College Mini-Tournies All The Rage This Week

COLLEGE BASKETBALL MINI-TOURNIES POPPING UP ALL AROUND THE LAND – WE GET YOU QUICK-HITTER/THUMB-NAIL SKETCHES OF A HALF-DOZEN DIFFERENT CONFERENCES (WITH ANOTHER HALF-DOZEN IN THE NEXT JIM SEZ!)

Hope you’re ready to really hoop it up!

“March Madness” officially arrived with the onset of all the conference tournaments – a/k/a the mini-tournies – last week and note between here tonight (Monday) thru Wednesday we’ll actually have an even dozen leagues getting their tournies in the full-speed-ahead mode and our Jim Sez columns will be breakin’ it all down for ‘ya!

In fact, in the very next Jim Sez we’ll be covering the likes of the Pac-12, the Big 10, the Atlantic-10, the Big East, the Big 12 and the SEC as all the so-called power conferences get rollin’ and many of the so-called mid-majors keep busy too as we look to fill out the brackets this Sunday with 32 automatic bids and 36 at-large teams.

In case you’re wondering, we believe there’s more power conference “Bubble Teams” still with work to do and so that raises the hopes of teams such as Monmouth, Princeton, Colorado State, Boise State and BYU – a couple of these teams could lose in their mini-tournies and still grab an at-large and a couple need a win (or two) to cement their status providing a batch of power conference bubble clubs get dunked this week.

Now this quick/important reminder …

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep steamrolling their way through the month of March with loads of College Basketball winners and take special note that The Network March Madness Package includes all of this week’s mini-tourney games and then next week’s NCAA Tournament Games plus the very best from the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too … so go ahead and sign up now!

Here’s all you have to do:

Check us out here at www.jimhurley.com or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 – plus don’t forget we’re banging out lots of NBA Winners too these days and so go ahead and gobble up lots of fun-and-profits today with all the hardwood action this month.

THE CONFERENCE MINI-TOURNIES …

On this Monday night, it’s …

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE – (Home teams in first round) -- Thurs-thru-Saturday

Quicken Loans Arena – Cleveland, OH

THE FAVORITE: Akron

DARK HORSE: Toledo

BUBBLE TEAM: None

PLAYER TO WATCH: Tayler Persons, G, Ball State. The Kokomo kid transferred from Northern Kentucky last year and proceeded to drain 40-of-92 triples this year and if/when he heats up the B-State Cardinals could make a dent in this MAC Tourney. Otherwise, it’s the Akron Zips’ “tourney to lose” in the House That LeBron Built.

On Tuesday, it’s …

ACC – Tuesday-thru-Saturday

Barclays Center – Brooklyn, NY

THE FAVORITE: North Carolina

DARK HORSE: Virginia Tech

BUBBLE TEAM: Syracuse … We say the Orange have to win at least one game to get back into the NCAA Tournament “conversation”. Don’t buy that hype from ESPN loud-mouth Dick Vitale who believes the ‘Cuse in in-like-Flint!

PLAYER TO WATCH: Matt Farrell, PG, Notre Dame. Okay, so we’ve been warning our Jim Sez readers for a couple of months now about this ND Fighting Irish edition that has serious designs on winning it all and it all starts with this fiery junior point guard who is third on the team in scoring (14.2 ppg) and isn’t afraid to take the big shot. In a sport often owned by point guard, Farrell could be the star in the Borough of Kings this week.

SURPRISE! – Maybe N.C. State can win a couple of games for fired head coach Mark Gottfried, so stay tuned.

BIG SKY CONFERENCE – Tuesday-thru-Saturday

Reno Events Center – Reno, NV

THE FAVORITE: Eastern Washington

DARK HORSE: Montana

BUBBLE TEAM: None

PLAYER TO WATCH: Quinton Hooker, G, North Dakota. The top-seeded ND Fighting Hawks have a major weapon in the classy senior who averaged 19 ppg in regular-season action and shoots 45 percent from beyond the arc.

On Wednesday, it’s …

CONFERENCE USA – Wednesday-thru-Saturday

Legacy Arena – Birmingham, AL

THE FAVORITE: Middle Tennessee

DARK HORSE: UAB

BUBBLE TEAM: Louisiana Tech

PLAYER TO WATCH: Erik McCree, F, Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs’ menacing 6-foot-8, 225-pounder averaged a team-best 17.7 ppg to go along with 8.7 boards per outing. If McCree can just help get the Dawgs (22-9) to the C-USA title game, we‘ll say they belong in the NCAAs.

SURPRISE! – Marshall averages 86.4 ppg (that’s sixth-best in the country) and any of the Thundering Herd’s C-USA Tourney foes best beware getting into a major shootout with these green-and-white guys.

SUN BELT CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Sunday

Lakefront Arena – New Orleans, LA

THE FAVORITE: UT-Arlington

DARK HORSE: UL-Lafayette

BUBBLE TEAM: UT-Arlington … The nifty 36 RPI should convince anti-mid-major guys that this team belongs in the NCAA Tournament providing they at least get to this weekend’s title game.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Kevin Hervey, F, UT-Arlington. The Mavericks’ leading scorer (17.3 ppg) poured in 34 points last Saturday and still it wasn’t enough as 2.5-point home pup UL-Lafayette bested Arlington 83-81 but don’t be surprised if the do-it-all 6-foot-8 Hervey takes ownership of the paint here (and note 8.4 rpg).

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Saturday

Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas, NV

THE FAVORITE: Nevada

DARK HORSE: Fresno State

BUBBLE TEAM: Boise State … Our sources say the Broncos probably need two “W’s” this week to seal a bid after registering a 19-10 overall mark (and 12-6 in MWC play).

PLAYER TO WATCH: Deshon Taylor, G, Fresno State. The Bulldogs’ flashy guard scored 19 points last weekend in a 72-59 win/pointspread push against 13-point dog UNLV and that gave Fresno State five straight wins heading into this mini-tourney.

SURPRISE! – Hey, this league always offers up a surprise or two as there’s been three different teams to win the last three Mountain West Tournament championships (see San Diego State, Wyoming and New Mexico).

NOTE: Lots more College Basketball Mini-Tournament sketches in the next Jim Sez and plenty of NBA and NFL Draft News/Notes in the coming days/weeks.

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