Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Know when you've heard way too much about the Super Bowl and all that it involves/encompasses?
The answer is when you know whom Madonna is rooting for in Sunday's showdown in Indianapolis!
Okay, so "The Material Girl" is the much-ballyhooed halftime entertainment in Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots - she's already promised that there will be no wardrobe malfunction (and that's probably good!) - and she claims to have a rooting interest in Eli Manning and the Giants.
What, you didn't care either?
Well, they finally will kick off one of the most-hyped Super Bowl games in the sport's now 46-year old history right 'round 6:30 p.m. ET Sunday and we can put all the talk, all the jibberish behind us and find out once and for all who's the king of the NFL this year.
In the meantime, the College Basketball world is brimming with "super" showdowns all weekend long and we'll take a swing around the land at look at four matchups - all pitting Top 25 teams against one another -- that have caught our eye plus we'll weigh in with some Super Bowl XLVI props shortly but first this key reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will get you the Super Bowl XLVI Sides & Totals Winners this Sunday plus there's always lots of College Basketball and NBA Winners too each and every day when you check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. The check-in times are after 1 p.m. ET for all the Monday-through-Friday weeknight action and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays ... so get 'em while they're red-hot and make sure you finish off the football season with a real bang!
COLLEGE B-BALL WEEKEND PREVIEWS
On Saturday, it's...
#3 OHIO STATE (19-3, 7-2 Big 10) at #19 WISCONSIN (18-5, 7-3 Big 10) - 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
Maybe you recall last year's O-State Buckeyes trip to Wisconsin when the Badgers furiously rallied back from way back to win one of the real signature games of that 2010-11 campaign and now two of the nation's elite defensive squads buck heads in Madison - note that Wisconsin yields just 49.5 points per game to rank numero uno in the Big 10 while Ohio State is next-best while allowing just 55.6 ppg but it says here the winner of this conference clash will be the one that can make more triples.
No doubt that Wisconsin's defensive strategy here will be to limit the touches in the paint for Buckeyes' sophomore star Jared Sullinger (a team-leading 17.1 ppg) but if G William Buford (35 treys to lead the 'Eyes) just drains a trifecta in key moments it could push Thad Matta's club over the hump here.
Keep in mind the Buckeyes average 77.2 ppg to rank second in the Big 10 and here they shoot for a fifth consecutive win and note Ohio State's won its last four games by a per-game average of 22.5 points ... maybe the 'Eyes are peaking, after all!
#1 KENTUCKY (22-1, 8-0 SEC) at SOUTH CAROLINA (9-12, 1-6 SEC) - 6 p.m. ET, ESPN
If it possible that John Calipari's Kentucky Wildcats are getting bored inside Southeastern Conference play? The reason we ask that is because the 'Cats are clearly head-and-shoulders better than any other team in the league these days as freshman C/F Anthony Davis makes his case as National Player of the Year: Davis was your ultimate stat-sheet stuffer in Tuesday's 69-44 rubout win against 15 ½-point road dog Tennessee as the beanpole-like star led all scorers with 18 points to go along with 8 rebounds, 7 blocked shots and 3 assists but the $64,000 question here is will an aggressive South Carolina club go "right at" Davis in this duel?
The Gamecocks have dropped their last four consecutive head-to-head matchups versus Kentucky but historians take note that these SEC clubs have played some 12 games decided by 8 points or less since 2000 and so this may wind up being a closer-than-they-think affair providing SC can get Davis in early foul problems and providing South Carolina G Bruce Ellington (11.1 ppg) can get heated up on the perimeter against one of the best perimeter-defense teams in the land.
#8 KANSAS (18-4, 8-1 Big 12) at #4 MISSOURI (20-2, 7-2 Big 12) - 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
The whole ESPN circus, err, crew comes to Columbia for the prime-time affair that's sure to answer lots of pre-Super Bowl Sunday questions: Like are these Mizzou Tigers the real deal?
No doubt that Frank Haith's club showed major gumption late in last Monday's 67-66 win at 1 ½-point favorite Texas as Michael Dixon's lay-up with 31 ticks left proved to be the game-winner in a tilt that saw the Tigers attempt only 11 free throws ... hmmm.
If Missouri goes strong to the hoop here with Dixon and fellow guards Marcus Demon and Flip Pressey (among others) than Kansas will need its front-line players to swat away some shots while steering clear of foul woes. Betcha didn't know that the Jayhawks' seven-foot center Jeff Withey has 68 blocks this year while do-it-all forward Thomas Robinson - the best all-around player on Bill Self's 2011-12 squad - ranks second with 27 blocked shots.
If both are not extremely active in the rejection department here, than Kansas could lose for a second time within the past three games (see Iowa State 72, Kansas 64 back on January 28th).
On Sunday, it's ...
#23 MICHIGAN (17-6, 7-3 Big 10) at #9 MICHIGAN STATE (17-5, 6-3 Big 10) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
Might as well get your "Super Sunday" started with a top-flight college b-ball game from Big 10 land as this is a true revenge game for the M-State Spartans: Tom Izzo's club came up 60-59 losers in Ann Arbor back on the evening of January 17th and you might recall after the game Izzo being totally bummed out while admitting that he did not like Michigan one bit and hinted that he thought some "home cooking" calls did in "Sparty" on this night. Now, Michigan State - which attempted just five free throws in that first showdown versus the maize-and-blue - may well have to go it here without veteran star forward Draymond Green (sprained left knee) who went down in a crumpled mess in the 42-41 heat-break loss at 1 ½-point dog Illinois this past Tuesday night.
If Green - who is averaging 14.9 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals a game -- is not green-lighted for this Big 10 intra-state battle, than Michigan State's game plan changes with more emphasis on making this an open-court affair - but than does that play into the hands of Michigan with multi-faceted G Tim Hardaway, Jr. (15.1 ppg) showing off his NBA-type moves? Stay tuned - and don't break out the six-foot sandwich just yet!
SUPER BOWL XLVI PROPS
Let's touch on some of the prop plays that are being offered for SB 46 between the Giants and Patriots:
WILL THE GAME GO INTO OVERTIME? ... Hey, we've been telling folks all week long that this is a coin-flip type affair as far as we can see it - the Pats are listed as either a 2 ½- or 3-point betting favorite depending on your locale but it sure seems like the Giants are being talked' up like the chalk side - and so it might not be such a bad idea to plunk down a bob or two on "yes" for this OT question considering the current odds have it at + 500 to a $100 play. Give it a whirl.
TOTAL AMOUNT OF TOUCHDOWNS BY BOTH TEAMS COMBINED ... For all the folks out there saying it will be a shootout (and it may well be) it's rather interesting that for this Super Bowl prop play the price is 6 ½ TDs and you have the lay the - 130 price to go "under". Let everyone else tell you that both teams will score in the 30s here Or 40s, for that matter), the smart money says go "under" 6 ½ TDs in Super Bowl XLVI and so go ahead and lay the vig price and watch for no more than 5 TDs to be scored in all.
WILL PATRIOTS RB BENJARVUS GREEN-ELLIS SCORE A TOUCHDOWN? ... Go ahead and say "yes" and take the + 130 price to boot. Odds are Green-Ellis will get more carries than the "experts" think plus he could score on a Tom Brady pass coming out of the backfield here and that would count too.
Okay, so is our Super Bowl tradition we usually come up with three prop plays and hope to nail at least two of 'em and - while the "Going into OT" bit might seem a reach, it's worth a minimum-sized wager here as a just-in-case item.
Good luck. More Super Bowl 46 coverage plus College Hoops too in the next edition of Jim Sez.