Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, February 18, 2019 at 12:00 AM
COLLEGE BASKETBALL'S BLOCKBUSTER WEEK - HERE'S THE BEST GAMES EVERY DAY THIS MONDAY-THRU-THURSDAY ...
PLUS, THE AAF GETS COOKIN' WITH SOME WEEK 2 DANDIES INCLUDING ORLANDO-SAN ANTONIO "OVER" WINNER FOR JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK
Okay, so following last night's three-point crazy NBA All-Star Game - see Team LeBron 178, Team Giannis 164 - we bid adieu to the pro hoopsters until Thursday night as they continue a looong break and hats off to All-Star MVP Kevin Durant who continues to amaze with the sweetest stroke we've ever seen from a big man. Durant's 31-point / 7-rebound game was the best of the best in Charlotte on Sunday night but how about the stat lines on a couple of other legends: Stephon Curry shot a dismal 6-of-23 from the floor including going 4-of-17 from beyond the three-point arc and James Harden drilled just 4-of-13 triples! Double ugh! Hey, NBA, we'll catch up to you in a few days.
Meanwhile, the College B-Ball world keeps heating up as we veer towards Selection Sunday on March 17th and in a moment, we'll highlight the team "Game of the Night" from this evening through Thursday night but first this key reminder ...
Don't miss out as we continue to pile up the profits in 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 and don't forget the Alliance of American Football has two games each/every Saturday and two more games every Sunday between now and late April ... cash in with more gridiron winners this weekend.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT
You better believe we're getting down to crunch time in the world of College Basketball - we're now less than a month out from the always-fun Selection Show and so let's check out the key games this Monday-thru-Friday:
Tonight, it's ...
#4 VIRGINIA (22-2, 10-2) at #22 VIRGINIA TECH (20-5, 9-4) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
You might have seen the Las Vegas price tag going up, up and away here as the visiting Virginia Cavaliers opened as a 3.5-point betting favorite and it's climbed to minus 6 points at last glance - folks, remember that always-patient Virginia is a sizzling 17-7 ATS (against the spread) this year and that includes a rollicking 81-59 win back in Charlottesville as 7.5-point favorites on Jan. 15th. Kyle Guy and De'Andre Hunter each have scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games but how will they fare here against Tech's newfangled matchup zone?
On Tuesday, it's ...
#5 KENTUCKY (21-4, 10-2) at MISSOURI (12-12, 3-9) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Now that the Kentucky Wildcats have extinguished former #1 Tennessee's 19-game winning streak, what's next for John Calipari's ever-improving squad? Heck, if you would have told us back in December that these 'Cats could be a numero uno seed in next month's NCAA Tournament we would have looked at you cross-eyed but here's Kentucky having covered nine of its last 10 games since Jan. 15th with forward P.J. Washington fresh off a 23-point outing / 5-rebound outing versus the Vols. Will there be a letdown here with Kentucky installed as the large road fav in this SEC affair?
On Wednesday, it's ...
#8 NORTH CAROLINA (20-5, 10-2) at #2 DUKE (23-2, 11-1) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
Finally, we get to a UNC-Duke showdown - and whatever happened to these rivals playing in the first week in February? Gotta say that both of these ACC powerhouses have been solid bets this year with the Dookies heading into this clash at Cameron at 15-10 versus the vig (and, obviously, against some very heavy-duty numbers) while Carolina is 14-9-1 ATS overall and that includes covers in six of its last eight games and 10 of its last 14 ... super! If the road-dog Tar Heels wish to hang in there here, then bodying up Zion Williamson (22.4 points per game) is a key and cutting off the sight lines of Duke's top scorer RJ Barrett (team-leading 22.7 ppg) is another absolute must but look for a potential X-factor to be North Carolina's free-throw shooting as the Heels' top five scorers all shoot at or around 80 percent from the stripe. Figure Duke will show some zone defense looks here and try to limit UNC's free-throw attempts in this titanic showdown.
On Thursday, it's ...
#6 MICHIGAN (23-3, 12-3) at MINNESOTA (17-9, 7-8) - 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
The Michigan Wolverines have been a bit wobbly the past couple of weeks - see losses to Penn State and Iowa this month - but John Beilein's crew still has a legit shot to land in a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament if things pan out just right ... and that begins with the maize-and-blue winning the Big 10 Tournament. If Michigan's gonna get some momentum rollin' towards the mini-tourney, that defense - ranked 4th nationally - must keep Minny shooting in the mid-to-high 30s here. Keep in mind Michigan failed to cover the Golden Gophers back on Jan. 22 when 12.5-point underdog Minnesota covered in a 59-57 loss. P.S., the Wolverines are only 14-12 against the odds overall this 2018-19 season.
THE AAF UPDATE
Okay, so Week 2 in the brand-new Alliance of American Football (AAF) is in the books and betting favorites now are a collective 6-2 against the spread in this spring league with both 6.5-point favorite Orlando and 9.5-point fav San Diego each nabbing covers in Sunday action ... and Jim Hurley cashed with "over" 45 points in Orlando's come-from-behind 37-29 win as Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert threw for 393 yards and two touchdowns while WR Charles Johnson - the former Minnesota Vikings' pass-catcher - wound up with seven grabs for 192 yards and a score.
The underdogs cashed in the two Saturday games as 8-point pup Salt Lake City covered in a 12-9 loss to Birmingham; while 11.5-point dog Memphis easily slipped under the price tag in that 20-18 loss to Arizona.
Believe it or not, there's only one 2-and-oh spread side in the AAF and it's head ball coach Steve Spurrier's Orlando squad ... hip, hip, hooray!
NOTE: More College B-Ball News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.