THE COLLEGE HOOP MID-WEEK UPDATE

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THE COLLEGE HOOP MID-WEEK UPDATE - WE CHECK OUT TONIGHT’S TOP TILTS AS #18 MINNESOTA BATTLES #12 MICHIGAN STATE AND STANFORD’S AT #7 ARIZONA …

PLUS WE SAY GOODBYE TO NFL 2012 WITH FINAL POINTSPREAD STANDINGS AND GEAR UP FOR THE ‘13 SEASON WITH ODDS TO WIN IT ALL

No, you’re not seeing things:

The good folks at ESPN - a/k/a “Bracketologist” Joe Lunardi - already is busy listing his #1 seeds in next month’s NCAA Tournament along with his famed “Last Four In” and “First Four Out” and while it may still be a wee early to get hot-and-bothered with his forecasts the fact of the matter is there is significant jockeying going on right now in terms of tourney seeding.

In today’s edition of Jim Sez we offer up a pair of high-profile Wednesday night tilts with a word of caution that the likes of Arizona, Michigan State and/or Minnesota each could be Final Four-bound when all the dust finally settles next month - what, you’re only thinking the likes of Indiana, Florida, Michigan and Duke are gonna get there?

#18 MINNESOTA (17-5, 5-4 Big 10) at #12 MICHIGAN STATE (18-4, 7-2 Big 10) - 7 p.m. ET, Big 10 Network

It’s Round II between these not-so-friendly Big 10 neighbors as Michigan State’s in the revenge mode following that 76-63 loss at “The Barn” back on New Year’s Eve and what stands out from that tilt is that the Minny Golden Gophers scored 18 of the game’s final 20 points and had Williams Arena rockin’ as G Andre Hollins finished with 22 points and 6 assists and F Rodney Williams kicked in 15 points and 6 boards as Tubby Smith’s guys “held serve” there as 6½-point betting favorites.

Now, Michigan State - which inexplicably shot 2-of-10 from the free-throw line in that earlier game - heads into tonight’s clash having won seven of its last eight games since that December 31st road setback and expect Sparty to sink-or-swim here based on the overall play of veteran point guard Keith Appling (15 points in that first game against Minnesota) who is fresh one of the very best stat-sheet stuffing games in the college hoops world this year: That’s 24 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in last Thursday’s 80-75 non-cover win against 8½-point pup Illinois.

If Appling gets “turned loose” here by Michigan State boss-man Tom Izzo, than the Spartans will get even in this season series but look for Minnesota to send the more-than-occasional double-teams Appling’s way here … just sayin’!

STANFORD (14-8, 5-4 Pac-12) at #7 ARIZONA (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) - 11 p.m. ET, espn2

Here’s the one-and-only regular-season game between these teams on the 2012-13 docket and here’s a little refresher:

Host Arizona has lost only one home game this season - the 84-73 setback against athletic UCLA back on January 24th - and since than Sean Miller’s crew has won three in a row by a per-game margin of 14 points a game while the visiting Stanford Cardinal heads into the desert on its own three-game winning streak that includes triumphs over Utah, Oregon and Oregon State.

In fact, Stanford’s 81-73 non-cover win against 10-point dog Oregon State on “Super Sunday” featured a key last-minute block by Josh Huestis and not coincidentally it’ll be defense that either wins it or loses it here for Johnny Dawkins’ squad.

Stanford allowed the O-State Beavers to connect on 49.2 percent of their field-goal tries the other day (see 29-of-59 FG makes) and that simply won’t cut it here against a ‘Zona Wildcats club that ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (74.8 ppg) while ably sparked by the trio of Mark Lyons (14.9 ppg), Solomon Hill (13.6 ppg) and Nick Johnson (13.0 ppg).

And now hear this:

The Football Season may be over but Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers gets you wall-to-wall College Basketball and NBA Winners each and every day when you check in with us either right here online at www.jimhurley.com or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.

Note that the check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET for all the Monday-through-Friday weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays.

THE NFL REPORT

Let’s look back first at the final NFL Pointspread Standings and note that these ATS (against the spread) records include the regular season, the NFL Playoffs and Super Bowl XLVII:

NFL FINAL POINTSPREAD STANDINGS

TEAM WON LOST TIED PCT
Seattle 13 5 0 .722
St. Louis 11 5 0 .688
Denver 11 6 0 .647
Washington 11 6 0 .647
Indianapolis 10 6 1 .625
Tampa Bay 9 6 1 .600
New England 10 7 1 .588
BALTIMORE 11 8 1 .579
Carolina 9 7 0 .563
Atlanta 9 7 2 .563
Green Bay 10 8 0 .556
Houston 10 8 0 .556
San Francisco 10 8 1 .556
New Orleans 8 8 0 .500
Cincinnati 8 8 1 .500
Minnesota 8 8 1 .500
Cleveland 7 7 2 .500
Miami 7 7 2 .500
Arizona 7 8 1 .467
New York Giants 7 8 1 .467
Buffalo 7 9 0 .438
Chicago 7 9 0 .438
Jacksonville 7 9 0 .438
San Diego 7 9 0 .438
New York Jets 6 9 1 .400
Pittsburgh 6 9 1 .400
Tennessee 6 9 1 .400
Dallas 6 10 0 .375
Detroit 6 10 0 .375
Oakland 5 10 1 .333
Kansas City 5 11 0 .313
Philadelphia 3 12 1 .200

NFL ODDS TO WIN IT ALL FOR SUPER BOWL XLVIII

Now, without further ado here are the up-to-date Odds to Win it All for Super Bowl XLVIII in New York/New Jersey next February (note that we are listing only the 30-to-1 and shorter-priced teams in our chart here and note all odds here are based on $100 per-play wagers):

TEAM ODDS TO WIN IT ALL EARLY-BIRD COMMENT
New England + 700 The Pats are the favs to win it all every year but how about the fact NE is a dreary 3-5 overall in its last 8 post-season games?
Denver + 800 If there’s more Manning magic, then Peyton and the Broncos could be playing in Eli’s backyard for all the marbles next year
San Francisco + 800 A Super Bowl loser has not made it back to the “big game” since the Buffalo Bills (see 1992-93 seasons) -- and the Niners know it!
Green Bay + 1000 The Packers have major renovations to make on “D” but there’s plenty of offensive ammo to think they’re a play at 10-to-1 price
BALTIMORE + 1400 Not often that defending champs are true long-shots to repeat but what’s stopping QB Joe Flacco from another monster year in 2013?
Houston + 1400 In-the-know NFL folks believe this Texans team has as much talent as anyone in the NFL but can QB Matt Schaub make it happen?
Seattle + 1600 Now that the Seahawks have become the “vogue pick” already to win it all next season you may wish to look elsewhere for your SB winner!
Atlanta + 1800 Even the home field advantage wasn’t enough for this year’s Falcons but if they can add a couple of physical defenders, watch out
New Orleans + 1800 Thanks goodness for everyone involved that BountyGate is in the rear view mirror but the Saints must re-make this defense immediately
Pittsburgh + 1800 Can’t be blamed for thinking the Steelers may have seen “window” close as talent level’s dipped and QB Ben Roethlisberger never stays in one piece
NY Giants + 2000 Everyone knows - or should - that no NFL team has ever “hosted” a Super Bowl but G-men simply need pass rush back and they could be back too
Chicago + 3000 The Lovie Smith Era ended with non-playoff spot last year but will NFC North team be fractured now without ‘em?
Dallas + 3000 The ‘Boys have won just a single playoff game in the past two decades and all QB Tony Romo “haters” know he follows a death wish script
Washington + 3000 Here’s hoping the RG3 Era is as long as the Redskins fans wish but just getting a playoff spot in rough-and-tumble NFC next year will be tough

Note: More College Basketball News & Notes all week long right here in Jim Sez.

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