long line of campaigns out to make us feel guilty for consuming petroleum products. Extreme environmentalists must be among the angriest people on the planet. They just drowned Santa Claus in a sea of crude, for Pete’s sake! They fixate on the negative with suffocating myopia. They never offer market solutions or policies for improving the environment—they only propose more regulations and controls for reducing our carbon footprint. It almost sounds as though groups like Greenpeace want us to dramatically reduce our standard of living and trade in all the benefits of the Industrial Revolution for living in communal Paleolithic huts. Like most special interest groups in America right now, these environmentalists have a voice in Washington. (The Anti-Shell Lego video has nearly 5 million views already.) Any liberal candidate seeking election must pander to the green movement. Case in point—here’s another Greenpeace directive: “Tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.” The Keystone XL project is front-page news because environmentalists have turned it into the defining issue of the movement… almost a referendum on climate change. The reason is, the proposed pipeline crosses an international border and requires approval from the State Department and President Obama. That makes it a national issue… a newsworthy cause that suddenly makes bloggers in Brooklyn care about a pipeline being built in Montana. The flurry of petitions and protests are a boon to environmental groups. In fact, the Sierra Club raised over $1 million in just six weeks for an anti-pipeline rally. Yet, even though he’s the “environmental president,” Obama’s in a sticky spot here. He knows the importance of the pipeline. But if he approves it, he risks alienating an important part of his base at a time when his party is barely winning elections. So, like any seasoned waffler, he doesn’t veto the pipeline outright—he merely delays approval. Meanwhile, we have a North American oil boom underway, and suppliers need to get their oil to refiners. Enter the rise of transporting oil via rail. Volumes of oil being shipped by rail are at a record high—and so are accidents.
First Look: 6 Ways to Play Bill Bonner’s “Trade of the Century“ Tomorrow, February 8th, we’ll launch the broadcast of an exclusive online Summit devoted to Bill Bonner’s audacious “Trade of the Century.” During the event, Bill will join legendary speculator Doug Casey, the “billionaire beater” Chris Mayer and crisis investor Nick Giambruno in an event aptly named the Legends of Finance Summit. Attendance is free, but only if you sign up right here… — Always invest carefully. I always chuckle when I hear people say, “now is the time to be careful”—as if there is a time to be careless! You should always invest carefully in a portfolio of stocks in well-financed companies at good valuations with managers who have skin in the game. Only invest with money you can afford to leave alone. The longer, the better, but I think three years is probably a minimum. If you can do without the money you invest for at least three years, then this horizon will help limit the risk of having to yank your money out at a bad price just because of some stock market calamity like a 1987. You can afford to wait for better prices. We may be on the cusp of the biggest stock boom ever… But most people will miss out… In this exclusive recording, legendary speculator Doug Casey says: “Now is the time to back up the truck. If I could call your broker or go into your online brokerage account and place this trade for you, I would.” The last time Doug made a call like this, investors had the chance to make 721%, 928% and 2,154% over time… But for reasons explained in this video, this time you could make even more… What has Doug so fired up? Click here to find out, and claim your chance to take advantage of what could be the biggest prediction in history… Recommended Link Keep something in reserve. You want to have the ability to add to your favorites if the market gives you a chance to do so at great prices. You can’t take advantage of a 1987 if you have no money. Excellent! Thank you for writing this. – Shaaron Recommended Link