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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, January 26, 2015 at 12:00 AM


Hey, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, you know what they say …
The first 1,000 wins are the hardest!

And so the beat goes on for Krzyzewski — a/k/a Coach K — who doesn’t seem to be anywhere near a coaching “finish line” and let’s just say Sunday’s gallant 77-68 come-from-behind win/cover against 7-point host underdog St. John’s has to rank among the most satisfying wins in a brilliant sideline career — one that could include a fifth national championship come April, so stay tuned!

Right here and right now, Krzyzewski is atop the college hoops coaching mountain with 1,000 wins — a figure never achieved  before in NCAA hardcourt history — but all the Blue Devils’ boss knows now is his club is 17-2 and marching onwards and upwards in the polls after entering the day ranked #5 in the land.

Krzyzewski did appear a tad drained at the end of this matinee affair at Madison Square Garden — the tee-shorts handed out after the game read, “1,000 and Kounting” — but examine what really happened in this win #1,000 and you see Duke relied on a one-two freshmen punch to save ‘em and a reconfigured lineup in the second half that shooed away St. John’s shooters whenever they wished to get near the rim.

Yes, another stroke of genius that we’ve come to expect from Krzyzewski after some 40 years in coaching — hey, we don’t know why excellent Fox 1 play-by-play man Gus Johnson short-changed Krzyzewski afterwards and asked him about his work these past “two decades” (?) — as Coach K inserted seven-foot C Marshall Plumlee to lend front-court support to magnificent frosh C Jahlil Okafor (17 points and 10 rebounds) and suddenly the Red Storm couldn’t hit a shot.

Consider that Duke trailed by 10 points with eight-plus minutes remaining and clearly the Blue Devils were a frustrated team (see on-court bickering, etc.) but Plumlee’s presence was key as he collected five rebounds, scored two points and played great paint defense plus don’t forget some of his perimeter screens too.

Toss into the mix the “other” freshman — steely PG Tyus Jones (22 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds) and, boy, do we love his game! — and the Dookies showed major heart and received some help too as the Johnnies shot just 10-of-16 from the free-throw line and missed 11-of-15 trifectas … nice of PG D’Angelo Harrison (14 points) to not hit a key shot when Steve Lavin’s gang needed it!

So, the history books now have a nice/even 1,000 wins listed for Krzyzewski with a Wednesday night date at Notre Dame.
Better yet for Coach K, he may have found out something about this 2014-15 team along the way to win 1K … and it was all good.

And now hear this …
Jim Hurley will have the Sides & Totals Winners of Super Bowl XLIX when you check with us on game-day morning this Sunday plus go ahead and continue to pile up the profits all this week with loads of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online at or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 — go ahead and score big today!

WHEN THE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL — We promise to not say anything about deflated football or pounds per-square-inch or even use the word “equilibrium” here … okay?

Now, that being said the Patriots don’t necessarily believe in that “balanced offense” philosophy that most NFL teams espouse and — if anything — will look to chuck it more than usual here in the climate-controlled setting of the University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale (AZ).
Consider that in the AFC Playoff wins against Baltimore and Indianapolis, the New England Pats attempted 86 passes in all — 85 of ‘em by QB Tom Brady (see 56-of-85 for 593 yards with 6 TDs and 2 INTs) and that one herculean 51-yard scoring strike from WR Julian Edelman to WR Danny Amendola for a monster score against the Ravens and that’s simply how this Pats’ team rolls.

Sure, hard-charging RB LeGarrette Blount ripped up the Colts’ shoddy defense for 148 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns but the middle of this Seattle defense is so stout that we could see head coach New England Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels “abandoning” the run sooner rather than later if they are not getting four of five yards a pop running the ball here.

Okay, so you want to know why the Patriots then would challenge the Legion of Boom secondary that’s the heartbeat of this Seattle defense?
Here’s why …

Brady has a better shot to flood certain areas of the field and pick-and-choose a target while looking to confuse the Seahawks’ secondary plus any time Brady has an opportunity to zoom in on TE Rob Gronkowski against a linebacker or any D-back not named Cam Chancellor, he’s gonna take that shot.

In fact, it won’t surprise us if Brady targets “Gronk” some 10-to-12 times here in SB 49 because it’s been reported the Patriots were not happy to have their Pro Bowl tight end catch just three balls worth 28 yards and one TD in that AFC Championship Game wipeout win against Indianapolis.

Finally, the Brady-to-Edelman combo has been magic this post-season with eight connections against the Ravens and then nine pass completions between ‘em versus Indianapolis (that’s 17 catches for 172 yards in all) but expect the Seahawks to do their very best to “take away” those in-cut routes run by the slippery Edelman and he can expect to get leveled a few times here and that may discourage Brady from going that direction here.

One other key figure for the Patriots will be jack-of-all-trades RB Shane Vereen who sports a modest total of seven receptions thus far in this year’s post-season. Vereen — who made a fine catch on an underthrown deep sideline pass by Brady against Indianapolis — might well be the short-yardage aerial alternative if Edelman is getting rocked right near the line of scrimmage so keep an eye on this New England back here.

Prediction — The Pats won’t mind throwing it 50-plus times here but they must get at least five or six “chunk plays” as in 20-or-more yards a completion and it all can’t fall on Gronkowski so expect WR Brandon LaFell (9 receptions for 90 yards this post-season) to either make a splash or be a major disappointment here. We’re expecting the Patriots’ offensive line to be “whole” as C Bryan Stork (knee/missed AFC Championship Game) appears to be healthy for this clash but keep in mind the Pats must communicate well along the O-line as Seattle keeps its defensive linemen fresh with steady rotations and so Stork and Company must know the tendencies of DL Michael Bennett and friends.

The Stat Box — The Patriots scored 30-or-more points on 10 different occasions this year and sure makes sense that New England’s a healthy 9-1 ATS (against the spread) whenever cracking the 30-point mark. Okay, so hitting 30 points would seem a bit farfetched, you say?

Well, New England actually has scored 30-or-more points in 29 games since the start of the 2012 season — in other words, the Patriots have registered that magic mark some 53.7 percent of the time or a little more than in half their games the past three years.
For the record, the Pats are a monstrous 25-4 versus the vig (.862) when scoring 30-or-more points the past three yaers.

In case you’re wondering, New England’s an abominable 4-21 ATS whenever scoring fewer than 30 points in a game the past three years and so that “magic number” in mind here might just tell you who’s gonna cover the Las Vegas price of pick ‘em (or Pats minus one in some venues) … is it that simple that if New England scores 30+ it wins; and scores less than 30 points it loses.
The three-year numbers sure be point in that general direction!

P.S, the Patriots have scored more than 30 points in just one of their seven previous Super Bowl appearances (1985, ’97, 2001, ’03, ’04, ’07 and 2011) and that was back in SB XXXVIII in a 32-29 non-cover win against 7-point underdog Carolina.
Funny thing is the Patriots are a collective 1-5-1 ATS in all Super Bowls past and that includes a rocky 1-4 ATS mark in the big game under “scientist”/head coach Belichick.
Just sayin’!

NOTE: There’s more Super Bowl XLIX coverage — When the Seahawks Have the Ball — plus NCAA/NBA Hoops too comin’ your way all this week right here at Jim Sez.  And do make sure you catch our extensive and in-depth Super Bowl XLIX Preview in Friday’s column.


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