Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No Parity in College Basketball?



Jay Bilas says the unthinkable, that "parity doesn't exist in college basketball." Did Duke lose? What could have upset him so much to claim there's no parity in the men's game?

He's not talking about the women's game, where UConn has dominated in a fashion that presumably can't happen anymore with the men, as it last did with UCLA in the 60's and 70's. He's talking about now and the parity I see each year with the "eye test" that Jay often refers to during bubble-talk. You know, how it seems like these days so many teams have height, athleticism and can nail 3-pointers to make any game a questionable outcome. Or how everyone agrees that one of these tourneys a 16-seed is going to beat a 1-seed. It must be parity, right?

Jay says no. He explains there are always brow-raising upsets in the opening rounds, but by the Sweet 16 we're left with a baker's dozen of the usual power conference suspects plus a few Cinderellas from mid-majors. "Parity means equality...but most people use it as an excuse when a big shot loses."

He could be right about the sound-bite excuse. How else do we explain 15-seed Middle Tennessee beating 2-seed Michigan State, a top Vegas favorite to win the 2016 tournament? Conventional basketball correctness says the answer is parity, but maybe that's an excuse and has become commonplace to the point of acceptance without evidence.

His comment surprised me, and props to him for going against convention. I've always appreciated his opinion just as I do for Gminski, Battier, Williams and others who sampled the dark side of blue at an impressionable age. But parity doesn't exist? Would Coach K make such a wild claim? Doubtful.

Jay also asks, "If we have parity, when did it arrive?" This makes it sound personal since it's like asking when did global warming arrive, that is if we have it. (However I can answer when it arrived, and Jay knows the answer too.)

Fortunately we have stats to demonstrate if parity exists or not. I believe Jay would agree that parity means more and more teams are becoming competitive against the highest ranked programs, even capable of beating them. I asked my staff to postpone their spring break long enough to crunch some numbers and determine just how crazy Jay's comment is.

Hypothesis #1:
If parity exists, there should be less of a gap between the best and worst teams in the tournament. There should be a shrinking average margin of victory in first round games of the 1 vs 16-seeds and the 2 vs 15-seeds. Is there victory shrinkage?

Answer:
During 1985-1994, the first ten years of the 64-team field, the average margin of victory in games featuring the 1's and 2's vs the 16's and 15's was 20.1 points per game. The same scenario over the last ten years (2006-2015) is 19.7 points, not a substantial difference. No shrinkage.
Point to Jay.

Hypothesis #2:
If parity exists, there should be more higher seeds reaching the Final Four. Is there a higher average for those seeds lately than in the past?

Answer:
From 1985-1994 the average seed for a Final Four team was 2.5.
From 2006-2015 the average seed for a Final Four team was 3.3.
Point to parity.

Hypothesis #3:
If parity exists, we shouldn't see the same college programs advancing deep each year. There should be a greater number of programs reaching plateaus like the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four lately than in the past.

Answer:
From 1985 to 1994 the number of programs to reach the Sweet Sixteen was 68, and 23 programs made it to the Final Four.
From 2006 to 2015 those numbers fell to 67 and 22.
Point to Jay.

Of interest, some of the big anomalies are contrary to the parity-thought-train. For example, only once since 1985 have all 1-seeds made it to the Final Four and it happened recently (2008). Another example is the closest a 16-seed came to beating a 1-seed was back in 1990 (Murray State vs Michigan State) where the favorite needed overtime to win. And then the highest seed to ever win it all was 8-seed Villanova way back in 1985, the year it expanded to a field of 64.
Point to Jay.

And finally, look at the champions list since 1995, essentially the same names you'd hear from decades before without one example of a major surprise:
UCLA
Kentucky (3)
Arizona
UConn (4)
Michigan State
Duke (3)
Maryland
Syracuse
North Carolina (2)
Florida (2)
Kansas
Louisville
Point to Jay.

Unfortunately the time frame is short. Just 31 years to see change truly represented--that may be a stretch. We probably need twenty more years to see better evidence. While I still believe in parity or want to believe in it, I'll concede to Jay for now. Not saying it wholeheartedly, but there appears to be no substantial change in parity for today's men's programs compared to those of 25-30 years ago.

However I do know when it arrived, the same parity that may or may not exist. Jay knows too. December 23, 1982 when the Silverswords of Chaminade University of Honolulu (800 students) beat #1 Virginia and Ralph Sampson as a senior. From that day on everyone knew the impossible was possible when it came to college basketball.

Chaminade over Virginia may not be the definition of parity, but it clearly indicated basketball was a game where David could beat Goliath. Perhaps that's why we love the madness. Parity, or something resembling it, makes this game insanely fun for players, coaches and fans alike. Enjoy the madness and listen to Jay Bilas. He's a smart man.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

NFL Needs Cannabis More Than Ever

flickr.com/photos/brookward/21713950018/
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjya Gupta, reports that 96% of former NFL players, who agreed to have their brains tested after death, show signs of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a condition similar to Alzheimer's.

CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain common in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma. CTE has been known to affect boxers since the 1920s. With the recent passing of NFL great and CTE sufferer, Frank Gifford, more concern than ever is being focused on solutions.

Cannabis (marijuana) offers hope though it's presently a banned substance on the NFL's drug policy. Cannabis has been shown to protect the brain from head trauma and also assist with recovery. In fact, the US Government holds a patent for marijuana as a neuroprotectant. 

The patent (#6630507) is titled “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants” and was awarded to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in October 2003.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bernie Sanders Endorses Cannabis Legalization

From MJINews.com:

During the Democratic presidential debates on Oct. 13, 2015, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., became the second major party candidate, after Rand Paul on the Republican side, to endorse marijuana legalization. He is also now the first major party candidate on either side of the aisle, to endorse recreational reform at the federal level specifically.

The statement was immediately met with support from the major advocacy organizations. According to Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, “This marks the first time a major-party presidential candidate has clearly expressed support for ending marijuana prohibition and regulating marijuana like alcohol. The people have typically led the politicians on this issue, and finally we’re seeing a presidential candidate who appears to have caught up with them.”

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Let Your Candidate Know: Vote M-A-R-I

marijuana cannabis hemp for medicine agriculture recreation industry
Next time someone wants your vote, say this:

Are you pro cannabis-hemp-marijuana? (My state) and America need to legalize this plant for Medicine, Agriculture, Recreation and Industry. M-A-R-I.

Cannabis-hemp-marijuana makes the best medicine, building materials, fuels, foods and is safest for adult enjoyment while benefiting the environment.

Any candidate, locally or nationally, must support full legalization to get my vote.


Feel free to use this exact wording or to alter it.

And if someone responds that marijuana will corrupt the children, just say this:

Aspirin kills thousands of US citizens per year, including children. Vicodin, OxyContin, Xanax, Ritalin, Prozac, Prednisone and hundreds of other legal killers have hardly any known history compared to thousands of years with marijuana and no overdoses. How can you trust the government and Big Pharma when over the counter and prescription drugs are killing 44 Americans every single day, including children?

Cannabis-hemp-marijuana dates back thousands of years and is one of the oldest known crops. The newer strains for medicinal use are much higher in CBD (cannabidiol), which counters the psycho-activity of THC and doesn't make people feel stoned.

Here are some links to know cannabis-hemp-marijuana better, and they might blow your mind:

Society of Cannabis Clinicians - http://cannabisclinicians.org/

Project CBD - http://www.projectcbd.org/

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition - http://www.leap.cc/

Marijuana Investor News - http://www.mjinews.com/

Patients Out Of Time - http://www.medicalcannabis.com/


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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Pot Experiment Unlocks Marijuana’s Secrets and Much More

If you try to read most of the marijuana articles you see online these days, you might not get much else done. Cannabis-hemp-marijuana has quickly become ubiquitous, and if you think it's big now just wait until America gets closer to elections.

Whether the discussion is about medicine, recreation or industry and with titles ranging from The Great Pot Experiment to Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets, mainstream media has completely embraced the grass, weed, herb, green, MJ movement.

How could they not? It's a story about government propaganda gone amuck with over 80 years. A story about how a small group of powerful people pulled off the biggest smoke screen in American history. An epic tragedy of a wonderful plant that was woven into every fabric of society and then wrongly accused, dragged through the sewer and imprisoned for crimes it did not commit.

Here are a couple of the latest. FromTime: 

Legalization keeps rolling ahead. But because of years of government roadblocks on research, we don’t know nearly enough about the dangers of marijuana—or the benefits

Read the full article from Time - http://time.com/3858353/the-great-pot-experiment/

Also this one from Hampton Sides of National Geographic:

There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever.

In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.

Then came Reefer Madness. Marijuana, the Assassin of Youth. The Killer Weed. The Gateway Drug. For nearly 70 years the plant went into hiding, and medical research largely stopped. In 1970 the federal government made it even harder to study marijuana, classifying it as a Schedule I drug—a dangerous substance with no valid medical purpose and a high potential for abuse, in the same category as heroin. In America most people expanding knowledge about cannabis were by definition criminals.

Read the full article from National Geographichttp://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/marijuana/sides-text

Cannabis-hemp-marijuana is a plant with thousands of uses for medicine, industry, food, fuels and recreation. Time to pardon it nationally.
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Wednesday, May 06, 2015

NFL Concussions and Marijuana

NFL concussions marijuana
The NFL has been dealing with two major issues: concussions and its outdated anti-marijuana policy despite changing times. In a twist of irony, the two issues may end up working together to make the NFL a safer place for the long run.

NFL players are no strangers to marijuana. Former players like Nate Jackson and Lomas Brown have publicly estimated about half of NFL athletes use marijuana. Jackson has said, "Marijuana was something that helped me, (sic) as the season wore on, my body would start to break down.  I was in a lot of pain.”

Marijuana is among the oldest remedies for pain and stress. Its history dates back thousands of years before Vicodin, Percocet, Toradol and other dangerous pharmaceuticals handed out so freely by NFL teams medical personnel. Most people know the NFL is dealing with lawsuits related to concussions; not surprisingly it's dealing with drug policy litigation as well.

Concussions and CTE

flickr.com/photos/spcardinals/10147801933/
The helmet protects the skull, but it doesn't keep the brain from sloshing around during a hit. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) comes from repeated head traumas and can evolve into a degenerative brain disease. CTE may have contributed to the suicides of NFL players Junior Seau and Jovan Belcher, who also killed his girlfriend. In cases of brain trauma, a lot of inflammation occurs which affects brain function and neural connections. A compound in marijuana called cannabidiol (CBD) has shown scientific potential to be an antioxidant and neuroprotectant for the brain. Perhaps that's why some players instinctively prefer it.

Commissioner Goodell, you still open to medical marijuana?

In January of 2014, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "We will follow medicine and if they determine this could be a proper usage in any context, we will consider that. Our medical experts are not saying that right now." Goodell did not discuss what the other medical experts are saying, the ones who recommend marijuana over dangerous pharmaceuticals for concussion prevention and treatment. To the commissioner's credit, the NFL has made substantial efforts with rule changes for safer hitting methods, but that's not enough. He needs to acknowledge the opinions of more medical experts and requests from the players who understand what their bodies prefer for pain and inflammation.

Dr. Lester Grinspoon is one of those reaching out to the NFL commissioner. Grinspoon is both a football fan and also Associate Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He's authored many books including Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine. Dr. Grinspoon wrote Goodell a letter imploring him to actively support research into using cannabis to treat long term head trauma.

flickr.com/photos/reighleblanc/3854684694/
Dr. Raphael Machoulam is professor of Medical Chemistry at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He's studied cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for over 50 years and identified a major physiological system (the endocannabinoid system) which seems to be involved in many human diseases. Marijuana mimics compounds found in the brain, named endocannabinoids, and are of immense importance in bodily functions. Related compounds found more recently in the brain and in bones have to do with brain protection and osteoporosis.

Clint Werner is a researcher and author of Marijuana Gateway to Health: How Cannabis Protects Us from Cancer and Alzheimer's Disease. Werner says, “Severe head injuries automatically trigger the production of an excessive amount of neurotransmitters called glutamates. When there are too many of these chemicals in the brain, they can initiate a chain reaction of cell degradation and impairment. The cannabinoids, which we find in marijuana, work as effective antioxidants, potentially neutralizing the glutamate activity and stopping the cascade of neuronal damage that can follow.”

NFL Concussion Litigation

In April of 2015 a federal judge approved the class-action lawsuit settlement between the NFL and thousands of former players. The total may cost the league $1 billion over 65 years, providing up to $5 million per retired player for serious medical conditions associated with repeated head trauma. Sounds expensive, a shipload more than what it would cost to fund some marijuana research.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave?

4 states (Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon) and Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana while 23 states allow some form of medical marijuana. These numbers will continue to rise with a likely near-future of legalization at a federal level. The NFL has a chance to be ahead of the game here. Why not let these adults choose for themselves, Mr. Goodell, and remove it from the list of banned substances? Marijuana is not something athletes use for a competitive edge like steroids, and it's not a dangerous drug despite the brain-washing that's been going on since Reefer Madness in 1936. The NHL does not test for marijuana; the NFL shouldn't either. Former Super Bowl champions, Marvin Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Scott Fujita have asked the NFL to change its marijuana policy. Let's hope more athletes, celebrities and politicians will have the wisdom and the guts to make similar statements. Let's also hope the NFL and the US in general can back away from the "tough on drugs" policy that has been status quo for far too long.

relegalize.info/hemp/advocates.shtml
Americans are supposed to be granted "inalienable rights" to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness from the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps the greatest irony in all of this is that the US Government holds a patent (#6630507) for marijuana as a neuroprotectant, while simultaneously classifying marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug with no medical value. Yep, that's our government at work. What would our forefathers say? You know, the ones who grew hemp for just about everything.

What are your thoughts? Share a comment.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chronicles the #1 American Tragedy



If you’re American, the documented facts in Smoke Signals on the US history of marijuana should outrage you. If you’re not American, you’ll understand the ludicrous and draconian US policy against industrial hemp and marijuana inflicted on its citizens for nearly a century. Author Martin A. Lee pulls no punches demonstrating how the US government has repeatedly screwed over the people in a misguided war that was doomed to fail from the start, a war with implications that are impossible to quantify.

Ridiculous in concept, it’s a war against a plant, hemp-marijuana-cannabis, that has been loved throughout human civilization for noble reasons. A plant that was a required crop during colonial times for its myriad of uses, and a plant that was recalled by the government during the Hemp For Victory campaign of WWII.

Bravo to Lee for creating a treasure chest of marijuana history from the introduction to US society to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and Reefer Madness through enduring tyranny over the decades to the changes happening in places like Colorado and recent medical breakthroughs with cannabinoids. America has been crippled in countless ways by our “leaders” because of their steadfast demonization of this wondrous plant and its potentials, chronicled poetically by the author.

How could our “leaders” brainwash US citizens saying it had no medical value whatsoever? How could they poison our world with plastics, petroleum and dangerous chemicals while imprisoning moms and pops and seizing their properties?

Mr. Lee’s book should be read by the masses, especially at a time when extensive marijuana reform is happening. You can’t keep a great truth from rising. Marijuana is not only for people suffering from cancer and other ailments but for everyone who wants it because it simply makes them FEEL GOOD.

Americans love to sing how we’re the land of the free and the home of the brave, but in some ways Americans have been hoodwinked into submission as the opposite of what our founder fathers envisioned. Washington, Jefferson and Franklin would be speechless if they knew future generations would make hemp a crime worse than murder in some cases.

Bravo to Kerouac, Ginsberg, Kesey, Dylan, The Dead, Brownie Mary, Debby Goldsberry, Ed Rosanthal, Dennis Perron and a plethora of other freedom fighters in the book who never gave in to an oppressive regime. As Perron and others have rightfully pointed out, the American government should be held accountable for reparations for the suffering it inflicted on individuals and the country as a whole.

No wonder we can’t build prisons fast enough because they’re overflowing with non-violent marijuana offenses. How many trillions of dollars have been wasted funding this stupid war while extorting unreasonable finances from people trying to afford a plant that for a time became more expensive per ounce than gold? What else will we discover when doctors can finally research the plant entirely? How much harm has been done with toxic and overpriced pharmaceuticals and health care? The questions go on and on.

It's a great book. Check out Smoke Signals at Amazon.

What are your thoughts? Share a comment.
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Tuesday, March 03, 2015

The Union: The Business Behind Getting High

Adam Scorgie's and Brett Harvey's 2007 documentary, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, deserves to be seen especially before watching the sequel for 2015, The Culture High.


Interesting highlights include:
  • Cannabis-hemp-marijuana has been the largest agricultural crop in the world throughout history.
  • Marijuana has now been illegal for over 70 years, the longest sustained war in American history.
  • Tobacco is subsidized by the government, made into cigarettes with added chemicals that contribute to heart disease and cancer, killing 480,000 people in the US per year.
  • Alcohol contributes to approx. 85,000 deaths per year.
  • In 10,000 years of marijuana use, no known deaths are directly attributed to it.
  • Law enforcers claim that alcohol contributes to violent crime, but marijuana does not.
  • Prohibition makes matters worse because it brings crime into it.
  • US government spends nearly $8 billion/year on marijuana prohibition.
  • More people are in jail for marijuana possession than for murder, rape, robbery and assault combined.
  • The US has more prisoners per capita than any other nation; over 45,000 current prisoners are serving time for marijuana violations.
  • Marijuana legalization threatens the bottom line for many industries including oil, pharmaceutical, timber, plastics and textile.
  • Pharmaceutical medicines kill over 100,000 people per year.
What are your thoughts? Share a comment.
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Friday, January 09, 2015

CBD Cannabidiol Ends Child's Seizures

A clip from The Culture High. A father resorts to medicinal cannabis for his 7-year old son who has suffered seizures since age 4 months, sometimes hundreds of seizures per day and was prescribed 12 different medications, 22 pills per day from Jayden's doctors. CBD marijuana extract ended the seizures.
CBD has under 1% THC so it doesn't get Jayden high.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits, but does not make people feel “stoned” and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. The fact that CBD-rich cannabis doesn’t get one high makes it an appealing treatment option for patients seeking anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and/or anti-spasm effects without troubling lethargy or dysphoria. - Learn more about CBD and medical cannabis at ProjectCBD.org 

What are your thoughts? Share a comment.
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Cannabidiol CBD, Marijuana Medicine Without the High

CBD is Cannabidiol, the second most prominent chemical compound within marijuana, yet it's taken a distant backseat to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) over years of selective breeding. That's changing fast as scientists and doctors begin to understand CBD better, which may be far more responsible for medical benefits than THC, the component that makes one feel high. CBD is not psycho-active, an obvious bonus for patients who want natural relief from medical marijuana but don't want to feel stoned.

CBD may be a treatment for chronic pain, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, alcoholism, PTSD, schizophrenia, antibiotic-resistant infections, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders.

What are your thoughts? Share a comment.

Find out much more info at Project CBD (http://www.projectcbd.org/).


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Tuesday, December 02, 2014

New Video Course: Bestselling Keywords for Amazon Authors

Prlog.com - Pismo Beach, CA.

Knowing which keywords to choose and how to use them effectively is a common need for many authors. This online course makes keyword research simple to help authors get their books to rank higher with search terms used by Amazon readers.

A new video course focuses on finding smarter keywords. Just released by self-publishing instructor, Jason Matthews, Bestselling Keywords for Amazon Authors is now available at Udemy and other online educational retailers. The course was created for writers who struggle with metadata and keyword selection, helping make that aspect of publishing easier. It’s designed for writers about to publish and for those already selling books on Amazon. It teaches methods for identifying relevant and popular keywords and categories for any book. It also shows keyword implementation, which helps readers discover books using Amazon’s search engine.

Keywords can be effectively added throughout Amazon’s publishing platform, including in the author’s KDP dashboard, the book’s title, subtitle, product description and within the actual interior text. The course uses Amazon’s search engine in conjunction with Google’s Keyword Planner for research and decision making. It’s a time-saver enabling books to rank higher in search results for their chosen terms.

19 video lectures combine for 77 minutes of instruction with quizzes and supplemental text that includes links to websites listed in the course. Each video shows real-time examples and are between 2 to 5 minutes in length.

Using keywords wisely helps any book rank higher with Amazon’s search engine and places it in front of more perspective readers. This course can be accessed with a discount coupon code at https://www.udemy.com/bestselling-keywords-for-amazon-authors/?couponCode=Keyword7.
Check out the video on YouTube:

About Jason Matthews

Jason Matthews is an author of multiple books in fiction and non-fiction. He’s an avid blogger, speaker and publishing coach. His specialties are building author platform, selling at retailers, social media, blogging and SEO. He teaches a series of author training videos at Udemy and other online educational retailers.