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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 12:17 PM

THE COLLEGE HOOPS REPORT: - WE GETCHA WHAT’S STRAIGHT AHEAD THIS FIRST WEEKEND IN MARCH …

NBA NEWS & NOTES: - THE WESTERN CONFERENCE BATTLE UNDERNEATH THE ROCKETS & WARRIORS

Hang on to your hat!

There’s a slew of College Basketball Conference Tournament games on this weekend’s agenda including the start of Colonial Conference (see quickie preview below) not to mention the championship games from the Big 10 and Missouri Valley Conference on Sunday … talk about your great lead-ins to the Academy Awards!

The bottom line is there are a bunch of one-bid leagues playing from coast-to-coast this weekend to decide who’s their representative in the NCAA Tournament – remember the Selection Show is set for Sunday, March 11 – plus don’t forget there’s a whole lot of key regular-season finales on the college hoops docket and we’ll highlight a few of them below.

Don’t miss out as we continue to pile up the profits in both the NBA and College Basketball as Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep ripping it up on the hardwood – get all the daily winners right here online or 1-800-323-4453.  Make sure you’re all aboard for these college basketball mini-tournies and then go right through March Madness with a bang!

Okay, so among this weekend’s key regular-season games on Saturday are …

 

#9 NORTH CAROLINA (22-8, 11-6 ACC) at #5 DUKE (24-6, 12-5 ACC) – 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

It’s the defending champion Carolina Tar Heels that are going for the series sweep here after Roy Williams’ squad banged out an 82-78 win as 1.5-point home favorites against the Dookies back on Feb. 8th. You remember back then that North Carolina really crashed the offensive glass in that tilt while savvy G Joel Berry II filled in the stat sheet with a game-high 21 points to go along with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. P.S., a 16-2 Carolina scoring spree at the very start of the second half is really what gave the Heels breathing room there – now the $64,000 question is whether or not Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen and Company can go on a similar run (or two) here in this revenge match along Tobacco Road. In case you wanted to know out take, heading into this prime-timer we’d say Duke is a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament; North Carolina a #3 seed.

 

On Sunday, it’s …

#10 CINCINNATI (26-4, 15-2 AAC) at #11 WICHITA STATE (24-5, 14-3 AAC) – 12 p.m. ET, CBS

The American Athletic Conference doesn’t get a whole lot of national respect – but here’s two teams that could well be making their own cases for Final Four berths should they play “their game”: Cincinnati’s the country’s second-best defensive squad while yielding just 57.2 points and the flip side here is Wichita State’s one of the best three-point shooting teams in the land with Landry Shamet, Austin Reaves and Conner Frankamp (and hasn’t this dude been in college long enough?) entering this league bash with a combined 174 trifectas this 2017-18 season. Let’s see whose style wins out in this bash in the heartland.

 

COLONIAL CONFERENCE … Friday-thru-Tuesday
at Little Caesar Arena – Detroit, MI

Once again we’re talking one-bid league here with nearly a handful of teams capable of snagging this mini-tourney – Charleston, Northeastern, Hofstra and William & Mary all won double-digit games inside Colonial Conference play and all of the above will run here when possible. Since Jan. 25th, Charleston’s won nine of its last 10 games with David Cohn fresh off a 30-point game in his last tilt. Meanwhile, Northeastern – tied with Charleston atop the league standings at 14-4 in regular-season play – zooms into this tournament having won its last seven in a row.

THE FAVORITE: Charleston / Northeastern

DARK HORSE: Towson

PLAYER TO WATCH: Hofstra’s Justin Wright-Foreman averages 24.2 ppg and he’s canned 89 triples on the year.

 

 

NBA NEWS & NOTES

Hey, we know you’re up-to-date with the NBA’s Western Conference battle royale among the teams fighting for the #3-thru-#8 seeds – naturally, Houston and Golden State long ago put the wraps on the conference’s top two seeds although we’re a long way from knowing who’s gonna be the top dog – and so this weekend begins a key run towards the finish line with Minnesota, San Antonio, Portland, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah all within five games of each other for the six other playoff spots.

Denver (at Cleveland on Saturday) and Oklahoma City (at Portland on Sunday) face uber-difficult tasks this weekend but maybe the team to really keep an eye out for is the N’Orleans Pelicans who will enter Sunday’s game at lowly Dallas having won seven in a row despite no Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins who is out for the year with a torn Achilles. Sure, All-Star Anthony Davis (28.1 ppg) has been on a major run but kudos to PG Rajon Rondo who kicked in 13 points, 12 assists and 8 boards in last Wednesday’s 121-116 win at 4.5-point favorite San Antonio. Don’t know about you but we’d love to see the Pelicans have a shot at either Houston or Golden State in a second-round playoff series come late April/early May.

NOTE: More College Basketball updates in the next edition of Jim Sez.