College basketball stock watch | Don’t buy Michigan State yet

Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire

College basketball stock watch looks at a few programs and their potential worth in the sport. It isn’t just about whether that team will be good in the upcoming season. Weighing hyperbole or a lack of expectations influences each “stock” decision. Buying, selling, or being patient with each stock goes hand-in-hand with how the team’s value is perceived to project.

I’m Scared

Michigan State Spartans (Where Are The Knees?)

Why is the stock supposedly high?

Since it was announced that Ben Carter would be returning for the 2017-18 season, many have begun to jump on the Michigan State bandwagon. That is fine: Betting against Tom Izzo would be like betting against someone you know who has a 20 in blackjack.

To me, it is strange how Carter’s return has become a tipping point for many. A player who certainly played well in his last season when healthy, but wasn’t a world-beating talent, is the person many are using as the key returnee.

This isn’t a superstar returning to a good team. It is a good player returning to a good team.

Not to be callous, but it is strange how many are assuming Carter will not only be as good as he was in 2015-16 (when healthy), but better. Are we not factoring in the brutal injuries he has suffered in his career?

At the same time, people mostly understand that Michigan State is a blue-blood program and will have a ton of talent on its roster next season. Its voyage through the Big Ten might be (relatively) easy if certain players from other teams decide to stay in the 2017 NBA Draft.

What is the issue?

People are already pegging the Spartans to be a Final Four contender.

Of course, a few teams need to be in that discussion (even if it is only May), but most of this hyperbole is coming off the back of Carter’s return. He is, apparently, the game-changer who is putting the Spartans over the top like Sylvester Stallone. I just don’t get it.

That can obviously say more about me than the crazy projections surrounding Michigan State at the moment, but I will always side with math.

With over 350 Division I programs, even if we all acknowledge how great Michigan State usually is and will probably be, the hype surrounding MSU seems premature.

Considering it can sometimes take Izzo’s teams a few weeks to get it together at the start of each season, this stock will likely be a ton cheaper in November. After all, it can’t get more expensive than its current “Final Four team” cost.

Let’s Do This Now Before It’s Too Late

Duke Blue Devils (Adding freshman sensation/returning HIM)

Why is the stock so high?

This one is simple, though more complicated than other comparable situations.

The Duke Blue Devils — as with Michigan State — are an annual threat to dance deep into March. The 2017-18 season should be no different, with the team returning the polarizing Grayson Allen and a few other talents, while bringing in some quality freshmen.

The Jordan Tucker commitment should open the most eyes.

Many began to sour on Duke for a variety of reasons. Fair or not — and it is almost always unfair or inaccurate — people believe that Duke’s recruiting would be hurt by Coach K no longer coaching the United States national team. Others are pointing to Allen’s mere being as another reason, as well as the idea that Coach K won’t be there too much longer.

I don’t agree with all of those opinions (I only agree with the national team aspect), but it oddly puts Duke’s long-term stock portfolio in a weird place of limbo.

Buy! Buy! Buy!

Coach K is a vampire and will never not coach college basketball. Also, it is Duke.

The idea that the program is more about Coach K than the actual university is fine, but he’s going to try like hell to leave that program — whenever he does leave it — in a great place.

Moreover, some people are souring on Duke when viewing the program through a long-term lens, making its stock on the market the lowest it has ever been.

I would suggest you get in now — not necessarily because the Blue Devils will be great in 2017-18, though they should be good, but because Duke isn’t going anywhere in the future.

Landing Tucker, by parachuting in very late in the process, highlights that Coach K still has it… and that he might not be going the way of the dinosaurs just yet.

Capitalizing Off Bad PR

Ohio State Buckeyes (Program’s market is crashing)

Why is the stock so low?

Man, people really seem to think Thad Matta is either a bad coach or has overstayed his welcome with the Buckeyes. In my humble opinion, it is my belief that those people have come to feel entitled to the success he once brought to the program and now expect it far too regularly.

The latest “hit” this program felt was on Saturday, when a double-news story broke. First, JaQuan Lyle was arrested in the morning. A few hours after that, the team announced that he actually quit the team on April 11.

An obvious question needs to be asked: How in the hell did the school keep private a good player’s decision to quit for such a lengthy period of time?

The other question that seems important: Why did he quit in the first place?

Wait… and you want us to buy?

During the Matta era, Ohio State’s stock will NEVER come at a cheaper rate than it does right now. Social media is asking “if he’s lost control of his team” and other weird things. From a strictly factual standpoint, losing Lyle puts the team in a tough position to be really good next season.

People are expecting nearly nothing from the Buckeyes now.

However, the buy-in point of this stock is not as much about winning a lot of games or being great in the Big Ten. It is more about Matta’s job security.

While not really a penny-stock, it is certainly a low-risk investment. You’re essentially buying Ohio State and hoping Matta makes it a few more seasons.

Here’s where you can make a ton of money, because the people killing Matta are mostly using his own success against him. He’s not a bad coach. In fact, he is a pretty damn good one. He is as likely — if not more — to return Ohio State to the upper half of the Big Ten as he is to lose his job at the end of next season.

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