The March Madness Stock Market: Who I’m ‘Buying’ and ‘Selling’ Come Tournament Time

My high school basketball season ended about a month ago, so I’ve been bored out of my mind and looking for something to do with all of my free time. So, I decided to give the stock market a try for the first time in my life and I’ve been infatuated with it ever since.

Because of my new obsession with the stock market, following stocks, and doing my homework and research on stocks, I decided to do the same thing with college basketball teams with the NCAA Tournament coming up. I’m going to give you a run down on whether or not I’d ‘Buy’, or ‘Sell’ certain teams come tournament time. I’m going to highlight the Big Ten and Big 12, and throw in some other teams from around the country.

I’m treating the NCAA Tournament as the ‘Market’, and the teams as ‘Stocks.’

(All team information is from ESPN.com and ‘Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology.’ – Key Wins and Key Losses are my own opinions.)


The Big Ten

(ILL) Illinois – BUY

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #4
  • Projected Seed: #1
  • Key Wins: vs. WISC, vs. IOWA, @ WISC, @ MICH
  • Key Losses: vs. BAY, @ MIZZOU, vs. MD
  • Trend: BULLISH

Illinois was one of my favorite teams to watch this year. Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn are one of the best duo’s in the country in both their respective games and their names. I’m also a Brad Underwood fan and if the Illini get hot (which they will), watch out.


(IOWA) Iowa – HOLD

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #5
  • Projected Seed: #2
  • Key Wins: vs. MSU, @ MSU, @ WISC, @OSU
  • Key Losses: @ MINN, vs. IU, @ IU, @ MICH
  • Trend: BULLISH

Really not quite sure about Iowa. I absolutely can’t stand Fran McCaffery so that doesn’t help. All in all, they’ve won 6 out of their last 7 and seem to be getting hot at the right time. Keep in mind, Garza is 3rd in the country in scoring and Iowa ranks in the top-3 of the Big Ten in PPG, FG%, and 3P%. If it weren’t for Fran, I’d probably buy the Hawkeyes come tournament time.


(MSU) Michigan State – BUY

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank:
  • Projected Seed: #11
  • Key Wins: @ DUKE, vs. ILL, vs. OSU,
  • Key Losses: @ NW, vs. WISC, @ MINN, vs. PUR, @ PUR
  • Trend: BEARISH

If I asked you to bet on Tom Brady in the NFL Playoffs as a 9-7 Wild Card team, would you? Your answer to that question is YES, and that’s exactly how I feel about betting on Tom Izzo in March. Sparty has had a rough year, losing some games they shouldn’t while also winning some they shouldn’t. I really like the trio of Aaron Henry, Rocket Watts, and Josh Langford, (I’ll throw in that Hauser guy just for kicks) and would not be at all surprised if Michigan State shocked teams in the tournament. Honestly, I LOVE this Michigan State team. Definitely one of my sleeper picks this year.


(MICH) Michigan – SELL

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #2
  • Projected Seed: #1
  • Key Wins: vs. WISC, @ WISC, @ OSU
  • Key Losses: @ MINN, vs, ILL
  • Trend: BULLISH

I feel so ‘ehh’ about Michigan. While I love Isaiah Livers and BIIIIG ole Hunter Dickinson, I’m not sure if this team has what it takes to make a deep run in the tournament. Now, I know exactly what some of you are thinking; ‘They have 2 losses, what do you mean they can’t make a deep run!?’ Michigan is one of those teams that ‘when they’re on, THEY’RE ON! But if they’re off, they’re off’ Also, not very impressed with them defensively. I see Michigan being a second weekend exit.


(OSU) Ohio State – BUY

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #7
  • Projected Seed: #2
  • Key Wins: @ ILL, @ WISC, vs. MSU, @ IOWA
  • Key Losses: @ PUR, @ NW, @ MINN,
  • Trend: NEUTRAL

Man, do I like this Ohio State team. One of the most well-rounded teams I’ve seen play all year, and that’s thanks to great coaching from Chris Holtmann. Ohio State ranks near the top of the Big Ten in almost every offensive statistical category, and E.J. Liddell is a stud and one of my favorite players in the country. I watched this team absolutely GRIND out wins against Illinois and Iowa while also blow out Wisconsin. This team seems like a good ole fashioned grit & grind team that prides themselves on the defensive end and getting stops. Defense wins championships, and I love this Buckeye squad to make a Sweet Sixteen, even an Elite 8 run.


(WISC) Wisconsin – SELL

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #25
  • Projected Seed: #6
  • Key Wins: vs. LOU, @ MSU
  • Key Losses: @ MARQ, @ MD, @ PENN ST., @ PUR
  • Trend: BEARISH

This is one of the more pathetic Wisconsin teams I can remember watching in my lifetime. More so from a disappointment standpoint. One of the oldest and most experienced team in the country, yet the play like they’re all Freshman at times with stupid turnovers and terrible offensive possessions, or falling asleep on defense. BUT….not all on the players. The way Greg Gard has managed this team when it comes to rotations and finding a group that clicks, or making adjustments at halftime to finish games or make comebacks has been painful to watch. To me, it’s really been the lack of coaching and adjusting in-game that’s really made me put the Badgers as a sell. Whether it was down 11 to both Iowa and Illinois at half, or absolutely BLOWING (and I mean B L O W I N G) a 12-point lead to 3rd ranked Michigan where you completely dominate a half of basketball proves to me that this team has zero capability of making a run in the tournament. I love you, Badgers, but not this year.


The Big 12

(BAY) Baylor – BUY

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #3
  • Projected Seed: #1
  • Key Wins: All 15 of them
  • Key Losses: vs. KU
  • Trend: BULLISH

The best team in the country. There, I said it. Baylor is LEGIT! Jared Butler is the National Player of the Year and he’s surrounded by some unbelievable teammates. If you’re looking for a team to pick to win the Natty, the Bears might be your team to invest in.


(KU) Kansas – SELL

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #13
  • Projected Seed: #4
  • Key Wins: vs. CREI, vs. TTU, vs. WVU, @ BAY
  • Key Losses: vs. GONZ, vs. TEX, @ OKST, @ OU, @ TENN
  • Trend: NEUTRAL

My beloved Jayhawks. Obviously, I want to be a buyer of them, but I’m also a realist and this team just isn’t built for a legitimate tournament run. This might be the worst Kansas team I’ve ever seen on the offensive end in my lifetime as a fan. It’s one thing when my Ladyjays go 5, 6, even 7 minutes without a bucket. BUT WHEN A DIVISION I MEN’S TEAM, A BLUEBLOOD, goes 5, 6, 7 minutes without scoring, or puts up a measly 20-points in the first half against UTEP, you’re going to be in trouble and probably not be on the winning side of a lot of basketball games. I mean, after all, the name of the game is to put the ball in the hoop, am I right? Just like the Badgers, I love you, boys…but I can’t honestly tell myself to buy into believing you have a serious shot at making a run.


(TEX) Texas – BUY

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #15
  • Projected Seed: #4
  • Key Wins: @ KU, @ WVU, vs. KU
  • Key Losses: vs. NOVA, vs. TTU, @ TTU, @ OKST
  • Trend: BULLISH

2020-21 has been a weird year. So weird that Shaka Smart has hair. Texas seems to be trending upwards, winning 3 out of their last 4, and I’ve enjoyed watching them play this year. Talent all over the place and a solid team defensively. Wouldn’t be ‘Shaka’d’ if they sneak into the Elite 8 by a ‘hair’.


(TTU) Texas Tech – SELL

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #18
  • Projected Seed: #5
  • Key Wins: @ TEX, vs. OU
  • Key Losses: vs. KU, vs. OKST, vs. BAY, @ OKST
  • Trend: NEUTRAL

While the Red Raiders have won 3 in a row, I’m really not sold on this team. They got swept by Oklahoma State and really don’t have any ‘marquee’ wins. Not really interested in investing in Texas Tech.


(OU) Oklahoma – SELL

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #16
  • Projected Seed: #6
  • Key Wins: vs. WVU, vs. KU, @ TEX, vs. BAMA, @ WVU
  • Key Losses: @ XAV, vs. TTU, @ KSU, vs. OKST
  • Trend: BEARISH

This team is definitely trending downwards, losing 4 in a row. Usually, you can tell a lot about a team by what they look like late into February. Struggling to find a groove heading into March, I’m going to have to sell.


(OKST) Oklahoma State – HOLD

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #17
  • Projected Seed: #4
  • Key Wins: @ TTU, vs. KU, vs. ARK, vs. TEX, @ OU, vs. OU
  • Key Losses: vs. TCU, @ TCU,
  • Trend: BULLISH

If you ever watched Oklahoma State this year, you were thinking 1 of 2 things:

  1. Wow, this team can beat anybody if they keep playing like this.

or

2. I have no clue how this team has 9-wins.

They have solid wins on paper beating Kansas, Texas Tech, and Arkansas, but they also don’t really have any ‘bad losses’ either. This is a team that doesn’t excite me, but I’m also not ready to throw them to the wolves either. I watched them, and by ‘them’ I mean ‘Cade Cunningham’, beat up on my Jayhawks early in the year, but I’m not sure how much of that was Oklahoma State being better than KU, or KU playing awful. Let’s see how they finish up before we decide on the Cowboys.


(WVU) West Virginia – BUY

Fundamentals:

  • AP Rank: #6
  • Projected Seed: #3
  • Key Wins: vs. TTU, vs. KU, @ TEX
  • Key Losses: vs. GONZ, vs. FLA, vs. OU
  • Trend: BULLISH

I’m forever buying a team that’s coached by Bobby Huggins. Honestly, I just want to have a few dozen beers with the guy and pick his brain. A team with some solid wins and a very close loss to top-ranked Gonzaga. I’d buy into this team for a solid tourney run, just not sure if I’d be willing to bet on to make a Final Four appearance.


Other Teams I’m Buying

#8 Alabama

This team is fun to watch, and one of my favorite picks come tourney time. Winning the SEC this year, they’ve got a pretty decent resumè heading into March.

#12 Arkansas

One of the more surprising teams for me this year. I watched them play a couple times, and they definitely caught my eye. They’ve won 7 in a row and seem to be on the right path as of late. I’m buying into the Razorbacks come tournament time.

#14 Creighton

Aside from the Doug McDermott drama, Creighton has been on my radar all year, as they’ve played a fairly tough schedule in one of the tougher leagues in the country finishing 2nd in the Big East to Villanova. I’d buy into Creighton for a win, maybe 2 in the tournament.

#20 Loyola Chicago

I’M BACK ON THE RAMBLER BANDWAGON! The tournament sweetheart from 2018 looks to be a strong contender again this year. The Nation’s best defense in terms of opponents Points Per Game, I’m buying into Cinderella ‘One. More. Time.’ (R.I.P. Daft Punk)

Other Teams I’m Selling

#1 Gonzaga

Year after year Gonzaga absolutely dominates the regular season and plows their way though a cupcake of a conference, and then blow their load when they face big time competition in the tournament. Under Mark Few, this team has won 21-conference titles, finished the regular season undefeated six times, yet has never made it past the Elite 8. Until they prove me otherwise, I will always sell Gonzaga come March.

#10 Villanova

In my opinion, played an incredibly weak schedule. A couple of bad losses to Virginia Tech and St. Johns and missing that ‘marquee win’, I don’t look for Nova to make a splash like they have the past few years. (Jay Wright is the best dressed coach in the game, though.)

#21 Virginia

Not one of Tony Bennett’s better teams this year. Trending downwards to close out the year, losing 3 of 4, not buying into the traditional March Madness power house this year.

Florida

Currently projected to be an 8-seed, which I consider a gift. Played in a sub-par SEC conference this year, with the exception of Alabama and Arkansas. With really no good wins, outside of sneaking by West Virginia, I don’t see Florida having a lot of success in this years’ tournament.

North Carolina

North Carolina would be the ‘GameStop’ of the tournament. Lot of people are going to BUY, BUY, BUY because it’s a blueblood and North Carolina, but I’m not buying into the meme stock. I don’t expect them to make it out of opening weekend.

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