NCAA Tournament Thursday Menu

THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: HERE'S A SAMPLING OF THE THURSDAY "BIG DANCE" MENU PLUS THE ODDS TO WIN IT ALL FOR ALL THE TOP TEAMS

It's time to dance, dance, dance! The NCAA Tournament's "down" to 64 teams come Thursday morning and here we present eight different matchups on the first full day of this year's NCAA Tournament.

Remember that Jim Hurley has all the NCAA Tournament winners right through the championship game on the night of April 3rd and you can get it either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - plus don't forget we're banging out lots of winners in the other college tournies such as the NIT, CIT and CBI and there's lots of daily NBA Winners too these days. Join the fun and profits with all the hardwood action - win big starting today!

On Thursday, it's the NCAA TOURNAMENT -

THE EAST:
Keybank Center - Buffalo, NY
(8) WISCONSIN (25-9) vs. (9) VIRGINIA TECH (22-10) - approximately 9:40 p.m. ET
Hey, Wisky, nobody wants to hear your belly-aching just because you were unfairly seeded by the NCAA Tournament committee folks ... we addressed that issue in an earlier-week Jim Sez but now's the time to pull up the socks and get to work: The Big 10 Badgers - a healthy 5.5-point betting favorite for this tilt - did have that stretch where they lost five-of-six games this year and they'll go down here if Virginia Tech's transfer combo of Seth Allen (formerly of Maryland) and Zach DeDay (ex-South Florida star) heats up at crunch time. Wisconsin is always a defensive monster but Greg Gard's squad needs 50-to-60 points combined from Bronson Koenig, Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ if its gonna survive-and-advance here.

In other East Region action, it's ...
Amway Center - Orlando, FL
(5) VIRGINIA (22-10) vs. (12) UNC-WILMINGTON (29-5) - 12:40 p.m. ET
Major contrast in styles here with 7.5-point fav Virginia seeking to slow things to a crawl and make its Wahoo defense the real story (holding foes to 39.5 percent FG shooting this year). If there's an X-factor at work here, it's fiery Virginia G Kyle Guy (7.8 ppg) who must be an energy player when/if Wilmington makes some runs.

 

THE WEST
Energy Solutions Arena - Salt Lake City, UT
(8) NORTHWESTERN (23-11) vs. (9) VANDERBILT (19-15) - approximately 4:30 p.m. ET
Excuse us for referring to this as the "smarty pants" game but what are you gonna call it when the SAT scores for these players are higher than just about anywhere else in the land? True, the story that Northwestern is making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance is wonderful theater - loved how 'Cats coach Chris Collins listened to his choked-up dad Doug talk about this Big 10 team's journey the other night - but getting down to brass taxes here the Evanston crew must get a superstar showing from PG Bryant McIntosh (team-leading 14.4 ppg and 5.3 apg) and keep Vandy's three-point marksmen at bay if N'western is gonna be playing on Saturday.

In other West Region action, it's ...
Keybank Center - Buffalo, NY
(5) NOTRE DAME (25-9) vs. (12) PRINCETON (23-6) - 12:15 p.m. ET
Back-to-back berths in the NCAA Tournament Elite 8 ain't enough - the ND Fighting Irish have bigger fish to fry in this year's "Big Dance" but Ivy League regular-season/first-ever conference champion Princeton doesn't figure to be an opening-round pushover. No doubt Notre Dame's ultra-efficient offense needs its balanced attack (four starters average in double figures) to move the ball smartly but the key is PG Matt Farrell (5.5 assists per game) who must deliver on the team's rare fast-break opportunities.


THE MIDWEST
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee, WI     
(5) IOWA STATE (23-10) vs. (12) NEVADA (28-6) - approximately 9:55 p.m. ET
Here's the $64,000 question for the Iowa State Cyclones: Did last week's emotionally charged Big 12 Tournament title sap 'em of any strengths here for this tougher-than-you-think showdown against Nevada? The I-State kids look to transfer G Deonte Burton (14.8 ppg) to play big in his hometown of Milwaukee while the flip side is Nevada averages a haughty 80 points a game with G Marcus Marshall (19.8 ppg) the star-of-stars for this Mountain West Conference club. Here's a pointspread alert: Nevada is 23-10-1 against the odds this year.

In other Midwest Region action, it's ...
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee, WI
(4) PURDUE (25-7) vs. (13) VERMONT (29-5) - 7:05 p.m. ET
Turn back the clock to this time last year and you'll recall the Purdue Boilermakers lost an opening-round game as a #5 seed to Arkansas-Little Rock ... so how's head coach Matt Painter gonna avoid a Round I pothole here against a Vermont team that doesn't generally beat itself (see 11 turnovers a game)? Best strategy figures to be a major dose of Player of the Year candidate Caleb Swanigan (18.7 ppg and 12.6 rpg) and fellow big man Isaac Haas who may set the meanest screens in college b-ball.


THE SOUTH
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee, WI     
(5) MINNESOTA (24-9) vs. (12) MIDDLE TENNESSEE (30-4) - approximately 4 p.m. ET
Have you ever seen a #5 vs. #12 game in which everyone loved the lower-seeded team?
Sure, Middle Tennessee's 10-game winning streak - not to mention the Blue Raiders covering all three of their Conference USA Tournament games last week in Birmingham - has made Kermit Davis' squad the darling of everyone's brackets but mind you Minnesota has won nine of its last 11 games and Richard Pitino's club holds opponents to just 63.3 ppg and leans on junior G Nate Mason (15.5 ppg and 5.0 apg) when things get tight.

In other South Region action, it's ...
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee, WI     
(4) BUTLER (23-8) vs. (13) WINTHROP (26-6) - 1:30 p.m. ET
Were the Butler Bulldogs "over-seeded" in this man's tourney? Some folks don't believe the Big East team deserved a #4 seed but the NCAA Tournament folks "punished" the Dawgs by moving 'em away from Indianapolis and now junior Kelan Martin (team-high 16.1 ppg) must heat up quickly against a Winthrop crew that's won 17-of-19 games this calendar year with tiny G Keon Johnson (he's 5-feet-7 but averaged 22.5 ppg this season) this game's top "player to watch".


NCAA TOURNAMENT ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
Here's an up-to-the-minute listing of the NCAA Tournament Odds to Win it All for any of the reasonable favorites (based on $100 per-play wagers):

TEAMODDS TO WIN IT ALL
North Carolina+ 450
Villanova+ 550
Duke+ 600
Gonzaga+ 650
Kansas+ 650
Arizona+ 700
Kentucky+ 750
UCLA+ 900
Oregon+ 1200
Louisville+ 1500
West Virginia+ 2000
Purdue+ 2300
Virginia+ 3000
Baylor+ 3100
Florida State+ 3100
Florida+ 3600
SMU+ 3600

Note: More NCAA Tournament quick-hitter previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.

24
Sep

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