College Hoops Salute to Oscars + Sunday Previews

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IT’S OUR JIM SEZ “SALUTE TO THE OSCARS” AS WE GIVE YOU THE WINNERS OF A HALF-DOZEN TOP COLLEGE B-BALL CATEGORIES

By Jim Hurley

Hey, who needs the red carpet?

Step right up and we’ll be happy to give you our College Basketball “Oscar winners” here in today’s weekend edition of Jim Sez plus we haven’t forgotten that it’s indeed March and so we’ll give you some pre-Oscar viewing on this first Sunday of the month with a couple of sure-to-be-exciting TV tilts too.

So here goes …

BEST PICTURE/STORY – Wichita State

C’mon, how could it be anyone else, right?

The second-ranked Shockers – 30-and-oh while heading into its Saturday home game against Missouri State – have absolutely captured the imagination of all hard-core hoops fans from coast-to-coast and gotta say right now we’ll be a tad disappointed if Wichita State doesn’t make it back to this year’s Final Four. Won’t you?

BEST PERFORMER/ACTOR – Doug McDermott, Creighton

Don’t know about you but he’s our hands-down National Player of the Year and it’s not even close as this Bluejays senior star is averaging 26 points per game while hitting on an amazing 52.1 percent of his field-goal attempts. The 23-and-4 Jays are ranked #9 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll but McDermott’s the number one performer in the land … so go ahead and give ‘em the Oscar statue already!

BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMER/ACTOR – Naadir Tharpe, Kansas

Sure, Tharpe’s only the Jayhawks’ fifth-leading scorer and he doesn’t possess the “wow” factor brought to the floor by the likes of teammates super-frosh Andrew Wiggins (16.3 ppg) or the future draft stock of string-bean C Joel Embiid, but all this versatile guard does is hold things all together for 22-6 Kansas and perhaps you heard ESPN game analyst Fran Fraschilla say the other night that when Tharpe (9.0 ppg and 5.1 assists per game) plays well, Kansas wins. ‘Nuff said.

BEST DIRECTOR – Tony Bennett, Virginia

The Cavaliers’ fifth-year head coach gets less national pub than any leader of a 24-5 team should but he’s been an absolute maestro with this ACC frontrunner and the fact the Wahoos only have two players averaging double-figure scoring proves his sound defensive philosophies work (and maybe work even better than his dad’s philosophies back in the Wisconsin and Wisky-Green Bay days).

VISUAL EFFECTS – Jim Boeheim, Syracuse

There’s been lots of scene-stealing action on the floor this year whether you’ve been captivated by some high-flying plays by Duke frosh Jabari Parker or maybe the aforementioned McDermott bombs from trey-down caught your fancy but the one visual that sticks in many folks’ minds is coach Boeheim going wacko following that controversial charge/block foul called against his team in last weekend’s loss at Duke.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Larry Brown, SMU

Gotta say that we never did expect Brown back on the college scene after his past couple of NBA firings but the leader of the country’s 23rd-ranked team deserves a round of applause for his work this year with the SMU Mustangs who dare we say could be a Sweet 16-type team this year if things pan out right. Just sayin’!

And now hear this …

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep rockin’-n-rollin’ through March with this College Basketball and NBA season as there are gonna be loads of winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – so go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action this month and remember the conference tournaments or so-called mini-tournies heat up next week with day-time action all throughout the month – we’ll keep you posted for all the important conference tourney news and notes!

Now, here’s what is on tap in the College Basketball on this Sunday, March 2nd:

MARQUETTE (17-11, 9-6 Big East) at #8 VILLANOVA (25-3, 13-2 Big East) – at Wells Fargo Center, 2 p.m. ET, CBS

Here’s what you can like about Villanova hoops this 2013-14 season:

The Wildcats are a cast of interchangeable parts with lots of folks who know how to shoot, rebound, dribble and defend and you’re never gonna outwork Jay Wright’s club over the course of a full 40 minutes.

Throw in the fact the ‘Cats have won nine of their last 10 games overall and you have major reason to pause and think this Big East co-leader (although Creighton does hold the tiebreaker by virtue of a season sweep) could be a major threat to this year’s crown.

Here’s what you might not like about ‘Nova:

The Wildcats allow too many foes to “hang around” in games and that could be dangerous as note Wright’s guys have had a difficult time lately sticking a fork into the likes of St. John’s, Providence and Georgetown.

In this home tilt against a Marquette team that needs every single “W” it can get in order to curry NCAA Tournament favor, the Wildcats are hoping to get “mission accomplished” in 40 minutes time after Villanova won the first meeting between these teams 94-85 in overtime back on Jan. 25th.

Veteran G Ryan Arcidiacono proved to be the stat-sheet stuffer deluxe in that game for the 2 ½-point road-favored Wildcats with his 20 points and 11 assists but if Marquette is gonna steal this matinee tilt in Philly then other folks are going to have to help out Davante Gardner who registered 29 points and 13 boards in that clash.

Put it this way:

Marquette probably needs to win at least two more games this year – the regular-season games at Providence and home to St. John’s and the Big East Tourney in New York City that follows – to get a sure at-large bid but a “signature win” here against a Top 10 team likely would seal the deal.

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STANFORD (18-9, 9-6 Pac-12) at #3 ARIZONA (26-2, 13-2 Pac-12) – 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Hey, this qualifies as alternate viewing to the Oscars that begin at 8:30 p.m. ET and so let’s see if the third-ranked Wildcats have this game put away by the time they hand out the Best Supporting Actress!

The ‘Cats entered the weekend with a three-game lead in the Pac-12 and Sean Miller’s squad has revved it up with a recent three-game winning streak that included Wednesday’s get-revenge 87-59 drubbing over 12 ½-point underdog California as Nick Johnson powered the way with 22 points while the stifling Arizona defense held the Golden Bears to just 4-of-16 makes from beyond the three-point line.

Note that the visiting Cardinal – one of four Pac-12 teams that entered this weekend with identical 9-and-6 league records – just lost the first part of this “desert tour” with Wednesday’s 76-64 setback at 2-point fav Arizona State and one thing Johnny Dawkins’ crew needs to fix here is the turnover problem that plagued ‘em in Tempe as Stanford committed 10 first-half miscues en route to losing the ball 15 times in all … ugh!

NOTE: Catch our College Basketball Weekend Wrap-up Report in the next edition of Jim Sez plus stay tuned for all our news/notes/previews regarding the various conference tournaments that officially swing into action on Tuesday with the Horizon League Tournament getting underway.

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