Mid-major stock watch 

December, 10, 2008
Power conferences collect NCAA bids like kids collect Webkinz dolls, but mid-major leagues are defined by a single digit: the number of teams they send to the Big Dance. Regardless of how the participants actually do in the tournament, the number follows a conference around for an entire year -- either the haunting scarlet-letter one, or a two or three-tag that inevitably draws contentment, pride, and television contracts.

And while the two-month conference season is vitally important, November and December are crucial for building a case for league strength, for gaining the type of wins that will eventually differentiate between the "tough conferences" and the one-bid wonders. Let's check in on how the borderline BracketBusters conferences are shaking out in the early season. (Results are up to including Tuesday's games.)

[+] EnlargeButler basketball
AP Photo/Kevin SandersButler is off to a 7-0 start this season.
Colonial (37-41 nonconference record, 1-12 vs. "Big Six" conferences)