Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 3:51 PM
THE COLLEGE B-BALL MID-WEEK UPDATE:
THE "GOTTA-HAVE-A-WIN TONIGHT" TEAMS ...
NFL DRAFT NEWS & NOTES: HOW MANY QUARTERBACKS ARE 1ST-ROUND BOUND?
No doubt we're getting your vibes - everyone's getting all hot-and-bothered over the upcoming "brackets" and, sure enough, NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday is just around the corner on March 12th. So just chill!
The fact of the matter is the 68-team NCAA Tournament field may already have 40-plus "definites" as we pointed out in our earlier-week Jim Sez column but you better believe there's some real jostling for a handful-plus at-large bids and keeping with this late-season theme we'll concentrate here on a pair of Wednesday night games where at least one side is in a "gotta-have-a-win tonight" mode.
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 winners right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - so go ahead and join the fun and profits today with all the hardwood action - America's #1 Handicapper banged out a batch of winners last weekend including Penn (+ 4.5) and UConn (+ 2.5) last Sunday and there's lots more where that came from, okay?
Extra, extra: Remember that the conference tournaments or so-called mini-tournies heat up next week with day-time action all throughout the month of March! We will keep you posted right here at Jim Sez, okay?
In tonight's gotta-have-a-win games, it's ...
MICHIGAN (17-10, 7-7) at RUTGERS (13-15, 2-13) - 6:30 p.m. ET, Big 10 Network
If you happened to watch Michigan's painful 83-78 overtime loss at 1.5-point favorite Minnesota last Sunday night, then you know what maize-and-blue heartache is all about considering a three-point buzzer-beater bomb by Michigan sent the game into bonus time in the first place and then the Wolverines still couldn't get mission accomplished (sure helped that Minny shot 41 free throws!). Maybe it appears this game at lowly Rutgers is a mere pushover (Michigan's a 7.5-point betting favorite) but senior G Derrick Walton, Jr. and Company better not expect Rutgers to lay down and play dead - the Scarlet Knights have been pretty competitive lately.
P.S., Michigan has a 55 RPI - not great for power conference bubble teams in case you really want to know.
OKLAHOMA STATE (18-9, 7-7) at KANSAS STATE (17-10, 6-8) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Some folks out there in roundball-land must claim that both of these teams are in "gotta-have-a-win tonight" territory but we disagree:
Oklahoma State - with a solid 28 RPI - is surely on the "inside-looking-out" at this year's NCAQA Tournament right now but take note the OSU Cowboys have a rough regular-season finish ... home to Texas Tech followed by a road game at Iowa State and a home tilt versus Kansas.
On the flip side, there's no wiggle room at all for the K-State Wildcats (a 56 RPI) who have dug their own big tourney grave by losing six of their last eight games including recent back-to-back close losses to Baylor and Kansas.
In other College Basketball News/Notes ...
Wanna know a couple of non-power conference teams we'd like to see play in next month's NCAA Tournament - even should these teams lose in the all-important conference tournies?
Well, one of 'em is Monmouth (24-5, 16-2) which exited last night's 83-62 runaway win at 5.5-point pup Fairfield with a decent/solid 46 RPI and give the Hawks some credit for winning at Memphis and nearly winning at South Carolina earlier this 2016-17 hoops season. If Monmouth doesn't win the MAAC Tournament crown, cut 'em a break and make 'em a #14 seed somewhere out there in the NCAAs (even if Monmouth has to be part of "The First Four").
And Illinois State (23-5, 15-1) should be cemented into an at-large berth right now but we keep hearing "experts" say the Missouri Valley Conference is more-than-likely a single-bid league. Too bad 'cause right now we'd say the I-State Redbirds should be a #9 or #10 seed and maybe they'll go higher by beating Wichita State in a very possible MVC Tournament championship game.
NFL DRAFT NOTES: QB CHATTER
Is it at all possible that we could have four - or even five - quarterbacks snatched up in Round I of this year's NFL Draft?
Alright, we'll admit that right here in late February it's more likely that we'll have only two or three quarterbacks grabbed up in Round I but stay with us for the distinct possibility that the following could happen:
1 - CLEVELAND ... Surprise, surprise the Browns are picking at the top of this year's draft and they are 90 percent sure will go for a quarterback with North Carolina's Mitch Trubisky the frontrunner at this moment.
3 - CHICAGO ... All signs point to the end of the Jay Cutler Era (or error) in the Windy City and there's major talk that Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer is climbing up the charts faster than you can say Mike Ditka. Now, wouldn't Kizer be a stunning pick for Da Bears?
13 - ARIZONA ... Okay, so veteran Carson Palmer is coming back for one more year but that means the Cardinals will be in the market for an heir apparent at QB and Clemson's champion slinger Deshaun Watson could well land in Arizona's laps right here.
25 - HOUSTON ... Is it at all possible that the Texans will be sick of Brock Osweiler after one sour season? Perhaps and Lone Star State favorite Patrick Mahomes II from Texas Tech might wind up being grabbed here.
31 - NEW YORK JETS (trade with Atlanta) ... Gonna go out on a proverbial limb and say the Jets will be ultra-active on the first day of the draft and gobble up a cornerback with their #6 overall pick and then trade with the Super Bowl runner-up Falcons for the next-to-last pick in Round I where the Jets would make a major reach with Miami's Brad Kaaya providing none of the QBs mentioned above here are still standing.
NOTE: More College Hoops and NBA Notes in the next Jim Sez.