Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 9:12 AM
Let's put a final bow on the 2012-13 College Basketball season by saying the following: If you had the Louisville Cardinals at the albeit short 3-to-1 price to win it all prior to the just-completed NCAA Tournament, than please accept our hearty congratulations ...
But now it's time to move on!
As we mentioned in yesterday's edition of Jim Sez, the NBA Playoffs are literally right around the corner - we're already looking forward to four playoff games on both Saturday, April 20th and Sunday, April 21st to kick-start the post-season - but there's plenty of room for other sports to hog the spotlight too and shortly we'll get into some Major-League Baseball News & Notes along with a few words on the NFL Draft that kicks off Thursday, April 25th.
First, let's zip around the "association" ...
The beat goes on for the red-hot New York Knicks (51-26) who smashed hapless Washington 120-99 at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night for the franchise's 13th straight win. Okay, so the Knicks - who canned an amazing 20 three-point goals in this Atlantic Division-clinching victory - are surging towards the aforementioned post-season like a speeding bullet with MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony pouring in 36 points and thus becoming the first Knicks player since recently-named Hall of Famer Bernard King to register 35-or-more points in five consecutive games.
Better yet, the Knicks - who shot a sizzling 56.3 percent from the floor against Washington - have been marching to the winner's circle night-after-night with a lineup that figures to be without Amare Stoudemire for the rest of the season (yes, actually good news for Knicks fans!) and who knew that even the recent loss of center Tyson Chandler (bulging disk) wouldn't hurt 'em.
Let's just say that if New York's Mike Woodson isn't somewhere in the top three in the NBA Coach of the Year balloting than someone is not paying attention!
Meanwhile, check out the NBA's Western Conference where one team that gets no respect - that's the Memphis Grizzlies - just copped their 13th straight home win with Tuesday's 94-75 win/cover against 13 ½-point pup Charlotte. The Grizz (53-25) are engaged in a real donnybrook with sights set on landing the #3 seed in the West and in this latest home rout it was PG Mike Conley who steered the ship with 20 points and 7 assists but it was the Memphis reserves that powered a 15-0 run early in the fourth quarter.
Maybe the TV talking heads skip right over the Grizzlies when talk centers 'round who is gonna win the West - San Antonio, Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers generally are given the best shots to reach the NBA Finals - but keep an eye on Lionel Hollins' squad that held Charlotte to 30-of-80 shooting from the floor. You have been forewarned!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers absolutely roared right through the 2013 College Basketball post-season and now there's lots more hoop action to come as the NBA really heats up and don't forget you can pile up the profits too in Major-League Baseball - so be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the winning selections.
Speaking of teams on a streak, the Atlanta Braves - an MLB-best 7-1 while heading into Wednesday's action -- are off to their best start since 2007 and let's just say it's no shame that the Bravos' lone loss came against Philadelphia LHP Cliff Lee who notched his second win of the young season with an 8-3 triumph over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.
Atlanta's 3-2 win in Miami on Tuesday night came despite another silent night by outfielder B.J. Upton who's hitting .103 after an 0-for-4 night and don't forget RF Jason Heyward - who recorded a DNP in Tuesday's road win - is batting a meager .083 so far and so it's not exactly as if all cylinders are clicking for this NL East squad.
Note that Atlanta closer Craig Kimbrel recorded his fourth save this season in that one-run win against the Fish - maybe he'll be battling Mr. Lee all year long for Cy Young votes. We know, it's early but you never know!
The numero uno story while heading into the NFL Draft is where will West Virginia QB Geno Smith go now that the Kansas City Chiefs have their present/future quarterback in former San Fran 49er Alex Smith?
The Chiefs are dangling that #1 draft pick in the hopes of loading up bodies/picks but right now there's been little interest and so the "smart money" says Smith could be headed to the Philadelphia Eagles with the fourth overall choice in this draft. No doubt that Philly's rookie head coach Chip Kelly - late of the high-octane Oregon Ducks - would like to get on the proverbial same page with a young quarterback and nobody really believes that Eagles incumbent QB Michael Vick will be Kelly's long-term answer at the position.
If Philly does decide to pass on Smith than don't sleep on the New York Jets at #9 - keep in mind that Buffalo (picking eighth) just inked oft-injured QB Kevin Kolb - as the heat than would figure to be turned up high on Jets' slinger Mark Sanchez who last year might have been the most vilified sports figure in recent Gotham City history ...
Okay, so everyone likes to project who will be a major riser on the NFL Draft board and one player to watch is Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson - a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder who generally is ranked somewhere between the 11th-and-20th best player in this draft. However, Patterson - who finished last year with 1,858 all-purpose yards with 10 TDs (5 of 'em as a pass-catcher) could climb the charts and zoom into the top half-dozen picks with the Cleveland Browns at #6 said to be quite interested. Don't sweat the notion that Patterson must shore up his pass routes - the kid has good hands, blazing speed and the "it factor" as he is a dynamic playmaker who simply could crack open a game.
NOTE: We'll have NBA coverage all week long plus NFL Draft notes in the coming editions of Jim Sez.