Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 7:00 AM
THE NBA TRADE DEADLINE COMES AND GOES, AND WE HAVE THE REAL WINNERS AND LOSERS
COLLEGE B-BALL ALERT: HERE'S THE ARGUMENTS FOR & AGAINST THREE ON-THE-BUBBLE TEAMS
THE NFL NOTEBOOK - THE COMBINE'S ON DECK AND WE CHECK OUT SOME OFFENSIVE STARS
And in the role of "Best Supporting Actor", the winner is ...
Well, what the heck, that's all there really was to Thursday's NBA Trade Deadline as no "stars" moved from team-to-team and all we really got to chew on was a handful-plus minor moves that may or may not have improved championship hopefuls such as the Cleveland Cavaliers (they acquired F Channing Frye from Orlando) and the Los Angeles Clippers (they ditched problem child Lance Stephenson and picked up sweet-stroking F Jeff Green).
The bottom line is matching up salaries was tough - real tough - for teams that wished to make a real splash such as the Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets and the aforementioned Clippers that either wanted to acquire (see the Celtics) or dispatch (see the Rockets and Clips) top star talent in this year's trade deadline but Boston wasn't able to swing a deal for the likes of Atlanta F Al Horford or Cleveland F Kevin Love nor were the Rockets able to deal away C Dwight Howard while the Clippers were unsuccessful in sending away injured F Blake Griffin ... so, for that alone, the Celtics, Rockets and Clippers fall under our Trade Deadline "Losers"!
On the flip side, the Oklahoma City Thunder - who could well be the real sleeper in the upcoming NBA Playoffs (imagine neither Golden State nor San Antonio playing in this year's NBA Finals ... it could happen!) - did acquire veteran G Randy Foye in a deal with the Denver Nuggets and that's just what Okie City needed - another reliable scorer (not a three-point threat, however) and a strong perimeter defender when/if the tandem of Kevin Durant and/or two-time All-Star Game MVP Russell Westbrook are having a rare off night. Consider Foye just one more real savvy player on a Thunder team that needed to gain roster depth.
So, Oklahoma City's an NBA Trade Deadline "winner" if you ask us but so too are the Toronto Raptors who didn't want to change the chemistry of this current group that's sitting in the second slot in the NBA Eastern Conference playoff picture - good thing the North-of-the-Border crew stood pat.
Meanwhile, some quickie commentary on two other completed deals: Way too much is being made of the Washington Wizards' acquisition of F Markieff Morris who's had his documented issues with teammates in Phoenix - sure, Morris gives the Wizards a 12 ppg/6-rebound per outing performer but is he really goner improve the D.C. crew? We say nay.
And the Atlanta Hawks' re-acquisition of veteran G Kirk Hinrich falls under the NBD - as in No Big Deal - category even though the "experts" on NBA TV yesterday raved on about how Hinrich would give the Hawks a major lift both as an occasional key scorer and two-guard defender. C'mon, this dude's career is kaput and all Atlanta's doing here is keeping fingers crossed that Hinrich can give Mike Budenholzer's squad five good minutes a night. We'll see about that!
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!
THE COLLEGE B-BALL ALERT
Everyone's talking about "bubbles" these days in the College Basketball world and - gotta say - we're not sure there's ever been more "bubble teams" when it comes to an NCAA Tournament than this year. Here's three teams that we're keeping a close eye on in terms of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid next month - now here's the "For" and "Against" arguments:
PITTSBURGH (18-7, 7-6 ACC) - The $64,000 question when it comes to the mighty ACC is just how many of its teams will make it to the "Big Dance" with the Pitt Panthers right here/right now sitting in ninth place in the 15-team league.
The Argument For ... Pittsburgh's 10-game winning streak between Dec. 4th and Jan. 9th included "W's" against Syracuse and Notre Dame and Jamie Dixon's team also owns nice wins against Davidson and at Florida State.
The Argument Against ... Let's face it, Pittsburgh's never really regained its footing following that aforementioned 10-game winning streak with a shaky 4-6 SU (straight-up) mark since January 14th and gotta think the ACC gets eight teams "tops" in this year's NCAAs.
Current RPI -- #44
In or Out? ... Right now, Pitt's on the outside looking in but late-year wins against Syracuse, Louisville and/or Duke could change our minds
TEXAS TECH (16-9, 6-7 Big 12) - One thing the NCAA Tournament Committee folks always place an emphasis on is how's a bubble team doing down the stretch and the T-Tech Red Raiders have won their last three in a row and four-of-five since the start of February.
The Argument For ... This past Wednesday's 65-63 home triumph against 4-point favorite Oklahoma is the biggest feather-in-the-cap win for Tubby Smith's squad this year plus why not seven teams getting in from the best conference in the country? Heck, if you're .500 in the best league in America, you ought to be rubber-stamped right into the NCAA Tourney.
The Argument Against ... Non-league losses to both Utah and Arkansas were truly blown opportunities to puff out the resume and the Lubbock gang is currently below .500 in league play.
Current RPI -- #31
In or Out? ... High RPI and that above-mentioned win against the OU Sooners has 'em in (for now) but we're saying that Texas Tech needs at least 19 wins including the Big 12 mini-tourney to really convince the tournament committee guys/gals
CREIGHTON (17-10, 8-6 Big East) - No doubt one of the tougher bubble team calls for us (and the committee) considering the Bluejays already have double-digit losses with regular-season road games still ahead versus Providence and Xavier.
The Argument For ... The Jays get high grades for sporting a winning road record inside the Big East (4-3) and for copping neat home wins against league rivals Butler and Xavier.
The Argument Against ... Greg McDermott's squad has battled inconsistency in recent weeks while having split its last 10 games since January 12.
Current RPI -- #82
In or Out? ... We're not big believers in this year's Big East and so believe lousy RPI and no real signature wins works against 'em. Still, Creighton - just like the other two bubble teams mentioned above - could have a hot finish and sway opinions but keep in mind upcoming home games against Marquette and St. John's would be "meaningless wins".
THE NFL NOTEBOOK
Hey, you know the deal: There is NO off-season in the National Football League where the upcoming year is said to officially begin on March 9th but the NFL Combine is on deck first with placekickers and special teams set to kick off the proceedings in Indianapolis on Thursday, February 25th - and they'll be followed by all the other positions the following four/five days and so the hunt is on for the next great talents in the league where they play for pay.
Okay, so with this NFL Combine in mind, here's a little refresher on what's generally considered to be the best player at a handful of positions when it comes to the offensive skilled players:
QB - Jared Goff, California
Most early-bird mock draft boards have 'em going somewhere in the top five and the general consensus is that he has top five/six talent in terms of all the players expected to be in this year's draft.
RB - Ezekiel Elliott, Ohio State
The Buckeyes' slam-bang back was the star of the 2014 post-season while leading Urban Meyer's guys to wins against Alabama and Oregon and he's given his act of contrition following last year's post-Michigan State blowup. Won't be shocked if he's picked in the top 7 or 8 even though draft board list 'em as #12-thru-#15 type talent.
WR - Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss
Hats off to this Rebels' super-stud after suffering a gruesome, season-ending injury in 2014. Now, most draft experts claim he's gonna get nabbed somewhere in the top 10 but he might even have a team trade up for 'em in the top three picks - is he Oakland Raiders' Amari Cooper-good? Perhaps.
TE - Hunter Henry, Arkansas
Most reports claim this 6-foot-5, 255-pounder will be an early Round II selection (one draft web site we checked out had 'em as the 34th-best overall player in this man's draft) - but he could climb into the opening round with Super Bowl champ Denver said to be quite interested.
NOTE: Lots of key weekend College Basketball News/Notes in the next Jim Sez.