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Thursday, Jan 12
by Larry Ness - 01/12/2006
Duke beat Maryland 76-52 and Florida handled Miss St 75-60 on Wednesday, keeping both teams undefeated. The nation's only other undefeated team, the Pitt Panthers, play at home tonight against DePaul (ESPN at 9:00 ET). The 12-0 Panthers have made a habit of fast starts the last few seasons opening 10-0 last year, 18-0 in 2003-04 and 9-0 in 2002-03.
The school's last loss in the months of November or December came on 12/31/02 to Georgia. DePaul (8-5), in its first year in the Big East, will be playing Pitt for the first time since the 1936-37 season. Pitt is favored by 12 points with a total of 130 1/2.
My free play for Thursday is on Middle Tenn St over Arkansas St in college hoops at 8:00 ET. Tonight I feature my BIGGEST play of the season in the Pac-10, my 20* Game of the Year. Also, I have my 10* Sun Belt Game of the Month in college hoops plus a HUGE play (no rating!) on tonight's Finals Showdown Rematch in the NBA (Det/SA)!
Speaking of long waits, Baylor, competing its 100th year of basketball this season, lost its 15th straight game last night. What was so unusual, was that the school's 15th straight loss came 307 days after its 14th loss (77-57 to Iowa State in last year's Big-12 tourney). As part of NCAA sanctions, the team was not allowed to play any non-conference games this year.
Southern Illinois beat Evansville last night 66-38 and the school from Carbondale, Illinois has now quietly joined Gonzaga and Illinois with 30 consecutive home wins, the longest active streak in college basketball.
While the DePaul/Pittsburgh game leads a 31-game college basketball slate tonight, the NBA features just a three-game card. However, at 8:05 ET on TNT, it's a Finals rematch from last year, the Pistons at the Spurs. Detroit owns the league's best overall record at 27-5 and its best road mark (13-3). San Antonio owns the league's second-best mark at 27-8, as well as its best home record (17-1).
These teams met Christmas Day in Detroit with the Pistons winning 85-70. Ginobili missed that game for the Spurs and Detroit won on the strength of an 18-8 advantage in the first quarter and a 28-17 4th-quarter advantage. San Antonio is favored by 4 1/2-points with a total of 177.
The second half of TNT's doubleheader goes at 10:35 ET, with the LeBron and the Cavaliers visiting Kobe and the Lakers. Kobe scored 'just' 41 points last night in LA's 113-103 loss at Portland, ending his streak of games with 45-plus points at four. The Lakers are favored by 2 1/2-points tonight with a total of 193 1/2.
Kobe leads the league averaging 34.3 PPG and LeBron ranks third at 30.8 PPG. Philadelphia's Allen Iverson is second with an average of 33.7 PPG, giving the league THREE 30-plus PPG scorers. The last time the NBA had three players average 30 or more PPG for an entire season was in 1981-82. The players were, George Gervin, Moses Malone and Adrian Dantley.
Friday's Ness Notes will be devoted to this weekend's NFL Divisional Playoffs.