Key ACC Games Set for Saturday
COLLEGE BASKETBALL’S BIGGEST SATURDAY SHOWDOWNS PLUS THERE’S MORE MINI TOURNEY FORECASTS …
NBA POINTSPREAD UPDATES
The first weekend in March is upon us … and what else could that represent but pressure-cooker matchups on the College Basketball card and more conference tournies too and so we’ll get to what’s straight ahead in a moment but just thought you might like to know that the latest USA Today rankings lists the Big 12 (84.94), ACC (84.85) and Big East (83.34) as the #’s 1-2-3 ranked leagues in the land and that’s gotta come as a bit of a surprise to Pac-12 lovers.
In fact, the Pac-12 entered Thursday night’s action ranked sixth in the country in terms of top conferences – also behind the Big 10 and the SEC – and so maybe you wish to deduce that possibly Arizona, Oregon and UCLA should not be ranked as high as they are these days. Just sayin’.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep rollin’ through this College Basketball and NBA season with loads of big-time winners right here online at www.jimhurley.com or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
Get in on the fun/profits with all the hardwood action and remember the conference tournaments or so-called mini-tournies have already begun to heat up with lots of day-time action all throughout the month of March and we shall keep you posted. Don’t miss out on all the fun-n-profits!
Before we get to a couple of key Saturday showdowns – both in the ACC, mind you -- let’s first touch on some of the conferences/leagues that will be tipping off their respective mini tournies here on the first Friday in March:
HORIZON LEAGUE – Friday-thru-Tuesday
Joe Louis Arena – Detroit, MI
THE FAVORITE: Valparaiso
DARK HORSE: Wright State
PLAYER TO WATCH: Martez Walker, G, Oakland. If the Golden Grizzlies (the Horizon’s co-champs along with Valpo) want to win this shindig, than Walker likely needs to average more than his 17.2 ppg and he must be more accurate from downtown (just a 31 percent trifecta shooter).
COLONIAL CONFERENCE – Friday-through-Monday
North Charleston Coliseum – Charleston, SC
THE FAVORITE: Charleston
DARK HORSE: William & Mary
PLAYER TO WATCH: Guard C.J. Bryce (UNC-Wilmington) averaged a team-high 17.5 ppg while shooting 48.8 percent from the floor this year … now can he stay hot for a Seahawks team that probably deserves an NCAA bid anyway with 26 wins?
WEST COAST CONFERENCE – Friday-thru-Tuesday
Orleans Arena – Las Vegas, NV
THE FAVORITE: Gonzaga
DARK HORSE: BYU
PLAYER TO WATCH: No doubt that Gonzaga is the “team to beat” here but keep a close eye on 6-foot-11 C Jock Landale of Saint Mary’s as he’s averaged 16.8 ppg and 9.3 rpg for a Gaels gang that would probably be a #6 or #7 seed if they can win this mini-tourney.
SOUTHERN CONFERENCE – Friday-thru-Monday
US Cellular Center – Asheville, NC
THE FAVORITE: East Tennessee State
DARK HORSE: Chattanooga
PLAYER TO WATCH: Furman F Kris Acox comes off a career-best 25-point outing in last weekend’s win against Wofford and the dude nails 62 percent of his field-goal tries.
On Saturday, it’s …
#17 DUKE (23-7, 11-6) at #5 NORTH CAROLINA (25-6, 13-4) – 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN
The prime-timer on the all-sports network is more than just bragging rights along Tobacco Road … if the Carolina Tar Heels can win here and snag next week’s ACC Tournament in Brooklyn (that’s right, Brooklyn!) than it’s a lock for a numero uno seed in this month’s NCAA Tournament but those goals could be shot down should the Dookies pull off the regular-season sweep and UNC doesn’t win the mini-tourney. The truth is Duke grabbed an 86-78 win against the 3-point underdog Tar Heels back on Feb. 9th when G Grayson Allen poured in 25 points while teammates Luke Kennard/frosh Jayson Tatum teamed up for 39 points and 13 boards as Carolina shot a sizzling 32-of-61 from the floor (that’s 52.5 percent) and still lost/failed to cover.
Shoot 52 percent here and the Heels will win in the light blue-bathed Dean Dome but can we give y’all a heads-up that Duke’s bench – outscored 25-17 in that first meeting in Durham – must give Mike Krzyzxewski’s crew some high-quality minutes.
#19 NOTRE DAME (23-7, 12-5) at #8 LOUISVILLE (23-7, 11-6) – 2 p.m. ET, CBS
You might not have known it but the Notre Dame Fighting Irish actually are the #2 team in the ACC standings ahead of the likes of Duke, Louisville and Virginia … hmm, maybe Mike Brey’s club should be considered a more potent contender for this year’s national crown even though most of the so-called media experts appear to be ignoring the South Bend squad. Now, here’s Notre Dame looking to sweep the ‘Ville – see the Irish’s 77-70 triumph as 1.5-point home favorites back on January 4th when Steve Vasturia lit it up for 24 points while the U of L Cardinals shot a woeful 39.1 percent from the floor. Have a feeling Rick Pitino’s defenders will be climbing inside Vasturia’s tank top shirt here? Better believe it!
NBA POINTSPREAD UPDATE
Just wanted to get you up to speed on some NBA Pointspread Notes – remember right around the league’s All-Star Game break we projected the Charlotte Hornets and the Minnesota Timberwolves as two teams that figured to perk things up vig-wise and we’re here to report Charlotte’s 3-2 ATS (against the spread) since the break with the one of the spread setbacks occurring in a painful 114-108 OT loss at 4-point fav Detroit while Minnesota is a perfect 4-and-oh spreadwise since the break including Wednesday’s walk-in-the-park 107-80 win at 6.5-point fav Utah (a Jim Hurley winner!!!).
The Hornets and Timberwolves were first-half-of-the-season underachievers and they’ve both gotten healthier and deeper in the past few weeks – no doubt you can’t expect an .800-plus winning rate from this point forward but the fact is so far, so good for these two sides.
Next up for Minny is Saturday’s away game against San Antonio; Charlotte’s next on the hardwood on Saturday at Denver.
NOTE: More NCAA News & Notes with several Conference Tournaments straight ahead – plus we’ve got NBA, MLB and NFL Draft goodies in coming Jim Sez columns.
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