I hope you were wise with your investments during the college basketball offseason, because it’s time to open up those wallets. The markets are as strong as ever, and now is as good a time as ever to get into the game.
That’s right, it’s the return of the mid-major stock watch, which pays homage to one of our favorite Rothsteinisms:
Zach Collins. You should have bought stock a long time ago.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 2, 2017
Cameron Oliver. Buy stock now.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 11, 2017
Semi Ojeleye. You should have bought stock a long time ago.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 12, 2017
Call up your brokers. Fire up that old Charles Schwab account. Crack open the piggy bank to scrape together whatever capital you can find. It’s time to make some (hypothetical) money.
For the uninformed — or those who may have forgotten — the premise of the stock watch is simple. We give you teams to Buy, which are usually teams that are playing well or showing promise in their recent games. Teams to Sell are those that might not instill confidence in investors. Finally, the teams to Hold are the ones that we’re still waiting on as we gather more information.
Simple enough? Let’s get to it. Here’s your 2017-18 Preseason Mid-Major Stock Watch.
Saint Louis: I will admit that I’m higher on Saint Louis than a lot of people and will likely be steering the bandwagon all season, but there is a lot to like with the Billikens’ roster. Davell Roby, who was last year’s leading scorer, returns for his senior year to provide a veteran presence for a young roster. Travis Ford will also have the return of Jermaine Bishop to rely on after he went down with an ankle injury early in the season.
However, the excitement with this team centers around its youth. Jalen Johnson and Elliott Welmer are back to hold down the frontcourt after strong freshman campaigns. On top of that, Saint Louis brings in the best recruiting class in the A-10, according to 247 Sports. Jordan Goodwin comes in as one of the shooting guard prospects in the country, and Hasahn French will help bolster the front line. The potential is there for this A-10 sleeper.
Ball State: As an Indiana resident, I have to admire James Whitford’s strategy of essentially signing any Indiana High School All-Star that he can. After single-digit wins in his first two seasons, Whitford has quickly turned the Cardinals into a perennial 20-win team, and this year shouldn’t be any different.
The Cardinals return six of their top eight scorers from a team that averaged over 80 points per game in MAC play last year. A recruiting class that includes three-star recruits Ishmael El-Amin (son of Khalid) and Zach Gunn should provide even more depth for Whitford. A solid non-conference schedule will have the Cardinals battle-tested come MAC play. Chirp Chirp.
Princeton: The Ivy League is universally considered to be a three-team race, but it seems like most are leaning towards Yale or Harvard as the favorites. Not in this article, though. The defending champs did lose some key pieces, but this roster is not devoid of talent by any means.
With Devin Cannady and Myles Stephens, the Tigers still have two players that are potential first-team all-Ivy candidates. Amir Bell will likely step back into a starting role, and Mitch Henderson brings in the best recruiting class in the Ivy League, according to 247. The Tigers play defense and take care of the ball, which is the perfect recipe for winning a lot of games.
Illinois State: Unfortunately for Dan Muller, last season might have been his best shot at getting into the NCAA Tournament. A roster that won 28 games last year and a share of the Missouri Valley loses over half of its scoring production, including its top three scorers.
Phil Fayne and Keyshawn Evans are the only returning players that played significant minutes last year, and will be relied upon to fill the holes in the offense. Even in a post-Wichita State league, Illinois State is likely to fall back into the middle of the pack with this new-look roster. For now.
Monmouth: In similar fashion to Illinois State, Monmouth is losing a significant amount of offensive production. After spending two years as one of the best mid-majors around, the Hawks have no NCAA Tournament berths to show for it. Now, it’s going to be an uphill battle for them this year.
Diminutive dynamo [ed. note: hell yeah] Junior Robinson is gone to graduation, as is Je’lon Hornbeak and Chris Brady. Micah Seaborn, who has been the second-leading scorer each of the last two seasons, will be forced to step up and be the guy. The MAAC as a whole has a lot of questions, and the Hawks bring their fair share of concerns to the table.
Grand Canyon: If you REALLY want to buy stock in Grand Canyon, go the NASDAQ exchange. LOPE closed at $88.54 as of Nov. 3, and is up 40% on the year. Not a bad investment!
As far as the basketball team goes, the program has been among the most hyped in all of college basketball. But let’s pump the brakes a little bit. Yes, they are talented, and will most certainly compete in the WAC. However, they’ll play an uninspiring non-conference slate, and it will likely be hard to judge the Lopes until January. They could very well end up making the NCAA Tournament in their first season of eligibility, but right now it’s too early to anoint them as the next big thing. Sit tight on this one.