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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 24, 2017 at 11:23 AM


There's still a "pair of aces" - a/k/a No. 1 seeds - left in the Midwest and West brackets but will either Kansas and/or Gonzaga still be standing come next week's Final Four?

Get the winners in these NCAA Tournament Elite 8 games when you check with Jim Hurley's Network online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and also cash in with the other post-season tournaments such as the NIT, CBI and CIT. Plus don't forget we're banging out lots of NBA Winners too!

(Results are thru the games of March 23rd) Note that below we've updated our chart but this time we only include any/all conferences that have played at least two NCAA Tournament games:

Big 12841.667
Big 10860.571
Big West110.500
Missouri Valley110.500
Big East560.454
West Coast131.250


On Saturday, it's the NCAA TOURNAMENT - ELITE 8

WEST REGIONAL- Sap Center - San Jose, CA
#11 XAVIER (24-13) vs. #1 GONZAGA (35-1) - 6:09 p.m. ET, TBS

How about this for a dual storyline?

On one side is mighty Gonzaga with the best remaining record in the NCAA Tourney field yet never have the Zags trekked to the Final Four.

On the flip side is Cinderella itself - a Xavier team that lost six consecutive games late in the year, is still playing without its star point guard and yet this Big East bunch is just a single "W" away from cracking the Final Four after stunning Arizona this past Thursday night.

Gotta say that the X-men are "playing with house money" and should be loose, especially after scoring the game's final eight points against the 'Zona Wildcats who could not figure out Xavier's late-game defense but a major key for Chris Mack's Musketeers is making sure they balance G Trevon Bluiett's perimeter jumpers (25 points against U of A) with big man Sean O'Mara's inside touch as both proved deadly in that 73-71 Sweet 16 win.

Gonzaga somehow survived that tug-of-war Sweet 16 tilt against West Virginia with Mark Few's crew snagging the 61-58 win/pointspread push as West Virginia shot just 26.6 percent from the floor and still had an opportunity to force OT with a last-second triple but the discombobulated 'Neers couldn't even get off a shot - and therein lies the real story regarding this Gonzaga team that plays defense with a vengeance though something tells us G Nigel Williams-Goss is gonna have to do better than 2-of-10 FG shooting here.

Pointspread Fact - Gonzaga is 22-9-2 ATS (against the spread) this year but that includes an 0-2-1 spread log in this tourney


MIDWEST REGIONAL - Sprint Center - Kansas City, MO
#3 OREGON (32-5) vs. #1 KANSAS (31-4) - approximately 8:49 p.m. ET, TBS

Monster matchup in KayCee where the Big 12 Jayhawks will have the sizable crowd/noise advantage - but so far Bill Self's club has not even needed any outside help.

Heck, Kansas has ripped through its first three opponents in this "Big Dance" by a per-game average of 30 points and Thursday's 98-66 beat-down of 5.5-point underdog Purdue was actually a close contest till the final few minutes of the first half and then all heck broke loose as the J-Hawks outscored the overmatched Boilermakers 77-38 to conclude the game.

Sure, Kansas guards Frank Mason III (26 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists versus Purdue) and the still-underrated Devonte Graham (26 points) were a regular rock-'em, sock-'em one-two punch but all we know is the uber-athletic Jayhawks played at a 78 rpm speed that Purdue's big men couldn't keep up with and now you wonder if Oregon's stamina will be tested here. Yes, we believe TBS studio voice Seth Davis who says the Ducks play this run-run game and so won't "back down" but trust us when we tell you the Pac-12 dogs here should chew some clock whenever possible and make posting up the aforementioned Mason and Graham part of the game plan.

If Oregon thinks it's gonna win here with just a combined 22 points from Dillon Brooks and speedy Dylan Ennis, it has another thing comin' to them!
Looking for a true X-factor here?

Then consider Oregon F Jordan Bell (16 points, 13 rebs against Michigan in that thrilling 69-68 win the other night) to be key on the offensive glass as he could give the Ducks added possessions and also slow down the rollicking Kansas fast break.

Pointspread Fact - Kansas is a perfect 3-and-oh spreadwise this tournament but just 14-18-1 ATS overall on the year.

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