Sunday NCAA Previews


C'mon, you didn't really expect Friday's full day of NCAA Tournament action to match the madness we all witnessed on Thursday ... did you?

Still, must admit that it didn't have an NCAA Tourney feel to it that only one lower seed - that's Dayton - prevailed in those 16 Friday games although you might have been mildly surprised to discover NCAA Tournament Betting Favorites and Underdogs split the 16 pointspread verdicts right down the middle at eight wins apiece, thus heading into Saturday's Round of 32 games there were the "Big Dance" dogs prancing around with a 24-12-0 ATS (against the spread) record for a sizzling .667 winning record.

We'll get to the Sunday Round of 32 matchups in just a moment here but first this key reminder ...

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been smashing their way through the whole month of March with loads of College Basketball winners and it's not gonna stop! Get with America's #1 Handicapper for The Network March Madness Package that features all of the NCAA Tournament Games and also get the other post-season tournaments such as the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too. Get it either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - plus don't forget we're banging out lots of NBA Winners too these days and so go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action this month. Lots of day-time action and so don't "sleep in" - make sure you're in the winner's circle for all the day and night games!

On Sunday, it's ...

At Charlotte, NC
#7 MICHIGAN STATE (24-11) vs. #2 VIRGINIA (30-3) - 12:10 p.m. ET
What's your "margin of error" here, Michigan State?
We ask that because following Friday's roller-coaster 70-63 win/cover against 6-point underdog Georgia, there was Spartans head coach Tom Izzo again referring to how small this team's "margin of error" is compared to M-State tourney squads of the past and the true fact is nobody beats Virginia if they can't make their free throws (see 11-of-19 FT makes for State in the round of 64 game), don't make enough triples (just 7 for the Spartans in Friday's win) and don't play smart with the ball. Virginia was forced to play at a higher speed in Friday's eventual 79-67 non-cover win against 16.5-point dog Belmont - when is the last time a Cavaliers' game had a grand total of 114 FG attempts, we might ask! - but expect Tony Bennett's team to ratchet down the tempo here with PG London Perrantes the key after he committed just one turnover in 31 minutes against run-run Belmont. Again, foul shooting could mean everything here - the Wahoos canned 21-of-25 FTs against Belmont and prodigal son Justin Anderson (15 points including 6-of-7 from the foul line) looks to be back in mid-season form.

#8 SAN DIEGO STATE (27-8) vs. #1 DUKE (30-4) - approximately 2:40 p.m. ET
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski might have hit upon a real winning formula almost by accident in Friday's business-like 85-56 win/cover against 23-point pup Robert Morris - Coach K got big man Marshall Plumlee into the game following a missed fancy dunk by star frosh Jahlil Okafor (21 points) and - what do you know? Plumlee kicked in 10 points and 10 rebounds in 19 minutes of action - okay, so he wasn't the numero uno story line as Quinn Cook (22 points) bagged six triples but Plumlee's play makes the Blue Devils that much tougher with an Okafor/Plumlee front line against a San Diego State team that loves to pound the offensive glass. Don't ask us how or why but the Aztecs turned into a three-point shooting machine in Friday's 76-64 win/cover against 4.5-point dog St. John's as SJU transfer Dwayne Polee II and reserve G Matt Shrigley combined to nail nine triples against the unsuspecting Red Storm - but will Duke allow 'em clean looks from downtown here?

At Columbus, OH
#11 DAYTON (27-8) vs. #3 OKLAHOMA (23-10) - 6:10 p.m. ET
You might remember a couple of weeks back when we were making general comments about the NCAA Tournament that we didn't want to see any lower-seeded teams "rewarded" by getting home courts or near home courts in their favor against high-seeded squads. Okay, so we all know the deal here that Dayton should not have been forced to play in the "First Four" games albeit playing on its home floor at the Dayton Arena but - sorry, TV analyst Seth Davis - we had a real problem with the fact the NCAA was more concerned with putting fannies in the seats than true integrity when Dayton was slotted into this Columbus bracket. The home crowd advantage over Providence in Friday's 66-53 win was incredible - and blatantly unfair. Well, now here's 11th-seeded Dayton getting the same advantage against Oklahoma - a team that didn't get its "A game" from star G Buddy Hield (6-of-16 FG shooting for 15 points in Friday's 69-60 non-cover win against 13-point pup Albany) - and if the Flyers make it into the Sweet 16 there ought to be lots of folks screaming bloody murder.

#5 WEST VIRGINIA (24-9) vs. #4 MARYLAND (28-6) - approximately 8:40 p.m. ET
Loved the post-game press conference zinger tossed by West Virginia's always acerbic head coach Bob Huggins following his team's hard-fought 68-62 win/cover against 4.5-point underdog Buffalo:
When Huggins was asked about President Obama picking Buffalo to win that round of 64 game, "Huggy Bear" responded he doesn't pay much attention at all to the "Prez". Hmmm! His Mountaineers will pay attention to what PG Juwan Staten does here after a 15-point, 7-assist game powered up a West Virginia squad that needs to get in the grill of Maryland stars Dez Wells and Melo Trimble who combined for 28 points in the Terrapins' 65-62 non-cover win against Valpo - and may we suggest Maryland encourage Trimble to attempt more than just eight field goals here?

At Omaha, NE
#7 WICHITA STATE (29-4) vs. #2 KANSAS (27-8) - 5:15 p.m. ET
It's what they have all been waiting for in the great state of Kansas: An in-state brouhaha between the Shockers and the Jayhawks and no one here is surprised to discover that Kansas is a mere 2-point betting favorite for this clash on the plains. True, Bill Self's squad did dismantle overmatched New Mexico State 75-56 in Friday's kick-off-the-day action as Frank Mason III was magnificent with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists but is there any guarantee here that KU is again gonna shoot 54 percent from the field (see 27-of-50) or that hurtin' F Perry Ellis (no lift in those legs) will be close to 100 percent against a Wichita State squad that was pleased to hear that G Fred Van Vleet (27 points) won the "Sparty helmet" award handed out by former Michigan State great Mateen Cleaves at the conclusion of the March Madness show on truTV! If Van Vleet has to score all the big buckets here, than Gregg Marshall's gang is in trouble - when does G Ron Baker (just 3-of-13 from the floor in the 81-76 non-cover win against Indiana) bounce back - remember he was a rotten shooter in the Missouri Valley Conference Tourney too!

#8 OREGON (26-9) vs. #1 WISCONSIN (32-3) - approximately 7:45 p.m. ET
After Wisky's 86-72 non-cover win against 20.5-point underdog Coastal Carolina, veteran head coach Cliff Ellis said his team did everything in its power to slow down the Badgers - "We pressed, we zoned, we manned. Nothing stopped them," he said. Welcome to the round of 32, Oregon. Your mission is to knock Player of the Year frontrunner Frank Kaminsky (27 points and 12 rebounds versus CC) from this tourney but be sure the double-digit favored Big 10 guys have lots of other ammo and that's the key here: Oregon - which gets high marks for holding off Oklahoma State 79-73 on Friday night - now must keep Kaminsky under wraps and also be wary of Sam Dekker and Nigel Hayes who combined for 35 points against the Chanticleers and that's a tall order. Okay, so Oregon senior G "Mighty" Joseph Young (27 points) was the ringleader of that win against Okie State but he was a tad quiet in the second half when OSU ramped up its pressure on him. Best strategy for the Ducks here: Spread the floor, hope to catch the Badgers napping with some triples/backdoors and call time outs when Kaminsky scores back-to-back baskets - slow 'em down whichever way is possible!

At Seattle, WA
#7 IOWA (22-11) vs. #2 GONZAGA (33-2) - 7:10 p.m. ET
It's the $64,000 question every year Gonzaga gets into the NCAA Tournament ... is this the year the Bulldogs get to the Final Four? Well, Friday's 86-76 non-cover win against 17-point underdog North Dakota State may not have been a spread "W" but plenty else worked for Mark Few's gang including the fact senior PG Kevin Pangos rattled off the following stat line of 18 points, 5 assists and an amazing 0 turnovers in 40 minutes of play. Pangos' main mission here is to feed F Kyle Wiltjer (23 points against NDSU) and attack an Iowa club that many folks - including CBS studio analyst Clark Kellogg - believe is the Big 10's second-best team behind only Wisconsin these days. The Hawkeyes scored the tourney's most lopsided #7 vs. #10 matchup with Friday's 83-52 whipping of 3-point dog Davidson as Aaron White's 26 points sparked Fran McCaffery's club but did you see where Iowa won the boards battle 42-27 - the 'Eyes better hold their own here on the glass against a physical 'Zags team that counts the outlet pass as one of their favorite weapons.

#5 NORTHERN IOWA (31-3) vs. #4 LOUISVILLE (25-8) - approximately 9:40 p.m. ET
Classic #4 vs. #5 game here - the oddsmakers say Northern Iowa's a tiny 1.5-point betting favorite - and truth is this has "last shot" written all over it even though the Louisville Cardinals are hardly your offensive juggernaut. In fact, Rick Pitino's squad squeezed out a 57-55 non-cover win against 9-point underdog UC-Irvine on Friday even though his bench scored all of two points and his team shot just 41.8 percent from the floor (that's 23-of-55 from the floor). A Terry Rozier steal at game's end saved the Cards who won't this game to be played at 78 rpm while Northern Iowa takes a much more measured approach and - yes - you can count on F Seth Tuttle getting loads of "touches" even though he finished Friday's 71-54 win/cover versus 6.5-point underdog Wyoming with a modest 14 points on 12 FG tries. Maybe it's time we found out whether or not Northern Iowa was seeded too low for this man's tourney - we still say it was!

Note: Get our NCAA Tournament weekend wrap-up in the next edition of Jim Sez


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