College Basketball Update
BIG MONDAY SWEEPS 2-0!
Notre Dame (-4.5) Villanova 93-72 BLOWOUT!
Kansas State (+9) Texas 75-70 OUTRIGHT!
PRIVATE LINE CASHES IN!
Nets (+2.5) Suns 103-104 WON
COLLEGE BASKETBALL UPDATE --
LET'S DANCE RIGHT INTO MARCH ALREADY
WITH KEY PREVIEWS AND MINI-TOURNEY
NOTES STRAIGHT AHEAD ...
THE NBA REPORT --
DON'T CALL LEBRON MR. CLUTCH
AS HE FAILS TO CARRY HEAT PAST THE NEW-LOOK KNICKS
Another week in College Basketball and another #1 team goes down ... so what else is news!
The Duke Blue Devils became the latest numero uno team to take it on the chin with last Saturday's 64-60 loss at 4 1/2-point underdog Virginia Tech and right away the 'experts'were quick to say that Coach K's club probably blew a shot at getting a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Who's to say that new/old #1 Ohio State won't lose again this week either at Penn State or in this Sunday's home game against Wisconsin? Remember the plucky Badgers already beat the Buckeyes once this year. And who can state with a straight face that the likes of BYU or Kansas or Texas won't lose again this week or else sometime early in their respective upcoming conference tournaments?
No doubt that we don't often agree with ESPN voice Dick Vitale but one thing he uttered late in V-Tech's mild upset win against Duke was something we've been saying right here at Jim Sez for weeks and weeks now and that is this: There is no dominant team in the College Basketball world this year and all anyone needs to do is see how the past few weeks have treated the high-and-mighty teams in the polls and right now you probably could go in about 7 or 8 different directions to uncover whom you might think is deserving of a #1 seed in the 'Big Dance'.
Maybe what's more of a story from this past weekend is those teams that did major damage to their precious seeds -- San Diego State's 80-67 home loss to 4 1/2-point underdog BYU (the second time SDSU loss to the BYU Coogs this year) surely kayos Steve Fisher's club from any #1 seed talk and maybe even from landing a #2 tourney seed. Meanwhile, both aforementioned Texas (a 91-89 loser at 6-point pup Colorado, thanks to blowing a 22-point lead) and Arizona (an uncompetitive 71-49 loss at 3-point fav UCLA (the U of A Wildcats' second straight loss in LA-LA land) really damaged their high seed hopes and the only way either of these teams gets as high as #2 now is with lots of wins and lots of outside assistance.
Who were the real weekend winners? Well, look no further than the aforementioned Hokies (19-8 overall and 9-5 inside the Atlantic Coast Conference) who should finally get an NCAA Tournament bid after getting snubbed in each of the past two years and throw into the mix the likes of St. John's (19-9 overall and 11-5 in the super-charged Big East Conference) -- could Steve Lavin's club wind up as high as a #3 seed in the NCAAs after missing this shindig for the past eight years? -- and, of course, BYU (27-2 overall and 13-1 inside the better-than-you-think Mountain West Conference). The Coogs could get a #1 seed if they win the MWC Tournament and all the other big boys (see Kansas in the Big 12, Ohio State in the Big 10, Duke in the ACC and Pittsburgh in the Big East) don't roll to mini-tourney titles. Got it?
And now hear this: 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!
Folks, keep in mind that all the College Basketball Conference Tournaments -- a/k/a the mini-tournies -- begin Tuesday of this week and there will be lots of matinee weekday action coming soon and so make sure to check your schedules and check with us for all the day-time and night-time hoops winners.
MONDAY/TUESDAY TV PREVIEWS
Tonight, it's ...
#15 VILLANOVA (21-8, 9-7 Big East) at #9 NOTRE DAME (23-5, 12-4 Big East) -- 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
Is it us or does it just seem as if Notre Dame's brilliant hoops season has gotten lost in the shuffle?
The fact remains that Mike Brey's Fighting Irish gang right now is just one full game behind Pittsburgh for the lead in the regular-season standings and perhaps we all need a little reminder that Notre Dame's won nine of its last 10 games including last Saturday's 60-48 triumph over 9 1/2-point dog Seton Hall.
The Irish -- led by Tim Abromaitis' 22 points and G Ben Hansbrough's 21 points -- know copping the #1 seed in the Big East Tournament won't be easy 'cause following this is a tilt at UConn on Saturday but still there's plenty of firepower on this ND squad (averaging 75 ppg) and Villanova G Corey Fisher these days can't hit the broad side of a barn -- Fisher canned just 1-of-10 FG tries against St. John's and he's become a major detriment on the perimeter.
Note that Notre Dame started off that win against Seton Hall by netting just 3 of its first 14 FG attempts -- look for more drives to the hoops early by the Irish just to get the cobwebs out.
On Tuesday, it's ...
#18 VANDERBILT (20-7, 8-5 SEC) at #22 KENTUCKY (20-8, 8-6 SEC) -- 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Both of these SEC East teams hit the magical 20-win mark last weekend -- the Vandy Commodores slam-dunked 9-point home underdog LSU 90-69 while Kentucky wriggled past Florida 76-68 -- and both clubs are lead-pipe cinches to get into the 68-team NCAA Tournament field but there's still lots on the line here in Lexington where John Calipari's kids have revenge in mind following an 81-77 loss in Nashville back on Feb. 12th.
In case anyone had forgotten, Kentucky couldn't contain Vanderbilt G John Jenkins (career-best 32 points) who nailed six trifectas while playing all 40 minutes of that clash but here the 'Cats will show Jenkins an array of looks and may play a bit rough with him too in hopes of getting him off his game. If there is a key figure here for Kentucky than F Josh Harrellson (10 rebounds in that mid-February matchup) qualifies as his work on the offensive glass is critical. Harrellson collected 6 offensive rebs and 6 defensive boards in last weekend's win against Florida and he actually has 27 offensive caroms in his last six games.
In other College Basketball News & Notes ...
The conference tournaments -- or mini-tournies -- get hopping on Tuesday with first-round games in the Horizon League and then a few other smaller conferences get into the act the remainder of this week. Let's take a few moments to tell you who is favored to win the leagues and what teams might pull a surprise in the tournies that begin in the next few days:
Horizon League (March 1-8) -- There's a major logjam at the top of this league but either Butler or Cleveland State would figure to win out in the championship game but don't dismiss Detroit who plays sticky defense and just beat up a good Wright State team at home last Friday night.
Ohio Valley Conference (March 2-5) -- Murray State is the class of the OVC but Austin Peay is quite dangerous with G TyShawn Edmondson averaging nearly 18 ppg and so don't be shocked if these clubs bang it out in the title game this Saturday.
Missouri Valley Conference (March 3-6) -- Missouri State's 69-64 win against Wichita State last Saturday gave the Bears their first MVC regular-season crown since joining the league two decades ago but don't yet write in Mizzou State as the unabashed mini-tourney winner as Wichita State, Indiana State or Northern Iowa could swipe this thing.
NBA NEWS & NOTES --
KNICKS BEAT THE HEAT
Let's get two things straight right here and right now:
Just because the new-look New York Knicks (30-27) stunned the 9 1/2-point favored Miami Heat 91-86 on Sunday night, it doesn't necessarily mean what all the talking heads keep saying ... 'Now, nobody will want to face in the Knicks in the (Eastern Conference) playoffs'. You mean there are teams out there that would rather play Boston and Chicago and Orlando and -- while we're at it -- Miami instead of the Knicks? Puh-leeze!
Secondly, can we finally but to rest any/all thoughts out there that Heat mega-star LeBron James will ever -- ever -- be another Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant? As everyone saw in Sunday night's ESPN showcase game, the difference between the immortal Jordan and the near-immortal Bryant is that those fellas made/make the last-second shot more often than not while 'King James' never makes 'em!
James -- whose 27 points led all Miami scorers on this night -- had two opportunities to win the game late but his drive to the hoop was snuffed by New York's Amar'e Stoudemire with 8 seconds remaining and then, after two made free throws by the Knicks' Shawne Williams, there was James misfiring on a potential game-tying three-point shot with 5 ticks left with NYK's Bill Walker then icing matters with a pair of free throws.
The $64,000 question is when do the Heat take away James' late game-on-the-line shots and instead allow Dwyane Wade to take the clutch shots ... isn't it still Wade's team or shouldn't it be? If you've been paying close attention than you know very few of Miami's 43 wins have come with James saving the day late -- while more than a few of the team's 17 losses have 'featured'James missing ultra-important late-game shots. Okay, so the two-time league MVP is gonna go into the Hall of Fame someday the minute he's eligible but he's far from a Hall of Famer when it comes to money time and you can look at a lot of his Cleveland Cavaliers body of work to see that was the case for seven years.
On this night -- with a ridiculous Spike Lee getting wacko on the sidelines -- it was the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (29 points on 10-22 FG shooting) and 'Mr. Big Shot'himself -- G Chauncey Billups (see go-ahead triple with 1:01 remaining in the final quarter) -- who came front-and-center to win this game. As usual, 'King' James took a back seat to somebody else.
NOTE: Catch our College Basketball Mid-Week TV Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.
END END END ...
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