Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, March 29, 2019 at 12:00 AM
HERE’S THE FRIDAY NCAA TOURNAMENT
SWEET 16 MENU … SO, ENJOY!
Okay, so much of last night’s NCAA Tourney Sweet 16 action wasn’t very pretty but the proverbial bottom line is #1 seeds Gonzaga and Virginia survived and advanced (#2 seeds Tennessee and Michigan weren’t so fortunate!) … now will #1 seeds North Carolina and Duke get into Sunday’s Elite 8 games?
We’ll all be checking it out this evening.
Now hear this …
Jim Hurley’s Network brings you all the winners in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and Elite 8 this week/ weekend along with all the other College Basketball Tournies, the NBA and MLB … get ‘em right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
THE NCAA TOURNAMENT – SWEET 16
Here’s quick-hitter previews on all four of Friday night’s games:
EAST – at Washington, D.C.
#3 LSU (28-6) vs. #2 MICHIGAN STATE (30-6) – 7:09 p.m. ET, CBS
No hiding the fact that Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans – always one of the best board teams in the country – would like to muck it up here and make this an uber-physical affair against an LSU crew that needs PG Tremont Waters to “hold his own” here against Sparty star Cassius Winston (18.9 ppg, 7.5 apg). It was Waters that scored the game-winning hoop against Maryland in last Saturday’s Round of 32 battle royal and here LSU’s interim boss Tony Benford will ask the Waters/Javonte Smart backcourt duo to possess the ball plenty and keep Winston from making key plays on the other end of the floor. Spread note … Michigan State is a snazzy 25-11 ATS (against the spread) this year.
#4 VIRGINIA TECH (26-8) vs. #1 DUKE (31-5) – approximately 9:39 p.m. ET
Folks, the die-hard Duke fans may not want to hear it but the only reason the Blue Devils have made it here to their 27th appearance in the Sweet 16 is because frosh RJ Barrett pushed off to grab a Zion Williamson missed free throw and then stuck it back up for the game-winning points in last Sunday’s 77-76 non-cover win against 13-point underdog UCF … go watch the replay again and you’ll see for yourself! Now, let’s fast forward to this all-ACC tilt in the nation’s capital and both Williamson (32 points against UCF) and Barrett (averaging a team-best 22.8 ppg) are geared up after Mike Krzyzewski’s crew lost its one-and-only regular-season meeting against V-Tech 77-72 back on Feb. 26th (Williamson missed the game with an ankle injury). The Hokies – a 7-point pup here – are playing free-and-easy in this year’s tourney with wins against Saint Louis and Liberty … tell us PG Justin Robinson plays 30-or-so minutes here and Tech has a shot. Spread note … Duke is 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven games.
MIDWEST – at Kansas City, MO
#5 AUBURN (28-9) vs. #1 NORTH CAROLINA (29-6) – 7:29 p.m. ET, TBS
The road to Minneapolis is chock-filled with #1, #2 and #3 seeds this year and so no wonder 5-point pup Auburn appears to be some type of “intruder” here … but gotta admit we’ve heard more pro-War Eagle talk in the past 24-to-36 hours than you can imagine! Sure, Bruce Pearl’s club cleaned Kansas’ collective clock last Saturday in Round of 32 play with a convincing 89-75 win but can Auburn play jackrabbit ball with this Carolina team that owns a + 10 per-game rebounding advantage over its opponents and don’t forget what a great interior passing team Roy Williams has with veteran Luke Maye (14.9 ppg/ 10.6 rpg) and smoothie Cam Johnson (16.9 ppg) better than anyone Auburn puts on the floor. Okay, so key UNC reserve Nassir Little – who is averaging 19.5 ppg through the first two tourney tilts – has flu-like symptoms and may not see many (or any) minutes here. Spread note … Since March 2nd, Auburn’s covered six of its last eight games.
#3 HOUSTON (33-3) vs. #2 KENTUCKY (29-6) – approximately 9:59 p.m. ET, TBS
A pair of #3 seeds powered their way through to Elite 8 action – hats off to defensive demon Texas Tech and blue-collar toughie Purdue – and now the $64,000 question is whether Kelvin Sampson’s apparent last rodeo (he’s the odds-on favorite to coach Arkansas next year) will produce a mild upset against blueblooded Kentucky. Houston ranks seventh in the land in scoring defense (allowing 61 ppg) and G Corey Davis Jr is quite capable of getting hot and staying hot … but don’t ignore the fact John Calipari’s Wildcats played wonderful perimeter defense last weekend in beating Wofford. Gut feeling is the key here will be whether the Coogs can win the board battle. Do so and they’re headed to a Sunday game. P.S., Kentucky needs a double-double from Reid Travis, or else! Spread note … Houston is a dazzling 23-12-1 against the odds this hoops season.
NCAA TOURNAMENT POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART
Here’s a pointspread look at the conferences / leagues still alive in this year’s NCAA Tournament as we head into Sweet 16 action on this Friday night:
CONF/LEAGUE WON LOST TIED PCT
Pac-12 5 2 0 .714
American Athletic 4 2 0 .667
Big 10 11 6 0 .647
Big 12 7 4 0 .636
West Coast 2 2 0 .500
SEC 4 9 0 .308
ACC 4 10 0 .286
NOTE: More NCAA Tournament, NBA, Major-League Baseball and AAF winners all weekend long here at www.jimhurley.com