Sunday College Hoops and A Look at Some Power Conference Teams

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By Jim Hurley:

Call it the calm before the real storm.

Sure, all the so-called mid-majors are more than just knee-deep in their own conference tournaments but all heck's really gonna break out this coming week when the likes of the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC all swing open the gates on their mini-tournies and in the space below here in today's Jim Sez we will analyze one team from each of these "power conferences" and tell you what they all have to win (or lose) with these pre-NCAA Tournament tilts.

Also, there's still even more here in our weekend edition of Jim Sez -a pair of Sunday game previews including #20 Kentucky at unranked Tennessee and #10 Wisconsin at #1 Ohio State.
But first this important message ...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 11 a.m. ET for weekday College Hoops Games and then anytime after 1 p.m. ET Monday-through-Friday for all the night games 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! Remember that College Basketball's Conference Tournaments are in full swing now and we'll have Winners for you every day with an important reminder that there's lots of matinee action these days during weekdays including Big East, Atlantic-10 and Mid-American Conference afternoon action on Tuesday followed on Wednesday-thru-Friday with all sorts of matinee fun-and-games, so don't miss out!


Let's zip through the above-mentioned Six (6) College Basketball Power Conferences to pick-and-choose teams that have lots to win (or lose) in this week's upcoming conference mini-tournies (note records below all are through Friday's games):

CLEMSON (19-10, 8-7) -The Tigers are just about on everyone's "bubble" list these days and why not? First-year head coach Brad Brownell's club really doesn't own any drop-dead important wins unless you wish to give Clemson credit for that 63-59 road victory in Miami back on Feb. 20th and so this week's ACC Tournament in Greensboro will be a very big deal for the Tigers who need to win at least one mini-tourney game to get some NCAA Tournament Committee selection "love" and the fact of the matter is a double-digit or lopsided loss versus the likes of Boston College and/or Maryland could well sink Clemson's "Big Dance" dreams.


#11 LOUISVILLE (23-7, 12-5) -One team that, we feel, has fallen between the cracks inside the mighty Big East Conference is this U of L Cardinals club that's really rolling at press time with four consecutive wins while heading into the Saturday tilt at West Virginia.

It's not a stretch to say that if Rick Pitino's squad can just get to the Big East Tourney Championship Game come Saturday night in New York City than the 'Ville could be positioned neatly as no worse than a #3 seed and a title would put Louisville among the top 6 or 7 clubs in America and thus the Redbirds would snag a #2 NCAA Tourney seed.

In case you're wondering, the Cardinals this year already have beaten Pittsburgh, Connecticut and Syracuse in the last month alone and so there are plenty of "signature wins" that helped to raise Louisville's strong power rating -can you imagine beating one or more of these aforementioned teams here in NYC this week en route to a Big East Tournament crown?

BIG 10
#6 PURDUE (25-5, 14-3) -Is head coach Matt Painter's club ready to paint this whole month of March black-and-gold? The Boilermakers -winners of seven in a row while heading into the regular-season-ending game at Iowa -have been on a major rampage in recent weeks with wins against Ohio State, Wisconsin and two against archrival Illinois all bolstering Purdue's already-strong power rating but is it possible that a Big 10 Tournament title will catapult the West Lafayette gang into a #1 NCAA Tourney seed later this month?

In a word ... yes.

No doubt that Purdue will have a degree of home-court advantage in this Big 10 Tournament in Indianapolis -no one will get more vocal backing in this venue than Indiana followed right behind by the Boilers -and so it may be easier to hold things together when/if Purdue starts letting things slip away in this mini-tourney.

What does Purdue have to lose with an early exit in this conference tournament? Probably not much as simply cannot see the 'Makers dropping beyond the #2 seed line although word to the wise for Painter and Co. is don't exit stage left in a quarterfinal game this Friday or else some committee folks might "forget" about 'em when naming names of the country's top 8-to-10 teams.

BIG 12
KANSAS STATE (21-9, 9-6) -No one is soon gonna forget the great NCAA Tournament run made by these K-State Wildcats last spring and only a destiny's child Butler team could kayo 'em from the party in overtime.

Now, Frank Martin's here-and-now team is making a major run for the money these days with five consecutive wins while heading into the weekend tilt versus Iowa State and -all of a sudden -the 'Cats have gone from the "good side" of the bubble to now being given consideration for possibly a #4 seed in the NCAAs should the men from Manhattan make lots of noise in this week's Big 12 Tourney in Kansas City.

Gut feeling is that Kansas State's done plenty to get onto the #6 seed line in the "Big Dance" but here's a club that could pick up a better seed with two or three wins in this mini-tourney and wouldn't it be a kick if the Wildcats got a rubber match with archrival Kansas and then beat the Jayhawks for a second time in less than a month's time? The script could be reading like a fairy tale for the 'Cats should they somehow keep star G Jacob Pullen (right hand) in one piece this week -who knew just over a month ago this club was being totally discarded from the national title picture but soon they could be "baaaaack".

WASHINGTON (20-9, 11-6) -Here's something you might not have known about the UW Huskies: They are the only Pac-10 team to win at least one game in each of the past two NCAA Tournaments. Two years ago the Dawgs copped the Pac-10 regular-season crown and last year Lorenzo Romar's gang won the mini-tourney and now this Seattle-based squad is gunning for a repeat of the latter and that could well mean Washington would land as high as the #3 seed line in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies enter their season finale game against visiting USC having alternated wins and losses in their last five games but what should capture your undivided attention is the fact Washington's won at both USC and at UCLA this year and so this trip into "neutral" Staples Center isn't about to get Washington all shook up.

The key to possibly winning the Pac-10 Tourney crown again?

Get out and go as the currently unranked Huskies would like to play their games in the high 80s or low 90s and most of the rest of the Pac-10 would like slow things down to a crawl-like pace.


ALABAMA (19-10, 11-4) -Must admit that we don't know why so many "experts" believe the 'Bama Crimson Tide is far from a sure thing to get into the NCAA Tournament ... no doubt the recent back-to-back losses at Ole Miss and at Florida sting but victories against Kentucky and at Tennessee bolster the claims and we believe the Tuscaloosa team heads into its SEC Tournament with a real shot at landing a decent seed (like a #5) in the NCAAs. The Tide must bang out a couple of wins inside the Georgia Dome this week and F JaMychal Green (15.9 ppg) is more than capable of heating up and carrying Anthony Grant's club. Gut feeling is Alabama is -at worst -a #8 or #9 seed in the NCAA Tournament but could make hay big-time with a run to the championship round.


Here are Sunday's Top College Hoop tilts ...

#10 WISCONSIN (23-6, 13-4 Big 10) at #1 OHIO STATE (28-2, 15-2 Big 10) -12 p.m. ET, CBS regional
Nobody needs to remind the O-State Buckeyes that this is a revenge game -that meltdown in the final 13-plus minutes at Madison back on Feb. 12th when Wisconsin kayoed the 'Eyes from the unbeaten ranks with a 71-67 win still sticks out in the minds of the Columbus kids. Now, let's see how Ohio State handles the "payback" game as freshman stud Jared Sullinger (19 points and 12 rebounds in that tilt) was kept deadly silent in the final minutes three weeks ago while Badgers G Jordan Taylor (21 of his 27 points came after halftime) proved that he deserved more than just a few All-America votes.

#20 KENTUCKY (21-8, 9-6 SEC) at TENNESSEE (18-12, 8-7 SEC) -12 p.m. ET, CBS regional

It's also Round II in this next-door neighbor rivalry that's older than dirt. The Kentucky Wildcats -winners of four of their last five games after having skidded through a 1-3 SU (straightup) stretch that began on Feb. 1st -flattened Tennessee 73-61 back on Feb. 8th and now John Calipari's gang shoots for the regular-season sweep and hoping that DeAndre Liggins (19 points in that initial win against the Vols this year) and board-banger Josh Harrellson (16 points and 6 rebs in that clash) can give the 'Cats major minutes here. Note that in that 12-point loss a few weeks back, Tennessee shot just 40.7 percent from the field (22-of-54 FGs) and G Scott Hopson registered just 11 points after making his return from a two-game absence because of an ankle injury.

NOTE: More College Basketball goodies in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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