Mid-major stock watch

Updated: December 10, 2008, 4:40 PM ET
By Kyle Whelliston
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.)