Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, February 9, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT –
WEEKEND’S MARQUEE MATCHUPS
PLUS, BUBBLE TEAM TALK TOO …
THE NFL DRAFT:
WHAT MOVES WE COULD SEE
IN ROUND ONE AS RAIDERS,
PATRIOTS & RAMS (AMONG OTHERS)
LOOK TO MOVE ON UP
There’s a batch of hotsy-totsy matchups on the weekend docket in the world of College Basketball:
Count ‘em up and there’s four monster-sized showdowns on Saturday pitting Top 25 teams against one another – including #2 Duke at #3 Virginia – and on Sunday there’s a key Top 25 showdown from the better-than-you-think American Athletic Conference.
We’ll touch on a batch of these games and get in some “bubble team” chatter too but first this key reminder on a very busy hoops weekend …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have waved bye-bye to the Football Season and so it’s time to move on to the hardwood -- cash in big with NBA and College Basketball Winners starting tonight here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Keep rollin’ in the profits with Jim Hurley and make sure you’re getting all the b-ball winners this month of February!
On Saturday …
#2 Duke (20-2, 8-1) at #3 Virginia (20-1, 8-1) – 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
Get a load of this: Duke and Virginia are a combined 30-13 versus the vig this year (that’s an eye-popping .698 winning rate) and so they’ve been stuffing the pockets of their bettors all along while easily holding onto #1 NCAA Tournament seeds right from the very start of this current campaign: Duke won but didn’t cover the first meeting this season between these proud ACC squads – a 72-70 non-cover win as four-point home favorites back on Jan. 19th when Virginia shot a less-than-blistering 3-of-17 from beyond the three-point – but for the 2.5-point home favored Cavs to cash here then limiting the Dookies to 10 triples or less is key and keeping Zion Williamson (17 boards the other night) silent on the glass is a must. Got it, coach Tony Bennett?
#19 Wisconsin (17-6, 9-3) at #7 Michigan (21-2, 10-2) – 12 p.m. ET, Fox
The plucky Badgers already own a 64-54 win against the maize-and-blue (see Jan. 19th in Madison) and that triumph jump-started a six-game SU (straight-up) winning streak. Can three-point specialist G D’Mitrik Trice (59 made triples and shooting 45 percent from trey-land) bomb away against a Michigan crew that has covered seven of its last 10 games? No question the Wolverines – who rank third nationally in scoring defense wile allowing just 57.3 ppg – are comfortable in these ugly 58-55 type games but John Beilein’s crew will run when it can here.
#14 Villanova (19-4, 10-0) at #10 Marquette (19-4, 8-2) – 2:30 p.m., Fox
These Big East leaders are gonna square off twice within the next 18 days and – save for Marquette losing twice to St. John’s this year – neither of these clubs has lost a conference game either home or away. Let’s face it … ‘Nova is really peaking at the right time for two-time champion head coach Jay Wright who’s guided his Wildcats to 11 consecutive SU wins and a hearty 6-1 ATS (against the spread) mark since Jan. 9th. If the Phil Booth / Eric Paschall combo (averaging 36 points a game between ‘em) gets a solid third scoring threat here, then Villanova will roll on.
On Sunday, it’s …
#25 Cincinnati (20-3, 9-1) at #12 Houston (22-1, 9-1) – 4 p.m. ET, ESPN
We’re talking defense here as Kelvin Sampson’s UH Cougars rank seventh in the land in scoring defense (60.8 ppg) while the Cincy Bearcats rank 12th in total “D” (61.7 ppg) – so first team to 50 wins? The Coogs’ Corey Davis Jr. (team-leading 15.5 ppg) may have to be a real volume shooter here.
Here’s some of the “bubble team” updates …
St. John’s hosts up-and-down Providence on Saturday and the Red Storm are keeping fingers crossed that lefty G Shamorie Ponds gets a 30-plus point game with limited turnovers (not like last week’s Duke game) …
And Alabama (14-8, 5-4) is laying road points on Saturday in not-always-so-friendly Nashville and keep an eye on ‘Bama G Kira Lewis Jr. (who shoots a neat 46 percent from the floor.
NFL DRAFT TALK
Okay, so we’re not even a full week removed from the conclusion of the National Football League season – Super Bowl title #6 for the love-‘em-or-hate-‘em New England Patriots – but already there’s plenty of bubbling talk about the upcoming NFL Draft where there’s rumblings that three or four teams will be moving into the top 10. Here’s some of what may – or may not – happen as we head towards April 25th:
The Arizona Cardinals own the numero uno pick in this year’s draft but there remains a good chance that the Redbirds will deal it away to the Oakland Raiders who own the #4, #24 and #27 picks. No, the Raiders don’t want to hand over that fourth pick no matter what but they’re dying for one of those two premier pass rushers – that’s Ohio State’s Nick Bosa and Kentucky’s Josh Allen – and so we do believe in the end that Raiders’ boss Jon Gruden/new GM Mike Mayock will send the #4 and #27 picks to Arizona and land either Bosa or Allen with the top overall pick. The Cards? They’ll snatch up the “best available” talent with that fourth pick and that means either Alabama DT Quinnen Williams or LSU cornerback Greedy Williams.
Aha, what about the third overall pick in this draft? The New York Jets currently sit in that spot but there’s building rumors that the J-E-T-S could swap spots with the New York Giants at #6: The G-men would gobble up Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins and the Jets would wind up with a D-lineman, either Miss State’s Jeffery Simmons or perhaps Houston’s bad-boy Ed Oliver (the Jets can’t expect the aforementioned Quinnen Williams to drop to ‘em here). Obviously, the Jets would also obtain other draft considerations such as a third- or fourth-round draft pick this year or maybe even a second-round pick next year.
Finally, don’t sleep on the teams that just played in Super Bowl LIII: The Patriots are scheduled to draft all the way down there at pick #32 but in-the-know folks say they’ll schmooze with Detroit at #8 where the Pats believe they can draft a quality defensive lineman – Clemson’s Clelin Ferrell or the above-mentioned Simmons – while there’s already chatter that the Los Angeles Rams (slotted to pick at #31) would like to slip into the top 10 and get their hands on one of those many edge rushers so that Aaron Donald catches a break. If the Rams can make a match with Buffalo at #9, then maybe Miss State’s Montez Sweat can be theirs.
NOTE: Catch our College Hoop updates plus lots more in the next edition of Jim Sez.