More Mini Tourney Goodies -- Power Conferences Rock-n-Roll
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT: MORE MINI-TOURNEY MADNESS AHEAD!
The Atlantic Coast Conference – yes, the biggest/best league of ‘em all with 15 member teams in all – tipped off the Power Conference Tournaments for real Tuesday afternoon in Brooklyn but now all the other Five (5) Power Conferences get it rock-n-rollin’ here on Wednesday and we’ve got the thumbnail sketches on them and other quick-hitter notes below … but first 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 Wednesday, it’s …
PAC-12 CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV
THE FAVORITE: UCLA
DARK HORSE: Colorado
BUBBLE TEAM: California … We say all the Golden Bears have to do is beat lowly Oregon State in Round I and a “Big Dance” invite will be theirs, but Berkeley boys better not count their chickens first!
PLAYER TO WATCH: Dillon Brooks, F, Oregon. Ahh, you all thought we’d say UCLA’s freshman phenom G Lonzo Ball but the truth is the Ducks’ brilliant star (16 ppg and a 52.6 FG pct) is quite capable of making this mini-tourney “his” with more in-the-clutch big moments. He’s had plenty of them this 2016-17 campaign.
SURPRISE! – The Arizona Wildcats closed the year with six wins in their last seven games but few “experts” are talking ‘em up as far as a national title this year. Maybe coach Sean Miller can get the Pac-12’s second-best scoring defense to batten down the hatches in Sin City this week/weekend.
BIG 10 CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Sunday
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
THE FAVORITE: Purdue
DARK HORSE: Iowa
BUBBLE TEAM: Illinois … True, we thought Illini had to win at Rutgers last weekend but two “W’s” here still might get the job done. Fingers crossed!
PLAYER TO WATCH: Caleb Swanigan, F, Purdue. Duh! The National Player of the Year frontrunner was a real stat-sheet stuffer for the top seed in the Big 10 Tourney with regular-season numbers that featured 18.7 ppg, 12.6 rpg and 2.8 apg and his in-the-paint presence in a game’s final five minutes could be what steers Purdue into a #2 seed in next week’s NCAA Tournament.
SURPRISE! – Michigan State may not be on NCAA Tourney life support but a loss to the Penn State/Nebraska opening-round winner could be a death blow to Tom Izzo’s hot-and-cold Sparty troops.
ATLANTIC-10 CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Sunday
PPG Paints Arena – Pittsburgh, PA
THE FAVORITE: VCU
DARK HORSE: Davidson
BUBBLE TEAM: Richmond
PLAYER TO WATCH: Scoochie Smith, PG, Dayton. Okay, we admit it that we just wanted to type in the name “Scoochie” but – seriously – this senior playmaker needs a better than 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio to turn the Flyers into the A-10 champs this weekend (see 4.4 apg/2.2 tpg this year).
SURPRISE! – There’s not a single current Associated Press Top 25 team hailing from the Atlantic-10 though Dayton and VCU are among the “Others Receiving Votes”. If either the Flyers or Rams win this shindig, the best they can hope for is a #10 seed in the NCAAs.
BIG EAST TOURNAMENT – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
Madison Square Garden – New York, NY
THE FAVORITE: Villanova
DARK HORSE: Providence
BUBBLE TEAM: Xavier … Will the NCAA Tournament committee folks “punish” the Musketeers (19-12, 9-9) just because they’ve been playing for weeks without injured G Edmond Sumner?
PLAYER TO WATCH: Justin Patton, C, Creighton. Gotta admit this seven-foot freshman is one of our favorite players in all the U.S.A. If Patton is blocking shots and playing with extra verve, he could be the story if the Bluejays make it to the Big East Finals.
SURPRISE! – Seton Hall’s come back from the dead with four straight season-ending wins and could be a noise-maker one year after copping the Big East mini-tourney title.
BIG 12 TOURNAMENT – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
Sprint Center – Kansas City, MO
THE FAVORITE: Kansas
DARK HORSE: Oklahoma State
BUBBLE TEAM: Kansas State … Have the Wildcats been sitting on that proverbial bubble for weeks now or what!
PLAYER TO WATCH: Johnathan Motley, F, Baylor. The 6-foot-10 junior averages a double-double (see 17.5 ppg and 10 rpg) and could be a one-man wrecking crew if/when the Bears get a showdown with #1 Kansas.
SURPRISE! – It’s possible that Kansas (28-3) could lose in the Big 12 championship game and still snag an NCAA Tournament top seed depending on the results in the other power conference tournies.
SEC TOURNAMENT – Wednesday-thru-Sunday
Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN
THE FAVORITE: Florida
DARK HORSE: South Carolina
BUBBLE TEAM: Georgia … The Bulldogs (18-13, 9-9) square off versus Tennessee on Thursday (1 p.m. ET) and need at least two “W’s” to feel good about their place when it comes to an NCAA Tourney at-large bid.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Malik Monk, G, Kentucky. Yes, we know you noticed that we didn’t place the UK Wildcats as “The Favorite” here in this SEC Tournament but if this frosh star averaging 21.2 ppg lights it up from start-to-finish in these mini-tourney games than John Calipari’s club will win it and maybe even sneak into the #1 seed line for next week’s NCAAs. Stay tuned.
SURPRISE! – Arkansas has won six of its last seven games and the Hogs could slip into this SEC Championship Game if they can play all the games at 88-85, give or take.
Here’s our update on the top 16 seeds for next week’s NCAA Tournament (yes, subject to change!)
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
NOTE: More College Basketball News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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