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The Midweek Stock Report: 2/19/14

The Midweek Stock Report — or The MSR, with a capitalized ‘T’ to announce its presence with authority — is designed to highlight trends in and around University of Tennessee athletics, pop culture and anything else we feel like discussing.

He's OK. (UT photo)

For those new to The MSR, our weekly roundup is broken down into three categories: Stock Rising for things on the upswing, Stock Falling for things on the downswing and Stock Holding for things that are just as awesome, just as awful or just as mediocre as they were seven days ago.

Those are the basic ground rules, but The MSR reserves the right to tweak this feature as we see fit. If you don’t like that, start your own website.

STOCK RISING

CROOTIN’: Second-year coach Butch Jones and his Tennessee staff haven’t cooled down on the crootin’ trail — which is great for business, so The MSR isn’t complaining about that in the least. The Vols last week picked up another big commitment for a future class in 2016 defensive lineman Emmit Gooden from Haywood High School in Brownsville, Tenn. Gooden is from West Tennessee but not in Memphis, which means he comes from a big-time UT town and is the kind of prospect Tennessee always needs to get when it offers. But, still, that’s a good get. Gooden is put together very well for a young’en and seems destined to be one of the state’s top prospects as soon as 247Sports and other analysts have more time to focus on that class. The Vols already have three 2016 commits — two from budding in-state hosses, and another from a budding in-state speedster. That’s a good start by any definition.

BASEVOLS: The Tennessee baseball team will be better this season, according to many people — including even some incredibly sharp people like The MSR. So far, so good. The Vols opened the season with a three-game sweep over Purdue. Now, to be fair, we’re not suggesting the Boilermakers are good. In fact, after winning the Big Ten two years ago, they finished in dead last a year ago. But a 31-4 margin in a three-game series against any NCAA Division I program is impressive. The Vols are more talented, and perhaps they’re ready to turn the corner.

MO-STAH STATUS: Vols’ 2015 wide receiver commitment Preston Williams — whose hair brings great joy to The MSR — was one of two Vols pledges to pick up a big ratings bump from 247Sports this week. Williams, a 6-foot-5 receiver from the Atlanta area jumped from four-stah to five-stah status, so obviously he’s better at life than he was just a couple of days ago. Vols offensive linemen commit Jack Jones — no relation to The Butcher or rapper Mike Jones, as far as we can tell — also got a bump and now has four-stah status. In other words, Jones is better at life than he was a couple of days ago, but he’s still not as good at life as Williams.

BANG BANG BART: In case you missed it — and judging by the attendance, The MSR thinks you probably did — the Tennessee basketball team played a game Tuesday night. And the Vols blew out the Georgia Bulldogs. And one of the main reasons was a 12-point performance from senior point guard Antonio Barton, who reemerged from the side of the milk carton to shoot 4-of-7 from 3-point range against the Dawgs. And the Vols needed that production from Barton, because All-SEC senior guard Jordan McRae was decidedly un-Mamba-like in that game.

OMG BASEBALL OMG: It’s Spring Training Time, and The MSR can’t contain its excitement. The 2014 Chicago Cubs are tied for first place in the National League Central, and no one can take that away from us. Don’t even try. You will fail.

He's alive. (UT photo)

STAND WITH SAM: Few things in life bring The MSR more joy than watching people stand up for their peers, and good on Missouri students for forming a human wall to block a recent protest of Michael Sam by the unfortunately named Westboro Baptist Church. Missouri didn’t just win a basketball game Saturday.

STOCK FALLING

OVERZEALOUS OFFICERS: Please take great care to understand The MSR’s message here, because we have plenty of friends and family in the law-enforcement business, and we have nothing but respect for the men and women who risk their lives and limbs to protect us. But we believe the University of Tennessee Police Department was out of line in citing eight students for trespassing during a good-natured snowball fight in Neyland Stadium last week. The UTPD cited two more kids for underage drinking, and we suppose we shouldn’t complain too much about that, but UT was trending on Twitter in a good way during that snowball fight. It was great exposure for the school, and even several UT employees were happily tweeting about the event. It was everything college is supposed to be, and then some. It was fun. And eight kids were rewarded for that great exposure by being given trespassing citations. Do the right thing, UTPD. Expunge those citations.

IT’S 2014, SIR: We’re not suggesting The MSR knows more about things than mighty Rick Pitino, but it was still a bit unfortunate to see Louisville’s legendary basketball coach call social media “poison” in a recent interview. Social media, like everything else in this world, can be good or bad. It depends how you use it. Embrace it and thrive in the modern world, or ignore it and get left behind. The world moves, and we have to move with it.

CLOWNS: Unlike most people, The MSR doesn’t have an absolute hatred or fear of clowns. We could go with or without them, but we don’t necessarily hate them. But many do, and the clown industry is apparently dying. A recent article in the New York Daily News quoted several leaders of world clown organizations and cited several damning statistics that show an industry going the way of the dodo. “What’s happening is attrition. “The older clowns are passing away (and few are replacing them),” Clowns of America International President Glen Kohlberger told the Daily News.

IGNORANCE: A recent study by the National Science Foundation — yes, The MSR is a nerd and reads all sorts of nerdy things — showed that 26 percent of Americans don’t know that the Earth orbits the sun. Katie, bar the door. We’ve got some educatin’ to do.

RUSSIAN HOCKEY: In truth, The MSR can’t imagine the pressure placed on the Russian hockey team going into an Olympics on its native soil. But, still, the Russians obviously couldn’t handle that pressure and bowed out before the medal round following a 3-1 loss to Finland — a national that’s located near Norway, so we know it can’t be that good at life.

STOCK HOLDING

He's no fan of The Twitters.

VOLS HOOPS: Following a disappointing week that left them perilously close to the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble for a third consecutive season, the Tennessee men’s basketball surprised The MSR on Tuesday night by comfortable taking care of Georgia, 67-48. Let’s not Sharpie the Vols in bracket yet by any means, but this is a bad bubble, and they still have a very good shot to make the field if they take care of business.

SIZE 20 SNEAKERS: Don’t look now, folks, but The MSR and others are noticing a trend: Jarnell Stokes is growing up. Tennessee’s All-SEC junior forward is demanding the ball a bit better, finishing with both hands and generally asserting himself the way a star should. There are several important factors going forward for the Vols, but perhaps the most important one is Stokes taking over and being the man his team needs him to be. Stokes is not an overly aggressive, Type A kid by his nature, but he needs to be that way for his team to be the best it can be down the stretch. And it looks like maybe — just maybe — he’s starting to figure that out.

THAT D, THO: Our policy on this has been clear from the beginning: The MSR respects greatness is any uniform that isn’t a St. Louis Cardinals uniform. And the second-ranked Florida basketball team might have the best defense any SEC team has had in years. When you consider that the Gators don’t have a human easy button like former Kentucky star Anthony Davis to mask deficiencies by erasing shots anywhere near the rim, you gain even more appreciation for the good, old-fashioned, team defense Florida plays. There’s plenty of athleticism there, obviously, but the way the Gators work together on the defensive end is just beautiful to watch.

CHANGING UNIFORMS WHEN YOU SUCK: Without fail, The MSR laughs every time a team decides to change its colors or logo or uniform just because the team sucks. This year’s winner: The Tampa Bay Bucs, who plan to unveil their new look Thursday.

THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Listen to The MSR here, peoples. If you don’t excited by the UEFA Champions League anthem and the UEFA Champions League quality of soccer, you can’t be that into sports. It. Is. Awesome.

US AND A: Still has more Sochi medals than Norway.

NORWAY: Still so has fewer Sochi medals than US and A.

US AND A: Still has fewer all-time Winter Olympics medals than Norway. Therefore Norway remains the enemy and must be stopped at all costs.

He's Willis Turpinseed of Morgan State.

STOCKING STUFFERS

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: If really good guitar playing and creative humor are two of your things, Tenacious D’s self-titled 2001 album will never get old. It never does for The MSR.

YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE WEEK: This week’s gem — which you can see here — is a video of pugs being ... well ... pugs. The one in the swing is probably our favorite. But many others, including the one with his head stuck in a Milk Bone jar, are fantastic.

COLLEGE ATHLETE NAME OF THE WEEK: In honor of Antonio Barton’s big game for the Vols on Tuesday night, let’s give this week’s award to a fellow Baltimore native — Morgan State’s Willis Turpinseed, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward averaging 1.5 points and 0.3 rebounds per game for Da Bears.

PRODUCT OF THE WEEK: Men’s Complete MultiVitamin Formula from vitafusion combines two of The MSR’s favorite things — vitamins and gummies. Who doesn’t love gummies? Answer: No one. So why not start your start with gummies?

FACT OF THE WEEK: A recent study from the University of Leicester in England showed that cows produce 3 percent more milk while listening to slower music. Apparently it relaxes them. “Slow songs were found to have a positive lactational effect,” according to The Independent newspaper in England. For what it’s worth, “Euro club classics” were found to have little to no effect on milk production, either way. But the slow jams opened up the floodgates.

CONFESSION OF THE WEEK: The MSR has spent more than two full hours in the past two weeks watching gif files of penguins doing penguin stuff. Because the little things in life are the best things.

RON SWANSON QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “In my opinion, not enough people have looked their dinner in the eyes and considered the circle of life. This is your dinner. His name is Tom.”

Contact Wes Rucker at wrucker@247sports.com, www.twitter.com/wesrucker247 or www.facebook.com/wesrucker247

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