College Hoop Squads Feeling Some Heat

COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S “FEELING-THE-PRESSURE” TEAMS IN THE SPOTLIGHT ON THIS THURSDAY NITE

PLUS A QUICKIE PEEK AT CAROLINA-DUKE TOO …

NFL ’17: WE’LL GIVE YOU A COUPLE OF SUPER BOWL LII SLEEPER SQUADS

You know the deal …

Everyone’s been paying major attention to the National Football League and the Super Bowl and – before you knew it – the College Basketball season kinda “snuck up” on lots of sports fans.

Heck, here we are already heading towards the middle of February and so that means there’s more-or-less a full month of hoops before we get into the whole March Madness thing. Wow!

So, let’s pick things up right here with the “feeling-the-pressure” teams that are playing on this Thursday, February 9th (we’re still about 10 days away from “bubble team” talk and the like!), so here goes:

#16 PURDUE (19-5, 8-3) at INDIANA (15-9, 5-6) – 7 p.m. ET, espn2

Since December 28th, this Indiana Hoosiers bunch is just 5-7 SU (straight-up) and that includes a 30-point loss at Michigan and a 15-point loss versus Louisville … in other words, Tom Crean’s crew is feeling the heat to deliver a win here against a Purdue club and then make some hay down the road.

Maybe the fact Indiana held host Wisconsin to just 19-of-48 FG shooting in last Sunday’s game – a 65-60 non-cover win for the 14-point favorite Badgers – is a positive sign for a team that did play that last game without key players OG Anunoby (knee/out for year) and James Blackmon Jr. (lower left leg/likely out here).

Right now, Indiana is on the outside-looking-in as far as an at-large NCAA Tournament berth – even with those earlier-season non-conference victories against Kansas and North Carolina.

BYU (17-8, 8-4) at PEPPERDINE (7-17, 3-9) – 11 p.m. ET, ESPNU

Interesting late-night game from the West Coast Conference where #1 Gonzaga gets all the ink (and #20 Saint Mary’s gets some) but it’s BYU that must kick things into overdrive in this stretch drive. The Coogs – whose 97 RPI isn’t gonna win ‘em any prizes – has alternated wins/losses in their last five games and here F Eric Mika (23 points, 12 rebounds in last Saturday’s 73-62 win at Portland) must step to the plate against a Pepperdine team that has major revenge on its mind following a 29-point loss to BYU last month in Provo.

Okay, so we’ve saved the best for last – here’s the Thursday Night Marquee Matchup:

#8 NORTH CAROLINA (21-4, 9-2) at #18 DUKE (18-5, 6-4) – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN

No, this isn’t any sort of #1-vs-#2 matchup for the ages but it’s a really important game for the host Duke Blue Devils who are garnering some momentum (see three-game SU winning streak) and likely needs guards Luke Kennard (19.8 ppg) and Grayson Allen (158 ppg) to light it up big-time here against a North Carolina crew that ranks fifth nationally in scoring (87.8 ppg). Want an X-factor here? Check out UNC’s bench that received a major lift from F Tony Bradley (12 points, 5 rebounds) in last Sunday’s 83-76 non-cover win in Greensboro versus Notre Dame.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to pile up the profits all this week/month with loads of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – so go ahead and pound the books with hard court action today!

SUPER BOWL 52 SLEEPER SQUADS

Hey, if someone had approached you about a Super Bowl “sleeper” at this time last year, would you have mentioned the Atlanta Falcons?

Probably not!

Keep in mind the Falcons were 80-to-1 odds to win it all this past NFL season – and only four other NFL teams had longer odds to cop this latest Vince Lombardi Trophy (see the Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers) – and so when examining the 2017 season what team(s) might legitimately be out there ready to make a major move to the top?

Here’s a couple of suggestions – one from the AFC and one from the NFC:

TENNESSEE – The Titans right now are listed at 50-to-1 odds to cop next year’s Super Bowl and we believe there’s major value here. Okay, so third-year quarterback Marcus Mariota must overcome his season-ending broken leg suffered on Christmas Eve and we’d like to see more explosive players added to the wide receiving corps but the Titans could a major sleeper squad for next year’s Super Bowl (yes, they might have to beat five-time champ New England to get there!).

DETROIT – Okay, so the Lions remain on that “short list” of teams that have never even made it to a Super Bowl (joining Houston, Jacksonville and Cleveland – and all of these as-we-know-them franchises didn’t exist prior to 1995!) but consider the improved state of this Motown defense, the fact that QB Matthew Stafford has cut back on his mistakes/bad decisions and you could make a case that Detroit will be 2017’s version of the above-mentioned Falcons. Worth a bob or two, eh?

Now, here’s the win-it-all odds for the 2017 NFL season at this very minute:

TEAM   ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
New England   13-1
Atlanta   12-1
Dallas   12-1
Green Bay   12-1
Seattle   15-1
Denver   18-1
Pittsburgh   18-1
Kansas City   20-1
NY Giants   20-1
Oakland   20-1
Carolina   30-1
Indianapolis   30-1
Minnesota   30-1
Arizona   35-1
Baltimore   40-1
Houston   40-1
Tampa Bay   40-1
Philadelphia   45-1
Miami   50-1
Tennessee   50-1
Washington   60-1
Cincinnati   70-1
Detroit   70-1
New Orleans   70-1
Buffalo   80-1
LA Chargers   80-1
Jacksonville   100-1
Chicago   125-1
LA Rams   150-1
NY Jets   150-1
Cleveland   300-1
San Francisco   300-1

NOTE: More College Hoops chatter in the next Jim Sez.

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