Would you pay $181.90 for a share of this team?

And now for something completely different. The Phog Blog has been named your exclusive KU contributor for Protrade.com.

What is Protrade.com, you might ask? It is a site where you, too, can be a sports tycoon and earn(or lose) dollars (of the pretend variety) depending on your level of college basketball expertise.

Protrade stakes you to an initial $25,000, which you use to buy shares of the team or teams of your choice. The better teams, like the better stocks on Wall Street, cost more. For example, at the time this was written, a share of the Jayhawks is listed at $181.90, whereas Texas is at $109.68. Florida is the bluest of the Blue Chips at $241.10.

The goal, as in the stock market, is to buy low and sell high by taking advantage of undervalued teams. Had Protrade been around last year, you could have made a fortune on George Mason. And done very nicely on Florida.

A team's end of the year value is calculated as follows:

$3 for each Div I regular season win $5 for each conference tournament win $5 for each NIT Tournament win $20 for each NCAA Tournament win $10 for qualifying for the NCAA Tournament $10 for making the Final Four $10 for making it to the Championship game $10 for winning the Championship

For example, KU has won 21 games thus far this season, for a current value of $63. If the Hawks go 5-1 over the next three weeks, finishing the regular season with 26 victories, win 2 conference tournament games, and win 4 games in the NCAA, making the Final Four, their total earnings will be $188.00. For each share you purchase at $181.90, you earn $8.10.

The Phog Blog REAL Standings projects KU to win 4-5 more conference games. My opinion is that they will win 5-6, depending on what happens in Norman. Let's call it 5.5 for 26.5 regular season wins and a yield of $79.50.

I also expect the Hawks to win 1-3 Big 12 tournament games, depending on how seriously they take that money-grubbing event. Let's say 2 wins: Another $10.00

I feel confident that the Hawks will take their first three NCAA tournament games. At that point, however, you have to expect that they will start facing teams like Florida, UCLA, UNC, and the like. They could easily win another three, or go home at 3-1.

If we say they make it to the Final Four, that is another $100, for a total of $189.50. If they make it to the Elite 8: $70 ($159.50). The Sweet 16: $50 ($139.50).

Even if you strongly believe the Hawks will make the Final Four, they are a risky buy at $181.90.

If you REALly believe they will win one or two games at the Final Four, they are a good buy at that price.

The Jayhawks do appear to be coming on strong. They seem to have turned the corner and have a legitimate shot at bringing the National Championship back to Lawrence. They certainly have as good a chance as anyone of making the Final Four.

However, anything less than a Final Four means red ink, so I would not suggest loading up on KU shares, even though the price is more likely to go up with each passing game, without taking a close look at what Dave H refers to as STATUS games (i.e. Scores That Actually Tell Us Something) for both KU and their primary competitors for post season honors-because that is where the REAL pretend money will be made.

I recently did an analysis of KU's STATUS games, and it was not impressive. Of course, looks at games earlier in the season cannot capture the extent to which the Hawks have gotten their act together recently. That can only be seen and appreciated subjectively.

The Hawks, indeed, look promising. But exercise a little caution until the STATUS games for KU and other key teams have been examined, both objectively and subjectively, on this site. And take a hard look at those teams ranked 10 and below in the polls and computer ratings that could make a serious run at winning 4 games in the NCAA tournament and playing in Atlanta in April (which equates to 100 points, regardless of what they do in the ATL).

--Mark

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