Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 at 5:37 PM
Let's get it revved up with more College Basketball Conference Tournament forecasts ... the Big 10, the Atlantic-10, the Big East, the SEC, the Big West, the American Athletic and the Sun Belt.
First this reminder ... Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will keep steamrolling their way through the month of March with loads of College Basketball winners and take special note that The Network March Madness Package includes all of this week's mini-tourney games and then next week's NCAA Tournament Games plus the very best from the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too ... so go ahead and sign up now! Check us out online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - plus don't forget we're banging out lots of NBA Winners too these days and so go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action this month.
Okay, back to the College Basketball Conference Tournaments ...
BIG 10 CONFERENCE - Wednesday-thru-Sunday
Bankers Life Fieldhouse - Indianapolis, IN
Funny how things work but Indiana (25-6, 15-3) copped the regular-season crown by two full games over Michigan State (26-5, 13-5) yet it's Sparty that's ranked #2 in the land behind Kansas in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll and the clear odds-on favorite to win this mini-tourney ... hmmm. Okay, so the Hoosiers were perfect at home this year but lost three conference road games and even PG Yogi Ferrell (17.1 ppg) might not have enough ammo to get "mission accomplished" here but beware the likes of Maryland (24-7, 12-6) and Iowa (21-9, 12-6) who have plenty of clutch guys that ain't afraid to go to the hole late. If there's one other thing to watch in this Big 10 Tourney, than it's tracking "name" coaches John Beilein of Michigan and Ohio State's Thad Matta - we won't be surprised if either guy runs off three or maybe even four consecutive pointspread "W's". In case you're wondering, there's a good chance the Big 10 gets as many as eight bids to next week's NCAA Tournament.
The Favorite: Michigan State
The Dark Horse: Wisconsin
The Longshot: Northwestern
ATLANTIC-10 CONFERENCE - Wednesday-thru-Sunday
Barclays Center - Brooklyn, NY
Speaking of NCAA Tourney bids, this A-10 league (there's 14 teams in all, of course) is keeping fingers crossed that it'll get at least four invites, maybe even five, but for that to happen the frontrunners Dayton, St. Bonaventure and VCU (all 14-4 in regular-season conference play) and St. Joe's and George Washington all have to win at least once here in the great borough of Brooklyn because losing an opening-round game to one of these lesser-likes could be deadly. No doubt this is a wide-open battle for the mini-tourney crown with Dayton slumbering of late (split its last six games), St. Bonnie on a major roll (won 10 of its last 11 since end of January) and VCU a bit of an unknown with no more Shaka Smart on its sideline.
The Favorite: Dayton
The Dark Horse: Davidson
The Longshot: UMass
BIG EAST CONFERENCE - Wednesday-thru-Saturday
Madison Square Garden - New York City, NY
The "Big Apple" is bracing for a real free-for-all with everyone expecting a Villanova (27-4, 16-2) and Xavier (26-4, 14-4) showdown in the finale but not so fast, my friends! There's surging Seton Hall (22-8, 12-6) - winners of eight of its last 10 games - and three-point bombadeers Butler (21-9, 10-8) that must be eyeballed here and we really respect Providence boss Ed Cooley who could get the Friars on a real roll here. The 'Nova kids sport a #3 RPI; the Musketeers are a #6 and, if both make it to the championship game than they'll each get no worse than a second seed in next week's NCAA Tournament. The lower-rung teams in this league ain't worth a damn!
The Favorite: Villanova
The Dark Horse: Creighton
The Longshot: Georgetown
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE - Wednesday-thru-Sunday
Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, TN
Keep in mind that Texas A&M (24-7, 13-5) snagged the numero uno seed in this mini-tourney with Kentucky (23-8, 13-5) landing up with the #2 seed but there's little doubt who's the odds-on betting favorite to win this shindig ... capish? The UK Wildcats have the country's most dynamic backcourt in Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis - they've averaged 36.6 ppg between 'em - and we really love the way they move the ball to the open man but things could get sticky in this tournament if 'Cats coach John Calipari doesn't get some solid play from his reserves. Keep an eye on if Vanderbilt's three-point demons get hot here and whether or not LSU super-frosh Ben Simmons can be a one-man gang and maybe get the Bayou Bengals a couple of wins ... the way we see things here LSU (18-13, 11-7), Georgia (17-12, 10-8) and Alabama (17-13, 8-10) each need at least two mini-tourney wins to get the attention of the NCAA Tournament Committee folks. We say Florida (18-13, 9-9) and Ole Miss (20-11, 10-8) each need one win to get a "Big Dance" invitation. Bubbles all around!
The Favorite: Kentucky
The Dark Horse: Vanderbilt
The Longshot: Miss State
BIG WEST CONFERENCE - Thursday-thru-Saturday
Honda Center - Anaheim, CA
One-bid league here with top-seed Hawaii (24-5, 13-3) and co-champ UC-Irvine (24-8, 13-3) the true class of this group but ask us and the real "money-maker" here could be UC-Santa Barbara which zooms into play here on an eight-game SU (straight-up) winning streak and with seven pointspread wins in these last eight games ... you have been warned!
The Favorite: Hawaii
The Dark Horse: UC-Santa Barbara
The Longshot: UC-Davis
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE - Thursday-thru-Sunday
Amway Center - Orlando, FL
One of the TV talking heads the other day said "everyone" in the AAC is a "bubble team" - SMU is not eligible for this mini-tourney and the likes of Temple (20-10), Houston (22-8), Cincinnati (22-9) and Tulsa (20-10) all may be at/near the top of the standings but nobody's a slam-dunk to get an NCAA Tournament at-large invitation so you could make a case that this will be one of the most compelling conference tournaments in the land. We keep thinking UConn's gonna get hot ... and we're still waiting for that to happen!
The Favorite: Temple
The Dark Horse: UConn
The Longshot: East Carolina
SUN BELT CONFERENCE - Thursday-thru-Sunday
Lakefront Arena - New Orleans, LA
There's major momentum for giving regular-season champ Little Rock (27-4, 17-3 and a RPI of 50) an at-large NCAA Tourney bid should the Trojans get beat in this mini-tourney but we don't think "The Rock" should be secure with those beliefs - the truth is as many as five teams could win this tournament including UL-Monroe, UT-Arlington, UL-Lafayette and Georgia State.
The Favorite: Little Rock
The Dark Horse: Georgia State
The Longshot: Arkansas State
NOTE: Get more key College Basketball News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez and keep it right here all March long for important Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament Previews.