NCAA Championship Preview

THE NCAA TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – IT’S VILLANOVA VS. NORTH CAROLINA FOR ALL THE MARBLES TONITE … PLUS MORE MLB 2016 PREDICTIONS

“Party like it’s 1985” … or get ready to hang yet another banner inside the Dean Dome:

What’s it gonna be at 11:40 p.m. ET (or so) this evening in Houston when the Villanova Wildcats battle the North Carolina Tar Heels in College Basketball’s NCAA Championship Game?

No doubt the 2.5-point underdog ‘Cats were the real story this past Saturday with that rousing 95-51 win against the Oklahoma Sooners in the front half of a not-so-thrilling Final Four as Jay Wright’s club shot a blistering – and almost unimaginable -- 71.4 percent from the floor (that’s 35-of-49 field-goal attempts) while the Final 4 nightcap featured North Carolina piling on big time en route to an 83-66 win/cover against 9.5-point pup Syracuse.

The Tar Heels have won it all in 1957, ’82, ’93, 2005 and ’09 (beating Villanova three times in these five title-winning seasons) and are looking to become the No. 1 team in the land at the start and the conclusion of this current campaign but there’s a real special magic working for ‘Nova these days and remember ole coach Rollie Massimino will be in attendance at NRG Stadium this evening … hmmm.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have steamrolled their way through the entire NCAA Tournament and now it’s time to cap the “Big Dance” with tonight’s Side & Totals action between Villanova versus North Carolina.

Get in now on the NCAA Tournament Championship Game – just go online or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 -- and we’ll send you straight into the winner’s circle.

Hey, we’re also banging out lots of NBA winners and you don’t want to miss the start of this 2016 Major-League Baseball Season too and so go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the action this month.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

#2 VILLANOVA (34-5) vs. #1 NORTH CAROLINA (33-6) – 9:15 p.m. ET, TBS

If “styles makes the fight” then what to make of this evening’s game between these two powerhouse teams?

After all, North Carolina is averaging 88 points per game in this man’s tournament (see chart below) while Villanova comes in yielding a meager 60.6 ppg to its first five NCAA Tournament foes.

Yes, lots made about Villanova’s red-hot shooting stats against Oklahoma but can we remind you that the Wildcats limited a high-quality Sooners crew to just 31.7 percent shooting in that blowout win with Wooden Award winner Buddy Hield (9 points) going just 4-of-12 from the floor and the remainder of this starting unit shooting a composite 10-of-34 from the field. Suffice to say, if ‘Nova can do a serious version of bump-and-grind on the Carolina kids outside the paint (where the Tar Heels don’t shoot it well anyway) and rim protector F Daniel Ochefu can throw some return-to-sender rejects against that tallish front line, than we might well turn the calendar back to that above-mentioned ’85 season when Villanova copped its one-and-only NCAA Tournament title?

Villanova won’t mind speeding up this game at times with G Josh Hart (23 points on 10-of-12 FG shooting the other day), Kris Jenkins (18 points and 8 rebounds) and veteran G Ryan Arcidiacono (15 points and 3 assists versus Oklahoma) each taking turns looking to bust their way to the rim but the truth is if that ’85 ‘Nova bunch had to play the “perfect game” to defeat Georgetown that evening in Lexington than this Wildcats crew will have to play a near-perfect game to beat Carolina.

The game plan here for the Tar Heels is simple … and one they utilize every time they’re on the floor:

Speed up the game to a 78 rpm-like tempo and get a whole bunch of shots up on the rim where the likes of Brice Johnson (16 points and 9 rebs against Syracuse) and Kennedy Meeks (15 points and 8 boards against the Orange) get all sorts of second-chance opportunities – note these Heels had nine offensive rebounds between ‘em last Saturday – but whether or not Roy Williams’ squad gets the win/the cover here likely depends on whether savvy G Marcus Paige (13 points against ‘Cuse) can hit some triples as he stoked the Carolina attack the other day with three big made trifectas after the Heels started the game -0-for-11 from downtown.

The X-factor?

The Carolina bench played a big role in the Final Four win with F Isaiah Hicks, G/F Theo Pinson and Joel James (a combined 15 points and 12 rebs against Syracuse) all kicking in important plays.

Here’s the road to the NCAA Tournament Championship Game for both #2 South Regional champ Villanova and #1 East Regional champ North Carolina:

VILLANOVA

DATE

OPP

SPREAD

SCORE

3-18

NC Asheville

- 17.5

86-56

3-20

Iowa

- 6

87-68

3-24

Miami

- 4

92-69

3-26

Kansas

+ 2

64-59

4-2

Oklahoma

- 2.5

95-51

 

NORTH CAROLINA

DATE

OPP

SPREAD

SCORE

3-17

FGCU

- 23.5

83-67

3-19

Providence

- 11.5

85-66

3-25

Indiana

- 5

101-86

3-27

Notre Dame

- 9.5

88-74

4-2

Syracuse

- 9.5

83-66

 

NCAA TOURNAMENT POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART

Note: We have included all the conferences/leagues that have two-or-more pointspread verdicts in this year’s NCAA Tournament – so this is how things looked spreadwise while heading into tonight’s NCAA Championship Game:

 

Conf/League

WON

LOST

TIE

PCT

Southland

2

0

0

1.000

Atlantic 10

4

1

0

.800

Missouri Valley

4

1

0

.800

BIG EAST

8

4

0

.667

West Coast

2

1

0

.667

ACC

15

10

0

.600

Atlantic Sun

1

1

0

.500

Big West

1

1

0

.500

Conference USA

1

1

0

.500

Ivy League

1

1

0

.500

Patriot League

1

1

0

.500

Sun Belt

1

1

0

.500

Big 12

7

9

0

.438

Big 10

6

9

0

.400

American

2

3

0

.400

Pac-12

4

7

0

.363

SEC

2

4

0

.333

 

MORE MLB 2016 PREDICTIONS

Okay, hope you caught our Jim Sez MLB 2016 predictions last week right here in these web pages (see the March 31st column) as we forecast a Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago Cubs showdown in this year’s World Series.

Well, let’s dive in a bit deeper with some of the statistical categories that we didn’t mention … so here goes:

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Most Home Runs – Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado (46)

Most RBI – Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs (121)

Top Batting Average – Joey Votto, Cincinnati (.327)

Most Wins – Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh (21)

Top ERA – Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets (2.26)

Most Saves – A.J. Ramos, Miami (44)

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Most Home Runs – Manny Machado, Baltimore (43)

Most RBI – Jose Abreu, Chicago White Sox (120)

Top Batting Average – Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (.331)

Most Wins – Chris Archer, Tampa Bay (22)

Top ERA – Felix Hernandez, Seattle (2.35)

Most Saves – Roberto Osuna, Toronto (41)

19
Nov

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