Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 12:55 PM
THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL WEEKEND REPORT - IT COULD BE A REAL MESSY MARCH WITH FBI PROBE HANGING OVER KEY TEAMS ...
NBA NEWS & NOTES: SOME STELLAR SHOWINGS FROM FRIDAY NIGHT
Looking for a real "dark horse" come NCAA Tournament time next month?
How about the FBI!
No doubt there are plenty of NCAA teams/coaches/players sweating bullets this winter weekend as the on-going FBI probe continues into the oft-seedy world of college athletics but - big picture here - we're wondering if there will be any sanctions announced against the likes of Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State or North Carolina (and possibly other NCAA Tournament-bound teams namely Arizona, Xavier, Clemson, Wichita State and/or Seton Hall).
The proverbial bottom line here is a full-blown bombshell announcement could come down the pike any down now and players from the above-named schools may even be kayoed from tourney play ... something folks (like us) are gonna have to contend with when sorting out "Big Dance" potential wagers in March. On Friday night, the latest news had Arizona head coach Sean Miller okaying some $100K payment ... if he was indeed caught red-handed than that Pac-12 powerhouse is in a heap of trouble.
P.S., we don't expect any head coaches to lose their jobs right here/right now as it pertains to this FBI probe but some "insiders" believe Michigan State's Tom Izzo and Kentucky John Calipari (among others) could be branded as modern-day cheaters and may get pink slips sooner rather than later.
In other College Basketball-related News/Notes ...
Don't know just how much stock you put into the ratings of USA Today ratings guru Jeff Sagarin (he's the best in the biz, as far as we're concerned!) but heading into this final weekend in February the master numbers-crunchers had Villanova, Duke, Virginia, Michigan State and Purdue listed as his #1-thru-#5 teams and so why is ESPN's Dick Vitale always putting Kansas (who Sagarin happens to have as #6) into one of the four top seed slots?
No knock here on Kansas (22-6) as the Jayhawks are 6-2 versus Top 25 teams and 12-4 versus Top 50 teams but Bill Self's crew is a notch below this quintet - hey, if Kansas wins the Big 12 Tournament and two of these above-mentioned five squads lose a couple of games between now and Selection Sunday, then we'll side with Vitale - but not till then!
P.S., you may be interested to know Sagarin has North Carolina, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Gonzaga rounding out his current top 10 and keep in mind the UNC Tar Heels have played the country's third-toughest schedule while Gonzaga has played the 132nd toughest sked. Better believe that will come into play when it gets to seeding these teams ...
Final note on the college kids:
We zoom into this weekend with Virginia sporting the #1 RPI in the land with Xavier at #2 and Villanova at #3 and Duke at #4 - so anyone looking to take verbal/printed jabs at either/both the Atlantic Coast Conference or the Big East Conference should really cool their pits.
Don't miss out as we continue to pile up the profits in both the NBA and College Basketball as Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep ripping it up on the hardwood - get all the daily winners right here online or 1-800-323-4453.
NBA NEWS & NOTES
Lots of wild stuff on Friday's busy NBA card including the following: The Los Angeles Clippers bolted out of the starting gate with a 17-0 lead en route to their never-in-doubt 128-117 win/cover at 5.5-point Phoenix. At the end of the first quarter, the Clips led 40-18 - did someone say the Suns were in "tank mode" the rest of the way? ...
New Orleans Pelicans super-hero Anthony Davis put up one of the season's great stat lines in his club's thrilling 124-123 overtime non-cover win against the Miami Heat. Davis finished the OT bash with 45 points, 17 rebounds, 5 steals and 5 blocks - and only 2 turnovers in 41 minutes of play. So how - we might ask - was he a "minus 3" for he night? Strange but true ...
Finally, Houston's 120-102 win/cover versus 8.5-point dog Minnesota featured a ho-hum 31-point game from James Harden (he drilled just 8-of-24 FG tries overall) but what about a Rockets' bench that was a combined "plus 53" as newbie/oldie Joe Johnson scored 10 points in just 21 key minutes. Note that Houston played without star G Eric Gordon who was scratched with an announced illness but Trevor Ariza was back after missing nine consecutive games with hamstring woes. Ariza kicked in 11 points in 26 minutes and he'll be key as the Rockets attempt to snag the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
NOTE: More College Hoops News in the next Jim Sez.