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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 7, 2011 at 10:39 AM

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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