Reviewing Seth Davis’ Stock Report: AAC EditionPosted by mlemaire on January 9th, 2014
The indomitable Seth Davis of SI.com posted his annual Stock Report column on Monday and as is our custom here at the AAC microsite, we used that opportunity to post our own conference-specific version of the stock report. To avoid confusion, we try to adhere to the same counter-intuitive formula as Davis, which means teams that win are less likely to earn “Buy” ratings than teams that are losing. He does a terrific job with this column, especially given how many teams he evaluates, but we don’t always see eye-to-eye on all of his recommendations. So here is where we feel each team that still matters (sorry UCF, Rutgers, Temple, and South Florida) in the AAC stands as we head into the heart of the conference schedule.
Louisville – Sell
It’s hard not to agree with Davis’ opinion of the Cardinals’ stock. Chane Behanan wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire, but he was still the team’s best interior player and losing him hurts the squad on both ends of the floor. If Behanan’s departure was the team’s only problem, the team would still be in good shape, but they didn’t look good against a Kentucky team that has underwhelmed and offensive production outside of Russdiculous and Chris Jones has been hard to come by. They are still the best team in the conference, but you would be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks they can still repeat as national champs.Cincinnati – Hold
The Bearcats are a difficult team to get a handle on. They have looked atrocious offensively so often that it is risky to think they are on the up-and-up. Their thrashing of a good Memphis team, however, proved they have the defensive ability and physicality to compete in every game, but they followed that up with a uninspired one-point win over Houston that showed that their offensive deficiencies are forever real. The conference is mediocre and the Bearcats have proven they are good enough to be a top three team in this league without too much trouble. That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them get bounced early in the NCAA Tournament because they are going to struggle to catch up to teams if they fall behind early.
Houston – Sell
The Cougars are the easiest team to evaluate in the conference and anyone buying their stock thinking they are for real after beating UConn should probably consider hiring a financial advisor. Kudos to coach James Dickey and his team for getting off to a hot start in conference play after an underwhelming performance in the non-conference schedule, but this team is dealing with injuries to key players (Danuel House) and their defense is as porous as they come. They may in fact be a better team than they showed in the early stretch of the season, and their close loss to Cincinnati proved they can hang with any team in the conference on a given day. But they are nothing better than a middle of the pack team here and their stock is far too pricey and inflated to gamble on.
SMU – Buy
In the short-term, buying stock in the Mustangs is a no-brainer if only because after this weekend’s tilt with Louisville, the schedule gets really soft and the Mustangs should be able to string together a few wins in a row. The stock is still a relatively low-risk buy in the long-term because SMU has proven it has the offensive and defensive chops to play in the NCAA Tournament, and its easy win over Connecticut made the Mustangs look like one of the four best teams in the conference. Their depth is what will help set them apart going forward, as there are few teams in the country that can confidently play a 10-man rotation and few coaches in the country who can manage that situation better than Larry Brown.
Memphis – Buy
The Tigers’ stock took a hit when they were thrashed at home by Cincinnati but that should only entice savvy investors who recognize a veteran team with a lot of talent playing in an underwhelming conference. Davis is astute to point out that the Tigers are not going to beat good teams from behind the three-point arc, but they are also a better shooting team than they showed against the Bearcats. This team shouldn’t rely heavily on the three-pointer considering all of their star power at guard, but every team has games where they don’t shoot well and this isn’t the same soft group that dominates Conference USA before folding against better competition. I think the Tigers are still one of the two best teams in the conference, and while you may not get rich buying shares of their stock, you could still turn a tidy profit once they flex their muscles against the rest of the conference.
Connecticut – Hold
It is easy to understand why Davis is not a believer in the Huskies, and his points about their frontcourt issues and reliance on the three-pointer are valid and should give investors pause. But this team sits near the bottom of the conference standings after two games and even the biggest UConn naysayers have to believe that the team will be among the league’s top four teams when everything sorts itself out. The Huskies certainly aren’t a top-10 team and may not even belong in the Top 25 by the end of the year, but there is too much talent and veteran leadership on this roster for UConn to stay down for long.