Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 11:07 AM
THE COLLEGE HOOPS NOTEBOOK - WHO COULD BE SOME OF THE REAL MAKE-A-RUN TEAMS IN MARCH? …
PLUS, THE LATEST SEGMENT OF OUR EARLY-BIRD JIM SEZ NFL MOCK DRAFT AS WE PROJECT PICKS #21-THRU-#32
Let's get out our crystal ball and wonder aloud who will be "make-a-run" teams in the merry month of March … and let's not go all Mr. Obvious here:
VIRGINIA TECH (20-8, 9-6 ACC) - Gotta love Hokie head coach Buzz Williams when it comes to March … even when his teams (both at Marquette for years and now here with V-Tech) lose they give their opponents a major run for the money. Something tells us this Virginia Tech team - sporting the country's 35th-highest scoring squad at 81.6 ppg - could be real trouble-makers both in the upcoming Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in Brooklyn and then right into the NCAA Tournament.
USC (20-9, 11-5 Pac-12) - It's been a tumultuous season both on and off the floor for these 2017-18 Trojans but right now the arrow's pointing up (see three consecutive wins) and Andy Enfield's crew has pro talent and a major-league shot-blocker in C Chimezie Metu. Do not overlook this club that could be rolling in the profits in March. Heck, we thought prior to the start of this season that Southern Cal was a national championship-type sleeper at nearly 20-to-1 odds and no reason to jump off the ship yet.
CREIGHTON (19-9, 8-7 Big East) - Didn't really hear a whole lot about this Bluejays bunch during the course of this current campaign but let us lay a few facts/figures on y'all: Creighton has one of the country's most underrated big-time scorers in G Marcus Foster (18.8 ppg and a 44 percent shooter from downtown) and playing six games (and maybe more with the Big East Tournament straight ahead) against the mighty likes of Villanova/Xavier/Butler will make this Creighton crew razor sharp in March. You heard it here first!
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NFL MOCK DRAFT REPORT
Last week we posted our early "forecasts" of the top 20 selections in the NFL Draft (go check 'em out with comments for each selection in the Jim Sez archives). Now, we'll take you from picks #21-thru-#32 to close out Round I in a moment but here were our Jim Sez Top 20 just in case you missed it:
JIM SEZ MOCK DRAFT
1. Cleveland - Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Giants - Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
3. Indianapolis - Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
4. Cleveland (via trade with Houston) - Bradley Chubb, DE, N.C. State
5. Denver - Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
6. New York Jets - Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
7. Tampa Bay - Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
8. Chicago - Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
9. San Francisco - Derwin James, S, Florida State
10. Oakland - Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
11. Miami - Roquan Smith, ILB, Georgia
12. Cincinnati - Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
13. Washington - Da'Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
14. Green Bay - Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
15. Arizona - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
16. Baltimore - Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
17. Los Angeles Chargers - Vita Vea, DT, Washington
18. Seattle - Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma
19. Dallas - Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
20. Detroit - Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
21. Buffalo - Tremaine Edwards, ILB, Virginia Tech: The Bills believe this 6-foot-5, long-armed defender is a legit top 10 talent and so they leap at the opportunity to grab 'em.
22. Buffalo (via trade with Kansas City) - Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: Sorry that we're not being very "original" here 'cause most mock drafts have the Bills snapping up this Okie State slinger with the second of two picks in Round One. But should he get the nod over Louisville's Lamar Jackson? Hmm.
23. LOS ANGLES RAMS - Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College: Most draftniks expect the Rams to nab a corner but they like this kid more plus it's Iowa Jackson they had high on CB board here and he's gone.
24. CAROLINA - Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama: It's time the Panthers made QB Cam Newton a "happy camper" once again and so drafting this 'Bama star over a D-lineman/O-lineman is the way they go here.
25. TENNESSEE - Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame: Not exactly a "sexy" choice here but Titans need to beef up the blocking wall for QB Marcus Mariota.
26. ATLANTA - Connor Williams, OT, Texas: The Falcons may just be another piece or two from making it back to the Super Bowl and we hear they will be active in the free-agency market when it comes to "skilled players". Stay tuned.
27. NEW ORLEANS - Rashaan Evans, ILB, Alabama: The Saints enjoyed a terrific '17 draft (see Rookie of the Year RB Alvin Kamara) and now they look to strike it rich with this savvy senior who at times went underappreciated for Nick Saban's squad.
28. PITTSBURGH - Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: One of these years the Ben Roethlisberger "retirement rumors" are gonna be true and so Steelers snatch up the fifth quarterback in Round I. Mr. Heisman may have to sit two years if "Big Ben" has fun in 2018.
29. JACKSONVILLE - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M: Real speedy weapon added to the Jaguars here plus J-ville may use this top-flight athlete on kick/punt returns as well.
30. MINNESOTA - James Daniels, C, Iowa: This 6-foot-4, 295-pound beast could become the centerpiece of this Vikings' O-line for the next 10 years. Heaven knows Minny needs major upgrades at guard/tackle too!
31. NEW ENGLAND - Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn: The CB Malcolm Butler Era now is officially over as Patriots surely going defense with this Round I choice.
32. PHILADELPHIA - Taven Bryan, DT, Florida: Super Bowl champs love this 6-foot-5, 295-pounder with a quick burst and so they take D-line over O-line need in Round I selection.
NOTE: More College Hoops News in the next Jim Sez.