Here’s this week’s Stock Up/Stock Down report, which, as a reminder, you’ll notice is no longer found in the Monday Bracketology post.
Before we get into the stock outlook, let’s talk a little bit about conference tournaments. As we’re sitting here on February 24th, checking out projected brackets from around the web daily, if not hourly, I think we tend to forget the importance of conference tournaments. Not only do we forget the importance of bubble teams picking up big wins in these tournaments, which helps solidify their selection into The Big Dance. But even more importantly, we forget about the bids that get stolen. Bid aren’t just stolen from “mid-major” leagues, but also if a team outside of the bubble looking in picks up a few wins to find their way into the dance, a “power” conference tournament can have a major impact as well.
Take a look at the last three seasons to see bids that were stolen before Selection Sunday.
2013: Oregon and Ole Miss ended up stealing bids by winning their conference tournaments.
2012: St. Bonaventure’s stole a bid and based on where they ended up seeded as an 11-seed, it’s possible/likely that Colorado did as well.
2011: Memphis and Richmond were both given 12-seeds after winning their conference tournaments. It’s very likely these were two bid stealers as well.
That’s only the last three seasons, but just remember those teams when you’re checking out projected brackets in these last few weeks before Selection Sunday. This year, the Missouri Valley and Mountain West conference tournaments are flashing a “POTENTIAL BID STEALER” light in bright red right now. And (more…)
Here’s the updated bracket for January 27th following this weekend’s slate of games. Let’s take a quick look at some stock up/stock down since last Monday before the bracket is revealed.
Michigan – The Wolverines had themselves another week. Wow. They beat Iowa at home on Wednesday and then went into East Lansing on Saturday night in primetime to hand Michigan State their first Big Ten loss of the season. I know Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne were both out for Sparty, but that’s still a huge road win for Michigan to put them atop the Big Ten all alone. They climb up to a 3-seed this week.
Creighton – The Bluejays climb from a 6-seed up to the 4-line in this week’s bracket after their wildly impressive win last Monday at Villanova followed up by a solid home win against Georgetown. The computers love Creighton, so a 4-seed might actually end up being a bit low for them.
Wichita State – I no longer see a reasonable reason for keeping the Shockers off of the 1-line. (more…)
Here’s the Whirling Dervish, the Bill Raftery inspired nickname for this site’s Power Rankings. I’ll rank the Top 25 and go a little in-depth on the Top 10, with what I deem interesting information, statistics, and/or trends about each team in that group. Most, if not all of the data, will come from the great site, Kenpom.com. Get a subscription if you don’t have one. Seriously, it’s so worth it.
Without further adieu, let’s serve the Dervish.
1. Arizona – As of writing this, it’s interesting to note that Arizona is the only team in the nation with two players in the Top 10 of Kenpom Player of the Year Standings, with Nick Johnson at 3rd and Aaron Gordon at 9th. Now, this will likely change as Pomeroy has said that the back-end of the Top 10 will constantly be in flux. But, this is one of the many reasons as to why Arizona is #1 in the country and undefeated. Not only do they play absolutely ridiculous defense, have an outstanding coach in Sean Miller, and have great balance among their top seven guys, but two of those guys are really f’in good. Sometimes we forget how important raw talent is, especially when that talent is playing as effectively and efficiently as Johnson and Gordon.
Wisconsin dropped their first game of the season Tuesday in a 75-72 loss in Assembly Hall to Indiana. Yogi Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 25 points, on a voluminous 10-24 from the field. Even with the inefficient performance, Indiana does not win this game without Ferrell. He overcame being benched by Tom Crean for a stretch in the 2nd half and had moments of greatness in that 2nd half to lead IU.
If you’re a Wisconsin fan, no need to worry about this loss too much. It’s frustrating, obviously, after having a 10-point lead at one point in the 2nd half, but no one was going to go undefeated through Big Ten play. And the fact still remains that the Badgers have a highly manageable Big Ten schedule compared to the rest of the title contenders in the conference’s unbalanced setup. The don’t travel to Ohio State or Michigan State and are actually favored to win every game but one (at Iowa on February 22) from here on out according to Kenpom.com. They should still be the favorite to win the regular season title.
Two quick notes on Indiana. Their fans rushed the court, I don’t care. If you do care enough to be bothered or annoyed by it, maybe re-evaluate things a little bit in life. These are (possibly drunk) college students who just saw their team get a big win and are excited about it. If they want to rush the court in that excitement, who am I to judge? College kids like to have fun. I personally support Mark Titus’ hope that we once have a school that rushes the court after every single win to mock all of these complaints.
Second, I’m not sure what this does for Indiana’s tourney chances. It’s obviously a big win that will help their resume, but what else do they have right now? They’ve lost to every other quality opponent they’ve played (unless you want to call Washington a quality opponent, which I don’t). They still have opportunities against Iowa and Ohio State at home and Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road. Can they go 2-2 in those games? Can they go 10-8 in the Big Ten? That would get them to 20-11 overall which would likely be enough to get in. We’ll see if they’ll be in this week’s bracket on Sunday night.