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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 11:26 AM

A Few Under The Radar College B'Ball Attention Grabbers

Below is a list of teams that have shown in the early going that they are either WORTHY OF CONSIDERED SUPPORT or should be looked at as LEGITIMATE TARGETS. This is the first of what will be a four or five part feature that will be serialized every couple of days as we head through the remainder of mostly non-conference play.

Make sure you check back to these pages for further updates.

MONEY EARNERS

Boise State- (7-1 SU...5-2 ATS...5-1 as Favorite...0-1 As Dog)
Solid returning core and strong offensive presence have contributed to profitable early start for Bronco backers. Line is growing, but seeing that the 5-1 ATS Favorite success rate has been by an average of 13 points above the line, there is still room to maneuver. And with weak Portland coming to town (figure as 20+ fave) and road trips to LSU and Denver (could be dog at both since Denver playing well...and if made favorite there it would be a loud statement) on deck, they might be worth looking at right into the start of conference play.

BYU- (6-2 SU...3-2 ATS...but 3-0 ATS as Favorite)
Post Fredette era was supposed to be a struggle but it appears as though the Cougars are beating who they are supposed to. And with 4 of next 5 figuring to be winnable games in the favorite role (Weber State, Utah, Buffalo, Cal-Santa Barbara...with possible small dog in Baylor visit in between) would take a long look at the dynamics over the next few weeks.

Creighton- (8-0 SU...4-0 ATS...1-0 as Favorite...3-0 as Dog)
It was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Blue Jays, but apparently they forgot to notify the staff and players. Upset wins at UAB, on a neutral court vs Iowa and at San Diego State before solid 10 point win as favorite over Nebraska are buy signs. But because they have played as many non-lined as lined games Creighton could still fly a bit under the radar for a few more games (at St. Joe's, at Tulsa and home to Northwestern in 3 of next 4...other non-lined) so attention is warranted.

Eastern Washington- (4-3 SU...5-1 ATS...4-1 ATS as Dog...1-0 ATS as favorite)
Big Sky denizens are an experienced and cohesive group (top eight scorers and minutes grabbers are either seniors or juniors) that will not get rattled by either upper level non-conference foes (covered at Oregon and Gonzaga before lone bad game of season on Sunday at Washington State.) In fact, the lopsided loss to the Cougars will probably put the Eagles right back in the shadows in upcoming matchups with CS-Fullerton, UCLA and St. Mary's.

Elon- (6-2 SU...5-2 ATS...4-1 ATS as Dog...1-0 ATS as Favorite)
The answer to your two-part question is...Elon is from Elon, North Carolina and they play in the Southern Conference.  The Phoenix have beaten South Carolina and Princeton outright and covered at N.C. State. They have won their two conference games (vs Furman and at UNC-Greensboro) by comfortable margins and have to be considered live at Dartmouth and San Diego State following a "scrimmage" with Lynchburg on 12/11. They might even be worth a look as a big dog at North Carolina on 12/29.

Georgetown- (7-1 SU...5-0 ATS...3-0 ATS as Favorite...2-0 ATS as Dog)
Generally speaking one wouldn't consider the Hoyas and under-the-radar team, but with all the pre-season analysis stressing the rebuilding needs and youth of the perennial Big East power it is definitely a consideration. In any case, their lone SU loss/cover was by 4 to Kansas and their spotless cash-it mark includes outright dog wins over Memphis and Alabama. The experts will begin to take notice, but after a pair of non-liners they've got a return matchup with Memphis and their Big East opener with Louisville followed by Providence and Marquette at home, so a close look at a possible streak continuing is advisable.


MONEY BURNERS

Arizona- (6-2 SU...1-6 ATS...all as Favorite)
Although the Wildcats have eked their way to a 6-2 SU mark there is definitely a question mark as to how long it will take Sean Miller to stitch together the fabric of a tight fit from so many young pieces. As long as the name Arizona carries weight, would look hard at going against, especially with Florida, Clemson and Gonzaga on deck...and even if you can get an outlaw line vs tough Oakland, which follows those three.

Austin Peay- (1-9 SU...2-8 ATS)
"Governors" having a difficult time shooting straight and even in lone win last time out vs lowly Arkansas State they failed to cover 5 point line. Only two covers came during three-in-three night tourney when they paid off as dogs in losses. They have a history of getting it together in conference play, but until then would take hard look at go-against possibility.

Cal-Davis- (1-7 SU...1-6 ATS...0-3 ATS as Favorite...1-3 ATS as Dog)
Aggies struggling mightily due to lack of athletic size and woeful defense (5 of last 6 opponents have shot between 47 and 56% against them.) Lone cover came in 15 point loss as 19 point dog vs San Diego State team that had Baylor and USC on deck in 3 games in 5 days stretch. And with second leading scorer Ryan Sypkens nursing a sore knee, things don't figure to get much better with four road games prior to Christmas.

Detroit- (4-6 SU...2-6 ATS...2-2 ATS as Dog...0-4 ATS as Favorite)
Best thing an anti-Titan bettor could have gotten was win over St. John's on Monday night (12/6.) That win over an obviously struggling to shoot straight Red Storm squad might be perceived as more than  it was and lead to continued over-estimation of Detroit who will continue to struggle until and when Eli Holman returns from suspension...especially with upcoming matchups with Western Michigan, Alabama and Mississippi State.

Idaho State- (2-6 SU...1-5 ATS...1-3 ATS as Dog...0-2 ATS at Pick)
So far a dearth of perimeter talent and short rotation has left the Bengals clawless during their non-conference schedule. Even given a big cushion vs New Mexico and Boise State (24 point loss to each) hasn't helped their backers and since their dog allowance has already been pretty much pushed to the limit, their inability to sustain scoring runs (averaging just 59 points in lined games) should continue to make them an attractive target at Loyola-Marymount and even at struggling Utah before pre-Christmas home tussle with improving Wyoming. A go-against until further notice. 

 

COLLEGE BASKETBALL MID-WEEK REPORT

HOW ABOUT A LOUD "SHOUT-OUT" TO #25 HARVARD, PLUS WE CHECK IN ON TONIGHT'S #8 XAVIER AT BUTLER TILT ON ESPN ...

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART

By Jim Hurley:

Hooray for Harvard!

The Crimson bolted into the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time - ever! - this past weekend following an electric 8-and-oh start although most folks will tell you Harvard's stay here won't be long ...

The Ivy Leaguers are at #9 Connecticut on Thursday night. Gulp!

Still, it's been a real blast for the gang from Cambridge as "name" wins against the likes of Utah, Loyola-Marymount and Florida State have energized the College Basketball fan base on campus even if everyone's studying hard for their upcoming finals.

Harvard - which has never been to the NCAA Tournament - isn't exactly atop the stat charts in any specific category as the Crimson currently ranks 193rd nationally in points scored (that's 67.6 ppg) and a lowly 254th nationally in rebounding (only 33.6 boards-per-outing) but head coach Tommy Amaker - remember him? - and his guys play well together and 6-foot-8 senior F Keith Wright has been a sturdy force while leading the team in both points and rebs, respectively, at 11.4 ppg and 6.8 rpg.

Harvard sits at #24 in this week's ESPN Coaches Poll and so Amaker's club will be a major storyline in this Thursday espn2 clash at heavy-duty favorite UConn but at least this Ivy League team has gotten off that rather infamous list of hoop squads that have not appeared in the AP Top 25 since 1948-49 when the poll was first born.

Note that the up-to-date list now without Harvard includes Brown, The Citadel, Colgate, Furman, Lafayette, Lehigh and William & Mary. So there!

Now if only Harvard can hang tough all 2011-12 season long and we maybe get Amaker versus Mike Krzyzewski (Duke) in an NCAA Tournament game in March than that'll be a real hoot!
 
In other College Basketball News & Notes, there are eight ranked teams in action on this first Wednesday night in December and we're keeping an especially close eye on ...

#8 XAVIER (6-0) at BUTLER (4-4) - 9 p.m. ET, espn2
The Xavier Musketeers have been the kings of late-game comebacks the last couple of outings. Heck, the X-men were down 19 points with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second half last Saturday before staging a major rally in its 66-63 non-cover home win against 5-point road dog Purdue as ultra-exciting G Tu Holloway scored 13 points in the game's final 5:10 for Chris Mack's club and let's not forget Holloway's super-duper showing in that 82-70 overtime win at 3-point fav Vanderbilt back on Nov. 28th.

Folks, all Holloway did there was register 10 of his 24 points in the extra session ... so you know there's some real magic at work here with Xavier so far this 2011-12 campaign and don't be shocked if they are hangin' around the Top 10 from here through March. Not so the case with these Butler Bulldogs.

The national championship runners-up the past two years have been stumbling around and did you know Butler missed 10 layups in last Saturday's 77-71 overtime loss to 5 ½-point road pup Valpo? No wonder brainy Bulldogs' boss-man Brad Stevens has been so frustrated but he's hoping here that senior G Ronald Nored - who poured in a career-high 17 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists before fouling out against Valpo - will rally his rather desperate squad here. Tune in, why don't you!

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will win big-time in NFL Week 14 action with the Thursday Night tilt between the Cleveland Browns at the Pittsburgh Steelers (yes, that's the Side & Totals winners) and don't forget all the NFL Football & Basketball action and Saturday's Army-Navy showdown. Go ahead and make sure you get all the Football and Basketball winners at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else go online right here.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL POINTSPREAD BREAKDOWN CHART

Folks, there are a whopping total of 70 College Football Bowl Teams on parade from December 17th right through the BCS Championship Game between #1 LSU versus #2 Alabama on the night of January 9th and so we'll lay the foundation for all upcoming Jim Sez Bowl Previews with this Pointspread Breakdown Chart. Here's the just-completed regular-season pointspread marks of all 70 teams - note that (x-) Navy still has one game remaining this weekend against archrival Army:

TEAM WON LOST PUSH PCT
Arkansas State 10 2 0 .833
Louisiana Tech 10 2 0 .833
Stanford 9 2 1 .818
Houston 10 3 0 .769
LSU 10 3 0 .769
Kansas State 9 3 0 .750
Oklahoma State 9 3 0 .750
Vanderbilt 9 3 0 .750
Western Michigan 8 3 0 .727
Michigan State 9 4 0 .692
Southern Miss 9 4 0 .692
Alabama 8 4 0 .667
BYU 8 4 0 .667
UL-Lafayette 8 4 0 .667
Louisville 8 4 0 .667
Rutgers 8 4 0 .667
Temple 8 4 0 .667
Baylor 7 4 0 .636
Michigan 7 4 0 .636
Clemson 8 5 0 .615
Georgia 8 5 0 .615
Arkansas 7 5 0 .583
California 7 5 0 .583
Iowa State 7 5 0 .583
Pittsburgh 7 5 0 .583
Toledo 7 5 0 .583
Tulsa 7 5 0 .583
Wake Forest 7 5 0 .583
Washington 7 5 0 .583
Marshall 6 5 0 .545
x-Navy 6 5 0 .545
West Virginia 6 5 0 .545
Oregon 7 6 0 .538
Wisconsin 7 6 0 .538
Cincinnati 6 6 0 .500
FIU 6 6 0 .500
Florida State 6 6 0 .500
Miss State 6 6 0 .500
Missouri 6 6 0 .500
North Carolina 6 6 0 .500
Ohio State 6 6 0 .500
Oklahoma 6 6 0 .500
South Carolina 6 6 0 .500
Texas 6 6 0 .500
Utah State 6 6 0 .500
Virginia 6 6 0 .500
Ohio 6 7 0 .462
Georgia Tech 5 6 1 .454
N.C. State 5 6 1 .454
TCU 5 6 1 .454
Air Force 5 7 0 .417
Illinois 5 7 0 .417
Iowa 5 7 0 .417
Nebraska 5 7 0 .417
Nevada 5 7 0 .417
Northwestern 5 7 0 .417
Notre Dame 5 7 0 .417
Purdue 5 7 0 .417
San Diego State 5 7 0 .417
Utah 5 7 0 .417
Northern Illinois 5 8 0 .385
UCLA 5 8 0 .385
Arizona State 4 8 0 .333
Auburn 4 8 0 .333
Boise State 4 8 0 .333
Florida 4 8 0 .333
SMU 4 8 0 .333
Virginia Tech 4 9 0 .308
Penn State 3 9 0 .250
Texas A&M 3 9 0 .250

POINTSPREAD NOTES ...

  • Baylor's 48-0 win on Sept. 17th against 30-point underdog Stephen F. Austin did not count as an official wager because the game was stopped because of inclement weather with 2:58 remaining in the third quarter.

  • Also, West Virginia's 34-13 win against 21 ½-point underdog Marshall on Sept. 4th did not count as a wager because the game was stopped because of foul weather with 14:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.

  • Finally, Michigan's 34-10 win on Sept. 3rd against 14 ½-point underdog Western Michigan did not count as a wager because the game was halted thanks to bad weather with 1:27 remaining in the third quarter.

NOTE: Catch our NFL Week 14 Thursday Night Preview - that's the Browns at the Steelers - plus lots more in tomorrow's jam-packed edition of Jim Sez and don't forget we'll have our final Heisman Trophy Watch List in Friday's Jim Sez ... so don't miss out as we pick the winner of this year's coveted Heisman award!

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