Competing Against the Poll - Week 2

Competing Against the Poll, Week 2

Quick recap of the rules: Your heroes at don’t have faith in the AP Pollsters and think we can outsmart them. As such, we are buying/shorting teams based on their current “price” (points in the AP Poll) and will profit/lose as they move up/down the rankings.



Now we’re talking! Some major movement in the standings this week as teams started to play real games, and that will likely continue into next week with all of the early season tournaments going on. Yours truly had a massive week, seeing Michigan State make a massive leap up the standings, Utah and Baylor tumble out of the top 25, and Xavier get a big win and enter the poll. Not much happened in Ky’s portfolio, and his short-term picks cancelled each other out. Matt’s short-term picks of Oregon and Duke (short) proved fortuitous as well, though the Blue Devils managed to hang on against Georgetown and VCU to avoid a further drop (and costing Matt points).  I staked myself to a nice lead, but this feels like a game that can swing extremely quickly.

Long-Term Update and Week-to-week Picks


After Sparty’s massive rise to #3 and Utah falling out of the top 25, I decided to get rid of both stocks – it’s hard to see Michigan State rising any higher, and the Runnin’ Utes will be back in the rankings before long. So gimme the Shockers at a low value point, and I think Arizona will fall off a bit before the conference season as well.  Ky, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling good about Maryland’s chances of continuing to avoid an upset after the scare vs. the Rider “Don’t call us Broncos” Broncs. He sold them off at a minimal loss and instead is now shorting Cuonzo Martin/the Cal Bears (but mostly Cuonzo).

In the week-to-week picks, Matt agreed with Ky – neither guy sees a good week ahead for Cal. The Bears are actually still a disappointing #41 in Kenny Pom’s rankings due to their lack of interest in Pac 12 play last year (last year is still weighted into the ranks), and this year’s version will take on San Diego State and West Virginia (or Richmond) in Las Vegas this weekend. I can’t imagine what could go wrong with a young group in Las Vegas for a weekend (especially with my questions about Martin’s ability to keep them focused).  The Aztecs and the ‘Eers will present two extreme defensive challenges – this could be a very effective fade play.

Matt’s buy of Indiana is off to a disastrous start, as Crean Nation blew a late lead to Wake Forest and played an extremely blah game against the Johnnies.  Ky, on the other hand, bought George Washington on the heels of their big Virginia upset, but they’ll likely have to pull another big victory out against Cincinnati in Barclays Center Classic final to really rise in the rankings. Questionable pick Ky!!!!!

Both Ky and I looked at the monstrous Battle 4 Atlantis field and jumped at the chance to short a squad there – he picked UConn, I went with the Zags (the field also contains Texas, Texas A&M, Michigan, Syracuse, Washington, and poor Charlotte).  I think the Zags are a very good squad, but I don’t think the inexperienced (albeit talented) backcourt can hold up in 3 consecutive tough games.

For my buy, I went with the Nova Wildcats, who should roll against Stanford and GT/Arkansas in the NIT Season Tip-off. I’m hoping to cherry-pick some votes as a team or two above the Cats fall this week/weekend.

Best Buy of the Week sponsored by Best Buy (not really…yet): Miami (FL), gained 687 points – followed closely by Michigan St gaining 611
Sharp Sell of the Week sponsored by Sharpie (hopefully soon): Wichita St, lost 620 points – followed closely by Virginia losing 469 and UNC losing 430

No one owned the Best Buy or the Sharp Sell of the week, although I came close with Sparty. Ky and I felt the blow of Virginia’s loss. Shocker Nation losing to Frank Haith (and his talented team) cost them dearly, but none of us had the stones to bank on it. I have to believe CBS’s Jonny Rothstein would have been all over the ‘Canes were he participating in this game with us (and he’s more than welcome to, because I’m sure he’ll end up reading this…).

Looking Ahead
After the frenzy of Feast Week and all the tournaments it brings, I would expect next week to be a little quieter – we might have to be a little creative with our picks. The Big Ten/ACC Challenge and other conference clashes will provide some opportunity for separation, though.