Competing Against the Poll - Week 9

Competing Against the Poll, Week 9

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.


Are changes afoot?? DJ Dimes had a colossal week despite his goofy Oklahoma buy, as his Pitt and South Carolina buys and Louisville short all gave him 240ish points each. All other choices were relatively stagnant, but Matt rode this three to a 1,208 point gain on Ky and a 1,013 gain on me. Unfortunately, he still trails Ky by 2,800 and me by 3,400. As you will see below, however, the massive swings that occur during conference play will give him ample chances to get back into it. Despite a brilliant short of Arizona, Ky was undone by Purdue, Louisville, Kentucky, and Xavier (short) all costing him points. Overall, Ky’s long-term portfolio dropped a whopping 778 points, the largest long-term loss we’ve had in a week so far. I also fell back a bit, as my short-term picks were ineffectual, Virginia and Arizona offset each other (see Sharp Short of the week below), and Louisville dropped points after a surprising loss at Clemson.

Long-Term Update and Week-to-week Picks

First, some movement in long-term portfolios – I finally got the fall I was looking for from Arizona, and while I think they might continue to drop, I’m dumping them and shorting Miami (FL). With a tough schedule (@Virginia – already a loss, @Clemson) and a roster I don’t trust (Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan could take a nap through a game at any time), I don’t envision the Hurricanes staying in the top 10 for too long. Ky, on the other hand, is finally getting rid of his Georgetown stock, as they continue to lose too many games to climb back into the rankings. He joined Matt and I by purchasing Gonzaga, as we all feel pretty good about the Zags running through a weak WCC (aside from St. Mary’s) and rebuilding some poll value.

Sabonis and Wiltjer congratulate each other on universal ownership by 3MW

Sabonis and Wiltjer congratulate each other on universal ownership by 3MW

For the short term, the week’s schedule presents a lot of enticing opportunities. After trying to nail an upset team for two straight weeks, I’m going with a safer option in Duke. I think they’ll get two wins and soak up the points of teams falling from above them. And despite Denzel Valentine’s return, I’m fading mighty Sparty, who has a revenge game against Iowa and a CBS-televised road game against a desperate Wisconsin team. Matt will try to continue his upward momentum by buying Dayton and shorting Villanova – Dayton has two home games this week, with each coming against a fellow A-10 contender. The Flyers beat Davidson on Tuesday night, and now George Washington comes to town for a strange Friday night tilt. A statement performance against the Colonials could launch Dayton into the polls. Villanova, on the other hand, has two tough conference tests as they host Marquette, who has already won @ Providence, and travel to DC to visit Georgetown, who despite underperforming this year, has the talent to pull a home upset.  I considered this pick as well, so good job by you Matty. Ky’s picks had a fantastic Tuesday night, as his buy of West Virginia (beat #1 Kansas) and short of Maryland (lost at unranked Michigan sans LeVert) both went as well as possible. Even if West Virginia falls at OU over the weekend, they should gain some ground, and if they win, the ‘Eers could hop into the top 3. Maryland will have to beat Ohio State in College Park to avoid being the Short of the Week.

Best Buy(s) of the Week(s) sponsored by Best Buy (sponsorship pending): SMU and West Virginia, gained 309 each, followed closely by Baylor, gained 303 points
Sharp Short of the Week sponsored by Sharpie (sponsorship pending): Virginia and Arizona, lost 591 and 589 points, respectively

Ky and I both JUST missed the Sharp Short of the week (my long-term, his short-term), with Arizona tumbling following two road losses at UCLA and USC. The hits keep coming for them, too, as Allonzo Trier broke his hand and is out 4-6 weeks – he’s a dynamic perimeter scoring threat for whom Arizona does not have a natural replacement.  Unfortunately for me, I wasn’t smart enough to sell Virginia at their peak like he was – as such, that cancelled out the benefit I could have gained.

Random thought – I just realized the Sharp Short of the week is two letters away from being the Shart Shart of the week. Due to this unfortunate naming coincidence, we here at Poll Game HQ are in the market for a new Short of the Week sponsor. We hope to have this sorted out by next week, stay tuned!

Looking Ahead

Conference play continues, and if last week is any indication, the rest of the season is going to be a wild ride. Teams ranked #6 through #24 all moved at least 199 points in Week 9, proving just how much action happens with the more consistently important games that conference play brings. The trick for us will be correctly guessing which WAY all this movement will occur.