EXTRA-EXTRA - Now It’s Officially March Madness Time as the Conference Tournies Heat Up All Around the Land!
As that song used to say back in the day… it’s getting, it’s getting, it’s getting kinda hectic!
The frenzy that is College Basketball’s Championship Week – where a slew of the 31 automatic bids are settled on the court – is in full-speed ahead mode and in today’s Jim Sez column space we’ll get you the quick-hitter forecasts of the mini-tournies that are going on here the early-to-mid portion of this work week (those beginning on Tuesday; some of those beginning on Wednesday).
No time to waste but first this key reminder to our loyal clients:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep steamrolling their way through the month of March with loads of College Basketball winners and take special note that The Network March Madness Package includes all of this week’s mini-tourney games and then next week’s NCAA Tournament Games plus the very best from the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too… so go ahead and sign up now!
Complete March Madness program available Right Now at www.JimHurley.com or at our office at 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.
Okay, back to the College Basketball Conference Tournaments…
ACC – Tuesday-thru-Sunday
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
New little twist here is there will be a day between the semifinal round games on Friday and the title tilt on Sunday, so we’ll see if that perhaps aids a &lddepth-shy” team here. Overall, note no Louisville in the mix here and so that means 14 teams in the hunt for the ACC title that should come down to North Carolina/Virginia/Miami – we say Duke’s likely not deep enough nor strong enough down low to win this thing and Notre Dame still relies a bit too much on the three-point bomb. If Carolina (25-6, 14-4) or Virginia (24-6, 13-5) wins this mini-tourney outside the nation’s capital, then lock down an NCAA Tournament top seed for the winner and should Miami (24-6, 13-5) cop the crown, we say that there’s a 75 percent chance that Jim Larranaga’s crew gets a numero uno seed in the so-called "Big Dance". Hey, the quarterfinals (Thursday) and semis (Friday) should be among the most exciting hoops action we get all year long and we won’t be completely surprised if there is a real spoiler attack for a game or two by the likes of N.C. State and/or Syracuse… you heard it here first!
The Favorite: North Carolina
The Dark Horse: Virginia Tech
The Longshot: Florida State
CONFERENCE USA – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
BJ Civic Center – Birmingham, AL
Did you realize there’s not a single C-USA team with an RPI better than 75 in the whole 14-club league? Regular-season champ UAB (26-5, 16-2) is a solid squad but there’s no telling if this conference is getting just one bid or not, so the Blazers better not rest on their laurels even with the home-court advantage here. Watch for high-scoring Marshall (85.8 ppg to rank third nationally) to make things sticky for one or two of the favs here.
The Favorite: UAB
The Dark Horse: Old Dominion
The Longshot: Western Kentucky
BIG 12 – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO
Seven of this league’s 10 teams will be NCAA Tournament-bound next week and – dare we say – as many as five of ’em could find their way somewhere onto the #1-thru-#4 seed lines. Hey, lots to play for here including Kansas (27-4, 15-3) gunning to be the number one overall seed in next week’s "Big Dance" (could still conceivably get a #1 seed with a loss in the Big 12 Tourney Final, too) with West Virginia and Oklahoma likely #2 NCAA seeds providing they’re not one-and-done in this mini-tourney. What’s really gonna be fun is seeing how Texas’ first-year head coach Shaka Smart fares in his debut Big 12 Tourney and whether or not Texas Tech (a #26 RPI) can spoil some folks’ weekend with that Tubby Smith-coached sound defense.
The Favorite: Kansas
The Dark Horse: Iowa State
The Longshot: Texas Tech
PAC-12 TOURNAMENT – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
MGM Grand Arena – Las Vegas, NV
Whoa, Nellie! Hold onto your hats here as this might be the most entertaining/wide-open power conference tournament of ’em all with – in reality – as many as six teams that could cash their chips with a mini-tourney win and note there’s four teams with RPIs of 25-or-better… see regular-season champ Oregon (25-6, 14-4), Utah, California and Arizona. Heck, each of the above-mentioned teams has their own storyline with Oregon swiping last-week road wins at UCLA and USC; Utah sporting the best player in the league in Jakob Poetl (17½ ppg and 9.1 rpg); Cal the hottest club in the league having won nine of its last 10 games; and Arizona likely the best top-to-bottom team in terms of overall talent. The other two teams that could take the Pac-12 Tourney? Try Colorado and USC.
The Favorite: Oregon
The Dark Horse: Colorado
The Longshot: UCLA
MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas, NV
Don’t kill the messenger but we have it on high authority that this will be a one-bid league providing regular-season champ San Diego State (23-8, 16-2) snags this week’s mini-tourney – if the SDSU Aztecs lose, they’ll get a #10 or #11 seed in the NCAAs and the mini-tourney champ would get a #12 or #13 seed. Safe to say we’re hoping for a Boise State/Fresno State showdown against Steve Fisher’s squad come the final or it could be a real cakewalk week/weekend for the ’Tecs.
The Favorite: San Diego State
The Dark Horse: New Mexico
The Long Shot: Utah State
NOTE: Get more key College Basketball News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez and keep it right here all March long for important Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament Previews.
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