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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, November 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM

Once the college football season winds down, we’ll be able to devote a lot more time in the NOTEBOOK to college basketball. We’ll go in-depth with the teams you’ll be seeing on TV all the time. We’ll run many boxscores from the most important and exciting games each week. From January through March Madness, there’s going to be A LOT of basketball coverage!

Here in November…we’ve got to squeeze it in when we can. For now, that means Tuesdays on the current schedule for the next few weeks. When the college bowls start, we’ll lose some Tuesdays!

What that means is…YOU…have to get serious about researching the boxscores each night on your own so you can make intelligent handicapping decisions against the Vegas lines. Now, JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK is attacking this sport in the home office with aggression and passion. Our SCOUTS and SOURCES are all over important developments. Our STATHEADS are crunching all the numbers (we just don’t have room yet to post their work here on the web during football season!). Our trends and angles guys have some great early season tendencies that we’ve already been exploiting. We’re releasing picks and we’re winning them. If you want MORE than just our top picks each night, you’ll have to hit those boxscores and hit them hard.

Here are some key stats to look for when you scan the boxes every night on your favorite statistical website ( has them up on a very timely basis if you don’t know where to check).


You want to know who’s playing defense. You longtime readers know we really emphasize this stat during conference play and in the tournaments. That’s because DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! TV announcers will slobber all over the offensive stars. And, any well-known coach getting a landmark win will be treated like the King of England in a seven-hour marathon. YOU need to pay attention to who plays DEFENSE because you’re just not going to get this information from watching games on TV.


If you’re a regular, you know we don’t stop at DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS. It’s DEFENSE AND REBOUNDING WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS! Any college team that’s already owning the boards is going to be a great take through November and December. And, any big name team in the rankings that’s not looking great on the boards is probably going to be overpriced in road or neutral site games. If you’re watching games on TV…stop watching the ball so much and start watching defensive rotations and box outs. You’ll learn a lot more about REAL basketball by doing so. Looking at rebounding stats in all the boxscores every night will begin paying off for you immediately.


This can be an inverse indicator…meaning that teams who shoot a lot of treys are usually trying to cover up for other weaknesses. They can get away with that at home because they’re used to the shooting backdrop. You want to look to go against these teams on the road or at neutral sites. For every game where the treys fall and they cover the spread…there will be two where they hit something like 6 of 24 or 7 of 28 and miss the number. That’s how you grind out a profit in this sport, putting the fundamentals in your favor.


This is important, because you want to pay attention to home/road dynamics. Any team that gets a high number of free throw attempts on the ROAD or in a NEUTRAL SITE event is probably doing a great job of attacking the basket. They deserve your respect, and should be backed at affordable prices. The team scoring the most easy points will usually win and cover. Now, any team that has a high number of HOME free throw attempts is probably benefitting from home cooking. You can back them at home, but DON’T invest in them away from home until you see some impressive numbers. The rankings often overrate teams who pad their records in November and December with friendly home schedules and referees. Reading boxscores will help you expose these pretenders.


What we mean here is that you should scan the scoring totals to see which teams have balance, and which rely too much on one or two main scorers. We generally prefer balance because teams with a variety of options are slump-proof. Come March…when every possession matters in every game…we may make a pick on a team whose star can take over and win on his own. Through the grind of a season, the balanced teams will be more trustworthy…particularly as underdogs or cheap favorites.


You’ve probably heard TV announcers talk a lot about how important the point guard position is in college basketball. We certainly agree with that. Our only gripe would be that you hear that all the time in the postseason tournaments, when it’s arguably a bigger handicapping factor early in the season! New starters at the point guard position can make so many mistakes that pointspread covers are almost impossible. New post men are also turnover prone because they’re not used to catching the ball in traffic or making moves against quality defenders. High turnover teams in mid-November will usually continue to struggle in that stat through pre-conference action. Some will actually struggle in that stat the whole way! If you’re not looking at turnovers…you’re missing something very important. A common mistake we see sports bettors make is that they bet a “situation” without realizing that their team is likely to get killed in the turnover department. A combination of a “situation” and a team that knows how to execute is much more powerful.

Where should you make your notes? There’s nothing wrong with some shorthand in your Vegas schedules. That way you have all the information with you when you need it. Some hardcore handicappers are known to create note pages on every single board team…either on notebook paper or legal paper that they study every game day. Computers make it easier to log game information, but harder to put it all together if you’re looking at one particular matchup. Do whatever works best for you.

And, as we’ve suggested often in the past…bite off what you can chew. Maybe you’ll only have time to study the top 25 teams in the rankings. Maybe you should just focus on your favorite local conference and one major TV conference. If you only have an hour a day for handicapping, make the best use of that hour. If you’re an amateur who’s trying to become a pro…be more aggressive and study what you can. We can tell you this. Studying boxscores never made anyone dumber!

If you’re afraid of getting overwhelmed by numbers, you can take the easy way out and sign up with JIM HURLEY’S NEWORK. We have BIG JUICY WINNERS every night of the week. We’ll have basketball plays for you Tuesday and Wednesday Night that will help you build your bankrolls for our annual TURKEY SHOOT. In fact, why not try out the service TODAY so you can make the most of this holiday weekend. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

We’ll be able to guide you through marquee boxscores once we get deeper in the season. And, statistical coverage will provide the heart of our NOTEBOOK coverage throughout conference play and into March Madness. There’s no reason to wait until college football ends to win money in college hoops. GET IN THE GAME TONIGHT

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