Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, March 23, 2016 at 9:50 AM
THE NCAA TOURNAMENT:
THE THURSDAY GAME PREVIEWS PLUS OUR TOURNEY POINTSPREAD CHART
No foolin’ – the ACC stole the show the first full week of NCAA Tournament action by going 12-1 SU (straight-up) overall and a heady 8-5 ATS (against the spread) while getting a tourney-record six teams into this year’s Sweet 16 but the reality is there are actually six different leagues/conferences getting representation come Thursday night (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12) and we’ll have quick-hitter comments on all four of these Sweet 16 games in just a moment.
But now hear this…
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been steamrolling their way through the month of March with loads of College Basketball winners – and it ain’t gonna stop anytime soon!
There’s time to still get with America’s #1 Handicapper for The Network March Madness Package that features all of the remaining NCAA Tournament Games beginning with the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 tilts this Thursday-thru-Sunday and keep in mind the Jim Hurley Network also gets you the other post-season tournament winners such as the NIT, CBI and CIT Tournies too.
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THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Hey, before we get to Thursday’s Sweet 16 previews, check out our NCAA Tournament Pointspread Chart below…
It’s an annual Jim Sez feature at this time of the year -- the NCAA Tournament Pointspread Chart details the spread success (or lack thereof) of all the conferences/leagues that have participated so far in this year’s tourney.
Note that the power conferences – and we include the American Athletic Conference, for our discussion – have a composite pointspread mark of 30-33 for a .476 winning percentage in this year’s NCAA Tournament… yes, the same exact winning percentage posted through the first full week of last year’s NCAA Tournament!
|NCAA Tournament Pointspread Breakdown Chart|
NCAA TOURNAMENT – THURSDAY’S SWEET 16
SOUTH REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
KFC Yum Center – Louisville, KY
#3 MIAMI (27-7) vs. #2 VILLANOVA (31-5) – 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS
Now that the Villanova Wildcats – finally – have gotten past the hurdle of the first week of NCAA Tournament play (first time since 2009) the $64,000 question is whether or not Jay Wright’s club has the star power to make it to the Final Four in Houston? Josh Hart’s 19 points paced the way for ’Nova against Iowa in the Round of 32 but here comes a veteran Miami bunch that plays great defense and owns one of this tourney’s best floor generals in PG Angel Rodriguez. Gotta believe that the 4-point underdog ’Canes can win here if Rodriguez wins his mano-a-mano battle with Ryan Arcidiacono (16 points and 0 turnovers versus Iowa).
#5 MARYLAND (27-8) vs. #1 KANSAS (32-4) – approximately 9:40 p.m. ET, CBS
Pointspread mavens know that this Kansas Jayhawks’ gang is a tasty 23-11 ATS this year and that’s saying something when you consider the Big 12 champs are laying hefty prices more often than not… the good folks in Las Vegas have Kansas listed as a 6.5-point choice here and Bill Self’s crew will cover if G Devonte’ Graham becomes more aggressive (just eight FG tries in last weekend’s 73-61 win/cover versus UConn) and if the Terrapins once again are shooting blanks from downtown. Still trying to figure out how Maryland beat Hawaii 73-60 with a 1-of-18 shooting game from beyond the arc!
WEST REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
Honda Center – Anaheim, CA
#3 TEXAS A&M (28-8) vs. #2 OKLAHOMA (27-7) – 7:35 p.m. ET, TBS
Sure, now everyone’s calling this Texas A&M bunch a “team of destiny” following that epic comeback twin-OT 92-88 non-cover win against Northern Iowa last Sunday night but lost amidst all the excitement is the fact the Aggies managed to win despite just 8 assists (versus 14 turnovers) and with no blocked shots in 50 minutes of play… how does that happen? If A&M isn’t at least contesting some of those jumpers by Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield (36 points in second-round 85-81 non-cover win against VCU) then the SEC’s lone surviving team will be gonzo but gotta believe the Aggies will switch off defenses here and keep the Sooners’ ball-handlers on their toes. Hey, does this number appear "too short" at Oklahoma minus a deuce? Note the Sooners are a shaky 12-20 spreadwise this hoops season.
#4 DUKE (25-10) vs. #1 OREGON (30-6) – approximately 10:05 p.m. ET, TBS
We’ve been hearing all kinds of chatter regarding the fact that Oregon is "more athletic" than this Duke team – hey, the Ducks are "more athletic" than 99 percent of the major-college basketball teams out there and so no need for Mike Krzyzewski’s crew to crack under any full-court pressure here. The key for the Dookies is get the ball into the hands of Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram and preferably have ’em shoot at least 40 times (they were a combined 17-of-34 from the floor in that 71-64 win/cover against Yale last Saturday) while Dana Altman’s well-schooled Ducks should come out pressing against depth-shy Duke and not let their collective feet off the pedal at any time. Oregon has covered six of its last eight games this year.
Note: Catch our Friday Game Previews of the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in tomorrow’s edition of Jim Sez and Don’t Forget Get All the March Madness Winners Right here at Jim Hurley’s Network