Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 6:00 PM
HERE ARE FRIDAY'S SWEET 16 PREVIEWS
Is it possible that all four Atlantic Coast Conference clubs in action on this Elite 8 Friday night menu will survive-and-advance?
Could happen as Notre Dame, North Carolina, Virginia and Syracuse all have their eyes on the big prize and note that Las Vegas has three of the four ACC squads listed as betting favorites (Gonzaga's a 4.5-point fav versus Syracuse).
The ACC placed seven teams into this year's 68-squad NCAA Tournament field and the best conference in the land got six of 'em through to the Sweet 16 round. Consider that the other power conferences - the Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC - combined for nine slots in the Sweet 16 and you get a true sense of just what a great accomplishment this has been for the gang along Tobacco Road.
Now, what happens when the proverbial rubber meets the road in these mega-important Friday tilts?
Check out our Jim Sez game previews below 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. Get it either right here 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.
Here's the pointspread breakdown of Favorites vs. Underdogs for the first couple of rounds of NCAA Tournament play:
Note that we've - so far - had one pick 'em game in this year's NCAA Tournament (see Wichita State's 65-55 win against Arizona last Thursday) and you might be surprised to discover that, while all the TV "experts" claim there's been a slew of upsets, the reality is the chalk has cranked out a profit of $270 based on $100 per-play wagers. Hmmm.
NCAA TOURNAMENT - FRIDAY'S SWEET 16
EAST REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
Wells Fargo Center - Philadelphia, PA
#7 WISCONSIN (22-12) vs. #6 NOTRE DAME (23-11) - 7:25 p.m. ET, TBS
No matter how you slice it, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish games in these NCAA Tournaments are thrill-a-minute affairs (see last year's tough Elite 8 loss to Kentucky and this year's tourney wins against Michigan and Stephen F. Austin) and the Las Vegas oddsmakers think this one's gonna be tight too with Mike Brey's bunch favored by a mere one point here ... and the $64,000 question is who plays the hero if ND wins again. No doubt F Zach Auguste (16 points, 15 rebounds in 76-75 non-cover win against SFA last Sunday in Brooklyn) must be a stat-sheet stuffer here but if you tell us Notre Dame will hold Wisky to 8-of-27 shooting from beyond the arc (that's what Austin shot) then this ACC crew should be movin' on. The Badgers have a "destiny's team" feel to it though, eh?
#5 INDIANA (27-7) vs. #1 NORTH CAROLINA (30-6) - approximately 9:55 p.m. ET, TBS
Maybe you read the story that tickets for this Sweet 16 bracket in Philly are the hottest ever - we saw StubHub listing this Wisconsin-Notre Dame, North Carolina-Indiana twin-bill for three-and-a-quarter a pop - and gotta believe the action is gonna match the "face value" of the ducats here as both clubs love to dial it up and one TV talking head kiddingly claimed the "first team to 100 wins". If Carolina's size advantage comes into play on the boards - where the Tar Heels dominated Providence 37-to-20 in last Saturday's Round of 32 win/cover - then this smaller Indiana crew probably won't stand a chance but expect Hoosiers' brainy head coach Tom Crean to spread the court more and look for PG Yogi Ferrell (18 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists versus Kentucky last weekend) to find the creases in this oft-lazy UNC defense.
MIDWEST REGIONAL SEMIFINALS
United Center - Chicago, Il.
#4 IOWA STATE (23-11) vs. #1 VIRGINIA (28-7) - 7:10 p.m. ET, CBS
How come nobody's talking up the Virginia Cavaliers as potential national championship material? The Wahoos - on paper - have the easiest road to the Final Four among the four remaining No. 1 seeds and things are clicking neatly for Tony Bennett's team (the second-best defensive club in the country behind now-exiled Wichita State) and G Malcolm Brogdon comes off a true megastar performance in last Saturday's 77-69 non-cover win against 8.5-point pup Butler. Brogdon's 22-point, 6-assist and 5-rebound showing in the Round of 32 proves he can take over a game when needed and Iowa State needs to get in his grill and disrupt his overall evening. No shock that Cyclones' star Georges Niang (28 points and only 2 turnovers in 38 minutes in last weekend's 78-61 win/cover versus Little Rock) must be a stud here but key may well be F Jameel McKay who snatched 10 boards in that tilt and must not allow the Cavs too many second shots here.
#11 GONZAGA (28-7) vs. #10 SYRACUSE (21-13) - approximately 9:40 p.m. ET, CBS
The battle of the double-digit seeds is on in the Windy City and here's the forecast ... everyone's quick to praise the vaunted zone defense of the Syracuse Orange but it's Gonzaga's greatly-improved "D" that could steal the scene after holding a proficient Utah offense to 22-of-52 FG shooting last Saturday night in that lopsided 82-59 triumph. The Zags - who only blocked three shots in that game - did play pickpocket with seven steals and the 'Cuse guards better have their heads on a proverbial swivel here. Gotta say that we have not been big fans of Gonzaga head coach Mark Few over the years - he's 21-16 SU (straight-up) in all prior NCAA Tournament games which is good but not gonna challenge the likes of Duke boss Mike Krzyzewski - but sure looks like he has this West Coast Conference crew in fine fettle these days. Hey, 4.5-point underdog Syracuse wins if ... key reserve F Tyler Lydon (six blocks in 75-50 win against Middle Tennessee State last weekend) fills up the stat sheet here.
Note: Catch our NCAA Tournament Elite 8 quickie previews all this weekend right here at Jim Sez - and don't forget to keep cashing in on this tourney as Jim Hurley is ready to rock-n-roll after a terrific first full week of play.