Competing Against the Poll - Week 6, 7, 8 Update

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.


Welcome back! After a holiday break for both this feature and (by and large) good college basketball games, we’re back in full force. I can’t promise anything as awesome as OU/Kansas, but I’ll certainly try.

Week 6 was fun – I picked up an astronomical 1,417 points on Matt, thanks to Butler and UCLA (my buy and short, respectively) and Duke and Virginia (Matt’s ill-advised buy and short, respectively). Not much going on for Ky there – as noted, Week 6 and Week 7 really lacked great games due to the holiday lull in the schedule, so progress was slightly hard to come by. 

Matt also had a remarkable Week 7, having absolutely no movement overall due to his 100% offsetting long-term gain and short-term loss.  No one was able to see much movement that week, though. 

Ky dominated Week 8, as his Iowa buy and Xavier long-term short carried him to the third-highest total we’ve had so far. Despite my respectable week, he more than halved the lead I held, and the two-man race is officially ON for the rest of the year.  

Long-Term Update and Week-to-week Picks

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Our first week of full conference play leads to some intriguing choices. I am hoping Oregon State builds on the momentum started with their Civil War victory over the Ducks on Sunday – home games against “The Band Is On The Field!” combo of Stanford and Cal are both very winnable, and knocking off the talented Cal squad (who is kinda rolling right now themselves) would be huge. Shorting North Carolina had a chance last night until Brice Johnson went supernova (39 points, 23 rebounds) – though a game at the Carrier Dome in Jim Boeheim’s return is no small task. Virginia has already lost @ Virginia Tech, damaging my long-term outlook and opening the door for…

…Ky! He continues to hold Georgetown in his portfolio for God knows why, but his love of the Bluegrass State looks good as UK and Louisville continue to climb. He also has faith in Purdue bouncing back from the surprising home loss to Iowa – I tend to agree, and I also agree (obviously) with his short of Arizona. Road games against a desperate, 0-2 in the Pac-12 UCLA and surprisingly-effective USC (28th in KenPom!) is a tough weekend gauntlet. 

Matt’s purchase of Oklahoma is slightly baffling. The max amount of points possible in the poll is 1,625 (65*25), and while it’s possible Oklahoma would have been a unanimous #1 after winning at Kansas, the possible gain of 51 points is exceedingly low. I’m going to have to double-check if he knows the rules of the game. On the other hand, the Louisville short could be wise – a tough road trip to NC State and Clemson, both fringe-ish teams hoping to get a big home win and launch themselves into the tournament picture, is daunting. 

Best Buy(s) of the Week(s) sponsored by Best Buy (sponsorship pending): Week 6 – Butler (gained 385 points); Week 7 – Utah (gained 117 points); Week 8 – Iowa (gained 449 points)

Sharp Short of the Week sponsored by Sharpie (sponsorship pending): Week 6 – Kentucky (lost 529 points); Week 7 – George Washington (lost 326 points); Week 8 – Butler (lost 468 points)

No one was able to claim a Sharp Short of the Week, but both myself and Ky each nailed a Best Buy – I had Butler in Week 6, and Ky’s prescient Iowa selection last week was a big part of his monster Week 8 total. Notice the tiny swings in Week 7 – what a boring seven days.  

Looking Ahead

Finally! Thanks to conference play, there are good games basically every night, and for the true hoops junkie, even Friday nights will offer Ivy and MAAC games in the future. The next three months are the best time to be a college basketball fan, and it will provide massive amounts of chances to profit (or lose, if you’re Matt) within the framework of this game.