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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 12:00 AM



Don't look now but we're getting down to the real nitty-gritty part of this 2015-16 College Basketball Season and there's still lots of questions that need to be answered:

Here's some we have in mind:

Q: Who's the Naismith College Player of the Year?
A: Oh, that one's a "layup" as Oklahoma senior G Buddy Hield (25.4 ppg) should be the runaway choice here as he's been the heart-and-soul of the country's third-ranked team and even when Hield had a "bad game" recently against Kansas he still put up 24 points and had the Jayhawks sweating it out after nailing a few second-half triples. Runner-ups go to Virginia G Malcolm Brogdon (who should be the ACC Player of the Year with his 18.2 ppg average) and Utah sophomore F Jakob Poeltl (18.1 ppg and 9.0 rebounds per game). Last year's Naismith Award winner was Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky ... remember him?

Q: Who is the single-biggest "bubble team" right now?
A: It's gotta be the Texas Tech Red Raiders (18-9, 8-7 Big 12) who exited last night's scary 83-79 non-cover win against 11.5-point underdog TCU with a better-than-.500 record in the best conference in the land and a rock-solid RPI (24) but questions abound as to whether the NCAA Tournament Committee folks will take as many as seven clubs from this 10-team league and has Tubby Smith's club won enough significant games outside the Big 12? The Red Raiders' best non-league win came against Mississippi State ... big deal, right?

Q: What teams (wrongfully) believe they're "in" when it comes to an NCAA Tournament at-large bid ... and probably are not yet?
A: Hawaii (22-3, 11-1 Big West) likely thinks it's headed to the "Big Dance" whether or not the Warriors win the league's mini-tourney but a sluggish RPI number (74) doesn't help and if you look at Hawaii's non-conference wins what really excites you save for a Christmas Day win against Auburn? Gotta believe the Hawaii kids think this one's "in the bag" but, trust us, there's unfinished business before the NCAA Tourney comes calling.
We'd also put Evansville (23-7, 12-5 Missouri Valley Conference) into the equation here as gotta say the folks in the MVC often "jump the gun" and believe its high-quality teams will get an invite to the NCAAs but an 82 RPI and the dearth of signature wins means the Purple Aces better not count their proverbial chickens just yet. The Tuesday night win at 15.5-point underdog Bradley - a 67-55 non-cover job - did not really do anything to pump up Evansville's pro-NCAA Tournament argument.

Q: Finally, what college coaches likely are facing a get-into-the-NCAA Tournament-or-else scenario this year?
A: Fairly or unfairly, we believe Washington's Lorenzo Romar and Clemson's Brad Brownell likely face the get-in-or-goodbye scenario: Romar's Huskies were 16-11 overall, 8-7 in Pac-12 play while heading into last night's road game against Oregon State while Brownell's Tigers are now 16-12 overall and 9-7 in the ACC following Tuesday's excruciating 75-73 loss at 2.5-point favorite Georgia Tech. Both are high-quality sideline generals but in this win-now world they both face tremendous pressure late in the year to get an NCAA Tourney bid: Washington gets in with 20+ wins and a solid showing in next month's Pac-12 Tournament; Brownell gets in with a couple more regular-season wins and a run to at least the semifinals in the ACC Tournament.

Here's some College Basketball quick-hitter Pointspread Facts/Figures regarding some top "name" teams ...

Villanova is a mediocre 13-12-1 ATS (against the spread) this season
Xavier is a solid 17-10 versus the vig
North Carolina is a crummy 11-15-1 against the odds including a 3-7 ATS mark in its last 10 games
Oklahoma is 11-13 vig-wise this year and 2-7 ATS in its last nine home games
San Diego State is just 10-10-3 against the spread this season
And, finally, Oregon is a decent 14-10 vig-wise on the year and 15-7 ATS overall in its last 22 Pac-12 games

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have College Basketball and NBA winners here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.



Did somebody call for a doctor in the house?
The NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week is gonna be paying pretty close attention to the "medicals" of a batch of Draft-ready players and here's a sampling:

JOSH DOCTSON, WR, TCU - A broken left wrist wiped out the back portion of his 2015 season plus the former Horned Frogs star missed the Senior Bowl with the injury. If doctors determine his wrist is healing normally, than he could hurdle up the draft board a batch of spots - right now Doctson is projected as a #40-thru-#50 type pick but a clean bill of health could have 'em going somewhere late in the first round ... maybe to Super Bowl loser Carolina at #30.

MYLES JACK, LB, UCLA - Maybe the biggest "mystery man" in this upcoming draft is this 6-foot-1, 245-pounder who appears a perfect fit for someone in this pass-happy league. Jack is a wonderful athlete with an Adonis-like body even if he may lack the overall size the NFL prototypical linebacker looks like these days. The big question is whether he's fully recovered from a knee injury that shut down his 2015 season last September. No doubt you've seen the draft projections that have Jack in the top five or six picks providing he's given that clean bill of health; otherwise if there are doubts on the doctors' parts he could wind up sliding down deeper into Round One.

Note: More College B-Ball goodies in the next edition of Jim Sez, so don't miss out!

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