For the first time since 2005, the hype surrounding the Ohio State men’s basketball team has nothing to do with incoming freshmen. It has nothing to do with recently departed stars and nothing to do with “what could have been.”The Buckeyes, who had become all too familiar with players leaving early for the NBA, return all but one player from last year’s team and have zero incoming freshmen.The focus on this team is not on the talent leaving Columbus, but rather on the talent staying in town.A sense of continuity is something that has been absent from the program since 2006, when Greg Oden began a trend of “one-and-done” players making short stays at OSU. The team’s familiarity with one another is something coach Thad Matta knows is important. “Repetition builds confidence in my mind,” Matta said. “I think that’s the beauty of seeing guys that have been in the program for more than one or two years. Now, there’s not a lot that they’re going to see that’s going to be new to them.”Even though the season has yet to begin, Matta said he has already noticed an improvement in his team’s ability to recognize certain situations on the court — a recognition that, because of the youth of his previous teams, was not there in the past.“These guys have played a lot of basketball together,” Matta said. “They’ve got a pretty good feel for what other guys can do. So, from that standpoint, that carries some clout for us.”Getting healthyBoth David Lighty and Nikola Kecman return this year after seeing their previous season cut short because of injury.Kecman, a sophomore, played in only one game last season before tearing his ACL in practice.Lighty, who broke his foot in the team’s seventh game last season, is now a redshirt junior coming into his fourth year at OSU. He is considered by many on the team to be the Buckeyes’ vocal leader and will make his biggest impact on the defensive end.“Dave is a great player and a great leader,” senior Kyle Madsen said. “One of the best things he does is play defense and talk on defense. He’s a really loud guy who brings everyone together.”Though it was difficult for him to watch from the bench last year, Lighty said it was his absence that allowed for others to gain valuable experience.“I dropped off and everyone stepped up their game and came ready to play,” Lighty said. “It’s going to be really good for us.”As Lighty and Kecman make their returns, junior Dallas Lauderdale will fill the vacancy on the injury report. Lauderdale, who was projected as the Buckeyes’ starting center, broke a bone in his hand during a preseason practice and is not expected to be healthy in time for the season opener.He will be replaced by senior Kyle Madsen and sophomore Zisis Sarikopoulos until he is able to return.Buckeyes begin season nationally rankedFor just the second time in Thad Matta’s career in Columbus, the Buckeyes found themselves ranked in the preseason Top 25.OSU begins the season at No. 16 in the preseason AP Poll and is one of six Big Ten teams ranked by the AP to start the year.The Buckeyes are No. 17 in the Coaches’ Poll, one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the Top 25.Matta’s first OSU team to be ranked at the start of the year entered the 2006-07 season ranked as high as fourth. The Buckeyes went on to win both the Big Ten regular season and tournament championships, and finished as the national runner up.Turner earns preseason All-Conference honors; team projected to finish thirdJunior Evan Turner, who averaged a conference-best 17.3 points per game a season ago, was named the preseason All-Big Ten team by the media.Turner, Purdue’s Robbie Hummel, Penn State’s Talor Battle, Michigan’s Manny Harris and Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas, all juniors, were tabbed as the conference’s best players headed into the season.Lucas, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, was projected by the media to retain the title, and was named the Preseason Player of the Year.Likewise, Lucas’ Spartans are projected to repeat last year’s regular season conference championship. The Buckeyes, who finished last year in a tie for fourth in the conference, are projected to finish third, behind Michigan State and Purdue. Roller coaster non-conference scheduleBefore beginning Big Ten play at the end of December, the Buckeyes will play 12 teams from out of conference, nine of which will be played at home.The Buckeyes’ non-conference home schedule doesn’t look to be much of a challenge.The home schedule includes only one team from a major conference in Florida State, and is filled with the likes of Lipscomb and Cleveland State, among others.Away from Columbus, however, the Buckeyes will be put to the test.OSU will play both North Carolina and either California or Syracuse as a part of the 2K Sports Classic in New York City. Along with a trip to Indianapolis to play Butler, the Buckeyes will be pitted against three teams ranked in the preseason Coaches’ Poll Top 25.“With the schedule like that you have a chance to play teams from other conferences that are high powered and that we may meet in the NCAA tournament,” senior P.J. Hill said.“[After our non-conference games] we’ll know where we stand as a ball club and as individual players so I think that’s going to be a great test for us.”The Buckeyes begin play Wednesday with an exhibition game against Walsh before getting the season officially underway Monday against Alcorn State.
In addition to requesting a study that could help determine whether a new BRAC round is required, the House Appropriations Committee directs DOD to submit a report highlighting underutilized facilities out of concern that it is spending significant sums on unneeded infrastructure.“The committee is concerned that Department of Defense officials have stated an estimated 30 percent of defense facilities are in excess of mission requirements, a fiscally unsustainable diversion of scarce resources from readiness,” according to the committee report accompanying the fiscal 2016 military construction-veterans affairs spending measure that was released Tuesday.The report should include:each DOD facility with a utilization rate lower than 50 percent of available capacity;number of uniformed personnel and civilian employees at each of those facilities;annual budget for personnel; andoperations and maintenance costs associated with each facility.The study, due 60 days after the legislation is enacted, also should identify “any facility determined to be 100 percent in excess of mission requirements,” the committee report states.A separate item directs each service’s installations chief to prepare a strategic plan for managing excess real property efficiently. The plan should describe what opportunities there are to consolidate underutilized facilities that would result in reducing the operating and maintenance costs for those facilities, according to the committee report.The lawmakers cited long-term challenges facing DOD in maintaining its portfolio of facilities, along with the need for the military departments to improve the ability of their real property databases to identify consolidation opportunities.The full Appropriations Committee marks up the milcon spending bill today. The committee report can be found on the Appropriations website. Dan Cohen AUTHOR
Dear Reader, It was nice to see gold soar almost $50 last Friday. I don’t place too much importance on a single day’s movement, but the surge showed that reality does matter. Its movement was a natural response to escalation of warfare in Europe, regardless of what paper traders—or even manipulators—in New York might say or do. And the reality is that gold is not just another commodity, like pork bellies or even copper. Gold is the world’s oldest and most trusted form of money. It’s the ultimate safe haven asset, and the only financial asset that is not simultaneously someone else’s liability. These are facts, regardless of what fools or knaves like those who run the Fed or Goldman Sachs say to the contrary. Still, despite last Friday’s gratifying rebound, gold is still down, our stocks have been hammered, and entering the market has felt like trying to catch a falling safe. I’ve had much to say on the subject, but I’ll step aside and let Jeff Clark address it, as he’s just put together an excellent situation analysis for us. I hope all our readers take it to heart—and take heart. Sincerely, One Year Ago Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ) 26.04 31.44 35.74 One Month Ago Gold Producers (GDX) 18.64 20.42 24.14 Gold (SGE) 1,144.38 1,231.93 1,329.47 TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange) 14,690.83 14,576.45 13,294.20 Oil 78.65 87.98 94.20 Louis James Senior Metals Investment Strategist Casey Research P.S. Speaking of the crisis in Ukraine, and more crises brewing around the world, International Man Editor Nick Giambruno has teamed up with the original international man himself, Doug Casey, to scour the world for real “blood in the streets” type opportunities. The new service is called the Crisis Speculator, and you can find out more about it here. Copper 3.03 3.04 3.25 Silver 15.78 17.24 21.66 Silver Stocks (SIL) 9.18 9.96 12.24 Gold 1,177,80 1,212.40 1,308.50 TSX Venture 770.26 854.83 931.08 Rock & Stock Stats Last
Here’s the 6-month U.S. dollar index chart so you can see the manufactured rally that the powers-that-be laid on us yesterday. Nick Laird said that the HUI was down 5.51 percent for the week—and his Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed lower by 3.52 percent. The CME Daily Delivery Report showed that zero gold and zero silver contracts were posted for delivery within the COMEX-approved depositories on Wednesday. The CME Preliminary Report for the Friday trading session showed that gold open interest in May fell by 6 contracts and is now down to 76 contract still open. May silver o.i. dropped by 35 contracts, leaving 254 still to go. I’m not sure if anything is open in the U.S. on Memorial Day or not. If they aren’t, it means that all these deliveries have to be done by Thursday at the latest, as Friday is first notice day for the June delivery month—so they’ve got exactly one business day left to get this all done. Tuesday’s Daily Delivery Report could prove interesting. There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—and as of 8:00 p.m. EDT yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. There was a tiny sales report from the U.S. Mint on Friday. They sold 500 troy ounces of gold eagles—and 500 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes. Month-to-date the mint has sold 15,000 troy ounces of gold eagles—7,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 1,648,500 silver eagles. Based on these sales numbers the silver/gold ratio works out to 75 to 1. It was another quiet day for gold over at the COMEX-approved depositories on Thursday. Only 3,000 troy ounces were received—and nothing was shipped out. It was ultra-quiet in silver as well. Only 3,078 troy ounces were received—and 1,006 troy ounces were reported shipped out. It was reasonably busy at the COMEX-approved gold kilo depositories in Hong Kong on their Thursday. They reported receiving 4,250 kilobars—and 4,200 kilobars were shipped out. All of the activity was at Brink’s, Inc. The link to that activity [in troy ounces] is here. The Commitment of Traders Report for positions held at the close of COMEX trading on Tuesday, was even more ugly than I imagined it could possibly be. It was, as Ted Butler said in our phone call yesterday, “depressing.” Let me set the stage in gold. During the the reporting week, we had four ‘up’ days—and one ‘down’ day, which was last Tuesday, the cut-off for yesterday’s COT Report. During the four ‘up’ days, gold gained, at best, $30-odd dollars—and gave up a hair over half of that on the one ‘down’ day. During that reporting week, the Commercial net short position in gold blew out by an eye-watering 54,832 COMEX contracts, which is 5.48 million troy ounces of gold, which is the biggest 1-week increase in history. The Commercial net short position now stands at 13.23 million troy ounces—a 70 percent increase in one week—and for what reason? To bury a $30+ rally. These guys are brutal. The ‘Big 4’ traders added 17,700 contracts to their short position—and the ‘5 through 8’ went short an additional 13,400 short contracts. The other Commercial traders, Ted Butler’s raptors, sold 23,700 long contracts. It was the all-for-one-and-one-for-all “Three Musketeers” trading opposite the technical funds in the Managed Money category for fun, profit and price management. Under the hood in the Disaggregated COT Report, the Managed Money added 28,099 long positions on that rally—and sold/covered 22,799 short contracts. Once again, as Ted said, it’s one group of traders selling to another that set the price—up and down. It’s the same old, same old. It was the same in silver. During the reporting week, we had four up days followed by a big down day. During the four ‘up’ days, the silver price rose by about $1.25—and gave up almost half of that on the one big engineered price decline last Tuesday. On those price moves on those five trading days, the Commercial net short position exploded by a stunning 24,382 contracts, almost 122 million ounces of silver in five trading days, or the equivalent of 53 days of total world silver production. This is, by a very wide margin, the largest 1-week change in the Commercial net short position in silver in the history of the COMEX. The ‘Big 4’ short holders added 6,600 contracts to their short position, but the ‘5 through 8’ traders actually decreased their short position by 400 contracts. However, the small Commercial traders, Ted’s raptors, took up the slack by selling 18,200 long contracts for a profit. Ted says the JPMorgan’s short-side corner in the COMEX silver market is in the 19-20,000 contract range, which puts them up there with Canada’s Scotiabank as the biggest COMEX silver short on Planet Earth. Under the hood in the Managed Money category, the technical funds there added 8,554 long contracts and covered/sold 19,680 short contracts as the rally they started, unfolded during the reporting week. Ted said the the COT Report in silver went from bullish to wildly bearish in just one week. We now have the worst Commercial net short position in silver going all the way back to the end of December 2014. If the Commercial traders hadn’t been there to step in front of the Managed Money traders on this rally, we would be looking at a silver price of many hundreds of dollars—and a gold price of many thousands. But, as always, JPMorgan et al were there to buy enough short contracts and sell enough long contracts in order to kill these rallies stone-cold dead. This is what JPMorgan calls adding “liquidity” to the markets. I call it price rigging—and you can call it what you want. To be fair however, the reason that this report was such a standout in both gold and silver was the confluence of two separate events. The first was a big rally the day before the cut-off at the start of the reporting week—and and the big engineered price decline on Tuesday to end the reporting week. It’s my opinion that some of the data from the rally the day before the cut-off for this week’s COT Report [Tuesday, May 12] got shoved into this reporting period—and not all of the data from Tuesday’s big engineered price decline was reported in a timely manner, either. The confluence of those two events made this week’s report one for the record books—and I’ll be surprised if its ever broken. This is the Reader’s Digest version of the reporting week’s events—and I’ll be looking forward to what Ted has to say about all this in his weekly report to paying subscribers this afternoon EDT. Here’s Nick Laird’s “Days of World Production to Cover COMEX Short Positions” in all physically traded commodities on the COMEX. Please note that the eight largest traders in silver are now short the equivalent of 6 months world silver production. It’s my estimation that JPMorgan and Canada’s Scotiabank are currently short around 90 days of world silver production between them. Platinum hit its Friday high early in the Zurich lunch hour—and by 9 a.m. in New York was down $17 from that high—and it only recovered a few dollars from there, closing at $1,146 spot, down 7 bucks on the day. It was another busy week over at the Shanghai Gold Exchange for the week ending on Friday, May 15—as they reported that 45.480 tonnes were withdrawn. A hair over 900 metric tonnes have been withdrawn from the SGE since the start of the year. Here’s Nick Laird’s most excellent chart. In last Saturday’s missive I gingerly made these comments about the current state of the rallies in both gold and silver “Excuse me for thinking this, but the price action of the last couple of days has all the hallmarks of a top [hopefully temporary] in these rallies. In addition to the cooling-off in the precious metal prices themselves, their associated equities have not exactly been roaring to the upside. The charts below look toppy to me, as does the HUI.“ In hindsight, and with the current COT numbers staring us in the face, I didn’t know how right that statement would turn out to be. And the fact that “da boyz” pulled it off in less than five trading days—and on such tiny rallies in both silver and gold—should indicate that they’re not going to allow precious metal prices to go anywhere at the moment. I have no qualms about stating the fact that current COT structure, even discounting it a bit for Tuesday’s non-reported data, should scare the bejesus out of anyone. It certainly does me. The stage is set for a brutal take-down in the prices of gold, silver and platinum. The only question remaining is will it be by one single thrust, or death by a thousand cuts? I’d bet money on the latter, as “da boyz” can slice these precious metal salamis all summer long, all the while ringing the cash register in the process and declaring that the “summer doldrums” in the precious metals are upon us once again—doldrums that they themselves manufactured. What a crock. Looking at the above charts, seventy bucks or more in gold is not out of the question, as is two dollars in silver. Remember, it’s not the price, but the number of contracts. Over the next few months JPMorgan et al will probably keep engineering prices lower until we reach some sort of capitulation at the end of the process. This is their standard operating procedure. That will occur, as it always does, when the Commercials have forced the Managed Money players to sell as many long contracts as possible—and enticed them to go as short as possible. We’ve been down that road many times in the last four years, so you should know the drill by now. The miners, the World Gold Council, The Silver Institute, GFMS, CPM Group et al—know it too, but pretend that it’s not happening. But we’re so far down the road on this that they can’t admit it now, or even make mention of it. That includes the CFTC and the CME Group, which Ted Butler says, are actually enabling all of this. The price management scheme in the precious metals is by far the most important criminal activity that the banks are involved in—as the ramifications of a free-market price in precious metals in particular—and commodities in general—would bring the entire world’s economic, financial and monetary system to its knees overnight. It’s Jim Rickards “Currency Wars“—and the “Death of Money“—on steroids. It will end in time, of course, but for the moment the war against the producing class by the West’s financial elite goes on. I consider it to be a line item in the Wolfowitz Doctrine as well. The Russians and Chinese are more than aware of all of this—and if push really becomes shove, you just never know what might happen. That’s all I have for the day—and the week. If the precious metal markets are open on Monday, I’ll certainly have a report on Tuesday. Enjoy what’s left of your weekend—and I’ll see you then. The silver price action was a carbon copy of the gold action, right down to the hits at precisely 8:30 and 9:00 a.m. EDT, so I shall dispense with the details. The high and low were recorded as $17.335 and $16.94 in the July contract. Silver finished the Friday session at $17.075 spot, down 5.5 cents from Thursday. Net volume wasn’t overly heavy at 28,000 contracts.