Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, February 29, 2016 at 8:00 AM
WHY SHOULD HOLLYWOOD BE THE ONLY ONES HANDING OUT SHINY TROPHIES?
WE GET YOU THE "WINNERS" IN A FISTFUL OF KEY COLLEGE BASKETBALL CATEGORIES IN TODAY'S JIM SEZ
The glitterati – a/k/a the glamorous folks in Hollywood – simply were all abuzz on Sunday night with the 88th edition of the Academy Awards and they sure seemed to be having fun, so we figured to get into the act with our annual Jim Sez post-Oscar party saluting a handful of College Basketball Winners either this year or this past weekend.
So here goes…
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A BIG MAN – Hey, that's gotta go to Villanova F Daniel Ochefu who was a regular stat-sheet stuffer in the Wildcats' much-needed 89-79 win/cover at 9-point underdog Marquette last Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. No doubt the 'Nova kids took a lot of verbal/printed hits (including from yours truly!) for their 90-83 mid-week loss at Xavier that KO'ed Jay Wright's team from the No. 1 spot in the polls and so a bounce-back effort was sorely needed and the 6-foot-11, 245-pound Ochefu delivered with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists and a blocked shot – to say nothing of his all-too-often-overlooked in-game leadership skills.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A BUBBLE TEAM THAT NEEDED AN OH-SO-BIG VICTORY – Let's hand out this "Oscar" to the Gonzaga Bulldogs who went into Salt Lake City and bopped 3-point fav BYU 71-68. Okay, so we watched the morning-after ESPN SportsCenter that featured bracketologist Joe Lunardi claiming the 'Zags still were among the "First Four Out" but how can that be when "Joey Brackets" had 'em in the "First Four Out" category before besting BYU? C'mon, Lunardi, get a grip! Kyle Wiltjer's 21 points powered Gonzaga against a good BYU team and – ask us – right now the 'Zags would be either an #8 seed or a #9 seed, and how would y'all like a Michigan State vs. Gonzaga tilt on the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament?
Now hear this…
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep 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 ttelephone # of 1-888-777-4155. Get in on the fun/profits with all the hardwood action and remember the conference tournaments or so-called mini-tournies heat up this week and next week with lots of 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.
THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Surely, there's no shortage of able-bodied candidates or able-bodied teams here but must say the Kansas Jayhawks – the nation's new numero uno team – gets this award based on just clinching at least a tie for their 12th consecutive Big 12 regular-season championship. Hey, had to love that scene at "The Phog" this past Saturday following Kansas' sometimes-sticky 67-58 non-cover win against 13.5-point pup Texas Tech when all the Big 12 championship trophies were there lined up one right after the other. The fact that coach Bill Self's team stayed above the fray in a talent-packed Big 12 this year really says something … call it excellence personified … now go grab a Jim Sez Oscar!
THE YOU-WANT-DIVERSITY AWARD, YOU GOT IT AWARD – Okay, so the whole "diversity" topic often took center stage with the Oscars on Sunday night but this is what we mean when it comes to the word as it pertains to the hardwood:
There have been at least two teams that have been able to consistently win with different styles this season and so we will consider this a "draw" for this rather new award as the Seton Hall Pirates (21-7 overall and 11-5 in Big East play) and the Texas A&M Aggies (22-7, 11-5 in the SEC) often have defied the odds and the "experts" – and both happen to be on our Jim Sez "short list" of ultra-dangerous teams this month of March.
Texas A&M ranks first in the SEC in scoring defense (65.9 ppg) but we love the fact the Aggies can beat you in the paint or from deep where there are seven players with 21-or-more triples; meanwhile, Seton Hall's young-but-spunky bunch also plays spirited defense while ranking second in the Big East (allowing just 66 ppg) and they can bang the boards as 2-point fav Xavier painfully discovered in Sunday's 90-81 win by "The Hall" … hope you've heard of F Desi Rodriguez (27 points, 12 boards versus Xavier).
FINALLY, THE BEST "LYING-IN-THE-WEEDS" TEAM COME MARCH MADNESS … No doubt you have your own particular teams in mind here in terms of college hoop squad that have been hanging around the middle of their respective conferences and took made a major gallop towards a national championship but let's take a moment to tell you how three "lying-in-the-weeds" teams…
UCONN (20-9) – Okay, so Sunday's tough-to-explain 75-68 home loss against 9.5-point was a bummer for Kevin Ollie's crew but this current sixth-place team in the American Athletic Conference remains a major threat to go deep in March and don't be shocked if PG Sterling Gibbs takes over in all future late-and-close games;
IOWA STATE (20-9) – Right now there's five teams in the Big 12 with better won/loss records than this Cyclones bunch but first-year head coach Steve Prohm – one of the really good guys in the sport – has the cast to make things happen in March and we say keep an eye on G Monte Morris who is shooting 51 percent from the floor while averaging 14.6 ppg;
WISCONSIN (18-10) – Let's face it, the Badgers have been a real afterthought in the Big 10 this season one year after losing to Duke in the NCAA Championship Game but "interim" head coach Greg Gard has pumped life back into the Madison-based squad (see nine wins in the last 10 games) and should anyone be surprised if Wisky takes this momentum right into the NCAAs?
Note: March Madness is straight ahead and we'll be all over the College Basketball landscape in the next edition of Jim Sez.