SUNDAY COLLEGE B-BALL AND NBA PREVIEWS

It's a profit-filled Saturday at the Network!
Private Line Goes 2-0!
Texas A&M (Pk) over Texas 74-58 WON!
St. Louis (-4.5) Duquesne 69-59 WON!

Blue Ribbon Goes 3-1!
Also has Texas A&M!
Michigan (+12.5) Ohio State 55-66 WON!
Cal (-6) Arizona State 62-46 WON!
Washington State (+4) Washington 52-59 lost
And Cashline Goes 3-1 too!
Tennessee (+2.5) Kentucky 74-65 WON!
George Mason (+2.5) Northeastern 48-50 WON!
Loyola Marymount (+14.5) St. Mary's CA 80-88 WON!
BYU (-8) New Mexico 81-83 lost

OUR WEEKEND JIM SEZ IS JAM-PACKED WITH SUNDAY COLLEGE B-BALL AND NBA PREVIEWS PLUS WE GIVE YOU OUR HERE-AND-NOW TOP 4 SEEDS IN EACH BRACKET AS WE PEER AHEAD TO NEXT MONTH'S NCAA TOURNAMENT

By Jim Hurley:

You've no doubt heard the chatter:
    
Kansas and Kentucky will be #1 seeds in next month's NCAA Tournament no matter what happens the rest of the way (okay, we buy that notion but neither should go completely AWOL the rest of the regular season and then right into the conference tournies) and many folks believe that Syracuse also will lock down a #1 seed NCAA Tourney seed with a win on Saturday night against visiting Villanova.
    
But here's the rub:
    
While folks talk up #1 seeds, the fact of the matter is many teams in contention for either that final numero uno seed or else one of the four #2 seeds could well be kayoed from that seed line:
    
Duke - ranked #5 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll - could be one of the teams making a case for a #1 seed but the Blue Devils better stay alert with a Sunday night game in Virginia and then a Wednesday night tilt in Maryland staring 'em straight in the grill. If the Dookies lose both of these Atlantic Coast Conference clashes, they could get bounced right off that #2 seed line so the Durham bunch has its work cut out for 'em these next few days.
     
We'll dig a little deeper into Duke's tilt in Wahoo-land plus get your Sunday's other key College B-Ball previews - that's Xavier at Richmond and Louisville at Connecticut - plus there's a couple of NBA Western Conference games on tap Sunday that's deserving some attention (see Phoenix at San Antonio and then Denver at the Los Angeles Lakers) and that's all straight ahead along with a mock Top 4 Seeds in each of the NCAA Tournament regions but first here's another key reminder:
    
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the College Basketball and also the NBA Winners when you check in on Game Days anytime after 10 a.m. ET on the weekend and after 1 p.m. ET Monday-through-Friday right here online or else get us at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - and do make sure to be with us all through this exciting and very profitable hoops ride right into June!
     
Note that the College Basketball Conference Tournaments - a/k/a the mini-tournies - get underway on Tuesday with the Horizon League and the Ohio Valley Conference getting things jump-started and by the end of next week there's other leagues/conferences getting into the fray, so make sure you're all aboard and soon there will be loads of weekday afternoon action and then Jim and Co. will be with you by 10 a.m. ET on those weekdays.

 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT: THE HERE-AND-NOW TOP 4 SEEDS IN EACH BRACKET

The NCAA Tournament Selection Show is set for Sunday, March 14th and so there's still plenty of time for movin'-and-shakin' when it comes to seeding but here's how we see it as we get ready to flip the calendar page. Note that we've listed the regions below and where the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games will be played:

MIDWEST REGION - at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
     #1 - Kansas
     #2 - Villanova
     #3 - Michigan State
     #4 - Tennessee

SOUTH REGION - Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX
     #1 - Duke
     #2 - West Virginia
     #3 - Purdue
     #4 - Butler

EAST REGION - at Carrier Dome, Syracuse, NY
     #1 - Kentucky
     #2 - Ohio State
     #3 - Georgetown
     #4 - New Mexico

WEST REGION - at Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
     #1 - Syracuse
     #2 - Kansas State
     #3 - Vanderbilt
     #4 - Gonzaga

Editor's Note: We'll update our Top 4 Seeds in each Bracket in the very near future here at Jim Sez.
 

SUNDAY'S COLLEGE KEY HOOP TV CARD

#5 DUKE (24-4, 11-2 ACC) at VIRGINIA (14-12, 5-8 ACC) - 7:45 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Network
    
The figures don't lie and they say that Duke's only won four of its last seven away games since Jan. 7th and so that ranks as a concern both here and down the road for coach Mike Krzyzewski and Company - but first things first and that means Duke must get in sync on offense where the Blue Devils were a tad erratic in Thursday's funky 70-52 non-cover win against 18 ½-point underdog Tulsa.
    
The Dookies never could get any real rhythm - especially from beyond the three-point arc - in the first 20 minutes (led just 34-30 at halftime) but just cracked things open in the final 20 minutes as the "Big Three" of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer combined for 50 points while 7-foot-1 center Brian Zoubek continued his sparkling play of late with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
    
Now, Zoubek will be a key force here against a Virginia squad that skids into this prime-time tilt on a six-game losing streak and note the Cavaliers' collective offense has gone south ever since a 75-point outing in a win at North Carolina at the end of January. In Virginia's latest loss - a 74-62 setback against Miami last Tuesday night - the Cavs' star sophomore Sylven Landesberg (17.4 ppg) poured in 27 points but the rest of Tony Bennett's team was lost in space while shooting a combined 12-of-43 from the floor.
    
Duke put on a 26-6 scorching run against Tulsa in the second half of that aforementioned non-league win on Thursday - and nobody should be surprised here if the Blue Devils have one of those runs in 'em against a Virginia team that's a bit mentally whipped these days.
      
    
#23 RICHMOND (22-6, 11-2 Atlantic-10) at XAVIER (20-7, 11-2 Atlantic-10) - 1 p.m. ET, espn2
    
Forgive us for not giving the Atlantic-10 all that much attention in our recent Jim Sez columns - the non-power conference really has enjoyed a splendid 2009-10 hoops campaign although we don't agree with the bracketologists who are calling for the A-10 to get six teams into next month's NCAA Tournament ...ain't gonna happen!
    
Still, Richmond and Xavier are lead-pipe cinches to be part of the 65-team NCAA Tourney field and there's good reason to believe that the Spiders could be as high as a #6 seed in the "Big Dance" providing Chris Mooney's club keeps rolling along. Richmond zooms into this clash on an eight-game winning streak and it's defense and a very disciplined offense that's keyed the way to this big year - the Spiders are allowing only 60.2 ppg and veteran guards Kevin Anderson (17.5 ppg) and David Gonzlavez (13.6 ppg) seem to play their best ball at crunch time.
    
If Xavier is gonna defend its home floor here than soph guard Jordan Crawford (26 points in that 73-71 non-cover win against 4 ½-point underdog Saint Louis last Wednesday night) must be a serious stat-sheet stuffer and he must limit his turnovers to a handful or less here.

    
LOUISVILLE (18-10, 9-6 Big East) at CONNECTICUT (17-11, 7-8 Big East) - 2 p.m. ET, CBS
    
In case you were wondering, there are five Big East teams currently setting up shop in this week's AP Top 25 but none of 'em are Louisville or UConn.
    
Okay, so both of these teams have been battered and bruised at various times this hoops season but now here come the Connecticut Huskies roaring down the stretch with a neat little three-game winning streak (triumphs over Villanova, Rutgers and West Virginia) while on the flip side is the U of L Cardinals who have notched three wins in their last four games (victories versus Syracuse, Notre Dame and DePaul) and so no wonder that NCAA Tournament talk has heated up for both sides.
    
Hey, press us for an answer right now and we say UConn's "in" and Louisville is "out"!
    
As you'll recall, the 'Ville bopped UConn 82-69 as 6 ½-point home favorites back on Feb. 1st as Cardinals' veteran guard Edgar Sosa contributed 15 points and 8 assists while the Huskies committed 18 turnovers - now if Jim Calhoun's crew is gonna flip the script here than G Kemba Walker (only 5-of-15 FG shooting back on Feb. 1st) must steer clear of making the bad pass and/or bad decisions and forward Stanley Robinson (14 points and 11 rebounds in that first game against Louisville) must heat up with his perimeter game that's run hot-and-cold this year.

MARQUEE MATCHUP

While oddsmakers prepare for March Madness and the betting public focuses on college basketball, the stealthy forces of the Jim Hurley Network continue to conduct raids on the NBA board and make huge profits doing it! Last Sunday, ABC & ESPN aired four games. We came out with strong plays on all four and went 3-1, highlighted by Denver (-4) over Bosotn 114-105! Now an even bigger game is up. The Nuggets travel to Los Angeles to face Kobe's Lakers in a rematch of last year's Western Conference finals and what many believe is a preview of this year's. Our basketball experts know how the LA defensive rotation can match up with Melo and Chauncey Billups. Our handicappers know exactly how to quanitfy the edge Kobe Bryant brings to a team in the late minutes. And our computer simulators measure that with precision against the point spread. Get the winner of this Marquee Matchups, plus two bonus TV plays and make your Sunday a day of watching and winning!

 

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SUNDAY'S NBA KEY TV GAMES

PHOENIX (37-23) at SAN ANTONIO (32-24) - 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Part I of this pro hoops twin-bill on the final day in February should be a dandy from the Alamo City:
    
You know that the San Ant Spurs don't want this to be a "lost weekend" after Gregg Popovich's crew suffered a 109-104 loss at 3 ½-point home underdog Houston on Friday night. The Spurs dug themselves a big-time hole there (down 31-14 after the first quarter) and only when George Hill drained a three-point shot with eight seconds remaining did San Antonio look alive as that bucket trimmed the lead to 105-102. Call it a case of too-little, too-late.
    
Now, Hill (a team-leading 26 points in that tilt) must contend with Phoenix point guard Steve Nash in this go-around and this "Skills Challenge" champ only managed one field goal (but 11 assists) in Friday's 125-112 win/cover against the 9-point underdog Los Angeles Clippers. Look for Nash to be more aggressive going to the hoop here and expect a major hoedown in the paint as Phoenix's Robin Lopez is fresh off a career-best 30-point game - this one could come down to whether or not Lopez makes his free throws as he drilled only half of his eight foul shots against the Clips.
    
Note that Phoenix shot 57 percent (that's 48-of-84) from the floor in that Friday night win in the Valley of the Sun - and something tells us the Spurs won't be allowing Nash, Lopez and Company to get all that many open looks here.

    
DENVER (39-19) at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (44-15) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
The Denver Nuggets have struck it rich in their two head-to-head meetings against the Lakers this year: George Karl's club whipped up on the LA-LA team 105-79 back on Nov. 13th as Carmelo Anthony dumped in 25 points in that home win and then on Feb. 5th the Nuggets pounded out a 126-113 road win as 8-point pups as guard Chauncey Billups "went off" with 39 points to go along with his 8 assists.
    
Think Phil Jackson's guys need to be reminded about those two double-digit losses?
    
As it is, the Lakers are "whole" again with Kobe Bryant getting in gear recently after missing five games (plus the NBA All-Star Game) and the former MVP had 19 points and 8 assists in Friday night's 99-90 non-cover win against 11-point dog Philadelphia. Still, for the Lakers to bang out the "W", Bryant will indeed need some help and maybe that comes here in the form of ever-improving young center Andrew Bynum who registered 20 points and 13 boards against the Sixers the other night just hours after he was hit with a $25,000 league fine for criticizing the officials.
    
Now, that's getting fired up!
    
This is more than just an important game in the NBA Western Conference standings for the Lakers:
    
This is a message game and a message must be delivered or then folks really will be talking up the Nuggets as legitimate championship stuff heading into the playoffs.
    
Whatcha gonna do about it Kobe?

NOTE: Get our College Hoops and NBA Weekend wrap-up in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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