College Basketball Mid-Week Update

COLLEGE BASKETBALL MID-WEEK UPDATE -
WE RANK THE NATION'S TOP 10 TEAMS PLUS THERE'S HOOPS-ON-A-SCHOOL-NIGHT PREVIEWS TOO …
MORE SUPER BOWL XLV GOODIES INCLUDING A GAME-BY-GAME SPREAD LOOKAT THIS YEAR'S NFL PLAYOFFS

Heck, we weren't even a full day into this January work week when there was a bomb blast inside the world of College Basketball:
Notre Dame's 56-51 win this past Monday night at 10-point favorite Pittsburgh - yes, the #2 team in the current Associated Press Top 25 poll - really sent some shock waves 'round the land and now folks are left to wonder whether unbeaten and fourth-ranked San Diego State (20-0) and/or #7 Texas (fresh off last weekend's streak-snapping victory at Kansas) have reason to fret here on their mid-week school-night games.

Do stay tuned!

And that gets us to our next point: Should the Pitt Panthers have been ranked so high while heading into this last full week of the month?

Well, no doubt they'll take a tumble in next week's AP poll but - just for fun - we've come up with our Jim Sez here-and-now Top 10 and we present it for you shortly in the space below plus we'll tell you which teams are either overrated or underrated at this stage of the season.

But now hear this:
Jim Hurley and his Handicappers and Bloggers will release the Side & Totals Winners for Super Bowl XLV on game-day morning and so that means for the better part of the next two weeks - and then deep into the spring too - get all the 2010-11 College Basketball Winners and the NBA too as the hoops season is in full swing.

Just go ahead and join Jim as he crushes the Las Vegas and the off-shore books 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.

 OUR JIM SEZ COLLEGE B-BALL TOP 10

     Here's how we see it right now in terms of the College Basketball Top 10 landscape … see if you agree or not (note overall team records listed below):

     #1 DUKE (18-1) - We hear 'ya … You're wondering how we can put a one-loss Dookies team ahead of unbeaten Ohio State and our answer is simple: Give us Mike Krzyzewski's team "whole" - that's with the full services of freshman guard Kyrie Irving (17.4 ppg) and this Atlantic Coast Conference club (and defending national champion to boot) is still the best bunch in the land. Still, keep an eye on guard Nolan Smith and his bothersome knee that limited him to 6-of-22 FG shooting at Wake Forest last weekend as a decline in minutes for this underrated star could put a major crimp in Duke's plans to repeat.

     #2 OHIO STATE (20-0) - There's lots of positives to point to with these Buckeyes including the fact that this Big 10 team sports the best freshman in the country. Forward Jared Sullinger (17.9 ppg and 10.2 rpg) is your prototypical stat-sheet stuffer deluxe on a team that brought in a half-dozen highly touted frosh but don't think for a single minute that the 'Eyes merely have been plundering an average Big 10 this 2010-11 season. The fact of the matter is this Ohio State team already is better than the one that starred Evan Turner last year and did you notice where kiddie PG Aaron Craft had 97 assists and just 39 turnovers in his first 20 games as a collegian?

     #3 SAN DIEGO STATE (20-0) - Plenty more to say about these SDSU Aztecs in our game previews below (see San Diego State at BYU on Wednesday night) but do keep in mind that Steve Fisher's team really hasn't put together a whole lot of full 40-minute efforts and so it's quite possible that the best is yet to come with this Mountain West Conference club. Center Malcolm Thomas was averaging nearly 16 ppg but he's gone under double digits in each of his last two tilts and so you might well find him in bust-out mood against the Cougars. Is San Diego State overrated? The answer is hardly - maybe the Aztecs can stay perfect right through this regular season -- and beyond.

     #4 KANSAS (18-1) - The current AP rankings dropped the Jayhawks to #6 in the land following last Saturday's 74-63 home loss against 7-point underdog Texas as that iconic 69-game home winning streak was snapped but don't "sleep" on Bill Self's crew now! The Big 12 team is truly loaded and do keep in mind freshman guard Josh Selby has played just 10 games after sitting out the first nine games because of an NCAA-related suspension. In short, the more Selby melds into action with his teammates, the better all the parts will become. Right now - even off a loss - this Kansas crew is clearly Top 5 material and could be shooting up even higher in the days ahead.

     #5 SYRACUSE (18-2) - We know, we know. The Orange now have lost two in a row and they got behind the proverbial 8-ball against Villanova last weekend and never could catch up en route to that 83-72 home loss before some 33,000-plus folks but Jim Boeheim's team has the length, the long-range shooters and - this is fact and not fiction - better depth than they've had in recent years and so we must place this Big East squad inside our Jim Sez Top 5. Go ahead and tell us that the 'Cuse can't beat any of the above teams on any given day on a neutral floor!

     #6 VILLANOVA (17-2) - The 'Cats already have won at the Carrier Dome and could have/should have won at Connecticut on MLK Day and so Jay Wright's team has nothing to prove at this point in the season. If Villanova continues to drain its free throws as it did in the closing moments against the 'Cuse (see 12 in a row in the game's final 2:40) than you can expect 'Nova to win all the close ones. Hey, we admit that a few weeks back Villanova appeared to be overrated in the national rankings (they're #8 in the AP right now) but not anymore.

     #7  TEXAS (16-3) - The Longhorns have reasons to pump out their chests following that aforementioned win in Lawrence and we absolutely concur with the current AP rankings that place Rick Barnes' bunch inside the Top 10 (actually right at #7). The 'Horns are as athletic as any team in our Jim Sez Top 10 and this bench is a "beaut" with J'Covan Brown pouring in 23 points off the pine versus Kansas.

     #8 CONNECTICUT (16-2) - If you think the mighty Big East is "overrated" than think again! These UConn Huskies at #5 in this week's AP poll may be a tad too high but guard Kemba Walker (25 ppg) is unquestionably one of the nation's top three players right here/right now and Hall of Fame head coach Jim Calhoun is all too happy to let Walker take over at crunch time.

     #9 PITTSBURGH (19-2) - Maybe we're punishing Jamie Dixon's club for getting whacked by the ND Fighting Irish but it's been our contention from the start that Pitt's not quite on the level of Syracuse/Villanova/Pittsburgh should any of these matchups be staged on a neutral floor.

     #10. MISSOURI (17-3) - If you're into sheer excitement, than this Mizzou Tigers team can matchup any of the above squads for thrill-a-minute games thanks in large part to star G Marcus Denmon (17.3 ppg). P.S. if the Tigers keep defense as a priority (see 9 blocked shots in last Saturday's 87-54 win against Iowa State) than the Columbia kids could make their way into the Top 5 faster than you can say Steve Stipanovich!

COLLEGE HOOP MID-WEEK PREVIEWS

     Let's take a quick dip into some high-profile College Basketball matchups in mid-week play:

     On Wednesday, it's …
#7 TEXAS (16-3, 4-0 Big 12) at OKLAHOMA STATE (14-5, 2-3 Big 12) - 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2 All hail the 'Horns who've won eight of the last nine games in this rivalry but do take note that these clubs have split their last dozen matchups in Stillwater during the Barnes Era. If Texas is gonna show no letdown here following the win at Kansas, than the Longhorns must hit their threes - they were 4-of-6 from beyond the arc following intermission last weekend - and Okie State must stay cold from tripleville and that means silencing G Keiton Page (34-of-97 treys this year).

     #4 SAN DIEGO STATE (20-0, 5-0 MWC) at #9 BYU (19-1, 5-0 MWC) - 10 p.m. ET, CSBC
All signs point to an absolute slugfest for first place in the all-too-often-overlooked Mountain West Conference but it's not simply about stopping BYU gunner Jimmer Fredette here. The nation's top scorer (26.7 ppg) can get into a zone at a moment's notice but double-digit scorers Jackson Emery (13 ppg) and Brandon Davies (11.3 ppg) are quite capable of cranking it up and consider Fredette (64 triples) and Emery have combined for 120 trifectas.
Note that San Diego State has not played since last Wednesday's 68-55 non-cover win against Air Force and SDSU's a rotten 3-28 SU (straightup) on BYU's home court in its hoops history. Maybe the defense that allows less than 59 ppg (the best in the MWC) and an offense starring Kawhi Leonard (15.7 ppg) can keep the Aztecs perfect here.

     On Thursday, it's …
SAINT MARY'S (17-3, 5-0 WCC) at GONZAGA (13-7, 3-2 WCC) - 11 p.m. ET, ESPN2
The fact of the matter is you may not be hearing much about these two West Coast Conference clubs but Saint Mary's is #24 in the current Coaches Poll this week (although not ranked in the AP) and thee Gaels are sitting all alone on top of the league but an 89-70 loss at 5-point fav Vanderbilt last Saturday afternoon could have STM lacking confidence. Note that Gaels three-point marksman Mickey McConnell has been struggling form deep lately as he missed all four of his triple tries at Vandy while Saint. Mary's shot an abominable 6-of-23 from beyond the arc in that loss.

SUPER BOWL XLV
NEWS & NOTES

     Let's do an NFL 2010 Playoffs Re-Wind here with the game-by-game action in chart form (all home teams in CAPS):

 NFL WILD CARD GAMES

WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
       
SEATTLE + 10 New Orleans 41-36
New York Jets + 2 INDIANAPOLIS 17-16
Baltimore - 3 KANSAS CITY 30-7
Green Bay + 2.5 PHILADELPHIA 21-16

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF GAMES

WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
       
PITTSBURGH -3 Baltimore 31-24
Green Bay +1 ATLANTA 48-21
CHICAGO -10 Seattle 35-24
New York Jets +9 NEW ENGLAND 28-21

NFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
       
Green Bay -3 CHICAGO 21-14
PITTSBURGH -4 New York Jets 24-19

 

     NOTE: More College Basketball News & Notes in the next Jim Sez.

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