Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stock Report, Feb. 3

Welcome back to another season of March Madness All Season’s weekly feature, “NCAA Tournament Stock Watch”. Essentially, it is a compilation of teams that are rising and falling with an eye on the NCAA Tournament. It will discuss teams whose potential seed is rising or falling, as well as clubs that are making moves either in or out of the at-large picture or could make noise in the coming weeks. Once we get closer to March, this will be replaced with “Road to Selection Sunday”, which will be released every Sunday night from mid-February until March 14.


Florida State: The Seminoles have won three of four and 10 of their last 13 overall. With the ACC in disarray, there is room for a team or two to make a move. Plus, FSU has a sweep over Georgia Tech in its back pocket to help its resume.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have won three of their last four after showing some inconsistencies throughout the regular season. With everyone finally healthy, Georgia Tech could be ready to make a deep run come March.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons are another ACC team on the rise. They have also won three of their last four, with the lone loss coming at Georgia Tech. Wake has a chance to continue its winning ways with two of the next three at home.

South Florida: How could I possibly leave the Bulls off, especially after their road win at Georgetown on Wednesday? They have now won four in a row, including one over the Hoyas and another one over Pittsburgh. They’re now 5-5 in the Big East.

Marquette: The Golden Eagles finally won a close game over the weekend, at Connecticut, and then followed it up with a win over DePaul on Wednesday. At 5-5 in the Big East, this team could be a club to watch down the stretch.

Illinois: Sure, the Fighting Illini had lost three in a row in mid-January and have a terrible RPI, but they are now 7-3 in the Big Ten after winning at Iowa on Wednesday. They face a brutal final stretch of the season, so they need to pad the record now.

Texas A&M: The Aggies have had a nice computer profile for awhile, and now they are getting some wins to go with it. They have won four of their last five, including a big-time road victory at Missouri on Wednesday, snapping their 32-game home winning streak.

Arizona: The Wildcats are the Pac-10 leaders after winning four in a row, including a big victory over California on Sunday. They don’t have an at-large profile yet, but they faced a tremendous non-conference schedule and are playing excellent ball.

Vanderbilt: They have a top-15 RPI and have won 11 of their last 12, including three road victories and home wins over Mississippi State and Florida. With Tennessee struggling, Vandy is the clear second-best team in the SEC.

Charlotte: After losing four of six around the turn of the calendar year, the 49ers have rebounded to win six in a row, including a road win at Richmond and a home victory over Temple. They are certainly in the mix for an at-large bid.

Rhode Island: The Rams have an outstanding RPI and decent wins over Oklahoma State and Dayton. Moreover, the Rams have won six of their last seven and get Richmond and Charlotte at home down the stretch.

Xavier: After Temple, the Atlantic-10 doesn’t have a sure-fire at-large bid, but Xavier is the closest thing. The Musketeers have won four in a row and eight of their last nine; however, the next two are at Dayton and at Florida.

UTEP: After its home win over Houston on Wednesday, UTEP has now won six in a row and is rising up the C-USA standings. The Miners own road wins at Memphis and UAB, and will be judged on their resume with Derrick Caracter.

Northern Iowa: With its home win over Wichita State on Wednesday, the Panthers now have a three-game lead in the Missouri Valley and is close to locking up a regular-season title. They can’t afford too many slip-ups down the stretch, though.

New Mexico: The Lobos aren’t getting as much attention as BYU, but don’t forget about them. They have won six in a row, including a win over the Cougars and are hanging right with them in the Mountain West standings.

Utah State: The experienced Aggies are hitting their stride at the right time. They have won seven in a row in WAC play to move into a first-place tie. Utah State doesn’t have a very good at-large resume, but it did beat BYU in December.


Despite the Tigers’ win over Maryland on Sunday, they are still on the decline. They had lost three in a row prior to the victory, and have still defeated just one sure-fire NCAA Tournament team so far this season.

Miami: The Hurricanes were right in the mix for an at-large bid once ACC play came around, and then they completely collapsed. They have lost five of their last six, and are just 2-6 in the conference. Four of the next six are at home, though.

UNC: I don’t think anyone realized how dire the situation in Chapel Hill was until their televised debacle against Virginia on Sunday night. The Tar Heels have now lost four of their last five and five of their last seven. Six of the final 10 are on the road.

Connecticut: Another 2009 Final Four participant on the verge of not making the NCAA Tournament. The Huskies lost by 13 at Louisville on Monday, and have lost six of their last eight games. At 3-6 in the Big East, they have a lot of work to do.

Pittsburgh: What happened to the Panthers? They were rolling along as one of the biggest surprises in the country and then suddenly collapsed, losing four of their last five, including contests to Seton Hall and South Florida. Three home games could be the remedy.

Minnesota: Everything is going wrong for the Golden Gophers lately. Their non-league losses to Portland and Miami are looking worse every day, and they have also lost four of their last five games to drop to 4-5 in the Big Ten.

Michigan State: Don’t get me wrong, the Spartans aren’t in any sort of trouble of losing a top-four seed or anything like that; after all, they still have a two-game lead in the Big Ten. However, they were destroyed by Wisconsin and could lose Kalin Lucas for at least one game with an ankle injury.

Tennessee: The Volunteers’ attrition in early January could be catching up to them, as they lost two in a row before escaping by one point at home over Florida. Three of the next four and five of the next seven are on the road; keep an eye on this situation.

Mississippi: If not for a non-conference win over Kansas State, would Ole Miss even be an NCAA team right now? They are .500 in the SEC and have lost two in a row, including a home defeat to a sub-.500 Arkansas team with an RPI of 122.

Mississippi State: After the Bulldogs’ loss at Vanderbilt Wednesday, they have lost three of four and are teetering on the edge of the NCAA Tournament. Their best non-league win is over Old Dominion and they own three sub-100 losses.

Dayton: The preseason favorite in the Atlantic-10 is still in the hunt for an at-large bid, but they are fading. They had lost three of four before a win over St. Bonaventure last weekend. They get Xavier and Charlotte at home in the next two games, which will make or break the season.

William & Mary: Another fascinating fall from grace, the Tribe have lost four of their last five, including a defeat to James Madison and a sweep at the hands of Old Dominion. They are only 7-5 in the CAA, and the wins over Maryland, Wake Forest and Richmond are a distant memory.

UAB: On paper, the Blazers had clearly the best resume in Conference-USA; however, in reality, they have struggled – and it is finally rearing its ugly head. They have lost two in a row after winning every league game by 10 or fewer points.

Wichita State: The Shockers won the first meeting against Northern Iowa, but they fell short in the return game on Wednesday. As a result, Wichita State is now three games behind the Panthers in the MVC race and doesn’t have many chances to boost its at-large resume.

Louisiana Tech: 17-2 and hitting on all cylinders, the Bulldogs looked like a potential first-round sleeper come March. However, they have since lost two of three, including a surprising 14-point defeat at home against New Mexico State.

Gonzaga: It was only one loss, on the road, to San Francisco. With the loss, though, the Bulldogs allowed Saint Mary’s and Portland to stay in the WCC race and also put an enormous eyesore on their resume for seeding purposes on Selection Sunday.

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