No Football -- But Lots of Great Hoops Action This Weekend
THE JIM SEZ UPDATE –
OUR FIRST “FOOTBALL-FREE” WEEKEND
IN MONTHS BUT THERE’S PLENTY OF GREAT
B-BALL ACTION TO SOOTHE THE SOUL
Four weeks of preseason action, 17 weeks of regular-season play, three weekends of playoffs, the Pro Bowl and then the Super Bowl … that’s 26 weeks (or half the year) where NFL play dominated the sports scene.
But now we’ve digging deep into the month of February and deeper into this 2016-17 NBA season along with a great College Basketball campaign.
Goodbye, football, till next year.
The hoops world is in charge now.
And this winter weekend is chock full of great NBA matchups including the Saturday night “Game of the Week” on ABC between the Golden State Warriors at the Oklahoma City Thunder (8:35 p.m. ET) – and, no, Charles Barkley, we don’t expect “prodigal son” Kevin Durant to get a standing ovation in the pre-game introductions after he exited OKC last Fourth of July for a shot to play with this iconic G-State gang.
Still, it’s great drama – better than watching former New York Knicks star Charles Oakley get carried out of Madison Square Garden in handcuffs! – and it’ll be interesting to see how Durant plays:
Will he “tighten up” and have one of those rare 10-of-28 field-goal shooting nights or will he rise to the occasion and bang out one of those vintage 35-point games against his old team.
And what will OKC’s Russell Westbrook do here with the prime-time cameras on ‘em? Westbrook’s been the no-doubt-about-it league Most Valuable Player thus far and maybe he’ll steal the show and the headlines here.
Take note, fellow pointspread mavens, that Golden State -- 44-8 SU (straight-up) is just 24-26-2 ATS (against the spread) this season although the Warriors are a tasty 9-3-1 vig-wise in their last baker’s dozen.
On the flip side, Oklahoma City (31-23 SU) heads into this clash at 30-23-1 ATS … so who knew at this stage of the season that Durant’s old team would be faring better spreadwise than Durant’s new team? Hmmm.
Also on tap in the NBA this February weekend is a Sunday showdown is a North-of-the-Border battle between the Detroit Pistons (25-29) at the Toronto Raptors (32-22) and check out the standings to see the importance of this one: The Pistons are in a free-for-all to get one of the last two playoff berths in the East while right now the Raptors could conceivably finish anywhere between the #2 and the #6 spots in the Eastern Conference post-season chase. Maybe having All-Star G DeMar DeRozan back (he poured in 30 points in a mid-week loss to Minnesota) will get Toronto on a little winning streak here. Note the Raptors are just 4-6 SU in their last 10 games.
And now hear this …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to pile up the profits all this weekend/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!
COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S WEEKEND WONDERS
No question there’s been a slew of Top 10 upsets the past 10-or-so days and so let’s check this weekend’s agenda for the Associated Press Top 10 teams and see what’s out there looming:
10. UCLA (22-3, 9-3) – The Bruins should cruise against heavy-duty dog Oregon State on Sunday (5 p.m. ET) but you do have to wonder what happened when Steve Alford’s crew was digging itself a 19-point first-half hole versus Oregon this past Thursday night.
9. ARIZONA (22-3, 11-1) – The U of A Wildcats host Cal come Saturday night and go for the sweep after besting the Berkeley boys 67-62 back in late December.
8. NORTH CAROLINA (21-5, 9-3) – What’s the residual effect following Thursday’s highly-charged loss at Duke? Well, UNC won’t find out till Wednesday’s showdown at N.C. State … Roy Williams’ gang has the weekend off.
7. WISCONSIN (21-3, 10-1) – Maybe it’s “upset alert” time here for the Badgers who must host a Northwestern team Sunday (6:30 p.m. ET) determined to make the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament. The Wisky kids come off a draining OT win at Nebraska as Nigel Hayes banged home a trifecta with 18.4 seconds left and teammate Ethan Happ blocked a last-second ‘Husker shot.
6. BAYLOR (21-3, 8-3) – The Bears host TCU on Saturday (2 p.m. ET) with the knowledge that they won the first go-around 62-53 thanks mainly to strong defense as the Frogs shot just 17-of-59 from the floor (that’s 28.8 percent).
5. OREGON (21-4, 10-2) – No doubt the Ducks are kicking themselves for blowing that monstrous lead at UCLA this past Thursday night and now their stay in LA could get worse before things get better as USC’s a legit top 20 team in its own right. Can Dillon Brooks salvage this road trip for Oregon?
4. LOUISVILLE (19-5, 7-4) – Maybe Cardinals’ coach Rick Pitino doesn’t think this way, but we simply don’t view the Redbirds as a potential #1 seed in next month’s NCAA Tournament and they will have hands full Saturday (2 p.m. ET) when hosting the athletic Miami Hurricanes.
3. KANSAS (21-3, 9-2) – The Jayhawks trek to Texas Tech (Saturday, 2 p.m.) for what figures to be another Big 12 road win (see away triumphs in the conference already against Oklahoma, Iowa State and Kansas State) but only question we have is Kansas’ lowly 64 percent FT percentage gonna catch up to ‘em soon?
2. VILLANOVA (23-2, 10-2) – If the defending champs are gonna stub their toe on the Big East road, it could happen here in Saturday’s 2 p.m. ET tilt at Xavier. True, the X-men are not “whole” without PG Edmond Sumner but Jay Wright’s guys figure to be in for a brawl even though the ‘Cats took the first meeting by 25.
1. GONZAGA (25-0, 13-0) – Gotta admit we’re really looking forward to this West Coast Conference showdown in Moraga (we’re confident ESPN analyst Jay Bilas will find it!) that’s slated for an 8:15 p.m. ET tip before a national audience. Hey, the Zags are an amazing 17-4-1 against the odds this year but Saint Mary’s (22-2 SU) ain’t no pushover.
NOTE: Lots more College Basketball News/Notes in the next Jim Sez.
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