Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, February 27, 2016 at 1:10 PM
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT –
THE 10 TEAMS THAT CAN WIN IT ALL THIS YEAR
Just saw where the wildly-popular NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday show on CBS will be expanded from one hour to two hours (beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET) on March 13th … good, 'cause that will give the numerous chatty panel members plenty of time to discuss all the teams that could win it all in Houston this spring!
In fact, one of this web site's good friends – we're not naming names here – just opined to us that he thought as many as 15 college basketball teams could win this year's wide-open fight for the national championship but we went ahead and poured a little cold water on his parade by claiming that we could, well, see as many as 10 different teams lay claim to this year's crown, but not 15!
Still, you'll no doubt be surprised to see some of the team names that we've left out of our 10-squad list below but gotta say there's a slew of current Top 25 teams that simply don't have the bodies, the coaching, the experience, the toughness or what-have-you to put together a major run at this year's crown.
So, we'll "name names" here and so some two weeks before we get to Selection Sunday we'll rattle off the teams that we believe could win this year's national championship … and we're quite sure a couple of those named will surprise y'all.
We'll get to that in a second, but first this key reminder …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep rockin'-n-rollin' through this College Basketball and NBA season with loads of big-time winners right here online at www.VegasSportsMasters.com or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155. Go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action and remember the conference tournaments or so-called mini-tournies heat up next week with day-time action all throughout the month of March and we shall keep you posted. In fact, make a note that the mini-tournies swing into gear this Wednesday, March 2nd with the Ohio Valley Conference ramping things up with the Missouri Valley Conference and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference joining in the conference tournament fun the next day.
Obviously, without seeing NCAA Tournament seeds/brackets, etc. it becomes more than just the usual inexact science to picking a champion but let's go ahead and rank 'em in the order we see it some 14 days out before we tune in to the riveting Selection Show:
OUR 10 JIM SEZ NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP CONTENDERS ARE …
KANSAS (24-4) – No matter how you slice it, the Jayhawks are the best team in the land (see two wins against Oklahoma, among other wonderful 2015-16 highlights) and there's a slew of players that can step up at crunch time and steal the show … just like back in that national title season in 2008.
VIRGINIA (21-6) – Okay, so the Wahoos were a Final Four pick of ours from the very start of the season (and duly note that our other three Final Four teams are listed here in this column space today) and any team that plays "D" and can rebound like this one has a real shot for all the marbles. Just wish Virginia knew how to win the close games late!
OKLAHOMA (22-5) – Buddy Hield will be this year's hands-down Naismith Award winner but this isn't a one-man band and the Sooners could shine once they get away from the Kansas bracket … you'll see.
UCONN (20-8) – The Huskies really are not on anyone's radar screen as a national championship bunch but we tabbed Kevin Ollie's team at season's start to be Final Four-bound (just see our November 13th Jim Sez column for proof!) and love how they play together with a strong inside/outside scoring attack.
MARYLAND (23-5) – Gotta admit that we've had a love/hate relationship with this Terrapins bunch that has lost a couple of times when we expected big things but star player Melo Trimble could be ready for a breakout month of March.
NORTH CAROLINA (23-5) – The winning recipe for the Tar Heels is simple … play fast but also remember to feed your big men in the paint. Hey, this gang has top 10 talent and great athletes but something's missing as evidenced by that late-game collapse versus Duke.
MICHIGAN STATE (23-5) – Here comes Sparty all revved up near season's end as Tom Izzo's club comes into Sunday's game versus Penn State winners of seven of its last eight games. So what else is new, you ask?
WICHITA STATE (22-7) — Ahh, our Jim Sez national championship pick to win it all back in early November barely gets a peep from the national media these days but check it out: The Shockers headed into this weekend winners of eight of their last 10 games and the veteran backcourt starring Ron Baker and Fred VanVleet has plenty of big-game experience. Watch this Missouri Valley Conference club very carefully in this year's "Big Dance".
WEST VIRGINIA (21-7) – Keep in mind the Mountaineers were on the outside-looking-in at this year's Preseason Top 25 (they're ranked #14 right now) and we thought enough of 'em to get all the way to the national championship game before eventually losing to Wichita State … can our little forecast come true?
COLORADO (20-9) – Yes, we've hurdled this hard-working Buffaloes bunch over the likes of Villanova, Duke, Kentucky and Xavier … just don't think this above-mentioned list have enough staying power to win six games in a row come March/April. But CU's Tad Boyle is one of our favorite coaches and every once in a while you have a fourth- or fifth-place team in a power conference that gets hot and so we'll include Colorado on our win-it-all list here.