It’s College Basketball "Prove It Week"
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT –
IT’S A GREAT WEEK AHEAD ON THE HARDWOOD
AFTER IN-SEASON TOP 16 SEEDS NAMED …
HEY, WE DIDN’T FORGET THE NFL AS WE
HYPE OUR TOP 5 MOCK DRAFT PICKS
(NOW SEE IF YOU AGREE!)
Let’s see …
The good folks at ESPN dubbed it “Rivalry Week” last Monday-through-Sunday and gotta admit the all-sports network aired some dandy games such as Duke’s exciting 86-78 win/cover against 3-point underdog North Carolina along with last Saturday’s West Coast Conference tilt where numero uno Gonzaga (26-0) bested 4-point home pup Saint Mary’s 74-64.
Now we’ll take the liberty of dubbing this “Prove It Week” as a slew of teams handed the first-ever in-season top 16 seeds figure to get tested here in a batch of mid-February hoops contests.
Yes, if you missed it the aforementioned in-season top 16 seeds left out the Big 10 altogether – say what! -- and yet handed up-and-down Kentucky a #3 seed for now and erratic Duke a #4 seed … hmmm, betcha there were lots of non-power conference squads pretty ticked off at the seedings which look like this:
EAST – Villanova, Louisville, Kentucky and UCLA
WEST – Gonzaga, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia
MIDWEST – Kansas, Florida State, Arizona and Duke
SOUTH – Baylor, North Carolina, Florida and Butler
Gut feeling (besides the fact the NCAA Tournament folks are really just trying to get some free publicity from this brand-new venture of naming the top 16 seeds a month before the tourney)?
When it all shakes out a month from now, there’ll be at least two Big 10 teams in the top 16 mix – most likely some combination of Wisconsin, Purdue and Maryland – and you’ll see at least one other non-power team in the field to go along with Gonzaga … maybe Wichita State or “lucky” VCU gets into the mix, we’ll see.
In any event, let’s lay out what’s on tap in “Prove It Week” from now through Thursday right after this important announcement:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep on piling up the huge profits all this week with lots of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – so go ahead and win with all the hardwood action today!
MONDAY – #4 Louisville at Syracuse; 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
If the U of L Cardinals (20-5, 8-4) can mix-and-match all their parts together here – remember G Quentin Snyder just returned from a six-game absence because of a bad hip and two other rotation players (F Deng Abel and C Mangok Mathiang) are back from one-game suspensions – then Rick Pitino’s ACC crew could come out on top against a ‘Cuse club that just had its five-game winning streak snapped at Pitt and tragically lost one-time Orange star Fab Melo who died this past weekend at the young age of 26.
TUESDAY -- #17 Florida at Auburn, 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Gotta admit that including the Florida Gators (20-5, 10-2) in the above-mentioned top 16 seeds (again, for now) surprised us if for no other reason the Gainesville gang owns only one “signature win” this year, the 88-66 win against Kentucky back on Feb. 4th. Now, G KeVaughn Allen (team-best 13.1 ppg) and Company looks to rock out a Valentine’s Night win at Auburn and better believe War Eagle is in a bad mood after blowing a 23-point lead in last Saturday’s 90-84 loss at 5-point fav Ole Miss … imagine owning a 23-point lead and you don’t even cover as 5-point pups. Ouch!
WEDNESDAY – #18 Duke at #12 Virginia, 9 p.m. ET, espn2
Classy matchup in the ACC where Duke (20-5, 8-4) and Virginia (18-6, 8-4) tangle on national TV in their one-and-only regular-season hoedown and the $64,000 question here is will the Wahoos allow 3-point shooter G Grayson Allen room to shoot here … Virginia still exited Sunday night’s tough-to-swallow 80-78/double-OT loss at Virginia Tech as the nation’s number one-ranked defense.
THURSDAY – #9 Arizona at Washington State, 9 p.m. ET, Fox 1
Let’s swing out to the left coast for this “Prove It Week” game from Pullman – the ‘Zona Wildcats (23-3, 12-1) are operating way under the proverbial radar these days even though they’ve won 17 of their last 18 games. True, Sean Miller’s club is painfully young and there’s some thought that this tallish front line will “wear down” by March but gotta see it to believe it first! It’s entirely possible that Arizona will wind up with 30-plus wins this year, win the Pac-12 Tournament and find itself one of those #1 seeds when all’s said and done. Right, just “prove it”.
NFL MOCK DRAFT TALK
We know it was a painful weekend for many of you Jim Sez readers – no football for the first time since August and all – but here’s something to sink your teeth into … our first-look at the NFL Draft Top 5 picks (obviously, subject to change!). Here goes:
1 – CLEVELAND – Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M: Would love to be “different” with this top pick, but Brownies have basically told everyone they’re pickin’ him.
2 – SAN FRANCISCO – Mike Williams, WR, Clemson: Gotta believe new offensive-minded head coach Kyle Shanahan goes for a game-breaker/play-maker first.
3 – CHICAGO – Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama: The Bears gotta plug lots of holes but starting with best available defensive player helps, eh?
4 – JACKSONVILLE – Jamal Adams, SS, LSU: Sorry, we’re not buying the hype that the Jaguars will be playoff contenders next year but this hard-hitter helps the cause.
5 – TENNESSEE (from Los Angeles Rams) -- Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan: Maybe a “reach” here but maize-and-blue star could be a wild card defender for up-and-coming Titans team.
NOTE: Catch our NCAA Basketball Mid-Week Update in