Ness’s Notes (January 29)
Duke, Florida and Pittsburgh won in college basketball yesterday, a much better result than the previous Saturday, when all three teams suffered their first loss of the season. No. 5 Texas was the biggest loser of the day as the Longhorns saw their nine-game winning streak cut short by Oklahoma at Norman, when they lost 82-72 to the Sooners.
My free game for Sunday is Arkansas over Kentucky at 1:00 ET. Saturday was a DISASTER as my free game was my only winner of the day (Go Tech, a resounding and annoying winner over Wake Forest)! After a 16-6-1 CBB run from 1/14 to 1/24, I laid an egg on Saturday, a GOOSE-EGG, going 0-3. That means it’s BOUNCE-BACK Sunday and I have two 15 * plays on CBB (70% winning rate since Jan 1) plus one of my exclusive Las Vegas Insider plays. In the NBA, after a three-day pass, it’s my 10th Inter-Conf Game of the Month * with the Suns / Cavs.
It was not a good week for long winning streaks, as West Va saw the end of its 12-game winning streak on Wednesday by losing 58-52 as a 16-point favorite to a Marshall team, who entered that game with only seven wins! The next day, the UAB saw the end of its 10-game winning streak at Memphis, 73-66. On Saturday it was Texas’s turn.
Texas entered last night’s game having kept all nine opponents less than 40 percent from the court in each of their victories, allowing an average of just 51.2 points per game during the streak. Naturally, Oklahoma made 31 of 57 free throw attempts Saturday (54.4 percent) while scoring 82 points.
However, two winning streaks did not come close to ending on Saturday. Both Illinois and Gonzaga joined Southern Illinois with 33 consecutive home wins (the current longest streak in the nation), as the Illini beat Purdue (76-58) and the Bulldogs took care of Portland (81-64). . Purdue had been the last team to win at Illinois (54-50 on 10/1/04), but Illini’s 18-point victories raise the home school record to 90-3 since the start of the 1999 season. 2000.
Interestingly, Portland (like Purdue) was also the last team to win at Gonzaga’s home court in Spokane (2/19/04). The Pilots couldn’t stop Adam Morrison, the nation’s leading scorer at 29 points per game. Morrison had 30 points at the half and finished with 42. He has now surpassed 30 points nine times this year, including four 40-plus games. While Portland may be the last team to win at Gonzaga, but with last night’s loss, the Pilots have now lost 19 of their last 20 meetings with the Bulldogs.
For the record, NEITHER Illinois nor Gonzaga ‘covered’ their victories, so Purdue and Portland came out as ‘winners’ for some people.
Sunday’s television matchups are Arkansas in Kentucky and Indiana in Minnesota on CBS at 1:00 ET. Kentucky (13-6) is a four-point favorite over Arkansas 14-5 with a total of 130 1/2. In the Big-10 game, the Hoosiers are favored 3 1/2 points over Minnesota with a total of 133. Minnesota has started 0-6 in the Big-10, shooting less than 40 percent in each game, while averaging only 57.7 PPG.
Other standout games for Sunday are No. 9 West Va at St John’s (2:30 ET) and No. 10 Washington at Stanford. West Va is the only team left in the Big East without a conference loss (5-0) but saw its 12-game winning streak stopped last Wednesday by Marshall (see above). The Red Storms have beaten Louisville and Pittsburgh at home in the past two weeks, so the Mountaineers (2 1/2 points favorites with 122 total) won’t be expecting a “walk in the park.”
Washington has not won at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion since winning 68-67 on 1/20/93! So when the 16-3 and 10th ranked Huskies kick off tonight at 8:00 ET against the unranked Cardinal and 9-7, they will clearly not be OVER-CONFIDENT. Washington is favored by two points with a total of 150 1/2.
The NBA presents a six-game card on Sunday. ABC has a doubleheader with the Suns on the Cavs (1:05 ET) and the Heat on the Rockets (3:35 ET). The Cavs are favored by two points with a total of 206 1/2. On January 14 at Phoenix, the Suns won 115-106 as they shot 54.7 percent from the floor, including 11 of 17 on 3s. James scored 46 points for the Cavs in that loss and is averaging 35.5 points per game in Cleveland’s recent four-game winning streak. The Cavs are 15-5 SU and 13-6-1 ATS at home.
The Miami / Houston game does not have a starting line, as Dwayne Wade is questionable for the Heat. It’s the Lakers at the Pistons tonight at 6:30 ET on ESPN. These teams met for the title just two seasons ago, but while the Pistons hold the league’s best record at 36-5, the Lakers enter this game only 23-19. Of course LA has Kobe, but Detroit has the best “five starters” in the league. The Pistons are 19-2 at home but only 10-11 ATS. LA is 14-8 ATS on the road, so maybe the point difference (Detroit is favored by 8 1/2 points with a 196 1/2 total) could be the big tie.