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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, March 29, 2017 at 2:09 PM


One thing you can say about this quartet of college basketball teams that comprise this year's rather unique Final Four:

They each have a delicious "back-story" whether it's favorite North Carolina looking to make up for last year's championship game loss to Villanova; there's Gonzaga looking to validate its longstanding presence as a non-power conference championship-type team; there's Oregon looking to prove that the Pac-12 is back (the league has not won a national championship in 20 years since Arizona knocked off then-defending champ Kentucky); and there's a gritty/gutty South Carolina squad that's trying to win it all after being installed as the wagering underdog in each of its first four tourney games.

For you pointspread fans, take note that NCAA Tournament Betting Favorites so far are 26-34-3 ATS (against the spread) with one Pick 'Em game for a .433 winning rate.

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 yet.
Get in now on the NCAA Tournament's Final Four, the NIT Semifinals on Tuesday and the NIT Championship Game on Thursday night, plus the remaining CBI and CIT tournies too - so go online here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and we'll send you straight into the winner's circle. Hey, we're also banging out lots of NBA Winners too and don't forget the 2017 Major-League Baseball season starts this Sunday/Monday - go ahead and join the fun and profits today.


It's plain to see that this Gamecocks' club has jelled these past couple of weeks but make no bones about it that senior Sindarius Thornwell has been the premier megastar with his 25.8 ppg and 7.5 rebounds per game average but whether this SEC club survives and advances to Monday's championship game may well rest with how F Chris Silva and F Maik Kotsar are hitting 'em in the short-to-medium range as both bagged big shots last weekend versus Baylor and Florida.
Pointspread Notes - South Carolina is just 15-16-2 ATS (against the spread) overall this hoops season but the Gamecocks have covered all four of their tourney games (versus Marquette, Duke, Baylor and Florida)

Finally ... we know! The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been hanging around the NCAA Tournament for the better part of the past two decades but couldn't dent the Final Four and, now that the West Coast Conference crew is here, watch out! No doubt do-it-all G Nigel Williams-Goss (see 23 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in Elite 8 rubout win against Xavier) has major star power and - wow - is he quick to the hoop or what but if the Zags can nail triples as they did last weekend (12-of-24 makes versus the X-men) and play that sticky defense against South Carolina, then we'll be seeing 'em for all the marbles come Monday night.
Pointspread Notes - Gonzaga is a very healthy 23-9-2 against the odds this year (that's a .625 winning rate) but note the Zags are just 4-5-1 spreadwise in their latest 10 games.

Go ahead and say that this Oregon Ducks team talks too much trash, pats themselves on the back way too much in post-game interviews and plays street-ball a bit too much ... they don't care what we think! The pure truth is Dana Altman's squad is on a major high these days after smashing 6.5-point fav Kansas 74-60 with Tyler Dorsey's game-best 27 points that featured a half-dozen trifectas and it's the ability to take/make threes on the run that makes this Duck bunch uber-dangerous and we didn't even say a word about F Jordan Bell who blocks shots and changes shots every time he's in the paint area.
Pointspread Notes - Oregon enters the Final Four at 21-15-1 ATS (a solid .583 winning rate) including that aforementioned sterling outright upset against Kansas in last Saturday's Elite 8

Best news for this UNC Tar Heels' crew is that PG Joel Berry II gets a handful of days to R&R both of his tender ankles and he's been a rather feast-or-famine lead guard in this tourney as last Sunday's below-par 11-point, 3-assist game (in 33 minutes of game action) followed on the - pardon the pun - heels of his 26-point showing against Butler in the Sweet 16. Hey, did you notice it was Theo Pinson and not Berry that dished off the game-winning assist to soph F Luke Maye with 0.3 seconds left in that 75-73 win against Kentucky last Sunday night? One final factor that is worth mentioning here with the Tar Heels and that's ACC Player of the Year Justin Jackson is averaging just shy of 20 ppg in this year's tourney while canning 29-of-62 FG tries ... not bad.
Pointspread Note - North Carolina is 19-15-3 versus the vig overall this 2016-17 hoops season and the Tar Heels are 5-3-2 spreadwise in their last 10 games.


Here's the still-alive conferences/leagues as we head into Final Four weekend:

West Coast231.400

One final NCAA Tournament-related pointspread note here ... in all, the so-called "power conferences" - that's the ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC -- are a combined 41-42-5 against the odds in this year's "Big Dance".

Okay, so quite possibly that's not as good as one would have imagined while heading into the 68-team field but it's the ACC that's really dragged down the power conference win percentage as you can see by our chart above. For the record, North Carolina is a decent 2-1-1 ATS in its four NCAA Tournament games so far this year with pointspread covers against Texas Southern and Butler and a "push" last Sunday versus Kentucky while ACC teams not named North Carolina are a collective 1-12 spreadwise in this man's tourney. Ugh!

NOTE: More NCAA Tournament Final Four News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez plus catch our NIT Championship Game preview too!

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