More Mini Tourney Chatter With an Eye on The NCAAs Too


It’s gotta be one of the top five sports days of the year, right?

NCAA Tournament “Selection Sunday” is just ‘round the corner and the college hoops world is buzzing with talk of who’s in, who’s out and where are the country’s elite teams gonna be playing their first-weekend games and what exactly are they gonna be seeded?

It’s a plethora of information/speculation coming down the pike and we’ll weight in shortly with both mini-tournament (a/k/a conference tournament) news/notes/insights along with NCAA Tournament goodies but first this key 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 – we had St. John’s (+ 1.5) in its wild 74-73 Big East Tournament win against Georgetown the other night and snagged an underdog winner with Toledo (+ 2.5) over Ohio on Thursday night! -- 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.


Love how the NCAA Tournament chair Mark Hollis (Michigan State) told TV folks last weekend that these conference tournament games don’t count for “more” than a normal game but don’t buy it for a moment! If any conference favorites such as Purdue (Big 10), SMU (American) and/or Kentucky (SEC) don’t at least make it to the conference tourney final, they’ll surely feel the wrath of the committee and be punished a seed or two. Trust us!

But on the other hand, we don’t see Kansas’ 85-82 loss to 9-point underdog TCU striking the Jayhawks (28-4) off the NCAA Tournament #1 seed line – true, Bill Self’s gang now won’t be the overall #1 seed in this year’s tourney but one neutral-floor loss to a gritty TCU team ain’t gonna kayo Kansas down to a #2 seed. Again … trust us!

In fact, we say there’s four teams vying for the remaining #1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament – that’s Villanova, Oregon, Gonzaga and North Carolina – and nobody else can get to the top line …

Nice of Louisville to miss a boatload of free throws to allow Duke to bang out an 81-77 win against the U of L Cardinals in yesterday’s ACC Quarterfinals and thus setting up only the second North Carolina vs. Duke show-down in an ACC Tourney game going back the past 13 years. Just thought we’d let you know that the Thursday afternoon twin-bill at Barclays Center in Brooklyn had “secondary ticket markets” charging just $6 and yet once Carolina v. Duke became a semifinal round matchup the cheapest seat was $185 and quickly went to two bucks! …

FYI, all four betting favorites won/covered in Thursday’s Big 10 Tournament action (see Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Northwestern) and also the chalk sides were 4-0 ATS (against the spread) in the SEC where Thursday’s pointspread winners were Georgia, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss while all four underdogs notched pointspread wins in Thursday’s Big 12 tilts with covers by Iowa State (+ 1), TCU (+9), Texas (+ 10.5) and Kansas State (+ 4.5).


Just raise your hand if you’re just now beginning to get a little tired of seeing Joe “Brackets” Lunardi in the lower right-hand corner of your TV screen … the guy gets more air time these days than Wolf Blitzer!

All kidding aside, Lunardi’s been crunching the numbers and coming up with his particular NCAA Tournament seeds for all the teams out there but let us take a moment or two to set the NCAA Tournament committee folks straight:

We don’t want to see Wichita State (30-4) get whacked by know-nothing basketball folks who probably didn’t see the Shockers play a single game this year. The fact of the matter is the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament champions – who have won their last 15 straight games – belong somewhere in the top six seeds for this man’s tourney and not in any #8-vs.#9 game, okay? …

One other “non-power” conference club that deserves more love than they are likely gonna get is Middle Tennessee State (28-4) which beat 15-point underdog UT-San Antonio 86-70 in Thursday’s Conference USA Quarterfinal Round game in Birmingham. If MTSU wins this mini-tourney than we would reward the Blue Raiders with a single-digit seed – hey, they have a rock-solid 36 RPI at this moment with wins over SEC members Ole Miss and Vandy. How about a Middle Tennessee State vs. USC game in an #8-vs.#9 matchup? …

Lots of talk – as we said – regarding where the top clubs are headed in next week’s NCAA Tournament and it appears a no-brainer than Kansas will play opening-week games in Tulsa, UCLA (and probably Gonzaga) will play in Sacramento and defending champ Villanova will shuffle off to Buffalo but don’t at all be surprised if some of the “name teams” not currently in the top 10 get moved long distances with Duke and Florida expected to get in some frequent flyer miles …

If you’re looking ahead to next week’s “Big Dance” than consider a couple of teams that – we believe – will be underpriced and thus a good/solid wagering value:

Saint Mary’s (28-4) was absolutely smoked 74-56 by Gonzaga in this past Tuesday’s West Coast Conference Championship Game and would fully expect the Gaels to get jobbed with a low seed in the NCAAs (maybe a #10 or even a play-in game as an #11 seed) but we say Randy Bennett’s guys should be no lower than a #7 seed and could be a real live dog. And we keep singing the praises of Notre Dame – a 3.5-point pup in Thursday night’s easy 71-58 triumph over Virginia in ACC Quarterfinal Round play. Would it surprise anyone if Mike Brey’s club covered a batch of games this month of March?

NOTE: Lots of NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday forecasts in the next edition of Jim Sez! 

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