Stock Up/Stock Down takes a look at individuals/teams/trends/athletes/mascots who for whatever reason have enhanced or hindered their stature in the sporting community. This time we are looking exclusively at college basketball teams/players who have changed our perception of them over the past four/five games.
Dennis Smith Jr
IT may not be a forgone conclusion that Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball is the #1 pick in the upcoming draft. Even before he dropped 32 on Duke to help NC State win in Cameroon for the first time in over 20 years, Dennis Smith Jr has done plenty to balloon his draft stock. A projected top three pick Smith was a few rebounds short of recording a triple double in his last game and has been on a scoring binge this year, averaging close to 20ppg. The electric playmaker could very well be the first name called on draft night if he keeps this up.
Image from deadspin.com
THE Wildcats have responded to their first loss of the season, by winning their last five in a convincing way. Since slipping up to Butler in early Jan, Villanova’s average winning margin has been 18 points and many of the contests have been over by half time. With the exception of facing #12 ranked Virginia in a few days their next month is relatively lean of challenging teams, so expect more dominance form the defending champs.
NORTH Carolina coach Roy Williams won game number 800 against Syracuse last Monday, further cementing his legacy as one of the greatest college coaches ever. The Tar Heel legend has his players clicking at the moment too, blowing out NC State earlier in the month and winning handily over #9 ranked FSU. They could be a serious title threat if Williams keeps them performing at this level.
Image from ftw.usatoday.com
POOR Baylor. The school was so hype after being ranked #1 for the first time in their history. They responded by being blown out by West Virginia at home. Since that loss they have kept winning, but haven’t faced any huge tests yet. A match-up with #2 ranked Kansas next week will help determine if they are contenders or pretenders. My guess is they let that one slip too.
Duke Blue Devils
EVER since Coach K has stepped away from the team the Blue Devils are struggling to find consistency. Due to their lottery pick littered line-up fans and media aren’t looking into the recent slump too much, but anytime you drop 10 spots in the rankings and go 1-3 over your past four games, you will inevitably end up on the stock down list.
Image from goduke.com
THIS is a bit harsh, but I think Louisville has reached their ceiling and are starting to slide down. They lost to FSU the other night, with that game highlighting the fact that they lack a go to guy. The Cardinals may very well hover around the #10 ranking for the rest of the season, but the ACC is full of tough teams this season and Louisville isn’t one of them.