Jim Hurley Professional Sports Handicapper- NCAA TOURNAMENT







Buckle up!

The College Basketball Season’s heading into “crunch time” and – seemingly – nobody’s safe out there on the hardwood as Baylor, Florida State, Duke, Maryland and Creighton (yes, all top 10 teams while heading into play this past weekend) were picked off by a handful of big-game hunters and the above-mentioned Baylor Bears had to go deep into an overtime session to hold off (but not cover) 7-point underdog Texas Tech in Monday night’s wild 71-68 tilt.

Now, we’ll dig into the month of March and attempt to separate the “men from boys” but this is 2020 and, well, anything goes!

As we draw closer and closer to the aforementioned NCAA Tournament — see Selection Sunday Show on March 15th — we get you our up-to-the-minute “win-it-all” odds for this year’s tourney. See what you think (all prices below all based on $100 per play):

TEAM                             ODDS TO WIN 2020 NCAA TOURNAMENT

Kansas                                           + 600

Gonzaga                                        + 750

Dayton                                           + 1000

Kentucky                                        + 1000

Baylor                                             + 1100

San Diego State                            + 1200

Duke                                               + 1400

Louisville                                        + 1600

Michigan State                             + 1600

Seton Hall                                      + 1600

Florida State                                 + 1800

Maryland                                       + 1800

Oregon                                           + 3300

Michigan                                       + 3500

Penn State                                     + 4000


Let’s go ahead and – for a second straight week — expand our NCAA Tournament look even more now that we’re starting to dig into the month of March.  Now, we’re getting you our top 12 seeds in each of the NCAA Tournament’s four geographical regions (and they are all subject to change, of course). Note we have the “First Four” games in a couple of cases with #11 seeds included in the East and Midwest Regions:

EAST – Kansas, Maryland, Seton Hall, Penn State, West Virginia, Butler, Florida, Marquette, Northern Iowa, UCLA, Utah State/Stanford and East Tennessee State

MIDWEST – Baylor, Duke, Dayton, Villanova, Iowa, Houston, Texas Tech, Arizona, LSU, Illinois, Rutgers/Richmond and Hofstra

SOUTH – San Diego State, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Auburn, BYU, Michigan, USC, Virginia, Wichita State, Providence and Liberty

WEST – Gonzaga, Florida State, Michigan State, Creighton, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona State, Miss State, Cincinnati, Saint Louis, Stephen F. Austin and Akron

Last Four In – Utah State, Stanford, Rutgers and Richmond

First Four Out – Oklahoma, Arkansas, Notre Dame and Texas

Editor’s Note: Let’s be clear, here: We’ve handed both San Diego State and Gonzaga top seeds in their respective regions but a loss by either / both teams kayos ‘em from the top spot in which case things would become “fluid” with Duke having a No. 1 seed shot if it can win the ACC Tournament; ditto for Maryland if it can win the Big 10 mini-tourney and, to a lesser degree, to Kentucky should the ‘Cats win the SEC Tournament and at least two of the above-mentioned top seeds get beaten in the conference tournaments (especially if they were to get beaten prior to the conference championship game).

Finally, we could see the likes of Villanova – we’ve listed ‘em as the #4 seed in the Midwest for now – and Oregon (our #5 seed in the West) climb their way up the seed lines with conference tournament titles in the Big East and Pac-12, respectively. Both could go as high as #2 seeds with rampaging runs through their mini-tournies and with some other outside assistance. Got it?

Here’s more from this week’s College Basketball mini-tournies – there’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament action that swings into gear on Thursday night and West Coast Conference action that starts Friday night …


At St. Louis, MO

Northern Iowa could wind up being a single-digit seed in the upcoming “Big Dance”— we have ‘em as a #9 seed right now and that could improve – as a resounding showing this week in “The Arch” could make folks sit up and really take notice. Guard AJ Green (team-best 19.7 ppg) could make himself one of March’s big hardwood heroes for NIU. P.S., Loyola-Chicago could make a mini-tourney run here if that nationally-ranked defense comes calling.

The Favorite: Northern Iowa

The Dark Horse: Indiana State

Pointspread Note: Heavyweight Northern Iowa sports the league’s best spread mark at 18-9 ATS (against the spread) but don’t sleep on Valpo (19-10 ATS) or even Missouri State (19-12 ATS)

WEST COAST CONFERENCE – Thurs-thru-Sat, Mon & Tues

At Las Vegas, NV

Could this finally be “the year” for the Gonzaga Bulldogs? There’s no question veteran head coach Mark Few has all the parts including six different double-digit scorers led by F Filip Petrusev (17.8 ppg) but the real key for the Zags in this mini-tourney is matching up with BYU’s three-point shooters and / or taking over the paint against an always-physical Saint Mary’s squad.

The Favorite: Gonzaga

The Dark Horse: San Francisco

Pointspread Note: BYU is an electric 11-5 against the odds since the start of the new year


Let’s examine just who have been the NBA’s Worst Spread Sides since Feb. 1 …

The Indiana Pacers are 5-7-1 ATS (against the spread) since Feb. 1st

The Miami Heat is 6-8 vig-wise since the first of February

The Minnesota Timberwolves have failed to cover nine of their last dozen games since 2-1-20

The Phoenix Suns are 3-10 against the odds the past month-plus

The San Antonio Spurs are 4-8 ATS since Feb. 1

The Utah Jazz is 4-7-1 versus the vig

NOTE: Game previews from the NBA and NCAA later this week, so don’t miss out plus remember to keep cashin’ at 1-800-323-4453. The Jim Hurley Network is really heatin’ up lately with Northwestern’s overtime winner at 2-point favorite Nebraska this past Sunday along with Saturday winners Oakland (+ 3) over Illinois-Chicago and UCLA (+ 2) over Arizona. Don’t let the end-of-year games pass you by – win now and every single night!

Jim Hurley Professional Sports Handicapper- NCAA TOURNAMENT