Saturday College Basketball Report
Conference Game Of The Year Wins Saturday!
Wisconsin (-1.5) Ohio State 71-67 WON!
And Hurley's Horseman Go 2-for-4 Out West!
San Camino Real (Golden Gate): Silver Medallion/Jakesam WON $15.00 EX $76.40
Santa Anita R7: Earnednevergiven WON $10.60
OUR COLLEGE B-BALL WEEKEND REPORT IS HERE - IT'S TIME TO GET UP TO SPEED WITH BRACKETOLOGY 101 ...PLUS KEY SATURDAY GAME PREVIEWS INCLUDING #1 OHIO STATE AT WISKY ALONG WITH BIG TILTS FOR #3 TEXAS AND #6 SAN DIEGO STATE
By Jim Hurley:
You can start up the countdown clock ... Selection Sunday is now just one month away.
No kidding, the NCAA Tournament's field of 68 teams will be announced on Sunday, March 13th and so that means it's time for us here at Jim Sez to "go back to school" and bring you the latest Bracketology 101.
We'll get into our crystal ball look at what the NCAA Tournament's top 16 seeds will look like in just a second but first this important reminder:
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Extra, extra: Jim Hurley has his Conference Game of the Year going on Saturday plus there's Three (3) Marquee TV Games as well - just check in online right here or at the toll-free line of 1-800-323-4453. Remember that Jim won his SEC Game of the Month last weekend with Florida's 70-68 triumph over 1-point road favorite Kentucky and now we're targeting an even bigger/better play here ... so don't miss out!
Let's have a little fun with next month's NCAA Tournament as we reveal our here-and-now top 16 overall seeds. As you well, know, the NCAA Tournament no longer simply puts four seeded teams in each region as it's instead a rather scatter-shot way of placing the teams but here's what things may look like at tourney time in terms of the first two rounds. Note overall NCAA Tournament seeds are listed below:
#1 OHIO STATE - The Buckeyes (24-0, 11-0 in the Big 10) may not stay perfect throughout this 2010-11 campaign but odds are they'll win the Big Ten Tourney and will snag the top overall seed come NCAA Tournament time. Thad Matta's club has plenty of ammo including National Player of the Year candidate Jared Sullinger and a better-than-you-think bench.
First/Second Round Destination: Look for the 'Eyes to be staying in state for the opening couple of rounds with games in nearby Cleveland while this Big 10 team could be playing Sweet 16 and/or Elite 8 games in San Antonio.
#2 TEXAS - Give the Longhorns (21-3, 9-0 in the Big 12) lots of credit for squashing foe-after-foe since the start of the Near Year as Rick Barnes' club has stepped up its collective power rating with some lopsided wins with the latest being that 68-52 waltz at 10 ½-point underdog Oklahoma. If Texas can race through the Big 12 Tourney in Kansas City next month than the 'Horns will secure a premier seed for the "Big Dance. P.S., there's also a little room for error here as Texas could still lose two more games and still get a #1 regional seed.
First/Second-Round Destination: Look for Texas to be playing opening-round games in Tulsa on the Friday/Sunday portion of the tourney's opening week but the Longhorns won't be allowed to play the regional semifinals and/or finals in San Antonio and so expect the gang from Austin to wind up playing in New Orleans the middle week.
#3 PITTSBURGH - No doubt that next month's Big East Tournament will be a major free-for-all with as many as six or seven teams quite capable of winning that mini-tourney in New York City but it says here that Pitt's the favorite to snag the Big East crown as long as G Ashton Gibbs (16.3 ppg) has fully recovered from his left knee injury.
First/Second-Round Destination: Good chance that the Big East champ will get shifted out West and so let's say Pittsburgh (22-2, 10-1 Big East) plays their opening-week games in Tucson and than should Jamie Dixon's club still be in the mix at Sweet 16 time than it's some more ballin' in Anaheim.
#4 KANSAS - No question that we would revise this whole shooting match should the Jayhawks (23-1, 8-1 Big 12) run the table the rest of the way and that's quite possible the way Bill Self's gang is going at the current time. The one thing you have to love about this Kansas team is its unselfish play as the 'Hawks really swing the ball around until they get the perfect shot.
First/Second-Round Destination: Count on the NCAA Tournament folks putting both Texas and Kansas in that March 18 & 20 bracket in Tulsa as both Big 12 teams get "rewarded" for their strong seasons. Than, Kansas would probably be playing Sweet 16/Elite 8 games in San Antonio and staying in one time zone would be A-OK with Self and Company.
#5 DUKE - The Blue Devils showed major heart in last Wednesday's come-from-behind 79-73 non-cover win against North Carolina and so anyone dismissing the Dookies just 'cause PH Kyron Irving (toe) is out is kidding himself/herself.
First/Second-Round Destination: Mike Krzyzewski's gang could get its wish of playing the first tourney week in nearby Charlotte (that's the Friday-Sunday group) and than sticking around for Sweet 16/Elite 8 games in Newark where Duke alums would make the joint a real home court advantage.
#6 VILLANOVA - If the 'Nova Wildcats were to cop the Big East Tournament, than Jay Wright's guys would elevate into a #1 seed somewhere but let's play it safe here and say the Philly gang gets a #2 seed in one of the regions.
First/Second-Round Destination: Tough to say where Villanova would be playing its first couple of games but it could be Chicago (see March 18 & 20) and than landing up in San Antonio next.
#7 SAN DIEGO STATE - There are skeptics out there who believe the Aztecs - even should they win the Mountain West Conference Tournament - won't get a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAAs but we think Steve Fisher's club will be rewarded should it finish with 30 wins and a mini-tourney crown.
First/Second-Round Destination: It makes perfect sense to place SDSU in Denver (March 17 & 19) as that's Mountain West Conference country and if the 'Tecs are still alive beyond thee first weekend than the likely setting for Sweet 16/Elite 8 games would be Anaheim although that could have a #1 team (such as Pittsburgh) howling.
#8 WISCONSIN - Maybe we have the Badgers rated a tad higher than everyone else but we expect Bo Ryan's guys to have a strong run in the Big 10 tourney and some other non-Big 10 upsets will pave the way for a neat #2 regional seed for the men from Madison.
First/Second-Round Destinations: Would it be unfair to let the Badgers stay in Chicago for the first couple of rounds? Hey, the NCAA Tournament may have no other choice than to put at least two Big 10 teams inside the United Center (March 18 & 20) and then it would be on to New Orleans - the tourney won't put Ohio State and Wisky in the same regional bracket.
Here's how we see the NCAA Tournament overall seeds #9-thru-#16:
#9 CONNECTICUT - Think this is too high for a Huskies team that just was blitzed 89-72 by St. John's? Look for UConn to play early-round games in Washington, D.C.
#10 ARIZONA - If the U of A Wildcats win the Pac-10 than they'll leapfrog over a few higher-ranked teams in terms of seeds but they won't get Round I and/or Round II games in Tucson (probably a Denver locale is likely).
#11 FLORIDA - No doubt the Gators are climbing back from a faulty start and Billy Donovan's club could land a #3 seed as long as they win the SEC Tournament inside the Georgia Dome. Expect Florida's first weekend of "Big Dance" action to come in sunny Tampa.
#12 GEORGETOWN - The Hoyas have some nice wins on their resume including last Wednesday's 64-56 triumph at Syracuse ... talk about a gut-check win! Sorry, but G-town won't be kept in D.C. early and we'll look for them to hit the Tampa trail too.
#13 BYU - The Cougars could get a #2 seed with a Mountain West Conference title. Hey, remember that BYU has to play the Thursday/Saturday games in the NCAA Tournament and so it's a trip to Tucson for starters.
#14 SYRACUSE - Let's hedge our bets here and say that if the Orange get whacked in Round I of the Big East Tournament (as they have been wont to do) than Jim Boeheim's crew might well fall out of the top 16 seeds. In any event, look for the 'Cuse to play early NCAA Tourney games in D.C.
#15 NORTH CAROLINA - The Tar Heels are #20 in the current Associated Press rankings but should be a top 4 regional seed even if Duke sweeps 'em this year. Hey, both the Heels and the Devils will call Charlotte home for the first weekend of action in the NCAAs.
#16 PURDUE - The body of work is good enough to get the Boilers a top four seed somewhere but the NCAA Tournament Committee folks won't cut 'em any slack and give Matt Painter's team any tourney games in Chicago. Probably a nice long plane ride to Tucson, if you ask us!
COLLEGE BASKETBALL SATURDAY GAME PREVIEWS
#1 OHIO STATE (24-0, 11-0 Big 10) at #13 WISCONSIN (18-5, 8-3 Big 10) - 2 p.m. ET, espn2
This monster matchup isn't the only remaining pothole on Ohio State's current docket ... but it is the biggest (note the Buckeyes are at Purdue on Feb. 20th). The nation's only undefeated team has not played since last Sunday's 82-69 win at 4 ½-point underdog Minnesota and so you wonder if the rest or rust factor will play a part here.
No doubt that State big man Jared Sullinger (18 points and 13 rebounds at Minny) is dominating the Big 10 scene this year but expect Wisconsin to throw some gimmick defenses his way and odds are Bo Ryan's strategy will be for the Buckeyes to have to win by draining three-point shots (see 8-of-20 from beyond the arc against the Golden Gophers). One major subplot here: Wisky has lost its last four in a row to Ohio State and it's been a couple of second-half collapses that have killed the Badgers and so PG Jordan Taylor (101 assists to just 26 turnovers on the year) must keep Wisconsin ultra-aggressive in the game's final 20 minutes.
BAYLOR (16-7, 6-4 Big 12) at #3 TEXAS (21-3, 9-0 Big 12) - 4 p.m. ET, espn2
Here's something you really have to say about this year's Texas Longhorns: They show absolutely no mercy to their opponents.
Texas has won its last nine games in a row by a per-game average of 18.1 ppg - and each/every one of these wins since Jan. 9th have been by double-digit margins. So, the first of two showdowns with in-state rival Baylor (these teams will collide in Waco on March 5th in regular-season finales for both Big 12 teams) figures to be dripping with raw emotion as Rick Barnes' Texas team guns for that aforementioned #1 seed in the NCAAs while Baylor attempts to get things righted after earning a merely split in its last eight games.
Look for Baylor to ask star G LaceDarius Dunn to heat up early: Dunn was 0-for-6 from the floor with just four made free throws in last Wednesday's 74-70 non-cover win against 6-point dog Nebraska but wound up scoring 20 points after intermission. Still, a sluggish start by Dunn here could put Baylor in a deep hole.
#6 SAN DIEGO STATE (24-1, 9-1 MWC) at UNLV (18-6, 6-4 MWC) - 8 p.m. ET, CSBC
Maybe it's a good thing that the San Diego State Aztecs has no margin for error now in this Mountain West Conference race - keep in mind that BYU (also 9-1 in the league) owns the tie-breaker over SDSU right now and so landing that regular-season crown is important if the Aztecs want a very high seed in next month's NCAA Tournament. Here you can bank on UNLV stepping up the tempo of this game so as to wear down a San Diego State squad that goes no more than eight-deep - there's some backcourt guys hurtin' these days for San Diego State.
State senior C Malcolm Thomas registered 11 points and 14 boards in a recent 60-53 non-cover win against TCU but those figures dipped to 8 points and 10 rebs against Utah the other night - he needs to be a solid double-double player here while UNLV needs to prove it can beat one of the MWC's best: The Rebels are a collective 0-4 SU (straightup) this year against BYU, San Diego State and Colorado State.
NOTE: Next up catch our Jim Sez Weekend Report with Hoops Galore!
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