SEC Stock Watch ReactionsPosted by Greg Mitchell on January 7th, 2014
SI.com‘s Seth Davis is buying up the SEC. In his “Hoop Thoughts Stock Watch” piece published on Monday, he was overall pretty bullish on the SEC: “buying” four teams, “holding” on another, and “selling” two more. But there’s a qualifier. Davis likes several SEC teams’ chances because they play in a weakened basketball league and will have ample opportunities to pad their records. Let’s join the comment section denizens and react to a few of Davis’ decisions that we disagree with.
- Tennessee: Davis = Buy, RTC = Sell. This is a close call, but a single dominant win against an up-and-down Virginia team isn’t enough to push the Vols into the buy category. You can’t help but glare at the talent the Vols can put on the floor, and Tennessee is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the country. Cuonzo Martin might very well have his first NCAA Tournament team, and one that has the horses to make a run to the second weekend. But the point guard position still isn’t ironed out, as Antonio Barton would be best served playing off the ball where his three-point shooting can be utilized in creating space for Jarnell Stokes. The answer might be freshman Darius Thompson, but he’s turned it over too much and played only 13 minutes against Virginia.
- Missouri: Davis = Buy, RTC = Sell. Davis likes the Tigers’ trio of big guards, and there’s no arguing Jordan Clarkson, Jabari Brown and Earnest Ross will carry Missouri to plenty of wins. But Missouri’s long-term viability is still in question because there’s not much beyond those three players. Jonathan Williams will likely turn into a top SEC frontcourt player, but not this season. Missouri is too susceptible to cold-shooting nights when the referees aren’t calling fouls around the rim without a constant source of low-post offense. This is another close call, though, because the Tigers play excellent field goal defense (16th in the country).
- LSU: Davis = Hold, RTC = Buy. This stock price might never be lower after the Tigers’ disappointing home loss to Rhode Island. Coming out flat against a mediocre A-10 team certainly isn’t a good look, but it happens. The game took on a strange feel when Johnny Jones decided to use the second half as a teaching moment and bench star Johnny O’Bryant. I’m willing to dismiss the loss to the Rams. I’m less willing to dismiss the Tigers underwhelming non-conference schedule, but they did get through it at 9-3 with a couple of understandable losses to UMass and Memphis. I’m betting O’Bryant responds well to Jones’ leadership challenge. Jordan Mickey has done well with every test thrown his way in his freshman season, and he has been the best SEC big man outside of Lexington. The Tigers have an experienced backcourt and an uber-talented forward in Jarrell Martin, who has yet to emerge. Those are too many pieces to pass up this stock at this price.