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THE FOOTBALL SEASON’S OVER BUT THAT DOESN’T STOP US FROM LOOKING AHEAD TO NFL ‘10 AS WE CHECK IN ON THE “ODDS TO WIN IT ALL” …

COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S MID-WEEK REPORT: WHAT “NAME” TEAMS ARE LIKELY TO FIND THEMSELVES ON THE DREADED “BUBBLE” AT YEAR’S END?

By Jim Hurley:

You know the saying …

Everyone loves a parade and the good folks in New Orleans sure proved that on Tuesday with a rollicking party that celebrated the Super Bowl XLIV champion New Orleans Saints and you better believe this party is gonna last for days and days.

“Dat Tuesday” and “Lombardi Gras” were just two names tagged on here for the fun times at the parade.

Hey, let’s get this on record here as we put the finishing touches on the NFL ’09 season and get ready to look ahead at NFL ’10 with the “Odds to Win it All”:

The Saints’ championship has to rank right at the very top of the any sport’s feel-good stories dating back the past 50 years – you may feel free to disagree here but the 1969 New York Mets and the 1991 Chicago Bulls (the first of those six champion teams with Michael Jordan running the show) come to mind in the other major team sports but it’s hard to find better theatre than what the Saints accomplished this season and it’s not just all about Katrina:

The Saints have been around since 1967 and – prior to this just-completed campaign – had made a grand total of six playoff appearances (1987, 1990, ’91, ’92, 2000 and ’06) and won a grand total of two playoff games. It was one of the three or biggest laughingstock franchises in sports the past 40-or-so years and yet today not only is New Orleans the center of the Football Universe but – right here/right now – there are only two teams with shorter “win it all odds” for 2010 as you’ll soon in our accompanying chart.

We’ll get to that and some College Hoops Mid-Week Report action but now hear this:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the College Basketball and NBA Winners all week long when you check in on Game Days anytime after 1 p.m. ET Monday-thru-Friday and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.

Go ahead and make sure to be with America’s #1 Handicapper as he takes you through a thrilling and profitable b-ball ride that lasts deep into June!

 

NFL 2010 – THE ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL XLV

Okay, so it’s already time to check out the NFL “Odds to Win it All” for the 2010 season. Note that all odds below are based on $100 per-play wagers:

TEAM

ODDS

COMMENT

Indianapolis

6-1

Keep in mind the ’09 Colts had everything in their favor and still couldn’t get “mission accomplished”

San Diego

8-1

The Chargers might be better off without “L.T.” but do you want to trust a team with PK Kaeding?

New Orleans

8-1

The ’03-04 Patriots were the last repeat champ in the NFL but the Saints will be “live” if they get home field

Pittsburgh

10-1

The only thing that might be holding back the Steelers from a seventh ring is the health of do-it-all S Polamalu

New England

10-1

Maybe the famed “window of opportunity” still remains open for the Pats but QB Brady needs some OL reinforcements

Philadelphia

12-1

No doubt that QB McNabb will be back but will Vick be a true X-factor in getting this club back to the Super Bowl?

Green Bay

12-1

Betcha lots of folks like the Packers to cop SB XLV but who’s about to trust this defense after that playoff loss in ‘Zona?

Minnesota

12-1

These are apparently the odds based on Mr. Favre making his return – so it’s very much subject to change

Dallas

12-1

The ‘Boys would love to host the big game next year but it’s always dicey when counting on QB Romo at crunch time

New York Jets

15-1

Now that the J-E-T-S made noise with a pair of playoff wins, it’ll be great expectations time for this Big Apple crew

Baltimore

15-1

Count us among the folks who believe this team’s a real “live wire” to win it all as QB Flacco about to take the next step

New York Giants

30-1

Unless the G-men can batten down the hatches on “D”, then NFC East club will wallow around .500 again

Tennessee

30-1

If you believe in season-to-season momentum than you could make a big-time case for a Titans team that showed grit

Cincinnati

30-1

Hats off to the Bengals for playoff berth this year but tough to have major faith in WR Ochocinco (and T.O. might be next!)

Atlanta

30-1

Life just got a whole lot tougher for the Falcons who must play in the same division with the SB champ Saints

Arizona

30-1

The Cardinals have lots of offensive ammo but trusting lefty QB Leinart with all these goodies could be a mistake

Chicago

40-1

Maybe new offensive coordinator Martz can straighten out INT-happy slinger Cutler

Carolina

40-1

It sure seems a safe bet that ’10 will be the swan song season for boss-man Fox

Houston

40-1

Now how would that look if the Texans won a Super Bowl in the Cowboys’ new stadium?

Miami

40-1

Tell us right now that RB/Wildcat QB Brown is healthy for whole season and the Fish could be fantastic

San Francisco

40-1

Until the Niners show they can be consistent under boss-man Singletary, they’ll be a .500-type team

Jacksonville

50-1

The Jaguars have enough talent to be a double-digit win team but they better learn to win the close games

Denver

50-1

Let’s see if coach McDaniels and his “diva” players can make it through a whole season together

Seattle

50-1

The Carroll Era should be filled with major enthusiasm but Seahawks probably need to re-tool that whole offense

Washington

50-1

Get ready for another major spending spree by owner Snyder who just doesn’t get it

Oakland

100-1

One of these days the silver-and-black will decide on who’s the team’s starting quarterback

St. Louis

100-1

Maybe Nebraska stud Suh will change the fortunes of this franchise – but not just yet

Buffalo

100-1

A decade after four consecutive Super Bowl berths, this franchise has become irrelevant

Detroit

100-1

FYI, the Lions are the oldest franchise to not get into a Super Bowl – and that won’t change in ‘10

Kansas City

100-1

Expect the 2010 Chiefs to be more competitive than recent clubs but it’ll be another losing year

Cleveland

100-1

Did you know that the Browns actually covered their final seven regular-season games this year?

Tampa Bay

100-1

What were the odds that the Bucs and the Saints would win SB crowns in the decade of the 2000s?

 
Okay, so you have plenty of time to digest the “Odds to Win it All” but if you had to grab a team from both the AFC and the NFC then we’ll give our early votes to the Baltimore Ravens (AFC) and, yes, we’ll go back to the Saints at the 8-to-1 price tag.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT – NOT TOO EARLY TO TALK “BUBBLE TEAMS”

The NCAA Tournament’s Selection Sunday Show is still more than a month away (see March 14th) but it’s not too soon at all to speculate as to what College Basketball “name teams” will be sitting squarely on the proverbial bubble in the days leading up to 3-14-10.

Here’s a sampling of who we’re talking about:

CONNECTICUT (14-9, 4-6 Big East) – Life hasn’t been easy for the Huskies this season both when Hall of Fame coach Jim Calhoun was roaming the sidelines and now that’s he is being temporarily replaced by interim coach George Blaney but who ever saw this coming?

The Storrs squad will enter its Wednesday night game at Syracuse having lost three of its last four games and this once-prolific offensive attack has exceeded the 75-point mark just once in the past 10 games – F Stanley Robinson (16.2 ppg) remains a hot-and-cold item and this club remains an enigma from beyond the three-point and from the free-throw line as well.

Even if you say UConn wins five of its last eight regular-season games (see road tilts at Villanova and Notre Dame), the Huskies may have to win 21 or 22 games in all to snag an NCAA Tournament berth and so that would make the Big East Tournament crunch-time for these Dawgs.

    
MISSISSIPPI STATE (16-7, 4-4 SEC) – It’s quite possible that this year’s Southeastern Conference will only drag about six teams into this year’s NCAA Tournament and the M-State Bulldogs could get left out in the cold despite the fact they brought back all five starters from a 23-win team that copped last year’s SEC Tournament. The Dawgs have been brutally bad on the SEC road lately with four straight away setbacks (at Alabama, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Florida) and note that Rick Stansbury’s team must close out regular-season play with three road games in their final four tilts (at LSU, South Carolina and Auburn).

Most in-the-know folks placed Mississippi State somewhere in the Top 25 at season’s start but unless the Starkville crew can get heated up – beginning with Thursday’s home game on espn2 against archrival Ole Miss – than this “name team” might wind up squarely “on the bubble”.

How to avoid such a pratfall? Win more than half of the team’s eight remaining regular-season clashes and make sure at least a couple of those “W’s” happen on the SEC road.

    
MEMPHIS (16-7, 6-2 Conference USA) – Let’s face it: The Memphis Tigers win the C-USA Tournament every year and so there’s never been any “bubble talk” in recent years during the John Calipari Era but now that “Coach Cal” is running the show at #1 Kentucky, this perennial NCAA Tourney team finds itself squarely facing Big Dance uncertainty.

Naturally, it doesn’t help matters that Conference USA has been pretty much a one- or two-bid league in recent years and right now the league standings show Memphis in fourth place behind UTEP, UAB and Tulsa and it’s safe to say that Josh Pastner’s Tigers won’t be getting an NCAA Tournament invitation unless it wins the mini-tourney or at least garners 22 or 23 wins on the year.

No doubt that Memphis was hurt badly by last weekend’s 66-58 home loss against nationally ranked Gonzaga and an earlier-season non-league loss versus UMass doesn’t help the cause either and so Memphis might be one of those “name teams” trying to get onto the bubble by year’s end and the projections here say that with a late-year hot streak and a trip to the Conference USA title game could get ‘em a place in the NCAAs.

Next up: A Wednesday night home game against Central Florida (on espn2).

In other College Basketball News & Notes …

Is there another team with the nickname “Saints” that’s set for a big year on the hardwood?

The Siena Saints (21-4, 14-0 in the MAAC) are slowly but surely making a case for themselves being the East Coast version of Gonzaga. Fran McCaffery’s team stayed unbeaten in league play thanks to Monday’s scary 69-67 non-cover win against 11 ½-point underdog Fairfield as swingman Edwin Ubiles scored 18 points an forward Ryan Rossiter chipped in 17 points and 10 rebounds for a Siena club that’s now won 15 in a row while heading into Thursday’s game at Niagara.

Don’t be shocked if Siena winds up with a top 8 seed in next month’s NCAA Tournament as last year’s showing – a first-round overtime upset win against Ohio State and then a close call second-round loss to Louisville – will help the Saints’ standing come bracket time.

Who dat beat beat these Saints, right? …

Finally, while you’re putting North Carolina, Alabama and Washington State on your list of College B-Ball “disappointments” this year, don’t leave out the Michigan Wolverines. The Big 10 team that was ranked inside the top 15 in some preseason polls enters Thursday’s game at Minnesota with a shoddy 11-12 mark (and 4-7 in Big 10 play) and well-respected head coach John Beilein has to take some hit here despite some off-the-court issues involving his players.

 

NOTE: Get more College Basketball News & Notes and some NBA Mid-Season Anaylses in the coming days here at Jim Sez.

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