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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at 12:26 PM

PLUS COLLEGE BASKETBALL MINI-TOURNEY STUFF

Okay, so nobody out there needs to remind us that “March Madness” is officially here … even if the NCAA Tournament doesn’t tip off till the night of Tuesday, March 15th.
Still, the fact of the matter is there’s some great NBA games going on every single night of the week – or did you happen to miss Golden State’s 109-105 non-cover overtime win against 5.5-point pup Atlanta this past Tuesday night … yes, indeed, a winner for the good folks that get their selections right here from Jim Hurley!

In tonight’s NBA, it’s …

SAN ANTONIO (50-9) at NEW ORLEANS (23-35) – 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Talk about getting the Rodney Dangerfield treatment … the San Antonio Spurs entered last night’s home game versus Detroit having enjoyed one of the greatest single  months in NBA history (see 11-1 in February) and yet who on a national level even whispers about Gregg Popvich’s crew?

Maybe the TNT cast will give ‘em some “love” this evening but know this: All-Star F Kawhi Leonard (20.5 ppg) and F LaMarcus Aldridge (16.9 ppg) have been the leading scorers in eight of these last 11 Spurs’ games and the last time these teams played one another there was Aldridge pouring in a game-high 36 points in a 110-97 win/cover against the then 12.5-point underdog Pelicans. Just sayin!

OKLAHOMA CITY (42-18) at GOLDEN STATE (54-5) – approximately 10:35 p.m. ET, TNT
Everyone and his brother wants to know if Warriors’ G Steph Curry (30.7 ppg and hitting 47 percent of his three-point shots this year) will be active here after missing Tuesday’s aforementioned OT win against the Hawks with a bum ankle and odds are Curry’s sitting out here (officially listed as “questionable” by the Golden State folks) along with versatile former NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala (hamstring) who was one of the many heroes last Saturday night when G-State snagged that thrilling 121-118 OT win at 3-point underdog Oklahoma City.

Can the Thunder get a little revenge here and hand the Warriors their first home loss of the year (see 25-and-oh at home this year) and can Okie City’s one-two punch of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – a duo that combined for 63 points on 23-of-55 FG shooting in that weekend loss to the Warriors – lift the level of their play even higher here?

One pointspread note regarding Oklahoma City is that the Thunder is a sour 3-10 ATS (against the spread) in its last 13 road games … ugh!  

THE COLLEGE BASKETBALL REPORT

Hey, just consider this a little “appetizer” before all the “hot entrees” of College Basketball’s Championship Week when most of the 31 conferences/leagues that sport mini-tournaments will decide their tourney champs … it’s some quickie thoughts on the mini-tournaments in action here these next couple of days/nights:

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE – Thursday-thru-Sunday
Scottrade Center – St. Louis, MO

Don’t like the talk that says Wichita State (23-7, 16-2 MVC) must win this mini-tourney or they could be in danger of not making it to the NCAA’s … poppycock! The Shockers are a lock to be partying at the “Big Dance” a couple of weeks from now and we say a mini-tourney title to go along with the Valley regular-season gets ‘em a #6 seed (and no worse than a #7 seed).

  • The Favorite: Wichita State
  • The Dark Horse: Northern Iowa
  • The Longshot: Loyola-Chicago

METRO ATLANTIC ATHLETIC CONFERENCE – Thursday-thru-Monday
Times Union Center – Albany, NY

It’s been a terrific season for the kids from Monmouth (25-6, 17-3 MAAC) but will the NCAA Tournament folks burst the Hawks’ bubble if coach King Rice’s team doesn’t cop this mini-tourney crown? Gotta throw in our two cents worth here and say we’d take Monmouth even with, let’s say, a MAAC semifinal round loss over the likes of George Washington of Atlantic-10 fame, Ohio State of Big 10 note and Alabama of the SEC – all of whom have inferior RPIs to this Monmouth gang!

  • The Favorite: Monmouth
  • The Dark Horse: Siena
  • The Longshot: Rider

OHIO VALLEY CONFERENCE – Wednesday-thru-Saturday
Municipal Auditorium – Nashville, TN

This should be a real slam-bang doozy of a mini-tourney as half of the league’s dozen teams sport 10-6 (or better) conference marks and it’s worth mentioning that Morehead State (11-6 in OVC play) zooms in on a league-best six-game winning streak while only Tennessee State sports a winning road record (see 9-7 away).

  • The Favorite: Belmont
  • The Dark Horse: Morehead State
  • The Longshot: Eastern Kentucky

COLONIAL CONFERENCE – Friday-through-Monday
Royal Farms Arena – Baltimore, MD

Odds are the NCAA Tournament folks are only gonna hand a bid to the winner of this mini-tourney although we’d love to see ‘em have a heart and include either UNC-Wilmington (22-7, 14-4) or Hofstra (22-8, 14-3) if either gets to the mini-tourney finale and loses.

  • The Favorite: UNC-Wilmington
  • The Dark Horse: William & Mary
  • The Longshot: Elon

WEST COAST CONFERENCE – Friday-through-Tuesday
Orleans Arena – Las Vegas, NV

If you tend to believe the whispers, than only two teams from this 10-squad league are gonna get NCAA Tournament bids – no doubt Saint Mary’s (25-4, 15-3) and Gonzaga (23-7, 15-3) deserve bids no matter how they fare here but could see the ‘Zags get bumped if Mark Few’s crew doesn’t get to the mini-tourney title game. Note that BYU (22-9, 13-5) has a lousy RPI of 72.

  • The Favorite: Gonzaga
  • The Dark Horse: Pepperdine
  • The Longshot: Portland

NOTE: Lots of key College Basketball News/Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez … do don’t miss out!