Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, February 15, 2016 at 10:19 AM
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT - WE BRING YOU WHAT'S STRAIGHT AHEAD THIS WEEK IN A DAY-BY-DAY LOOK AT THE KEY GAMES
NFL DRAFT TALK - HERE'S A MOCK TOP 5
Now that the NBA All-Star Game has been placed in the proverbial rear-view mirror, the hoops league where they play for pay takes a break till Thursday night (see Chicago at Cleveland and then San Antonio at the Los Angeles Clippers on TNT) and so the stage - for now - is all yours, College Basketball kiddies!
In today's edition of Jim Sez, we're gonna take you through the here-and-now week with key games from Monday-thru-Friday plus we'll have plenty to say about the just-completed weekend that included - among other things - tough losses for then-#2 Maryland, #3 Oklahoma and #7 Virginia.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep on piling up the huge profits all this week with lots of NBA and NCAA Basketball winners right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - so go ahead and win with all the hardwood action today!
MONDAY - OKLAHOMA STATE (12-13, 3-9 Big 12) at #6 KANSAS (21-4, 9-3 Big 12) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Did you happen to catch the post-game comments from Kansas head hoops coach Bill Self following last Saturday's dynamic 76-72 win at 3.5-point favorite Oklahoma? The 13th-year ball coach said, "This is about as much fun as I've had coaching the game in a while."
And why not?
His Kansas club buckled it down on defense with Player of the Game G Devonte' Graham (career-best 27 points) in the face of National Player of the Year lock Buddy Hield all game long and Kansas came away with one of the most meaningful/satisfying wins in Jayhawk history.
Now, Kansas must get the engines revved right back up for this revenge game against heavy-duty dog Oklahoma State - the Cowboys slammed KU 86-67 on Jan. 19th while Self's squad was scuffling about but should anyone be surprised here if Kansas "names the score" even after playing that emotional game in Norman?
TUESDAY - #10 WEST VIRGINIA (20-5, 9-3 Big 12) at #24 TEXAS (16-9, 7-5 Big 12) - 7 p.m. ET, espn2
Hey, there's always a head-banger game on a nightly basis inside the rough-and-tumble Big 12 and here West Virginia - the co-conference leader with Kansas while entering this new week - looks to get a little payback against a gritty/gutty Texas team that beat the Mountaineers 56-49 as 12.5-point underdogs back on Jan. 20th.
You may recall in that game Javan Felix scored the game's final nine points for Texas (Felix finished with 17 points in 29 minutes of action) plus one other key note from last month's tilt: The 'Neers shot a wobbly 19-of-61 from the floor (that's a 31.1 accuracy rate) with reserve G Jaysean Paige - who averages 14 ppg - hitting just 2-of-12 FG tries.
No doubt WVU head coach Bob Huggins needs the everyday formula to work here - force a slew of Texas turnovers and then score some "easy" hoops. The 'Horns do limp into this one off back-to-back losses at Iowa State and at Oklahoma.
In last Saturday's 85-75 loss at 4.5-point fav Iowa State, Shaka Smart's UT team faded late while getting outscored 16-8 after drawing to a one-possession game - let's see if the tank runs near "E" in the game's final four minutes on this night in Austin.
WEDNESDAY - DUKE (19-6, 8-4 ACC) at #9 NORTH CAROLINA (21-4, 10-2 ACC) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Perhaps you didn't catch ESPN's gazillion promotions for this mid-week game from Chapel Hill - geez, we know the all-sports king network wants folks to tune in but they belted you over the head with Duke-UNC promos every other minute during the just-completed weekend games ... ahh, ESPN.
The reality is the Dookies - unranked last week but sure to be ranked somewhere here - needed a Game of the Year performance by F Brandon Ingram (25 points and 7 rebounds) and a Shot-of-the-Lifetime by G Grayson Allen (yes, he travelled!) to best 2-point dog Virginia 63-62 last Saturday at a raucous Cameron Indoor Stadium on head coach Mike Kryzewski's 69th birthday and now we'll see if the Blue Devils can roll up a fifth consecutive win here.
One thing on Duke's to-do list here is get more trips to the free-throw line - and then make 'em - as Coach K's kids connected on just 9-of-16 FTs in the game against the Cavaliers while North Carolina just cleaned Pitt's clock in a rousing 85-64 home triumph as 10.5-point favs.
Hey, the Heels had five double-digit scorers in that game led by Brice Johnson's 19 points but what really had to excite head coach Roy Williams was the defensive effort that's often been lacking with this bunch as the Panthers shot just 37.3 percent from the floor.
All you gotta say is Duke-North Carolina and college hoop fans are geeked ... and the fact the Tar Heels sit atop the ACC only makes this one a real scream.
THURSDAY - WISCONSIN (16-9, 6-4 Big 10) at #8 MICHIGAN STATE (21-5, 8-5 Big 10) - 9 p.m. ET, espn2
It did everyone's heart well to see Michigan State's do-everything G Denzel Valentine strike up a monstrous stat line on Valentine's Day - how about 30 points, 13 assists and 5 rebounds and just one turnover in 38 action-packed minutes in the 88-69 win/cover versus 7-point pup Indiana last Sunday in East Lansing?
Well, the really good thing for Hall-of-Fame nominee head coach Tom Izzo is that Valentine still wasn't a "one-man gang" as F/C Matt Costello poured in 22 points with his 11 boards (although he complains too much when the officials whistle 'em for travelling/offensive fouls/etc.) and underrated G Bryn Forbes chipped in 14 points against the Hoosiers but will this be an all-hands-on-deck game against a surging Wisconsin team that bopped 8.5-point home fav Maryland 70-57 this past weekend?
The Badgers - winners of seven in a row following that walkover triumph in College Park - held the Terrapins (yes, a Final Four team of ESPN's Dick Vitale, he's been saying) without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes of game time in the first half and Maryland never could slice into a twin-figure second-half deficit while Wisky's Vitto Brown paced the Badgers with 21 points.
Don't look now but in a Big 10 that started the week with three different 10-wins-in-the-league teams - that's Iowa, Maryland and Indiana, it's this Wisconsin bunch that is turning the most heads right now and "interim" head coach Greg Gard surely has done more than enough to get this position on a permanent basis. Shhh, don't tell anyone but we happen to think the Badgers are in better hands with Gard than they were with overrated Bo Ryan!
FRIDAY - YALE (17-5, 8-0 Ivy League) at PRINCETON (16-5, 6-1 Ivy League) - 7 p.m. ET
Hey, let's give an end-of-the-week shout-out to the Ivy League because the "smarty pants" guys have a battle here between the conference leader and the main runner-up: If Yale - fresh off its 12th straight win thanks to last Saturday's 67-55 win at 7-point home dog Harvard - can get another slam-bang scoring game here from Justin Sears (16.5 ppg) and Makai Mason (15.9 ppg) who combined for 36 points versus the Crimson - than Princeton will get sunk in its own backyard.
Note that Yale topped 4-point road underdog Princeton 79-75 back on Jan. 30th behind 38 combined points by Mason (22) and Sears but a real key to victory in that Bulldogs' win was three Princeton starters scored a combined 14 points ... ugh! So, hit the books and get ready to rock the end of this week with some Ivy League action ... see, we haven't forgotten y'all!
NFL DRAFT TALK
Go ahead ... you can tell us: How did you do without Football on the weekend for the first time since July? Okay, we felt your pain!
Still, this is the usual short off-season ahead with the NFL Draft not far off in the distance and so we wanted to have some fun and play mix-and-match with the first five picks as we see it here in mid-February.
Odds are the Tennessee Titans will look for trade the numero uno choice in this draft for some NFL team seeking a quarterback and we've got a real humdinger way to begin the 2016 Draft
The San Francisco 49ers send their first-round choice (that's #7 overall) plus a couple of other bodies/2017 draft picks to Tennessee to grab California QB Jared Goff and San Fran ships unhappy Colin Kaepernick to the Philadelphia Eagles for a couple of third- and/or fourth-round picks.
At #2, the Cleveland Browns nab QB Carson Wentz of North Dakota State and thus officially wave bye-bye to the Johnny Manziel "Error" in Ohio ...
At #3, the San Diego Chargers gobble up Ole Miss OT Laremy Tunsil who many folks believe is the single-best prospect/player in this year's draft ...
At #4, the Dallas Cowboys snap up Ohio State DE Joey Bosa who is generally rated by everyone to be the top defensive player in the draft ...
And at #5, the Jacksonville Jaguars snag Florida CB Vernon Hargreaves III who is generally rated somewhere in the 10-to-15 batch to be picked but Jags' head coach Gus Bradley wants a blanket cornerback and gets his man here.
NOTE: Catch our NCAA Basketball Mid-Week Update in the next edition of Jim Sez plus we'll have some NBA Trade Deadline chatter too!