Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 12:00 AM
OUR JIM SEZ NCAA TOURNAMENT REPORT –
WE GO ‘ROUND THE COUNTRY WITH
OUR REGION-BY-REGION SKETCHES PLUS
LET YOU KNOW WHAT TEAMS SPORT
THE “BEST VALUE” TO WIN IT ALL
Go right ahead and compile all the statistical data you’d like when it comes to this year’s NCAA Tournament … and then we’ll tell you this factoid:
Since 2000, #1 seeds have copped 13 of the last 19 national championships while #2 and #3 seeds have combined to snatch up five titles and then 7th-seeded UConn won all the marbles back in 2014.
In other words, everyone likes to be “cute” with their brackets out there but the proverbial bottom line is #1, #2 and #3 seeds generally cut down the nets at year’s end.
So, maybe we should cut ESPN some slack after their panel of experts all went down the path of picking the hoop heavyweights of the college b-ball world to be this year’s champions but better believe there will be the usual shockers – a double-digit seed (or two) advancing to the Sweet 16 and perhaps a monster-sized underdog (or two) banging out a Round of 64 upset. Happens every year, right?
We’ll take you on a region-by-region tour of what’s straight ahead in this men’s tournament in just a moment but first this key reminder …
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are revved up to deliver a ton of winners in this year’s NCAA Tournament beginning with tonight’s First Four games between FDU vs. Prairie View A&M and Belmont vs. Temple and tomorrow’s First Four tilts between NC Central vs. North Dakota State and then St. John’s vs. Arizona State – and don’t forget there’s plenty of other tourney winners in the NIT, CBI and College Insider Tournament too – so make sure you’re along for the ride all through March and right into April. Plus, there’s daily NBA winners and the Alliance of American Football hops back into action this Saturday/Sunday. Check out the daily winning selections right here online at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Keep in mind when there’s day-time hoops in the NCAA Tournament this Thursday/Friday, and we’ll have our selections bright and early for you!
NCAA TOURNAMENT / REGION-BY-REGION
THE EAST –
No surprise here as Duke is the head-and-shoulders favorite to get to its gazillionth Final Four under head coach Mike Krzyzewski and remember here that the Blue Devils probably will be twin-figure betting favorite right up to the Elite 8 – but don’t expect us to be laying those bloated price tags, okay? Odds are #2 seed Michigan State’s gonna be on the overpriced side too as Sparty is an 18.5-point favorite against Bradley in Round I and that’s surely higher than our numbers would suggest. If you’re looking down the road, then #4 seed Virginia Tech and #6 seed Maryland could get our attention as underdog sides or if they’re smallish betting favs. Gotta warn you, though, that the Belmont vs. Temple winner could be a real handful for the aforementioned Maryland Terrapins … don’t at least one of these “First Four” teams always raise some heck once they survive these so-called out-bracket affairs?
THE WEST –
Here’s the reality when it comes to the #1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs: They’ve had a larger segment of their history of disappointing fans / bettors come NCAA Tournament time although must admit the team’s 21-12 pointspread record this 2018-19 season is excellent. The ‘Zags catch tonight’s FDU vs. Prairie View A&M winner on Thursday and so expect that price tag to be in the 25-point area and then the West Coast Conference crew will be at least 8-point favs against Syracuse/Baylor … who needs it! One team in the West Region that has our attention is Nevada – the Wolf Pack were beaten by a nose hair against Loyola-Chicago in last year’s Sweet 16 but we think the low seed here (a #7) and last year’s tourney experience could propel the Martin Twins and friends to a deep run. Meanwhile, seems as if #4 seed Florida State is everyone’s “flavor of the week” these days but can we remind you the Seminoles were a money-losing 16-18 ATS (against the spread) this year.
THE SOUTH –
Here’s the lowdown: Oregon, Villanova and Cincinnati were high-profile teams from high-profile leagues that won their respective conference tournaments last week. Wisconsin, Kansas State, Purdue and Tennessee are high-profile teams from high-profiles leagues that didn’t. Ahh, but it’s those clubs that were stopped shy of mini-tourney titles that may have more “jump” in their legs here and we shall keep all of ‘em in mind if/when they are in the underdog role. It’s worth noting there’s only one coach in this region that’s copped a national title – and Villanova’s Jay Wright has won two of them in the past three years – and so that’s worth remembering the deeper the ‘Cats get in this tourney. Folks, can’t hide the fact that #1 seed Virginia is “the story” here after becoming the first-ever top seed to lose to a #16 last year against UMBC but gotta believe the oddsmakers will hike up any/all Cavs prices this March.
THE MIDWEST –
Generally considered to be the toughest region of ‘em all – see #1 North Carolina, #2 Kentucky, #3 Houston, #4 Kansas to go along with #5 Auburn (the SEC Tournament champ for the first time in 34 years) and #6 Iowa State (the Big 12 Tournament champ) – the Midwest could be offering plenty of Round of 32 and Sweet 16 “value”. Note that there are two games in Round I that feature non-power conference teams laying points to power league squads – that’s #8 Utah State (- 2.5) vs. Washington and also #7 Wofford (- 3) against Seton Hall. Hmm. But back to the blueblood teams for a moment: North Carolina is 20-11-1 ATS this year while Kentucky is 16-16-1 spreadwise and so, perhaps, the Tar Heels have not been respected nearly enough and the UK Wildcats have been respected too much. P.S., we say Houston is the best overall #3 seed in this tourney and note the Coogs cashed plenty this year at 20-12-2 versus the vig.
NCAA TOURNAMENT – “BEST VALUE” FOR ODDS TO WIN IT ALL
Looking to be the smartest guy on the block … then forget taking Duke at + 225 to win this year’s championship and take a powder on Gonzaga at 5-to-1 and Virginia at 6-to-1. Instead, if you wanted to take real value here then consider a couple of real longshots in Nevada at 65-to-1 and Virginia Tech at 75-to-1 and look at “underpriced” North Carolina at 6-to-1 odds.
If you like to tie in these win-it-all plays with savvy tourney coaches then maybe you wish to take a flyer on Villanova (60-to-1) or perhaps Syracuse (85-to-1).
NOTE: We’ve got NCAA Basketball coverage all this weekend right here at Jim Sez – so don’t miss out and make sure you’re rollin’ up all the winners at 1-800-323-4453 or right here online at www.jimhurley.com