College Hoops: The Thursday Menu


News flash … and this ain’t “fake news”, folks:

The College Basketball Conference Tournaments will have their busiest day/night of ‘em all here come Thursday with a resounding 51 games on the big board including quarterfinal round play in the ACC, the Big East, the Big 12 and the Pac-12. Plus there’s second-round play coming from the likes of the Big 10 and the SEC … now, ladies and gentlemen that right there truly qualifies as “March Madness”!

For years and years here at Jim Sez we’ve been stating that these “mini-tourney” games have their own special magic when you consider an ill-timed loss here or there could crush a team’s NCAA Tournament hopes and rest assured there are plenty of “bubble teams” – maybe as many as a dozen bubble teams from the power conferences alone.

Who’s gonna step up and win in some key Thursday action and either cinch a “Big Dance” bid or at least inch a whole lot closer to one?

In a moment, we’ll get to a few conference overlooks on this big day but first this important reminder …

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep steamrolling their way through March with loads of College Basketball Mini-Tourney winners and take special note that The Network March Madness Package includes all of the Conference Tournament Games along with all the upcoming NCAA Tournament Games plus all the other post-season tournaments such as the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too.

Get it either right here online at 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 join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action this month.

Now, here’s some of what we’ll be watching on this Thursday in Conference Tournament action …

BIG 10 – at Washington, DC

INDIANA (17-14, 7-11) vs. IOWA (18-13, 10-8) – 6:30 p.m. ET, espn2

Who said these two Big 10 teams were dead-and-buried when it came to a possible NCAA Tournament at-large bid?

The fact of the matter is Iowa storms into this mini-tourney tilt on a snazzy four-game SU (straight-up) and ATS (against the spread) winning streak that just so happens to include a 96-90 home overtime triumph against the 1-point favored IU Hoosiers.

On the flip side, Tom Crean’s Bloomington bunch has lost six of its last eight games overall but junior G James Blackmon Jr. (team-high 17 ppg) is quite capable of heating up in a nano-second … could Indiana win a couple of games here in D.C. and thus snag a “Big Dance” berth after all?

Spread Note – The Iowa Hawkeyes are 3-8 ATS in away/neutral games this year.

BIG EAST – at New York, NY

CREIGHTON (23-8, 10-8) vs. PROVIDENCE (20-11, 10-8) – approximately 9:30 p.m. ET, Fox 1

Two teams with very similar records but note Creighton sports an RPI of 26 while Providence’s current RPI is 52 and thus the widely-held belief that the PC Friars gotta have this prime-time game at Madison Square Garden if they’re gonna be hearing their name called on Selection Sunday.

Keep in mind Providence should get a benefit-of-the-doubt vote for an NCAA bid because Ed Cooley’s club charges into this mini-tournament on a six-game SU winning streak while Creighton has hobbled to this point with just three wins in its last eight games and the whole Maurice Watson Jr. injury/then alleged assault charge has been hanging over the program’s head for weeks now.

One key here: Will Creighton frosh C Justin Patton (69.3 FG pct and 46 total blocks) take command at crunch time or will Providence’s Rodney Bullock (16.1 ppg) have the last say in what figures to be a toss-up game for the Las Vegas folks?

Spread Note – Providence is a healthy 20-11 against the odds this hoops season while Creighton’s a solid 18-11 versus the vig.

SEC – at Nashville, TN

TEXAS A&M (16-14, 8-10) vs. VANDERBILT (17-14, 10-8) – 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network

You’ve probably heard … no 15-loss team has ever received an NCAA Tournament at-large bid but there’s growing sentiment that should Vanderbilt cop a win or two in this week’s SEC Tournament in Music City than the Commodores could get an invite: Consider that Vandy’s beaten Florida twice this year plus Bryce Drew’s team owns road wins at Arkansas, Tennessee and against this Texas A&M team. In last Saturday’s 73-71 triumph against 3.5-point road favorite Florida, the ‘Dores stormed back from a 12-point deficit as Riley LaChance’s layup with 1:35 remaining won it. We’ll go on record to state Vanderbilt needs a minimum of two SEC Tourney wins this week to really state their NCAA Tournament case ... got it?

Spread Note – Vandy’s a rock-solid 18-11 against the prices this season while Texas A&M is just 11-16 ATS.

Other “bubble-team”-related games on the Thursday mini-tournament menu include the following …

Illinois (18-13, 8-10) vs. Michigan (20-11, 10-8) … Big 10 Tournament (12 p.m. ET)

Seton Hall (20-10, 10-8) vs. Marquette (19-11, 10-8) … Big East Tournament (approximately 2:30 p.m. ET)

Kansas State (19-12, 8-10) vs. #9 Baylor (25-6, 12-6) … Big 12 Tournament (approximately 9:30 p.m. ET)

Here’s some other pertinent pointspread records for some of the College Basketball teams in action on this very busy Thursday (all records below are ATS) …

  • Georgia is 9-3 away
  • Kansas is just 12-16-1 overall this season
  • Illinois is 4-7 in away/neutral games
  • Long Beach State is 5-12 away
  • Middle Tennessee’s covered 20-of-30 games this year
  • Nevada is 20-11 overall
  • Notre Dame is 6-3-1 away
  • UConn is 10-17 overall

Note: More College Basketball goodies in the next Jim Sez!


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