A MID-WEEK LOOK AT SOME PAST SB FACTS/FIGURES PLUS MAPPING OUT THE KEY STRATEGIES

SUPER BOWL XLIV NEWS & NOTES:
A MID-WEEK LOOK AT SOME PAST SB FACTS/FIGURES PLUS MAPPING OUT THE KEY STRATEGIES ...

COLLEGE BASKETBALL'S WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY NITE GAME PREVIEWS (WITH #1 KANSAS ON THE BIG 12 ROAD AGAIN)

By Jim Hurley:

Let's get this party started right!
    
The Super Bowl XLIV betting line right now is as follows ...
    
The Indianapolis Colts are listed as a 5½-point betting favorite over the New Orleans Saints with a totals price of 56½ points.
    
Now hear this:
    
In the previous 43 Super Bowl games, only 11 of'em (or approximately 26 percent) have produced results where one team has beaten the other by 5 points or less and yet Saints fans shouldn't get totally discouraged by this news because five of the last eight Super Bowl games actually have been decided by four points or less including last year's game:
    
Pittsburgh Steelers (- 7) 27, Arizona Cardinals 23.
    
Meanwhile, note that only 8 Super Bowl games have produced more than 56 ½ points - or less than 20 percent of the time - but, then again how many Super Bowl have pitted such high-octane offenses with quarterbacks coming off absolute career years.
    
Some folks believe it's a "perfect storm" with Colts' QB Peyton Manning absolutely at the top of his game these days while Saints slinger Drew Brees had his share of MVP votes too this season - and, heck, everyone we've heard thus far spouting a prediction has called for this game to be a "shootout".
    
We'll see.
    
As you may or may not have seen on a recent ESPN graphic this past week, first-time Super Bowl teams have really struggled whenever playing a team with Super Bowl experience. In fact, the breakdown is that the team with prior Super Bowl experience is 15-4 SU (straightup) all-time in this ultimate gridiron game - again, not good news for the Saints if you wish to look at this game's history.
    
Still, it's worth noting that since the start of the decade of the 2000s, there have been three outright upset winners in Super Bowl play including the 2001 New England Patriots (+ 14) over the St. Louis Rams 20-17; the 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs (+ 4) over the Oakland Raiders 48-21; and the 2007 New York Giants (+ 12) over the Patriots, 17-14.
   
If you remember back to the week leading up to those three particular Super Bowl games, you might recall that very few "in-the-know" folks gave the underdogs a real shot to win then - and most all the talk we've been hearing thus far on the TV and radio air waves and via the print media has been all Colts, no Saints.
    
Again, we'll see.
    
Now, this important reminder:
    
Jim Hurley and his Handicappers and Bloggers will release the Side & Totals Winners for Super Bowl XLIV on game-day morning and plus remember to get all the 2009-10 College Basketball and NBA Winners too each and every day as the hoop season's really in full swing these days with lots of great action on tap.
    
Go ahead and join Jim as he crushes Las Vegas and the off-shore books too in these coming days/weeks and you can go ahead and cash in when you give us game-day calls at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you just log online right here.
    
Check in via the toll-free telephone # or else online on Mondays-through-Fridays anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all the NCAA Basketball and NBA games and then check with us any time after 10 a.m. ET this Saturday and Sunday for all the weekend b-ball action and - of course - SB XLIV.

 

THE ALL-TIME SUPER BOWL STANDINGS

     Folks, here's the all-time list of Super Bowl standings:

TEAM

WON

LOST

PCT

San Francisco

5

0

1.000

Baltimore

1

0

1.000

NY Jets

1

0

1.000

Tampa Bay

1

0

1.000

Pittsburgh

6

1

.857

Green Bay

3

1

.750

NY Giants

3

1

.750

Indianapolis (Balt)

2

1

.667

Dallas

5

3

.625

Oakland (LA)

3

2

.600

Washington

3

2

.600

New England

3

3

.500

Chicago

1

1

.500

Kansas City

1

1

.500

Miami

2

3

.400

St. Louis (LA)

1

2

.333

Denver

2

4

.333

Arizona

0

1

.000

Atlanta

0

1

.000

Carolina

0

1

.000

Seattle

0

1

.000

Tennessee

0

1

.000

San Diego

0

1

.000

Cincinnati

0

2

.000

Philadelphia

0

2

.000

Buffalo

0

4

.000

Minnesota

0

4

.000

 

SUPER BOWL XLIV STRATEGIES

Extra, extra:
    
We will have our Super Bowl XLIV Game Preview in the next edition of Jim Sez but here let's take a few moments to dissect some key strategies:

    
WHEN INDIANAPOLIS HAS THE BALL - Naturally, it all begins and ends with the legendary Manning who threw for 377 yards with 3 TDs and 0 INTs in the 30-17 AFC Championship Game win against the New York Jets two Sundays ago.
    
True, Manning has needed a couple of offensive possessions in his team's post-season wins against Baltimore and the Jets and then - as has been the popular saying lately -- he's "figured it out" but here his young wide receivers Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie (a combined 18 receptions in the championship game) must figure things out here as they must recognize when New Orleans is set to blitz and then get open for a quick slant or maybe a quick "out" pass by Manning. It's quite possible that one of Indy's young pass-catchers could miss a blitz signal and go deep - and that's where an opportunistic Saints defense could grab an interception if Manning fires one short.
    
Also, don't be surprised if Indianapolis utilizes rookie RB Donald Brown (6 carries for 18 yards in the AFC Championship Game) more right at the start as his slashing running style could be a perfect antidote for Saints' up-the-middle blitzes. We've seen "unknowns" become overnight sensations in past Super Bowls and so maybe you won't be quite so shocked if Brown totes the ball 15 times here for 100-plus yards.

    
WHEN NEW ORLEANS HAS THE BALL - No doubt that the Saints would love QB Brees to throw the ball here when he wants to and not when he has to and so first-down plays are ultra-critical for the NFC champs.
    
In a perfect world, the Saints will have a 50-50 run/pass balance on first downs and close to a 50-50 run/pass balance for the game (note that in the NFC Championship 31-28 OT win against Minnesota, Brees threw the ball 31 times for 197 yards and N'Orleans rushed it 23 times for 68 yards) and here is where head coach and play-caller Sean Payton must be at his very best.
    
Payton must have RBs Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and others bang out those five-yard gains on first-down plays to take some heat off Brees plus the veteran signal-caller must stretch the field early and make Indy's sometimes soft corners know the "home run" ball could be coming at any moment.
    
Prediction: If Brees throws the ball 40 times here, it means the Saints aren't running it well - and probably will lose.
 

COLLEGE HOOP MID-WEEK SHOWDOWNS

In case you're wondering, we entered Tuesday night's action with 10 College Basketball teams still unbeaten in conference/league play including the likes of: Villanova (8-0 in the Big East), Kansas (6-0 in the Big 12), Siena (12-0 in the MAAC), Morgan State (9-0 in the MEAC), Murray State (11-0 in the Ohio Valley), Sam Houston State (6-0 in the Southland), Cornell and Princeton in the Ivy League (4-0 and 2-0, respectively), Butler (11-0 in the Horizon), Michigan State (9-0 in the Big 10).
    
Odds are that only a couple of teams - if that - will finish the current campaign unblemished in conference/league action and don't necessarily count those so-called power conference teams (that's Villanova, Kansas and Michigan State) among those teams still perfect at year's end ... there's still a long, long way to go before navigating a something-and-oh conference season.
    
We'll check in on one of those teams - that's #1 Kansas - in this Mid-Week edition of Jim Sez but first here's an early February "shout-out" to the at-the-moment top Coach-of-the-Year candidates:
    
Syracuse's Jim Boeheim has guided this club to a 21-1 start (and 8-1 in Big East play) and remember the Orange were nowhere to be found in the Preseason Top 25 and right now they're sitting pretty at #3 in the land while George Mason's Jim Larranaga is at it again. The GMU Patriots (15-7 overall and 10-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play) may not be ranked but they have won seven in a row and get high marks for bucking heads with non-conference powers Villanova and Georgia Tech this year.

    
On Wednesday, it's ...
    
#22 PITTSBURGH (16-5, 6-3 Big East) at #6 WEST VIRGINIA (17-3, 6-2 Big East) - 7 p.m. ET
    
This is the first of two matchups in the coming days between these long-time neighbors/rivals (they play in Pittsburgh on Feb. 12) and it may well define the season for both teams:
    
Consider that West Virginia has won its last four in a row and that starry starting lineup appears to be catching a second wind as last Saturday's gritty 77-74 non-cover home win against 7-point underdog Louisville featured guard Da'Sean Butler pouring in a season-high 27 points but Bob Huggins' team better batten down the defensive hatches after allowing the U of L Cardinals to shoot 52 percent from the floor.
    
On the flip side, the bottom's fallen out for Jamie Dixon's Pitt Panthers:
    
They've dropped three of their last four games and that includes road losses at Seton Hall and South Florida with last Sunday's 70-61 setback at USF featuring a 37-point game by Bulls guard Dominique Jones. No doubt the Panthers were playing "over their head" earlier this season but now some selfish play on the offensive end of the floor and some lackluster defense is killing this Pitt bunch.

    
#1 KANSAS (20-1, 6-0 Big 12) at COLORADO (11-10, 2-5 Big 12) - 9 p.m. ET, espn2
    
Maybe this one seems like a breather for Bill Self's squad following last Saturday's wild 81-78 overtime non-cover win at 4-point underdog Kansas State but here's some free advice for the KU Jayhawks: Don't take your foot off the gas pedal!
    
Kansas managed to secure that win in Manhattan - a game that featured 20 lead changes in all - and center Cole Aldrich was magnificent with 18 points and 11 rebounds (the'Cats actually held a 38-to-37 advantage on the boards). Now, Aldrich bucks heads with a scrappy Buffaloes bunch that shot just 34 percent from the floor (that's 22-of-64) en route to a tight 64-63 loss last Saturday at 6 ½-point favorite Iowa State.
    
Here, the Buffs may be without frosh G Alec Burks who suffered a knee injury two minutes into that game - note that Burks is averaging 17.2 points and 5 rebounds a game.

    
On Thursday, it's ...
    
#21 GEORGIA TECH (16-5, 4-3) at #10 DUKE (17-4, 5-2 ACC) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
    
It's not often that a Duke team allows an opponent to shoot 50 percent in a game - no less the 71.7 percent that the Georgetown Hoyas shot in last Saturday's electric 89-77 triumph over the Blue Devils. Afterwards, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski claimed his veteran team couldn't "match the emotion" of the Hoyas who played lights-out ball before President Obama and Vice President Biden who attended the game while sitting courtside.
     
Don't think for a single moment that Duke will have trouble with "emotion" here - the so-called "Cameron Crazies" will have this ACC crew in a fired-up state of mind and don't dismiss the possibility that Coach K will go zone for parts of this game against Georgia Tech.
    
The visiting Yellow Jackets already posted one win on Duke this year - a 71-67 triumph as 7 ½-point home underdogs back on Jan. 9th - and you might recall that the Devils connected on only 6-of-28 triple tries with G Jon Scheyer a rotten 3-of-13 from trey-land back then in that conference clash.
    
The fearless forecast here says Duke attempts 25-or-more triples in this one - bombs away!
   

NOTE: Much  more Super Bowl XLIV coverage all week long right here at Jim Sez and don't forget to get the Side & Totals Winners on "Super Sunday" after 10 a.m. ET at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online.

 

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