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Stock Up/Stock Down Report: February 17, 2014

Here’s this week’s Stock Up/Stock Down report, which you’ll notice is no longer found in the Monday Bracketology¬†post. There’s some people who come here for strictly the bracket, and there’s some who come for extra analysis. To satisfy both of those people, we’ll let the Bracket be the main focus of the Bracketology post.

Before we get to the Stock Up/Stock Down, I want to get into one thing that I’ve heard discussed frequently about the tournament selection process for this year. I’ve been hearing three consistent thoughts on the back-end of the bubble. First, like I said in today’s Bracketology post, we keep hearing how the bubble is as weak as it has ever been this year. Is this true? I’m not entirely sure it’s possible to compare bubbles from one year to the next. The fact that it is the “bubble” implies its inherent weakness. If it was strong, the teams listed on it probably wouldn’t be bubble teams. Second, we also keep hearing how the mid-major at-large options are just not there this year. The Valley is down. The Mountain West is down. Conference USA and the CAA are long gone from having a chance at multiple bids. And third, another opinion I’ve heard is that you can’t make the tournament if you’re under .500 in conference play.

Newsflash! If the bubble is as weak as it has ever been, thoughts 2 and 3 can’t both be true. We have to find 68 teams, the tournament can’t just take place with 61 or 62. If there are no strong mid-major options to be one of the final at-large selections, then there’s going to be teams from major conferences that have poor records in conference play that make it. That includes teams like Oregon, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Georgetown, and Florida State. Some of those teams are going to make it, and they very well could be below .500 in conference play. With a weak bubble, those types of things happen. I would not be surprised to see a team make the tourney this year with a conference record of 8-10 or 7-11. We have to find 68, and a team with a 7-11 conference record might just be in that group.

Alright, no more of my mini op-eds, let’s take a look at the Stock Up/Stock Down report for this past week.